435Digital, Chicago Tribune.
I went for a walk in my old neighborhood the other day. I lived in Chicago’s Lakeview for about ten years. It’s a fun place with plenty of foot traffic, all kinds of shops, ethnic eateries and lots of cafes. It’s a prime destination for Black Friday.
[media-credit name=”435Digital Tribune Media” align=”aligncenter” width=”668″][/media-credit]Recently, Internet privacy concerns erupted over Facebook’s introduction of facial recognition features. Most of us have some version of this on our home photo editing systems, and many people misunderstood what Facebook was offering and how to use it. The bottom line is that only photos by your friends will suggest that you are in the photo and only you can tag the photo.
To be sure, there’s potential for abusing some technologies but the facial recognition genie is out of the bottle and it won’t be going back in. That leaves us with the question of how we will marshal this and other technologies so that they are not abused by government despots or evildoers.
One of the cooler heads and sage voices on the Internet privacy beat is Tim O’Reilly. Continue reading Tim O’Reilly on Internet privacy and the promise of Web 2.0
[media-credit name=”435Digital Tribune Media” align=”aligncenter” width=”668″][/media-credit]Writing a blog about learning social media is like writing a blog about learning to talk.
Learning to talk starts with the sense of hearing and the ability to actively listen. By listening to the stream of sounds coming from our environment we start to understand and say words. Over time, we learn to put these words together into complete thoughts that we call sentences. Before too long, we string the sentences together and begin to tell the story of what is happening around us and how we experience it. We meet others and share our stories. This storytelling give-and-take is a lifelong reiterative conversation that forms our identity and self definition. Our ability to engage in this conversation deeply influences our path in the world.
Your business learns social media much like a baby learns to talk. First, you listen online to understand what your name, or brand, means to your customers. The sounds you hear might be pleasant — or not. Either way, what’s certain is your customers are conveying important information. It’s your choice whether or not to understand the sounds and fully engage in this reiterative conversation.
Nobody can decide for you. It’s a straight-forward challenge that smacks at the culture of your organization and the ongoing story that is the interplay of you, your products and your customers. It’s a challenge that asks you to understand how deeply you value customer service — really. The repercussions of your choice will be felt all along your value chain of competitors, collaborators, and suppliers.
To get started in this conversation, you need to understand the tools, tactics and strategies of the evolving social media toolbox so you can choose those that work best for you. But as important as learning the tools, is learning how to talk in the world of social media.
By taking on the 435Digital blog beat, I’ve accepted the challenge of helping us better understand tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and the nature of the conversation that accompanies them. As important, I’ll be discussing the cultural change and relational juice that is creating a new online economy based on trust and transparency. It’s exciting to peer around the edges of what “is” to see what is possible.
As to my philosophy, I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk, who says in his book “The Thank You Economy:”
For the record, I dislike the term social media. It is a misnomer that has caused a boatload of confusion. It has led managers, marketers, CEOs and CMOS to think that they can use social networking sites to spread their message the same way they use traditional media platforms like print, radio, television. or outdoor and expect similar results and returns. But what we call social media is not media, nor is it even a platform. It is a massive cultural shift that has profoundly affected the way society uses the greatest platform ever invented: the internet. Unfortunately, when the business world is thinking about marketing via social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Daily Booth, it’s thinking about using social media, so that’s the term I’ll use.
This massive cultural shift is to the Knowledge Age from the Industrial Age. And I think Gary is right, there’s no such thing as a “media buy” in social media. Your online success is determined by the culture of your business and the timbre of conversations and relationships that emerge organically from who you are and what you say and do.
The same is true for me and my work on the 435 Digital blog. As we learn together, let me know how I am doing.
p.s. I love my little Twitter bird. I keep him with me always @SaDuros.
“Unlock the Digital Economy” is the theme for this year’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, the signature conference and tradeshow put on by O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb.
I spoke with Sarah Milstein of UBM TechWeb to get a sense of some of the highlights.
“The web is maturing,” Milstein said. “The business side is increasingly important and viable. We are interested in people who are figuring out how to exploit that.”
So who’s making money on the web and how are they doing it?
Zynga is. Milstein says that the creators of Farmville — whose branding says the company is connecting the world through games — is pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from games that include CityVille, TreasureIsle and Mafia Wars.
In an article published yesterday by the Chicago Sun-Times, colleague Sandra Guy says market experts value Zynga’s worth as high as $10 billion.
The games operate from a few simple concepts: You can play the game for free. But each game has its own internal economy, Milstein says. Buy a business, give a resource. Eventually, real money is exchanged.
I’m constitutionally unsuited to these games. I lack patience. Don’t buy me tulips, please, they’ll die from lack of watering. But I do see some synergy between the news world and games. Beyond interactive 3-D crossword puzzles and chess, games hint at a sophisticated landscape that could promise anonymity and new dimensionality in solving the problems of government or create exciting new ways to connect news streams with advertising bases in localities. The Knight Foundation sees this synergy too as it is investing considerable cash into several civic–based solutions with a game interface.
Zynga holds the title of most used Facebook application with 40 million active users. The company has reportedly spent $50 million on Facebook ads alone.
So here in Chicago when my SallyVille [within CityVille] visits friend Rogers Park – my virtual version of my home neighborhood. I can fantasize that someday Zynga will build a game that will allow Rogers Park online to mirror and nourish what is happening in the real economy and community of the neighborhood that is Rogers Park.
These games are a far cry from that robust and useful potential now, but the internet is developing in unforeseen ways – one can dream?
Another company posting some success that will be appearing at Web 2.0 Expo is LinkedIn.
On March 25, I and 999,999 other professionals received email correspondence from Linked In Founder Reid Hoffman thanking us for being early adopters in the first million. I was member 897312. Linked In now has 100 million members.
Hoffman’s scheduled to speak Thursday, March 31. For now, LinkedIn’s key to “Unlock the Digital Economy” is an IPO.
LinkedIn is the pin-striped, always chipper-faced network for folks looking to make business connections — whether for sales or job leads; it will seek $175 million in the public market.
Anthony Ha of VentureBeat did a break down of the company’s fundamentals in January.
How much money is LinkedIn making now? In the nine months ending on Sept. 30, LinkedIn says it made $1.85 million in profits on $161.4 million in revenue. In 2009, it lost $4.0 million on $120.1 million in revenue
Linked-In’s revenue comes from three kitties: user subscriptions, advertising sales and hiring solutions. Its Hiring Solutions services brought in 41% of total revenue. This revenue mix doesn’t sound much different from that of an online newsroom — Help Wanted ads anybody? [If this sounds like a genie that’s disappeared from the bottle, it might find its way back in.]
A good portion of the IPO cash will beef up LinkedIn’s field services in geographic locations, basically sales of its Hiring Solutions in various cities around the US and the globe. LinkedIn shares a problem with the emerging news business. The company has a robust online site, but to grow its successful business model it needs to expand its real world field work in sales. Internet based businesses have been struggling to effectively bridge the online-to-earth gap for a decade at least. It’s one of the reasons that reinvented newspaper brands and their paper distribution streams might be more valuable than some think.
Milstein says gaming companies are doing well if they can transition from desktop to mobile. She says other hot topics include group buying and new buying models, such as those offered by chicago-based Groupon.
There’s so much online news organizations can learn from the Web 2.0 world.Check out the website and if you’re in the Bay Area, the conference runs March 28 through March 31. If you can’t make it this year, you can view sessions later online on the Web 2.0 website on O’Reilly’s YouTube channel.
O’Reilly and UBM TechWeb have another show in the fall. Milstein says the Web 2.0 New York show is historically weighted more toward exploring digital innovation in the media, so you might just want to take out your calendar and ink in Oct. 10-13, Web 2.0 this fall in New York.
You can follow Web 2.0 on its blog, at Twitter hash #w2E or on its Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Web 2.0 Expo happens March 28-31, 2011 at Moscone West in San Francisco, CA. Now in its fifth year, Web 2.0 Expo is for the builders of the next-generation web: designers, developers, entrepreneurs, marketers, and business strategists.
[media-credit name=” for Chicago Tribune 435 Digital.” align=”aligncenter” width=”668″][/media-credit]OK. I’ll admit it. I have a Tiger Beat crush on Brian Solis. That’s because Solis is one of the smartest people around when it comes to social media and its power to reshape our world.
Solis has been in technology public relations since 1991. He began working with message boards, communities and early blogs in the 90s and started his own firm, FutureWorks in 1999. In March 2011, he joined Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm that says it offers “pragmatic strategies to help companies thrive with disruptive technologies.”
You can pop in on Solis blog, which includes a series discussing the concepts in his new book, The End of Business as Usual, or catch his insightful TV series, Revolution, on YouTube.
Solis has written perhaps the best book on online marketing for beginners, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web. The End of Business as Usual is targeted toward emerging leaders, those change agents who want to revitalize the culture of business around customer experience.