Tag Archives: Social network

Real World Social Media – The Power of Networking

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’ve spent the past 2 years and 9 months working diligently on an AACSB accredited MBA at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN.  The university requires successful completion of 17 classes, 2,200 hours of class time and a LOT of group projects of their MBA candidates – whether you attend full or part-time.  My decision to attend St. Thomas was made for a variety of reasons (including their AACSB accreditation) but as I look back on the past 3 years or so – one criterion stands above the rest … the people.

The power of social media has enamored both marketing and sales organizations over the past few years.  In fact, when I began my MBA coursework, Facebook was still a “college” thing rather than the behemoth it is today.  Twitter was called Twttr. And the iPad didn’t exist.

Social media’s influence and impact continues to grow and to be debated but will surely be with us in the near term.  However, we must not forget the power of being social in the real world.

The true power of social networking exists in real life as it has for generations.  The ability to hold a conversation, to emote, to share and to laugh (without the use of LOL or emoticons) will quickly become a lost art form if we forget the most important aspect of our day-to-day the lives … the people we interact with, cherish, work with, or even dislike. No amount of Facebook likes or posts, Twitter Feeds, Apps, Texts, etc. can replace real world communication and networking.  They can enhance or compliment the experience as any technological innovation should do.

While I’ve learned a great deal about marketing, statistics, decision-making, strategy, and yes, even social media during my pursuit of an MBA … as I reflect on my experiences it becomes readily apparent that no amount of technology or innovation replaces the fundamental power of being social – IRL.

(that’s Twitspeak or SMS for In Real Life)


Short Term vs. Long Term – MySpace and Facebook

MySpace laid off almost half of its staff this week and is reportedly for sale amid reports of continuing subscriber loss to Facebook.  MySpace was the social networking site when Facebook reserved its membership ranks to attendees of Ivy League schools.  It was the first site that anyone could log into and create their personal “space” on the web including photos, music, mini-blogs and more.

It took MySpace less than 5 years to become a star and fall from grace in the markets while Facebook accelerated at a pace that now eclipses that of Google.  What happened?  Well … it’s a case of trying to be everything to everyone and the master of nothing.  It spread itself to thin and lost its way.  Facebook has always been straight forward – you get what you get.  Sure, they introduce new products here and there but it’s a “one size fits all” model no matter if you’re a celebrity, student, housewife, or just a regular joe.

The lesson?  Decide who and what you are and stick to your guns.  An ever changing business model that reacts to short term guidance or market pressures ultimately leads to failure.  We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again – history always repeats itself.

When MySpace was sold to News Corp. it forced itself into the world of short term thinking where quarterly revenue was king.  The pressures to top quarterly analyst forecasts eclipsed a strategic vision that was responsible for its rise in popularity and ultimately led to an ever changing and increasingly complicated social media landscape and mission statement that turned off its core user base.  These users flocked to the simplicity that is Facebook (at least from a UI perspective) and the rest as they say is history.

Maybe Zuckerberg had it right by resisting the pressures for an IPO over the years and keeping Facebook private?  It has meant he can deliver on his strategic vision from a long term perspective rather than a reactionary stance every quarter like most public entities.  You tell me … MySpace is the 49th most visited site globally according to Alexa.com.  That’s nothing to sniff at unless you’re competing against the likes of other social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and a slew of others that rank higher for visitor count.  They’re all competing in the same space.  Pun intended.


Happy New Year! (Auld Lang Syne Social Media Style)

Times Square at night

Image via Wikipedia

My New Year’s Eve tradition has always included watching the ball drop in Times Square on television – either at home or from another location.  But, it was always via television. You remember what that was, right?  You may think I’m kidding – but, in another 5 – 10 years that will be a truly valid statement.

December 31, 2010 brings this time honored tradition into the realm of Social Media.  As of today, Facebook has officially passed Google as the most visited site on the internet.  The passing of the guard from a search based user experience to a social media user experience has occurred!  Befitting this type of change, my New Year’s Eve tradition will shift from watching the ball drop in Times Square on television to leveraging a wide variety of social media.  The power of social media is remarkable as my tradition will now include sharing my experience with my network of professional and personal friends via Facebook and Twitter.  There are a variety of tools and links available  including apps for Android phones, apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, Facebook apps, live stream on Twitter as well as video streaming sites.  I bet you can even attend the event virtually via Second Life!  Leverage the links below and be a part of the New Year Social Media experience but most of all … Happy New Year!

Facebook New Years Eve Ball Drop App:

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=205194694192

Links for live streaming:

TimesSquareNYC.org
Livestream.com/2011
TimesSquareBall.net


Facebook’s Relational Map of the Earth

Doubt the importance of Social Media and the power of a personal or professional network?  Facebook intern Paul Butler was able to create a visual map of the Earth based on Facebook’s Apache Hive data (their data warehouse)!  This is not a map of the world with Facebook members plotted against it, rather, it is a map of the world that slowly appeared during the rendering process of Facebook connection and relationship data.  More from Paul’s post on Facebook:

“After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn’t represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.”

The world as we know it still exists from a cartography perspective – but, the value of relationships is finally displayed as a mechanism that transcends traditional or natural geographic boundaries.  This poses an interesting dilemma for marketers everywhere – are you truly Global from a strategic marketing perspective? Whether you know it or not – you already are.

Link to Paul’s original post:  http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/visualizing-friendships/469716398919


Coopetition via Social Media and Personal Brand

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Coopetition or Co-opetition is a business term defined as cooperative competition.  It is a unique strategy where competitors unite within a specific marketplace by leveraging each others assets in an effort to gain market share, drive revenue, protect image, gain recognition, etc.

While most common in the business world (example:  Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s United Space Alliance ),  coopetition extends itself into our personal ecosystems via social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Each of us has a personal brand that we build via social networks and that we utilize for gaining our own market share.  Our market may be friends and family, reuniting with former classmates, or even looking for job.  LinkedIn is a perfect example of coopetition … our personal and professional brands live in unison with other network connections on LinkedIn that typically have similar backgrounds or skill sets yet we  leverage the power of their connections or networks to further our own interests – whether to generate new business, get a new job, recruit a candidate, etc.

The power of social media is the opportunity to take one of the most powerful business strategies and apply it to our personal and professional lives – to cooperate and compete … for new friends, new relationships, or new jobs.


Social Media Lessons From Africa

 

A social network diagram

Image via Wikipedia

 

“In Africa, wealth is counted not only in currency, but in the number of people to whom you are closely linked.  The idea is that in times of need there is reliability within your social network – that within networks, members will aid one another on request.”

… J. Fadiman (1994)  “African Management Principles:  An Overseas Marketers Guide”.

Remember the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon deal from a few years ago?  In principle, we are connected or interconnected to everyone on the planet within six links or degrees. This is interesting – but how are U.S. businesses acknowledging this as they pursue globalization or simply look to grow revenue stateside?

The rise of social networks like, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Groups, etc., presents an interesting dichotomy for U.S. based businesses.  The U.S. is long steeped in quantitative measurements in the short term while most of the world outside of the EU focuses on long term qualitative measurements of success or wealth (like Africa in the quote above).

The true value of human capital to an organization must include the wealth of knowledge and interconnections that lay outside the typical organizational structure and within social networks.  It is within these diverse personal and professional networks that interactions and  engagement  occur and from which an organization can benefit from a robust knowledge base (for a knowledge based economy) rather than limiting the full organizational value of human capital.

The measurement of success can be quantified only if the qualitative aspect is appreciated.  Too often U.S. businesses fail to understand that embracing the qualitative will lead to quantitative success and find themselves on the periphery of true network engagement (as depicted in the picture above).  Organizations that do not leverage social media or social networking in the same manner that the telephone, internet access, etc. are utilized have artificially limited their quantitative success in both the short and long term.


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