Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Filtered Feeds And The Future Of Social Advertising

This post first appeared on the Social Media Week global blog.

What a Filtered Twitter Means for the Future of Social Media

Twitter users were outraged this week – shocking, we know – to learn that Twitter announced possible plans to switch to an algorithm-drive content feed. If adopted, using Twitter would feel more similar to the user experience on Facebook, which also uses an algorithm-driven feed to filter the content that appears on users’ homepages. The result would eliminate the aspect that many users believe to be Twitter’s greatest strength – a raw stream of information and opinions filtered only by which users choose to follow.

As GigaOm points out, users are not pleased:

Twitter1

 

The real question for social media users to ask, however, is not how this change may affect Twitter, but what it means for the future of social media? Facebook and Twitter, the behemoths of social media, have found an effective model for generating revenue from ad dollars, which means we better get used to seeing promoted content across all of our social feeds. The social media advertising industry in the U.S. is projected to be $8.4 billion in 2014 – and grow to $15 billion by 2018.

The Future of Social Advertising

Although we’re all accustomed to incessant and irrelevant Internet advertising by now, consumers will no longer have to suffer through months of banner ads trying to sell them dietary supplements or jeggings after one regrettable Google search. Today, advertisers are finally equipped to actually bring consumers content they desire, or will desire.

More data about consumers’ preferences and desires exists on social media today than ever before. But while advertisers previously lacked the ability to harness such information to deliver worthwhile content, Sysomos’ social technology has progressed to a level where marketers can dive deep into communities of users. This allows them to produce specifically tailored content from what they say, what their friends say and what is said to them – all in real-time. This new technology allows social advertisements to finally deliver to consumers the content they’re actively interested in, and even predict their preferences. It’s the right content, to the right person, at the right time.

So does Twitter’s move to filtered content signal the world’s pending takeover by advertisers? Maybe – but at least we’ll be too engaged on social media to notice.

Social Media Finds its Voice Against CeeLo

CeeLo-Green-Deletes-Twitter-After-Rape-CommentsSocial media is vocal and when it is time to let a brand, user or celebrity (who can be labeled as both user and brand) know how it feels, it can become relentless.

As discussed many times in this blog, all digital marketers and celebrities need to not just be careful of what they post, but also really consider the message they are sending.

Recently, musician and television personality CeeLo Green used Twitter to share his controversial beliefs on rape. The comments won’t be repeated here but needless to say, Twitter responded in kind.

The response was fast and harsh causing CeeLo to remove the tweets and deactivate his account but not before screenshots of the conversation made the digital rounds.

The real consequence for CeeLo was after news of this story surfaced, TBS canceled his TV show after only 1 season. A great reminder that social media carries very drastic real world consequences.

So many great lessons for digital marketers and PR practitioners, but it’s unfortunate that it comes at the expense of such harsh and false comments.

While most would never post on this issue unless for very specific reasons, the lesson is that social media is always vigilant and always on guard. Just as important to take away from this is that the consequences do not end in the online world, they will continue to follow you around.

As always suggested on this blog, organizations should stay far away from these topics, regardless of how vehemently strong the stance might be. If for some reason they pertain to your cause than enter very carefully.

Watching Twitter opinions congregate, mobilize and attack is really one of the great sights to behold in this day and age. It never ceases to surprise, and we should all be curious as to where it will wield its power next.

Lots Of Hype Leading To Today’s Apple Announcement

Tim Cooks Reveals New Apple ProductsSeptember is the new Christmas if you’re an Apple fanboy (or girl).

If you watch the world of tech you’re likely aware that Apple will be making a big announcement today. September has become the annual time when they show off and release the latest version of the iPhone to the world. A lot of people have been waiting a while for this announcement as the phones are supposed to get an all new design, probably get larger and will likely have a bunch of fancy new bells and whistles.

But the phone (or possibly phones if the rumours are true) isn’t the only thing that people are excited to hear about today. It is also rumoured that Apple will be unveiling their first piece of wearable technology, which is expected to be called the iWatch. As well, earlier this year Apple showed off iOS8, the software that the new phones will run, and they have a tendency to release new mobile operating systems on the same day or within a few days after these September announcement events.

There’s a lot to look forward today.

Since a lot of people have been anticipating this day for quite some time, we thought it would be fun to look at the hype leading up to today in the social media world using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software.

We started by casting a wide net and looking for mentions of Apple and a bunch it’s already popular and newly expected products like iPads, iPhones, the iWatch and iOS. Doing a search for mentions of these things over the past six month shows a whopping 538 million results. We found 2,504,900 blog posts, 3,973,049 online news articles, 13,136,384 forum postings and 518,580,160 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

If we look at those mentions over time, we can clearly see that there’s almost never a lull in talk about Apple and its products. We can see that there was a large spike in activity around the beginning of June when Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage at their WWDC (World Wide Develop Conference) to announce iOS8 to the world. The second spike we see around the beginning of August is a strange one. After we did bit a research into the spike it appeared to be a few days of a flurry of tweets that were promoting a game for iPhones and iPads called Big Business HD, but we’re not quite sure why (no offence to the game makers).

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart

We then looked into which countries seem to be the most interested in Apple and their products. Not surprising, the most mentions of Apple and Apple products came from the United States. They accounted for 33.1% of all mentions. The next closest countries were China with 12.6% of mentions and then the UK with 6%. However, you can also see that a lot of other countries are represented in the pie chart below as the world seems to be in love with Apple.

Sysomos MAP - Country Distribution

For a better idea of how world-wide the talk about Apple is we pulled up a geo location heat map of where tweets about Apple and their products are originating from. In this image we can see just how wide spread the talk is throughout the globe.

Sysomos MAP - Geo Location Heat Map of Tweets

All of this data shouldn’t be so surprising though. Everyone knows that people love Apple products (and love to talk about them as well). So we wanted to also know which of the upcoming announcements today people are most looking forward to.

Here we compared talk specifically about the iPhone 6, iWatch and iOS8 to see what people were going to be most excited to hear about today.

Looking at talk of these three things over the past six months we found that the iPhone 6 has been talked about the most coming in with 7,888,715 mentions. That’s not too surprising seeing that iPhones are big sellers and people are more worried about their phone than what operating system their running on that phone. That said though, iOS 8 came in second with 3,222,731 mentions over the past six months, which is still a significant amount of chatter. The iWatch only racked up 1,645,256 mentions showing that people are still excited to find out about it, but don’t seem as concerned with owning a wearable device as they are with a phone.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison

When we looked at the talk of these specific products over time, that spike in mentions when iOS 8 was announced in June becomes much more apparent. It’s also interesting to note how over the past month as we got closer to today talk about the new iPhone 6 that is likely going to be announced today has been steadily on the rise.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Overtime Comparison

One other interesting thing we noted while comparing talk around the products was where they were talked about. The iPhone 6 dominated social conversations in each channel we looked at, except in blogs. On blogs, the iWatch seems to be of the most interest. A theory as to why this may have occurred is that bloggers have a bit more room to speculate over things that reporters that write for online news sources and on Twitter you just get the general public, who is more interested in the phones than anything else. But that’s just a theory. What do you think?

Sysomos MAP - Comparison by Source

Are you excited to hear what Apple announces today? Let us know what you’re most excited to hear about. Is it one of the three things we looked at? Or will it be “one more thing” that Apple will sneak in that no one was expecting?

New Twitter Rules After the Death of Robin Williams

article-2723742-207FF52400000578-54_634x422In the wake of Robin William’s shocking suicide last month, social media exploded with memories, kind words and warm wishes for his friends and family. Unfortunately, some of the tweets directed at his children were less than kind and thoughtful.

In light of his daughter, Zelda, being the victim of the harsh and cruel attention by certain users, Twitter has changed its rules as to what it deems to be inappropriate .

The new rule allows the family of the deceased to have hateful or inappropriate material removed. The Williams family worked with Twitter to create this rule and, unfortunatel,y it is a necessary one.

How big of a topic was Williams’ death on Twitter? There were about 63,000 tweets a minute on August 11, showing the range and power of Twitter and how many users were deeply affected by his death.

The posts that led to the rule change involved users sending Zelda Williams Photoshopped images of her father’s corpse and his cause of death.

Twitter is a newsfeed first and foremost but it also doubles as a place to share, reflect and learn. Williams’ death illustrates both  aspects, but it was wise of Twitter to create new rules to protect the loved ones left to read all of the messages.

All users and organizations know you are at the mercy of whatever is posted. There’s not much you can do when reading about a trending topic. You can ignore, retort or hope that others will come to your aide and defend.

The reality is that Twitter and all social media is a free medium where opinion flows every second in real-time. You have to be willing to absolve everything shot your way, but in this case it was too sadistic and personal.

Twitter is best served as a great and powerful newsfeed and arena for discussion. These negative moments are going to happen but Twitter should be applauded by not hiding behind that fact.

Millions Talk About The #ALSIceBucketChallenge While Raising Millions

Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and others take the #ALSIceBucketChallenge

Last week on on the blog Mark wrote about the virality of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. And viral it has been.

The Ice Bucket Challenge caught on and spread super quickly across social media this past month. And why not? It was fun (kind of), it raised awareness for a good cause, it gave people a fun way to spread the word that they were into and it raised a lot of money for a charity that wouldn’t have usually seen that much (according to Wikipedia ALS has raised over $100M across a variety of charities).

With it’s great numbers in terms of fund raising, we thought that it would be interesting to take a look at what kind of numbers the #ALSIceBucketChallenge put up in terms of social mentions.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, we looked for mentions of #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #IceBucketChallenge and “Ice Bucket Challenge” and found more than 21 million mentions between the beginning of August and yesterday. First, we found 51,537 blog mentions, 106,478 online news articles, 96,353 forum postings and 21,114,062 tweets that have talked about the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary

Interesting to note; on Twitter all of those tweets equal out to 25,875 tweets an hour about the Ice Bucket Challenge. As well, it’s interesting to see that both men and women are tweeting equally as much about the Ice Bucket Challenge with women slightly beating out the men.

Sysomos MAP - Twitter Activity Summary

A lot of the sharing has been done though videos posted to Facebook. Because we only have access to public status updates, we found 821,080 statuses mentioning the challenge (but we’re positive there’s A LOT more that aren’t public).

Sysomos MAP - Facebook Public Status Activity

But not all of the videos have been shared just through Facebook videos. When we looked at YouTube we found that 402,806 videos have been uploaded in that same time period that had been tagged with or mentioned the Ice Bucket Challenge in their title.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary

The Ice Bucket Challenge has also been extremely popular on Instagram. A search for the hashtag #ALSIceBucketChallenge showed over 2.4 million posts to the photo and short video network.

Sysomos MAP - Instagram Activity Summary

In addition to that, just #IceBucketChallenge also showed over 1.4 million more Instagram posts.

Sysomos MAP - Instagram Activity Summary

So, where are all of these mentions of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge coming from? It appears that almost half of all Ice Bucket Challenge mentions are coming from the USA. However, when we look at our geo location heat map of tweets about the challenge we can see that the charity phenomenon has really gone global.

Sysomos MAP - Country Distribution

Sysomos MAP - Geo Location Twitter Heat Map

If only we could achieve numbers like this for other charities as well (and I’m sure we’ll see many attempts in the near future).

BONUS: I took the #ALSIceBucketChallenge last week, so if you want, you can see the video here.

Did Canada Commit a Twitter Faux Pas?

canada-geography-tweet-russia.siCanada might have gained many followers with their recent tweet to Russia and its tongue in cheek nature, but did they do the right thing?

The tweet in question was a mocking jab at Russia equipped with a map  that outlined Russian territory and what was not Russian territory. The tweet was labelled as a geography lesson after Russian trooped crossed the ukraine border and later claimed they did so accidentally.

The tweet came from Canada’s official Twitter account, was posted by a delegate working out of Brussels and has been shared more than 10,000 times. 

Much of this stems from earlier events in March where Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula under much scrutiny and controversy.

Regardless of whether one respects Canada’s bold stance on the issue, and their forthright and direct communication on the subject, should they have done this?Twitter is many things to many people, brands and organizations. It can be a tool of diplomacy but might not be the best tool for antagonism.

While Canada’s Twitter account can be applauded on some level, could their message have been sent more professionally and earnestly? The answer is yes but clearly that was not their intention.

There’s no doubt they were trying to stoke the fires of an already explosive situation.

It would never be highly recommended for other nations to go down this route. Social media is a great tool to connect with citizens, less so to combat other nations or to mock them.

The reason being is that online actions have offline consequences. Canada opened itself to some kind of Twitter retaliation (not necessarily from Russia directly) and that’s unfortunate when the account should be devoted as a two-way communication pipeline to its citizens.

Diplomacy is an area of social media that is vital and proven. Canada has an exemplary record in social media, and let’s hope this was simply accidentally and not a reflection of  activity to come.

Can Social Media Work for Schools?

ClassroomWith this being the first day of the school year (where did summer go??!!), a growing number of students’ school supplies includes smartphones and tablets.

In theory, these devices are supposed to enhance the learning experience, particularly media-friendly tablets. But we all know that a lot of digital activity has nothing to do with education – at least the academic variety.

The reality is once you open the Pandora’s Box to technology, it’s impossible to close it.

Given this situation, an interesting question is what role, if any, does social media play in the education system?

This can be addressed in two ways:

1. How students communicate with each using social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

2. How schools communicate with key stakeholders – students, parents, trustees, etc. via social media.

For students, social media is simply part of how they communicate. For many students, social media has always been part of their lives.

The question is how social media should be used within schools. Should students be allowed to tweet, update and video during school given it can be a huge distraction and time-killer? Does it make sense to ban students from using social media during school hours? You could probably have an enthusiastic debate given the polarities.

For school administrators, social media has lots of potential to improve communications and make what they do more transparent and accessible.

Historically, the flow of information from schools has been pieces that paper that usually end up stuffed in backpacks before they arrive home.

It’s definitely old school and far from being effective, real-time or interactive.

Social media, however, can change the communications dynamic by making information easily flow.

The use of Facebook pages, for example, for schools and classes provides a completely new way to disseminate information and, as important, facilitate feedback, discussion and comments.

While students are all over social media, schools are probably getting their heads around how to leverage school media.

It’s early days for social media within the education system but if structured and rolled out properly, it could be lead to many improvements in how we teach and how students learn.

What do you think?

Did Social Media Betray Michael Brown?

0819_ferguson_social_970-630x420As the story of Michael Brown and the ensuing conflict and mounting tension between citizens and authorities in Ferguson, Missouri continues, it seems social networks have been either flooded with the story or left on the sidelines.

This incident paints a rather vivid image of how people connect and engage with certain networks. Maybe some issues just feel out of place whereas others blend naturally in.

Twitter has seen high activity of people sharing their thoughts, feelings and documentation of the events. While on Facebook, it has received far less attention – an alarming lack of activity in some regards.

This is by no means a reflection of the event itself, but really demonstrates and cements the belief that Twitter is first and foremost a news source and a place for people to gather and discuss world events.

It has been fairly well documented how Facebook seems to be absent of activity regarding Ferguson. Other networks as well seem to have content about everything but Ferguson.

This is a very important lesson for digital marketers everywhere. Each network has it’s own purpose and personality, and not everything will translate well across multiple platforms. 

It’s really up to users to how they want to use a network, and that in turn will define it. Facebook lends itself very well to aggregating the news and opinions but Twitter seems ripe for more debate and sharing of news stories.

A story of this calibre feels like it should be plastered and talked about in every corner of social media. Instead, it was mainly concentrated to one area, which of course just happens to be one of the giants of the industry.

What events like Ferguson prove is that Twitter is the home to important news stories, opinion and discussion. 

Social media is the tool to make build awareness and share stories. Why some work better than others is really just based on the user and perception.

It might be upsetting to some to see what was being shared on other networks while Twitter was full engulfed in the Ferguson situation, but by no means are users responsible  for this in any way. Every big story finds a home somewhere in social media.

How The 2014 MTV VMAs Sparked Over 9 Million Social Media Posts

This post originally appeared on the global Social Media Week blog.
vma-2014

Ever since the days when MTV played music videos 24/7, the MTV VMAs (the popular short form of Video Music Awards) have been a really big deal to the younger generation of music fans.Since the first VMA in 1984, music artists have known that the youth of America, who primarily dictate the ever changing state of current popular music, will completely accept them if they receive a coveted “moon man” statuette to put on their mantel.

While the MTV VMAs have always been a big deal, as social media came into its own, it gave way for a whole new platform for people to connect over the “super bowl for youth,” both for fans and artists. It’s given them a way to turn this event into an interactive experience. Whether it be by live tweeting what they’re seeing to creating gifs for Tumblr of their favourite moments from the show just minutes after they happened live.

Social media has become a huge piece of the VMA puzzle, so we thought it would be interesting to look a little bit more into the numbers behind it.

Using Sysomos’s industry leading social media monitoring and analytics software, Sysomos MAP, we looked across social media channel from Sunday through Monday (to see the day of the show and the follow-ups the day after) for mentions of the VMAs (and other major variations of it).

In just those two days well over 9 million pieces of social content were created that made mention of the VMAs. First, we found that the VMAs were mentioned in 7,953 blog posts, 15,053 online news articles, 3,928 forum postings and an impressive 9,190,842 tweets.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary Around VMAs

We then took those numbers and plotted them out over the two days on our popularity chart and saw something very interesting that speaks to how people are using different elements of social media. First off, a look at the chart below shows that Twitter mainly drove all conversation around the VMAs, by so much that it actually out shadows the three other channels. The other thing that we can see is that Twitter surged on the day of the show as people live tweeted their way through the red carpet, performances, and the actual awards.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart for VMAs Across Social Channels

However, when we remove Twitter mentions from the chart we can see that while blogs, forums and online news were talking about the show on the day of, they really surged on the day after by posting all of their follow-up to the VMAs content. What this tells us is that Twitter is used mainly for the real-time as it happens insights, while most other mediums seem to be better for reactions after the fact.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Chart of VMAs Without Twitter

But these weren’t the only social channels where the VMAs were popular. When we looked at video content created over those same two days that were tagged with or had VMAs in their description, (across sites like YouTube, Vimeo and others) we found 7,367 different videos.

Sysomos MAP - Video Activity Summary of VMAs Videos

On Tumblr, a network known for its visual content and a favorite place for youth to share gifs, we found 295,647 different posts that were VMAs focused over Sunday and Monday.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Tumblr

Even Instagram users created 494,581 pictures that were tagged with the #VMAs hashtag.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Instagram

Other interesting things to note about the social popularity of the VMAs; when we looked a little bit deeper at the people tweeting about the VMAs, we found that the awards seemed to be more popular with females. Only 35 percent of all the tweets about the VMAs over Sunday and Monday were created by men. Women produced the remaining 65 percent.

Sysomos MAP - Activity Summary of VMAs on Twitter

That also speaks to how certain artists are seen. From looking at cultural events in the past that youth are involved in, we’ve seen many times over that artists like Justin Beiber and One Direction get retweeted frequently. However, when we looked at the most retweeted tweets around the VMAs, all of the top six are from members of the band 5 Seconds of Summer. Are these guys the new 1D?

Sysomos MAP - Most Retweeted Tweets Containing VMAs

When we looked at where mentions of the VMAs were coming from across all channels we found that 59.4 percent of all mentions came from the USA. That’s not very surprising seeing as the awards show is American based (MTV does a separate VMAs for their European market).

Sysomos MAP - Country Distribution of VMAs Mentions Across Channels

While the USA did out shadow the rest of the world talking about the VMAs, a geo-location heat map of Twitter mentions reveals that the rest of the world was also engaged in the event. The USA still shows the most Twitter mentions, but we can also see on the map that Twitter users around the world were participating in the conversation.

Sysomos MAP - Geo Location Heat Map of Tweets About The VMAs

So, what was everyone actually talking about? A look at our buzzgraph (which shows words being commonly used in the conversation and how they’re connected) and word cloud show that almost all of the talk was around peoples’ favourite artists that were attending, winning or performing at the VMAs. The two artists that seem to stand out the most though are Beyoncé, who did a 16 minute performance and received the MTV Michael Jackson Vide0 Vangard award (a lifetime achievement award), and Miley Cyrus, who’s Wrecking Ball won video of the year and was accepted by an unknown man named Jesse who spoke to the audience about homeless youth in America on behalf of Miley. The only thing that did not fit in with the category of artists is the appearance of Suge Knight in the text analytics. However, Knight’s name appears because of an incident at a VMAs pre-party that left him injured and made headlines all day on Sunday.

Sysomos MAP - Buzzgraph of Conversations Around The VMAs

Sysomos MAP - Word Cloud of Conversations Around The VMAs

The Summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge

dm_140806_headlines_icebucketThe summer of 2014 has been a big one for social media, but nothing has defined it more than the Ice Bucket Challenge; a campaign to help raise awareness and money for ALS research.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has dominated many social networks, especially Facebook where videos of those who accepted the challenge has filled user’s newsfeeds.

The idea is pure gold for digital marketers and PR companies. Best of all, it’s simple and easily went viral because it was for a compelling cause.

All people had to do was turn on a recording device, give a quick message which includes nominating others for the challenge, dump ice water on their head and upload to Facebook and other networks.

Pretty brilliant when you consider the concept and its popularity. The reports suggest that the ALS Association who is credited with the campaign has raised over 70 million dollars whereas normally they raise around 2 million by this time of the year.

Of course, the celebrity involvement didn’t hurt.

The danger now lies with those who plan on imitating the campaign. For other organizations who are looking for a boost in fundraising, copying this challenge might leave you feeling like ice water was poured over your head.

This is a classic example of catching lightning in a bottle. Altering it to fit your cause (since the use of ice water is meant to replicate the feeling ALS has on your muscles in some small way), will only have most people ignoring you altogether.

For digital marketers and PR practitioners, you need to try to get one step ahead and figure out how they can utilize social media and its rabid user base to elicit donations and awareness.

The Ice Bucket Challenge will be a digital marketing case study for quite some time and the desire to imitate will be there. You have to resist or risk having it blow up in your face.