Social media has been making headlines--not just in the technology news, but in more mainstream topics like business and politics. As with most mainstream reporting about technology, the good stuff tends to be buried in confusion and hyperbole. Nonetheless, social media, from the now venerable Wikipedia to more recent developments like Twitter, are making real and significant changes to online publishing and communication. Those of us at the forefront of information technology have a professional responsibility to understand these developments. I promise to keep this presentations hype-free, but I also think you'll walk away with an appreciation of how these new (and not-so-new) technologies affects us as technologists and thought leaders.
An interesting perspective from Aaron Swartz: an outsider makes one edit to add a chunk of information, then insiders make several edits tweaking and reformatting it. In addition, insiders rack up thousands of edits doing things like changing the name of a category across the entire site -- the kind of thing only insiders deeply care about. As a result, insiders account for the vast majority of the edits. But it's the outsiders who provide nearly all of the content. Source: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/whowriteswikipedia
Wikipedia defines these concepts as follow: Vandalism: any deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia Wikispam: advertisements masquerading as articles and external link spamming Bots: automated scripts which edit Wikipedia (but not all bots are evil!) Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_vandalism
It is impossible to overstate the importance of the dispute resolution process to the success of Wikipedia. Most contributions are uncontroversial, but the controversies get all of the press—and cause all of the headaches. The process outlines above is the main reason that Wikipedia survives such controversies with remarkably few scars.
Self-explanatory, but note that Wikipedia is not only the top-referring site, but that it provides high-quality traffic.
I received this email when I made a change to the Faceted Classification entry. Needless to say, the change stuck. More details: http://thenoisychannel.com/2008/09/30/faceted-classification-on-wikipedia/
The Fast Search and Transfer (FAST) Wikipedia entry is an object lesson in what not to have happen to a corporate Wikipedia entry. It is not entirely clear who were the participants in the reversion war, though it’s been speculate that they represented FAST and Autonomy. In any case, the last thing that FAST wanted was publicity like this: http://searchengineland.com/searcharazzi-salacious-wiki-edits-to-fast-search-transfer-12021.php
This is one of several examples where I’ve worked with the readership of my blog, The Noisy Channel, to improve Wikipedia entries related to search and information retrieval. Despite the obvious connection between these topics and my employer, I did not experience any backlash—precisely because I complied with Wikipedia’s rules in letter and in spirit.
There are lots of good reasons to blog. If you have something to say, blogging is one of the best ways to say it. But not everyone has the gift of online gab.
Lots of statistics here. The main take-away is that these numbers are current and show that blogs are relevant to the mainstream U.S. population.
I’m not suggesting you should *read* all of these blogs. But you should recognize them by name, much as you’d recognize a top-20 newspaper or television network.
There are countless technology blogs, and just keeping up with the ones that are relevant to your work could become a full-time activity. What I suggest instead is that you spend a few minutes a day reading one of the major technology blog / news aggregators, four of which I’ve listed here. I personally recommend Techmeme.
User comments can make a blog post a great discussion / networking venue. But unmoderated blogs can become overrun by spammers and flame wars.
One caveat is that some blogs get so many comments that the comments become “write-only” in practice, since no one will wade through hundreds of comments. Don’t waste your time writing comments that no one is likely to read.
Note that MySpace is still drawing more traffic than Facebook in the United States, though Facebook is gaining on it.
The illustration is from Chapter 13 of Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s novella The Little Prince and depicts the “businessman” who is concerned with “matters of consequence”.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site launched in May 2003 that is mainly used for professional networking. As of October 2008, it had more than 30 million registered users, spanning 150 industries. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn
Perhaps the key unstated point is that these CTOs and senior technologists are ignoring all of the other social networks. It’s down to LinkedIn and Facebook.
Even though personal social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace may not be intended for business, your professional colleagues are likely to encounter your content there. So don’t be an idiot.
The scene is from the Disney classic, Bambi .
Of course, exponential growth can’t go on indefinitely. But the rapid adoption of Twitter is notable.
Mostly these companies are using Twitter for branding and customer service, whether proactively or reactively to field customer complaints.
If anyone has any doubt as to the real-world impact of social media, consider the recent battle between Motrin and the &quot;mommy bloggers&quot;. Motrin had released an ad that presented an irreverent take on &quot;wearing your baby&quot;. Apparently too irreverent: a critical mass of indignant baby-wearing moms used blogs and Twitter to express their outrage, and Johnson & Johnson quickly pulled the ad and apologize prominently on the Motrin home page. More details: http://thenoisychannel.com/2008/11/20/tweet-first-ask-questions-later/
This is a snapshot of my “timeline” using the Twitter web client.
I use a WordPress plug-in on my blog to automatically “tweet” whenever I publish a new blog post.
By sheer coincidence, I was checking out Twitter when I encountered someone at the University of North Carolina struggling with his Endeca installation http://twitter.com/oombrella/status/979847430. Turned out to be a simple operator error. But it’s always nice to get this kind of PR.
While Ron was preparing his questions for a Q&A with Google Enterprise Search product manager Nitin Mangtani, he reached out on Twitter to solicit input. I responded, and Ron graciously offered me the same one-on-one treatment. More details: http://thenoisychannel.com/2008/11/26/endeca-vs-google-round-2/
When Twitter crashes, users see the &quot;fail whale&quot; error message. Beluga whales are known as &quot;canaries of the sea&quot; due to their high-pitched twitter, and the fail whale is a whimsical illustration of red birds using nets to hoist a whale from the ocean. The message reads: &quot;Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.&quot; The fail whale has been featured on NPR. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter
If you like the ideas in this talk and would like to learn more, please feel free to email me. Better yet, take a look at my blog, The Noisy Channel, or follow me on Twitter. Thank you!
Transcript of "Car dealers need to know more about social media marketing"
What You Need To Know About Social Media Daniel Tunkelang Chief Scientist, Endeca
Not just the world’s best information resource http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1291/634984110_9fb230962c_o.jpg
Wikipedia is a living entity Over 7.4M edits per month (May 2006) http://valuewiki.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/chart.png http://stats.wikimedia.org/
Vandals and spammers and bots, oh my! http://seemikedraw.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/wizard-of-oz.jpg
The neutral point of view (NPOV) Neutral point of view is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view
Dispute resolution <ul><li>1 Focus on content </li></ul><ul><li>2 Stay cool </li></ul><ul><li>3 Discussing with the other party </li></ul><ul><li>4 Truce </li></ul><ul><li>5 Turn to others for help 5.1 Editor assistance </li></ul><ul><li>5.2 Ask for a third opinion </li></ul><ul><li>5.3 Ask about the subject </li></ul><ul><li>5.4 Ask about a policy </li></ul><ul><li>5.5 Ask for help at a relevant noticeboard </li></ul><ul><li>5.6 For incivility </li></ul><ul><li>5.7 Request a comment </li></ul><ul><li>5.8 Informal mediation </li></ul><ul><li>5.9 Formal mediation </li></ul><ul><li>5.10 Conduct a survey </li></ul><ul><li>6 If the situation is urgent </li></ul><ul><li>7 Last resort: Arbitration </li></ul>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution
Wikipedia and the link economy Top sites referring traffic to http://endeca.com/ :
But don’t cross the line <ul><li>Hello Daniel, </li></ul><ul><li>My name is <name withheld> and I am the Director of Marketing at <name withheld>. I see you removed the commercial vendors section from the Faceted Classification page. I would like to reinstate it as we were getting a healthy dose of traffic from that section, which suggested to me that a list of commercial vendors was not irrelevant to the page and its viewers. </li></ul><ul><li>Would you object strongly to my undoing your change? </li></ul><ul><li>Regards, </li></ul><ul><li><name withheld> </li></ul>
And avoid public fights <ul><li>Reversion War </li></ul><ul><li>This page is currently subject to a prolonged edit war . Specifically, the following paragraph is added, deleted, added, and deleted again: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On July 30th 2007 FAST announced a collapse in revenue of 40% due to changes in financial controls on revenue recognition. It had been forecasting $55M of Q2 revenue and profitability, in a statement on the company's website it revealed revenue would collapse to $35M and the company would become unprofitable. According to the company it had been recognizing revenue without signed contracts using Memoranda of Understanding MOUs. The shares fell 28% to hit a three year low. This and other issues around lack of customer payment were raised by Goldman Sachs in a report June 2007 by Mowalla and FAST is now the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Norwegian financial regulator as revealed in Finansavisen (Norway's equivalent of the FT) on the 6th of August 2007. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Could the relevant parties please familiarise themselves with Wikipedia's consensus policy as well as the dispute resolution process . If the edit war continues, protection of the page may have to be requested until consensus is achieved. </li></ul>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fast_Search_%26_Transfer
Being a good wikicitizen is win/win <ul><li>Your Input Really is Relevant! </li></ul><ul><li>May 31st, 2008 · 3 Comments · Community · Edit </li></ul><ul><li>For those who haven’t been following the progress on the Wikipedia entry for “Relevance (Information Retrieval) “, I’d like to thank Jon Elsas , Bob Carpenter , and Fernando Diaz for helping turn lead into gold. </li></ul><ul><li>Check out: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The entry before I edited it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The entry after I edited it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The current entry, revised by Jon and Bob, and Fernando. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>I’m proud of The Noisy Channel community for fixing one of the top two hits on Google for “relevance” . </li></ul>http://thenoisychannel.com/2008/05/31/your-input-really-is-relevant/
You don’t have to blog <ul><li>Why Do I Blog? </li></ul><ul><li>October 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments · General · Edit </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Hodson wrote a fun post today entitled “ So You Want To Be A Rich And Famous Blogger Eh ” in which he tries to classify bloggers who write in order to be read beyond their immediate family and friends. I often forget that most people who blog aim to make money from it–an aim in which I suspect few people succeed. Most writers didn’t make much money (if any!) before there were blogs, and blogs didn’t change the basic rules of attention economics. If I read Hodson correctly, I’m a Louis Gray kind of blogger: my only “economic” gain from blogging is reputation… </li></ul>http://thenoisychannel.com/2008/10/05/why-do-i-blog/
But you need to know about blogs <ul><li>Monthly blog readership up more than 300% from 2004 to 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of blog readers use blogs to find purchase information </li></ul><ul><li>Which purchasing decisions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>31% Technology and Consumer Electronics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15% Media and Entertainment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14% Games/Toys and/or Sporting Goods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12% Travel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11% Automotive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% Health </li></ul></ul><ul><li>48% of blog readers are 18-34 years old </li></ul><ul><li>45% of blog readers from households with $75k+ annual income </li></ul><ul><li>25% of all blog readers trust ads they see on blogs </li></ul><ul><li>40% of all blog readers click on ads they see on blogs </li></ul>October 2008 JupiterResearch study of United States users, conducted for BuzzLogic http://profy.com/2008/10/28/study-proves-blogs-influence-online-population-once-again/
Some blogs you should recognize by name <ul><li>Ars Technica </li></ul><ul><li>Boing Boing </li></ul><ul><li>CNN Political Ticker </li></ul><ul><li>Daily Kos </li></ul><ul><li>Engadget </li></ul><ul><li>Gawker </li></ul><ul><li>Gigazine </li></ul><ul><li>Gizmodo </li></ul><ul><li>Huffington Post </li></ul><ul><li>I Can Has Cheezburger? </li></ul><ul><li>Lifehacker </li></ul><ul><li>Mashable </li></ul><ul><li>Official Google Blog </li></ul><ul><li>Perez Hilton </li></ul><ul><li>PostSecret </li></ul><ul><li>ReadWriteWeb </li></ul><ul><li>Seth Godin </li></ul><ul><li>Smashing Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>TechCrunch </li></ul><ul><li>The Caucus </li></ul>http://www.technorati.com/pop/blogs/
Do you care to comment? http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/youtube.png
Practical comments about comments <ul><li>Comments are often the most open entry points into the conversation of the blogosphere. </li></ul><ul><li>A well-written comment on a well-read blog is an most effective form of online publication. </li></ul><ul><li>Commenting is less of a commitment than blogging. </li></ul><ul><li>Use comments to drive traffic—but only when it is appropriate. </li></ul>
Social Networks http://www.v4technical.co.uk/images/v4_social_networks.jpg
Are social networks a fad? http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd062307s.gif
Fiddle faddle, those are good numbers! http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/3/facebook_ready_to_pass_myspace_in_worldwide_traffic
But are they matters of consequence? http://www.angelfire.com/hi/littleprince/images/businessman.jpg
Should we keep it professional? LinkedIn’s simple philosophy: Relationships Matter Your professional relationships are key to your professional success.
Informal poll of CTOs and senior technologists <ul><li>Almost all use LinkedIn to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>recruit and be recruited </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>track professional acquaintances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>research people they are about to meet / just met </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many on Facebook for personal use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>peer pressure from younger relatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Early adopters using Facebook for business </li></ul>
But keep it professional! http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyimages/1041.gif
Twitter http://koltner.com/thumper026.jpg "Why, don't you know? They're twitterpated."
Micro-blogging <ul><li>Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates (say, 140 characters or fewer) or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them. </li></ul><ul><li>These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web. </li></ul>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-blogging
Who cares? http://twitterfacts.blogspot.com/2008/09/3-million-twitter-users.html 4M+ users and rapidly growing
Real companies are using Twitter http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/09/0908_microblog/
Caution: Twitter is a work in progress Scaling issues—both for servers and for user attention.
Final Thoughts <ul><li>The current social media may be transitionary, but the concept is here to stay. </li></ul><ul><li>Social media offer daunting information access challenges and opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>You don't need to "join the conversation", but you need to be aware of it. </li></ul>