How Twitter Helped Japan

It has been horrible to hear the news of Japan's crippling 8.9 earthquake and the threats and aftershocks that have followed. As a Bay Area resident, earthquakes are top of mind and you just hope another "big one" will never come. Imagine the look on my face when my husband showed me the video he took from our porch of the tsunami wave that traveled from Japan and swept our city's bay a mere 14 hours later. I was in complete disbelief. A wave created from an earthquake in Japan sent all the way to California? Mother Nature has shown us again that she is not to be tested.

There have been many stories in the news about social media and the role it's played since the earthquake. Victims of the quake and families of victims have turned to social media to find loved ones, search for the missing and bring attention to further threats from nuclear power plant explosions to local fires. Without a doubt, Twitter's been a front runner in this story. The average number of tweets on a given day is around 37 million. On the day of the quake, more than 117 millions tweets hit the Web. Moreover, more than 572,000 new Twitter accounts have been created since the quake. Those numbers are staggering. 

Instances like these remind me of why I love social media. In addition to the opportunity if creates for marketers to engage in a dialogue with consumers and build relationships, it also bring us — the world — closer together. Social media has turned an incident from the other side of the world into feeling like it was in my own backyard. Now, that's pretty powerful. Show your support to victims and see what others are saying, use #HelpJapan and/or #PrayForJapan in your next tweet. 

Facebook And The Future Of TV

While all my social media friends and fellow analysts have been running around Austin for South by Southwest's annual conference, I have been holding down the fort and keeping an eye on what's going on in television. In addition to working on my upcoming research report on the convergence of social media and television (a.k.a. social TV), I've been asked quite a bit about Facebook's recent announcement. Warner Brothers and Facebook are teaming up to distribute films on Facebook's platform at $3 a pop. The deal aims to put Warner Brothers in front of a 500 million+ online audience of existing and potential customers. But do people want to watch movies on Facebook?

In my opinion, the answer to that question is not important at the moment. What marketers need to realize (if they haven't done so already) is that consumers are watching TV much differently. Very differently. Whether it's buying a Dwight bobble head while watching The Office with a click of a remote, voting who Jake should give the next rose to on The Bachelor or renting the Dark Knight on Facebook, consumers aren't just staring at the screen anymore. Marketers testing on emerging channels are taking advantage of new opportunities to reach their audience and being creative while doing it. 

If you're one of these marketers, I want to hear from you. Tweet me at @shaw_smith or email me at elshaw@forrester.com.

Note: For more on the details of the Warner Brothers/Facebook deal and to read some more of my thoughts, check out Bloomberg's coverage and my quote in Warner Starts Movie Service on Facebook, Pressuring Netflix.

New Emerging Media Analyst

Do you have budget to test iAds and play Angry Birds between meetings? Have you checked your brand's Klout score in the past week? In Facebook years, is your social strategy ancient? 

Let's face it: Interactive Marketers have a lot on their plates this year. In fact, according to my colleague Augie Ray, social media marketing gets tough in 2011. How in the world are marketers supposed to stay ahead of the curve when the space is changing so rapidly? It's impossible to know everything and be everywhere. Trust me, I know. 

Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Elizabeth Shaw, the new Emerging Media Analyst for Forrester's IM team. I'm thrilled to be a part of Forrester's dynamic team serving Interactive Marketing Professionals, and more importantly, I am here to help. It's my (awesome) job to be on the front lines of emerging and social media and help our clients navigate new waters, together. As an interactive marketer for the past nine years, I know what what it's like to be under the gun, fighting for budget and educating your team on the changing marketing landscape. I look forward to supporting our team and the chance to work with you!