Friday Wrap #57: Twitter’s rewind button, walled gardens hurt ROI, guest blogging under Penguin 2.02013-06-28
(c) Can Stock PhotoI was away much of this week at IABC’s annual world conference. The news kept pouring in—lots of it this week—making for a content-rich installment of the Friday Wrap. As always, I collect the stories from which I choose Wrap items on my link blog at LinksFromShel.tumblr.com. Add it to your reading list to stay up to date on all the stories I collect based on their newsworthiness.
Replay that twitter stream
Twitter continues to experiment with new services and features as it positions itself to be profitable and continue attracting new users. The latest of these was telegraphed by CEO Dick Costolo on Wednesday: features to make it easier to follow tweets covering a live event. While he said it’s still up to journalists to analyze and curate information distributed via Twitter during a live event, Costolo said, the company is experimenting with a live events tool that will separate the signal from the noise. “It would be nice to see things like a graphic of spikes in the conversation, what time they happened…and be able to scroll back to that time to see what happened at that particular moment,” Costolo said, according to a TechCrunch report from Sarah Perez. He also noted that “Twitter would like to offer that same functionality to users, even if they’re watching the event on a delayed basis. He described this as being able to ‘follow along with Twitter in a DVR mode.’” Costolo also talked about tools to filter out cyberbullying.
Brands waste no time posting Instagram videos
Instagram video was introduced less than two weeks ago but already brands from the world’s of fashion and engineering have posted videos using the tool. General Electric has a 15-second video of a nightime test of an airplane turbine engine while Burberry has used the stop-and-start feature of the app to share highlights of its latest men’s fashion show. Others to post videos including Red Vines (the red licorice whip candy) and fashion shops Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Lululemon. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom insists the 15-second video length is simply a sweet spot, “the right balance between not too short, ‘which constrains your creativity,’ and not too long, writes AdAge‘s Cotton Delo. “‘It’s that Goldilocks moment—it just feels right.” There are other opinions about the length, nine seconds longer than Vine’s six-second videos. Quartz‘s Christopher Mims points out that Instagram videos are the same length as television commercials. That means “advertisers can drop in their short television spots without even modifying them,” he writes. “This is an important but overlooked feature of online video ads, when compared to other kinds like banner and search: the ability to re-use the same creative on which advertisers have already spent so much money. That’s an extremely appealing advantage to ad buyers.”
As it turns 10, is there a second life for Second Life?
Among the social media channels getting a lot of buzz a few years back, Second Life stood out. It wasn’t the only immersive 3D network, but it was the most popular in North America, and brands like Nissan and Colgate flocked to experiment with marketing in the Second Life’s fantastical, user-created landscapes. It didn’t work out for marketers—the escape from reality was part of the appeal to users, who didn’t appreciate the reality of product marketing intruding on the fantasy. Second Life just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a population of users who drop in to chat with friends, attend events (some companies still use it as a virtual training platform) or to play games, but not so much to explore the vibrant worlds others have created. According to GigaOm guest contributor Wagner James Au, who has been writing about Second Life since its’ inception, the virtual world may be on the road to a comeback after years of social media irrelevance. Au details the flaws in Second Life’s strategy up until now, but notes that owner Linden Lab “will soon introduce a version of SL that runs on Oculus Rift, the widely admired virtual reality headset (which just secured $15 million in funding). This move,” Au suggests, “echoes a prediction made by original Second Life investor Mitch Kapor, who insisted to me back in 2009—after SL’s major hype had cooled—that it would still become a mass-market product.”
The organic approach to social media could be hurting ROI
If you ask ZD|Net‘s Dion Hinchcliffe, social business (the application of social media to the enterprise) is mired in the trough of disillusionment, that unhappy stage in Gartner’s hype cycle. That doesn’t mean organization’s aren’t buying into the social enterprise. “In fact,” writes Hinchcliffe, “nearly two-thirds of companies currently use social media to engage with customers and 49 percent to advertise, according to Stanford’s 2012 Social Media Survey. What’s more, internal social networks are on target to be key elements of the workplace experience in most enterprises by 2016.” Commercial services like Facebook and LinkedIn brought with them “the return of the dreaded walled garden from the early Internet era.” Studies from a variety of sources point to the same conclusion: “Only when the barriers between our social silos are torn down will we realize the full potential of social business.” How might this happen? According to Hinchcliffe, the adoption of effective open standards could be the answer. “But will commercial services adopt them? Their executives and shareholders are likely not to agree. Are there other solutions? Possibly. Either way, if social media is to progress to the plateau of productivity, we must figure this out.” Hinchcliffe’s analysis is well worth the time for anyone investing time and resources in these walled-garden networks.
How to adjust guest blogging to accommodate Google’s latest algorithm updates
Good updated to version 2.0 its Penguin algorithm, which could have an impact on your organization’s blog, particularly if you’ve implemented guest blogging as a regular feature. The Penguin 2.0 updates is designed to address abuses in guest blogging. “Where guest posting goes wrong is by treating it like article marketing 2.0,” writes Jayson DeMers for Forbes. “The main similarity is that it requires a solid tranche of original content. But the whole concept of guest posting—finding active, quality communities and offering content that creates value for that blogger and their readers—is different than just plastering your content across the web.” Solid links are an important part of the equation. Penguin 2.0 made the criteria clear, DeMers says: it comes from high-quality, relevant sites “with an overall topic, content, and community that comes together around your particular issues. Finally, the site should have an active community that’s generating fresh content through comments while also sending social signals by sharing good content on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks.” Guest blogging, he says, puts all these factors into play. Proper guest posting, according to DeMers, focuses on quality articles, unique anchor text, links to other authoritative sources, author trails, strong social signals and quality sites. The article also offers advice on how to be ready for future Penguin updates that could punish inappropriate guest blogging tactics.
Media CEOs and readers alike remain firmly behind print
If you’re in the “print is dead” camp, you should know that the leaders of the world’s biggest media companies don’t agree. At the recent meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, executives from several of the top U.S. media companies “reiterated their support for print newspapers, even as they emphasized that content quality matters more in satisfying readers than fretting over distribution platforms,” Roger Yu writes for USA Today. “‘We think the experience our readers have first thing in the morning with their cup of coffee is very important,’ said Patrick Talamantes, CEO of McClatchy, owner of 30 newspapers, during a panel discussion.” He added that there is a “zero percent” chance of cutting back or eliminating print anytime in the next five years. Nevertheless, media companies have transitioned away from a print-first mindset, with reporters now pressured “to file in real time online and update as the story develops.” Gannett’s Gracia Martore told the audience, “Print serves a role, but digital platforms are increasingly important. We’ve got to get off worrying about platforms.” It’s not just media bigwigs insisting print is viable. Writing for Good eReader, Mercy Pilkington reports that a new Pew Internet & American Life study revealed that digital natives “prefer to read print editions while reserving their devices for personal or social use.” The same under-30 group likes libraries and the print materials they contain, with many arguing libraries should not “automate most library services, move most services online, or move print books out of public areas.”
Yammer adds Klout to showcase employee influence
Yammer continues to infiltrate the enterprise as some observers (myself among them) come to believe that the activity stream represents a key tool in the effort to reduce employees’ information overload. With the integration of Klout—the controversial tool for ranking the influence of social media participants—Yammer users will be able to add their Klout scores to their profiles, notes Vignesh Ramachandran, writing for Mashable. “Companies can also set up employees’ profiles so they receive Yammer-specific Klout scores, which are determined by engagement with the company’s Yammer network,” he writes. This could be useful, as employees are quickly able to see which of their co-workers have influence within the organization, enabling them to better focus on high-value content and to build the most relevant relationships. Microsoft, which owns Yammer, says the internal social networking tool has 8 million users and that user activity has doubled since last year.
Anonymous social network launched in shadow of NSA snooping revelations
A new social network dubbed Duvamis launched last week with little fanfare; in fact, the founders (whoever they were) were mute as Duvamis opened its doors to completely anonymous participation that “lets people be who they really are,” according to Michael del Castillo in an article for Upstart Business Journal. He explains that Duvamis “lets its users create their own persona—whether it be animal, object, human or anything else—and embody as many of those ‘virtual visions,’ as the company calls them, as they want.” In an interview, the founders (who remain anonymous) insist that the revelations of big social networks turning over user data to the National Security Agency are coincidental, “We are now seen as an alternative to other platforms that openly collect data and monitor user activity.”