Archive for the ‘Social Media & Networking’ Category

Facebook’s addictive dopamine hits “exploit a vulnerability in human psychology."

November 13, 2017

Co-founder admits: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’


Loyal readers know that I’m not a big fan of Facebook.

Besides the obvious privacy issues, I’ve been swayed by the mounting evidence that mental health deteriorates with heavy Facebook “engagement” … and that heavy Facebook engagement is becoming the norm … especially among teens.

So, I wasn’t surprised — but, I was shocked — when Sean Parker – one of Facebook’s co-founders – “unloaded on Facebook” … confirming many suspicions and bluntly admitting that it was all part of a master plan that may have “created a monster”.


Here are some highlights of Parker’s catharsis (and a link to the chilling video) …


Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

November 9, 2017

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.


Let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.


Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT


And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.


Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

August 31, 2017

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.


Let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.


Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT


And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.


Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

August 21, 2017

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.


Let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.


Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT


And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.


Studies: More time on Facebook … and it’s not good for you.

May 2, 2017

“Negatively associated with overall well-being … particularly mental health”.


Let’s connect a couple of recently reported studies …

First, the BLS periodically reports how Americans spend their leisure time.

According to the NYT, channeling the most recent BLS report:

The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour.


Putting that hour of Facebook in perspective:

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed … with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours).

It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes).

It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours). NYT


And, a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that all that Facebook time is unhealthy.


Feds may not check social media, but employers do …

January 15, 2016

Remember the post-San Bernardino revelation that DHS doesn’t check social media before granting visas because applicants might think that their privacy is being violated.

Well, guess what.

Employers don’t feel the same need to tread lightly when vetting job applicants.

To that point. according to a  2015 Harris poll, a majority of employers (52%, to be precise) use social networking sites to screen job candidates during the hiring process. Source



Specifically, what are employers looking for?


The Mellow Mushroom mascot is following you … and not just on Twitter

November 19, 2012

Punch line: With its “Follow Me and I’ll Follow You” campaign, pizza chain Mellow Mushroom turns the popular online phrase “following” into a real-life brand action.

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Excerpted from Ad Age’s, “Follow Pizza Chain Mellow Mushroom On Twitter, And It’ll Follow You Back — In Real Life”

Mellow Mushroom is watching you

When you follow brands on Twitter, at best you get a smattering of decent jokes littered across your Tweetdeck timeline, and at worst, you’re bombarded with promotional tweets that practically beg you to unfollow them.

Pizza place Mellow Mushroom does neither. Fitzgerald + Co offers you a little stalker with your Twitter follow with “Follow Me and I’ll Follow You,” a campaign that told people that in return for following the company on Twitter, it would follow you.

The catch? They’d follow you in real life, dressed as Mellow’s stoned-looking mushroom mascot.

The brand stalked 20 Mellow Mushroom followers in a week (with help from the followers’ friends and family), and recorded the whole thing using hidden cameras.

Want to see the result? Watch @acuemma get followed by clicking here.

Edit by JDC

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Did you “dual screen” the debates?

October 26, 2012

According to Pew, 10% of the people watching the debates monitored a computer, tablet, or smartphone while watching.

Many were posting and reading social network sites or fact-checkers.



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Obama’s social media barrage …

October 22, 2012

According to AdAge

Obama is out slugging Romney in digital with 93% ‘Share of Voice’ in Online Ads.

The Barack Obama and Mitt Romney camps may be emptying their war chests this month to go head-to-head in TV spots in swing states, but the online battle is a more lopsided affair.

According to research by the analytics company Moat, the Obama campaign had a 93.3% share of voice in terms of display-impression volume in September across the top 20,000 publishers, compared with the Romney campaign’s 6.7%.

Obama had 497 creative executions deployed across the web compared with the Romney camp’s 90.

30% of the Obama ads have a Yahoo Genome tag, which “suggests use of audience and data targeting.”

The top five domains where President Obama’s ads were spotted in that period were,,, and

Romney’s top five were,,, and

The scale and sophistication of the Obama campaign’s digital ad operation should come as no surprise … the campaign opened a “tech field office” in San Francisco last winter that’s staffed largely by volunteers who work around their day jobs.

Romney’s digital director acknowledged that his side is being outspent on digital, but said that they’re trying to win by purchasing efficiently and working with third-party vendors to identify key buckets of voters in swing state.

“If [they] have money to burn … good for them … It’s a spray-and-pray model.”

““Obama had 27 million followers on his Facebook page, we had less than 5 million … But when the ruling came, we saw 27% engagement with our audience while they only got 1.5%.”

The post-mortem to this election will be interesting … both from a political perspective and re: target marketing and digital media.

Obama’s team is clearly at the forefront of using technology to pinpoint people, dope them out psychographically, and get to them through digital means … Romney’s team is pretty “old school”, largely relying on traditional research and methods.

Only complicator is that Obama is spending lots of $$$ on that old school stuff, too … so might be had to sort out which of his marketing techniques are delivering.

And, of course, the product and message matter, too …

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Psst: They like you, but sorry … they’re fakes.

October 12, 2012

Punch line: Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2014 up to 15% of social media engagements could be fraudulent.

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Excerpted from TechCrunch, “Fans, Likes And Reviews Will Be Fake By 2014, Says Gartner”


Fake fans, fake “likes” and fake reviews are some of the worst aspects of social media.

Now, new research from Gartner lays bare the fact that it’s only going to get worse.

The analysts predict that by 2014, some 10%-15% of all social media reviews and other forms of engagement will be fake, paid for by the companies getting endorsed.

Gaming social media is not exactly a new concept, but given it’s a space that in theory relies on the goodwill of the masses, doing so is a pretty sleazy art.

What makes it more difficult to parse is that a lot of it is hard to pin down.

Meanwhile, another class of social media marketeers appears to be emerging: those who are helping with “reputation defense”: that is, rather than flooding sites with paid endorsements, rising to the task of making sure the negative critiques are complemented by interaction and response (oh, and positive reviews) in a slightly more organic way.

Edit by JDC

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First Target, now Facebook … “Sweet, you’re having a baby!”

September 24, 2012

Punch line: Consumers and companies are confused as to how Facebook is using personal information to target individuals and their needs and preferences.  Facebook admits the company’s ability to pin point consumer interests based on online interests, but maintains that status updates are never used to target consumers.  Despite many users sharing everything on social networks, consumers are still fighting for privacy.


Excerpted from’s, “Does Facebook Know You’re Pregnant?  What It Knows Depends on Whom You Ask: Social Network Says One Thing, Its Advertisers Another.”

The pregnancy of 30-year-old Sally was announced to the world through her husband’s Facebook page, after he tagged her in a photograph showing a positive home pregnancy test.

Two months later, while Sally was browsing Facebook, she noticed a Huggies ad.  Sally had never “liked” Huggies or any baby-related posts or pages. Nor had she posted about her pregnancy, so she figured Facebook had connected the dots between her husband’s status update and his relationship with her.

Did Facebook and its client, Huggies, know she was pregnant?

According to Facebook and Huggies parent, Kimberly-Clark, Sally’s browsing experience resulted from blind luck.

The ad was the subject of a two-week test targeting parents of young children, Huggies fans and their friends — as well as a three-day subtest of women ages 18 to 34. 

Facebook, for its part, said it rarely uses the content of status updates as a signal for ad targeting.

But plenty of marketers that target pregnant women believe they’re identifying them, at least in part, by their status updates.

Some marketers say they have been told so by Facebook.

The confusion over what exactly Facebook is doing is indicative not only of the opacity of the social network’s ad-targeting algorithms but also the privacy tightrope it walks, offering marketers the precision they crave while assuaging users that their every utterance isn’t being mined for ad targeting.

Here’s what we know … Marketers can reach pregnant women on Facebook with near-surgical precision, mixing and matching a variety of targets, such as those interested in baby products and people who like children’s music, which taken together produce a high likelihood of hitting the mark. 

But Facebook is careful to note that it doesn’t use the content of status updates to target pregnant women.

Tech-savvy consumers may already assume that their status updates are a key part of the targeting recipe since Facebook’s own “data use policy” states that “key words from your stories” are used to deliver ads. But according to Facebook key words in status updates are used only rarely for real-time targeting. (A hypothetical example is a user who has posted “I could go for some pizza tonight” being served an ad with a coupon from Domino’s Pizza.)

Certainly there’s a gap between what marketers say they are being told and Facebook tells a journalist on the record.

Edit by BJP

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“Speed-roomating” … on your mark, get set, go !

February 8, 2012

TakeAway: Need a room? or Have a room to rent? Simply stop by a “Speedroomating” event at a bar. Throw on a nametag with your interest, price range, and preferred area … and speed your way through the crowd.

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Excerpted from, “Speed Date Your Way To A New Roommate

A New York City service is using the traditional speed dating format to connect people who are looking for rooms or roommates.

It’s called “Speedroommating” and it got its start in London.

The idea is simple: Speedroommating organizes an event at a bar in the city where interested parties can go to meet potential roommates.

At the bar, participants are given a name tag that either says “I have a room,” or “I need a room.” In addition, users list their price range and preferred area.

After that, they are encouraged to grab a cocktail and schmooze.

If all goes well, the lucky ones will walk out with a new roommate.

Edit by KJM

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May I speak with the man of the house?

January 28, 2011

TakeAway: In line with its history of unusual marketing, P&G wants its new website to take advantage of an untapped marketing opportunity with the family man.  Its top rival Unilever took a raunchier approach in its Axe campaign, while P&G’s site focuses on what’s happening outside of the bedroom.

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Excerpted from NYTimes, “As the Web Turns” By Andrew Martin, January 12, 2011

The P&G site offers tips on grilling burgers, cleaning toilets and disciplining children. It promises, “We’ll make men out of you yet,” while also promoting Gillette razors, Head & Shoulders shampoo and other company products.

“What we are trying to do is speak to the whole man,” said Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions. “Certainly, relationships and sex are part of an adult man’s life.”

More and more big companies have discovered the how-to genre as a marketing tool.  In the years since was created, Procter & Gamble has started several other lifestyle Web sites, including one that is directed at women, David Germano, the general manager of, said consumer data showed that 10 percent of the visitors to the women’s site were men. has brought on several writers who had established father-focused blogs.  So are men drawn to a PG-rated Web site when so much R- and X-rated competition is out there? Procter & Gamble says that so far it is pleased with the number of visitors. The site was started in June, and by December it had topped a half a million monthly unique visitors.  By comparison,, a site with similar, if more titillating content, had 5.5 million unique visitors in December, according to comScore, the market research firm.

Jonah Disend, chief executive of the brand strategy firm Redscout, questioned whether would generate a big following. He said men tended to be more interested in specialized publications about a specific hobby or sport.

“Just because no one’s doing it doesn’t mean there’s a real market for it,” he said.

Edit by AMW


The data mining business is booming

October 28, 2010

TakeAway: There’s a market for personal data created by internet users.  A big market.

Hoping to find out what people are saying about products or topics, companies are willing to pay data mining companies to scour the internet for online conversations or forum posts.

For the most part, it’s legal.

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Excerpted from Wall Street Journal, “’Scrapers’ Dig Deep for Data on Web,” by Julia Angwin and Steve Stecklow, October 12, 2010

… The market for personal data about Internet users is booming, and in the vanguard is the practice of “scraping.” Firms offer to harvest online conversations and collect personal details from social-networking sites, résumé sites and online forums where people might discuss their lives.

The emerging business of web scraping provides some of the raw material for a rapidly expanding data economy. Marketers spent $7.8 billion on online and offline data in 2009, according to the New York management consulting firm Winterberry Group LLC. Spending on data from online sources is set to more than double, to $840 million in 2012 from $410 million in 2009. …

Some companies collect personal information for detailed background reports on individuals, such as email addresses, cell numbers, photographs and posts on social-network sites.

Others offer what are known as listening services, which monitor in real time hundreds or thousands of news sources, blogs and websites to see what people are saying about specific products or topics.

Internet users often have little recourse if personally identifiable data is scraped: There is no national law requiring data companies to let people remove or change information about themselves, though some firms let users remove their profiles under certain circumstances.

Many scrapers and data brokers argue that if information is available online, it is fair game, no matter how personal.

Scrapers operate in a legal gray area. Internationally, anti-scraping laws vary. In the U.S., court rulings have been contradictory. …

Screen-scraper charges between $1,500 and $10,000 for most jobs. The company says it’s often hired to conduct “business intelligence,” working for companies who want to scrape competitors’ websites.

One recent assignment: … attempting to scrape Facebook for a multi-level marketing company that wanted email addresses of users who “like” the firm’s page—as well as their friends—so they all could be pitched products. …

Edit by DMG

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Shocker: Facebook caught selling your name to advertisers … along with your friends’ names … and your friends’ friends’ names … and …

October 18, 2010

Ever wonder how Facebook and its app partners makes money?

Well the obvious has become clear.

Get people to self-select into interest groups … gather their contact info … then figure out who they hang with … then sell that very precise targeting info to marketers.


According to the WSJ …

Top-Ranked Applications Transmit Personal IDs

Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook have been transmitting identifying information — in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names — to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies.

WSJ, Facebook in Privacy Breach,  Oct. 18, 2010

Worth reading … though it’s probably too late to secure your personal info.

Spend Real Money on…Fake Money?

October 4, 2010

TakeAway: Starting September 5, Target will offer Facebook Credits gift cards. 

With 500 million members, Facebook expects many to purchase the cards and use them on their favorite social games, applications and virtual goods. 

Target jumped on board, expecting the markets for online gaming and digital music to continue to grow.  For some potential cross-promotion, Target also has more than 1.5 million fans on its Facebook page.

What ever happened to good old conversation or handwritten letters, anyway?

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Excerpted from USA Today, “Target to sell Facebook Credits gift cards” By Jon Swartz, September 2, 2010

The new Facebook gift cards will be available in values of $15, $25 and $50 at all of Target’s 1,750 retail stores and at Two or three more national retailers will start selling the cards in coming months.

This will be the first time Facebook has had any presence in a retail store. Facebook already has an arrangement with online-payment services PayPal and MOL to purchase Facebook Credits.

More than 200 million people play free social games on Facebook each month, according to Facebook. And many of them are beginning to spend money on premium goods and services associated with those games.  By year’s end, Facebook expects to have gift card credits available for its thousands of games. At least 19 games on Facebook have more than 10 million active users a month.

 Facebook’s entry into the growing prepaid gift card market could prove lucrative. The domestic prepaid gift card market is expected to reach $86.2billion this year, compared with $80.6billion in 2009, according to Mercator Advisory Group.

Edit by AMW

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Hawaii Five-0 … still more to the story.

May 28, 2010

I’ve got to walk back my story that CBS was doing a great job web marketing by sending rapid-fire replies to my original 5-0 post … with promo language like “the show will rock”.

Turns out that CBS had nothing to do with the replies.

Yesterday, I received this:

Oh, my!  I have to laugh at your comment that the Hawaii Five O posts came from the CBS web marketing team. 

FYI, each of those posters is a big Alex O’Loughlin fan who simply sought to answer the questions you posed. 

We are very in tune with Alex’s career and post in many, many different sites not just yours.

As a marketing guy, I guess I automatically gave too much credit, too soon to, well, other marketing guys.

Live and learn …

Ford employees deserve a party after the Fiesta’s successful social marketing campaign

February 12, 2010

Key Takeaway: As many brand managers attempt to enter into the social networking space, the one focus tends to be on creating a viral effect.

Many managers believe a catchy video, jingle, or game will lead to both millions of hits and millions of dollars. This sounds like a great idea, but figuring out how to create this viral response has not been easy to crack.

Ford did something novel in its social media strategy for the Fiesta …let the consumer create this content.

Consumers who already had an online following were selected to test the Fiesta, complete different tasks, and create content describing their journey.

By going straight to the source that has the core competency of creating buzz, Ford was able to create a largely successful campaign.

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Excerpted from Harvard Business Review via Brandweek, “How Ford Got Social Marketing Right” by Grant McCracken, January 8, 2010

Ford gave 100 consumers a car for six months and asked them to complete a different mission every month. And away they went. At the direction of Ford and their own imagination, “agents” used their Fiestas to deliver Meals On Wheels. They used them to take Harry And David treats to the National Guard. They went looking for adventure, some to wrestle alligators, others actually to elope. All of these stories were then lovingly documented on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter.

The campaign was an important moment for Ford. It wanted in to the small car market, and it hadn’t sold a subcompact car in the United States since it discontinued the Aspire in 1997.

And it was an important moment for marketing. The Fiesta Movement promised to be the most visible, formative social media experiment for the automotive world. Get this right and Detroit marketing would never be the same.

Bud (Caddell) said,

The idea was: let’s go find twenty-something YouTube storytellers who’ve learned how to earn a fan community of their own. [People] who can craft a true narrative inside video, and let’s go talk to them. And let’s put them inside situations that they don’t get to normally experience/document. Let’s add value back to their life. They’re always looking, they’re always hungry, they’re always looking for more content to create. I think this gets things exactly right. Undercurrent grasped the underlying motive (and the real economy) at work in the digital space. People are not just telling stories for the sake of telling stories, though certainly, these stories have their own rewards. They were making narratives that would create economic value.

Undercurrent was reaching out to consumers not just to pitch them, but to ask them to help pitch the product. And the pitch was not merely a matter of “buzz.” Undercurrent wanted consumers to help charge the Fiesta with glamor, excitement, and oddity — to complete the “meaning manufacture” normally conducted only by the agency.

This would be the usual “viral marketing” if all the consumer was called upon to do was to talk up Fiesta. But Undercurrent was proposing a richer bargain, enabling and incenting “agents” to create content for their own sakes, to feed their own networks, to build their own profiles…and in the process to contribute to the project of augmenting Fiesta’s brand.

The effects of the campaign were sensational. Fiesta got 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for information about the car—virtually none from people who already had a Ford in the garage. Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales. The results came at a relatively small cost. The Fiesta Movement is reputed to have cost a small fraction of the typical national TV campaign.

Edit by JMZ

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When it comes to social media, Coke shifts direction to swim with the current

February 3, 2010

Takeaway: A recent change in Coke’s online strategy proves that even the largest global consumer brand needs help when it comes to social media.

To that end, the company plans to close its proprietary sites and take its act to Facebook and YouTube. Though these sites offer enormous audiences, the channels are cluttered with a nearly endless host of distractions.

Marketers stay tuned. Will Coke’s decision to forgo a captive few (relatively speaking) for a distracted many bubble Coke’s bottom line? 

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Excerpt from HubSpot, “Coke Abandons Plan for Campaign Websites to Invest in Social Media” by Shannon Sweetser, January 13, 2010.

In an attempt to fish where the fish are, Coke has said goodbye to its one-off campaign websites in favor of building a presence on existing social media including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

We would like to place our activities and brands where people are, rather than dragging them to our platform,” said Coke’s interactive marketing manager.

Coke will now either completely forgo building a campaign website or simply create a landing page for that campaign with a call to subscribe to one of their existing social media communities.

What’s interesting is while the major B2C appears to be consolidating their efforts, Pepsi had decided to forego its 23rd year of Super Bowl advertising in order to invest in a proprietary crowd-sourcing community called The Pepsi Refresh Project.

For a B2C company like Coke, this move might be a smart one.  Building a one-off website every single new campaign can be an expensive and slow process when you factor in build time and quality assurance reviews, then there’s the effort and man-power involved in up-keeping the community you have created. 

Right now Coke is charged with managing and maintains more than seven different domains including and Live Positively, so really they’re just consolidating their resources into one common goal – to build the company’s reach using social media and drive brand enthusiasm through established channels. 

Edit by BHC

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Digging itself out of a hole, can LinkedIn recapture users interest?

February 2, 2010

TakeAway:  Staring obsolescence in the face, LinkedIn is holding nothing back trying to regain/solidify its relevance as a professional networking tool (and make some money in the process).  LinkedIn is even replicating some of Facebook’s strategies in order to achieve its goals.  And, LinkedIn is offering premium services for a price. 

Will these moves reinvigorate LinkedIn’s users and create urgency to use its services or will they simply provide users with a replica of a tool that they already have?

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Excerpted from WSJ, LinkedIn Wants Users to Connect More, By Scott Morrison, December 29, 2009

If LinkedIn . wants to avoid being swamped by social-networking giant Facebook it will have to convince users to log in more often they do now.

Users typically log in only a few times a month because they say the site lacks features … By contrast … users log in to Facebook every day to touch base with friends and professional contacts …

For the past year, LinkedIn has be focused on reinvigorating it six-year-old business. While it’s membership has continued to surge, reaching 53.6 million at the end of November from 31.5 million a year ago, it has been dwarfed by Facebook, which has surpassed 350 million members.

More importantly, the amount of time people devote to LinkedIn is a fraction of the time people spend on some other social sites. Visitors spent about 13 minutes on average at LinkedIn during October, while Facebook users logged about 213 minutes and MySpace users spent 87 minutes …

While Facebook doesn’t specifically target the professional market, hundreds of companies … use the site to highlight their firms and recruit new candidates …

LinkedIn recently took a page from Facebook’s playbook and opened LinkedIn’s site to third-party developers so they can create applications that will draw professional users to the site when they aren’t looking for work … [or] … target specific interest groups … Unlike Facebook, all apps must be professionally oriented …

Some analysts downplay the risk LinkedIn faces from sites like Facebook and highlight the recent growth the company has seen outside the U.S. market … the “clear delineation” between social and professional networking affords LinkedIn a fair degree of breathing room …

LinkedIn is also poised to announce a series of subscription “packages,” specially priced memberships that provide not-yet-disclosed products and services designed for job hunters, small-business owners or other groups …

Other partnerships are aimed at making LinkedIn more useful when members are working outside the network. For example, Microsoft’s upcoming version of Outlook will allow users to see people’s LinkedIn profiles when they are sending or receiving. Overlapping users will be able to sync their Outlook and LinkedIn contact lists, as well as use Outlook to expand their LinkedIn networks.

LinkedIn acknowledges that driving membership growth, while at the same time increasing the number of apps they can use to communicate with each other, poses significant challenges …

Edit by TJS

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Haitian crisis highlights need to find new ways of gathering data … social networking to the rescue

January 27, 2010

Takeaway: The crisis in Haiti proves that necessity is the mother of innovation as volunteers turn to new platforms to aggregate data from cell phones and social networks in order to decide where to focus their efforts.

As the dust from this tragedy settles, will these new methods for composing tweets into tunes find other applications?

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Excerpt from Washington Post, “Crisis mapping brings online tool to Haitian disaster relief effort” by Monica Hesse, January 16, 2010.

The site allows users to submit eyewitness accounts or other relevant information for disaster zones via e-mail, text or Twitter — and then visualize the frequency of these events on a map. By Friday, Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, had received nearly 33,000 unique visitors, and several hundred personal reports in Haiti that mainstream news organizations might not hear about.

Taken individually, these bits of data might not be terribly useful. The goal is that by aggregating the incidents in a visual format, people and organizations using the site will be able to see patterns of destruction, to determine where services should be concentrated. A red dot on the map, for example, signifies that looting is happening near a town called Pétionville; another shows that Hotel Villa Creole has become a site of medical triage.

The practice is known as crisis mapping, a newer field of disaster analysis using geography-based data sets, employed by organizations like Ushahidi and Arlington-based GeoCommons. Although individuals have used Twitter and Facebook to share anecdotes for a few years — notably, during 2009’s contested Iranian elections — crisis mapping brings many data points together, making meaning out of randomness and spreading information about areas lacking well-developed records. “We’re providing a repository for all kinds of organizations,” says Ushahidi’s director of strategic operations and founded the International Network of Crisis Mappers.

Ushahidi was originally founded in 2008 to map reports of violence in post-election Kenya. A Kenyan blogger had been trying to keep track of these incidents, “but got swamped by how much information was coming in and wanted to have a larger context of what was happening.” She appealed to the blogosphere for help, and soon had a site that allowed the entire Kenyan population to catalogue the injustices and atrocities they were witnessing — a real-time encyclopedia of unrest. Since then, the Ushahidi platform has been employed in many smaller projects, from monitoring elections in India to tracking medicine in various African countries.

In Haiti, it’s too early to tell what impact Ushahidi might have on relief efforts.

Some of the rescue workers for whom Ushahidi was intended are currently too besieged by the chaos of the situation to attempt incorporating it into their work: “Our colleagues are not feeding information into crowd-sourcing platforms for now,” writes one crisis responder. “I don’t think they have the time.”

Crisis mappers hope that their analytics will gain greater use in coming days, as rescue workers attempt to navigate the changed landscape.

“Being one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti doesn’t have the infrastructure that a more developed country would have,” such as extensive Global Positioning System equipment that would aid in mapping the terrain, says chief technology officer of GeoCommons, which has also been producing Haiti-related maps. “Now you have all of these people needing to know how to get from here to there. You need to know where the triage centers are, and the food and water. An old map would be irrelevant with road closings.”

The crowd-sourcing represents the future of crisis response. “We’re going to need to collaborate, we’re going to need to share data,” a Ushahidi contributor said. “The best way to provide humanitarian response is to be able to provide platforms and tools that allow people to share on-the-ground information quickly.”

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When it comes to profits, smart guys node a lot !

November 24, 2009

Takeaway: Companies that invest in power nodes, or sources of strength and leverage, have an increased likelihood of earning extraordinary profits.

Accordingly, classically trained strategists understand the potency of a brand, the power of relationships, and the advantage of captive markets. However, two new power nodes have quietly emerged.

Those who understand them well will likely rise to a level of strategic importance in their firms and thereby establish a power node of their own.

What can aikido and hubs do for you?

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Excerpt from Strategy+Business, “The Most Powerful Paths to Profits,” by Mia de Kuijper, November 16, 2009.

In the 1990s, AT&T still controlled a huge share of the lines, hardware, and software required to deliver long-distance networking and telephone services to businesses and consumers. With minimal competition, the telecom giant could charge deliciously high rates for its services. The company’s vast network infrastructure amounted to what is called a power node: a source of strength or leverage that the company could reliably use to effortlessly dominate its market and fend off rivals.

In AT&T’s case, the power node was its preeminent stake in a network. But a power node can also be a coveted brand, a skill, a set of industry relationships, a process, a customer base with switching costs, regulatory protection, or access to resources. In short, it can be anything that a company depends on to influence financial outcomes.

The power nodes listed above have been around for a while, however two power nodes are strikingly novel.

The aikido asset power node is named after the Japanese martial art that exploits the energy of an opposing force. The key to aikido assets is being able to perceive and move with the momentum of the network. In the current information environment, it is no longer useful to “push” advertising and marketing messages to consumers. Most customers reach out for information they need on their own. If they find a source that they like, they tell other customers. They use search engines, which tend to drive large numbers of people to the most popular sources. 

Companies whose power node is based on the aikido approach are skilled in new forms of marketing. They “sow seeds,” tossing out many messages at minimal cost; Frito-Lay, for example, continually puts new flavors and packaging in the marketplace. These companies conduct surveillance, continually analyzing their digital media to see which messages are catching on.  And they react very quickly to what they learn from the networks, introducing or discontinuing products almost instantaneously. This may require the rapid retooling of sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution functions as they shift from one product to another.

Hubs are people or products that attract viewers, clients, buyers, or users in part because others are drawn to them as well; hubs are among the most effective power nodes imaginable in a transparent economy. Hubs represent the ability to become the beneficiary of self-reinforcing popularity.

The first Harry Potter book took off rapidly because friends recommended it to friends. It became a hub as others wanted to know what was driving people to read it. The existence of this hub ensured the popularity of the rest of the series. The transparency and immediacy of communications added momentum. Companies that can heighten the allure of their products this way, triggering attachment and emerging as hubs, will have a tremendously valuable power node.

When hub dynamics are at work, products or ideas that are ahead stay ahead for a long time.

That explains why Microsoft and Yahoo have not been able to catch up with Google in search volume. But because hubs are not a winner-take-all phenomenon, Google’s rivals have sizable numbers of users, leaving some room for market share to eventually turn against Google if a competitor comes up with a product that itself becomes a preferred hub. Microsoft hopes to exploit this opening with Bing, its new search engine.

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Customer product reviews: the good, the bad, and the ugly

October 24, 2009

TakeAway: Brands are opening up more dialogues between company and consumer.

Social networking sites, blogs, and online forums have all given consumers an outlet to review anything and everything.

Companies are learning that it is best if these conversations take place on sites where they can use positive and negative feedback to improve their product offerings. Consumers are also seem to appreciate openness and honesty from companies, and hearing both the good and bad helps build that trust.

So maybe bad news isn’t all that bad, as long as there’s some good to balance it out.

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Excerpted from MarketingWeek, “Even negative views improve brand image” by Joe Fernandez, September 10, 2009

Brands that open up an honest dialogue with consumers by using online channels to encourage positive and negative feedback are best placed to build trust and ultimately improve sales figures.

Procter & Gamble announced last month that it would start using consumer reviews on its brand sites for the first time. The FMCG company now lets people post their views on its Head & Shoulders and Ariel websites about how the products perform.

Customer endorsements are important tools for any marketer. They can help brands distinguish themselves from competitors, boosting sales and keeping the tills ringing.

Customers, in turn, use other people’s advice and reassurance to help them make purchase decisions. In the past decade, the emergence of online feedback on etail sites, blogs and forums has provided consumers with more resources than ever to base their decision-making on.

The days of spontaneity and blind purchases are long gone. Retailers and etailers are seeing the benefits of talking to customers, and being open has both positives and negatives as part of the overall brand experience.

Producing a dialogue with customers rather than the usual corporate diatribe means that the customer feels valued. Customer loyalty starts with a problem and a voice in the wilderness. If you listen and respond positively, you not only save the sale, you win the customer for life and many of their friends forever too.

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Do you really want people to know “that” about you?

October 12, 2009

TakeAway: Users of social networking sites must be more cognizant of the viral nature of their posts, especially in any context where work and private life are intertwined. “They have to realize there are potential negative consequences that can flow from coworkers knowing more about you than is prudent.”

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Excerpted from: Knowledge@Wharton , Available All the Time: Etiquette for the Social Networking Age, September 30, 2009 

Facebook was a highly personal space before it was infiltrated by business and professional users. Initially, many businesspeople attempted to use LinkedIn for business contacts, reserving Facebook for more personal interactions. Gradually, however, professional colleagues, clients and supervisors have now become “friends.”

The explosion in the popularity of Facebook has made the site a key battleground in the struggle to establish consensus on correct social networking behavior.

Managing the scope of social networks is a challenge. Cautious friending is one way to keep a Facebook page from becoming a business liability.  “It’s not that impressive to have 500 friends on Facebook or LinkedIn whom you don’t know, and you don’t know what they might say.”  

Was it wise to accept a colleague or higher-up as a “friend” to begin with?  What if your boss friends you on Facebook? How do you not accept that friend?

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For most people who use Facebook and other social networking sites “there is an understanding of the multiple roles we play. There is the self we are for our friends, a self for our family [and] a professional self. What’s interesting is the degree to which we are comfortable playing all of those ‘selves’ at one time.” And that is something that people are not used to doing. Before the advent of such networks, it was unusual for someone to display a persona that would seem familiar to friends, coworkers and family — all at the same time.

“I’ve heard people say that Facebook is for personal friends and LinkedIn is for professional contacts … but many of my Facebook friends are colleagues — people who work just down the hall  … it gives them access to my personal self that’s not normally available to them.”

In mixing up personal and professional roles, people can get themselves into embarrassing situations. “I think some people are good, and some people are not so good, at finding a balance in these roles” and keeping information that would be perceived as too personal out of a professional context.

Some aspects of social networking are generational. Older people may have a Facebook page, but it is not essential to them. Younger people rely heavily on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to communicate. Young people want to be very accessible. 

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There is a general “pecking order” in the business community when it comes to responding to different forms of communication. E-mail should be answered within 24 hours and a telephone call returned even sooner.

Social networking sites take the lowest priority.

The order makes sense because a phone call or e-mail seeks specific information from the one individual being contacted. Social networks come last because, they are a wide-open forum where communications is less targeted at one individual.

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The root of many of the awkward situations that arise around the use of Facebook and other social networking sites is giving out too much information. 

In face-to-face communications, people are much more careful about the volume and nature of the information they disclose.

On the Internet, however, “there is a lot of lack of awareness — or obliviousness — about who is receiving this information.”

Someone using Twitter, for example, may think that only 20 people will read their message; meanwhile, millions of unknown people may stumble upon the information.

Users of social networking sites must be more cognizant of the viral nature of their posts, especially in any context where work and private life are intertwined. “They have to realize there are potential negative consequences that can flow from coworkers knowing more about you than is prudent.”

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Marketing tools: peer pressure and social influence …

October 8, 2009

Ken’s Take: Spawned by books like Freakonomics and Predictably Irrational, behavioral economics is hot … 

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BrandChannel, Sacramento Water District Leverages Peer Pressure, Sep. 15, 2009 

People aren’t always rational.

This insight, familiar to brand managers, is the basis of behavioral economics, which uses psychological insights to predict these sometimes illogical choices.

The impact of peer pressure is a popular recent topic among behavioral economists.

Behavioral economists are developing ways to get patients to take their medications (pill containers that trigger e-mail alerts when opened) and testing the effectiveness of marketing promotions (optimal purchase levels for “free” shipping to drive upsell).

Marketers are using social tools like Facebook to allow teens to identify with their brands, hoping to influence their fans’ peers.

As for the most effective methods of social influence, not all forms are equal.

While we put greatest trust in people we know, trust in virtual strangers has reached a surprisingly high level. Marketers who capitalize on this, by offering consumers the chance to rate their products, find that they are more trusted than companies who don’t allow ratings.

Full article:

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Trenchcoat marketing … it’s not what you think.

October 8, 2009

BrandChannel, Can BurberrySpace Help Reposition A Luxury Fashion Brand?, September 17, 2009

Burberry, intent on holding onto its recently upgraded cutting-edge image, will launch its own social networking site.

The site, Art Of The Trench, will feature user-submitted pictures of people sporting the brand’s famous trench coat.

Burberry’s goal is to strengthen ties with existing customers while attracting new faces — younger consumers they hope will be inclined to spend disposable income on luxury items.

The premium site is another step in Burberry’s campaign to reclaim its brand as a classic label with a twist of cool, after years of knockoffs and thuggish associations had morphed it into “checks for chavs.”

But do the kids really want Facebook for trenchcoats?

Burberry hopes so.

If the brand’s Facebook page — currently boasting over 666,000 fans — is any indication, their updated, traditional-meets-hip brand may turn out to be a good social networker.

Full article:

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MillerCoors heading into fantasyland … fantasy football, that is.

October 6, 2009

TakeAway: Beer brands want to be top-of-mind when fantasy football managers are pretending to be savvy general managers

MillerCoors has implemented an online platform that will contain a Coors Light interface while the faux manager is on his team page.

And, MillerCoors wants to be involved with all the touch points of a fantasy sports manager, and is now targeting sports blogs.

Well, at least their product will get your mind off the fact that you passed up on Drew Brees. Or it could help you cope with the fact that you aren’t a real GM.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Coors Light Runs Fantasy Football Advertising Blitz” By Jeremy Mullman, September 14, 2009

Coors Light is betting big on fantasy football.

MillerCoors’ flagship brand, which is the official beer sponsor of the National Football League, is rolling out a raft of new deals in and around fantasy-sports sites for the coming season.

Coors Light had previously had a presence in the sport via, but this year it has added a series of new platforms, including deals with WaterCooler, Yardbarker and the Fantasy Sports Ventures network.

The reasons for the marketer’s enthusiasm for the category are twofold: (1) It is convinced that the brand’s core drinkers play the game in droves, and (2) the amount of user data those sites collect gives the brewer a far-greater degree of certainty that it’s ads are being seen by legal-age drinkers, so it won’t have to deal with the sort of backlash that has hounded past online ventures by brewers, such as Anheuser-Busch’s Bud.TV.

How safe? Consider that WaterCooler’s FanSection — a fantasy-football platform that’s integrated into Facebook — is able to use the social network’s user data to determine if players are 21 or older. If they are, they get a version of the game that’s literally coated in Coors, even down to the branded trash-talking modules that accompany game results that are displayed in players’ Facebook news feeds (and, as such, are viewable by all of their friends).

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Facebook ready to prove its not a waste of time.

October 1, 2009

TakeAway:  We have all been told by our agencies that we must have a presence in social networks, yet, to date, there has been little to no evidence that advertising in these spaces will produce results.  Finally, Facebook has finally decided to give us what we have been longing for – data to prove that advertising on its site is worth it.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “Facebook Sets Deal to Provide Ad Data to Nielsen” By Jessica Vascellaro, September 23, 2009

Facebook. plans to announce a deal with online measurement company Nielsen in a step to address advertisers’ frustration with measuring how ads perform on the social network. 

Under the partnership, Facebook will begin polling its users about some of the display ads it runs on its site, such as a banner promoting a movie release then will provide that data, including responses from those who didn’t see an ad, to Nielsen, which will package it for advertisers …

The partnership is the latest sign of Facebook’s growing clout in the ad world … Facebook had a 9.1% share of display-ad views in the U.S. in July, up from 6.8% in January … that put it in second place behind Yahoo and ahead of Microsoft Corp. and AOL …

In recent months, Facebook has launched new ad formats that prompt people to take an action — such as a forthcoming ad that allows people to sign up to receive a free sample of what’s being advertised.

It has also overhauled a tool that allows brands to build pages to communicate with their fans and has rolled out a targeted-ad feature that gives advertisers more control and guarantees over who sees their ads …

Sony Pictures … recently tested the new Nielsen polling service for ads promoting its newest movies … in each case, the polls showed a “significant increase” in awareness based on the ads …

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The world is filling fast with "Fameballs"? … Wanna be one?

September 28, 2009

Ken’s Take: The use of minor or would-be celebs is a growing trend in advertising. Aspiring “fameballs” — well-known, if at all, simply for wanting to be famous — are generally poised, presentable, and vaguely familiar … and they’re cheap, as endorsers go.  And, the ‘role modeling’ seems to be pentrating pop culture.  Uh-oh.

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Fameball:  Minor-celebrities whose fame snowballs because journalists cover what they think other people want them to cover. In “real life”, people who crave attention and and try to create buzz about themselves.

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From : So You Want to Be a Fameball?, Apr 9 2009

Fameballdom is an organic process. This guide will help your effort to become ubiquitous and despicable:

Here’s what you DO need to be a fameball:

An unquenchable desire for fame: Obviously. It is what drives all fameballs.

Shamelessness: Your desire for fame must be greater than that voice in your head screaming, “Stop; you look like an idiot.”

A lack of redeeming talents: This isn’t the Nobel Prize, okay? If you’re a shameless fame whore but you also, say, cured cancer, one could argue that your talent is being properly appreciated. This will not do.

An abundance of non-redeeming talents: These may include, but are not limited to: oversharing, self-regard, delusions of grandeur, superficial physical attractiveness, a ridiculous distinctive personal fashion trademark, the ability to talk about oneself without end, conspicuously false modesty, and sluttiness and/or man-whorishness.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong!

Any of the following things can kill a fameball trajectory fast.

Growing a conscience: It can happen to the worst of them. Instant death.

A desire for meta-fameballdom rather than actual fameballdom: This is the key mistake that people make when they beg for adoration and coverage. We’re talking to you, lady (or gent) who keeps posting pictures of yourself as the life of the hot party.

You see, while we do grow and cultivate fameballs, it’s absolutely essential that those fameballs are not seeking our approval; they must dream of stardom (even micro-stardom) in the outside world, not simply with a knowing wink from gawkers. A fameball’s famelust must be their undoing, not their doing. If you’re deserving, the world will find you

Being a one-trick pony: Lots of people do embarrassing fameball-like things from time to time. But do they have the staying power to keep plumbing ever-greater depths of self-abasement? Only the greatest do.

Full article:

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How Facebook Ruins Friendships

August 31, 2009

Ken’s Take: A increasingly common view, not limited to old-schoolers …

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Excerpted from WSJ:  How Facebook Ruins Friendships, Aug. 26, 2009 

Here’s where you and I went wrong: We took our friendship online. First we began communicating more by email than by phone. Then we switched to “instant messaging” or “texting.” We “friended” each other on Facebook, and began communicating by “tweeting” our thoughts—in 140 characters or less—via Twitter.

All this online social networking was supposed to make us closer. And in some ways it has. Thanks to the Internet, many of us have gotten back in touch with friends from high school and college, shared old and new photos, and become better acquainted with some people we might never have grown close to offline.

But there’s a danger here, too. If we’re not careful, our online interactions can hurt our real-life relationships.

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“You’re a narcissist”

I’m tired of loved ones who claim they are too busy to pick up the phone, or even write a decent email, yet spend hours on social-media sites, uploading photos of their trips and parties, posting quirky one-liners or sending coded messages via song lyrics.

The problem is much greater than which tools we use to communicate. It’s what we are actually saying that’s really mucking up our relationships.

Amidst all this heightened chatter, we’re not saying much that’s interesting, folks.  “Why is your life so frickin’ important and entertaining that we need to know? It’s called narcissism.”

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“This is something I just didn’t need to know”

Consider, for example, how people you know often seem different online—not just gussied up or more polished, but bolder, too, displaying sides of their personalities you have never seen before.

In all that information you’re posting about your life—your vacation, your kids, your promotions at work, even that margarita you just drank—someone is bound to find something to envy or hate or use against you.

“Facebook prolongs the period it takes to get over someone, because you have an open window into their life, whether you want to or not … You see their updates, their pictures and their relationship status.”

Facebook can also be a mecca for passive-aggressive behavior. “Suddenly, things you wouldn’t say out loud in conversation are OK to say because you’re sitting behind a computer screen.”

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What to Do

First, watch your own behavior, asking yourself before you post anything: “Is this something I’d want someone to tell me?”

Second, remember that the world is watching. “Is this really something I want the world to know about me?”

Third,  positively reward others, responding only when they post something interesting, ignoring them when they are boring or obnoxious. (Commenting negatively will only start a very public war.)

[Fourth, keep your circle of “friends” small,.  Think about limiting it to, well, your real friends.”]

Full article:

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Networking basics … from an MSB MBA alum.

August 24, 2009

Jen Folsom – one of my fav MSB MBA alums* —   is the DC Metropolitan area Director of Momentum Resources, a boutique staffing firm specializing in placing professionals in flexible and reduced hours positions with smart organizations.

Most of her candidates are working mothers, seeking a more positive work-life balance, but she also works with many fathers.

Her 5 minute pitch on networking is worth listening to …

* Note: I know that I’m not supposed to have favorites, but her twin boys named their stuffed animals Captain & Skipper … that’s special !


Also see:

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Tweets that pay … Twitter as a Business Tool

August 17, 2009

Ken’s Take: I’m still not convinced …

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F, Twenty-One Top Twitter Tips,  07.31.09

Twitter: Silly time waster? Sure. Powerful business tool? You bet.

Twitter–that curious, strangely addictive social-networking technology that facilitates torrents of truncated messages among millions of users. But how can you make money with it? After all, how much can you accomplish in 140 characters or less?

There are myriad ways Twitter can have an impact, and not just as a marginal marketing tool … for everything from boosting sales and scouting talent, to conducting market research and raising capital.

1. Coupon Campaigns 
Dell tweets links to coupons at Dell Outlet’s Facebook page, which shoppers use during checkout at

2. To-Go Sales Channel 
Patrons of the Coffee Groundz, a popular Houston java joint, can tweet in their orders

3. Viral Marketing 
London-based do-it-yourself Web site builder Moonfruit gave away 11 Macbook Pro computers and 10 iPod Touches. Contestants had to tweet using the hashtag #moonfruit. (Hashtags collate Twitter responses.) Nearly a month after the contest ended, traffic to Moonfruit’s Web site is up 300%. Sales were up 20% this month, more than paying off the $15,040.80 investment.

4. “Conversational” Marketing
Online shoe-retailer Zappos doesn’t market on Twitter–it talks. A small army of 436 Zappos employees use Twitter to “humanize the company”.

5. Artful Customer Service
Comcast uses Twitter to help 200 to 300 subscribers a day with issues ranging from sporadic Internet service to errant e-mails.

6. Focus Groups
“There is a major element of Twitter that’s about listening and learning.”   “Twitter is a leading indicator.”  Collecting the information is as simple as searching for references to your company. “Think of Twitter as the canary in the coal mine.”

7. (Very) Direct Sales
The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City uses to troll for customers. Those who book a room after a Twitter referral get a 10% discount off the lowest-rate rooms.

8. Poaching Customers
Twitter experts advise companies on how to spy on their competition and to swoop in with a better service or discount.  Using a free application, such as TweetDeck, a company can set up a permanent search for all permutations of its competitor’s name, as well as words that convey dissatisfaction (“sucks” or “hate”).

9. News Feed (aka, the “dumb pipe”)
Twitter is ultimately about conversation, but it can be a one-way blast mechanism, too. Google compiles and links to content the company posts elsewhere. “Our blog network is the primary way we put out information, and then we have the Twitter layer on top of it … we publish an article and automatically tweet it,”

10. Customer Expectation Management
Bad things happen– it’s how you condition customers to deal with it that counts. Jet Blue tweets flight delays. In April, when a Stanley Cup broadcast was interrupted, cable provider Comcast used Twitter to immediately inform its subscribers that the culprit was a lightning storm, and that transmission would soon be restored.

11. Targeted Content
All the save-the-planet talk notwithstanding, your friendly neighborhood NASCAR fan is unlikely to plunk down for a Prius. Ford Motor gets that, which is why it uses separate Twitter accounts for sustainable products (@FordDriveGreen) and its gas-guzzling Ford Mustang (@FordMustang). “We’ve segmented Twitter into niches.”

12. Mobile Marketing
Food trucks tweet their location from iPhones to let customers know where they will be.

13. Corralling Eyeballs
During last year’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic, Turner Broadcasting linked social-media feeds into its home page.

14. Call for Change
Several Web sites allow users to generate petitions through Twitter. People tweet the petition with a link back to the host Web site, where it can be “signed” by logging in with your Twitter credentials.

15. Vendor Selection
Twitter can snag customers, but how about suppliers?   Tweeting that you’re about to visit a city can scare up discount offers from hotels, bus companies and other travel-services providers.

16. Conflict Resolution
Got an unresolved dispute with a company? Tweet it.  Calls may go inreturned, but with a public tweet, at least100,000 people see it within 30 seconds.” That gets action.

17. Internal Communication (With A Marketing Kicker)
IBM researchers across the globe use Twitter to flesh out their big ideas, if only in dribs and drabs.

18. Employee Recruitment 
Recruiters use Twitter and other social media. An automated program can send prospects a direct message whenever a position opens up. ,Using Twitter as a recruitment tool can cut the cost of online job boards.

19. “Tweet-Ups”
RedWire, an online collaboration provider, uses Twitter to spread the word about Wired Wednesdays, a weekly gathering of entrepreneurs looking to share ideas.
2© Research
Hedge funds have long tried to get an edge by using computer programs to scan news sources for nuggets of information.

21. Raising Capital
As in the physical world, no one likes to be solicited for contributions online. Some nonprofits encourage people to … tweet what they were grateful for, and compile the responses … with a link back to their sites, where users had the option of contributing money,

Full article:

Thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

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UG2BK … No, I’m not !

August 13, 2009

As text-messaging shorthand becomes increasingly widespread in emails, text messages and Tweets,  a working knowledge of text-speak is becoming de rigueur. says there are more than 2,000 shorthand texting terms and counting

Here’s a sampling of some of the most common ones: .

  • UG2BK . . .You got to be kidding
  • GBTW. . . .Get back to work
  • NMP . . . . Not my problem
  • PIR . . . . . Parent in room
  • GFTD. . . . Gone for the day
  • FYEO. . . . For your eyes only
  • BI5 . . . . . Back in five minutes
  • DEG . . . . Don’t even go there
  • BIL . . . . . Boss is listening
  • PAW. . . . Parents are watching
  • 99 . . . . .  Parents are no longer watching
  • PCM . . . . Please call me
  • IMS. . . . . I am sorry
  • TOY. . . . . Thinking of you
  • KUTGW. . . Keep up the good work
  • CID . . . . . Consider it done
  • FWIW. . . . For what it’s worth
  • HAND . . . Have a nice day
  • IAT . . . . . I am tired
  • NRN . . . . No response necessary
  • 4COL. . . . For crying out loud
  • WRUD. . . What are you doing
  • LMIRL. . . Let’s meet in real life
  • ^5 . . . . . High five

Excerpted from WSJ,Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means, Aug 6, 2009

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Who needs Monster if you’ve got LinkedIn and Tweeter ?

August 7, 2009

Punch line: Online job-search and headhunting is changing rapidly, and frontrunner Monster is losing ground to CareerBuilderLinkedIn, and even Twitter

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Excerpted from: Business week, Recruiting: Enough to Make a Monster Tremble, June 25, 2009

US Cellular used to spend up to $4 million a year to post jobs and screen résumés through the three heavyweights of online job search—Monster, CareerBuilder, and Yahoo! HotJobs.

But with the 2009 recruiting budget slashed to $1 million and 2,500 openings to fill, the wireless carrier’s director of talent acquisition ditched the big job boards and instead inked a deal with social networking site LinkedIn. For an annual fee of $60,000, US Cellular now has access to the network’s 42 million members, many of whom are employed—the so-called passive candidates that recruiters covet, since conventional wisdom is the best people already have jobs. Using LinkedIn, USC recruiters made a hire in 30 days for a position that typically takes six months to fill.

For Monster, the growing appeal of LinkedIn to recruiters is just one more headache to contend with. Other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are also becoming popular destinations for employers. And niche sites such as TheLadders and BlueSteps, both of which target high earners, are gaining followers among recruiters and job seekers alike.

While traffic to Monster is up because of the growing ranks of the newly unemployed, its share of job listings among the big three has declined from nearly 40% in December 2007 to 34% in May. Monster has lowered prices for some key customers and hired 130 salespeople—a 31% increase—to win back business. In January, Monster unveiled a cleaner site that, among other things, reduced the number of steps required to upload a résumé from 20 to 4. A career-mapping feature shows job hunters how they can transfer from one field to another.

Monster’s next step is to address the one-size-fits-all nature of Monster’s site, which gets about 12 million unique visitors a month. It’s rolling out “contextual search” technology that distinguishes between, say, someone who went to Harvard and someone who lives on Harvard Avenue.

Perhaps Monster’s biggest threat comes from LinkedIn, a six-year-old social networking site with a distinctly professional bent.  For $7,000 per user at a client company, hiring managers get a customized LinkedIn Web site, or “dashboard,” and souped-up search capability so they can reach out to qualified candidates

Twitter is also gaining traction in the realm of job search. Kara Nickels got an e-mail one morning from an insurance industry client that needed 40 lawyers immediately for a big document review. The legal recruiter quickly sent a message—or “tweet”—to her 150 followers, which was re-twittered by legal blogs that follow her. By the time she arrived at her Chicago office, Nickels had 10 replies and filled every post by lunch. “With job boards it takes a couple days before people look,” she says. “But Twitter is immediate. I’ll still use the job boards, but if you don’t use social media now, you’re behind the curve.”

Dusting Facebook pages for “friendprints” …

June 18, 2009

Ken’s Take:  As I continue to learn about Facebook and other social networking sites, three things strike me: (1) they are great places to share pictures (2) some people don’t have enough to do (note: at least I can claim that I’m doing “research” for marketing strategy classes) (3) people post some pretty indiscriminate stuff – some of which can / will come back to haunt them. 

I’m most  intrigued by the increased use of “behavioral profiling”  and “friendprinting” .

Behavioral profiling mines posted nuggets for ‘triggers’ and ‘patterns’. 

For example, all of the free email sites sift through a person’s emails looking for key words that might signal a propensity towards a particular category of products.  A guy who constantly shares sports tidbits with friends may coincidentally (?) start seeing a lot of pop-ups for odds & scores sites.

Friendprints are analytical inferences drawn from a person’s posted friends and associations. 

For example, if friends are profiled as being grads of good colleges, then it’s a reasonable inference that the person travels with a good crowd.  So what?  Well, ‘good crowds’ may spend more on certain things and may be more credit worthy.  It’s not proof, but provides clues.

What if — for privacy — a person ‘hides’ their friends list.  Well, a logical inference is that they’re hiding something.  A red flag for credit raters, prospective employers. and friends & family. Hmmmm.

And, as more friends lists get hidden, the marketing value of social networking sites diminishes.  Double hmmmm.

Below are highlights from the article on the general topic of privacy in social networking that got me thinking.

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From Knowledge@Wharton, “Leaving ‘Friendprints’: How Online Social Networks Are Redefining Privacy and Personal Security”, June 10, 2009

People [say] privacy [is] important to them, yet they engage in behaviors that indicate a remarkable lack of concern.

Privacy thresholds vary by individual and  those boundaries are being tested by social networking.

The information people post, when combined with new technologies for gathering and compiling data, can create a fingerprint (or “friendprints” -like pattern of behavior … that can be decoded for both legitimate and illegitimate purposes..

Third-party applications (e.g. think credit scoring systems)can take data outside of the friendly confines of a social networking site and combine it with data from other sources (e.g. inter-site linking) to piece together enough information to “define” a person.

For example, just a person’s name and birth date — routinely found on a Facebook profile — can be a useful starting point for an identity thief.

The line between professional networking on a site such as LinkedIn, and social networking on sites such as Facebook, has become very thin.  Many Facebook users might create a more casual persona for themselves on that site than they would on LinkedIn, where they would include nothing but professional information. But both sites can be seen by potential employers and clients

And what about the person you don’t really know who wants to be your friend because you have some friends in common?  That new friend may just be mining your social circle for information. As networks grow and more friends of friends (and their friends) are accepted by users, it’s unclear who can be trusted.

“Though it is not difficult to sign up under an alias, it is extraordinarily difficult to change one’s friends and family.”

Full article: