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Jeremiah Owyang VS Forrester Research or the reality of digital footprint divorces

21 08 2009

Jeremiah Owyang

Yesterday’s news about Jeremia Owyang leaving Forrester research is a very important day for social media and its use by businesses. I’ve been a fan of Jeremiah’s work for a long time now. He was best described as an “idea factory” by his boss and I totally agree with this. He’s made (and will continue) to make a huge impact on social technology adoption and best practice “crystallization”.

Now, what were they thinking at Forrester? I am fascinated by the unplanned and de facto mash-up that is occurring between personal and corporation / brand digital footprints, especially since social networks have exploded.

Here are some stats to explain what I am referring to:

Forrester Jeremiah Owyang
Joined Twitter 2007-07-25 2006-12-19
Number of Followers (as of today) 24,000 51,000
Joined Forrester N/A October 2007
Number of tweets (as of today) 877 16,500

Obviously, Jeremiah has blown away Forrester in terms of followers but also in mastering the different social media tools. It was one of his best career moves as he wrote yesterday. Yes, it was his job to master those tools, but obviously his digital footprint and influence is bigger than Forrester’s in some ways. Onto another data point, web-traffic: Jeremiah’s blog is pretty much on a par with Forrester.com as you can see on the Compete graph…
Bottom Line –Jeremiah leaving Forrester is a huge loss for Forrester and probably even bigger loss compared with a similar departure 3-4 years ago before the social media boom.

I think it’s also a great example on how companies should think about leveraging the personal digital footprints of their employees, while making sure that the brand’s digital footprint grows proportionally to the employees they empower. Related questions include…

– Should Jeremiah have actually been using Forrester’s twitter account or blog more?
– Would Jeremiah have been as successful if he hadn’t used his personal accounts for work? I also prefer talking to people than brands directly… there’s a human side that is inherent to our gregarious nature.
– Should Forrester have asked him to tweet a little bit more on @forrester ? (877 tweets for @forrester vs 16,500 for @jowyang)?
– Will the person they hire after Jeremiah be required to…?
– Will employees be able to negotiate the use of their personal digital footprint when joining a company?
– Will employers require a minimum digital footprint from their employees?

My point is that Jeremiah’s digital footprint is leaving with him when he leaves Forrester. The long tail effect of his personal blog will be massive as he has worked as a very thorough and systematic aggregator, and like when Robert Scoble left Seagate to go to Rackspace, there will be a serious impact that no company has measured before.

To me, it’s a wake up call for companies using or considering social media. The pioneers you empower to guide your company through those green fields will become very powerful. This is good for you but needs to be considered. The David & Goliath story we’ve seen with the Kutcher vs CNN challenge to pass 1,000,000 followers is another classic example of what’s possible.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you’ve considered this as part of your social media strategy.

Wishing good luck to Jeremiah’s new green fields,

@YannR

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We vote with our (c)licks… Ben & Jerry’s meets social media.

27 01 2009

Living and breathing social media is like riding Gold Bar Rim on my mountain bike…  an interesting analogy for current times. I also tend to forget that newcomers may be slightly confused or afraid about venturing into conversational marketing. You’re exposing yourself, your business, your thoughts, your ideas, you are opening up… users will come and talk to you. They already talk about you – Corporate marketing is losing control, scary.  Are you seeing it as an opportunity? scary cliff? or simply struggling to understand what’s going?

Friday night, I had the pleasure of mingling at the Designers Drinks event in town.  I interacted with some cool people who get it and are enthused about Social Media and have truly experienced some aspects of it; more who may have a grasp of social networking and think this is Social Media (ok, it’s part of it) and a good chunk who are in the dark. I’m slightly cutting corners here but you get the gist.

During one particular conversation with the owner of Ben & Jerry’s in town who started as a designer – Lee – comes up to me and asks: “So how does anyone make money using Social Media?”. Nice! Someone who is challenging his thinking, interested and ready to learn.

Yann: “Well” I said. “How do you get people to come and enjoy your ice cream?”

Lee: “hmm, it’s about the smell and the location.”

Yann: There you go. Social Media is about the same thing. Smell and location. Smelling something good is a particular sense that all of us have and having 100 ice cream choices is really because all of us have different tastes and affinities, needs, passions.

You’re probably wondering what smell has to do with Social Media. Think of it this way…. Content is the basis of Social Media (not social networking). Each of us has ideas, needs, aspirations, lifestyles, wants… etc. Social Media is the power of every and each one of us to decide what to read, enjoy, affiliate with, “Be fan of” on Facebook or just tell your twitter friends about that latest ice cream B&J has. We VOTE with our (C)LICKS.

We, as a Social Media Agency, are here to create the smell [‘content’] that will make a reader affiliate with the brand we represent. We are not here to pollute, nor spam, but to act as a conversation catalyst. We live in a semantic world. Content is king, relevancy is queen.

Smell = Content.  People vote with clicks.  Are you part of my digital footprint?

Now, Location: See… we are living (in) the Matrix – there are now 1 billion people using the internet on this planet and the new street corners are increasingly called Blogging International Airport, Google Blvd, Twitter Ave, Social Graph Street, Facebook Hwy…

Social Media is also about location. Your customers and prospects live on these streets, engaging with them and having a relationship with them is more important than ever. This is your future. Knowing how to navigate those streets is what we do, Lee.  We create maps. To know where the cliff edges are but also the parks with real people.

@yannr

Thanks VoIPman and Blu3_sky777 for the great pictures.

Make sure you check out Lee too, at Ben & Jerry’s – thanks Lee for your inspiring conversation!

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Trust 2.0 … Get Used To It

12 12 2008

I am more and more convinced that 2.0 is a mindset.  I was on Twitter (like always) last weekend between attending to the urgent lives of my 5 and 3 year olds… (Tonka trucks and other logistical movements) and struck up a conversation with @bakespace (bake who you may say? … twitter name/id). Much of our conversation was based on the rise of Digital Divide 2.0 which I see happening as Social Media reaches out to more human beings. You could argue that social networking sites in general are a generational thing and ultimately we will all be on there . You could also argue that it’s an early adopter phenomenon.  I tend to think that 2.0 is a mindset.

Newspapers, magazines and traditional sources have been ‘seen’ as the trusted source of information over time. “Who are we going to trust”? They say. Well YOU, your brand, your digital footprint. Web 2.0 is an organic world where new tools (software for the most of it), new behaviors and new ethical codes swarm. We are the media. We are re-creating trust mechanisms. I believe we can see through, look at each other in the eyes, shake hands, smile at each other and respect each other online. Businesses as well. Get used to it. It’s here.

Forums in the 90’s and early 2000’s have really given a bad reputation to online presence… they were one big stream and everyone could actually be as primal as possible. We now live in a more open world, if you vote for a 2.0 Mindset.  More and more consumers are judging how they are being treated and how their peers are as well.  BS on Twitter, blogging, facebook and so on just doesn’t fly and people quickly vote with their feet when BS shows up.

This week, amongst other things, I ran into 2 great pieces of content that talk about TRUST. The first was by Rodger Doodley blog on Trust with Rodger quoting Paul J Zak: The key to a con is not that you trust the conman, but that he shows he trusts you. Conmen ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable… the human brain makes us feel good when we help others–this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers. “I need your help” is a potent stimulus for action. [From The Moral MoleculeHow to Run a Con.]

Selling is about creating a trustable and repeatable experience. If you are a marketer, you are here to build or consolidate the brand trust capital. Social Media (blogging, facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube….etc) when used in concert are here to “empower users” as Chris Brogan says – Those users are your prospects or your customers… Instead of being in their face and being another ‘Interruption Day Marketing’ brand, be part of their lives, be part of their search and their social graph.

Forrester Research just published a new study that has made bloggers and micro-bloggers rage this week… Corporate Blogs are at the bottom of the scale when it comes to “trusted information sources”.  It is very debatable and obviously linear thinkers (let’s apply traditional marketing to social media) are mostly doing it wrong. If you try to sell hard, you’ll just have ZERO effectiveness.

Cloggers (corporate bloggers) it’s time to stop – Companies and corporations have the bad reputation of just republishing their press releases on their blogs, talking about inward content…etc. RISE UP I say… Start by creating value, content that ’empowers your users’. If you can’t think of your higher purpose… have someone else handle your social media services. If you think you know but can’t get traction and your blog traffic sucks…. you’re also in need of help.

Now go on, get out there and build your company digital trustworthiness…

Onwards and upwards,


Cheers
Yann

Thanks to jasoneppink and will lion for their cool pix





The Relevancy Bell Curve… Google, Brands and Blogging

20 10 2008

“We don’t actually want you to be successful”  said Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The company’s algorithms are trying to find the most relevant search results, after all, not the sites that best game the system. “The fundamental way to increase your rank is to increase your relevance,” he added.  

In this extract, from AdAge.com we hear more confirmation that SEO, Public Relations and Marketing are in fusion mode to become Social Media Marketing and PR 2.0… I feel quite good about this…

Here what we think here at Extanz:

The tools are ready: Brands and businesses in general can now own the distribution of their content and directly connect with their constituents and customers via social networks and RSS connectivity. This is the ultimate form of business relevancy as regular people (or businesses) are connecting via the internet to businesses they believe are trustworthy. Google is looking for trust, are you?

You own distribution: Business blogging, and blogging in general, is the mothership of relevancy. A business should (not increase) but shift resources from traditional marketing to blogging. You may also need to reshuffle who is in charge of blogging (hint)…. Comcast’s success with Twitter was started by people in customer service, not in corporate marketing. The spirit of blogging resides in creating real connections with customers. Help your customer, make them smarter, educate them. Traditional marketing minds want to push information. Blogging is about pulling your customer’s interest towards the higher purpose of your business. Together we rise.

The Digital Footprint: What the heck is that? The other day, I followed someone on twitter someone called Pixelbender (this makes me laugh as it expresses the gap between our understanding of reality and how the virtual world is reframing what’s really real) 🙂 – Back to the digital footprint… I see it on every network, from the LinkedIn super networker who has 10,000 + connections (Not me, but I’m working on it) or to Obama who has 100,000 + followers on twitter (first page result for Barack Obama) – the more connected your business is (and you are yourself), the more relevant you become in the eyes of the search engines. Your business digital footprint is like putting a series of billboards along social network highways. The earlier you get on board, the more you’ll lead in terms of being relevant in your industry.

Stay or become relevant through social media!

Stay or become relevant through social media!

The Business Social Graph: To our example last week, just put Barack Obama in Google, or check where Twitter is lined up… like on the first page – that is relevancy based on how much a person or a business is connected. Except that once again, the internet tends to create sprouts (remember the Bell Curve?) – The first cool brand on the block will be able to build higher and faster connectivity with customers and prospects because of the viral mechanism that the internet offers. How do you stay on top? By staying relevant and feeding EXCELLENT and USEFUL content to you constituencies!

– Lastly, not everyone is an early adopter… but you can build your brand journey step by step and we can help – and by the way, we know how to make you successful and relevant

Cheers

Yann





I read your twit, therefore I [and you] exist.

8 10 2008

Earlier this year, we wrote about whether to twit or not to twit and what that decision meant. As Twitter and the whole concept of nano 🙂 blogging has started to take off, more questions have been raised about the particular ‘social media order’ to which all these kinds of activities, like blogging, vlogging,  twitting etc belong.

TweetDeck helps you manage your tweet stream

TweetDeck helps you manage your twitter streams

An acquaintance passed comment to us recently that ‘blogging is the mothership’. This is indeed, an interesting way of putting it. In our own practice, often we use twits to connect others to a larger blog post (cos let’s face it, 140 characters does not provide much of a summary!). In this respect, we can think that Twitter is to blogging what a headline is to a newspaper article or what a title is to an essay. The twit, as it were, acts as an attention getter, an opening statement, an entree to another conversation.

But twitting is also an indicator of passionate users, an indicator of how connected and committed they are to different topics, communities, groups and others. Yann was at a marketing dinner lately and people were making comments about twitter like “I signed up for twitter and nothing happened. Then in the space of 3-4 hours, multiple people were following me arrgghhhhh!!” But this is the beauty of Twitter. In the real world, we exchange business cards to start a business relationship. Twitter does the same by following people. Someone follows you, you follow them back. It’s built on reciprocity. There’s nothing creepy about it. Ok, well maybe something a little creepy… Or should we say creeping…..it’s about rankings, people…

For example, Yann (not that he can vote) recently started following Barack Obama (just for kicks) and he followed right back! Barack Obama has 92,000 people following him and he follows 96,000 people. You just can’t do that with a blog where it is less fluid. Now, here is the gravy, on the first page of google organic when you search for Barack Obama, the 6th ranked URL link is Twitter, above CNN and everything else. The first and second are his own sites, the 3rd is Wikipedia, the 4th is ggoogle news, 5th is his .gov official senator site and then Reuters and then Twitter.  Get it?! Twits matter in the eyes of Google! The social media sphere is increasingly more important than traditional media. Note to self. Our friend Steve Outing recently had a quick post on the same subject.  So perhaps those analogies between twits, blogs, headlines and newspapers are not doing us justice after all…..

Finally, information is coming of age – Twitter, micro-blogging, blogging, and social media is giving

total power to the reader. I read your twit, therefore I [& you] exist. Brand managers, this should matter to you. If not, your competition will reach out to your customer and their digital footprint will be larger and faster than yours. You have a chance to own the distribution of the message, if you take it.

Next up….coming to a blog (and several twits too) near you – digital footprints (or is that feetprint) and the social graph (the mighty XFN)……

Thanks Vu Bui for the cool pic!

Kirsti