Liveblogging From Twitter HQ For Special Announcement

Tonight (Tuesday, September 14) Twitter is holding a press event to make an announcement. The event is scheduled for 4 pm PDT (7 pm EDT). No details are available yet. I'll be attending the conference along with my peer Melissa Parrish.

If you're interested in getting the Twitter news as it is available, visit this page during the event and refresh often. Or, I'll also be sharing Twitter-sized updates via Twitter: @augieray.

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Live Blog Transcripts:

3:55 pm  The crowd is set and waiting for the Twitter press event to get underway. I'll update this page throughout the event--hit F5 or click the refresh button from time to time if you're following along live.

 4:06 pm  Biz Stone (@biz) and Evan Williams (@ev) are getting us kicked off.  There's an egg on the screen and Biz promises to tell us whats in the egg.

 4:10 pm  Ev says that "Twitter is getting better--and bigger." Twitter mobile users are up 250% this year, thanks to their own branded apps. 16% of new users getting started on mobile.

4:15 pm  Twitter levels the playing field between creators and consumers of content more than any other platform before. In the beginning, they put emphasis on publishing via Twitter, but in order to get started on Twitter, you don't have to tweet any more than you need to create a Web page to use the Web.

4:20 pm 90% of the content on Twitter is public, so helping people find the content relevant to them is the challenge. Twitter gets 90M tweets/day and growth continues quite strongly--chart shows no leveling of tweets/day!

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Nokia's Transformation Journey

I am attending Nokia World in London. For those of you not familiar with this event, that’s usually the conference where Nokia shares its vision and strategy, announces new products and services, and demonstrates its latest innovation. This is also an interesting opportunity to hear thought leaders share their vision of the mobile industry (this year, Sir Tim Berners-Lee). See the agenda here.

The 2010 edition is already unique in Nokia’s history due to the recent appointment of Stephen Elop as the new CEO and yesterday’s resignation of Anssi Vanjoki, currently EVP of Nokia's Mobile Solutions unit. Needless to say there is lots of speculation about Nokia’s future. Let me wrap up some thoughts:

  • It’s precisely all about organizational and cultural issues. No one should be surprised to see other departures as well as the arrival of new executives close to the newly appointed CEO. Nokia’s real challenge is to make sure these changes are implemented quickly enough -- without totally disrupting existing processes -- to keep pace with innovation. The simple fact that Nokia appointed a non-Finnish CEO, coming from the US and from Microsoft and the software industry, is another acknowledgment that Silicon Valley has become the new mobile innovation hub. Nokia’s cultural heritage is precisely to constantly reinvent itself. Tectonic shifts are shaking up the traditional mobile ecosystem, and Nokia needs to be much more agile to compete with the likes of Google and Apple.
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Empowered: Welcome To The Next Decade Of Your Career

Chances are if you’re reading this, you read Groundswell.  That book changed the way people think about social media, and Empowered, the sequel to Groundswell, will do the same.  While the earlier book was all about how consumers and brands connect in social channels, the new one is about how organizations must change to accommodate, retain and get the most from empowered consumers and employees. 

Today, many people seem to think social media has matured.  With Facebook drawing more than 500 million people and Twitter broadcasting 2 billion tweets per month, it seems as if we’ve arrived at the destination promised by Groundswell.  Social behaviors are ubiquitous—even a majority of seniors (65+) now consume social content according to the latest Forrester Social Technographics data. So, is social media done evolving and we can now return to "business as usual"? 

No, and that’s what makes Empowered so powerful—it presents the next phase in social media evolution, a phase that is going to be disruptive and painful to those companies and employees that are not prepared.  The changes social media have thus far brought to the enterprise have been relatively easy to accommodate, but the changes that are coming will not be. 

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Seeking Input On Social Media Management Platforms

I’m beginning to prep for a future report on a new breed of tools designed to help companies manage complex social media accounts, relationships, communications and internal roles.  If you have some experience, know some tools or just have some questions you’d like answered, please weigh in!

In the old days (of 2009) many brands had just one Twitter account and one Facebook account maintained by one (or a small set) of people, so the brand’s social media presence was relatively easy to maintain.   Today, the challenge is much greater—some brands have dozens of accounts in multiple languages focused on geographies ranging from the entire globe to individual countries and cities.  At the same time, demand has increased with a greater need to listen and respond to the growing audience in social media, and to handle that inflow, marketers are involving more and more employees.

We’re seeing the rapid development and adoption of a new breed of tools—call them Social Media Management Platforms—which include solutions from Buddy Media, Vitrue, Awareness, ExactTarget, StrongMail, Involver, Hootsuite, Context Optional, RightNow, Expion and others.

None of all of these tools offer the same set of features, and we'll see a great deal of change in the next couple of years as consumer demands, enterprise needs and social networks change.  For now, effective social media management requires a combination of:

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The Implications Of Consumers Spending More Time With Facebook Than Google

I'm always surprised when there's a great deal of news buzz over something everyone knew was going to happen.  When I lived in Milwaukee, we'd joke about the first snowfall of the year and the sorry assignment given the lowliest reporter to stand on a giant pile of municipal salt to report on the efforts to clean the streets. We all know it snowed, we can see the snowplows--what's newsworthy about this, exactly?

That's the way I felt reading all the headlines about comScore's report that time spent with Facebook exceeded Google in August.  Any informed person knew the trends and expected this to happen, so whether Google or Facebook is No. 1 is less interesting to me than what the trend really means.  This week's news is not as immediately dire for Google nor as immediately beneficial for Facebook as the headlines would imply. That said, the trends do highlight the fact that Facebook has succeeded where Google has not in creating a single, cohesive experience that gives today's consumers what they want.

When people hear the Google name, the first thing that comes to mind is the search engine which, of course, is not a place where people spend a lot of time--users search and leave quickly.  But Google has many popular "sticky" sites, such as YouTube and Gmail, and despite the news, these sites are not losing attention.  In fact, Google isn't shrinking while Facebook is growing, it's just that Google isn't growing as fast as Facebook. 

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Twitter Not Going Mainstream? Correct, It Already IS Mainstream!

I read Henry Blodget's Business Insider article, "Here's Twitter's Big Problem: It's Not Going Mainstream," and it made me reflect on how we define the word "mainstream," because by any definition I can think of that matters, Twitter is already mainstream.

Henry's article isn't incorrect in its assessment of Twitter's challenges for growth.  The microblog does tend to appeal more to those in tech circles than others, and it has a relatively high barrier to entry because it works best after you've dedicated time to find, follow and list the people you care to track.  But it is the way Henry equates traffic and users to mainstream that makes me think we might need a different yardstick by which to measure mainstream.

According to the article, Twitter has 145 million users worldwide, but Twitter.com only welcomes slightly less than 29 million unique users each month.  On this basis, it might seem to be more niche than mainstream, but if 29 million is not mainstream, then neither is:

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The MMA: Mobile Marketing Is No Longer Emerging. It's Here.

Today at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Sao Paolo, the MMA announced a repositioning to increase its "effectiveness at the global, regional and national levels, and to create additional membership benefits."   The association is shifting its focus from helping to build mobile marketing as an emerging discipline, to 5 tenets they've identified as the building blocks of the now-established industry.  The press release describes these building blocks in this way:
 

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How Does Your Company Manage Social Media Across Multiple Countries?

Working in Europe, I'm constantly hearing about social media programs designed for one country accidentally reaching users in other countries -- especially when they're done in English. Toyota's excellent social media-focused iQ car launch in the UK attracted attention from the US, where the car isn't available. Yesterday a client told me that their Australian marketing team launched a Facebook page that they thought was just for their market -- but when they looked at the analytics, they found that only about 5% of the page's fans were Australian, with the rest coming from other big English-speaking markets.

 

As I see it, there are two big challenges when global companies use social media:

  1. How do you best leverage social media resources from one country (be they staff, technologies, partnerships, or content) across other countries to improve your efficiency and effectiveness?
  2. How do you keep social media messages that are appropriate for just one market (because product availability, or specifications, or pricing, or marketing message can vary from place to place) from "bleeding out" to reach users in other markets?
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Google Vs. Facebook And How Marketers Win (Or Lose) In 2011

Google has said nothing about its rumored social networking offering, but it may be that the company has just revealed its secret weapon to take on Facebook.  The new Priority Inbox feature in Gmail hints at social media’s next great battleground: Relevance!

Facebook itself inadvertently demonstrated the value of relevance and what is most wrong with the current Facebook user experience.  The Facebook Places announcement event two weeks ago was the geeky event you’d expect, but there was an unexpected moment of clarity and beauty in the midst of the typical discussion of APIs, partners and functionality.  Facebook VP Chris Cox told a story set in the future that defines the true promise that social networking has yet to fulfill:

“In 20 years our children will go to Ocean Beach and their phone will tell them this is the place their parents had their first kiss, and here’s the picture they took afterward, and here’s what their friends had to say.”

It’s a great story, isn’t it?  But today’s Facebook experience offers no chance this experience could actually occur.  Instead, here’s what would happen based on the current Facebook functionality:  Those kids will visit that beach and their parents’ precious story will be nowhere to be found on the Ocean Beach Places page.  That wonderful 20-year-old status update and picture will be buried under 500 pages of less meaningful messages such as “Don’t buy a hot dog from the snack bar,” “Here’s a picture of some hot babes I took here,” and “Beach kegger party this Saturday night, dudes!” 

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