Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Web 2.0 Expo: Designing Social Websites

I attended two workshops at today's Web 2.0 Expo: Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Best Practices and Patterns for Designing the Social Web and Designing Social Websites.

The first presentation was more of an read out on the analysis of different social features popular on sites like FaceBook, LinkedIn, Flickr and others. I wish they would have done more of an analysis of which ones actually work, what makes them work and who they work on. Anyhow, the slides are still interesting and can be viewed here.

For me the more interesting presentation was from Christina Wodtke. I've embedded her slides below and here are some of my key takeaways:

"Behavior is a function of a person and his/her environment," this is Christina's theory to social sites. Environment is half the equation and something we can control. Christina shared an interesting analogy that you can follow the same process to designing the architecture of a building as you would a website. For example when you build a wide and open staircase it becomes a natural place for people to take a seat and socialize (for more on this check out A Pattern Language).

Christina identifies 4 motivations for contribution:
  1. Reciprocity - an example is LinkedIn endorsements, people who ask for endorsements are likely to give an endorsement back. Another example is when fund raising groups send you mailing labels as a gift, by doing so people are more likely to return the favor by opening their wallets.
  2. Reputation - Cisco's NetPro discussion forum do a good job of this by through a point system.
  3. Increased Need of Efficacy - The reason people use sites like Digg is because it's an effective way to obtain information they have something to gain.
  4. Attachment to and Need of a Group - This goes back to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, people want to have a sense of belonging. Then when they build their reputation it increases their self esteem.
Anyone who's building a social website should learn more about the Ross Mayfield's Power Law of Participation where a ' low threshold participation amounts to high engagement'. Then follow the AOF method:
  1. Define your activity (ie. what are your users doing? what do they have to do for you to be successful)
  2. Identify social objects (ie. videos for Netflix, photos for Flickr)
  3. Choose your features (ie. sharing, tagging, advice)
(Note: this is an older version of the deck she shared at the Web 2.0 Expo, the slides are almost identical, when/if she updates SlideShare, I'll update the embed.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Launch that Keeps on Giving

Readers of my blog have already heard me talk about the Cisco ASR case study and how we used social media and web 2.0 to build community. I have also presented this many times in person and my most recent appearance for a CIO/IT Executive MeetUp was recorded and can be viewed here:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Trace Your Marketing Reach

If Web 2.0 is the engine behind the next generation of uber marketing programs, content is still the fuel it uses. In most cases, Web 2.0 is still largely content driven. But now content has evolved past “prepared marketing messaging” and moved into “ability to have an intelligent, relevant conversation”. Either way, content is still king. Whether its blogging, twittering, or creating viral videos – marketing programs are still made up of people who “create message” and people who “distribute message”. The one question that’s difficult to answer however is which parts of our message are resonating. Thanks to a new company called Tynt, there may be a way to find out.

Tynt allows you to track which parts of your web copy is well, copied. Here’s the write up from Leeana Rao at TechCrunch:

Tynt’s product, Tracer, lets website publishers see what content is being copied and pasted off their sites. Each time a user copies content from a website and pastes it into an email, blog or website, Tracer automatically adds a URL link back to the original site’s content, helping to drive traffic back to the original site. Publishers can easily add the Tracer technology to the code of their site by inserting Tracer’s one line of java script in any site template.
As Leaano notes later in her post, there are other solutions for copy protection and tracking – but Tynt’s focus seems to more on marketing than intellectual property protection. As a marketer, I absolutely want people stealing what I write. Copy it and paste it everywhere! Just tell me what parts you liked.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Corporate Blog Manifesto Update

This is a guest post from one of the great Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketers on my team, Don Nelson. He often has insightful emails and this time I asked if I can post it on my blog.

Quick background - this email was actually a response to someone who sent a link out to Robert Scoble's post from 2003, "The Corporate Weblog Manifesto" and I thought it was worth sharing so here you go:

Just in case you jump right into the content and not see the date of this posting.....Scoble wrote this in 2003 which pretty much makes it a dinosaur in Internet time. However, there are still good points to be made here in 2009.

My take is this....
  1. Tell the truth: always always always. If you're not sure, best to leave it out of your writing all together.
  2. Post fast on good news or bad: it is after all about communicating with our customers and the influencers in the many markets and industries we now play in.
  3. Use a human voice: we're all on the honor system of sticking to corporate and ethics, so hopefully you know which lines not to cross.
  4. Make sure you support the latest sw/web/human standards: technically, not so much these days with our Blog platform. we already have RSS and try to instill the proper use of keywords for search engine optimization.
  5. Have a thick skin: opinions and elbows - everyone has them and they will use them so be prepared for all manner of responses to your writing
  6. Don't ignore Slashdot: there is much more beyond just Slashdot these days. we do keep social media monitoring in our pockets and try to do as much as we can with what we've got to help guide you in the conversations out there.
  7. Talk to the grassroots first: base your writings on established concepts and leadership and you should be fine. It doesn't hurt to know or build relations with a broad range of sources that you can read and interact with via your blog but know that PR is also handling relation building here too.
  8. If you screw up, acknowledge it: as clear as it can be word for word
  9. Underpromise and over deliver: excellent strategy and should be used at every opportunity
  10. If Doc Searls says it or writes it, believe it: I had to look him up so I'm thinking so did you there are many "experts" so I'd extend this to those you know based on level of influence you think they have in any particular market.
  11. Know the information gatekeepers:
  12. Never change the URL of your weblog
  13. If your life is in turmoil and/or you're unhappy, don't write: true. unless you can turn the turmoil/unhappy experience into something that relates to your company fixing it for you!
  14. If you don't have the answers, say so: same as #1 and #8, true to the last word
  15. Never lie: see #1, #8 and #14
  16. Never hide information: disclose disclose disclose where appropriate or just don't write about it
  17. If you have information that might get you in a lawsuit, see a lawyer before posting, but do it fast: similar to #1, #8, #14 and #15, when in doubt leave it out of your writing or pursue our legal contacts if unavoidable.
  18. Link to your competitors and say nice things about them: true to an extent. now partners and ecosystem partners, they should be acknowledged/credited when it directly impacts your writing.
  19. BOGU (Bend Over and Grease Up): true also to an extent. more simply stated, if someone comments on your writing, treat them all as if they are VIPs
  20. Be the authority on your product/company: you are all experts, but do pay proper respects to whom you know and/or reference in your writing.

Enterprise Social Media

Just a quick post to share a growing list of Enterprise Social Media bloggers - make sure your company is on this list!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Skittles Twitters The Rainbow

What if a real company decided to turn their whole site into a twitter conversation?

That’s what skittles did in what can only be described as a bold move to embrace Web2.0.

What a unique approach. In a traditional viral campaign, you launch a viral concept and it takes on a life of its own, living in media largely beyond your control. Skittles did one better. They launched a viral campaign and turned their website into an incubator for the virus. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! An argument could be made that the skittles website isn’t core to their product sales, so replacing it with a twitter results page isn’t as big of a risk as if a B2B company were to do it. But still, you have to respect the moxie of Skittles’ Web 2.0 marketing team. What a great campaign!