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Msc Product Service System Design Final Thesis Book

Msc Product Service System Design Final Thesis Book



this is my final thesis book, on "Business Model Innovation: Narratives building Business Logic. The social network case"....

this is my final thesis book, on "Business Model Innovation: Narratives building Business Logic. The social network case".

the whole work is divided into three parts: research (on Business Model and Social Network), analysis (longitudinal of Facebook, Twitter and google+ on different levels-logic, narratives, product), and project (the remodel of the Vodafone community Youniversity)

it's the beginning of a meta-design research



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    Msc Product Service System Design Final Thesis Book Msc Product Service System Design Final Thesis Book Document Transcript

    • “non le connessioni oggettive delle cose, ma le connessioni concettuali dei problemi stanno a base dei campi di lavoro delle scienze: allorché viene affrontato con nuovi metodi un nuovo problema e vengono in tal modoscoperte verità che aprono nuovi punti di vista significanti, allora sorge una scienza” M. Weber
    • cover page image by J. Thorpe
    • BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION Narratives shaping Business Logic The Social Network case M. CHIARA CACCIANI PSSd master thesis Politecnico di Milano Facoltà del Design A.A. 2009-2011 749212 thesis tutor Cabirio Cautela m.chiara.cacciani@gmail.com
    • 1. INTRO
    • INTRODUCTION - Aknowledgments If you are reading those lines it means that I actually made it! I’m either graduating in this moment or I’m a Politecnico di Milano alumni; either way I’d like to thank who helped me real- ize this. To Cabirio Cautela for believing in me from the beginning, having the time, and the patience to keep me on track and for always showing me the flip side of the coin. It has been a very challenging and rewarding path, thank you for sparking my creativity. To Matteo Gemignani for having walked side by my side for those five years, for giving me the freedom to learn by doing, supporting all of my choices even if they brought me on the other side of the world. To all of my PSSDers, because I truly feel lucky I was part of the 2011 class: a vibrant mix of motivation, competition, intui- tion, passion and talent for designing. Today a special thought goes in particular to Valeria Adani, Gustavo Primavera, Miguel Bello, Angelica Bello and Ana Isabel Palacios for being guides, friends and inspiration in those two years together. Last but not least, to my family who supported me in this whole path, spoiling me with more than what I could have ever needed, lately even providing me with “an office” to foster my concentration and finalize my thesis. 7
    • INTRODUCTION - Table of Contents Introduction Abstract 1. English version 10 2. Italian version 11 Methodology 12 Objective 12 Research 2.1 Business Model Generation Why Business Model? You’re a designer! 16 A recent discipline 17 A definition in evolution 17 Business Model – The new unified perspective 18 1. Building Blocks 18 2. Taxonomies 19 3. Ideal type 19 4. Performative Representation 20 Business Model – conclusion 22 2.2 Social Network Why this case study 24 Not a new concept 25 Components and types 26 Online networks 31 2004 the boom 32 Typologies 34 Analysis 3.1 Three case studies Hypothesis 39 Methodology 40 3.2 Facebook – history 44 2004 46 2005 49 2006 52 2007 56 2008 61 2009 66 2010 72 2011 78 Longitudinal evolution and conclusion 84 3.3 Twitter – history 93 2006 94 2007 99 2008 103 2009 108 2010 118 2011 124 Longitudinal evolution and conclusion 128 3.4 Google+ A limit case study 134
    • History 135 June 136 July 142 August 147 September 152 October 156 Conclusion 1603.5 Compared conclusion 164 CVD (ComeVolevasiDimostrare) – preliminary remarks confirmed 166Project (Let’s Re-Model)4.1 Intro “Re-modeling” Youniversity 169 The methodology 1694.2 Context: Vodafone Intro 170 History 170 Vodafone Italy: history 172 Vodafone Italy: Employer Branding and Recruiting 1734.3 Youniversity Intro 174 The Golden RIBS 175 Business Logic 177 Business&Users Narrative 179 The platform evolution 185 The employer branding business model 1874.4 Re-modeling The Employer Branding Narrative System 189 The value proposition 190 Vodafone E.B. customer segment 190 Avoiding risks: the missing student and recruitment 193 The new Employer Branding Narrative 194 The new Business Logic 197 The multi-channel strategy 198 Youniversity channel intra-connection 199 Youniversity new RIBS 204 The Employer Branding interconnected channel system 2055. Conclusion Final consideration on the work 209Appendix User Narrative Survey 212 Bibliography 214 Webliography 216 Videography 222 List Of Figures 222 9
    • INTRODUCTION 1.1 Abstract - English version“Business Model Innovation: Narrative shaping the Logic” isa meta-design research oriented to provide evidences of thevalidity of the narrative business model approach, and provethe trans disciplinary value of PSS practice and tools, ultimatelyof the design discipline.The research is based on previous scholars’ work on the defini-tion and possible application of Business Models as narratives.This perspective considers Business Model beyond their func-tional value, as descriptors of the business logic, to interpretthem as “stories, that explain how the enterprise works” (Ma-gretta). The goal would be to present evidence of the meaninggeneration power of those narratives, it is in the encoding anddecoding communication process that messages can evolve andassume new meanings created in a crowd sourced way. For thiscrowd sourcing aspect I thought to select as analysis contextsocial networks, probably an extreme example of this theory.The work is structured in three parts:The researchIn the first part I collected and clustered different businessmodel and social network literature schools, with particularfocus on the Business Model narrative approach.The analysisThe second part is a longitudinal analysis of Facebook, Twitterand Google+. I selected those three social networks becausethey are the current major generalist social networks and/orwith greater growth potential.The analysis is based on observing the social network evolutionon three levels: business logic, narratives (business, user andmarket narratives) and platform; aiming to detect how thosethree levels interact and ultimately to analyze how the meaninggeneration process is built.The application: remodeling YouniversityIn the third and last part, I remodel Youniversity, an existent so-cial network by Vodafone, currently not satisfying the purposeit was created for, with a business model narrative approach,guided by the insights I had gathered during the research andanalysis phase.
    • INTRODUCTION 1.1 Abstract - Italian version “Business Model Innovation: Narratives shaping Business Logic” è una tesi di ricerca nell’ambito del meta-design, che basandosi sulla recente letteratura di business model genera- tion, in particolare su quella scuola che vede la business model narrative come uno strumento di generazione di nuovi signifi- cati; si propone di verificarne la potenzialità dei meccanismi di comunicazione e di costruzione di significati nella narrazione nello specifico ambito dei social network. Infatti nel momento stesso in cui un’azienda comunica ai suoi clienti direttamente o indirettamente, sta creando una rappre- sentazione di se portatrice di un duplice significato: quello sog- getto principe della comunicazione e quello racchiuso nella mo- dalità scelta per la comunicazione, esempi di quest’ultimo sono il lessico, il tono, il mezzo di comunicazione scelto. Un terzo aspetto da considerare, e particolarmente rilevante rispetto al caso studio scelto, è la decodificazione del messaggio da parte dei riceventi; infatti, in questo processo è racchiusa un’ulteriore possibilità di significazione corale. Per questa caratteristica cor- ale ho selezionato come caso studio i social network, in quanto rappresentano l’esempio limite, e quindi spero più significativo. Il lavoro è strutturato in tre parti: Ricerca La prima parte è dedicata ad una panoramica della letteratura sui business model, con particolare dettaglio per la scuola di pensiero che interpreta i business model come narrazioni, ed una sui social network. Il concetto di social network infatti, nonostante sia diventato di dominio di massa con MySpace e Facebook è originariamente un concetto legato alle scienze statistiche e sociali, usato come strumento di analisi sociale. È tornato utile ai fini progettuali ricercare questi originari concetti base. Analisi La seconda parte è quella dedicata ad un’analisi longitudinale dei tre social network maggiori in termini di base utente e/o considerati dagli esperti con maggior potenziale; ovvero Face- book, Twitter e Google+. L’analisi è stata condotta analizzando anno per anno ogni social network su tre livelli paralleli: business logic, narrative (lato business, lato utenti e lato mercato) e il prodotto (la piattaforma web). Il fine ultimo è di capire come i tre livelli interagiscono tra loro e le dinamiche del processo di significazione proprio delle “storie” espresse dal business e dagli utenti (e come rappresen- tato sulla piattaforma). Applicazione: il progetto La terza ed ultima parte è dedicata a mettere in pratica le di- namiche individuate nella fase di analisi, re-modellando Youni- versity, un social network privato di Vodafone, che al momento non genera il valore, e quindi i significati, aspettati. 11
    • INTRODUCTION 1.2 Metodology of ResearchBusiness Model literature is still a fuzzy field; scholars are stilldebating about what the definition is, and what role businessmodel can have in the future.Firstly I dipped myself into the literature trying to read enoughliterature about Business Models to have the most completeimage I could. Same thing I did for social network; in factalthough I’m a Facebook addicted, I often tweet and I’m check-ing my Google+ page daily, I didn’t really know much abouthow they evolved since their launch or about their businessmodel; along with a research in social network literature formthe ’50s, when this discipline was developed in sociology, psy-chology and anthropology.Developed a sufficient knowledge about the two research fieldsI selected, I was able to define a thesis hypothesis to be testedin the analysis phase.In this second phase I used a longitudinal analysis approach Iexplain in detail in chapter 3.1., to gather evidences that couldsupport and prove my hypothesis.Ultimately to deeply interiorize my findings I decided to applythem to a project: I remodeled Youniversity, a social networkby Vodafone, according to the strategic business narrativeapproach I had tested and I believe it can help generate newsignificant meanings.INTRODUCTION 1.3 Objectives- Test business model narrative approach in social networkcontext- Deeply understand Facebook, Twitter and Google+ businessmodel evolution- Analyze social network interaction logic key drivers- Generate awareness of the crucial role social networks have inour meaning generation process- Detect and take into consideration in the project ongoingsocial trends- Remodel the social network Youniversity based on analysisfindings and coherently with Vodafone Employer Brandingstrategy- Root the project into PSS tools, methods and project logics- Propose product service system design as central player intobusiness model building and meaning generation- Develop a work I can be proud of
    • 2. RESEARCH13
    • BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION 2.1. Why Business Model? You’re a designer!This is a question people often ask me when I try to explainmy thesis research field, and every time I can’t avoid being a bitdisappointed, since I think the connection between businessmodel generation and product service system design is so clear!I’ve always admired the design discipline for its people centeredshape modeling power; through creative tools designers havethe ability and knowledge to craft products and services aroundpeople; Bruno Munari, Vico Magistretti, Achille Castiglioniwere all inspirations. And it is probably people the variable thatmakes design creation practice much more fascinating to methan scientific one.However today the context we are projecting for is very dif-ferent from Munari’s era, everything is changing and will keepchanging very rapidly. There are major social, economics, cul-tural, political and even religious trends that are yelling at us wehave to be more sustainable, that there is no place for furtherobjects or waste of resources. Our context is not about invent-ing new things, but it’s about finding new meaningful ways ofcombining existing parts. Deciding to take this challenge designhas to become a holistic discipline that deals with organizationand integration of services and products in the most sustain-able and useful way as possible.In today chaos of elements, it’s not easy to see connect the dotsand see the bigger picture and to finalize a strategy to make de-signed scenarios coming true. Business models are cross design-management tools to foster the creation of new meaningfulscenarios; the role of design assumes a special prominence ifwe interpret business model as narratives, as “stories that ex-plain how enterprise works”. Storytelling and visualizations arein fact key design expertise.This field of research is not completely new in the designworld, there is another growing design discipline: the “designthinking” that wants to tackle similar issues, it is indeed “a dis-cipline that uses the designers sensibility and methods to matchpeople’s needs with what is technologically feasible and whata viable business strategy can convert into customer value andmarket opportunity.”In conclusion I picked business model generation as my thesisfield, because I believe it’s a good opportunity where productservice system design and management, for the systemic naturethey share, can work together to shape new meaningful sustain-able future scenarios.
    • BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION 2.2 Business Model - a recent discipline The literature shows Business Model as a fuzzy topic; scholars, in fact, are still striving for a common definition and a manner to investigate this field. The “Business Model” term is a relatively young phenomenon, A. Osterwalder and Y. Pigneur pioneers of this discipline, researched on Scholarly Reviewed Journals the term, and found out that although it appeared for the first time in an academic article in 1957 (Bellman, Clark et al. 1957) and in the title and abstract of a paper in 1960 (Jones 1960) it was only towards the end of the 1990s that it became relevant, together with the advent of the Internet in the business world. This synchronicity is not a chance; first in the web 1.0, now in the 2.0 one, infor- mation technology became very cheap, allowing not only many companies to have access to it, but blurring industries bounda- ries. Indeed industry classification is not meaningful anymore as unit of analysis, and that’s probably the role that fits business model the best. BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION 2.2 Business Model - a discipline in evolution A. Osterwalder and Y. Pigneur highlighted five main phases in the evolution of the business model literature and in the search for a proper business model definition. schema 1 define & classify list business model describe business model business apply businessACTIVITY business models components model elements model elements model conceptOUTCOME definitions & “shopping list” of components as reference models applications & taxonomies components building blocks & ontologies conceptual tools In a first phase, in early 2000 when the term started gaining popularity, a number of authors suggested business model definitions and classification an example of it is “the firm’s eco- nomic model, concerning its logic of profit generation”1 . In the second phase authors started to complete the definitions by proposing what elements belong into a business model. In this phase those lists merely mentioned descriptors of it, they were still very superficial indeed. 1 Morris M., Schindehutte M., Allen J., 2004, The entrepreneur’s business model: toward a unified perspective, Journal of Business Research 17
    • Only in the third phase they started doing detailed descriptionsof these components structuring and designing organizationswith them. Business models became “transaction structures”;they described the way firms configured their transactions withgroups of stakeholders including customers, suppliers and ven-dors: “a business model is the content, structure, and govern-ance of transaction designed so as to create value through theexploitation of business opportunities” (Amit and Zott, 2001)The business model became the manifestation of how certainorganizational variables were configured and the consequencesof that configuration on business performance; this approachis well known also as building blocks theory. Consequentlyvarious business model taxonomies were generated, such as the“efficiency centred” and “novelty centred” by Zott and Amit.In the fourth phase researchers started to model the compo-nents conceptually, proposing business model as meta-modelsin the form of reference models and ontologies. Business mod-els as well as their elements became “ideal types”, references tocluster and define businesses.The last phase, the current one, is the one in which referencemodels are being applied in management. Scholars are nowtesting in different fields, if the application of business model,can create a significant competitive advantage. Moreover whichare the best conceptual tools and application fields.BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION 2.3 The new BM unified perspectiveIn conclusion, scholars’ contributions on the definition of busi-ness models can be classified in four different categories; I’llshortly go through the first two to then explain more exhaus-tively the last ones.1. Building-blocksFirst, Business Model are conceptualization of a particularreal world business model: this is the building-blocks perspec-tive, oriented to define the main blocks that create and capturevalue, the so called “business logic”. Osterwalder and Pigneur(2010) finalized a great tool to visualize the nine blocks thatconstitute the business logic, as they assert the communicationpower of business model crucial and worth to research on.This first conception is focused in particular on e-businesses,and tries to create and capture value from a given technology.In this domain, researchers have identified four possible “valuestreams” in an internet-based business: virtual communities,reduced transaction costs, exploitation of information asymme-try, and value-added market-making process.
    • 2. Taxonomies There is a group of authors that describe business models as classifications, distinctive abstract types of business models, each one describing a set of business with common charac- teristics. In this sense business models are taxonomies, classes of things observed in the world and developed from empirical work, bottom up; they are both a scale and a role model, like scale models they represent descriptions not too general nor detailed of firms, but at the same time they individuate a set of known business models based on generic kinds of behavior which are distinctly different; they serve as role models that scholars use to cluster individual firms. Thanks to this double scale-role model function, according to Banden-Fuller and Morgan, business models seem to be the perfect environment for experimentation, to conduct the same testing that biologist do with their model organism when they check their theories against behavior in the world, to see how far the findings match the characteristics of the real world the their models purport to represent. Business models are to man- agement real-life examples to study and apply, in fact a collat- eral use of business model ideal type is as typification. This idea is associated with the role model nature described before that identify business model as well known categories and external identity that a firm can assume (Polos et al., 2002). This con- cept can be particularly relevant applying it to nascent markets, where there is little certainty about values associated with new ventures, firms in those situations strive to render themselves identifiable and legitimate and associating themselves with ideal business models can be a solution. 3. The ideal type Another business model definition is as abstract overarch- ing concept that can describe all real world businesses. This concept can be associated with Max Weber’s “ideal type”. “Business models might be understood as ideal types, for they seem to have the characteristics and fulfill the roles that Weber associated with such types: they are based on both observation and theorizing” The parallel that C. Baden-Fuller and M. S. Morgan create between business model and the Weberian concept of “ideal type” is fundamentally based on the double nature of the two tools as describer of the reality and as representation of a con- ceptual idea at the same time; it’s worth exploring the full mean- ing of “ideal type”, to better understand why this concept can be borrowed to enrich the definition of what business model are and are useful for. Max Weber (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy plato. stanford.edu) besides being an economist, a politician and an historian is one of the principal architects of modern social science; his methodological contribution is the most interesting part of his research for the purpose of this thesis. Weber’s methodology is as ethical as it is epistemological; and that’s the interesting trait for this research, in fact ethic issues imply a judgment and meaning attribution process. Weber’s methodology is an attempt to give researchers tools to judge and give meaning to objects, facts and situations; his sig-19
    • nification process is based on the concept of “ideal type” whichis “formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or morepoints of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse,discrete, more or less present an occasionally absent concreteindividual phenomena, which are arranged according to thoseone-sidedly emphasized viewpoints into a unified analyticalconstruct. In its conceptual purity, this mental construct cannotbe found empirically anywhere in reality, it is a utopia.”2In synthesis Weber is saying that the analytical construct of anideal type never exists in reality, but provides objective bench-marks against which real-life constructs can be measured sci-entifically. In this sense the ideal type is not an end but a meancreated by gathering multiple points of views and facts, thenunified by a utopic synthesis that ultimately serves as reference.By comparing the reality to the ideal type, relating the empiri-cal data to an ideal limiting case, we create unambiguouslysignificance and a mental model that codify some key causalrelationships in the business. A business model as ideal type is a“cognitive map” that tends to never be set in reality but provideongoing inspiration for improvement and change.4. Performing representation and narrativesThe last business model category is quite a new school ofthought, scholars define it as narrative or performative reprep-resentation, “in that business model is a text that re-describesand re-constructs reality and the social world in its own image”(M. Perkmann, A. Spicer).Narratives are a genre of text that describe a sequence ofevents; for a firm to embrace a business model as a narrativemeans to construct a representation of how it might succeedin a particular environment through both a textual and/or avisual images. The power of representations hasn’t been fullyexplored yet, however it has the potential to literally shapereality (and I’ll try to bring some evidences with this research);in fact following a semiotics cycle, it first reinterprets real-ity encoding it in a message (as M. McLuhan would say “themedia is the message”), then the receiver decodes it, filteringand enriching the received narrative with his own point of view.As Clarke and Hold state in an entrepreneurial research: “howentrepreneurs select and frame individual stories, both revealsand creates the entrepreneurial self; therefore entrepreneurs areconstituted by their narrative of experience”.Ultimately the current enterprise “reversed” meaning genera-tion cycle remarks the importance of this business modelinterpretation. According to a canonic cycle, enterprises whenlaunching products and services into the market, would shapebusiness logic first, deducing from it a coherent business narra-tive to communicate to the market, based on a negative marketanswer changes in the business logic would be implemented,affecting the business narrative and so on, in a one way cycle.What’s currently happening, in a market as fast as today andwith consumers that are more and more prosumers, is that themarket answer fosters a quick business narrative change, with-out affecting the business logic; this causes gaps and risks ofincoherence between business narrative and business logic, that2 Weber M. Objectivity in social sciences
    • ultimately can have consequences on the image of the company and the revenues stream. This new “reversed” meaning genera- tion cycle sets the business narrative as crucial interpreter of market needs and gatekeeper to the business logic. Business narrative research is a rather young domain and it must still prove its relevance; however scholars suggest three main possible uses of narratives that could help managers cre- ate new business meanings: as visualization, mediator, or com- munication tool; it’s important to consider that the three levels are strictly intra-connected. Visualizing complex systems increases the degree of com- plexity that can be handled successfully (Rode 2000); in fact using an intuitive and universal language it often enhances an easier identification of relevant measures to follow to improve management. Business models have a mediator role when they capture pow- erful and communicative images of the business that ultimately help different actors understand each other;schema 2 Competitive Forces Legal Customer Environment Demand BUSINESS STRATEGY BUSINESSSocial MODEL Technologicalenvironment Change BUSINESS ITC ORGANISATION as well as when modeling social systems they identify relevant elements and relationships among them, acting like a conceptu- al bridge that helps aligning business strategy, business organi- zation and technology. Ultimately business models can be used as powerful communi- cation tool, as logical consequence of their role as visualization and mediator. This use becomes particularly important if we consider not only actors within the firm context, but also final users and customers as receiver of the business narrative. In practical terms, there are various techniques to build busi- ness narratives, such as using widely known cultural myths, archetypical figures, scenarios and metaphors. 21
    • BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION 2.4 ConclusionThis thesis aims to test business model considered beyond itsfunctional value, as “stories that explain how the enterpriseworks”3 , therefore as narrative.The meaning generation power of narrative will be tested in thesocial network context trying to understand what the currentmeaning generation cycle is, and the role of business narrativein it.Moreover it won’t only consider business narrative, but usernarrative as well. In fact the social network context can be con-sider an extreme case study to test those theories, in which, forthe market own nature, users take active part into the develop-ment of the business; therefore it is significant to examine theirnarrative as well, and see their effect onto the business narrativeand logic.3 Magretta J., 2002, Why Business Models Matter, Harvard Business Review
    • S O CI A L N E TWO R K
    • SOCIAL NETWORK 2.1.1 why this case studyAfter researching and reading on Business Model generation,dug into the literature, theories and future scenarios, I em-braced the theory of business model interpreted as narrativeand of its meaning generation potential as re-interpretation ofthe value proposition of the Business Logic. Shaping a power-ful Business narrative means crafting a message as clean anddirect as possible, that simply visualizes or expresses (image ortext based narrative) the value proposition indeed; a very goodexample of this are Apple’s commercials.So, why are Social Networks value proposition particularlyinteresting? Social Networks are transparent models, whichmeans that they don’t advertise to give an image of themselvesto customer, their image is simply deducted from the serviceitself, the platform indeed; this of course, makes the platforma narrative channels. I chose it as case study for this researchbecause social networks create a space, a reality that enableshuman communication and confront, which is, according tosemiotics, the base of our meaning generation process. We“create” meaning through difference, and context plays a role;our signification process takes place through a network (ironic?)among signifier, signified and referent; and one triangle canbecome the referent of another, this network of triangles is thestructure we use everyday to evaluate and give meaning to oureveryday life.Though, if on one hand social networks value proposition isto create contexts where users can generate meanings, on theother one, their possibility to evolve and innovate is completelydependent on their user base. The user narrative, not only thebusiness narrative, is crucial.There is another meaningful factor: the developers case.I consider Social Networks as a transparent company, thereforethe platform is the element they use as business narrative, butwhat if there are users who can shape the platform and com-municate through it as well? Through the APIs developers arecreating contents and modifying the platform, which is then theplace where business and users narrative meet.In conclusion when analyzing social networks the element totake in consideration are not only business narrative and busi-ness logic, but also users narrative as well as the platform, keytouch point in the meaning generation system.“The whole process of meaning generation starts and endswith people”1 especially in this “age of transparency” in which“what happen in Vegas stays on YouTube”2 .Social networks are such a fascinating business case to analyzewhen facing a meaning generation topic.1 Solomon Micheal R., 1998, Consumer Behavior, Buying, Having, and Being,4th ed., Prentice Hall (pp.270)2 Qualman E., 2009, Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way welive and do business. New York, Wiley (p. 47)
    • SOCIAL NETWORK 2.1.1 not a new concept The terms Social Network is a lot older than seven years, which is when for the first time it gained worldwide fame thank to Facebook (2004). Social Network Analysis is inherently an interdisciplinary topic that has been shared by mathematics, statistics, computer methodology and social science for the past twenty years; the first use of the term “Social Network” is attributed to the anthropologist John Barnes (1954) indeed. Out of all, I’ll manly focus on the social science perspective, making some references to the mathematics one. Social Network analysis is a distinct research perspective within the social and behavioral sciences; distinct because it is based on the assumption of the importance of relationships among interacting units, instead of analyzing the single unit value itself; encompassing theories, models and applications that are expressed in terms of relational concepts of processes. Pioneers of this discipline come from sociology, psychology and anthropology; and they define a Social Network as “a network of relations linking social entities, or of webs or ties among social units emanating through society.”3 The last part of this definition is extremely interesting, it’s stating that analyzing social network also provides a formal, conceptual means for thinking about the social world; provid- ing formal statements about social properties and processes (Freeman, 1984), specifically about relationships among social entities, and on the patterns and implications of these relation- ships. Thinking in terms of Social Network is essentially very similar of thinking in terms of product service system. Many researchers have realized that the network perspective allows new leverage for answering standard social and behavio- ral science research questions by giving precise formal defini- tion to aspects of the political, economic, or social structural environment. From the view of social network theory, the social environment can be expressed as patterns or regulari- ties in relationships among interacting units; those patterns are defined as structure composed by nodes (units/actors) and ties (relationships). To fully understand the Social Network theory first we have to understand how it interprets units and relationships, to then have a look at the different types and dynamics. 3 Wasserman S., Faust K., 1994, Social network analysis. Methods and applica- tions, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press (pp.10) 25
    • SOCIAL NETWORK 2.1.3 components and typesWhen a computer network connects people or organizations,it is a social network. Just as a computer network is a set ofmachines connected by a set of cables, a social network is a setof people (or organizations or other social entities) connectedby a set of social relationships, such as friendship, co-workingor information exchange.Social network analysis reflects a shift from the individualismcommon in the social sciences towards a structural analysis.This method suggests a redefinition of the fundamental unitsof analysis and the development of new analytic methods. Theunit is now the relation, e.g., kinship relations among persons,communication links among officers of an organization, friend-ship structure within a small group. The interesting feature ofa relation is its pattern: it has neither age, sex, religion, income,nor attitudes; although these may be attributes of the individu-als among whom the relation exists. . . .Social network analysts look beyond the specific attributes ofindividuals to consider relations and exchanges among socialactors. Analysts ask about exchanges that create and sustainwork and social relationships. The types of resources can bemany and varied; they can be tangibles such as goods andservices, or intangibles, such as influence or social support; theresources are those that can be communicated to others viatextual, graphical, animated, audio, or video-based media, forexample sharing information (news or data), discussing work,giving emotional support, or providing companionship.RelationsRelations (sometimes called strands) are characterized by con-tent, direction and strength. The content of a relation refers tothe resource that is exchanged.A relation can be directed or undirected. For example, oneperson may give social support to a second person. There aretwo relations here: giving support and receiving support. Alter-nately, actors may share an undirected friendship relationship,i.e., they both maintain the relationship and there is no specificdirection to it. However, while they both share friendship, therelationship may be unbalanced: one actor may claim a closefriendship and the other a weaker friendship, or communicationmay be initiated more frequently by one actor than the other.Thus, while the relationship is shared, its expression may beasymmetrical.Relations also differ in strength, and such strength can beoperationalized in a number of ways . With respect to com-munication, pairs may communicate throughout the work day,once a day, weekly or yearly. They may exchange large or smallamounts of social capital: money, goods, or services. They maysupply important or trivial information. Such aspects of rela-tionships measure different types of relational strength.TiesA tie connects a pair of actors by one or more relations. Pairsmay maintain a tie based on one relation only, e.g., as membersof the same organization, or they may maintain a multiplex tie,based on many relations, such as sharing information, givingfinancial support and attending conferences together. Thus
    • ties also vary in content, direction and strength. Ties are often referred to as weak or strong, although the definition of what is weak or strong may vary in particular contexts [Marsden & Campbell, 1984]. Ties that are weak are generally infrequently maintained, non-intimate connections, for example, between co-workers who share no joint tasks or friendship relations. Strong ties include combinations of intimacy, self-disclosure, provision of reciprocal services, frequent contact, and kinship, as between close friends or colleagues. Both strong and weak ties play roles in resource exchange net- works. Pairs who maintain strong ties are more likely to share what resources they have. However, what they have to share can be limited by the resources entering the networks to which they belong. Weakly-tied persons, while less likely to share resources, provide access to more diverse types of resources because each person operates in different social networks and has access to different resources. The cross-cutting “strength of weak ties” also integrates local clusters into larger social systems. Multiplexity The more relations (or strands) in a tie, the more multiplex (or multistranded) is the tie. Social network analysts have found that multiplex ties are more intimate, voluntary, supportive and durable. Yet some analysts have feared that email, the Internet are unable to sustain broadly-based, multiplex relations. These fears are extended by the boutique approach to online offer- ings which fosters a specialization of ties within any one of thousands of topic-oriented news groups. However, this ten- dency toward specialization is counter-balanced by the ease of forwarding online communication to multiple others. Through personal distribution lists Internet participants can sustain broad, multiplex, supportive relationships. Composition The composition of a relation or a tie is derived from the social attributes of both participants: for example, is the tie between different or same sex dyads, between a supervisor and an un- derling or between two peers. Beyond the Tie: Social Networks two Views: Ego-centered and Whole Networks A set of relations or ties reveals a social network. By examin- ing patterns of relations or ties, analysts are able to describe social networks. Typically analysts approach social networks in two ways. One approach considers the relations reported by a focal individual. These ego-centered (or “personal”) networks provide a Ptolemaic views of their networks from the per- spective of the persons (egos) at the centers of their network. Members of the network are defined by their specific relations with ego. Analysts can build a picture of the network by count- ing the number of relations, the diversity of relations, and the links between alters named in the network. This ego-centered approach is particularly useful when the population is large, or27
    • the boundaries of the population are hard to define. For ex-ample, Wellman and associates ([Wellman, 1988a]; [Wellman &Wortley, 1990]) used ego-centered network analysis to explorehow a sense of community is maintained through ties, ratherthan through geographical proximity, among Toronto residents.They built a picture of the typical person as having about adozen active ties outside of their household and workplace,including “at least 4 ties with socially close intimates, enoughto fill the dinner table and at least 3 ties with persons routinelycontacted three times a week or more”The second, more Copernican, approach considers a wholenetwork based on some specific criterion of populationboundaries such as a formal organization, department , clubor kinship group. This approach considers both the occur-rence and non-occurrence of relations among all membersof a population. A whole network describes the ties that allmembers of a population maintain with all others in that group.Ideally, this approach requires responses from all members ontheir relations with all others in the same environment, such asthe extent of email and video communication in a workgroup.This requirement places limits on the size of networks that canbe examined.Ego-centered and whole network views provide two waysof examining the communication links among people: ego-centered network analysis can show the range and breadth ofconnectivity for individuals and identify those who have accessto diverse pools of information and resources. Whole networkanalysis can identify those members of the network who areless connected.Network CharacteristicsRange: Social networks can vary in their range: i.e., in their sizeand heterogeneity. Larger social networks have more hetero-geneity in the social characteristics of network members andmore complexity in the structure of these networks [Wellman& Potter, 1997]. Small, homogeneous networks are characteris-tic of traditional work groups and village communities; they aregood for conserving existing resources.Centrality: it may be important to examine who is central orisolated in networks maintained by different media. Thus, themanager who does not adopt email becomes an isolate in theemail network while retaining a central role in the organization-al network. Information exchanged via email will not reach thismanager while information exchanged in face-to-face executivemeetings will not reach lower-level workers. In a situation suchas this, another person may play a broker role, bridging betweenthe email network and the face-to-face executive network andconveying information from one network to the other. Socialnetwork analysis has developed measures of centrality whichcan be used to identify network members who have the mostconnections to others (high degree) or those whose departurewould cause the network to fall apart.Roles: Similarities in network members’ behavior suggest thepresence of a network role. Teachers fill the same networkrole with respect to students: giving instruction, giving advice,giving work, receiving completed work, and assigning grades.Regularities in the patterns of relations (known as structural
    • equivalence) across networks or across behaviors within a network allow the empirical identification of network roles. For example, the “ technological gatekeeper” is a role that may be filled by any member of a network according to what resources they bring in to the network. Partitioning Networks Groups In social network analysis, a group is an empirically discovered structure. By examining the pattern of relationships among members of a population, groups emerge as highly intercon- nected sets of actors known as cliques and clusters. In network analytic language, they are densely-knit (most possible ties exist) and tightly-bounded, i.e., most relevant ties stay within the defined network. Social network analysts want to know who be- longs to a group, as well as the types and patterns of relations that define and sustain such a group. Network density is one of the most widely used measures of social network structure: i.e., the number of actually-occurring relations or ties as a proportion of the number of theoretically- possible relations or ties. Densely-knit networks (i.e., groups) have considerable direct communication among all members: this is the classic case of a small village or workgroup. Much traditional groupware has been designed for such workgroups. By contrast, few members of sparsely-knit networks communi- cate directly and frequently with each other. As in the Internet, sparsely-knit networks provide people with considerable room to act autonomously and to switch between relationships. How- ever, the resulting lack of mutual communication means that a person must work harder to maintain each relation separately; the group that would keep things going is not present. The social network approach can also be used to see where relations and ties cross media lines. Which kinds of groups maintain ties via multiple media, and which communicate only by means of a single medium? For example, a luncheon group might coordinate meeting times through email, coordinate food delivery by phone, with final consumption face-to-face. Other network groups, such as remotely-located technicians, might exchange information about only one topic and use only one medium, such as email. Positional Analysis As well as partitioning social network members by groups, analysts also partition members by similarities in the set of relations they maintain. Such members occupy similar posi- tions within an organization, community or other type of social network. Those who share empirically-identified positions are likely to share similar access to informational resources. Some central positions have greater access to diverse sources of information, while other positions may have a limited pool of new ideas or information on which to draw. For example, why assume that managers always give orders and subordinates always take them when an analysis of email traffic may show otherwise? Thus our study (of university computer scientists) found that faculty did not always give orders and students did not always receive orders. The actual practice was more a func-29
    • tion of specific work collaborations among network members.Networks of NetworksThe concept of networks is scalable on a whole networklevel to a “ network of networks” [Craven & Wellman, 1973]:network groups connected to other network groups by actorssharing membership in these groups. This operates in a numberof ways. People are usually members of a number of differentsocial networks, each based on different types of relationshipsand, perhaps, different communication media. For example,a scholar may belong to one network of researchers and alsobelong to a network of friends. This person’s membership inthese two networks links the two networks: there is now a pathbetween researchers and the scholar’s friends.Not only do people link groups, but groups link people; thereis a “duality of persons and groups”. The group of researchersbrings together people who are themselves members of dif-ferent groups. Their interpersonal relations are also intergrouprelations. Such cross-cutting ties structure flows of information,coordination and other resources and help to integrate socialsystems.
    • SOCIAL NETWORK 2.1 online networks I’ve analyzed the origin of the concept of Social Network, its descriptive variables, and uses; but in the past ten years this concept became a product of worldwide fame. The term “social network” today is synonymous with online networks like Facebook. Online communities exists since even before the World Wide Web was invented, an early example is Usenet, a network composed by thematic discussion groups in 1979. In 1987 Howard Rheingold, a very active user on another platform called “The Whole Earth Lectronic Link” (WELL), published an early book about what he called “virtual commu- nity”: “A virtual community is a group of people who can meet on or off line and who share thoughts through a forum and informatics networks.” After that the trend became bigger: the French post lunched Minitel, America Online was released, IBM and Sears created Prodigy, ultimately AOL came out and absolutely dominated the market in the States. Common traits of all of those community was the use of a user/nickname, this is true even for the e-mail service that burst out in the early ‘90s. In 1997 sixdegrees.com was the first social network with most of the features we still use nowadays: a public or semi-public profile page, a list of contacts, visible personal network of friends and friends’ network, and for the first time real people’s name, and this feature for the time was visionary. The two pos- sible interactions were: connectMe and networkme. But it was too early for this kind of service, both the technol- ogy and the society weren’t ready, costs were too high and with the boom of the dot.com the company was closed. In 2001 the world was ready for the second round: the first generation of social network, Plaxo, Ryze and Friendster, were released starting from this year; and would be soon been fol- lowed by LinkedIn, Tribe.net and MySpace. Ryze (end 2001) was about people helping each other ‘rise up’ through quality networking, make connections and grow their networks. You could network to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales, as well as just keep in touch with friends. Plaxo (Nov.2002), funded by Sean Parker was an online address book and social networking service integrated with Microsoft Outlook, viral it identified in a reliable way a person based on his friendships. Friendster (Feb. 2003), the most successful one, was a service that allowed users to contact other members, maintain those contacts, and share online content and media with those con- tacts. It was also used for dating and discovering new events, bands, and hobbies. Users could share videos, photos, messages and comments with other members via their profile and their network; and this last one was the big revolution that helped the website grow that big. The second generation of social network is based on the divi- sion between personal and business networks. 31
    • Tribe.net (early 2003) is a social network started in the SanFrancisco bay area. Tribe is similar to social networks likeFacebook and MySpace, but allows users to create their ownpersonal networks with other users; forming “tribes.” Anyonemay register as a new tribe user, and may then define their im-mediate network of friends, either by choosing from existingmembers or by inviting new members to join. Each of theseusers may in turn define their own network of friends.4LinkedIn (May2003) with over 100 million users representingover 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growingprofessional networking site that allows members to createbusiness contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients. In-dividuals have the ability to create their own professional profilethat can be viewed by others in their network, and also view theprofiles of their own contacts5.MySpace (August 2003) is one of the world’s largest socialnetworks, with about 125 million users. Originally inspired byFriendster, MySpace quickly grew to become the world’s larg-est social network, before being overtaken by Facebook. Userpages are highly customizable and support integration withwidgets such as Slide or YouTube. MySpace provides users witha way to connect around content and culture. Today is the lead-ing social entertainment destination powered by the passion offans. Music, movies, celebs, TV, and games made social6.SOCIAL NETWORK 2.2 2004 the boom Global Social Network Penetration schema 3 80% 70%% Active Online Users 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% s es g ia a K y So erm e a M d l g o ly C ge a ap a n a A ina Fr in nd A he K zi ea Po e si on an c si al ad i on ic n si pa in or Ita Si Ind l A US et U a ra an ne or la ra ay tr rla us H ex h Sp pp K an Ja B C us ve do al R ili ng h M G In Ph ut ba N lo G4 http://www.crunchbase.com/company/tribe5 http://www.crunchbase.com/company/linkedin6 http://www.crunchbase.com/company/myspace
    • “If we want to understand what motivates people to act in the way that they do, we need to understand that people live in networks. When we think of our customers, it’s easier to think about people in isolation, people as independent actors. But that doesn’t exist, people live in networks and those networks influence almost every aspect of their lives: what they do, where they go, what brands they prefer, what products they buy” P. Adams This is how Paul Adams, user experience designer at Facebook, previously at Google+, pictures our nowadays lives. How did we get this far? The first milestone was set in 2004, when Mark Zuckerberg together with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes started “The Facebook In fact Facebook, Twitter, and the new entry Google+ have changed and now dominate the recent Social Network scene; we are in the social network era: besides those three giants, every day many new social networks come out from scratches. If a year and a half ago, we might have thought that Facebook and/or Twitter would have crushed any remaining competitors and that would be the end of it, what’s happening is that other social networks, such as LinkedIn and Google were able to find unfilled niches, and we now have four different major social networks, each with its own specialty, but with major overlaps. The biggest point of overlap is in sharing news and other content online. Each site provides a mechanism for sharing the latest headlines with your friends and colleagues. Here’s a representation of the most adopted social networks. SOCIAL NETWORK ADAPTION CYCLE schema 4 In the innovators area we can place Friendfeed, which stopped innovating after its acquisition by Facebook; Foursquare, the most famous location based social network with 10 million users; and Google+ with its explosive adoption rate (20 million users in 3 weeks). In the early adoption stage we find professional social net- works like Viadeo and LinkedIn, or generalist ones like Orkut (owned by Google), VKontakte (leader in Russian territories), Bebo. Badoo is the only service specifically designed for dating purposes. MySpace, after reaching the early majority is now struggling for conquering a niche (it fell from 225 million users to 125 million because of several management mistakes and Facebook’s rise). RenRen, the most important Chinese real-name SNS, and Twit-33
    • ter were able to successfully cross the chasm and reach theearly majority. Meanwhile QZone, China’s largest nickname net-work built on the back of Tencent’s QQ Messenger, is enteringthe late majority area.In the laggards: Facebook, the social network that has con-quered the masses seems determined to hit the one billion usersmark.SOCIAL NETWORK 2.3 typologyCommonly the word typology is used improperly, as mean-ing: a classifications of specific and characterized categories,whereas if we go back to its Greek roots the word tupos meansfuzzy shape and logia means study; the real meaning of typologyis indeed “the study of the fuzzy shapes”. I think that in thisspecific case typology is exactly what I’m about to do; becauseof the quantity and common shared features of the existingsocial networks, it’s very hard to properly classify them. Let’s tryto categorize the most adopted ones, following two differentlogics. schema 5SOCIAL NETWORK COUNTRY REGISTERED USERS ADOPTION RATE facebook U.S.A 700.000.000 75% Qzone China 481.000.000 48% twitter U.S.A 200.000.000 20% ren ren China 170.000.000 17% Vkontakte Russia 135.000.000 14% mySpace U.S.A 125.000.000 13% badoo U.S.A 122.000.000 12% orkut U.S.A 120.000.000 12% linkedIn U.S.A 100.000.000 10& google+ U.S.A 20.000.000 2% U.S.A 1% foursquare 10.000.000Geography base classificationA geography based classification can be remarkable; in fact it’sinteresting to notice that all of the major social network areborn in California, U.S.A. This is not surprising: the SiliconValley is worldwide known for being an incubator of technol-
    • Russia The Netherlands 26.06m 6.30m 56% 45% 62% 42% 46% Canada 18% 11.72m P olan d UK J apan 54% 12.03m 19.27m 13.66m 43% 48% 44% 16% 26% 46% 40% 16% 28% 26% 8% Germany China 155.29m 18.81m 47% USA 47% 114.55m 53% 38% 34% South Korea 51% 32% 10.93m 51% 23% 20% Italy 12.66m 33% France35 15.92m 38% 11% 57% 49% Hong Kong 45% 36% 2.56m 28% 39% Philippines 56% 14.43m Mexico Spain 33% India 60% 10.10m 12.80m 35.08m 73% 47% 52% 50% 46% 45% 63% 64% 36% Malaysia 37% 49% 11.50m Indonesia 18.93m Brazil 54% 57% 33.49m 63% 66% 54% 41 % 52% 51% 34% Singapore 1.96m Australia 48% 7.05 m Global Map of Social Networking 2011 57% 50 % schema 6 32% 48 % 27 % Behaviour Types: active social networkers (mil) messagers and mailers content sharers joiners and creators of groups
    • ogy, innovation and creativity. But since this time the topic aresocial networks it’s meaningful to keep in mind that Facebook,Twitter and so on are an American culture based, and trying togo more and more global they are practically exporting a modelrooted into American values, such as individualism, entrepre-neurship, or simply freedom of speech.The country fighting for the pool with the United States isChina. China both in terms of population and of culture has agreat potential in the social network race. Mangas and video-games are born in Asia, in particular in China and Japan indeed.Even if they have almost the same functionality, Chinese andAmerican platform are deeply different.In fact the most important social networks in terms of numberof active members are: Facebook, Qzone, Twitter and Renren.User Experience based classificationAnother interesting classification can be adopted from B.Wirtz’s work7 “ 4C typology of business model” which clas-sifies business model according to how they create value. Ibelieve that today after the social network boom, social networkcan be considered an independent business model (we canidentify its operational and output system and they way it cre-ates value) and not just “a broad factor fundamental to the Web2.0” as B. Wirtz stated in 2010.Therefore we can divide them according to their mission andthe audience they’re trying to reach in:- Content-oriented: focused on the collection, selection,compilation and distribution of online content. Their valueproposition is to provide convenient, user-friendly online accessto various types of relevant content. Their interaction logic canbe one-to-many such as Vodafone Lab (usually are companiesdivisions); as well as many-to-many such as Wikipedia, Cargoc-ollective and slideshares.- Commerce-orientated: focused primarily on the initiation,negotiation, payment and delivery aspects of trade transactions;examples are eBay, and Tao Bao- Connection-oriented: the most popular ones nowadays, theyaim at providing the network infrastructure that enables users’participation in online networks, either on a physical intercon-nection level, or a virtual interconnection level. We can alsocall them “generalist” social network because of the generalistnature of their content, popular examples are Facebook, Twit-ter, Google+.7 Wirtz B.W., Schilke O., Ullrich S., 2010, Strategic Development of BusinessModels, implications of the Web 2.0 for creating value on the internet, LongRange Planning 43, Elsevier (pp 272 - 290)
    • 2 . A N A LY S I S37
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Three case studies – hypothesis Based on previous analyzed literature, business models can be interpreted as narratives, as “stories that explain how the enterprise works” (Magretta). The hypothesis of this analytical phase, which is consistent with the narrative business model interpretation, is firstly to test the relationship between business logic and business narrative in the social networks context, re- marking if the “reversed” meaning generation cycle takes place and the potential effects of it; ultimately observing if narra- tives generate new meanings and how those new meanings are integrated into the business logic. BUSINESS LOGIC BUSINESS NARRATIVE MARKET The unit of analysis selected is composed by three generalist social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Those are the most significant ones because of the richness of users and business narrative existing, and the trend setter position they are in today social environment. 39
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Three case studies – Methodology of Analysis“The message of any media or technology is its change of scale or pace”Marshall McLuhanI analyzed Facebook, Twitter and Google+ longitudinally, test-ing the interaction of business logic, business narrative, anduser narrative, and their refle ction on the platform evolution.Firstly I analyzed each social network, year by year on the fourdimensions (BL, BN, UN, platform) to confront them paral-leled and observe how one interact with the other, withdrawinga longitudinal picture at the end.In a second phase I confronted the three social networksgeneral pictures trying to draw communalities, possible patternsand proves of my hypothesisThe tools used were:- Business Logic: the building blocks visualization diagramfinalized by A. Osterwalder and Y. Pigneur1 , to understandhow changes in a part of the business model would affect thegeneral picture- Narrative: I divided the analysis of the narrative in threemain fields, in order: what users say, what the market says andwhat the company (social network) says, gathering both textand visual narratives- Honey Graph: ultimately I analyzed the effect of the busi-ness evolution from the user perspective adapting J. H. Kietz-mann work “ the seven functional blocks of social media”2Other variables taken into consideration were the evolution ofnumber of users and revenues.Data CollectionTextual and Visual narrative data were collected both directlyand indirectly. The main direct sources were the social networkscompany page, on the social network itself and in some caseson other social networks (Twitter has its own page on Face-book as well)Indirect sources examined were technology online magazinesuch as Techcrunch and Mashable as well as blogs and author-ized books. TV, web TV interviews, shows participations andofficial video released by Facebook, Twitter and Google+ havebeen used as references as well. (Oprah’s show is a must)1 Osterwalder A., Pigneur Y., 2010, Business Model Generation. A handbookfor visionaries, game changers, and challengers, Wiley2 Kietzmann J.H., Hermkens K., McCarthy I. P., Silvestre B. S., 2011, Social me-dia? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media,Business Horizons, Elsevier
    • ANALYSISTHE SEVENThe seven functional blocks of social media 3.1 FUNCTIONAL BLOCKS OF SOCIAL MEDIAAdopted from -Adopted from (Kietzmann J.H. et al.) (Kietzmann J.H. et al.)schema 7 extent to which users exchange, distribute, and receive content. There are two kind of sharing: one based onextent to which users objects of sociality extent to whichcommunicate with users have in common, users can formother users in a the other one consists communiteis andsocial media setting. in identifying new subcummunitiesBased on frequency objects that canand content of a mediate thier sharedconversation, interestsvelocity is the rateand direction of thechange in a conver-sation. The rate is thenumber of conversa- SHARINGtion and the directionis the continuity/discontinuity of theconversation CONVERSATION GROUPS USER IDENTITY extent to which users reveal their real identity in a social media RELATIONSHIP PRESENCE setting, can beextent to which users also related tocan be related to their location orother users, alias mood.they have some sort Often people tieof association that REPUTATION di erentleads them to share. identities to theDepending on how context of theusers are connected, di erent socialit determines the media platformswhat-and-how of extent to which users extent to which they useinformation can identify the users can knowexchange. standing of others. if other usersVariables of this are: Reputation can refer are accessible:-number of them both to people or where they are,-position in the their contents if status isnetwork, available,-kind of sources proximityinvolved-multiplexity,-strenght of relation-ship 41
    • f
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook - historyMark Zuckerberg wrote Facemash, the predecessor to Face-book, on October 28th 2003, while attending Harvard as asophomore. The site represented a Harvard University ver-sion of Hot or Not, and according to The Harvard Crimson,Facemash “used photos compiled from the online facebooksof nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time andasking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person”To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protectedareas of Harvard’s computer network, and copied the houses’private dormitory ID images. Harvard at that time did not havea student directory with photos and basic information, andFacemash attracted 450 visitors and 22,000 photo-views in itsfirst four hours online. That the initial site mirrored people’sphysical community—with their real identities—representedthe key aspects of what later became Facebook.The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers, but was shut down a few days later by the Harvardadministration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administrationwith breach of security, violating copyrights, and violatingindividual privacy, and faced expulsion. Ultimately, however, thecharges were dropped. Zuckerberg expanded on this initial pro-ject that semester by creating a social study tool ahead of an arthistory final, by uploading 500 Augustan images to a website,with one image per page along with a comment section. Heopened the site up to his classmates, and people started sharingtheir notes.In January 2004, he began writing code for a new website; hewas inspired, he said, by an editorial in The Harvard Crimsonabout the Facemash incident. On February 4th 2004, Zuck-erberg launched “Thefacebook”, originally located at theface-book.com.Just six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors,Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra,accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them intobelieving he would help them build a social network calledHarvardConnection.com, while he was instead using their ideasto build a competing product. The three complained to theHarvard Crimson, and the newspaper began an investigation.The three later filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg, subsequentlysettling.Membership was initially restricted to students of HarvardCollege, and within the first month, more than half theundergraduate population at Harvard was registered on theservice. Eduardo Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz(programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and ChrisHughes soon joined Zuckerberg to help promote the website.In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia,and Yale. This expansion continued when it opened as well toall other Ivy League schools and Boston University, New YorkUniversity, MIT, and gradually most universities in Canada andthe United States.Facebook incorporated in the summer of 2004 and the entre-preneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zucker-berg, became the company’s president.In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo
    • Alto, California. Facebook received its first investment laterthat month from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The companydropped The from its name after purchasing the domain namefacebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.Facebook launched a high school version in September 2005;but by invitation only. Later that year it expanded member-ship eligibility to employees of several companies, includingApple Inc. and Microsoft as well. On September 26th 2006,Facebook opened to everyone of ages 13 and older with a validemail address.In October 2007, Microsoft purchased a 1.6% share of Face-book for $240 million, giving Facebook a total implied valueof around $15 billion. Microsoft’s purchase included rights toplace international ads on Facebook.In October 2008, Facebook announced that it was to set up itsinternational headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.In September 2009, Facebook claimed that it had turned cashflow positive for the first time. In June 2010, an online market-place for trading private company stock reflected a valuation of$11.5 billion.Traffic to Facebook has increased steadily since 2009. Morepeople visited Facebook than Google.com for the week endingMarch 13th 2010.Facebook has also become the top social network across eightindividual markets in the region, Philippines, Australia, Indo-nesia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong andVietnam, while other brands commanded the top positions incertain markets, including Google-owned Orkut in India, Mixi.jp in Japan, CyWorld in South Korea and Yahoo!’s Wretch.cc inTaiwan.45
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Facebook – 2004Product EvolutionThe following parts were implemented:- personal profile- wall- universities networks- group application- possibility to “poke”- wirehog work in progressfBusiness Logicschema# schema 8 -implement the Network website co-creation -deal with server A place to Ivy league overloading collect info and Stanford -PR with about students and universities ourselves to sta be shared with our friends, -harvard email platform to -theface account host user book.com -opensource generated -personal referral software contents -wordofmouth -users behaviour datas hosting server ADV: colleges and local businesses banner and special promotion page
    • Textual Narrative A. Lester, The Crimson f “An element of wanting to belong, a dash of vanity and more than a little voyeurism probably go a long way in explaining most addictions (mine included). But most of all it’s about per- forming—striking a pose, as Madonna might put it, and letting the world know why we’re important individuals. In short, it’s what Harvard students do best.” “it’s a flirting tool” “it becomes users’ agenda” “it’s a tool to stalk people” f M.Zuckerberg “I’m pretty happy with the amount of people that have been to it so far,” he said. “The nature of the site is that each user’s experience improves if they can get their friends to join it.” Fb Homepage “Fb is an online directory that connects college students throughout social networks” “Thefacebook is now available to all Harvard students. You can use Thefacebook to: look for students in your major, find out who’s attending same classes as you, look for your friends’ friends, visualise your social network” Visual Narrativeimg. 1 47
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2005 Product Evolution The photo application is added. Facebook team is now focus on trying to provide a good and stable service to current users, while enlarging the user base; in fact opening Facebook to new universities implies more servers to support the data traffic and/or a better code. ff Business Logic changed from previous year schema 10 -deal with Network server co-creation overloading -PR with -Ivy league universities and Help people -hackaton Stanford understand organization students the and sta surrounding world -high school -schools email students -theface (37,000 account book.com -opensource schools) -personal referral software -wordofmouth -users behaviour datas -host: facebook.com -colleges and local businesses banner (200.000$) -sponsored groups -rent -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based] 49
    • Textual NarrativeNo User fI think that the Facebook is worse than pornography. It’s allabout sex, swearing and drinking. What kind of example is itsetting to college students who are supposed to be doing theirwork? Thanks to this nasty website, students now think thatyou gotta be drinking all the time to be cool.Chris Ma, Washington Post f“Mark is a psychologist, he had understood that what’s all aboutin college is to build one kind of social relationship and thattheir motivation is their interest for their friends’ lives: whatthey do, what they think, where they go. Few simple insightsbut very deep”Los Angeles Times“the website that fascinated all U.S. students”, “smart, superfi-cial or vulgar, the website won his users, most of them log inevery day”The Fb Effect“Fb encouraged mixing private and work life trying to be a verycool place to work”“Mark appeared very confident and calm, this was charismaticand irritating at the same time for the listener” fAaron Sitting“We didn’t want people to interact with Fb, but people to findother people to interact with via Fb”M. Zuckerberg at Stanford“To manage people and be the CEO of a company is very dif-ferent then be somebody room mate in college”M. Zuckerberg“We want to help people understand the surrounding wold”“I would like to highlight the importance of being young andcompetent”S. Parker“It needed to be a very fun place to work, a rock’n’roll place.”Fb Website“Facebook a Mark Zuckerberg company”
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook - 2006Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionThe more significant product implementations are:- Facebook Mobile debuts- the news feed stream- new event pages- working networks, now people working can register not juststudentsfBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 12 -deal with Network server co-creation overloading -hackaton -Interpublic organization Help people everybody <13 group understand with a verified -Chase credit the e-mail account card surrounding -Microsoft world -all email -www.face account book.com -opensource -personal software referral -users -wordofmouth behaviour datas -rent -colleges and local businesses banner -hosting servers -sponsored groups -employees -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based]
    • Textual Narrative 9,4mil of users hated the news section, 10%of all Fb users f group ”students against the news” was created by Ben Parr Students in universities started to organize public protests Status Update “switch this shit off ” (news section) “the new Fb make me feel like a stalker” Fb Group “This time FB passed the limit, few of us want to let every- body know what we do on our profile. News are scary and very stalker style, we want them out!” “Facebook users really think Facebook is becoming the Big Brother of the Internet, recording every single move” The day after in front of FB HQ there were plenty of TVf troupe. They had to hire bodyguards to let employees into the building Yahoo! wants to buy FB for 1billion Techcrunch It’s interesting because Facebook clearly gets the idea of an attention metastream, where page views aren’t the currency that matters but rather how effectively the service allows users to communicate. Facebook users will now have a much easier way of staying up to date on what their friends are up to. It may mean less page views for Facebook in the short run as users rarely have to leave their home/admin page to see what’s going on with friends, but if it makes users love Facebook more (is that possible?), it’ll pay off in the end. M. Zuckerberg f “The news section is not a new functionality but a fundamental product innovation” “Users need time to get used to changes” “Fb needs to get out of the college boundaries and become a public website everybody could use to keep in touch with friends” M. Zuckerberg, S. Parker, D. Moskovitz 53
    • “Fb has to be useful”C. Cox“All of those anti-news groups were the whitness that the newswere working and very effective. If the news wouldn’t havework out, it would have contradict Mark’s theory on why peo-ple like FB, and everything would have lost meaning”Ruchi Sanghvi“These features are not only different from anything we’ve hadon Facebook before, but they’re quite unlike anything you canfind on the web.”“FB gets a lifting!we activated two very cool new functionali-ties: news and mini-feed...”M. Zuckerberg on FB blog“Calm down, Breath, we hear you. We’re not oblivious of theFacebook groups popping up about this. And we agree, stalk-ing isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in yourfriends’ lives is. This is information people used to dig for ona daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so peoplecan learn about the people they care about. We’re going tocontinue to improve Facebook, and we want you to be part ofthat process. Test out the products and continue to provide usfeedback. Use your privacy settings so you can feel most com-fortable using the site.We hear you, and we appreciate the feedback.”“We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feedand Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream ofinformation about your social world. Instead, we did a bad jobof explaining what the new features were and an even worsejob of giving you control of them. I’d like to try to correctthose errors now.” schema 13 GROUPS CONVERSATION SHARING f USER IDENTITY RELATIONSHIP PRESENCE REPUTATION
    • Visual Narrative img. 4 Dimensioni foto:http://cgi.ebay.it/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=120764860404 55
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2007Product EvolutionProduct Evolution- Facebook becomes a platform, and eight hours after thelaunch there is already a great number of apps- Facebook releases iPhone optimized site- Facebook Ads launchfBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 14 -deal with Network server co-creation overloading -hackaton -Interpublic organization create a everybody group -code transition friendship <13 with a -Chase credit to platform network: verified e-mail card social graph account -Microsoft -indipendent -email account -www.face developers -opensource book.com software -personal -users referral behaviour datas -wordof- -Microsoft mouth hotmail -F8 -rent -self-service FB adv -hosting servers -Virtual gifts -employees -sponsored groups -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based]
    • Textual Narrative Userf “It’s just like living in a village, where it’s actually hard to lie because everybody knows the truth already,” f Techcrunch “F8 is a brilliant idea” Microsoft “Why dont’ you sell us FB for 15 billions?” Fortune “RIP Fb? the company is falling apart...Zuckerberg is like a child alone playing with matches in a wood house” L. Reichelt “Ambient intimacy” Fb typical dynamics that let people talk about themselves freely to frends and followers” Anil Dash Think of the web, of the Internet itself, as water. Proprietary platforms based on the web are ice cubes. They can, for a time, suspend themselves above the web at large. But over time, they only ever melt into the water. And maybe they make it better when they do. So how long does Facebook have before it melts into the Web? Press At the first f8, Facebook unveiled its platform. It was a sea change, which irrevocably put Facebook ahead of competi- tors technologically, and laid nails in the coffin of MySpace as a viable social network. Turning Facebook into a place where any developer could create applications for the community has super-charged the growth of the service ever since. It made possible the creation and growth of other giant companies like games collosus Zynga. Almost all of Zynga’s games operate on the Facebook platform. The High-tech world reacted very positive to F8. The F8 be- came together with the Apple i-phone one of the coolest digital event of the year The Fb Effect The platform gave FB a serious aura and changed the user experience, being of FB now seemed like being on the general web, it was becoming a self-sufficient ecosystem Serena Software Ad, J.Burton: he used Fb to motivates employees and reinforce the company culture, people feel more comfortable in sharing comments and thoughts on FB than in real life. it’s a more informal context Web2.0 Summit Canter asked Murdoch and DeWolfe (as he had asked Face- 57
    • book CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier in the day) whether theywould agree to create not just one-way APIs for developers tocreate apps inside MySpace, but two-way APIs so that they (andMySpace members themselves) could take those friend lists tocreate social applications outside of MySpace. He was saying,in effect, “Thanks for letting us in. Now tear down this (other)wall!”Social networks like MySpace and Facebook are happy to letother developers make their platforms better by creating appsfor inside their Websites. But their customer lock-in is the factthat only they understand the connections between you andeveryone on your friend list. Why would they give away theone thing that gives them competitive advantage and createscompounding network effects? This is the big knock againstFacebook. It’s a black hole. Everything can go in, but nothingcan come out. (It won’t even forward e-mails—you have tologin just to read messages from other Facebook members).In terms of attracting outside developers, the two big honeypots are big audiences and open platforms. If the Web is theplatform, then any barriers to moving data in or out of a Web-site (or Web-based application) will one day become a barrier togrowth rather than a barrier to entry.TechcrunchOne of the knocks against Facebook is that it is a somewhatclosed, proprietary platform. Here’s how the argument goes:The ultimate technology platform, in contrast, is the Web itself.It is open and ultimately will triumph over all other platforms,including Facebook. Any innovations that take hold in closedenvironments are quickly replicated on the open Web. At somepoint network effects take over, and the utility of those innova-tions on the Web supercede those on the original platform.M. Zuckerberg“Fb photos lacks of many functionalities, but it works the bestbecause it’s integrated with the social graph.The true FB valueis the friendship network, the social graph”“Fb is the most powerful distribution channel of our genera-tion and it can be applied to every kind of application”“We are a technology company, MySpace is a media company,their goal is to control and distribute contents”“FB excelence is the profile and contact network management:everything else will be outsourced to partners”“We built a directory people service”M. Zuckerberg at F8“We are starting a comunity togehter!”“We want a fair environment that doesn’t prefer our app toothers” fFb encouraged mixing private and work life trying to be a very
    • cool place to work Fb Website We can’t assure you that info shared on Fb won’t be public FB created first F8-developer conference Fb let developers a huge freedom of action, they didn’t have to pay anything and they could gain money out of their work. It even cut some photo functionalities to let developers use them M. Zuckerberg on Fb Blog “About a month ago, we released a new feature called Beacon to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web. We’ve made a lot of mistakes build- ing this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users. I’d like to discuss what we have learned and how we have im- proved Beacon. [...]On behalf of everyone working at Face- book, I want to thank you for your feedback on Beacon over the past several weeks and hope that this new privacy control addresses any remaining issues we’ve heard about from you.” Visual Narrativeimg. 5 59
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2008 Product Evolution Product Evolution - Facebook launch facebook connect: a new way to spread into the web, allowing other website to use the potential of the social graph - It’s now available in 35 languages. The translation process has been entirely crowdsourced, are in fact the native language speakers that took the responsability to translate it. It took four weeks to the 1500 Spanish speaker users to complete it, two weeks to the 2000 German speaker ones, and less than two days to the 4000 French users. Facebook people just had to insert in the code what users wrote. ff Business Logic changed from previous year schema 16 -deal with Network server co-creation overloading -hackaton organization connect -Interpublic -code transition everybody <13 friends and group to platform with a verified people with -Chase credit e-mail account same interests card through FB -Microsoft -email account platform and -indipendent -www.face -opensource the social developers book.com software graph -personal referral -users -wordofmouth behaviour datas -F8 -Microsoft hotmail -rent -self-service FB adv -hosting servers -Virtual gifts -employees -sponsored groups -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based] 61
    • Textual NarrativeUser f“Ambient intimacy becomes a way to “feel less alone”“Middle east users are often the more active and passionateones; since the repressive country they live in, people’s percep-tion is to live more online than offline, Fb can become a tool tolet people be themselves”Press“Since the News Feed revolt, people have changed how theyview privacy and friendships online and have embraced stream-ing their lives and struggles over platforms like Facebook andTwitter. fThis change in how we share our lives has had a profound ef-fect on how our friends, audience, and strangers see us and howwe see them. All of these social media platforms are designedto help us share our lives, our experiences, our thoughts, ourbeliefs, and our personalities in the digital realm.Our views on what should be shared, what shouldn’t be shared,and with whom we share our lives are what have changed themost” B. ParrPolitician“Obama election was the first election run on FB”N.ClemonsTechcrunch“the Frienfeedelization of FB”“The social networks themselves, and those of us who spend alot of time there, are still trying to work out the details on whatit means to be a friend with someone online. With friendshipcomes benefits – you get a stream of information about theperson, but it also has costs (you have to wade through a streamof information about the person, and they get access to yourintimate details).Facebook in particular has struggled with this. For a time theyreally just wanted users to be online friends with people theyalready know in the offline world. That messaging has subtlychanged more recently, though, to a less rigorous position.”Press“The second f8 was more a fine-tuning exercise—introducingnew ways to regulate and improve application quality. It alsowas when the company launched the concept of the “so-cial graph,” the network of connections between us and ourfriends, which along with your profile is the key informationunderlying the platform. But 2008 f8 was underwhelming, andthe platform boss who spearheaded it soon returned to Google,from whence he had come.”
    • The Fb Effect “Zuckerberg’s idea is consistently American, he assumes users’ behavior based on American values such as freedom of speech, trasparency, and all of those freedom typical in the United States” “Mark Zuckerberg before hiring S. Sandberg had many dinners with her, he wanted to get to know her deeply” “Zuckerberg priority is the improvement of the customer experience” M. Zuckerbergf “Facebook has always tried to push the envelope, and at times that means stretching people and getting them to be comfort- able with things they aren’t yet comfortable with. A lot of this is just social norms catching up with what technology is capable of.” “Ads need to be rich of content, they need to be engagement ads, a kind that engage users participation” “I’m very proud to say that i didn’t say a word,that’s what you hope for right? to find people that understand the company culture as deep as you don’t even need to say a word” “Technology is the easiest part, the hard one is to deal with people’s psychology” “I the future I don’t see small up working inside FB, but whole websites using FB datas to share more info” “the central value will be a greater tolerance.What I like about Fb is the focus on real people it help them become friends and build relationships and not just in their environment. That’s the meaning of globalization: be open to different people in more different environments than before” “2008 has been a year were we mostly focued on the user base, we’ve been growing faster and faster and internationally” A. D’Angelo “Fb has to follow changes into society to not become out- dated” J. Breyer “Mark is our long term AD, we look for somebody wanting to accept this” E. Beard “We strive to be a technology that people can use to be con- nected to things they care, wherever they are” 63
    • Fb PageFB can now select and filter appsGoogle helped people find what they want, FB would havehelped people decide what they wanted. adv needed to generatedemandTechcrunchFacebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said users are becoming moreand more comfortable sharing online. Sometimes (ok, often)Facebook is pushing the envelope when it comes to decidingon my behalf what is shareable and what isn’t. They’re placingaggressive bets on where this is all evolving. And sometimesthey lose the bets (but not always).Visual Narrative img. 8 img. 9 img. 10
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2009Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionThe new features are:- new homepage: with a pubblisher to improve the sharingexperience, and a live news stream- real time chat- “like” button- Facebook usernames launch.- facebook lite: lighter version for mobile- fb open stream api: to enable developers more and morefBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 18 -server Network monitoring co-creation -hackaton -Interpublic organization connect friends everybody <13 group -develop new and people with with a verified -Chase credit home same interests e-mail account card -develop FB lite through FB -Microsoft platform and -indipendent the social graph developers -email account -www.face -Nielsen -opensource book.com Homescan software -personal referral -Digital Sky -users behaviour -wordofmouth Technologies datas -NBC -Microsoft hotmail -rent -self-service FB adv -hosting servers -Virtual gifts -employees -sponsored groups - acquires FriendFeed (50mil$) -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based]
    • Textual Narrative J. James, Fb Partnerf “Fb has the biggest data databes ever. it’s the first time consum- ers said openly who they are and gave their placet to use their datas” Fb Investor “It’s too late a competitor can’t enter FB market; therefore when a threaten will come will be disruptive, right? Disruptive threatens come from the the base usually: they attack you from the back. Twitter is the kind of thing FB should pay a lot of attention to” Fluid Inc. “Its “Fluid Social” technology allows for retailers to offer a chat feature on their Websites that integrates shoppers’ Facebook Friends and Groups in order to enhance their online shopping experience. Here’s how it works. If you see an item you like while brows- ing a retail site, you can request feedback about a product from your friends by pushing information about the product (such as images from clothing, links to products, and movie clips) to your Facebook status update. Under the product image, you are given the option of clicking on a ‘Share on Facebook’ button and are prompted to add the given retailer’s Facebook applica- tion. Once added, you can rate the item and ask for feedback via a link back to the product that is published directly into your status update feed. Your friends’ comments or ratings on the status update can be seen directly on the product’s page on the retailer’s site and are updated in real-time. The app also lets you invite specific Fa- cebook friends to rate the product without publishing to your status update. Of course, throughout the shopping process, you must be logged into Facebook. Fluid’s technology also allows for real-time chat separate from Facebook. This feature lets you send an email to a friend inviting them to join you in a chat about a product. Once the invitee joins, you can openly chat with them via Facebook Chat on the product page of the site.” f J. Grimmelmann “there is a deep tension between the desire to control personal info and the desire to start random social interactions” D.Tapscott, writer “the social network is becoming a tool for social production” J.Cohen, writer “I call it digital democracy; Fb is one of the most effective tool to promote democracy ever existed” Scientist “Fb incourage political activism, be part of FB political group online ecourage political activism offline” 67
    • Writer“FB isn’t a tool to keep track of other websites news, it is a toolto create and generate news on FB”Journalist“I check FB more than twenty times a day, I believe Fb Newsare real news, I’m interested in a lot of them. I connected witha lot of younger journalists via Fb, it’s a sort of level-jumping”Consumerist Blog“The new Fb legal details: we can do whatever we want withyour contents, forever. Be sure to never upload something youcare and don’t want to loose rights on, because it will be Fb’s”J. Zittrain“In mid-February Facebook posted a set of what its manage-ment seems to have thought were minor changes to its termsof service – the kind of things that just wouldn’t matter to itsusers. Instead a privacy panic ensued, reinforcing larger worriesabout Facebook’s power. This encourages Facebook users notto simply view themselves as users but as … citizens. Citizensof Facebook.”Political Website“Fb is the perfect media for a controversial person like SarahPalin; it’s the perfect way to keep in touch, motivate the grass-roots and trick mainstream media”Wired, press“FB great wall. FB reprehesents for Google a big black hole intheir database research, everything that happens on FB serversstays there, and this hole will only rapidly grow”Statistics By Ponemon Institute:“Facebook: 10th reliable and trustful company in U.S.A.”“Often privacy issues are responsability of users not of thecompany; because of their personal policy in friending people”Competitor“People at Google began to worry that Facebook could evenleverage the information its users shared to create a people-centric version of search that in some cases could deliver moreuseful results than Google’s crown jewel of a search engine”M. Zuckerberg“towards a total transparency or “radical transparency”“All that happened proved that we are responsible towards us-ers. Now we have to honestly communicate with them, I believe fthis will help us be sincere”
    • “What we’re talking about today, is that there’s a philosophicalchange in that we want to converge these public figures (whichare one way) and friends (two way connections)”“With the new homepage, that will reflect a much faster flowof information” Facebook is trying to strike a balance betweenits traditional strength as a private communication system andthe increasingly public connections being made on the serviceas well.FB actions:FB site governance, page on Fb to discuss changes in policiesS.Parker“This is the biggest and most dangerous be that Fb has everdone and will ever do: till now the transition costs are veryhight but everybody has to pass and use FB, but if you free theflux of info to the public everybody has the possibility to evencreate a better client with FB datas”C. Cox“Facebook emphasized the importance of the activity streamalong with the social graph (which is the map of social connec-tions between members). The stream is what is happening. Wethink it is as core as the graph. The graph is the connections,the stream is what is happening.”Fb Blog“On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information.Our philosophy is that people own their information andcontrol who they share it with. When a person shares informa-tion on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a licenseto use that information so that we can show it to the otherpeople they’ve asked us to share it with. Without this license,we couldn’t help people share that information. About our newterms of use is whether Fb can use this information forever.When a person shares something like a message with a friend,two copies of that information are created—one in the person’ssent messages box and the other in their friend’s inbox. Evenif the person deactivates their account, their friend still has acopy of that message. We think this is the right way for fb towork, and it is consistent with how other services like emailwork. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to makethis more clear.In reality, we wouldn’t share your informationin a way you wouldn’t want. The trust you place in us as a safeplace to share information is the most important part of whatmakes fb work. Our goal is to build great products and to com-municate clearly to help people share more information in thistrusted environment.”“Now Connecting 250 Million People: from the beginning,Facebook hasn’t been about building a website. Facebook isabout all of the people using it and all of the things that are im-portant to you. The 250 million of you on Facebook today arewhat gives Facebook life and makes the site meaningful to eve-ryone using it, so we thank you. Each person who joins makesFacebook better by adding a presence to the site that friendsand family can connect with and feel closer to. For us, grow-69
    • ing to 250 million users isn’t just an impressive number; it is amark of how many personal connections all of you have made,and how far we at Facebook have to go to extend the power ofconnection to the billions of people around the world”M.Zuckerberg on Fb Blog“An Open Letter from Facebook Founder: It has been a greatyear for making the world more open and connected. Thanksto your help, more than 350 million people around the worldare using Facebook to share their lives online. [...]Thanks for being a part of making Facebook what it is today,and for helping to make the world more open and connecte”Visual Narrative img. 12
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2010Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionFacebook is now more and more refining its tool and integrat-ing them in a more organic user experience; following this logicthe main changes are:- Group messages- Facebook Places launches, privacy concerns grow.- it deleted regional and city networks, thinking more and morein a worldwide connection logicfBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 20 -server Network monitoring co-creation -Interpublic -hackaton Be a network everybody <13 group organization infrastructure, with a verified -Chase credit -develop API an always e-mail account card opengraph present -Microsoft software -indipendent based on a developers stable and real -Nielsen -email account time -www.face Homescan -opensource connection book.com -Digital Sky software among friends -personal referral Technologies -users behaviour -wordofmouth -NBC datas -F8 -Microsoft hotmail -rent -self-service FB adv -hosting servers -Virtual gifts -employees -sponsored groups -Acquisition of: Octazen Solutions, Divvyshot, -traditional banner adv, sold on a national ShareGrove, Chai Labs (10mil$), Nextstop basis [CPM and CPA based] (2.5mil$), drop.io, Zenbe
    • Textual Narrative S. Parkerf “In FB networks of people filters news and act like a decentral- ized filter of relevance” Not-User ”My generation is intolerably narcisist. When we go out there is always someone with a camera to take pictures to post on FB,to then spend hours checking their profile, any pictures they where tagged in” Time f “Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is a recognition of the power of individuals to shape our world. For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging informa- tion that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year. Russian Investor “FB connect is like a passport, your passport to promote yourself online. Before it was a government prerogative, now there is someone else issuing passports to people all around the world. It’s a form of competition, it’s clear. But who said only government can issue passports? This is the new world citizien- ship” John Battelle at Web2.0 Summit “Fb doesn’t ask for permission but for forgiveness” The Fb Effect “FB is rethinking on a broad level the personal privacy bounda- ries, towards a radical transparency. This is a cultural change” Fortune “FB is about digital reputation” Press “The f8 saw the smash hit introduction of what Facebook called the “open graph”—the extension of its platform across the Internet, so any Website could tap into Facebook’s viral and social features. This was a return to big-picture ambition and innovation. The most noticeable consequence has been the ubiquitous worldwide deployment of the “like” button and its relatives on websites of all sorts.” The Fb Effect “Companies struggle finding the proper use of FB at work, they have the same issues of individuals, finding the balance 73
    • among transparency, openess and privacy, that’s why most ofthem just prohibit it.”Google Manager“The internet was increasingly organized around people, urg-ing that Google dramatically expand its focus to create a hubof personalization and social activity. Singhal believed thatFacebook not only was ahead in that realm, but, worse, it wasbuilding an alternative internet with itself in the center.”BlogSince 2009, Facebook users have been able to “like” contentposted by their friends, a gesture that allows users to indicateapproval without writing a comment. This simple changelowered the barrier to entry for participation, and presumablyincreased social interaction across the platform. At the F8developer’s conference in April of 2010, Facebook announcedthat the “Like” button would now be available for 3rd partywebsites to install (and 50,000 sites did so within a week of theannouncement).S. Sandberg f“Mark truly believes in transparency and in the idea of an opensociety in an interconnected world and he wants to push peopletowards that direction; at the same time he understands that toreach that goal people need to be comfortable and to feel incharge. FB for his isa a mean to reach a goal”M.Zuckerberg“When there’s more openness, with everyone being able toexpress their opinion very quickly, more of the economy startsto operate like a gift economy. It puts the onus on companiesand organizations to be more good and more trustworthy.” Allthis transparency and sharing and giving has implications, in hisopinion, that go deep into society. “Its really changing the waythat government’s work,” he says. “A more transparent worldcreates a better-governed world. Any individual’s public expres-sion on Facebook is a sort of “gift” to others. That has differ-ent manifestations depending on what kind of expression it is.”“We can apply the Moore law to information in FB, within tenyears we’ll have a thousand time more info for each user, thisimplies that everybody will have a always connected and sharingdevice with them”“Our default is to build an open platform, everything we workon, like groups, locations, messages are really core parts, eitherdistribution channels. We view as foundational building blocksof the social graph. Anything that doesn’t have to be build byus, we would rather not be built by us. We are really decentral-ized, we not empower a really good enterpreneur to go build
    • his own company, give them the incentives to build a great company, and make they can integrate social dynamics into their product extremely deeply, build it around people and blow everything else out of the water” “our DNA is: move fast and be bold” Aaron Sitting “If we slowly become more and more public, with time we can reach a total ubiquity” M. Cohler “Within five years there will be no dinstinction between being logged in Fb or not being. Fb will be something always with you to help you communicate with others” The Fb Effect “Mark thinks the privacy concern is fading away, it’s a cultural change that pushes towards an information public stream a greater transparency will lead to a more tolerant society, able to accept that everybody sometimes does embarrassing things” Fb Refrain: Don’t be lame (vs Google: Don’t be evil) Techcrunch Zuckerberg fielded a question about the service’s privacy con- trols. He said that the ideal solution for sharing different things with different people is to make a friend list. “But guess what? Nobody wants to make lists,” Zuckerberg admitted Fb Blog “Bringing Your Friends to Bing: Search Now More Social Search is about finding information to help you make decisions. Every day, most of us make decisions with input from people we trust. I ask people I work with where to find the best coffee in town; I ask my parents whether I should buy a house; I talk to my friends about the best fall television shows. Today, we’re partnering with Bing to give you a way to bring your friends’ recommendations to online search. Your friends have liked lots of things all over the web, and now instead of stumbling across a new movie or having to look at a friend’s profile to see which restaurants they like, we’re bringing every- thing together in one place. When you search for something on Bing or in web results on Facebook (powered by Bing), you’ll be able to see your friends’ faces next to web pages they’ve liked. So, you can lean on friends to figure out the best websites for your search.”75
    • img. 17 77
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – 2011Product EvolutionProduct Evolution- a new private message concept: private messages are nowintegrated with the chat and, if activated, with text messages, toalways reach you wherever you are, on the device and way youselected- different levels of friendship: now you can only subscribe tousers feeds or friend him; when friending him there are differ-ent levels of friendship as well- time line: you can now turn your Facebook page into yourFacebook scrapbook- open graph: the platform even more connected to the rest ofthe world wide webfBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 22 -server Network -Interpublic monitoring Give power to co-creation everybody <13 group -hackaton the individual; with a verified -Chase credit organization giving people e-mail account card - develop the right tools -Microsoft timeline and to e ciently -indipendent opengrapy communicate, developers protocol where big -Nielsen corporations Homescan and -Digital Sky -email account governments -www.face Technologies -opensource have greater book.com -NBC software and greater -personal referral -Spotify+34 -users information -wordofmouth more behaviour datas and -F8 -Microsoft computational hotmail resources -rent -self-service FB adv -hosting servers -Virtual gifts -employees -sponsored groups -traditional banner adv, sold on a national basis [CPM and CPA based]
    • Textual Narrative Userf “The constant status updating has made me a happier person, a calmer person” because the process of, say, describing a horrid morning at work forces me to look at it objectively, it drags you out of your own head” S. Parker in an interview “What the recent integration with Facebook does for Spotify, he replies: “The obvious thing is it gives access to Facebook’s roughly 800 million users and it allows music to go massively viral. The social graph has always been a great promulgator of information. We didn’t see it as a network of profiles, we always saw it as a way to promulgate media. You saw this with videos from Youtube. But because of licensing issues there was no way to enable that same virality with music. Although Spotify got stage time at Facebook’s F8 conference, it launched with many other music services on the Facebook platform, including MOG and Rdio. “It would have been better if we had launched solo,” quips Parker, before pointing out that the terms of the partnership is no different for Spotify than for anyone else.” Blog By T. Anderson “On Facebook, nearly all of my “distant” friends and former co-workers are there. It’s the best way to keep in touch with them. But recently I’ve noticed that I get less and less response from my Facebook friends. I post something that used to generate some interaction, and now I receive almost nothing. I suspect that this has to do with the way the Facebook feed works. And I’ve done a few tests that seem to confirm my belief. For my own Facebook “consumption,” I choose the “Most Recent” Feed option. (For those unaware, it’s the way to see everything being posted to Facebook as opposed to what Facebook thinks you want to see.) I’ve also created some lists and filter my feed to see what certain groups of people are posting. (Yes, Facebook has friends lists, and yes you can share to that list and choose to see only what that list posts. Sounds like “Circles” doesn’t it?) The problem is that almost no one else on Facebook does this. And that’s why Facebook created groups and uses the “Top Posts” algorithm (the technical name for it is EdgeRank). Facebook has tried to find different ways to bring the information users want to them, because the “Cir- cles” concept when implemented at Facebook in 2008 (“Lists”) didn’t work. Facebook has assumed that users can’t handle the overload of information, and that EdgeRank is better than the “Most Recent” option. They’ve downplayed Lists, sorting and Newsfeed “preference” options more and more, so that most users don’t even know they exist.” f Steve Yegge, Google “Facebook is successful because they built an entire constel- lation of products by allowing other people to do the work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some people spend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their time on Farm- 79
    • ville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of differenthigh-quality time sinks available, so there’s something there foreveryone.”PressFacebook, meanwhile, is now more than just the world’s big-gest social network; it is the world’s most expansive enablerof human communication. It has changed the ways in whichwe interact (witness its new Timeline interface); it has rede-fined the way we share--personal info, pictures (more than 250million a day), and now news, music, TV, and movies. Withaccess to the “Likes” of more than 800 million people, CEOMark Zuckerberg has an unequaled trove of data on individualconsumer behavior that he can use to personalize both mediaand advertising.The Fb EffectFB is changing our idea of community, in terms of single areain the city and entire world. FB recreates the familiar environ-ment of a small town in the digital world. At the same time FBworld dimention and the quantity of users private datas forseesthe beginning of a new way of world connectivity, truly newfor societyBlogThe truth is that Facebook recently started using secret criteriato decide whether or not you’ll maintain this News Feedrelationship. If Facebook’s software doesn’t like your relation-ship, Facebook stops delivering News Feed messages withouttelling you. Those criteria probably involve the frequencywith which you message, chat, post, comment or interact witheach friend. In fairness, Facebook “edits” your News Feed toimprove the user experience. If you have hundreds of friendsand never chose to “Hide” any of them on your News Feed-- and if Facebook didn’t block any of the messages -- youprobably wouldn’t like your News Feed very much. You mightbe overwhelmed by both the quantity and the irrelevance of themessages pouring in.Facebook has no doubt learned that the general public (andwhen you have nearly 600 million users, you are in fact dealingwith the most general of publics) is more likely to stop usingFacebook than endure the suffering of a News Feed that func-tions as a fire hose of relationship spam.Most people don’t care enough to learn about the settings,or change them. Still, Facebook deserves credit for trying tosolve the problem of social information overload in a way thatrequires no skill or initiative on the part of the user.It’s a hard problem to solve, and Facebook’s solution isn’tperfect. And it’s probably better than doing nothing and simplyallowing people to hate Facebook. What’s bad about Facebook’sapproach is that it leaves users in the dark. Users think they’reconnected to people to people via News Feeds when in factFacebook has already cut that connection.Many users believe the ability to maintain casual friendships viathe News Feed is the main benefit of Facebook.And it’s true: We don’t need Facebook to maintain relationshipswith our closest friends and family. What Facebook is really
    • good at is maintaining not-so-close relationships via the News Feed -- or, at least it used to be before Facebook started ending those relationships. The ugly reality is that, although Facebook might claim to be responding to your social activity, they are changing it. Facebook actually shapes and directs the evolution of your social life without telling you. C. Coxf “We’re talking about the next iteration of the open graph, giv- ing the like button a much deeper set of semantics so develop- ers can help users share a much greater set of social actions.” These capabilities will have the most obvious value in music, games, and video, both conventional TV and Net video. With music, for example, you can just see what I’m listening to right now and join in.” P. Thiel “The biggest difference between google and Fb is that Google thinks at the end of this globalization process the world will be focused on computer: they’ll do everything. The most impor- tant thing for them is to organize information about the wolrd. FB model is radically different. I think human beings need to be in charge and ownership of technology to accomplish an equal globalization. Our economic, political and cultural value come from the assumption that the most important thing are people” M. Zuckerberg “fb lives between technology and social issue, our development consider that amour of people wanting to share will increase more and more every year we take the next step of this curve together, fb and developer” B. Taylor Already, 350 million of its 800 million monthly active users are on mobile devices, and that number is just going to get bigger. “Fundamentally we view it as a really big shift for our company, as fundamental as the shift from desktop apps to the Internet, companies really need to redefine themselves in this world of devices rather than browsers on people’s laptops. A few years from now, most every single person at Facebook who works there is going to be working on mobile almost exclusively.” Press by Fb “F8 2011 is about extending and enhancing the open graph. It makes the Facebook platform a place for real-time human interaction. It aims to become the place where you collaborate, communicate, and play with your friends onlinefrequency with which you message, chat, post, comment or interact with each friend.” 81
    • Techcrunch“Project Spartan is the codename for a new platform Facebookis on verge of launching. It’s entirely HTML5-based and theaim is to reach some 100 million users in a key place: mobile.More specifically, the initial target is both surprising and awe-some: mobile Safari.Yes, Facebook is about to launch a mobile platform aimedsquarely at working on the iPhone (and iPad). But it won’t bedistributed through the App Store as a native application, it willbe entirely HTML5-based and work in Safari. Why? Because it’sthe one area of the device that Facebook will be able to control(or mostly control).Facebook will never admit this, but those familiar with theproject believe the intention is very clear: to use Apple’s owndevices against them to break the stranglehold they have onmobile app distribution. With nearly 700 million users, Face-book is certainly in the position to challenge the almighty AppStore distribution mechanism. But they need to be able to do soon Apple’s devices which make up a key chunk of the market.the real goal is to get people using Facebook as the distributionmodel for games and other apps, not the App Store (or anyother distribution hub).Visual Narrative img. 18
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – Conclusion: layout evolutionimg. 21 2004 2005 2006 2007
    • 2008200920102011 85
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – Conclusion block changed from previous yearLAUNCH IN UNIVERSITIES OPEN IN HIGH SCHOOL OPEN REG + NEWS PLATFORM + FB ADS 17/11/11 11:54 PM “An element of wanting to “College is all about build- “Fb is becoming a big “Fb is like an ice-cube belong, it’s about perform- ing relationships, the inter- brother of internet re- that will melt into the ing, striking a pose” est is in your friends lives” cording any single move” web” img. 1 img. 3 img. 4 img. 7 Dimensioni foto: 800 750 700 650millions of users 600 http://cgi.ebay.it/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=120764860404 Page 1 of 1 550 500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50millions $ $ $ $ $
    • FB CONNECT LIKE+OPEN STREAM API FB PLACES TIMELINE + OPEN GRAPH“Fb is a tool to let people “Radical transparency” “Fb connect is like a pass- “Fb is changing the ideabe themselves” “It represents Google big port to promote yourself of community in terms of“An innovative campaign” whole” online, new citiezenship” single are and the world”img. 8 img. 12 img. 17 img. 22 275 $ 777 $ 1983 $ 4000 $ 87
    • ANALYSIS 3.1 Facebook – Conclusion: highlightsThere is no doubt: Mark Zuckerberg is not only an impressivepsychologist and visionary and but also a great strategist; hislong term vision gave Facebook the potential to beat all of thepotential competitors, such as Friendfeed and MySpace. He’spersonality greatly affected the evolution of the business, some-times “not asking permission, but forgiveness”; but his visionis so well rooted into the understanding of the social graphdynamic, that he can push the limit and prove ex post, he wasright in doing so, such as in the News Feed case.Analyzing the business narrative throughout the years MarkZuckerberg presence is constant, Mark represent the incarna-tion of the company, and he’s considered a sort of role modelboth from a business narrative perspective and from a users’narrative one.Evidences are: (2005) “ a Mark Zuckerberg’s company” (pg48),“Mark is a psychologist, he had understood that what’s all aboutin college is to build one kind of social relationship and thattheir motivation is their interest for their friends’ lives: whatthey do, what they think, where they go. Few simple insightsbut very deep”(pg.48) “I would like to highlight the importanceof being young and competent” (auto referential) (pg. 48),(2007) “we are starting a community together” (pg.56) thereare even more recent evidences (2010) “Mark truly believes intransparency and in the idea of an open society in an intercon-nected world and he wants to push people towards that direc-tion; at the same time he understands that to reach that goalpeople need to be comfortable and to feel in charge. FB for hisis a mean to reach a goal” (pg 72)Besides the fact that it’s always Mark writing on the Facebookblog and explaining issues in first person. (pp. 45, 52, 57, 61,68,72), and not mentioning that he was “Time person of theyear” in 2010.Mark is surely a very important narrative of Facebook, even hisvisual dress code is a powerful meaning generator: he’s alwaysworn a t-shirt a sweater and a pair of training shoes, indeed ithad been meaningful in 2009 when he decided to wear a tie forthe whole year, symbolic of a crucial and serious year.If we analyze the evolution of users narrative we can see asignificant change of what we can call the “trust issue”. Until2006 when Facebook opened its doors to everybody there werestill a lot of users looking at Facebook as just a college place,or a place to be aware of in terms of privacy issues “I thinkthat the Facebook is worse than pornography. It’s all aboutsex, swearing and drinking. What kind of example is it settingto college students who are supposed to be doing their work?Thanks to this nasty website, students now think that you gottabe drinking all the time to be cool.” (pg. 48), “the website thatfascinated all U.S. students”, “smart, superficial or vulgar, thewebsite won his users, most of them log in every day” (pg. 48).This trust issue culminated in protests for the launch of thenews feed in 2006; news feed in fact thrust deep changes intopeople way of communicate: they flipped the process upsidedown, it wasn’t users sending a message anymore, but FBautomatically spreading the info around their friends. Users justhave to post something on their own personal profile page andin few minutes it would, be on friends’ news feed; it was a way
    • to be in touch with many people at the same time with a small effort, but people didn’t trust Facebook enough for accepting this move. They thought that Facebook passed the limit and it was becoming like the big brother (references pp. 51) The big change in users narrative is in 2007, year that coincides with the launch of the new FB platform. “The platform gave FB a serious aura and changed the user experience, being of FB now seemed like being on the general web, it was becoming a self-sufficient ecosystem” (pp.55). From this point on there is a real shift in narratives, users starts talking about a village atmosphere and about “ambient intima- cy” (pp.55, 60), and “they changed how they view privacy and friendships online and have embraced streaming their lives and struggles over platforms like Facebook and Twitter.” (pp. 60). 2008 is another turning point, people trust Facebook that much that even politicians start using it trying to shape a transparent and “real” narrative of themselves, “Obama election was the first election run on FB” (pp.60); in 2009 the platform is ranked as “10th reliable and trustful company in U.S.A.” (pp.66) and people talk about their Facebook identity as a passport for the web (pp. 71) today users acknowledge that Facebook shaped and changed their idea of community foreseeing an area of world connectivity (pp.78); people has interiorized Facebook in its routine, they completely trust it and rely on it. Parallel to this users’ narrative “trust issue” on the business narrative side we can trace an “openness trend”; in early years, 2004, 2005 and 2006 this trend is evident by the strategy to open the platform to a broader and broader audience, which culminates in 2007 with the metamorphosis of the social network into a platform. From 2007 Facebook starts defining itself as a “powerful distribution channel” (pp.56), as websites using FB datas to share more info in 2008 (pp 61), about “total transparency” in 2009 (pp.66). In 2009 Fb declare that they focused on the user base till that moment, but from now on will be focusing on sharing; this is the year in fact that mark a turning point in terms of users, Facebook passes from 150million users at the beginning of 2009 to 500million at the end of the year. It is actually now that it has the potential, in terms of user base and trust as I high- lighted before, to impose an openness trend to the world. In 2010 the so called in 2008 “social graph” which is the network of relationship core of Facebook, becomes the “open graph”, and Mark starts talking about gift economy and benefits of “when there’s more openness, with everyone being able to express their opinion very quickly, more of the economy starts to operate like a gift economy. It puts the onus on companies and organizations to be more good and more trustworthy.” All this transparency and sharing and giving has implications, in his opinion, that go deep into society. “Its really changing the way that government’s work,” he says. “A more transparent world creates a better-governed world” (pp.72) Facebook is aiming to ubiquitiy (pp.73) The honey-graph tool used to analyze the key strategic blocks with a user focus, shows this ubiquity tendency very clearly: from 2004 when the social network was based on the block “user identity” together with conversation and relationships,89
    • with reputation as consequence; each year another block istackled and integrated into the graph as new meaning generatorpart. Today all blocks are part of Fb strategy making it a plat-form that resemble a lot for a user to the experience the have inthe world wide web.From those analyzed tendencies and patterns into users andbusiness narrative I can individuate 2007 as peak year, in whichuser narrative and business one join together and affect first theproduct, than the business logic: Facebook becomes a platform,drastically changing its meaning as a tool as well as a meaningcreator tool. In fact from now on, users can craft and shape theproduct themselves developing apps for it.Future ScenariosWhat’s next? Analysing recent user narratives there is a cur-rent pattern: Facebook as a e-government first evidences is aninvestor quote “FB connect is like a passport, your passport topromote yourself online. Before it was a government preroga-tive, now there is someone else issuing passports to people allaround the world. It’s a form of competition, it’s clear. Butwho said only government can issue passports? This is the newworld citizenship” (pp.71), then the platform was compared inmany interview at a country, the third in the world in terms ofpopulation, even the newspaper Time highlighted electing Markman of the year: “The way we connect with one another andwith the institutions in our lives is evolving. There is an erosionof trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the sametime, perhaps, a greater faith in one another.” (pp.71). I findthis scenario a bit scary personally, I have an hard time think-ing about myself take a flight just showing my phone numberconnected with my Facebook account and in that way pass thecheck; but again Facebook so far overcame boundaries no othercompany in the passed had ever managed to.For sure it’s striving for being omnipresent moving towards themobile market, a very promising one in terms of numbers ofusers already using the service through their phone (pp.79).
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter - what is it?If there is no need to explain what Facebook is, I think, basedon the user narrative collected, that it’s worth explaining what istwitter and how it works in few words.Here is how a user described it in 2006:“Twttr has married Short Code Messaging, SMS with a way tocreate social groups. By sending a text message to a short code(for TWTTR) you can send your location information, yourmood information or whatever and share it with people whoare on your social-mob! Best part – no installation necessary!”Twitter is a real-time information network that connects usersto the latest information about what they find interesting. Us-ing 140 character SMS updates, Twitter allows users to keep intouch with friends and family in real-time. Users have their ownprofile page that displays their latest updates and can “follow”other Twitter users to get a continual flow of updated “tweets”.Twitter status updates can be updated on Twitter.com, viainstant messenger, and via various third party applications.Twitter has received over $1 billion in funding from KleinerPerkins Caufield & Byers, Charles River Ventures, Union SquareVentures, Spark Capital, and Benchmark Capital among others.
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter - history Twitter’s origins lie in a “daylong brainstorming session” that was held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. While sitting in a park on a children’s slide and eating Mexican food, Jack Dorsey introduced the idea of an individual using an SMS service to communicate with a small group. The original project code name for the service was twttr, inspired by Flickr and the five character length of American SMS short codes. The developers initially considered “10958” as a short code, but later changed it to “40404” for “ease of use and memorability.” Work on the project started on March 21st 2006, when Dorsey published the first Twitter message at 9:50 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST): “just setting up my twttr.” We came across the word “twitter,” and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And that’s exactly what the product was. —Jack Dorsey The first Twitter prototype was used as an internal service for Odeo employees and the full version was introduced publicly on July 15th 2006. In October 2006, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Dorsey, and other members of Odeo formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo and all of its assets–including Odeo.com and Twitter. com–from the investors and shareholders. Twitter spun off into its own company in April 2007. The tipping point for Twitter’s popularity was the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. During the event Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000. “The Twit- ter people cleverly placed two 60-inch plasma screens in the conference hallways, exclusively streaming Twitter messages,” remarked Newsweek’s Steven Levy. “Hundreds of conference- goers kept tabs on each other via constant twitters. Panelists and speakers mentioned the service, and the bloggers in at- tendance touted it.” Reaction at the festival was highly posi- tive. Blogger Scott Beale said that Twitter “absolutely rul[ed]” SXSW. Social software researcher Danah Boyd said Twitter “own[ed]” the festival. Twitter staff received the festival’s Web Award prize with the remark “we’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. And we just did!” Previous Twitter logo, used until September 14th 2010. In August 2010, the company appointed Adam Bain as Presi- dent of Revenue from News Corp. Fox Audience Network. On September 14th 2010, Twitter launched a redesigned site including a new logo. On October 4th 2010, Evan Williams announced that he was stepping down as CEO. Dick Costolo, formerly COO of Twit- ter, took over Williams’ position. Williams will stay with the company and “be completely focused on product strategy.” 93
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2006Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionAt launch the service is very basic, because thought for mobileand it is composed by:- stream of tweet- basic profileBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 24 -manage user -NEtwork registration -co-creation Odeo -create help people everybody platform and communicate with a mobile code for with all of phone and/or mobile their friends an internet all at once, no connection matter where they are -mobile phones -SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS -twitter blog -word of mouth -platform development -SMS -server hosting
    • Textual Narrative Early Adopter “The annoying SMS messages from nocturnal friends is not the only thing which bothers me about this service, but also the fact, that the texting a message(reply) to twttr ends up on their website. Best thing is to allow users to create micro groups, and give users the options of picking topics and setting rules to maintain privacy and control over the service. If Glass can do that, well, it be pretty awesome” Potential Users “The dumbest thing ever! Who would want all their personal text messages on a public website for anyone to read and track?” “I do not understand the utility of adding the SMS messages to a public webpage or making messages from my network public. I would have to pass on that type of offering. The ability to make messages private should be added asap.” “I do not want to be woken up at 4 a.m. because my friend got drunk and decided to text Twttr with “asdl im at barasdf sooo drunksalkfjs”…i find it interesting such an annoying feature is supposedly causing viral growth…i’m done developing social software if the key to success is to be intrusive” “So is it pronounced twitter or twatter?” @billg “I ran across Om’s blog post, was working on some wristwatch technology that was a perfect fit for the 140 character messages and so leapt at the chance to try it out” @neha “I learned about twitter very early because I worked at Google when the Blogger guys did ... I absolutely adore new social technologies and pretty much sign up for everything, so I signed up for twitter. Also, Ev and Biz are interesting guys, and are fun to follow! ... during the first few years it had that select- community feel -- like Orkut when Google first launched it, or FriendFeed. The people on the site were friends of friends of the creators, and so it was a very SF-centric tech community. It was very interesting to hear what these people had to say! High signal to noise ratio” Techcrunch “Odeo released a new service today called Twttr, which is a sort of “group send” SMS application. Each person controls their own network of friends. When any of them send a text message to “40404,” all of his or her friends see the message via sms. This launched officially today, and a few select insiders were playing with the service at the Valleyschwag party in San95
    • Francisco last night.People are using it to send messages like “Cleaning my apart-ment” and “Hungry”. You can also add friends via textmessage, nudge friends, etc. It really a social network aroundtext messaging – and is very similar to another service calledDodgeball.Users can also post and view messages on the Twttr website,turn off text messages from certain people, turn off messagesaltogether, etc. There is also a status widget available that can beplaced on a website.I like the service although I was not able to sign up for itmyself (someone added me at the same time I tried to registerdirectly, the result was lockout of my phone number). I’ve beenplaying around with someone else’s account until I can figureout how to get my number sorted out.There is also a privacy issue with Twttr. Every user has a publicpage that shows all of their messages. Messages from that per-son’s extended network are also public. I imagine most users arenot going to want to have all of their Twttr messages publishedon a public website.If this was a new startup, a one or two person shop, I’d give it athumbs up for innovation and good execution on a simple butviral idea.But the fact that this is coming from Odeo makes me wonder– what is this company doing to make their core offering com-pelling? How do their shareholders feel about side projects likeTwttr when their primary product line is, besides the excellentdesign, a total snoozer?”Om Malik, bloggerDodgeball is so New York! In Silicon Valley, its all Twttr!Twttr is a new mobile social networking application written byNoah Glass (and team), an Odeo-guy, a long time compadre ofBlogger founder Ev Williams. (Twttr is a side project.) It is nota very complicated application – and which is what makes it soaddictive and at the same time annoying.Twttr has married Short Code Messaging, SMS with a way tocreate social groups. By sending a text message to a short code(for TWTTR) you can send your location information, yourmood information or whatever and share it with people whoare on your social-mob! Best part – no installation necessary!Jason Goldman, Blogger product manager calls is presencetense blogging. (Pyra, the company behind Blogger that Evstarted did not start doing blogging software. A mutation ofOdeo in the near future?) Glass, says that it started off as aconversation between him and Jack Dorsey, “in a car parkedon Valencia and 14 in san francisco” after a night of Vodkadrinking!While I was smoking/talking outside the Zoomr/Valleyschwagparty last night, I was introduced to Glass by Nitin Borwankar,a good pal of mine. “It’s presence+real world status over textmessaging,” he said. Glass added me to his group, and now mydamn Nokia E61 is twttring all the time. Ross Mayfield invitedme to his group, and we are off to the races. Who else is on this.. not saying. It is spreading like a virus, and it is very viral.The annoying SMS messages from nocturnal friends is not theonly thing which bothers me about this service, but also the
    • fact, that the texting a message(reply) to twttr ends up on their website. Best thing is to allow users to create micro groups, and give users the options of picking topics and setting rules to maintain privacy and control over the service. If Glass can do that, well, it be pretty awesome. “Then it can also be adapted for keeping distributed teams in sync,” says Nitin, who is one sharp cookie., “Unlike, IM, text is lightweight, ubiquitous and viral.” Also, no smart phones required! (PS: You can put it on your Live Journal, MySpace page and blog as well!) Evan Williams Today Odeo released a new product/service/website we call “twitter” (but we spell, Twttr -- ya know, for efficiency). It’s a 20% project, if you will, that we—esp. Noah, Jack, and Florian—have been working on on the side for a couple months. It has nothing to do with audio or podcasting, but we think it’s kinda neat. Biz describes it better than I will, but the gist is it’s a mobile/ web social, lightweight/real-time/”present-tense” blogging tool, with the primary interface being through SMS. If you don’t happen to look at the world as just different incarnations of blogging, than think of it as a way to keep in touch with friends throughout the day. Get a little buzz in your pocket, find out your buddy is “working from home, back door’s open, sunshine and breeze flowin’ in...” or “Sitting in Montreal W scheming about IETF BOF.” We’re still figuring it out, so go sign up and invite all your friends to help us do so. P.S. - You’re going to want to bump up to the unlimited txting plan. P.P.S. - Those outside the U.S. may not be able to use the mo- bile part—we’re working on that. (The joys of developing for a network without neutrality.) Jack Dorsey “just setting up my twttr”97
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2007 Product Evolution Product Evolution Finally they implemented the following features: - search engine lunched - gmail import feature - explore launched - tweets trackingBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 26 -search -NEtwork algoritms -co-creation -The -tweet help people everybody Iconfactory tracking communicate with a mobile -App -deal with with all of phone and/or developers continuos their friends an internet -gmail break down all at once, no connection (google) matter where -Stamen they are Design team -Motorola -mobile phones -SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS -twitter blog -word of mouth -server hosting -SMS 99
    • Textual NarrativeInvestor“Twitter has made it nearly impossible to find friends onTwitter. That’s a very big shortcoming of an inherently socialservice. It sort of makes me wonder how Twitter got any usersat all.” According to Wilson the new feature overcomes thatproblem and that he “just tried it out and it worked great forme.”Web2.0summit“Already, smaller, more forward-thinking startups like Twitterand Twine are embracing two-way APIs where the data you putinto the service can be freely taken out.”Techcrunch“Buried at the bottom of a Guardian article is mention thatTwitter is looking at developing “branded channels” wherecompanies can connect with Twitter users via their own corpo-rate Twitter page. Twitter’s Ev Williams is quoted as saying thisis an alternative to “attaching advertising to a personal com-munications channel” which would suggest that Twitter isn’tfocusing on footer ads, but the screenshot above would seem tosuggest otherwise.”“We just got word from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that thecompany will be launching a real time search feature “verysoon.” Type in a keyword or keywords and any time a Twitter iscreated that includes those keywords, you’ll be notified via IMor SMS. They’ll add the the ability to access this via their API inthe near future, Dorsey says.The feature hasn’t launched yet, and we’re unsure on some ofthe details. For example, I’m not sure if you can limit results tojust people you are tracking, or if you can get results via RSSor email instead of or in addition to SMS and IM. Either way,Twitter is clearly adding features and functionality at a quickpace, which is good to see. Hopefully, the worst of the down-time is behind us, too.”Evan Williams“That limitation (140 characters) is very interesting and presentsa new set of opportunities,” says Williams. “We’ve had peo-ple reporting Nascar race results as they happen. It’s exciting,because we don’t know what else people will build or how theywill use it.”“Rather than attach advertising to a personal communicationchannel,” says Williams, “we want to make it a benefit so thatthere are people or entities you want to follow. We think thosethings have potential, so as the userbase grows we’ll flesh outwhich of those things work and the business model and rev-
    • enue will fit in.” Ed Williams via The Guardians “One of the biggest problems with Twitter, its founders admit, is explaining what it is. Ev Williams can’t persuade his mum to use it, but engineer Jack Dorsey, who came up with the idea, has somehow persuaded his whole family to sign up. In explaining it to my mum, I’d describe it as group text mes- saging. You can also send messages online for free, so it ends up being a bit like an instant messaging tool. At this point my mum’s eyes would glaze over and she’d start talking about din- ner.” “It’s certainly taken on a life of its own,” Williams told me, chatting at a coffee shop in the start-up district of South Park in San Francisco. “It’s still early of course, but Twitter is grow- ing nicely and it’s fascinating to see what people are doing with it. To me Twitter is the perfect idea; it has core functionality that can be extended.” Twitter has been unfairly dismissed by some journalists, perhaps because, as “celebrity programmer” Dave Winer observed, they had only visited the home page and didn’t understand how it worked.” “It’s not a complex idea, but the tool is in its infancy and needs to be nurtured before it develops as a functional, personal tool. Users need a critical mass of friends, and then the real conver- sations begin. Landing on the homepage with its thousands of random, out of context messages from strangers will mean nothing, but its dedicated users share ideas, ask questions, suggest meetings and post useful links and stories. And once you’re there, you’re hooked. Tweets, as they have come to be known, might seem to be filled with mundane observations, but these later become rather charming details of our day-to-day lives that would otherwise be lost. “Every moment has a cap- tion” is the Twitter mantra, and this has come to be known as micro-blogging, a “capsule of your life in 140 characters” says Williams.” Visual NarrativeImg. 25 101
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2008 Product Evolution Product Evolution Twitter hasn’t updated its design much at all since Fall 2006. In- stead, it lets third-parties developers build new and better ways for users to interact. New features: - tweetree - customizable profile layout designBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 28 -launch -NEtwork twitter Japan -co-creation -deal with Odeo continuos everybody help people with a mobile break down know what’s phone and/or going on in an internet the world connection -mobile phones -SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS -twitter blog -word of mouth -buy Values of n and Summize -SMS 103
    • Textual NarrativeUser“Twitter I’m told is still an acquired taste, but I’m finding moreand more that I pick up breaking stories first on Twitter. Twit-ter is only as good as the network you link in to; so it can be abit hard (or barren) at first. The key is to give it time, and addfriends”Erick Schonfeld“I need less data, not more data. I need to know what is impor-tant, and I don’t have time to sift through thousands of Tweetsand Friendfeed messages and blog posts and emails and IMs aday to find the five things that I really need to know...”Techcrunch“It’s trivially easy to do a brand search on Tweetscan and createa feed for any new postings. Whether you join in the conversa-tion directly or reach out to aggrieved customers is up to you.But Twitter is the place where conversations are exploding wellbefore they even make it to mainstream blogs. With the infor-mation just sitting there, it’s surprising that more brands aren’twatching the tweetosphere”“One of the big complaints about Twitter is that conversationsare hard to follow. Users can write a response to a Twitter mes-sage (or anything else), but the easy way to do this is to add an@[username] tag to the Twitter, which refers back to the origi-nal Twitter user. But by then that original user has often movedon to other subjects, and it becomes impossible to follow theconversation.The fact is that Twitter purposefully doesn’t want users to beable to track conversations. The content begins and ends with adiscreet Twitter message, up to 140 characters long. CompetitorFriendfeed does a nice job of tracking conversations by lettingusers reply to actual messages, not just users. Twitter, for what-ever reason (possibly to keep things simple), just doesn’t wantthat. And until they do, nothing is going to change.”User“If you are the kind of person who can’t help but look whenyou drive by an accident scene, DMFail is for you. The site,which has been all the rage on Twitter for the last few days,shows direct (private) messages that were sent improperly onTwitter and are therefore public.If you want to send another Twitter user a message that onlyshe or he sees, you type [D + username + message]. But a lotof people accidentally type DM (for Direct Message) insteadof D, and when that happens you pay the price of having yourmessage pop into your Twitter stream for everyone to see. DM-Fail grabs all those messages and reprints them on its site foreveryone to see, which can be quite a horrible experience forthe people involved. Thus the accident scene analogy. It wouldbe fairly trivial for Twitter to change things so that DM alsosends a private message, but so far they haven’t. On average, acouple of messages per hour over all of Twitter end up hittingDMFail.Direct messages on Twitter don’t seem to be all that secure in
    • general. They’re available to third parties through the API, for example, and there has been at least one case where confusion led to making some direct messages public.” Google Email “Users can sign-in or join a friend connected website using their Google, Yahoo, AIM, or OpenID credentials. The Twitter integration occurs after a user has already signed in, at which point he can (as you mentioned) choose to link his Twitter profile to his Friend Connect profile, see which of the people he follows have joined the same site, and “tweet” back to his followers by clicking “invite” and then clicking “share.”” Techcrunch “Twitter, at least for those who use it heavily is changing the way we communicate online. The social networking aspect is creating new relationships, whilst the always on nature means that you often hear about big news stories first on Twitter. TechCrunch France editor Ouriel Ohayon like a growing num- ber of people loves Twitter, but he is (well, I thought initially) fairly unique because has more than one Twitter account. Ouriel decided to run a small poll to see if others had more than one account. Although a small sample size, he was far from alone. According to his poll, the majority of Twitter users (53%) have more than one Twitter account. Being naturally skeptical I didn’t believe him, so I polled some people on Twitter directly. I was wrong. Around half of those people who responded said that they had more than one Twitter account, with many having three or more. There were various reasons given for the additional accounts. Some had additional accounts for their businesses, ones where they may post items exclusively business related for those who are inter- ested. These accounts also included automated accounts as well, for example an account that pulls data from an RSS feed. Most mainstream Twitter clients don’t support multiple accounts so these Twitter users were accessing their additional accounts via the web page. I’m still not completely convinced that the majority of Twitter users would have more than one account, but certainly it would appear to be a growing trend. I’m also not about to go and sign up for additional accounts quite yet either, one Twitter account is hard enough to manage as it is, although I can see some of the benefits.” “On Twitter Anyone can follow anyone and watch what they’re up to, but you are under no pressure to reciprocate. The problem with this approach is that there is still a lot of social pressure to follow people back.” “Twitter is emerging as a major force in breaking news. But some people disagree. Today we saw yet another illustration, when people in Mumbai got the word of terrorist attacks out to the world well before mainstream media even knew something was happening.105
    • Mathew Ingram points out previous examples of Twitter usersbreaking important world news.If I didn’t hear about something important happening bywatching my Twitter stream, it’s the first place I go to get anidea of what’s going on. Years ago I would have turned to thecable news channels, now it’s Twitter. Sure, lots of Twitter mes-sages are flat out wrong and can spread disinformation. But asIngram notes in his blog post, other people tend to immediatelycorrect those errors. Bad information is quickly drowned out bygood information.”Press“You can jump up and down and shout all you want that Twit-ter isn’t a real news source. But all you are doing is viewing theworld through a reality lens that’s way outdated. People wantinformation fast and raw from people who are on the scene.If it gets a little messy along the way, that’s ok. We’ll soon seetools that help us distill the really good stuff out of the streamanyway.”“What matters isn’t any individual Twitter message and whetherit’s right or wrong. It’s the organism as a whole, the aggregate,that lets people stream what they’re witnessing in real time tothe world. That aggregate stream gives us more information,faster, than anything before. It’s news, and it’s incredibly valu-able.”Evan Williams“Twitter’s strongest revenue potential would come fromcharging for commercial use by brands. But it’s clear that thecompany will experiment with a number of different potentialstreams”Interview To Evan WilliamsWe had to do some thinking about that to raise a bunch ofmoney, but it’s not actively in development right now. Thebroad strokes on the matter are obviously Twitter is being usedfor a lot of commercial purposes right now, in addition to so-cial purposes. We think that works pretty well. We think there’sa lot of companies that we’ve talked to that seem to be gettinga lot of value out of it. If that continues, if that becomes a richworld for users and the companies, we think we can extractsome revenue from that”Techcrunch“Twitter says in an email, they’ll change the way private mes-sages are sent so that you can use either [D + username + mes-sage] OR [DM + username + message].It’s a subtle feature change, but one that will avoid embarrass-ment for people who’ve accidentally made their private mes-sages public.”
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2009Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionThey coded and officialized tools users were already using, aslong as polished the user experience, releasing those features:- Search all done on the page without any reloads. + Searchcrawls the links that people tweet out and indexing them, be-coming a smaller, potentially curated, real-time search engine- trending topics- reply feature @- hashtag hyperlink- verified accounts- retweet api- location feature- list feature released- spanish, french, italian german versionBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 30 -deal with -NEtwork continuos -co-creation break down Odeo -embedded everybody help people with a mobile #, @ into the know what’s phone and/or code going on in an internet the world connection -mobile phones - SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS - twitter blog - word of mouth -buy Mixer labs (geo-location) -SMS - firehose (microsoft, google, yahoo) - first forms of advertising - selling followers (CPA)
    • Textual Narrative Social Media Week “Twitter is the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways” Nestle Commercial “233,000 people just Twittered on Twitter. 26% of you viewing this have no idea what that means” as a few dozen 3D blue Twitter birds fly around.” Fred Wilson, Investor “The value of Twitter is “all about links. Twitter [and Face- book] will surpass Google [as a source of traffic] for many websites in the next year.” Marissa Mayer, Google “Given this new type of information and its value to search, we are very excited to announce that we have reached an agree- ment with Twitter to include their updates in our search results. We believe that our search results and user experience will greatly benefit from the inclusion of this up-to-the-minute data, and we look forward to having a product that showcases how tweets can make search better in the coming months. That way, the next time you search for something that can be aided by a real-time observation, say, snow conditions at your favorite ski resort, you’ll find tweets from other users who are there and sharing the latest and greatest information.” No User “Tweets have no value, It’s incomplete, It replaces nothing and adds nothing, News breaks alike on the followed and the unfol- lowed and It’s pure vanity” Techcrunch “I am an avid Twitter user, and I see its value and potential growing every day. We all do here at TechCrunch. We see an ecosystem of developers swarming around the Twitter API like moths around a flame, and the quality of applications that come out of that ecosystem is limited only by their creators’ imagination (well not really, but you get the point). We receive e-mails in our tips inbox and profile submissions almost daily about Twitter related tools, and most of the time we take a mental note but don’t write about them. But sometimes some- thing resonates with us and we want to share that with you. Point is, Twitter has grown into far more than just a messaging or status updating service, and anyone who really uses it or de- velops for it knows that. It’s where news gets broken and what more and more celebrities openly turn to to start getting social with the community. It’s an almost perfect crowdsourced Q&A tool. It’s a place where companies can do business while people can choose to engage only with their peers instead. It triggers and support the organization of worldwide charity events (e.g. today’s Twestival). Basically, it’s as social as social networking services can get. And it’s still growing like a weed, too.”109
    • Protests Moldova“Twitter has long-been been a popular platform for breakingnews, but this adds a new twist to the powerful capabilities ofthe micro-blogging service. The protests no doubt would havehappened anyway and it is not clear how may of the actualprotesters in Moldova are on Twitter. But it seems to be help-ing both as a coordinating tool and as a way to disseminateinformation about the events that are unfolding to the rest ofthe world.”John Borthwick, Investor“What if you could peer into the thoughts of millions of peo-ple as they were thinking those thoughts or shortly thereafter?And what if all of these thoughts were immediately availablein a database that could be mined easily to tell you what peopleboth individually and in aggregate are thinking right now aboutany imaginable subject or event? Well, then you’d have a differ-ent kind of search engine altogether. A real-time search engine.what’s-happening-right-now search engine.In fact, the crude beginnings of this “now” search enginealready exists. It is called Twitter, and it is a big reason whynew investors poured another $35 million into the two-year-oldstartup on Friday. . . . For thoughts and events that are happen-ing right now, searching Twitter increasingly brings up betterresults than searching Google.”Techcrunch“No big surprises there, as this is often cited as one of the mostobvious moves Twitter could make to start generating revenue,although many are expecting more from the startup who hasbecome notorious for its lack of an apparent business modeleven after nearly 3 years of existence. Stone also said they willnot start charging individual users, and that the move could“create revenue-generating features to tap into the way brandsuse Twitter as a hybrid marketing and customer-service tool.”“The most interesting thing about Twitter, of course, is thenumber and quality of both web-based and desktop applica-tions that make use of Twitter’s API and growing user base tocreate a better user experience or make it even more useful byadding features. So it’s a shame to see Twitter itself feature only12 out of hundreds of tools.”“Now that Twitter has achieved a certain stability and clarity inits rate-limiting strategy, the next phase will focus on identifyingand rationalizing its trusted partners. The fundamental valueproposition of track – the filtering of micromessages basedon a combination of identity and conversational context – cannow be achieved in FriendFeed with greater fidelity and, soon,realtime alert mechanisms that allow more personalized andaffinity-powered flow regulation. The result: time-efficientinformation at the center of the user experience.Over time, Twitter’s huge audience size and mainstream media
    • acceptance will become less significant, forcing Twitter to name its price for its unique value even as it is watered down by more flexible tools and micro-community adoption of its competi- tors. Regardless of the anger in the community, which clearly has been discounted as a small minority in Twitter’s game plan, the clarity of Twitter’s rate limiting and brute force approach in managing its developer community now stand in sharp contrast to FriendFeed’s approach” Onstar in Press “If you have OnStar in your car, you may soon be able to send and receive hands-free Tweets through OnStar’s voice-activated calling system. Andru Edwards at Gear Live discovered the po- tential feature. Your voice messages will be converted into text and sent to all of your Twitter followers. (Don’t worry if the translation is not perfect, everyone will think you are just using Twitter’s abbreviated style). It is not clear, however, whether or not the system tells you if you are over the 140-character limit. I can just see it now. Instead of listening to the radio, people will start listening to everyone they are following on Twitter (your Twitter stream can be read to you by the OnStar system). Then you are lost, and instead of using teh OnStar GPS, you ask your followers for directions. And they each give you a dif- ferent way to go.” “Simply put, we write about Twitter so often because right now, it matters. From news organizations to movie stars, from earthquakes to fires, from Facebook to Google — everyone seems to be talking about, to or with Twitter. In an era of mass communication, it is the latest medium. And it’s fundamentally changing the ways in which people interact with others using the web. What you may view as a stupidly simple service with no real point, I view as one of the few inspirational products in bleak times. I would argue that Twitter works so well precisely because it’s so simple. It fools some people with its “What are you doing?” question that resides at the top of the page, but Twitter can pretty much be about whatever you want it to be about. That’s why it’s an absolutely brilliant platform for so many new start- ups to build on top of. And those startups are really the key. They’re what are keeping Twitter so hot right now. Every day, something new launches on top of Twitter; some get coverage, some don’t. Some are silly, some are smart, some might actually work. But overall, the level of activity around the platform is amazing.” “Twitter’s biggest trump card here is the real-time factor. It’s not entirely real-time right now, and there are often delays, but it’s faster than Google — mainly thanks to the nature of tweets (fast to send) versus the nature of webpages (slow to build). And so it’s not yet clear how indexing these linked pages would impact that aspect of Twitter Search. You’d have to assume it would slow it down, but really there’s not much point in assum- ing anything because it’s not yet really clear how Twitter would use this webpage data in search results.”111
    • Compete Analyst“Twitter is poised to explode once again this month and willlikely finish up over 30 million UVs for this month. If thathappens they will double their March numbers and jump from#72 in our ranking into the Top 20,” That comes just a monthafter it already more than doubled its unique views (at least inthe US) last month.David Sacks“While there are many new features that Twitter could launch,the most powerful are likely to be based on behaviors that usershave invented themselves.That’s exactly what happened with @replies. Users started ad-dressing each other by their @usernames. Twitter noticed andofficially supported the feature. As a result, Twitter is on its wayto becoming the discussion board for the web.There is one other user convention with that kind of potential:Retweet.The ability to retweet retweets is critical because it means thatmessages could spread throughout the twittersphere friction-lessly. I believe this would make Twitter the leading way thatmemes spread in our culture.Twitter could accelerate this phenomenon by surfacing analyticsabout the most retweeted messages, allowing users to see theideas (and links) that are spreading fastest throughout the worldor in their local networks.”Evan Williams“Twitter is not a social network but an information networkthat tells people what they care about”“We are putting a lot of our effort into mobile, internationaland the platform”“Yeah, I think we should support images and video better thanwe do today, it does not mean we should host them, maybeviewing inline. I don’t want to get into competition with You-tube. Twitter is lubricant for Web content”“About a business model, Twitter will be experimenting withdifferent approaches, but that for now it is still a “secondary”concern to building out the service. One thing Twitter won’tdo: allow people to go beyond 140 characters”Biz Stone“We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individu-als following them. We can identify ways to make this experi-ence even more valuable and charge for commercial accounts.However, it’s important to note that whatever we come upwith, Twitter will remain free to use by everyone—individu-als, companies, celebrities, etc. What we’re thinking about isadding value in places where we are already seeing traction, notimposing fees on existing services. We are still very early in the
    • idea stage and we don’t have anything to share just yet despite a recent surge in speculation. When we do, we’ll be sure to let you know.” “Searching over Twitter messages is like a filter for what is happening right now—it’s an interesting look into the real-time thoughts of people and organizations around the world” “Every public update sent to Twitter from anywhere in the world 24/7 can be instantly indexed and made discoverable via our newly launched real-time search.” And he goes on, “With this newly launched feature, Twitter has become something un- expectedly important—a discovery engine for finding out what is happening right now.” “First, from what Stone wrote, it sounds like Twitter hopes this will be the first of many shows built around the service. That’s interesting because it’s an extension of Twitter’s goal to be a powerful new platform. It already is one on the web, but that’s now expanding into different mediums, like television. And that’s notable because you don’t see many other startups — or even big web companies — make that jump.“Twitter’s open approach might have the power to transform television—the dominant communications receiver worldwide” “We are still sketching out exactly how this feature and its API counterpart works. Sharing our thoughts before launching means developers will have the opportunity to prepare their ap- plications. In a few weeks or so we’ll launch the feature on our web site and because app developers had a chance to prepare, it should become available across most of the Twitter ecosystem about the same time. This way, we can all enjoy retweeting— however we choose to access Twitter.” Platform Changed “The question asked users for status updates changed from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?”” Twitter Blog This morning we discovered 33 Twitter accounts had been “hacked” including prominent Twitter-ers like Rick Sanchez and Barack Obama (who has not been Twittering since becom- ing the president elect due to transition issues). We immediately locked down the accounts and investigated the issue. Rick, Barack, and others are now back in control of their accounts. What Happened? The issue with these 33 accounts is different from the Phishing scam aimed at Twitter users this weekend. These accounts were compromised by an individual who hacked into some of the tools our support team uses to help people do things like edit the email address associated with their Twitter account when they can’t remember or get stuck. We considered this a very se- rious breach of security and immediately took the support tools offline. We’ll put them back only when they’re safe and secure.” “It’s business time!”” Twitter receives a crushing amount of partnership opportunities on a regular basis—it’s a good113
    • problem to have yet until now there has been nobody on staffdedicated solely to business development. Things are chang-ing. We hired Kevin Thau as our Director of Mobile BusinessDevelopment late last month. Although his title includes theword “mobile” Kevin is digging in on several fronts since he’sour first official business development guru.For now, Kevin is assessing all opportunities, picking up ongo-ing threads, and also actively working on our mobile busi-ness strategy. If you send email to our partner address or tokevin (at) twitter.com then you will be corresponding with theintrepid Mr. Thau. Kevin joins us from Buzzwire and was atOpenwave introducing the world to the mobile web at the verybeginning. At Openwave, Kevin worked with carriers, devicemanufacturers, and content providers to develop an ecosystemintegral to today’s global wireless data business.Twitter knows it, too. They’re going to build their businessmodel on it. Forget small time payments from users for proaccounts and other features, all they have to do is keep growingthe base and gather more and more of those emotional grunts.In aggregate it’s extremely valuable. And as Google has shown,search is vastly monetizable – somewhere around 40% of allonline advertising revenue goes to ads on search listings today.”“Vodafone UK has signed an agreement with Twitter allowingcustomers to send and receive SMS updates at no additionalcost. Sending tweets from your mobile will be part of yournormal text messaging bundle with Vodafone—there will be noextra fees. In fact, for the first few weeks, sending tweets won’teven effect your bundle. Receiving tweets via SMS on yourmobile is totally free. Vodafone loves Twitter!”“Every public update sent to Twitter from anywhere in theworld 24/7 can be instantly indexed and made discoverablevia our newly launched real-time search. What was that loudnoise outside your apartment? Did you just feel an earthquake?What do people think about your company, your product, oryour city? With this newly launched feature, Twitter has becomesomething unexpectedly important—a discovery engine forfinding out what is happening right now.Searching Outside the BoxTwitter teaches us new and amazing things every day and a biglesson learned is that search is so much more than a box and abutton. As public tweets fly in from around the globe, we ana-lyze them to detect when certain words or phrases occur withhigher frequency. These trending phrases are surfaced in theTwitter home page just under the new search box and they’reupdated throughout the day. Built on our search technology,trends are a compelling if rudimentary way to explore a collec-tive global consciousness.A Simple ApproachAccessing Twitter.com is a simple experience—you sign inand read the updates from the accounts you have chosen tofollow. If you’ve been using Twitter for a while, you’ve prob-ably curated an interesting collection of updates from friends,family, co-workers, businesses, media organizations, and maybeeven a favorite celebrity. With the addition of search, you canask Twitter to build you a fresh timeline of updates based on a
    • keyword or phrase. It’s a whole new experience with a familiar look and feel. Saving Your Searches If you find yourself searching for the same word or phrase on a regular basis, then you’ll probably like using “save this search” which, when clicked, will place those keywords as links into your home page just under the search box. This gives you one-click access to your favorite searches. To remove the saved search links, click the word again and notice the new option to, “Remove this saved search.” We’ve also added an option to collapse your list of saved searches as well as the icons of the accounts you are following for a cleaner view.” “We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option. Confused? That’s understandable and exactly why we made the update.” “Twitter Search is meant to be a different kind of powerful search engine in its own right. A smaller, potentially curated, real-time search engine. Twitter is also looking at ways to better tailor search results. As I mentioned, right now the results are a very basic collection of tweets with key terms. Jayaram says that the company wants to add some sort of reputation filtering to offer better results.” “Impersonation violates Twitter’s Terms of Service and we take the issue seriously. We suspend, delete, or transfer control of accounts known to be impersonation. When alerted, we took action in this regard on behalf of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. We do recognize an opportunity to improve Twitter user experience and clear up confusion beyond simply removing impersonation accounts once alerted. We’ll be experimenting with a beta preview of what we’re calling Verified Accounts this summer. The experiment will begin with public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well known individ- uals at risk of impersonation. We hope to verify more accounts in the future but due to the resources required, verification will begin only with a small set. Please note that this doesn’t mean accounts without a verification seal are fake—the vast major- ity of Twitter accounts are not impersonators. Another way to determine authenticity is to check the official web site of the person for a link back to their Twitter account.” Twitter Developers “Sign in with Twitter” is the pattern of authentication that allows users to connect their Twitter account with third-party services in as little as one click. It utilizes OAuth and although the flow is very similar, the authorization URL and workflow differs slightly as described below.115
    • Visual Narrative Img. 30 Img. 31 Img. 32
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2010Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionNew features released:- twitter connect: it now allows sites to authenticate users, pulldata and then publish back to Twitter, All of these features ex-ist today via the Twitter API, but the slick Facebook Connect-like packaging and easy-to-use widgets don’t exist yet- new and cleaner website layout- implemented a short profile page- “who to follow” section- promoted tweet section- android app developped- Iphone app released- “you both follow” feature- inline photos and videos embeddedBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 32 -deal with -NEtwork continuos -co-creation break down Odeo -development everybody help people with a mobile of android know what’s phone and/or app going on in an internet the world connection -mobile phones -SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS -twitter blog -word of mouth -buy Cloudhopper (SMS) Fluther, -SMS Smallthought Systems, Dabble DB, -firehose (microsoft, google, yahoo) Atebits, -promoted suite of products (Trends, Tweets, and Promoted Accounts))
    • Textual Narrative Zap Trade on Techcrunch “Zecco says it plans to use the Promoted Tweets platform to share investment-focused resources, as well as real-time intel- ligence from the ZeccoShare community, such as “most traded” alerts to make investors aware of new opportunities. Last April, Zecco announced Zap Trade, a plug-in trading ex- perience for the web, enabling investors to place trades directly from top finance and investing websites. StockTwits, a Twitter- powered financial community, partnered with Zecco to embed the technology into the StockTwits website to allow investors to place trades with Zecco Trading and get real-time quotes directly through the website.” Mashable “By now, everyone has heard about Twitter’s move into the paid advertising world. This week’s announcement that companies will be allowed to pay to have their posts lead search results on the popular social media platform launched hundreds of news items and more than 1,000 blog posts per hour (according to Google Blog Search) in the immediate aftermath of Biz Stone’s communiqué to the Twittersphere.To my colleagues in the com- munications world now examining the new Twitter paradigm, caution should seem to be the word of the day. Unfortunately I fear many will very likely miss the meaning of Twitter’s matura- tion entirely. As The Wall Street Journal noted on the day of the announcement, “The new feature could appeal to the mil- lions of businesses who have created accounts on the service to share deals and other corporate updates. Today, those brands must get users to follow them to get out their message. Now, they will be able to push their message to users who search any keyword they buy.” Techcrunch “I’ve written before that I think location is the bridge between social networks and actual social life. But why do we even need that bridge? Why are so many startups content to build on top of the Facebook or Twitter social graph, when a lot of them can access your actual social graph in your mobile contact book? We’re seeing more and more apps go “mobile first, web second” these days, and that’s likely to increase going forward. This means that they start as services on mobile devices. So again I ask, why not just get to your actual social graph through your contacts there? It seems that companies like Apple and Google are sitting on a treasure trove of actual social data with these contact lists. Calls, texts, emails, it’s all right there. Google obviously has tried (and failed) to build a social graph through your email contacts before — but they went about it wrong, and they did so on the desktop. Mobile is the key to this.”119
    • Biz Stone“Twitter is a real time information network that you use to findout what’s happening in the world about everything you careabout wheather it’s about the coffee shop down the street orsome news breaking down the middle east”“The metaphor we often use is that of a flock of birds mov-ing around an object and fly, something that looks amazinglycoreographed and complex but the mechanics of it are verysimple, it’s rudimentary communication among individuals, thatallowed them to behave almost as they were an organism; andtwitter gives people that ability, and that’s something we had Idon’t think before twitter. It allows us to move together as oneand what we can accomplish when we can do that? A lot”“As we have always said, we plan to test different advertisingand promotional models in these early stages of our moneti-zation efforts for both user and brand value. As part of thiseffort, we are testing trends clearly marked as “promoted” foran undefined period of time”Evan Williams“It’s through this device that is not part of one body, but isalways closed to one’s body you get information about what’shappening around you, what’s happening in the world, youchoose and you tune into, and it gives you the ability to makebetter choices, and see around corners”Jack Dorsey“You always have to go back to the question, ‘Is exiting theright thing for the product? There were many times in ourhistory when, technology-wise, we weren’t up to snuff and wecould have used more infrastructure. We could have used theresources of a Google or a Facebook or a Yahoo! But until youfeel like you’ve completed some aspects of the vision, it justdoesn’t make sense to hand it over. If you have that idea andyou’ve more or less seen the end of it, and now you’re just rack-ing your brain trying to figure out how to push it any further,the product might be better off in the hands of someone else,because you’ve done what you can. That’s basically what itcomes down to for me. Are you done? If you are, then exit. Ifyou’re not, keep going for it.”Robin Sloan“Twitter is the new EPG,” he proclaimed.We’ve been talking about ‘interactive TV’ for 20 years, waitingfor the magic box or platform to finally emerge. But maybeTwitter is actually the platform for interactive TV? It’s simple,increasingly ubiquitous, works on any platform… and every-body’s already using it to talk about TV.”Sloan also provided examples of media brands using Twitter tomoderate the TV experience, separating Twitter integration intothree categories.-Synchronous show tweeting-Social viewing-New kinds of conte nt
    • Twitter Blog Over the last eight months we have been working with a startup called Cloudhopper to become one of the highest volume SMS programs in the world—Twitter processes close to a billion SMS tweets per month and that number is growing around the world from Indonesia to Australia, the UK, the US, and beyond. To help us further grow and scale our SMS service, we are hap- py to announce the acquisition of Cloudhopper, a messaging infrastructure company that enables Twitter to connect directly to mobile carrier networks in countries all over the planet. Techcrunch Twitter has been hitting the advertising beat full force, with COO Dick Costolo at the IAB Conference in New York about to launch “Promoted Accounts” which will insert the accounts of brands and other services next to normal users in Twitter’s “Who To Follow” feature, which recently replaced an old Twit- ter mainstay, the “Suggested Users” list. “Promoted Accounts” will be joining “Promoted Tweets” (which serves up tweets against Twitter search) and “Promoted Trends” (which includes sponsored trends in “Trending Top- ics”) as part of Twitter’s triumvirate advertising initiative. Dick Costolo Twitter will soon be able to serve country-specific advertising through its Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends products (Promoted Accounts wasn’t mentioned although I suspect it could be part of the initiative too) in a couple of months. In addition, the company intends to “start thinking about where to set up offices and place people around the world” after that roll-out is complete. Despite its high usage numbers around the world, Twitter still only boasts one office, in San Francisco (where it is looking for a bigger boat as its growth accelerates). Evan Williams via Tweets - Twitter is working on a way to show entire back-and-forth conversations in the right-pane on New Twitter. Currently, they only show one tweet that a tweet is replying to. - Many of the New Twitter ideas will find their way into the various mobile interfaces. - I agree that the new URL structure for Twitter isn’t pretty, but it’s needed to keep things fast. - There are no plans for a way to make individual tweets private on a case-by-case basis. - Twitter is thinking about an option to put DMs and @replies in the main timeline. - There will eventually be a DM alert of some sort on the site to show you when you have a new message. - Twitter.com will eventually use the User Streams API (real time updates). - The Settings page will soon get an update to look like the rest of New Twitter. - There are no plans to ever put any time of media in the tweet stream itself. - Twitter may experiment with live-updating feeds instead of121
    • having the new tweet alert.- There won’t be a Twitter movie — unless it’s an animatedmusical.- “Also followed by” and “You both follow” are coming back.Twitter is figuring out how to re-implement them.Twitter is trying to think of a way to make it easier to see whohas retweeted you.- I like that the right pane is the same size as the stream I actu-ally want it wider.- Twitter plans to keep on changing things up regularly — thisredesign is not the end.- I would like to see more stats for users on the front-end.- Twitter is thinking about allowing users to change the color ofthe black top bar in New Twitter.- New Twitter decodes all shortened links.- Retweeting with comments is not coming.- A new Tweetie for Mac is not coming anytime soon.- The Fail Whale exists on New Twitter, but they’re workinghard to keep him out of the waters.- Twitter not currently working on a profile picture cropper.- Animated avatars will not be allowed. Twitter finds them“distracting”.- New Twitter will have Posterous support in the right panesoon.- Tumblr and img.ly might be getting support soon as well. -Twitter is working to add “many more” media providers.- The ability to shorten a link on twitter.com is being workedon right now.- Twitter is thinking about a “mute” button to block users tem-porarily (like Brizzly has).Visual Narrative Img. 35
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – 2011Product EvolutionProduct EvolutionNew feature released:- new app for mac- korean version- twitter stories- twitter translateBusiness Logic changed from previous year schema 34 -write a -NEtwork better and -co-creation lighter code Odeo everybody help people with a mobile know what’s phone and/or going on in an internet the world connection -mobile phones -SMS -platform -www.twitter.com -SMS -twitter blog -word of mouth -buy Julpan, Bagcheck, BackType, -SMS AdGrok, and TweetDeck -firehose (microsoft, google, yahoo) -promoted suite of products (Trends, Tweets, and Promoted Accounts))
    • Textual Narrative TWEET “Why do people take #Twitter so serious #Idk its just a social network remember that” “Today is our @twitter birthday. 3 years of travel advice, news, and convos with you! Thx to all of our wonderful followers! #cnt #twitter” “Why everybody give advise on #Twitter but can’t even use it yourself #reallythough” User “I realize that the value in it for me, basicaly, is that I’m building a community. And this community is not just a small commu- nity because it’s all interlinked. So the great part is the conversa- tion, we’re having a conversation. That’s what everyone says. But in addition to that, it’s not jsut my conversation. It’s open for the world. And it can be linked around. And I think that helps with building your group.” User “Selfishly, I only will follow somebody that is going to enlighten me. And so somebody like [xxx] if he wasn’t so good I would definitely unfollow him (because he tweets frequently). In fact, the best people I follow are the people that maybe tweet four or five times a day but you know as soon as they show up they’re tweeting something of great relevance and impact. I try to filter asll the potential people I ccan follow, I try to say “What am I going to learn from them? What can they do to make my life easier?” and as long as there’s a good answer to one or both of those then I follow them. But I also unfollow people. You know, maybe on a mothly basis I sort of do a purge and people that have either started tweeting too much and I’m not inter- ested in them filling up my Tweetdeck coloumns or people that have jsut gone off-track and are talking abou things that I have no intrest in I just stop following them.” User “When I was really focused on useing Twitter as a tool for my business, I thought I had to provide value to my community of followers in every single tweet. Here’s an article, Here’s this, Here’s that. But then it really backfired. I lost my authenticity and I wasn’t a perosnality any more and I was amazed that peo- ple were unfollowing me and I thought, “But I’m providing all this great value. Look at all these resources I’m showing you.” But I lost followers. I was not interesting anymore” Techcrunch “It is amazing to think that Twitter launched publicly five years ago today. When Mike Arrington first wrote, “Odeo releases Twitter” in 2006 he had no idea that one day the TechCrunch Twitter account would be nearing a 2 million-follower distribu-125
    • tion channel and that he himself would reach 82K. Very fewwould have predicted that the SMS notifications system withno vowel in its name would turn into a seven billion dollarcompany employing 500 people. “If this was a new startup, aone or two person shop, I’d give it a thumbs up for innovationand good execution on a simple but viral idea,” Mike wrote atthe time.”“In a sense Twitter is a mirror for life and human connection.There is a unique feeling one gets watching the flood of tweetsfrom strangers pour in for the #iranelection, #WorldCup,#WWDC or any microhashtag on Twitter. A crucial part of mymorning ritual is catching up with news on Twitter watching thequips made by friends pour in on equal footing with commen-tary made by media luminaries.”“Apple has essentially baked a “Twitter Connect” into iOS 5.It’s something that all iOS apps will be able to easily use.And they should. And they likely will.It’s a massive win for Twitter. And a smart move by Apple.Social is not at their core, and they know it (*cough* Ping*cough*). So they partnered with a company that gets it. Butwhat does it mean for the Twitter ecosystem?<Overall the big thing for us is the combination of two bigplatforms, and we’re complementary to each other. Twitterfrom day one has been a mobile-friendly company — that wasa part of Jack’s [Dorsey] original vision. So to pair up withApple on this is a great opportunity,” - he also pointed to thenice alignment of 200 million iOS devices with the 200 millionTwitter accounts> Ryan Sarver, head of platform”Visual Narrative Img. 38
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – Conclusion block changed from previous year STREAM OF TEETWS SEARCH + TWEETS TRACK CUSTOMIZABLE PROFILE “Twttr: presence tense blogging “140 is a very interesting limitation “I need less datas, I don’t have through SMS” and presents a set of new oppor- time to go through thousands of tunities” tweets” Img. 24 Img. 27 Img. 29 200 180 160millions of users 140 120 100 80 60 40 30 20 10 5millions $ $ $ $
    • @ + # + RETWEET API NEW LAYOUT+IPHONE+ANDROID STORIES+NEW VERSION MAC“It’s the quickest way to spread “It’s like a flock of birds mazing- “Twitter is a mirror of life andinformation virally” ly moving around together with a human connections” very simple mechanics”Img. 30 Img. 37 Img. 38 45 $ 4$ 100 $ 129
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Twitter – Conclusion: highlightsTwitter is a great example of a company listening to the UsersNarrative: the value proposition of this “information network”as they call it today, evolved according to the usage membersdid of the tool itself over time, as Evan William, former CEO,says himself on TED stage in 2009.Twitter business narrative, unlikely Facebook’s, has never beencentred into one personality as representative of the wholecompany, but coherently with its flock philosophy from 2006till today three different people in five years passed the CEOrole (in order Jack Dorsey till 2008, Evan Williams till 2010,Dick Costolo current one), and when the company talksthrough its blog is always as general twitter (pp.111)Biz Stone and Ev Williams describe this flock philosophy in aTV interview in 2010 as “The metaphor we often use is thatof a flock of birds moving around an object and fly, somethingthat looks amazingly choreographed and complex but themechanics of it are very simple, it’s rudimentary communica-tion among individuals, that allowed them to behave almost asthey were an organism; and twitter gives people that ability, andthat’s something we had I don’t think before twitter. It allows usto move together as one and what we can accomplish when wecan do that? A lot” (pp.118); there is evidence in users’ narra-tive of positive users’ reaction: they share this point of viewand believe in crowed sourcing power to the point that theyused twitter as a tool to organize protests and coordinate politi-cal actions (pp.108)Lately this flock business narrative took a new shape: twittercreated twitter stories, videos of users’ great accomplishmentthanks to twitter; business narrative is using users narrative tocommunicate in a true and close to the users’ way.Coherently with the flock oriented business narrative, Twitterhas always professed a total openness and media integrationmirrored in the media integration business logic evolution(partners and key actions blocks): twitter has a page on Face-book indeed, starting form 2009 has been connecting with TV(pp.118), has been featuring in Google search since 2009 (107),and it is lately been embedded in IOS 5 (pp.124)On the users’ narrative side, a “strive for utility” trend can bedetected; if in early days users strive to find a usage and useful-ness of Twitter, finding it even too invasive ““The annoyingSMS messages from nocturnal friends is not the only thingwhich bothers me about this service, but also the fact, that thetexting a message(reply) to twttr ends up on their website” (pp.93), it evolved into an interest in the stream of thought pub-lished and a need for a search method in the stream (pp.98), toultimately becoming in 2009 a “breaking news powerful tool”(pp.102) that “heavily is changing the way we communicate on-line. The social networking aspect is creating new relationships,whilst the always on nature means that you often hear about bignews stories first on Twitter” (pp.103)Today twitter considers itself an “information network”; theusers’ narrative in first place had affected directly the platformwhere users started using features as @ and # to make easier tofind information and conversation. Those behaviours affected
    • a shift in value proposition business logic (2008) that ultimately shaped the business narrative on the platform: the publisher, in 2009 starts asking you “What’s happening?” instead of “What are you doing?” indeed. The 2009 is the year of users and narrative convergence on the platform, when Twitter fully embeds the tools developed by users in common use of the platform into its code, polishes the search trait, change the publisher question, and not surpris- ingly greatly increases its user base (users went form 4,5 million to almost 25 within a year) together with starting generating revenues. Evan Williams CEO in 2009 appears on TED and on Oprah’s show. From 2009 as an information networks its social and cultural role had become more and more influent, being a key hub during last natural disaster such as hurricanes in the United States, and the Japanese earthquake; people indeed where able to spread the word in a second to a broad audience, warning in advance, asking for help, and ultimately finding in Twitter an aggregating tool to help each other out. As we can detect from the evolution of the honey graph, twit- ter core values from a user experience point of view didn’t add new features in time, but strengthen few of them more and more: presence, conversation and sharing; focusing on simplic- ity indeed. Future scenarios Twitter needs to evolve, since its peak year in 2009 it has been building on the news model, providing a great real-time rich stream of news. Users are now claiming more and more for less noise; there are many evidences of need for change “Selfishly, I only will follow somebody that is going to enlighten me. And so somebody like [xxx] if he wasn’t so good I would definitely unfollow him (because he tweets frequently)” and “When I was really focused on using Twitter as a tool for my business, I thought I had to provide value to my community of followers in every single tweet. Here’s an article, Here’s this, Here’s that. But then it really backfired. I lost my authenticity and I wasn’t a personality any more and I was amazed that people were unfollowing me and I thought, “But I’m providing all this great value. Look at all these resources I’m showing you.” But I lost followers. I was not interesting anymore” (pp.123) I’m waiting to see how twitter, which has always done a great job in listening to users’ narratives, reacts to those, last ones. In this evolution mobile will be central131
    • g+
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ - a limit case studyLast of the big three is Google+, it’s big because is by Googleand we it seems like the company is investing great energy andeffort in it; still it hasn’t been around enough for having signifi-cant results or feedback, moreover for being significant in thiscomparative analysis.Keeping this in mind I decided to analysis the interactionbetween business narrative and logic throughout those fivemonths; in fact it looks like Google learnt the lesson, and is try-ing to shape its business logic based on users narrative and theirinteraction on the platform.This said, it would be meaningful to re do this analysis in threeyears from now and test again if this remains Google long termstrategy.This case study analysis is divided for months (June, July, Au-gust, September and October) instead of for years.
    • ANALYSIS 3.2 Google+ - history Google+ is the last product released by Google. The company has is very well known for keeing innovating, either through acquisitions or self-made products.schema 36 1 0 0 2 2 5 4 7 14 13 7 10 14 18 5 year There was tremendous excitement when Google was sending out select invitations earlier this year. Everyone saw huge po- tential, and everyone wanted to be a part of this next big thing. In September, Google+ launched to the general public, and Compete says its unique visitors hit 13.4 million in that month alone. Google is now saying it has 40 million signed up, and it is shutting down a more halfhearted effort, Buzz. However, the backlash is already happening, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that people - including Google CEO Larry Page - are using Google+ less now than they did initially. Indus- try watchers are saying it’s no Facebook and never will be. Even a Google engineer publicly called Google+ “pathetic” (though he didn’t mean to be so public about it). And yet, Google remains the most-visited site on the Web. Page recently said: “You ain’t seen nothing yet” He indicated that the real value of Google+ is yet to come, with even more relevance for the search results and the ads. The identity we create with Google+, wittingly or unwittingly, will inform our overall Google experience. This October they extended the +1 to Gmail and it was al- ready present since before Google+ launch in Google search. 135
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – JuneProduct EvolutionProduct EvolutionThe pruduct claims to be the revolution of social networkingthanks to those features:- circles- hangouts- sparks- stream- chatJun +Business Logic changed from previous year schema 37 -add social features to all google -NEtwork products -co- -create creation platform put you first all google trial users, -shoot video all across products mass market tutorial google but by invitation only -users data -word of - google mouth products users -google blog -youtube - platform development $ - employees - server hosting
    • Textual Narrativeg+ User on Techcrunch “Last night, I wrote up my initial thoughts on Google+ after using it for a day. Overall, I find it pretty compelling so far. While there is a bit of a learning curve, after about 15 minutes, I found myself at home using the service. And little things (namely notifications) kept bringing me back. But let’s be real- istic, it has only been a day. The new car smell has yet to wear off. And I have also noticed a few other things that may spell trouble down the road. Right now, almost every single post I see on Google+ is shared with the Public. Perhaps this is to be expected since the initial roll-out yesterday was very small. People don’t have a lot of friend in their Circles yet, so they’re posting everything to the public in the hopes of seeing some interaction, I imagine. I have been doing this too. When I look at my Google+ Circles right now, I think: what would I share with only these select people that I wouldn’t share with everyone? It’s hard to come up with an answer. Peo- ple jump on me: “you don’t have kids!” That’s true, but I have a lot of friends with kids. The vast majority of them seem fine sharing those pictures with the public. Further, I’m just not sure that sharing pictures of your kids is a big enough use case to constitute an entire, massive social fabric. For certain smaller services, sure. For Google? No. This is the company that wants to organize all of the world’s data. In order to do that, don’t they need all of that data to be public? Doesn’t it seem like they should be pushing the fully public Twitter mentality more than private group sharing? It sure does. But again, they already lost that race. And the at- tempts to buy Twitter have been rebuffed. So instead they’re going for the market where there is an opening right now. And maybe that will work. Again, I like Google+ a lot so far. But I like it because it’s a well-made network with some inter- esting tools. I’m not sold on Circles yet. Maybe other features like Huddle (group mobile chat) will change that. Maybe they won’t. Google has said that this initial roll-out of Google+ is only a sliver of what’s to come. So we’ll have to wait and see. But whether they like it or not, the public vs. Circle trial is beginning right now. If everyone keeps sharing with the public, Google+ will be a public network. And that’s fine. I’m just not sure it’s what Google wants, because I’m not sure it’s something anyone needs another version of. Instead, the best hope for Google+ may be for Circles to take off and get people hooked on specialized sharing with smaller networks, and then for public sharing to come up later and take its place. You know, the Facebook doctrine. “Given the level of control that Google+ is offering, I should be thrilled with this great new tool. But I’m not. It solves the wrong problem, particularly with Google Circles, the Google+ feature that lets you share different things with different groups of people. And it doesn’t do anything to solve the biggest problem with social networks today: increasing the signal to noise ratio. [...] For people who care about the segmentation that Google+ offers, they are already doing it using different networks. As a content creator, my reward is the 137
    • interactions I have with people who consume my content. I’vewritten more about Google+ on Twitter and in this post thanon Google+ because people are reading it on these platforms.Until I have an audience on Google+, there’s no reason for meto post there. (Especially because people who are there alreadyfollow me on other channels and would then see duplicatecontent.) But if I don’t post there, I probably won’t build anaudience. The physical world has different environments. Wehang out with our friends at bars and restaurants. We hear Im-portant People speak in lecture halls and auditoriums. To a largeextent, these kinds of distinctions remain in the online world.Facebook is the neighborhood bar and restaurant. It’s built onreciprocal relationships. Twitter is the lecture hall. It’s primarilyfocused on asymmetric relationships. Twitter has even acknowl-edged that it’s OK to view it as a publication medium insteadof a communication medium.That’s why it’s discombobulating to see these come togetherin Google+. I’ll see a message about my friend Wanita’s travelplans next to pictures from Larry Page’s Alaskan kiteboardingadventure. If I comment on Nita’s travel plans, I’m confidentI’ll get a response. That’s not nearly as likely if I comment onLarry’s trip. (For those that don’t know, Larry and I were inthe same high school class — we used to debate Amiga vs.Mac and talk about googol.) I can’t think of many real worldequivalents where you have such disparities in relationshipsnext to each other. It’s jarring going back and forth betweenthese worlds. The biggest unsolved problem in social network-ing remains unsolved with Google+: separating signal fromnoise. Twitter, it seems, doesn’t even want to try. The timelineis as dumb as it has been since the beginning, a reverse chronfirehose of information. Facebook’s feed has improved overthe years, but a friend in New Jersey trying to get rid of a book-shelf is just not relevant. Google+ is an ambitious, competentproduct. If it had launched 3 or 4 years ago, I would have beena big fan. There are aspects that I really like, such as the photoviewer and hangouts.But those aren’t enough. Google is in the same position in thesocial networking game as others are in the search space. Thereare brand and network effects at play. In order to gain traction,it can’t be marginally better. It has to be massively better.A friend asked me what problem Google+ solved. The only an-swer I could come up with was the problem that Google didn’tbuy Twitter 3 years ago.”Blog“And Google has tried to avoid making the same mistakesFacebook and Buzz made. Google and Google Plus have tobe known for their privacy and control. “You can trust us with g+your information”. And by giving Google Plus users the optionto share certain bits of information only with certain people(Circles) Google has given the public a nice tool and a senseof security. But one mistake, one slip up and Google’s carefullycrafted image can be destroyed.
    • For now, Google is trying to gain that trust and get more and more people on the Google Plus bandwagon. And with that, the information will come. And that information can be an- other source of revenue for Google. Besides the ’social graph’, the constant stream of personal information and messages, us- ers can tell Google there interests with Sparks. Google will then serve relevant and newsworthy content.” Techcrunch “What is Google+? It’s the super top-secret social project that Google has been working on for the past year. You know, the one being led by General Patton (Vic Gundotra) and General MacArthur (Bradley Horowitz). Yes, the one Google has tried to downplay as much as humanly possible — even as we got leak after leak after leak of what they were working on. Yes, the one they weren’t going to make a big deal about with pomp and circumstance. It’s real. And it’s here.” Blog “It’s obvious that the Google Plus team are not blindly copying Facebook or Twitter. They’ve set out to solve the problem that “friend” or “follower” doesn’t accurately represent our social relationships and doesn’t permit fine-grained sharing. They want to solve problems like: I’ll show my kid pictures to my family and friends, but everyone can see the pictures from my visit to the Computer History Museum. Circles and activity streams are how they’re tackling the problem: you tag your friends (“put them in a circle”) and your posts (“share this post with these circles and individuals”), then see the latest activity from people within a circle. They were very clever to launch with Hangouts, group video chat. It undermined Skype, Facebook were left flatfooted (cf their rather lame launch of video chat), and well, they’re quite cool. Already there are success stories of family hangouts and business use of them.” Techcrunch “Clearly, they’ve put a lot of work into both the UI and UX of Google+. From the little that I’ve seen so far, Google+ is by far the best effort in social that Google has put out there yet. But traction will be contingent upon everyone convincing their contacts to regularly use it. Even for something with the scale of Google, that’s not the easiest thing in the world — as we’ve seen with Wave and Buzz. There will need to be compelling reasons to share on Google+ instead of Facebook and/or Twitter — or, at the very least, along with all of those other networks. The toolbar and interesting communication tools are the most compelling reasons right now, but there will need to be more of them. And fast.”139
    • g+Google BlogAmong the most basic of human needs is the need to connectwith others. With a smile, a laugh, a whisper or a cheer, we con-nect with others every single day.Today, the connections between people increasingly happenonline. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactionsare lost in the rigidness of our online tools.In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even bro-ken. And we aim to fix it.We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life shar-ing to software. We want to make Google better by includingyou, your relationships, and your interests. And so begins theGoogle+ projectV. Gundotra“We believe online sharing is broken. And even awkward, wethink connecting with other people is a basic human need. Wedo it all the time in real life, but our online tools are rigid. Theyforce us into buckets — or into being completely public, reallife sharing is nuanced and rich. It has been hard to get that intosoftware,” is the last thing he says before diving into a demo ofGoogle+.” What he proceeds to show is a product that in manyways is so well designed that it doesn’t really even look like aGoogle product.“We’re transforming Google itself into a social destination ata level and scale that we’ve never attempted — orders of mag-nitude more investment, in terms of people, than any previousproject”“Every piece of software is going to transformed by thisprimacy of people and this shift.” Gundotra said that to dateidentifying people has been “the most epic failure of Google….Because we were focusing on organizing the world’s informa-tion, the search company failed to do the most importantsearch of all.”Video BlogSparks are for nearding out. togetherInterview“We launched Google+ in a Field Trial in order to test theproduct out and gather more feedback. As part of the FieldTrial, we may open and close Google+ to new users at anytime. We’re psyched so many people are interested in trying outa new approach to online sharing, but please consider:- At any instant, a given invitation may or may not grant access.- There are rate limits that are subject to change.- PRO TIP: Bulk inviting will not be an effective strategy forgetting your loved one access. I would recommend invitingthose people you really want to share with…”E. Shimdt“Circles is particularly well suited to the contact list you havein your phone, we have a somewhat different view of privacy.
    • We tried to build a system that you could use for the relation- ships over time. The people who built the Internet did not get a stable version of identity; You need identity, in the sense that you are a person, this is who you are these are your friends and so on … The issue on the Internet is not the lack of Facebook, the issue on the Internet is the lack of identity. “ Tomkins “Sparks is essentially the stuff that flows to you through the interest graph and the stream is the stuff that flows to you through the social graph, basically, Google thinks that its exper- tise in search quality will make the items in both of these feeds more relevant, interesting and diverse than the stuff people see in their Facebook feed.” S. Ben-Yair “With Facebook I have 500 friends — my mom’s my friend, my boss is my friend, so when I share on Facebook, I overshare. On Twitter, I undershare, because it’s public. If Google hits that spot in the middle, we can revolutionize social interaction.”schema 38 CONVERSATION REPUTATION SHARING RELATIONSHIP PRESENCE GROUPS IDENTITY 141
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – JulyProduct EvolutionProduct EvolutionNo important changement from the previous month. Google+team is fundamentally testing out the platform the way theylaunched it; they say there are many new features to come, butthey’ll wait the right moment to release themJul +Business Logic changed from previous year schema 39 -add social features to all google -NEtwork products -co- -create creation platform put you first all google trial users, -shoot video all across products mass market tutorial google but by invitation only -users data -word of - google mouth products users -google blog -youtube -acquisition of Fridge $ -employees -server hosting
    • Textual Narrativeg+ Google Blog Google Plus is terrific. I don’t think it will ever be more than the Pepsi to Facebook’s Coke, alas, but it’s much slicker and better designed. It’s too bad that the service has sacrificed a pile of goodwill over the last week by repeatedly publicly shoot- ing themselves in the foot.First there was the brands mistake. Now it’s gotten much worse: it seems they’re deleting profiles wholesale because they suspect that Plus users may be using handles other than their legal names. On the Internet! The horror! Worse yet, the blandly passive-aggressive language Google’s engineers are using to explain/defend this is redolent of the usual brain-dead corporate-speak you see elsewhere: Our Stupid Policy Must Be Defended, Because It’s Policy, Don’t You Understand? Even Though It’s Stupid. Oh, Google. We all thought you were better than this. Please see the light and prove us right? T. Anderson Google is an algorithm driven-company. “PageRank” (named after Larry Page himself) was the “founding algorithm” of Google—the one that gave it superior search results, and eventually led to Google “winning” the search wars of the early 2000s. The algorithm continues to evolve—in fact, it’s Google’s most important work—and by some accounts, it includes more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms to perform its magic. Can a company so enamored with the power of algorithms and machine learning, let the user take control? This might be a more precise way of raising the question people keep asking. Is “social” in Google’s DNA? One of the key issues that will determine the fate & nature of G+ is whether Google favors an algorithmic approach over a user-controlled approach to the stream. Facebook (almost counterintuitively) is the one that favors an algorithmic approach, and currently it’s one of the defining differences between Facebook and G+. As usual, Mike Elgan nails this one. As Elgan wrote recently: “Facebook deals with information overload by using a secret al- gorithm to judge the quality of your relationships, then secretly blocking most of your updates to your friends” And: “Google+ deals with information overload by giving you, the user, real control. ” At least that’s what G+ does right now. Is it going to stay that way? And behind the scenes right now, are G+ engi- neers working more on their sorting algorithm or on features that would further enhance the users’ control of the feed? Blog In general, the UI makes it hard to find the stuff I care about. What do I care about? I want to see new things from my friends, I want to see replies to things I’ve written, I want to monitor comment threads I’m a part of, I want to see the stuff my friends like, and I don’t want to see the same stuff again and again. The Google Plus UI mushes all these into a few overlapping streams such that I see the same threads again and again yet can’t find the categories of things I do care about. I think they hope that machine learning will promote relevant items to the top, but the results so far do not make me confi- dent that they can deliver a useful service on this approach. My 143
    • experience is one of noisy irrelevance.Currently, Facebook and Twitter both offer a more functionaluser interface to social activity. Google is rolling out Plus in theright way: starting small and expanding slowly, learning as theygo. I don’t think they’ve got the conceptual model and UI rightyet, but I’m enjoying watching it change before my eyes. I stillcan’t see substantial benefits to consumers in switching to a dif-ferent centralized social network: it looks like freedom but we’rejust leaping out of the Facebook and into the Google. But I’llcontinue to experiment because of all the Google social effortsso far, this one has the best chance of making something trulygreat. T. Anderson“Here’s a few things I’d do right now, if I were Google. 1) Startseriously courting the journalists, tastemakers, and celebritiesthat are using and/or pontificating about G+. 2) Exhaustively g+think through the privacy issues and tie up any loose/ends thatG+ has on this front. 3) Move Google’s top analysts (probablyfocused on monetization right now) onto the Google+ projectto form a skunk works team. 4) Hire the best product executors& visionaries in the world, something that clearly has not beenGoogle’s forte in the past. 5) There must be one ring to rulethem all. One leader making decisions.”Press“Google can launch premium pages by paying businesses andpresenting added-value services such as analytics that will offerthe possibility of creating ads that are segmented according toaudience characteristics based on gender or location.The company is in an excellent position for offering a similarsolution yet with an application bank that is tailored to busi-nesses.Why? First, the fact that Google is second to market allows itto learn from Facebook’s mistakes and launch a product thatavoids them. Second, and more importantly, Google’s platformis designed for business users. Google already has a completeselection of added value services for businesses, Google Zero,a platform intended to compete with Microsoft in the businesssector. It began based on email but evolved into a set of com-prehensive services for businesses based on cloud computingand using third party developers.”“That is, of course, why Google and Facebook and Twitter arein this business: they make money from advertising. By usingtheir services you’re participating in a giant Faustian bargain:you get free photo hosting and the ability to yap away to yourmates, but in return they get to use all that information to ad-vertise to you. And, of course, simply by collecting the infor-mation it’s now available to regular law enforcement, the secretpolice, lulzsec, and other opportunistic parasites feasting off thecorporation’s data reserves. And if you make it public, it’ll bescraped by credit agencies, the secret police, and everyone elsewho wants to build a profile of every person on the planet.
    • You’ll notice that none of the social networks have subscrip- tion options. Nobody says “pay me $100/yr and I’ll keep all your data private and you can have an ad-free experience.” My hypothesis is that this is because your data is worth more to Google, Facebook, and Twitter than you can justify paying for it: they don’t want $100 from you when they can earn $500 or $1,000 targeting advertising to you as you use their sites. They certainly don’t have a federation model.” Techcrunch “Is it an alternative to Facebook? Yes. To Twitter? Yes. To Yam- mer, to productivity suites, to Skype, to Office, to Microsoft, to Apple? If it isn’t now, you better believe it will be. Google is like a kind of Troll-Borg. You think they put out something that stands on its own, a “Facebook killer” or an “iPhone killer” &mdash; but it’s only later that you realize that the separation from the mothership was just an illusion, and the entire bulk of Google was right there the whole time. But it’s too late — you’ve been assimilated. Problem? I wrote a long time ago about how all these little projects of theirs would be connected and unified, the way the Romans unified their empire by joining all the little roads to their big roads. I thought it was going to happen with Chrome OS, but a tumultuous mobile market meant a late start there; Google+ is more of a clear step in that direction now.” “Ok, so if groups are not the solution, how do you avoid the pain of list creation and maintenance? I believe the answer is algorithms; they do 95% of the work, and the remaining 5% is manageable and even fun. There are many algorithms that produce sets of people; clustering algorithms, of the kind powering Katango’s first product release, are an example (yes, I am completely biased here). The output of the algorithm is “almost right”. Almost always, each emergent cluster makes sense, but you need to hone it: name the cluster (reliable auto- naming still eludes even the best algorithms), add and remove a few names (usually more removing than adding; by design, the system usually over-includes friends since removing is a simple mouse-click away), create a sub-cluster (for example, create an “immediate family cluster” from an “extended family” one), merge clusters, and so on. This final honing is fun rather than a chore, for several reasons. First, it’s quick; a matter of minutes. Second, it’s rewarding to see your social mirror emerge; one user described examining a new emergent cluster as “unwrap- ping a present”. And third, it’s your social universe, and at the end of the day you know it best. The algorithm did the heavy lifting, but like an expert surgeon, you stepped in and made it perfect; you feel in control.” “One of the most counter-intuitive details about Google’s new social network is that you can’t actually search for public posts from it. Instead you have to use the clunky workaround “Your- search site:plus.google.com” or use one of the new search en- gines that have cropped up since its launch like Gplussearch or Google Plus Search Engine. The latter also has the added boon of searching Buzz and Reader posts. But why not offer the feature on the platform itself ? When I asked this question the145
    • other day on Google+, Google Product VP Bradley Horow-itz humorously replied, “Thanks for the great suggestion! ”because seriously what idiot thinks that search wasn’t the firstthing Google thought of here?” g+L. Pagre on G+“Our goal with Google+ is to make sharing on the web likesharing in real life, as well as to improve the overall GoogleexperienceCircles let you choose with precision who you are sharing with.Not surprisingly this has been very well received, because inreal life, we share different things with different people.Hangouts allow for serendipitous interactions. Like in real lifewhen you run into a few friends. It gives you seamless and funmulti user video and it’s really amazing![...] Google+ is also a great example of another focus of mine--beautiful products that are simple and intuitive to use and wasactually was one of the first products to contain our new visualredesign.” schema 40 CONVERSATION REPUTATION SHARING RELATIONSHIP PRESENCE GROUPS IDENTITY
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – August Product Evolution Product Evolution Those are the new features and updates released: - games application - android app update - iphone app realease - change in profile name policy - stream update and comment collapsing - black bar to navigate starts being added to other google prod- ucts, such as search - ignore and block option added - new use of+1 button and +snipples + - new easier way to add contacts Aug Business Logicf changed from previous year schema 41 -add social features to all google -NEtwork products -co- -create creation platform put you first -all google trial users, -shoot video all across products mass market tutorial google -Game but by producer invitation company such only as Zynga -users data -word of - google mouth products users -google blog -Google plus update channel on youtube - employees $ - server hosting 147
    • Textual Narrative g+User on Techcrunch“The problem gets worse. Even though there is supposed to bea 96-hour grace period, Google is apparently not abiding by it.An acquaintance of mine who goes by a pseudonym, was noti-fied between midnight and 1:50AM on August 19th that he haduntil August 22nd to change his username. Maybe my math is alittle fuzzy here, but that’s three days, not four.After receiving this notification, he expressed his displeasurewith a well-written post at 2:00AM on Augist 19th on Google+,along with a request to Vic Gundotra not to ban his account“Vic” Gundotra shared the post with someone else. It was notshared publicly, so there’s no way to tell who it was shared with.What is known, however, is that less than 8 hours after thatpost my friend found that his account had been suspended.Even without having all of the behind the scenes information,the account was suspended way before the grace period, whichmeans it had to be done manually. It’s apparent that “Vic”Gundotra was well-aware of the post and the user accountin question, since he personally used his Google+ account toshare it with someone else.Obviously my friend had a choice about changing his accountname on Google+. However, he was not even given the optionto exercise that choice. A polite public post, disagreeing withthe real name policy, resulted in his account being suspendedwithout being allowed to complete the grace period or tosubmit a proper appeal. He has since submitted an appeal andchanged his account name, but it has not yet been reactivated.”“With the new add feature, you have the ability to invite 150more people to the network. Smart thinking, Google. Use Twit-ter to get more sign-ups! I like it.”Techcrunch“One of the major issues currently facing Google+ is thecorporate policy requiring the use of real names. Unfortunately,this has raised the ire of many people who prefer to use a pseu- g+donym when using the internet. Google’s other services do nothave this requirement.Google has changed their original policy, which was to simplyban the accounts of anyone they decided had a “fake” name,and now provides a four day grace period for users to changetheir name to one that the Google+ admins find acceptable.The problem with this is that there are a lot of people whoare widely known by their pseudonyms. There are also peo-ple whose lives are jeopardized by having their real identitiesexposed to the world.”“Google has just announced that the +1 button will let youshare to your Circles on Google+, directly from whatever pageyou’re browsing. Which means that you have a reason to keepclicking on them.The feature appears to look pretty straightforward, and lot like
    • Facebook’s ‘Send’ button, which lets you send content to a specific group of Facebook friends. When you click on the +1 button and elect to share it with your Google+ Circles, you’ll notice that the shared story is pre-pop- ulated with both an image and some text from the page (again, Facebook’s sharing features work much the same way). Google is also letting publishers designate exactly which text they’d like to include with these ‘+Snippets’. This is a big, if obvious, step forward for Google’s +1 button, as it gives users a much bigger incentive to click on them.” Shimrit Ben-Yair, product manager “Google just made it easier for you to invite friends to its new social network, Google+, by providing a short link you can post on the web or share with others over instant messaging. In or- der to get the link, you simply click the “invite friends” button on the right-hand side of the stream – the same place invites were found before.”g+ V. Gundotra “We needed a code name that captured the fact that either there was a great opportunity to sail to new horizons and new things, or that we were going to drown by this wave,” Google+ Blog “Today we’re adding games to Google+. With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conver- sations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life. When you’re ready to play, the Games page is waiting—click the games button at the top of your stream. You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you’ve re- ceived and check out games that people you know have played recently. The Games page is also where your game accomplish- ments will appear. So you can comfortably share your latest high score—your circles will only see the updates when they’re interested in playing games too. If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about.” 149
    • Visual Narrative Img. 40 Img. 41 Img. 42
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – SeptemberProduct EvolutionProduct EvolutionFeatures released:- search- APIs for developers- multi-user video hangouts- mobile versionSep +Business Logic changed from previous year schema 43 -add social features to all -NEtwork google -co-creation products -all google -create beta mass products platform market, -Game -shoot video everybody <18 producer put you first can register tutorial company such all across as Zynga google -Trusted Tester -users data -word of (developer) - google mouth products users -google blog -Google plus update channel on youtube -acquisition of Katango $ -employees -server hosting
    • Textual Narrativeg+ User on Techcrunch “If you happen to be what Google considers a “Trusted Tester”, you could be getting access to the API much sooner. Maybe even in the next few days. What constitutes a “Trusted Tester”? Well, one qualification is if you’re backed by Google’s venture wing, Google Ventures. This will probably piss some developers off. I’m sure there will be 500 stories about the conflicted nature, right? But in reality, it makes sense. This is more or less Google testing out the API with a small group well before it’s fully ready for prime time. Still, it is an early jump on what could end up being an impor- tant social sharing layer.” “First and foremost, Google+ finally has search. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that a service built by Google launched without it, but it did. Now Google+ allows you to search for people and posts simply by using the search box at the top. Of note, you can filter results by either “Best of ” or “Most recent”. This also allows you to search the Sparks feature, which is still underdeveloped. The other big news: Google+ is moving from “field trial” to”beta”. Along with this upgrade, Google is opening signups for anyone.” “Finally, Google has rolled out a ton of new features for Hangouts, the live multi-user video chat service that has been an early hit on Google+. Of the changes, the biggest is the abil- ity to do a Hangout from a mobile device. Google has updated the Google+ Android app with this functionality, and says an update to the iOS app will be coming soon. Another new feature is the ability to go “on air” — essentially a fully public broadcast. When you do this, up to nine other peo- ple can still join your broadcast, and anyone can watch. Google notes that the feature will be limited to certain broadcasters (read: big ones). They’re kicking it off tomorrow night with an On Air Hangout with will.i.am. Google has also started adding “extras” to Hangouts. The first ones: - Screensharing: for when you want to show off your vacation photos, your high score, your lesson plan or whatever else is on your screen - Sketchpad: for when you want to draw, doodle, or just scribble together - Google Docs: for when you want to write, plan or present something with others - Named Hangouts: for when you want to join or create a public hangout about a certain topic (like fashion or music or sports…) - Google notes that these extras are still under construction (read: beta beta). - Finally, Google is also releasing an API for Hangouts. This follows the broader (but limited) Google+ API roll out last week. I’m sure all of these changes rolling out two days before Face- book’s big f8 conference are coincidental. War.” 153
    • g+Techcrunch“It’s now been a while since I’ve last visited or posted anythingon Google+, but I figured that was just me.Turns out I might not be the only one after all, 89n now says,based on some quick-and-dirty internal ManageFlitter dataresearch.According to its data, the average number of public – i.e. notprivate – Google+ posts per day has decreased from 0.68 perday between 19 July 2011 and 19 August 2011 to 0.40 publicposts per day between 19 August 2011 and 14 September 2011.This represents a decrease of 41 percent, which could lead oneto believe the early adopters are quietly turning their backs onGoogle+. Note that this perceived behavior occurs despite therecent roll-out of enhanced Google +1 button functionality, aTwitter-like ‘suggested user’ list and verified profiles.”Email By GoogleHi, the Google+ team is going to be starting to roll out someof their APIs to our Trusted Tester program in the next fewdays (followed by a more general availability in the next few g+weeks). They’ve agreed to give this early access to a small num-ber (2-4) of our portfolio companies.If you’re interested, we’d like you to at least be able to committo building a small “hello world” app quickly (in the next 3-5days). This stage of the program is more about feedback ondocs and code for now, with an intent to have more meaningfulinteractions with G+ as more APIs roll out.If you’re interested, please email me back with your companyname, contact name, and email address.E. Shimdt“Don’t like it? Don’t use it.” He replied by saying that G+ wasbuild primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it de-pends on people using their real names if they’re going to buildfuture products that leverage that information.Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, hesaid G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to useit. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names,they shouldn’t use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria,people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to theirgovernment’s own policies, which implies (to me, at least) thatSchmidt thinks there’s no point of even trying to have a servicethat allows pseudonyms.”
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – OctoberProduct EvolutionProduct EvolutionThere isn’t any significant change, just a better search within theplatform.Oct +Business Logic changed from previous year schema 45 -add social features to all -NEtwork google -co-creation products -all google -create beta mass products platform market, -Game -shoot video everybody <18 producer put you first can register tutorial company such all across as Zynga google -Trusted Tester -users data -word of (developer) - google mouth products users -google blog -Google plus update channel on youtube -employees $ -server hosting
    • Textual Narrativeg+ User on Techcrunch “Here is a certain strange person that used to mention me on Google+ and whenever I’d click on the mention (I couldn’t re- sist I MEAN IT’S RIGHT THERE) I’d get slightly depressed. And I’d think, “Why Google? Why can’t I do the Google+ equivalent of “blocking” this strange person?” Apparently I wasn’t alone on this, as Google has now given Google+ users the ability to control who has the power to up the count on the red blinky notification thingy in the right hand corner of your Plus bar. Hoorah! Users can now adjust when notifications go off for individual sharing, mentions, hangout invites, play invites, messages sent and when users select the “notify about this post” function. But before you go get all drunk with this nascent power, you’ll still get notified if someone comments on your posts or adds you to a new circle, inexplicably.” g+ BLOG And there’s the problem with Google+ in a nutshell. It’s a clone of Facebook, built by engineers for people who think like engi- neers. I now realize what it was I couldn’t put my finger on: this service started out as a list of features. But it didn’t start out with a vision. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone articulate, from a customer’s point of view, why Google+ came into existence in the first place. My best guess? Someone with an engineering degree looked at Facebook and said “this is too messy—let’s clean it up.” Which they did. But by doing that they made a beautiful, simple ser- vice that only Google employees and Silicon Valley geeks with oversized left brains want to use. I know. I’ve spent my entire career trying to explain technically complex stuff to people who do not have engineering degrees and are intimidated by technology. Clearly, Google+ didn’t start out with a vision. If it had, then Google would not have been blindsided by the controversy over its insistence on people using their real names. That little detail should have been part of the very first discussion, before a single mockup was sketched and before a single line of code was written. An even bigger design blunder was the idea that sorting your contacts into Circles would allow users to control the privacy of everything they post. Again, it’s a reaction to Facebook and its privacy headaches. But somebody really, really didn’t think that one through. As others have pointed out, Google senior executives don’t use Google+ publicly. That’s odd, given that the company has tied employee bonuses to their ability to make its social strategy a success. Sergey Brin has exactly two public posts in the first 12 days of October. He posted three times in September and four times in August. Larry Page has four public posts since August 15. Eric Schmidt doesn’t seem to have a public Google+ 157
    • profile. Last week, Michael Degusta assembled a devastatinganalysis of how little Google, its top executives and its boardmembers actually use this service.Now, I think we know why. They’re all using the service, butthey’re doing so privately. They’re using Google+ as an internalbulletin board and water cooler, and they expect their em-ployees and customers to do the same, through the magic ofCircles. g+Sergey Brin at Web 2.0 Summit“I am not a very social person myself.” with Google+ exec VicGundotra, Brin says that he thought Google+ would be toocomplicated, with all of its Circles and different ways to sharewith different groups of people. But he has been pleasantly sur-prised. “I have been able to reconnect with friends, I was notable to do that with existing services because of the way theirsharing models work. The Circles worked very well for me, Idebated they were too complicated. Now I use them.”Vic Gundotra“Your mom and friends, guess what, they are already onGoogle,”. Google will get them to use Google+ overtime.Employee On G+Google+ is a prime example of our complete failure to un-derstand platforms from the very highest levels of executiveleadership (hi Larry, Sergey, Eric, Vic, howdy howdy) down tothe very lowest leaf workers (hey yo). We all don’t get it. TheGolden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood.The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had noAPI at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly APIcall. One of the team members marched in and told me aboutit when they launched, and I asked: “So is it the Stalker API?”She got all glum and said “Yeah.” I mean, I was joking, butno… the only API call we offer is to get someone’s stream. So Iguess the joke was on me.[...]Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking,predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is success-ful because they built a great product. But that’s not why theyare successful. Facebook is successful because they built anentire constellation of products by allowing other people to dothe work. So Facebook is different for everyone. Some peoplespend all their time on Mafia Wars. Some spend all their timeon Farmville. There are hundreds or maybe thousands of dif-ferent high-quality time sinks available, so there’s somethingthere for everyone.Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said:“Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let’s go contractsomeone to, um, write some games for us.” Do you begin tosee how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem isthat we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it forthem.
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – Conclusion block changed from previous year Jun Jul Aug CIRCLES + HANGOUTS NO RELEASES GAMES+IPHONE+ANDROID APP “When I look at my Google+ Cir- “The Google Plus UI mushes “The corporate policy requires the cles right now, I think: what would all these into a few overlapping use of real names. This has raised I share with only these select peo- streams such that I see the same the ire of many people who prefer ple that I wouldn’t share with eve- threads again and again yet can’t to use a pseudonym when using ryone? It’s hard to come up with find the categories of things I do the internet. Google’s other servic- an answer.” care about. ” es do not have this requirement.” 50 45 40millions of users 35 30 25 20 15 10 5
    • Sep Oct SEARCH + APIs + MOBILE NO RELEASES +“Finally, Google has rolled out a “Google+ is a prime example ofton of new features for hangouts, our complete failure to under-I’m sure all of these changes roll- stand platforms; we all don’t get it.ing out two days before Face- The Golden Rule of platforms isbook’s big f8 conference are coin- that you Eat Your Own Dogfood,cidental. War.” and we had no APIs” 161
    • ANALYSIS 3.3 Google+ – Conclusion: highlightsAs said before is not significant to draw conclusion from a fivemonths longitudinal analysis, not even with a growth rate likethe one of Google+ (see the chart at pp. 163); but there we cantrace the evolution of users’ narrative on first expectations.In first place they reacted very positively to the user experi-ence “Last night, I wrote up my initial thoughts on Google+after using it for a day. Overall, I find it pretty compelling sofar. While there is a bit of a learning curve, after about 15minutes, I found myself at home using the service. And littlethings (namely notifications) kept bringing me back.” (pp.133)“Clearly, they’ve put a lot of work into both the UI and UXof Google+. From the little that I’ve seen so far, Google+ isby far the best effort in social that Google has put out thereyet.” (135) But users also highlighted since the beginning that itanswered to the wrong problem “It solves the wrong problem,particularly with Google Circles, the Google+ feature that letsyou share different things with different groups of people. Andit doesn’t do anything to solve the biggest problem with socialnetworks today: increasing the signal to noise ratio. [...]” (p133)On the business narrative side, Google claims: “online sharingis broken. And even awkward, we think connecting with otherpeople is a basic human need. We do it all the time in real life,but our online tools are rigid. They force us into buckets — orinto being completely public, real life sharing is nuanced andrich. It has been hard to get that into software” (136)The business narrative has been mainly visual, featuring distinctGoogle+ team members and using the Youtube channel tofeature videos, in August the opened an ADHOC channel,googlepluschannel; in fact it was only in September Google+moved from a trial version with restricted access to a beta one,opened to everybody.Future ScenariosGoogle+ could be a very interesting social network to followfor new scenarios; in fact, along with Facebook, it’s aiming tobecome an infrastructure of the web: Google is running to bethe gateway to have access to e-products and e-services.According to the business narrative, Google will create anorganic system among all of its products (and in Google caseare truly many!) with the newborn Google+ social graph at thebase; the social components should help customize a greateruser experience for each Google product. “We’re transformingGoogle itself into a social destination at a level and scale thatwe’ve never attempted — orders of magnitude more invest-ment, in terms of people, than any previous project”; “Everypiece of software is going to transformed by this primacy ofpeople and this shift.” Gundotra said that to date identifyingpeople has been “the most epic failure of Google.... Becausewe were focusing on organizing the world’s information, thesearch company failed to do the most important search of all.”(pp.136)
    • ANALYSIS 3.5 Compared ConclusionUltimately it is significant to compare the general pictures ofhow the three social networks evolved, manly focusing on Face-book and Twitter, because of a data sourcing matter.We can highlight some common process dynamics, goals, mile-stones and recent user narratives.The three of them represent great examples of companieslistening to users’ narrative and consequently orienting theirinnovation building processes on a trial and error dynamic. Onthe business narrative side there is a great difference betweenFacebook and Twitter: Facebook follows a centralized narrativeapproach in which Mark Zuckerberg becomes a reference andspeaker representative for the company. Twitter instead thinksand acts as a flock, publicly communicating as a group, alternat-ing CEOs, and recently empowering users asking them to speakfor twitter, telling the world how twitter affected their lives.If they share a mobile focus and a tendency to “openness”, theway the two companies are dealing with them is very different.Acknowledging the greater and greater importance of mobiledevices, Twitter is going towards a media convergence, part-nering with Apple and TV channels, whereas Facebook withproject Spartan “is about to launch a mobile platform aimedsquarely at working on the iPhone (and iPad). But it won’tbe distributed through the App Store as a native application,it will be entirely HTML5-based and work in Safari” (pp.80)openly trying to challenge Apple almighty mobile applicationsupremacy.This is emblematic of the two openness policies as well; Twit-ter from the beginning provided developers with open APIs,whereas Facebook only released them in 2010, three years afterthe launch of the Facebook platform. Both of them are slowlyintegrating into the world wide web (pp. 55), with the ultimategoal to become a fundamental social sub-structure of it, butFacebook declare the will to be in the centre of it, while Twit-ter leave it up to users, believing that they will shape the newWWW as they want.Predictably both had revenues issues for the three-four firstyears, since their revenue sourcing is strictly linked to their cus-tomer base: they needed enough users to capitalize the revenuepotential, which they did in terms of advertising. They nowgenerate revenues, but they are aware that the customer experi-ence has to come first, advertising can’t bother users, if thathappen they will loose not only money, but growth potential.It’s peculiar peak year for both of them had been after fouryears from the launch of the social network.Recently Mark Zuckerberg and Dick Costolo and Larry Page(Google CEO) dined together with S.Jobs and few others, withpresident B. Obama; this represents a very significant mile-stone for the three companies, especially for the two first one(Google role into U.S.A. economy is solid) publicly stating thatthey’re greatly influencing the American economy and people’sway of thinking and acting.Another milestone, highlighting their shared American rootsis the participation on Oprah’s show, a must for all American
    • celebrities.Img. 46 Where are they going? Twitter, Facebook and Google + users have been complaining about noise more and more lately. If Google+ circles tried to answer to this user needs, it miserably failed addressing the “selected sending” of information, instead of a “selecting receiving” of information. (pp.133) “Google taught us to be lazy” claimed an article last month on Tech- crunch, now we don’t want to make the effort ourselves to filter information before sending them out, we’d like an intelligent system that could automatically do it, because, of course, we still want to constantly receive our stream of real time informa- tion we are addicted to; just better customized. Another insights into the future comes form both Twitter and Facebook business narratives: “Google helped people find what they want, FB would have helped people decide what they wanted. adv needed to generate demand” (pp.62); “It’s through this device that is not part of one body, but is always closed to one’s body you get information about what’s happening around you, what’s happening in the world, you choose and you tune into, and it gives you the ability to make better choices, and see around corners” (pp.119).Time to reach 50 millions users schema 47 165
    • ANALYSIS 3.5 Compared Conclusion -CVDVerified strategic relationshipThe evolution of users and business narrative shows to beclearly interconnected, and to be crucial in shaping businesslogic changes; evidences of it are Facebook “trust issue”evolution (pp.86-87) as well as Twitter “strive for utility” trend(pp.128-129).Reversed meaning generation cycleThe analysis shows evidences of a “reversed” meaning genera-tion cycle; furthermore it highlights the key role of anotherelement I didn’t consider as a key one in setting the hypothesis:the product itself, the platform.In fact, in the social network context, the platform has a doublemeaning generation potential: as a communication channelbetween business narrative and users narrative (mediator level);as well as row tool for business and users to express themselvesthrough its customization (enabler level). Users in fact have thepossibility to create parts of the product through open APIs,those parts ultimately may not be in line with the business logic,and lead changes in it. An evidence of the role of the platformas enabler is represented by what happened in Twitter earlydays, with hash tags and @. Twitter was design as a broadcasterof a personal message, as a “real-time, presence blog” putpeople started using those symbols to enable conversation andtopic search; this users narratives affected not only the product,but ultimately the business model, laying the foundation stoneof the nowadays value proposition.All of those evidences support the importance of businessmodel as narratives and their role in shaping new innovativeand meaningful business models. schema 48 PRODUCT M OR LOGIC TF PLA HEBUSINESS ACTIVELY CHANGING T BUSINESS NARRATIVE ICE DV PRO A NG VI GI USERS NARRATIVE USERS
    • 3. THE PROJECT
    • THE PROJECT 1.1 intro: the topic “re-modeling Youniversity” The goal of this project is to master the insights gathered in the previous part about the meaning generation power of business narratives, applying it to a “re-model” of Youniversity. Youniversity is a social network by the division of Employer Branding, Vodafone Italy, currently not working properly in terms of interactions and user engagement in the platform. I’ll use the business narrative approach first as analysis tool, drawing a picture of the current business logic, of narratives, both users’ and business’, and ultimately assessing the platform evolution. Secondly I’ll try to apply the business model holistic approach as re-modeling tool to re-project the community starting from building the narrative based on the narratives analysis, then through it affecting the business logic. In this process, the role of the designer comes across as a pos- sible key figure in the reading, analysis and building of the busi- ness narrative and the consequent implementation of radical changes into the project of the new business logic.THE PROJECT 1.2 intro: the methodology As mentioned, the methodology will consist in firstly access- ing the state of art not only of Youniversity but of the broader context the platform was developed in: Vodafone. Then Youniversity will be analysed on three levels in the same way I did with Facebook, Twitter and Google+, with a longitu- dinal analysis. The collection of the user narratives is conducted using a qualitative methodology: focus groups and one-to-one interview both in person and via mail. Moreover some narra- tives were also collected from personal posts and comments on Youniversity itself. That said, because the platform was launched only 18 months ago, the amount of data available won’t be as significant as were in previous Fb and Twitter analysis, however I’m still confi- dent I will gather useful insights to build an interesting future scenario. In the second phase, because of this lack of data, I’ll take into consideration other elements besides narratives to remodel the community, which are: - social network analysis literature - social and technological trends - Vodafone Business goals - And the RIBS model 169
    • THE PROJECT 2.1 Context: Vodafone -introVodafone Group Plc is a global telecommunications companyheadquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’slargest mobile telecommunications company measured by rev-enues and the world’s second-largest measured by subscribers(behind China Mobile), with around 341 million proportionatesubscribers as of November 2010.It operates networks in over30 countries and has partner networks in over 40 additionalcountries. It owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, the largest mobiletelecommunications company in the United States measured bysubscribers.The name Vodafone comes from voice data fone, chosen bythe company to “reflect the provision of voice and data ser-vices over mobile phones”.In 2011 group revenue increased by 3.2% to £45,884 millionand Group service revenue increased by 2.4% to £42,738 mil-lion1.1 Data sourcing: www.vodafone.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voda-foneTHE PROJECT 2.2 Context: Vodafone -historyIn 1980, Sir Ernest Harrison OBE, chairman of Racal Elec-tronics plc’s, the UK’s largest maker of military radio technol-ogy, agreed a deal with Lord Weinstock of General ElectricCompany plc to allow Racal to access some of GEC’s tacti-cal battlefield radio technology. Briefing the head of Racal’smilitary radio division Gerry Whent to drive the companyinto commercial mobile radio, Whent visited GE’s factory inVirginia, USA in 1980.In 1982, Racal’s newly formed Racal Strategic Radio Ltd sub-sidiary won one of two UK cellular telephone network licenses,with the other going to British Telecom The network, knownas Racal Vodafone, was 80% owned by Racal, with Millicomholding 15% and Hambros Technology Trust 5%. Vodafonewas launched on 1 January 1985. Racal Strategic Radio was re-named Racal Telecommunications Group Limited in 1985. On29 December 1986, Racal Electronics bought out the minorityshareholders of Vodafone for GB£110 million.Under stock market pressure to realize full value for sharehold-ers (the mobile unit was being valued at the same amount asthe whole Racal group), in September 1988, the company wasagain renamed Racal Telecom, and on 26 October 1988, RacalElectronics floated 20% of the company. The flotation valuedRacal Telecom at GB£1.7 billion. On 16 September 1991, RacalTelecom was demerged from Racal Electronics as VodafoneGroup.In July 1996, Vodafone acquired the two thirds of Talkland itdid not already own for £30.6 million. On 19 November 1996,
    • in a defensive move, Vodafone purchased Peoples Phone for £77 million, a 181 store chain whose customers were over- whelmingly using Vodafone’s network. In a similar move the company acquired the 80% of Astec Communications that it did not own, a service provider with 21 stores. In 1997, Vodafone introduced its Speechmark logo, composed of a quotation mark in a circle, with the O’s in the Vodafone logotype representing opening and closing quotation marks and suggesting conversation. On 29 June 1999, Vodafone completed its purchase of Air- Touch Communications, Inc. and changed its name to Voda- fone Airtouch plc. The merged company commenced trading on 30 June 1999. In order to gain anti-trust approval for the merger, Vodafone sold its 17.2% stake in E-Plus Mobilfunk. The acquisition gave Vodafone a 35% share of Mannesmann, owner of the largest German mobile network. On 21 September 1999, Vodafone agreed to merge its U.S. wireless assets with those of Bell Atlantic Corp to form Veri- zon Wireless. The merger was completed on 4 April 2000. In November 1999, Vodafone made an unsolicited bid for Mannesmann, which was rejected. Vodafone’s interest in Man- nesmann had been increased by the latter purchase of Orange, the UK mobile operator. Chris Gent would later say Mannes- mann’s move into the UK broke a “gentleman’s agreement” not to compete in each other’s home territory. The hostile takeover provoked strong protest in Germany, and a “titanic struggle” which saw Mannesmann resist Vodafone’s efforts. However, on 3 February 2000, the Mannesmann board agreed to an increased offer of £112bn, then the largest corporate merger ever. The EU approved the merger in April 2000. The con- glomerate was subsequently broken up and all manufacturing related operations sold off. On 28 July 2000, the Company reverted to its former name, Vodafone Group plc. In April 2001, the first 3G voice call was made on Vodafone United Kingdom’s 3G network. In 2001, the Company acquired Eircell, the largest wireless communications company in the Republic of Ireland, from eir- com. Eircell was subsequently rebranded as Vodafone Ireland. Vodafone then went on to acquire Japan’s third-largest mobile operator J-Phone, which had introduced camera phones first in Japan. On 17 December 2001, Vodafone introduced the concept of “Partner Networks”, by signing TDC Mobil of Denmark. The new concept involved the introduction of Vodafone international services to the local market, without the need of investment by Vodafone. The concept would be used to extend the Vodafone brand and services into markets where it does not have stakes in local operators. Vodafone services would be marketed under the dual-brand scheme, where the Vodafone brand is added at the end of the local brand. (i.e., TDC Mobil- Vodafone etc.) In 2007, Vodafone entered into a title sponsorship deal with the McLaren Formula One team, which has since traded as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. In May 2011, Vodafone Group Plc bought the rest of the shares of Vodafone Essar from Essar Group Ltd with value of $5 billion and became a solely owned of Vodafone Essar.171
    • THE PROJECT 2.3 context: Vodafone -Vodafone Italy: historyWhen we talk about the history of Vodafone Italy we first haveto talk about Omnitel, the company Vodafone bought in April2000.The founder of Omnitel are Carlo De Benedetti ed ElserinoPiol, in 1994 they won the first competition for a mobile tel-ecommunication licence in Italy. It was in those days that thetelecommunication market became an open market, and themobile sector seemed more and more profitable.In Dicember 1995, Omnitel was launched, and it was the timethe Italian telecommunication monopoly was challenged. Theidea was extremely risky but the first commercial successes in1996 confirmed that it was the right decision and path to take;turning point of this adventure was in 1997, when they reachedthe breakeven and started earning profit.Besides all of the market innovation Omnitel launched, whatit was deeply different from the current TelCo market were thevalues the company professed: personal freedom of thought,and diversity where at the centre of the company culture. Theclient/user was set at the center of the entire company, the firstclaim in fact was: “We listen to you”, they were sure to launch abrand new and unexpected offer into the market.In April 2000 Omnitel was bought by Vodafone, the brandingprocess shows very well this change: from 2001 to 2003 we cansee the evolution of the communication that mirrors changesinto the mission and the values of what became VodafoneItaly1.1 www.vodafone.it
    • THE PROJECT 2.4 context: Vodafone -Vodafone Italy: Employer Branding and Recruiting First of all, what does Employer Branding mean? The term “employer brand” was first used in the early 1990s to denote an organization’s reputation as an employer. Since then, it has become widely adopted by the global management community. Minchington (2005) defines your employer brand as “the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the ex- ternal market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engage- ment and retention of initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand” . Just as a customer brand proposition is used to define a product or service offer, an employer brand proposition (otherwise referred to as an employer value proposition, employee value proposition or EVP) is used to define an organization’s employ- ment offer. Likewise the marketing disciplines associated with branding and brand management have been increasingly applied by the human resources and talent management community to attract, engage and retain talented candidates and employees, in the same way that marketing applies such tools to attracting and retaining clients, customers and consumers. The Employer Branding department in a company can be both a marketing or a human resources division indeed. Vodafone Employer Branding is an HR division, and it’s considered one of the three assets to create the Vodafone Brand, if not, considering that we’re talking about a people- centered service, the most important. It is usually hard to explain to designers what’s the E.B. role in building the brand, moreover to identify its narrative, in fact Vodafone corporate identity narrative is as powerful as bully. Mid October I gave a class to second year university students, and when we show an old Vodafone commercial, starring Megan Gale thinking that they wouldn’t have remembered her as testimonial, everybody positively nodded at the question. This is the power of the corporate identity narrative. The complete brand world is composed by the three elements showed in the picture: corporate identity, product brand, and employer branding. The Employer Branding department is highly considered in Vodafone, it’s in fact a separate but complementary unit of the recruiting division. The E.B. strategy takes into consideration the company business goals and the Italian social context to ultimately reach two goals: recruiting the best students, and to retain and motivate the current best employees.Img. 48CORPORATE PEOPLE PRODUCTSIDENTITY 173
    • THE PROJECT 3.1 Youniversity -Intro“Youniversity” is a new innovative Vodafone Employer Brand-ing tool, a project of an exclusive Web 2.0 community wherestudents and recent graduates can keep in touch with Vodafone.The idea is to create a place where students can find useful in-formation about the Vodafone Graduate Program, internships,events and much more about the company; as well as a placewhere they can communicate, ask and share ideas with Voda-fone new Graduates, can publish their personal info, picturesand videos, follow Vodafone manager’s speeches about severaltopics like recruiting, marketing, communication and so on…ultimately live a unique experience as both potential Graduateand actual one.The project is a strategy and human resources directors’ idea;in March 2010 Gianluca Ventura, Vodafone HR director, waslooking into the social network world, studying how the GenY interacts, which are his interests, ambitions, and dreams. Hewanted Vodafone to be able to get in touch with those studentstalking their own language; he believed that in order to attractnew talents, Vodafone had to innovate according to thoseyouths’ visions and aspirations. It is from this reflection that theidea of Youniversity starts taking shape.The current platform is composed by different sections: home,Vodafone Voice, invitation page, My page, forum, events page,members page, FAQ, netiquette and the chat.According to social network analysis the community can beconsidered a social network since there are many structural andcompositional variables measured on a set of actors.The current user experience is as shown in the picture below.Next steps of the project consist in analyzing the businesslogic, the business and users narrative, and how those two af-fect the platform.schema 49 E.B. IN CLASS 1+2=3 FORUM INTERACTION @ CHAT MESSAGE RECRUITING CAREER DAY DAY @gmail SHARE ********** PHOTO VIDEO HOME ia econom PROFILE/CV INFO VF INFO DOWNLOAD EVENTS INVITATION BY MEMBER
    • THE PROJECT 3.1 Youniversity Analysis -The golden RIBS An interesting perspective in building online communities comes from T. W. Howard1 ; the author highlights four main assets you have to consider when building a platform from scratch: Remuneration, Influence, Belonging, and Significance. I’ll use the golden RIBS to analyze Youniversity’s building logic, aiming to detect which of the four elements were considered and with which final vision in mind. Remuneration consists in the benefit users get out of becom- ing member of the community, people need to believe that they will obtain some positive return on the investment of their time and energy in order to be attracted to participation in an e-community. This doesn’t mean that it has to be some financial incentive; they most powerful benefits satisfy some basic, psychological or emotional need, like Facebook does. Examples of techniques to enhance remunerations can be making the use fun (e.g. emoticons), use stars to show membership contribu- tion level (e.g. LinkedIn), rank the value of members’ messages (e.g. TripAdvisor), or create regular events. In terms of remuneration Youniversity gives user the opportu- nity to be updated on all Vodafone events and initiatives, some ones only reserved for members of the community; further- more it offers a non-formal and easy way to get in touch with a multinational company. Influence can be said to exist in a community when its mem- bers believe that they can control or at least shape the policies, procedures, topics and standards of evidence used to persuade others in an online community or social network. Within a community there are different role, with different level of participation therefore influence, member can have, as shown in the table below.2 1 Howard T.W., 2010, Design to thrive. Creating social networks and online communities that last, Elsevier 2 Nielsen J. 2006, Partecipation inequality: Encouraging more users to cotribute, Alerbox schema 50 MEMBER CHARACTERISTICS INFLUENCE NEEDS TYPE Create the primary, inital content for Need to know they’re being read and have Creators a community of network some impact Want to shape and persuade the minds of other member Critics will comment on entry crea- Need feedback that helps them determine tors post how values in the network or community are Critics Consensus builders lining up Add value to social networks and Need to have questions sent to them asking if communities because they sort the they have information in their archive that will Collectors content created by Creators and help the community Critics into ordered and ranked Need to hear that their social bookmarks, catergories archives, or cllecting behaviorss are valued by the community Have influence simply by virtue of Need to see that other people have viewed the profiles that they choose to fill their profile information Joiners out and complete Need to see that their mere presence had influence This group benefits form and “con- Need to see that Crators and Critics appreci- sumes what the rest produce” ate the time that they invest reading their Spectators Implies appreciation for the content blogs or postings or watching their videos generated by the Crators and Critics Expend no energy on behalf of the Have all of the influence needs of teh previous Inactives social network and don’t participate five membership types, but these needs aren’t being met 175
    • There are few evidence that the variable Influence wasn’t con-sidered while structuring Youniversity; primarily because givingusers the power to decide policies and rules, clashes with theVodafone authority and control over the community; nor therole of the admin is transparently defined, influence logics anddynamics are still a point not solved.Most students at the moment are either spectators or inactivewhereas VF neo-graduates are creators when in occupancy,there is almost not spontaneous interaction on their behalf.Belonging is the techniques or mechanisms by which we helpmembers of the community develop the sense of “social pres-ence”, a sense that they belong in that community, they identifywith it and share a bond with its other members.Examples of techniques to foster belonging are mythologies,shared stories of origin, shared symbols and cultural codesembedded in those symbols.Vodafone tried to enhance the sense of belonging suggest-ing VF graduates to organize events and get-together on theplatform, creating unique events people could have access justthrough Youniversity, ultimately establishing colors and a visualidentity of the platform.Significance is about building a community brand and reputa-tion; this is concretized if the community is:- well recognized- established as the “go-to place” for accomplishing your users’goals- valued by people your users respect- populated by people who are serious and passionate in theirfield- distinguished as a reputable brand to your usersOne of the things about significance and building the sort ofreputation in a community that will attract people is the ideaof exclusivity; often in fact the best strategy is to not open it toeverybody but to reach as many people as possible and to beas inclusive as possible in admitting members to the social net-work. A great example of this it has been B. Obama commu-nity during the election; they requested people to first registerto the platform to have access to the campaign information. Sothe idea is to go for quality and not quantity and to use nodesand connectors to start the conversation.There are many techniques to enhance significance, such asprovide a story that shares a vision, list members’ accomplish-ment (LinkedIn), build the social network in a custom space,make connections with other leaders in social media, createcontests, games, or videos, mobilize your existing members…This out of the four was the key driver Youniversity was builton; in first place the goal is to create an exclusive communityindeed (and later on we’ll see how the exclusivity paradoxwas managed). Vodafone try to realize this mobilizing the VFgraduates, shaping a custom space to host the community, evenmaking connection with other social medias for a short periodof time (Facebook, Twitter and VFlab page). We’ll see howre-modeling the entire strategy of the platform will affect thispart.
    • THE PROJECT 3.2 Youniversity Analysis As Is -Business Logic Youniversity business model didn’t change much since its launch (it took around two years to Facebook and Twitter to significantly affect the business logic). The only change, that looks more like a mistake than a con- scious decision, had been in the channels block over a period a month, where it adopted mass market channels such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise it (we’ll see later on the related changes on the business narrative). This change was too short in time to affect the business logic, (after a month in fact Vodafone decided to keep it as a strictly exclusive channel, something you can’t find on Fb) Youniversity indeed remained a close network reserved to top students and graduate to which you couldn’t access without a Vodafone official invitation. CHANNEL EVOLUTION schema 51 -word of mouth, -word of mouth, -word of mouth, friends invitation friends invitation friends invitation -career fairs -career fairs -career fairs -class presenta- -class presenta- -class presenta- tion tion tion -VF FB page and Twitter account -VF Lab May 2010 -> Aug. 2010 Sept. 2010 Oct. 2010 -> now THE CURRENT BUSINESS MODEL Value Proposition [what] Youniversity value proposition is to attract universities top students and graduates; speaking their web 2.0 language the platform becomes a place where those students can get to know Vodafone and meet the recently hired New Graduates. The private social network becomes a place for sharing and learning. Key Activities [how] Key activities all aim to enrich the platform in terms of users and contents; the “cycle” starts with sending invitation out, check the received request to join, update content such as events, photos, videos, assign graduates occupancy, and be the content mediator. Key resources [how] The platform itself is the key asset, complemented by Voda- fone media resources such as video, pictures, and press articles. A key resource in the student user experience are VF Neo- Graduates as well, they’re the one in charge of monitoring and answer to doubts and curiosity. Partnership [how] Youniversity benefits from two kinds of partnerships: content one and channel one. Content partners are Prodigys the agency in charge of the hard develop of the platform, and all of others 177
    • VF division that are content creators for the social network,such as VF TV and VF lab.The channel partners are universities, that provide the space forcareer fairs and class presentation, where there is the opportu-nity to spread the word about Youniversity.Channels [how]Youniversity is a private community, by invitation only. The twochannels to be invited are by a friend already part of it, and byVodafone. As mentioned before, Vodafone advertises it dur-ing some class presentation and to certain students (top gradeones) during career fairs.Customer Segment [who]Youniversity has three targets:1. The main one are top students graduating or about to gradu-ate. This customer segment is the one the tool can be moreappealing to, in fact it provides all of the useful information tobe hired by Vodafone.2. Vodafone Graduates are the graduated students just hired byVodafone, currently taking part at the VF Graduate Program.3. Last one are 3rd and 4th year top students who are in themiddle of their academic path, and might be interested to lookfor VF specific case studies for their assignments or, why not,might be already curious about the work world, just to have alook or to collect information for an internshipschema 52 -send invitations -co-creator -double check and -network approve users -daily contents update -assign occupancy -check for rules -VF TV respect attract and retain -students 4th and -universities universities top 5th year -prodigys students and -students graduat- graduates, ing and just speaking their graduated web 2.0 language -VF graduates -word of mouth, -ning (pla orm) friends invitation -VF media content -career fairs -VF Neograduates -class presentation -platform development -gadgets -employee
    • Customer Relationship This is a controversy block, let’s say that Youniversity aspires to be have a co-creator approach and build a network customer relationship. This kind of customer relationship is typical of generalist social networks as analyzed before, but not of con- tent based social network, where the content is provided by a “super partes” authority. Costs/Revenues [how] The main costs of the platform are related to the development of it by Prodygis (outsourced), although there is no server cost because the technology division hosts it on his ones. There is the cost of the admin, the VF employee in charge of the suc- cess of the platform (part of the Employer Branding team), and of the printed and online adv./gadget developed to spon- sor it.THE PROJECT 3.3 Youniversity Analysis As Is -Business&Users Narrative Textual Business Narrative Business narratives evidences are very hard to find, in fact except for that month in which Youniversity advertised on Vodafone Facebook and twitter page and on the VF Lab, there is very few viral business narrative.schema 53 May Sept. Nov. Nov. Dic. 2010 2010 2010 2011 2011 EXCLUSIVE EXCLUSIVE The only direct narrative consists in what managers and Voda- fone people say directly to students in their lectures, or what top management mentioned to newspapers. Such as: G. Ventura interview: “Youniversity è una community che coinvolge giovani laureati neoassunti in azienda e studenti o neolaureati in cerca di lavoro, che instaurano discus- sioni sui temi più diversi. La community è chiusa, ristretta ad una cerchia di potenziali candidati che invitiamo ad iscriversi nei momenti di contatto tra azienda e università. I ragazzi sono molto più propensi ad ascoltare e a credere a chi è a loro più vicino, come età e condizione, che a una persona che potrebbero incontrare seguendo i canali di assunzione tradizionali. Il vantaggio per noi è duplice. Da un lato, la community ci consente di incre- 179
    • mentare la motivazione e il coinvolgimento dei neolaureati, (un segmentooccupazionale tipicamente propenso a cambiare lavoro dopo i primi anniin azienda). Dall’altro ci aiuta a costruire la reputazione aziendale eattrarre i migliori talenti.”“Youniversity is a community where neo-graduates already hired inVodafone and students or neo-graduates looking for job, can chat andcommunicate on many topics. It’s a private community, just for the potentialcandidates we invite to join it, during class presentation or career fairs.Young people are more likely to listen and trust somebody close to them interms of status and age, rather than a recruiter, they would meet followingthe conventional channels. In on one hand we get to engage with student justgraduated (a segment known for changing company after few years they arehired), on the other it helps us build the company reputation and attracttop talents”The narrative used in universities is strictly institutional and of-ten sounds like a refrain they learnt by heart: “Youniversity is anexclusive Web 2.0 community where students & recent gradu-ates can keep in touch with Vodafone. It’s access is strictly oninvitation only and you have to answer to some requirements tobeen accepted”, even the video they launched viral in Septem-ber was in terms of lexical narrative very institutional.Another institutional business narrative evidence is what news-papers wrote about Youniversity in September 2011 in occasionof the Desmo award Vodafone gained by Borsa del Placementfor the Best Employer Branding Program.Here’s what they write about Youniversity:“si tratta di una community web esclusiva, che opera come canale diinterazione con neolaureati e studenti. L’obiettivo e’ quello di creare unostrumento di comunicazione informale online, in cui studenti, tesisti,laureandi e neo-laureati possano mettersi in contatto con l’azienda e coni giovani già assunti nell’ambito del Vodafone Graduate Program, perricevere informazioni e suggerimenti sulla propria carriera e condividereesperienze e ambizioni”“It’s an exclusive web community that becomes a communication chan-nel between neo-graduates and students. The goal is to build an informalonline communication tool, through which students, students writing theirthesis, about to graduate, and neo-graduates can easily get in touch with thecompany and with the neo-graduates just hired for the Vodafone Gradu-ate Program, to gather information, be advised and share experiences andambitions”It’s curious how they always mention the word “informal” whiletheir narrative style is extremely formal.Visual Business NarrativeThe September 2010 mass market Business Narrative was con-stituted by a video, paired by different texts, below examples ofwhat appeared on Twitter and VFLab.The video presents Youniversity as “the Vodafone exclusiveprivate community, for Italian and foreign students, students
    • Img. 49181
    • graduating, and just graduated. Youniversity is a new innovativeway to get in touch with Vodafone, in particular with the VFneo-graduates; to ask for information, have a look into theirlives and, why not, be noticed. To be part of this world youneed to be invited and have some requirements: be in time inyour academic career and with top grades, master a very goodEnglish, be willing to be in an international context and to livean experience which is more than just work”. Ultimately theyask for sending your profile if in line with the requirements.Again an informal tool like video adopted an institutional narra-tive approach in terms of vocabulary and tone of the conversa-tion. img. 50The most recent visual business narrative released was thisOctober (2011) when Vodafone launched a video featuring thenew Youniversity Global.The video shows with a very engaging style, images and VFneo-graduates of Milano VF Italy, Newbury VF UK, Maas-tricht VF Netherlands, Dublin VF Irelend, and London VFgroup. It fundamentally introduces the spectator to Youniver-sity international community, for the first time really using ayoung languages, and starring only VF graduates.Users Textual NarrativeAs highlighted in the customer segment block, there are fun-damentally two kinds of users: university students (4th, 5th,year, graduating or just graduated) and Vodafone Graduates(young employee graduated and just hired within the GraduateProgram).Vodafone GraduatesIt had been very hard to get honest answer from them duringinterviews; and on the platform they only post positive com-ments, because they are too scared that whatever they say itcould reach top management’s ears, causing bad consequences.This affects the validity of the narrative collection, and at thesame time raises a main design challenge.September 2010: This is what came out during the focusgroups:- It is an interesting tool, but it takes to much time to write apost (lack of engagement)- Students ask always the same questions and never answer totopics not related to recruiting
    • - We’re scared to be judged on what we write - Emailing is more efficient and personal than writing on it - I guess it could be used to organize get-together In October 2011 I gathered some interesting honest answers: Giuseppe “Un po’ per impegni un po’ per scarso interesse adesso e’ molto tempo che non uso piu’ university. Attualmente uso +1, FB, twitter, Tagged, linked- in, la mia gmail e yahoo mail... per aggiungere un nuovo social network ai miei interessi deve essere fatto veramente bene e fare la differenza. A mio parere Youniversity aveva un tasso di mortalita’ degli utenti molto alto... i ragazzi si iscrivevano prendevano le info di cui avevano bisogno e non partecipavano piu’ alla community; non avevano piu’ un reale motivo di frequentarsi. Se qualcuno era realmente interessato a mantenere un vicendevole contatto si spostava su FB o twitter. Non era immediato quanto la chat aziendale o FB. E poi c’era un tema di controllo che tutti noi abbiamo sempre sentito.” Stefano “Era infatti parecchio che non entravo in Youniversity, vuoi per la frenesia che mi circonda, vuoi perche’ non piu’ “tenuto” a farlo. Devo pero’ ammettere che il tempo sembra essersi fermato a un anno fa quando lo frequentavo ancora. Non fraintendermi, le iscrizioni ed i post continuano e sono fors’anche cresciuti, il format pero’ e’ rimasto esattamente lo stesso senza elemento di innovazione alcuno e, nonostante il mio essere web 1.0, in ambiente multimediale credo cio’ sia possibilmente da evitare. In realta’ io credo che Youniversity assolva pienamente il suo compito, ov- vero quello di facilitare il contatto tra laureandi - laureati - neoassunti, la fascia in cui non riesce pero’ a fare breccia e’ proprio la mia, ovvero persone con una dignitosa anzianita’ aziendale (tra non molto faccio 3 anni) che possano dare una view piu’ strutturata e a 360 gradi rispetto al graduate entrato in azienda l’altro ieri che ti crea 20 post sull’esperienza in Orefici. Ci stanno l’una e l’altra cosa ovviamente.” What we can deduce from those narratives is a lack of engage- ment and trust in the VF graduates segment; they did collabo- rate until they had to, until it was mandatory, then they just simply forgot about it. Another important narrative to highlight is the lack of evolu- tion the platform had since a year ago when it was launched; they felt it as “not cool” and engaging, they expect those kinds of tools to keep evolving and innovating. Students: Again this was a very hard narrative to find, because of the mentioned rare student participation in the platform. Most narratives are related to recruiting issues, asking for advice and practical information such as: “Vi scrivo per chiedere a chi ha lavora- to, come stagista o graduate del Graduate Program, nella funzione Strategy & New Business in Vodafone e può raccontarmi un pò l’esperienza”. They often congratulate with Vodafone for the platform idea “Innanzitutto Complimenti a tutti coloro che collaborano per questa Com- munity, è un’iniziativa a mio avviso veramente molto interessante e utile...” although they do point out the poor user experience of the183
    • platform: “In realtà avevo guardato anche Noi Graduates e all’iniziopensavo fosse un area più per chi è stato già assunto che altri (o meglio,anche per gli altri per avere maggiori info sui graduate). Ho visto che cisono alcune esperienze e mi sarebbe piaciuto leggere altri casi.”What it can be deductive looking at statistics of interaction onthe platform is that Youniversity student life cycle is of abouta month which is about the same amount of time it takes tocomplete the recruiting interview steps.Users Visual Narrative Img. 51 Img. 52
    • THE PROJECT 3.3 Youniversity Analysis As Is -The platform evolution Since it was launched the platform didn’t add many features, the only new one released in February 2011 was the chat. Moreover the user experience is very poor, emblematic is the registration process: students have to send an email to the ad- dress yourjob.yourself@mail.vodafone.it asking for an invita- tion, (which means that previously somebody has to tell them about it) then Vodafone would send them an invitation, the user could then log in and fill out a profile page, that had to be doubled checked and approved by Vodafone again (it was only at this stage that the admin could evaluate the student academic career and decide if give him access to the platform). All platform sections can be divided in two groups, according to the user experience goal: interaction block and information one. June 2010: when launched those where the features of the platform Interaction - forum, blog, private messages, pictures and video sharing Information - personal page, event page, downloads, FAQ September 2010: -the blog became “Vodafone Voice” becoming an information channel February 2011 -interaction: chat added and the forum was reorganized into four fiels (from Recruiting to Graduate Program, We Graduate, Working at Vodafone, Vodafone Voice) -information: netiquette added, Vodafone Voice became part of the forum but remaining a landmark Img. 53 185
    • Img. 54Img. 55
    • THE PROJECT 3.3 Youniversity analysis conclusion - The employer branding business model Both students’ and VF graduates users, highlight a poor design of the platform, which is ultimately not fostering interaction nor making easy to share contents. Based on Youniversity longitudinal analysis and literature on social network analysis (pp. 26-36) and business model (pp. 18- 22) I feel comfortable saying that there is a conceptual mistake in Youniversity business model. Youniversity would have the ambition to be an exclusive generalist, connection-oriented (pp.36) social network according to the analyzed business narrative; whereas it is just a part of the Employer Branding business model, probably the most social channel of it. This is confirmed by the fact that Youniversity doesn’t generate revenues and this would be an issue for a real self-sufficient business model. Moreover it is not currently connection-based, but content-based providing convenient, and potentially user- friendly online access to various types of relevant content. To fully develop the platform without incoherencies not only between business logic and narratives but also among distinct business narratives it’s important to consider it as part of the Employer Branding whole business model, and design it as integrated in other E.B. practices. According to the literature (Wirtz, Schilke, Ullrich, 2010), social networking can be considered as one of the four factors in- novative business models based on the world wide web have to take into consideration, together with interaction oriented, customization and user-added value. All of those factors can apply to Youniversity. In this new light Youniversity becomes one of the channels of the Employer Branding business model, together with in-class presentation, career fairs, special targeted events such as “a din- ner with” and the brand new Youniversity contest. Channels in a business model are ultimately the media enabling the narrative of the business; in fact everything the company wants to com- municate has to pass through a channel that makes sense out of it, ultimately communicating meaning. What’s currently happening is that the Employer branding narrative isn’t consistent and thought in a systemic way, and as effect users make assumptions on Vodafone based on incom- plete information; an example is what Stefano said about You- niversity: “aren’t community suppose to evolve rapidly? I have the feeling it didn’t change at all from last year, Vodafone didn’t innovate” whereas Vodafone keeps implementing new tools and seeking new ways to listen more and more to students needs and desires, ulti- mately shaping innovative tools such as the new Youniversity contest. But of course it’s not enough if the message didn’t pass through. There is a very important aspect to be highlighted in this user narrative: business model to avoid the risk to be outdated should keep changing over time, in fact technology, society, 187
    • economy and culture have been going through major changes,and organizations have to follow those changes to be com-petitive and avoid the risk of being anachronistic. The valueproposition has to lead the evolution; today Vodafone valueproposition is more and more focused on retention, rather thanattraction. In fact Vodafone developed good channels to reachthe target customer segment but it strives, once reached, toestablish a long-term relationship.In conclusion the goal of the remodeling is to shape a powerfulnarrative system starting from a reviewed value proposition, toaffect the business logic and ultimately the perception studentshave of the company.As mentioned before, in order to build a solid value proposi-tion, it has to be both company and users centered, aiming tobuild value for the company satisfying real users needs.Those are the users centered values, based on identified users’needs:- Partner and support students in class activities- Enable an easy way to work together- Advice them before the work interview- Connect with neo-graduates, have a glimpse into the company- Be part of the exclusive Vodafone communityThose are the business values that will generate revenues:- Attract the best students- Retain the best graduates
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - The Employer Branding Narrative System There are few factors it’s important to considerate when re- modeling the Employer Branding starting from narratives. This division is part of Vodafone Business, and its goals are derived from the broader Vodafone business model, therefore the E.B. value proposition and customer segment are blocks defined top-down based on needs of the business. What’s hap- pening right now is that the value proposition is not complete, it doesn’t really address user needs; moreover different chan- nels operate at different business value proposition levels, ultimately targeting different customer segments. In the process of structuring a narrative that will affect the business logic, it’s important to have in mind a value proposition both business and users oriented. It becomes than evident the importance first to structure a complete value proposition; secondly to re-model the interac- tion channels-value proposition-customer segment in a systemic way in order to generate one strong corporate image by coher- ent and complete narratives. The current “super mobile” business strategy focuses on de- fending the mobile market, leading the data market and attack the fix at home at office market, all in the most efficient and simple way as possible. Consequently the E.B. business value proposition derived is to attract and retain the top students from the top universities, that will make the super mobile strategy happen; the detailed customer segments involves students, students about to gradu- ate and just graduated. Remodeling the narrative means to think the narratives in terms of a whole customer experience that follows students from the student stage all the way to the post graduation, coherently with the business value proposition of attracting and retaining top students and with the user values. schema 54 Efficiency  &   Simplicity   Mobile   Defend  Value   PEOPLE Supermobile   (Mobile  Data)   Lead  the  Market   BRAND @Home@Office   A2ack  the  Market   189
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - Users value propositionsThe building of the value proposition is crucial to shape a pow-erful and communicative narrative. Those are all the messages,based on highlighted values that the remodeled E.B. businessnarrative have to communicate:- Be supported in universities activities- Be part of an exclusive community- Connect with VF neo-graduates and through them have aglimpse into the company- Be advised for the job interviewsTHE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - Vodafone E.B. customer segmentAs mentioned the E.B. customer segments is derived fromVodafone strategy, this means that the Employer Brandingwill target students according to the need of specific talents todevelop the business. Talking to the Vodafone HR departmentI framed three student personas that could fit in the currentneeds.I focused on students because they’re the target less addressedaccording to users narratives, and the crucial one to ensure along-term Vodafone reputation in universities.It is important to mention that although the remodel not fo-cused on students about to graduate or just graduated, becausetarget currently fully covered, the new system is meant toultimately address and be useful for all targets.Giuseppe Cardullo22 years oldfrom Sicily living in MilanStudying master of international management CEMS at Boc- coni universityBackgroundHe comes from an entrepreneurial family, he’s father built acompany from scratches, he’s very independent since he movedout of home when he was still 18 to come to Milan for college.The past year he lived in Madrid Spain and did an internship inFrance. He’s one of the top ten students of his class.GoalsHe’s a career adventurer, when asked to imagine himself in 10years he said: “in the top management of a multinational com-pany!”, didn’t mention family or kids.He would like to pursue his career in the sales departmentNeedsHe’s very logical and data based, he always need to doublecheck on others work, aims to perfection. He tends to be the
    • leader of the group, but he won’t step on others feet to be the one. Social Network Usage He’s registered on Facebook and LinkedIn, and checks them at least 4 days a week, especially from his phone. He’s also a smallworld member. Vittorio Tornielli 24 years old From Parma living in Milan  Studying informatics engineering at Politecnico di Milano Background He studied his bachelor in his hometown Parma, where he graduated with honors in time, decided to pursue his LM in Mi- lan because of the international prestigious of Politecnico. This is the first time he’s living by himself; he has no international experiences. His mom is a teacher and he keeps not answering about what his dad does (hopefully nothing illegal!). He’s been going out with the same girlfriend since 2007. Goals He really wants to become a good engeneer, one of those who know what they’re doing. As soon as he graduates he knows he will have no troubles finding a job, therefore he would like to choose one in Parma if he has the possibility, where his girl- friend and family live as well. He would like to have two dogs as well. Need He’s one of those very sharp on dead lines, that does his work properly; he’s a bit slow compared to others and that’s why he needs to study more, and spend more time on projects. He’s not that fascinated by career perspective if those imply leaving the people close to him Social Network Usage He has a Facebook profile, he’s also on twitter and he’s con- nected to Techcrunch and Mashable through FB connect. Federica Bardelli From Segrate living there Studying Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano Background She pursued her entire career in communication design at Po- litecnico, where she commuted every day form her hometown Segrate, twenty minutes away. She’s very shy, not the kind of person you ask private questions, her parents are employees and she has a younger brother. She would have liked to go abroad in Erasmus, but because of a financial issue she didn’t go. She’s considered one of the most talented students in her class. Goals She would like to do something she loves, work a lot with her hands building and prototyping ideas. She loves paper and would like to work somewhere where she could project paper 191
    • outcomes. Even if a little naïf she’s quite ambitious and willingto sacrifice of a period of time to do something she’s proud of.NeedShe would like a workplace where she could have some time tothink about her own personal creative project and where shehas recognition for her work. She’s willing to take responsibili-ties although she would like to work in team as well.Social Network UsageShe’s on Facebook, twitter and cargo collective, although not abig user of them; she just checks them when she has to, or as aworking tool.Once acknowledged the “perfect” student to target, it’s impor-tant to understand if those students actually have an interest inVodafone activities or in joining a community like Youniversity.Thus I created a survey addressing social network habits, anduniversity group working dynamics; this choice was led by twomain reasons: group dynamics are intrinsically social, thereforerelated to a social network, secondly because in line with otherscurrent VF Employer Branding activities.The survey was sent electronically and targeted to studentsfrom Politecnico di Milano and Università CommercialeL.Bocconi; the two were selected because already Vodafonemajor partners.Those are the most significant insights from the results1:1. Looking for specific information about a topic (possiblemore than one answer), about 90% declare they would havelooked at the company website, and 40% at Wikipedia and 18%at blogs. About half of the unit would use a social networkmedia looking for info.2. Working remotely in-group about half of the unit said theyuse emails, and 10% that they use repository platform such asDropbox. There is a need for an online repository.3. To get in touch directly with a company 92% uses email, but5% LinkedIn messages. Social networks are becoming tools tohelp us reach what we couldn’t by ourselves.4. Company takes long time to answer, if they did answer.There is a wish for quick answers by companies.5. More than half of the unit is on LinkedIn. There is interestfor work-related social networks.I took those insights in big consideration when remodeling thenarrative value propositions and the inter-connection of differ-ent channels and activities to ultimately draw the new businessnarrative.1 For the survey data and full results see APPENDIX
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: Avoiding risks: missing student and recruitment Before tackling the remodeling, it is important to remark and acknowledge a trend that came out from previous analysis of both Youniversity business logic and narratives: the missing students. This will hopefully prevent further missing targets or off-track choices. In fact even if Youniversity business model targets students and graduates, probably because of the channels Vodafone chooses to divulgate those narratives or because of the formal vocabu- lary used, the result is that they are missing the target students, who consequently don’t feel engage in it. If we base this on students’ narratives on the platform, they are completely focused on recruiting issues, and not surprisingly all of those students are about to graduate or just graduated indeed, not on-going students. This demand has pushed the evolution of the platform in that direction even more, making Youniversity look like a Recruiting tool instead of an Employer Branding one every day more. Comparing last year Vodafone Graduate Program path, which represents the recruiting strategy for neo-graduates, with last video released introducing Youniversity Global, it’s evident they’re following the same path, they seem two pieces of the same business model. Business Narrative “This November (2011) Vodafone has just released a video featuring the launch of Youniversity Global. The video shows with a very engaging style, images and VF neo-graduates of Milano VF Italy, Newbury VF UK, Maas- tricht VF Netherlands, Dublin VF Ireland, and London VF group. It fundamentally introduces the spectator to Youniver- sity international community. “ The goal of the remodeling is then to project the new narrative system as an attraction tool ultimately enabling the retention of talents. schema 55 In Store Outbound Columbus InternationalWelcome day 1st Assignement 2nd Assignement Initial Customer Sales Sales Experience Experience Experience Evaluation Evaluation Training Experience Mid Tern START Final 1 week 2week 4 week 1 week 5 months 5 months 2 years 193
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - The new Employer Branding NarrativeBased on a complete value proposition and trying to addressthe target with the proper tone of voice I built a possible nar-rative.The narrative proposed is one of many possible ones, thefocus is on the way the storytelling in the video communicatethe value of: supporting, connecting, rewarding and advisingstudents.The commercial is divided into four “gags”, each of them rep-resenting and explaining one value. The atmosphere is playfuland the communication style is young and in line with Voda-fone products commercials.-First gag: “supporting you” the idea is to show Vodafonesupport to students during project work, such as Bocconi in-company training; this is communicated through a ridiculouslylong word of mouth that starts at Vodafone HQ and reachesthe university where students working in group were strugglingwith a solution.-Second gag: “connecting you” through the new “let’swork” section on Youniversity, you can work remotely withyour group mates and always be on the ball, just using yourcell-phone. In the gag a student is training in a park and a VFemployee pairs him handing him his phone with updates fromYouniversity-Third gag: “rewarding you” final presentation, a student ispresenting his work to a class a bit bored, all of the sudden theclass starts cheering and acclaiming the student who blushes abit but feels very good. On his back a VF employee is passingwith “bravo” and “clap” signs. This is based on YouniversityContest, a VF business case project that rewards best finalprojects with prizes.-Four gag: “advising you” based on what Youniversity is mostused until now, the gag stresses VF neo-graduates commitmentand involvement in answering to students’ questions and postsabout job interviews on Youniversity. The scene features anemployee that all of the sudden raises his hand and whistle, allof his colleagues gather around his pc trying to figure out thebest answer.StoryboardSUPPORT- the scene starts with SUPPORT- slowly we get inside SUPPORT- an emplyee gets outthe view of VF HQ the building of his room and start whispering something in another’s ear
    • SUPPORT- the word of moth SUPPORT- the whisper keeps SUPPORT- the whisper keeps go-starts, employee to employee they going ing in the streetpasses the whisper SUPPORTING YOUSUPPORT- the whisper keeps go- SUPPORT- until it reaches a group SUPPORT- the scene closes withing crossing the city of students struggling with a pro- the writing: supporting you ject, thanks to the advice they solve the issue CONNECTING YOUCONNECT- the scene open in CONNECT- all of the sudden a CONNECT- in the mobile thereParco Sempione where a student is VF employee pairs him waving a are updates from his group workpracticing mobile. on Youniversity. the scene closes with the writing: connecting you CLAPREWARD- the scene open in a REWARD- the classroom is listen- REWARD- silently a VF employeeclassroom where a student is giving ing not very engaged though appears behind the student andhis final presentation speech starts waving a clap and bravo sign 195
    • vo!! cla p 1 1 REWARDING YOU bra bi s! ap cl ap cl cla p REWARD- students in the class REWARD- the student is a bit REWARD- scene ends with the starts clapping and yelling “bravo” emberassed but happy writing “rewarding you” on the very loud blackboard ADVICE- scene opens with a VF ADVICE- all of the sudden it ADVICE- they all run and look at employee at behid his pc raises his hands and whistles, call- the pc, starting talking among them ing his colleagues ECT-REW ECT-REW NN AR NN AR CO CO D D - - RT RT -A -A SUPPO SUPPO DV DV ADVISING YOU ICE ICE jo in u s! ADVICE- on the pc there is You- ADVICE- the scene ends with the END- the commercial ends with niversity opened and a student’s writing “advising you” the logo, surrounded by the four request for info about the job keywords support, connect, reward interview and advice ECT-REW ECT-REECT-RE WA ECT-REW ECT-REECT-REW W ECT-REW ECT-REW NN AR NN NN R WAR NN AR ECT-REW NN NN AR AR NN AR NN AR CO CO NN AR CO COCO CO CO CO CO D D D D - - - - RT RT RT RT D D D D - - - -A -A -A -A RT RT RT D - -A -A -A -A RT -A SUPPO SUPPO SUPPO SUPPO DV DV DV DV SUPPO SUPPO DV DV SUPPO DV DV SUPPO DV ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE ICE jo in u s! jo in u s! jo in u s! jo in u s! jo in u s! jo in u s! END- the writing “join us” ap- END- the logo opens and appear END- the student shows a VF pears at the bottom of the logo the student happy badge, they hired him, he’s part of the team now
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - The new Business Logic The narrative system reconfigures a new Employer Branding business logic, in which Youniversity features as one of the channels. In the process of remodeling the narrative through a user centered process, the designer doesn’t only build a power- ful storytelling, but it intuitively reconsiders the importance of each functional block that form the business model; in this case the block more affected is the channels block; I redesigned it in detail indeed as shown in the next paragraphs. The new business logic can be visualized as below.schema 56 -send invitations -double check and approve users -daily contents update support, connect, -communities -assign occupancy reward and advice -pitching project in best students in universities top university, -tutor students in enhancing the VF -VF TV university project image and -students 4th and -universities -advising students ultimately hiring 5th year -CEMS on Youniversity the best ones -students graduat- -UNITECH ing and just -prodigys graduated -other VF -VF neo-graduates divisions -Youniversity -ning (pla orm) -class presentation -VF media content -project works -VF Neograduates -word of mouth -VF employees -Projects (class work) -outsourced platform updates -activities in universities -gadgets -employees 197
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: The multi-channel strategyThe new narrative system shows Youniversity as the most“social” channel, it represents the effort Vodafone is doing incoping with the current social changes (i.e. social network).Therefore a multi-channel strategy can be rethought to set thecommunity as link between all of the different activities, andultimately as enabler of coherent narratives.Currently the main Employer Branding activities are:- In class presentation: lectures aiming to introduce Vodafoneas employer, it’s usually somebody from the HR department togive the class supported by somebody from the business- Class projects: integrated modules of class work, it representsthe “learn by doing” part of the class, Vodafone pitches a pro-ject that students have to fully develop usually within six weeks,an example is the in-company training at Bocconi university- Few career fairs: this is not a highly used channel becauseof the targets people strategy Vodafone has; however they goto major university partners ones such as Bocconi&jobs andPolimi career day- Virtual Fair: online customize career fair- Youniversity contest: this is the new way to collaborate withuniversities, it’s a peculiar kind of business case project withfinal awards- Youniversity (community): already fully described- Dinner/lunch/breakfast with: those are special events organ-ized for a small group of students who have the opportunityto go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with Vodafone topmangers, an meet them in an informal environment. schema 57 ATTRACTION - short time about to graduate/just graduated RETAINING - long time students economia Special interaction economia ITALY economia Virtual activity economia Class activitity economia YouniversityGROUP OTHER OP.CO. Special interaction economia economia Virtual activity Class activitity economia Youniversity economiaThe system can be structured as shown in the schema: all activi-ties are scheduled over time tackling either an attraction or aretention goal, and targeting either students or just graduated/about to.Moreover this narrative model can be scaled at group level ifeach operation company implements it, following the on-goingtrend about global Youniversity. In fact currently Youniversityis growing internationally, VF Ireland, VF Netherlands, VF UKand VF group, are all becoming part of it.In this scenario the role of Youniversity becomes crucial: it isindeed the only long-term channel of retention.Key of the system will be to project both the intra-interactionwithin the different sections of Youniversity itself, and theinter-connection between Youniversity and the other channels.
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - Youniversity channel intra-connection The community has indeed to be part of a broader system, rethought in its basic elements to be extended thus to support other channels and ultimately the users’ centered value proposi- tion. This peculiar channel tackles all users’ values highlighted in the beginning, besides being the main retention channel from the business perspective; this is the reason why it will be the core or the remodeling. The lack of awareness and engagement, fostering a trustful atmosphere, and a smoother user experience are all issues the remodel will try to solve; thus to do so the social network needs to be reviewed in its basic elements: relations and ties. Relation Relations aim to be direct, and both symmetric (in the neo- graduates – students connection and content exchange) as well as asymmetric (in the VF voice – student just content exchange). Moreover the strength of the relation system won’t be based on frequency of the relation but on quality; it’s in fact prove by social science that our brain tends to remember strong important things better than habits or routinely events, plus as Giuseppe’s narrative highlighted there is no reason to enhance a friendship on Youniversity, it is a content based social network, not a connection one, which is based on quantity and frequency of relations. Ties Ties are supposed to be very strong, based on customization and few intimate connections; it is through connections with neo-graduates that students will have the possibility to have a special glimpse into the company, from a point of view close to them. Moreover ties established are main enablers of the exclusivity of the community. (Smallworld.net logic) Those the steps trying to nail the mentioned issues: - lack of engagement: a better user experience and new useful tools as answers. I do believe that technology doesn’t create interaction, but it can greatly enhance it, if designed according to human behaviors. Providing new useful tools on the other hand, targeted to top students could be a way to spark inter- action on the platform for a longer period of time (students lifecycle is longer) - lack of awareness: a better storytelling, alias providing mate- rial that they can’t find anywhere else that easily, complete and well organized. I trust the word of mouth power after a suc- cessful experience. - fostering a trustful atmosphere: on VF graduates behalf, clarifying Vodafone role through a better netiquette (be more transparent), and on the student one implementing a private area, they only have access to. - cleaner on-to-many user experience: create a surfing path throughout the platform sections based on the social graph that highlights the content sections, now all coherent and well organized. 199
    • The Community Intra-Connection RedesignIn order to be engaging the social network user experienceneeds to tackle real users’ needs and to be social; this mightseem obvious but Youniversity is not setting users at the centerof the experience nor emulates a flux of thoughts, that passesfrom topic to topic in a logic and connected way; on the previ-ous system analysis of the platform I pointed out two mainblocks of tools: one based on interaction and the second oneon information. Those two parts are not integrated one intothe other one, whereas usually interaction is a function ofinformation and vice versa. Youniversity is information focusedand sets Vodafone, not the user, at the center making it looklike a recruiting tool indeed, not an Employer Branding one.The remodel of Youniversity seeks to make it user and contentcentered. The social graph underneath the user experience isbased on “assignment” and mother-university connection logic.The inference is that the hypothesized user experience logic isto interact with people that shared/are interested in the sameassignment, and/or come from the same universities.There is no chat anymore, feature that wasn’t used anyways andthat foster an interaction based on frequency and presence, noton few “special” quality-oriented and customized interactions.Therefore the final landmarks are: my profile, forum, memberspage, download page, event page, let’s work page, FAQ andnetiquette.My ProfileVF neo-graduate: once they register neo-graduates are requiredto upload a picture, indicate which assignment they’re doingand have done, and which university they attended. From herethey can privately message other members, VF neograduatesand students, and upload as many pictures and videos as theywantStudent: are required to upload a picture, and say which univer-sities they’re attending, then they can upload their CV as well aspick their “ideal graduate program path”Members PageHere is where there are all member listed; now you can look forthem filtering them by assignment or university as wellForumThe forum is divided into three main fields:- our graduate experience- from recruiting to the Graduate Program- Vodafone VoiceEverybody can look through it this way or search posts by as-signment, next to each gathered group of posts there will alsobe the pictures of the graduates who have been in that posi-tion, to make it easy to contact them directlyDownload PageI created a completely new user experience, not only enrichingand organizing the download section according to the companyfunctional organization, but also linking it to the forum and thesearch. This creates a double layer information: an official layerby Vodafone, and a crowd-sourcing one by VF neo-graduates
    • and students; both easy to find thank to the search by function (e.g. marketing) Topics are divided into three main fields: - insights about our departments, where users can find infor- mation again divided according to the company divisions (HR, Marketing, Sales, Technology, Product&Services, Strategy, Brand&Advertising ) - welcome kit (where you can find direction to reach the VF HQ, brief history of the company, practical information) - not found? Ask (where there is a format to fill out for further doubts) When looking up at contents in the “insights” part, there will be a link to the topic related contents on the forum and another link to the group of neo-graduates who passed by that divi- sion/is currently working there. Event Page This page is the same as before; there are highlighted all of the events where Vodafone get in contact with students: recruiting days, in-class presentation etc… Let’s Work To make Youniversity user experience engaging and useful it needs be connected with real users’ needs, such as university ones. Vodafone is already a major partner in some courses, providing the “learn-by-doing” part of the course; the univer- sity L.Bocconi and the Politecnico di Milano are the two main partners. Currently projects are run for a period of about six to eight weeks from the pitching of the project to the final delivery, during this time students are supposed to develop the project according to Vodafone managers’ brief, and can take ad- vantage up to two tutoring phone calls. Except from the pitch- ing and the final delivery, students never meet their tutors, who often even delegate the tutoring calls to colleagues. Students have very positively evaluated the initiative; but it might be even better. What if Vodafone could provide an online space for gathering more useful information, sharing ideas, passing contents, receiving a quicker feedback and prototype students’ solutions within the Vodafone world? (kind of the big social network” eat your dog food” philosophy) That’s what the new section “let’s work” is about. Let’s work is a section reserved to students enrolled in courses co-taught by Vodafone management. All members can see which universities and which classes the section is reserved to. In this trial version CEMS and UNITECH students start testing the feature; it’s worth to mention that both program are based on an international path, and this is in line with VF E.B. strategy. The authentication will be via matricola (Vodafone has all students’ academic data already), only CEMS Bocconi students will be able to log into the CEMS reserved area, vice versa UNITECH once in theirs. Here they will find two sec- tions: one shared by all students in the class where they’ll have the opportunity to review the class presentation, look up at dead lines and any kind of information given out for the class; the second on is a private section for group work they can lock with a password, in which they can discuss topic on discussion boards, share information uploading/downloading files using as201
    • a repository. Moreover in this section they can select membersamong both classmates and tutors; if they let the tutor in thegroup he will be able to see everything they share and post intheir space. Second option is to keep it private to the groupmembers only and share selected contents via private messagewith the tutor, or via forum with the rest of Youniversity togather feedback on their ideas.Faq & NetiquetteThose sections are the same as before, in the first one thereare all the question users often ask, whereas in the secondone there is what’s permitted and what is not on the platformspelled out.The new “Let’s Work” section Img. 56 Politecnico di Milano Class material Deadlines Class Forum M.Chiara Cacciani 13.2 Frasarin presentation.doc 25.3 first group review doubts about... 13.2 images.ppt 1.4 last group review everybody has a... GROUP AREA 9.2 introduction.ppt 10.4 final presentation who knows how... 9.2 commercial.mov password 9.2 groups.doc format final presentation how to reach Vodafone who we are (A.Frasarin profile) Poli mates online Img. 57 Politecnico di Milano M.Chiara Cacciani SketchBook Group 3 Group mates viewing Download/Upload Proposals teenager Share with tutor Share on Forum send as MMS 25.10 by M.Chiara&Nicolò Create new area
    • PROFILE pic./video HOME assignements university FORUM MEMBERS DOWNLOAD EVENTS LET’S WORK FAQ PROFILE -Our Graduate -Search by -Insights about -university -Bocconi CV experience assignement our departments presentation -Politecnico di + ideal GP -From recruiting -Search by school -Welcome kit -E.B. in class Milano a econ omi pic./video to GP -Not found?Ask -web 2.0initiatives NETIQUETTE university -Vodafone Voice us!203 RECRUITING DAY schema 58
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: - Youniversity new RIBSIf we do analyze the new version of Youniversity according tothe RIBS we now see significant improvements in all sections,Remuneration is probably the most remarkable of all.In fact the new “let’s work” section motivates students to reg-ister and log in frequently, as well as in terms of remunerationfor the VF neo-graduates that can participate giving feedback,when asked for, to university projects about Vodafone relatedthemes. The new and well ordinated richness of contents is an-other major driver of motivation in taking part at the conversa-tion, since Youniversity is the unique channel to gather them.The new social graph foundation enhances the sense ofBelonging among students as part of Youniversity as well asamong VF neo-graduates; it’s always fun to check out who tookyour place in the assignment you were before and what pathyour mate did indeed. Since it’s so easy to spot the assignmentpaths, it could even help creating a sort of mentorship betweena VF neo-graduate and a student whose ideal graduate programis very similar to the neo-graduate one; it now becomes a cus-tomized advice interaction.In terms of influence there are some improvements as well,critics and joiners are triggered; not mentioning that the crea-tion of a private part that can be managed by students empow-er them to shape the platform.Ultimately the social network is still a customized and exclu-sive repository for VF neo-graduates stories, a channel wherestudents about to graduate or just graduate can ask for advicefor their selection path.
    • THE PROJECT 3.4 Remodeling: -The Employer Branding interconnected channel system As said to build a coherent system narrative to project a coher- ent narrative, ultimately affecting the business logic is impor- tant to create a multi-channel system, in which Youniversity is the main retention driver. Let’s analyze the other channels as they are now, to restructure how they will be connected in the remodeling. Class Activities Vodafone often participate as on-field contribution in university lectures; especially in partners universities such as the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi and the Politecnico di Milano. Those lectures and projects are integral evaluated part of class work. Students are usually highly engaged and quite excited to have the possibility to work on real case studies and have a real market taste and feedback about their work.schema 59 HEADQURTER THE PROJECT MENTORING MENTORING PITCHING OF VISIT AT VF BY PHONE BY PHONE DELIVERY FINAL STUDENT GROUP WORK 2 months The current dynamic is as depicted in the graph, Vodafone managers go to the partner university to pitch the project, giv- ing personal insights on the department and work, in this phase students divide into groups. After a couple of weeks students go to visit Vodafone and the department involved in their project (that changes every time depending on the project as well as the class the project is for), those visits aim to give a feeling of what is like to work at Vodafone, it is not an opportunity to have feedback on the project or to ask for mentoring. Students usually can take ad- vantage of only two conference calls with their tutors, that they decide the day of the pitching of the project. After a period of about two months there is the final delivery at Vodafone HQ, with the division director present. Based on students feedback, the greatest part of this experience is to get in touch with Vodafone managers and to have the op- portunity to go and see Vodafone business as insiders; students don’t complain about the few possibility of review with their tutors, they are used to teachers never available; however not complaining it doesn’t mean they are happy and satisfied about it. Other class activities are: E.B. presentations, Youniversity con- test and career fairs. E.B. presentations are usually led by somebody from HR divi- sion together with a somebody from the business. The couple goes to universities with the aim of presenting the company culture, business, and hiring path and perspectives. Thus univer- sities usually request this kind of activities as opportunities for the students to get in touch directly with the company. Youniversity contest instead is a brand new way to attract stu- 205
    • dents, it is a business game threw as a project in class togetherwith the teacher; students have to develop project solutions andthe best projects gain prizes.Currently this kind of activity is in a trial phase, launcheduniquely at the engineering faculty of Politecnico di Milano.Vodafone doesn’t take part to many career fairs; because of itsvery narrow target, career fairs are not the best channel to getin touch with it. However does participate to its major partneruniversities career fairs, such as the one at Bocconi and at Po-litecnico. They usually imply a substantial people effort (at leastthree HR and one person from the business), they collect a lotof CV but few good ones.In the remodel the interactive, group working part of in-classactivities can be integrated in Youniversity, enhancing a moreengaging and interactive experience on students’ side; besidesguaranteeing new student interaction in the community onVodafone side.As well as, class activity can feature in the events section ofYouniversity; possibly showing after they registered, the specificevent in which each student discovered and engaged withVodafone therefore jumped in the community.Special interactionsSpecial interactions are all of those unique and customizedopportunities students have to interact with Vodafone topmanagement. In the past breakfasts, lunches, dinners or happyhours with directors were organized. Another very cool activitywas shadowing a manager for a day, to see with your own eyeswhat his day was like. The idea behind those activities is towelcome students into the work world following their ritualsand languages.What if the possibility of participating to those special eventswas diffused via Youniversity?Virtual activityThe virtual career fair is the main one; it is a new concept ofcareer day all set online. Students can interact via chat withmanagers, all remotely. Vodafone has the possibility to screenCV before further talks with candidates.It is Vodafone answer to normal career fairs, that, as mentionedbefore, are not fully satisfactory for the company.The virtual career fair could be a gatekeeper to Youniversity,in fact everybody can have access to the virtual career fair, butthe best CV can access to the community as well. This activityis targeted to students just graduated or about to graduate, whowould enrich the “recruiting” goal of the community.In conclusion, the multi-channel strategy, aiming to build anorganic and coherent business narrative can be pictured like thediagram shown.
    • SPECIAL PROFILE EVENTS pic./video HOME assignements university FORUM MEMBERS DOWNLOAD EVENTS LET’S WORK FAQ207 IN CLASS PROFILE -Our Graduate -Search by -Insights about -university -Bocconi ACTIVITIES CV experience assignement our departments presentation -Politecnico di + mia econo 1+2= -E.B. in class @ ideal GP -From recruiting -Search by school -Welcome kit Milano pic./video to GP -Not found?Ask -web 2.0 initiatives NETIQUETTE university -Vodafone Voice us! VIRTUAL RECRUITING ACTIVITIES DAY schema 60
    • CONCLUSION - Final considerations on the work Business model generation is a fascinating topic I would love to use, test and master in my everyday design practice as a busi- ness designer, thus I believe there is a great radical innovation potential in it. This thesis has represented a challenging and discovery adven- ture into this topic; I didn’t have a solid knowledge of what business models were before starting reading and reading management literature about it. But as always happens, or at least you hope it will happen, while leading a deep research, I reached a point in which all scattered pieces matched and formed a beautiful organic picture; in the same way I started understanding the topic and seeing the pattern business models draw, moreover the connection with the product service system design discipline. Business model is an intrinsic cross-disciplinal practice, although till today it has been almost exclusively a scholar of management research field. I embraced the business model as narratives definition and approach; this school believes that the real potential of business model, is not in companies restructuring (business logic), but in narratives building. In the exercise of shaping new narratives indeed, the storytelling as organic and systemic project, powerfully communicates the message, while it implicitly affects the business logic. Narratives building is both an analytical and project process: reading and analysing business and users’ narratives gives a special insight into the business; while through the remodelling of companies, NGO, and their social and competition environ- ment, narratives shape people’s social and cultural paradigms. This is the reason why not only managers but designers are the professionals able to lead the remodelling; narratives are generated by people, no matter if it is the user or the business narrative, ultimately it always has to come from people and be address to others. This people centricity, the social (considered in its Latin root “societas”) soul of it, that ultimately does change the business logic, it’s the extremely fascinating aspect. Social networks have been a perfect field to study and test this theory; in fact although it is technology-based innovation, tech- nology isn’t the innovation driver of it. People are the meaning generator of the platform and, because of the worldwide exten- sion of the phenomenon, the way the company transparently leads this meaning generation and builds a business model on top of it, affects everybody cultural and social paradigms (the way we interact, behave one with the other indeed). Facebook and Twitter enable political revolution today; only five years ago this would have been a futuristic dream. In the analysis phase of social network dynamics, it was extremely significant to start form users narratives, follow the business narratives reaction, thus platform and business logic consequent changes. Not surprisingly in the project phase I had to remodel the value proposition as business and users oriented to build a solid and coherent narrative; often companies are just focused on the benefit they can gain and don’t consider not only the users’ perspective, but the meaning they give to the product. Business designers through their people centred and systemic thinking skills, tools and ability, can and should try to work for a relevant meaning generation that business model can enable. This is how a designer can be an actor of change, thus this is what I would like to be and do in my future profession. 209
    • STUDENT SURVEY RESULTSResearch unit: 50 ppl1. What’s your major?2. What’s your current life situation?3. When writing a paper if you need specific info about the topic/the company,where do you look for them? newspapers, books, lectures, university library4. When doing a groupwork, how do you work/communicate together? dropbox
    • 5.If you try to get in touch directly with the company, which way to you choose? Linkedin contact6. Usually what’s their answer like?7. How often do you use Facebook?8. Check all the social network you’re register to? Google+, CargoCollective, Asmallworld 213
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    • - http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/ev-williams-sxsw/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/23/twitter-buys-cloudhop- per-to-bolster-its-sms-service/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/27/jack-dorsey-fred-wilson- twitter-book-excerpt/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/16/twitter-trending-topics- ad/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/26/twitter-photo-video- sharing/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/25/promoted-tweets-are- super-effective-advertiser-says/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/02/nailed-it-not-our-first- twitter-post-circa-2006/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/04/mobile-contacts-social- network/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/14/the-new-twitter/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/28/twitter-to-launch-pro- moted-accounts-a-paid-sul/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/10/twitter-tv/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/15/whats-next-for-twitter/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/02/nailed-it-not-our-first- twitter-post-circa-2006/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/14/twitter-execs-address- the-big-question-monetization/ - http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/ev-williams-sxsw/ - http://www.businessinsider.com/twitters-road-to-1-bil- lion-2009-9 - http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/15/twitter-is-interesting/ Youniversity - http://www.ict4executive.it/intervista/intervistaarticle/jour- nal_content/56_INSTANCE_3j1n/10402/155054 - http://www.corrierecomunicazioni.it/news/85076/desmo_ award_come_best_employer_branding - http://www.borsadelplacement.it/FCKFiles/allegati_arti- coli/146_allegato_forum-desmo.pdf - http://www.articolionline.net/2011/10/vodafone-premiata- best-employer.html - http://lab.vodafone.it/blog/2010/09/09/vodafone-a-caccia- di-talenti-nelle-universita/#comments221
    • VIDEOGRAPHY- http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/arti-cle/0,28804,2036683_2037109_2037107,00.html- http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/arti-cle/0,28804,2036683_2037109_2037111,00.html- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSQrNUrGFr0&feature=player_embedded- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeqgM_kyEqg&feature=related- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRUOl03nZIc&feature=relmfu- http://www.ted.com/talks/evan_williams_on_listening_to_twitter_users.html- http://techcrunch.com/2009/03/16/twitter-experimenting-with-text-advertising/- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zf4hSdtCv4&feature=player_embeddedLIST OF FIGURESschema 1: Business Model classification by A. Osterwalder andY. Pigneur pg.17schema 2: Business Model triangle forces pg.21schema 3: Global Social Network Penetration pg. 32schema 4: Social Network adaption cycle pg.33schema 5: Classification of Social Network by country, users,and adoption rate pg. 34schema 6: Global Map of Social Networking 2011 pg. 35schema 7: The seven functional blocks of social media pg. 41schema 8: Facebook Business Logic 2004 pg.46img. 1: Mark Zuckerberg at the computer, 2004 pg. 47img. 2: The Facebook wall at Facebook HQ pg. 48schema 9: Facebook 2004 seven functional block model pg. 48schema 10: Facebook Business Logic 2005, pg. 49img. 3: Mark Zuckerberg wearing his typical t-shirt,2005 pg. 51schema 11: Facebook 2005 seven functional block model pg. 51schema 12: Facebook Business Logic 2006 pg. 52schema 13: Facebook 2006 seven functional block model pg. 54img. 4: Fast Company front page “The kid who turned down $1billion” pg. 55schema 14: Facebook Business Logic 2007 pg. 56img. 5: Newsweek front page “The Facebook effect” pg 59img. 6: Article “The bad boy: Mark Zuckerberg” pg. 60img. 7: F8 2007 gadgets pg. 60schema 15: Facebook 2007 seven functional block model pg. 60
    • schema 16: Facebook Business Logic 2008 pg. 61 img. 8: F8 2008 cookies pg. 64 img. 9: F8 2008 poster pg. 64 img. 10: hackathon sign at F8 2008 pg. 64 img. 11: Fast Company front page “The kid who made Obama president” pg. 65 schema 17: Facebook 2008 seven functional block model pg. 65 schema 18: Facebook Business Logic 2009 pg. 66 img. 12: Fortune front page: “How Facebook is taking over our lives” pg. 70 img. 13: Mark Zuckerberg introducing new FB features pg. 71 img. 14: Mark Zuckerberg’s tie at World Economic Forum 2009, pg. 71 schema 19: Facebook 2009 seven functional block model pg. 71 schema 20: Facebook Business Logic 2010 pg. 72 img. 15: Mark presenting F8 2010 pg 76 img. 16: F8 2010 graphic detail on the floor pg. 76 schema 21: Facebook 2010 seven functional block model pg. 76 img. 17: Time front page “Person of the year 2010-Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg” pg. 77 schema 22: Facebook Business Logic 2011 pg. 78 img. 18: F8 2011 graphic logo pg. 82 img. 19: Mark Zuckerberg presenting F8 2011 pg. 83 img. 20: Mark Zuckerberg talking with president Obama pg. 83 schema 23: Facebook 2011 seven functional block model pg. 83 img. 21: Facebook homepage evolution from 2004 to 2011, pg. 84 img. 22: President Obama and M. Zuckerberg debate, pg 87 schema 24: Twitter Business Logic 2006 pg. 94 img. 23: Twitter first sketch pg. 98 img. 24: Twitter first released homepage pg. 98 schema 25: Twitter 2006 seven functional block model pg. 98 schema 26: Twitter Business Logic 2007 pg. 99 img. 25: Twitter courtesy page pg. 101 img. 26: Twitter featuring in CSI episode pg.102 img. 27: Twitter founders at SXSW 2007 pg.102 schema 27:Twitter 2007 seven functional block model pg. 102 schema 28: Twitter Business Logic 2008 pg. 103 img. 28: Twitter new offices pg. 107 img. 29: President Obama Twitter page, pg. 107 schema 29: Twitter 2008 seven functional block model pg.107 schema 30: Twitter Business Logic 2009 pg. 108 img. 30: Evan William at Oprah’s show, pg. 116 img. 31: Twitter courtesy page dedicated to M.Jackson pg. 116 img. 32: Customised Twitter pillow, pg. 116 img. 33: Evan Williams at TED, pg. 117 img. 34: Twitter new offices, pg. 117 schema 31: Twitter 2009 seven functional block model pg.117 schema 32: Twitter Business Logic 2010 pg. 118223
    • img. 35: Twitter newspaper cover, pg. 122img. 36: Twitter launch in Japan, pg. 123img. 37: New Twitter interface, pg. 123schema 33: Twitter 2010 seven functional block model pg.123schema 34: Twitter Business Logic 2011 pg. 124img. 38: New Apple IOS 5 with Twitter embedded, pg. 126img. 39: Twitter connect, pg. 127schema 35: Twitter 2011 seven functional block model pg.127schema 36: Google products evolution, pg. 135schema 37: Google+ Business Logic June, pg. 136schema 38: Google+ June seven functional block model pg.141schema 39: Google+ Business Logic July, pg. 142schema 40: Google+ July seven functional block model pg.146schema 41: Google+ Business Logic August, pg. 147img. 40: Top 100 most popular google+ users, pg 150img. 41: Video explaining what cycles are, pg. 150img 42: Video emphasising the user centricity, pg. 150img. 43: Google+ commercial, pg. 151img. 44: Employee explaining new features, pg. 151schema 42: Google+ August seven functional block model pg.151schema 43: Google+ Business Logic September, pg. 152img. 45: Employee explaining search feature, pg. 155schema 44: Google+ September seven functional block modelpg. 155schema 45: Google+ Business Logic October, pg. 156img. 46: Vic Gudontra at Web 2.0 summit, pg. 159schema 46: Google+ October seven functional block model pg.159img. 47: Obama’s dinner with the top 2.0 companies CEOs, 165schema 47: Social Network diagram “time to reach 50 millionsusers”, pg. 165schema 48: The reversed meaning generation cycle, pg. 166img. 48: Vodafone Branding components, pg. 173schema 49: Youniversity system map as is, pg. 174schema 50: member classifications according to RIBS, pg. 175schema 51: Youniversity channel evolution, pg. 177schema 52: Youniversity Business Logic, pg. 178schema 53: Youniversity Narratives strategy, pg. 179img. 49: Vodafone Lab page, pg. 181img. 50: Vodafone Tweet, pg. 182img. 51: VF Neo-graduates picture on Youniversity, pg. 184img. 52: VF Neo-graduates at VF temporary shop, pg. 184img. 53: Youniversity chat features, pg. 185img. 54: Youniversity forum features, pg. 186img. 55: Youniversity Vodafone Voice features, pg. 186schema 54: Vodafone business strategy, pg. 189schema 55: VF recruiting process, pg. 193schema 56: New E.B. business logic, pg. 197
    • schema 57: E.B. multi-channel strategy, pg. 198 img. 56: Let’s Work public area, pg. 202 img. 57: Let’s Work group private area, sketchbook, pg. 202 schema 58: Youniversity intra-connection system map, pg. 203 schema 59: Bocconi student project tier, pg. 205 schema 60: E.B. inter-connection channel system map, pg. 207225
    • “When there’s more openness, with everyone being able to express their opinionvery quickly, more of the economy starts to operate like a gift economy. It puts the onus on companies and organizations to be more good and more trustworthy” M. Zuckerberg