Monthly Archives: August 2011

Why Social Media?

This is the third in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at –  save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the subsequent post, How is Social Media Relevant to Business?

“One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real . . .

In the future that will become literally impossible.”

William Gibson, author

You’re reading this book because you’re at least curious about social media. You probably want to know why there’s such a fuss about it, and you’d like to find out if it can help your enterprise. We’ll get to all these topics, but first, why should you care at all about social media?

One reason is it is the fastest growing segment of the Internet, having overtaken online games and email as the most-used category of applications on the Internet.[1]

Think of how much you use email, and how much those around you use it. People are using social networking more often than they are using email.

In fact, here are some statistics on various social media properties:

YouTube is now 10 percent of all Internet traffic[2]

1.5 million blog posts per day (17 per second)[3]

YouTube & Wikipedia are among the top brands online[4]

Five of the top 10 Websites are social[5]

There are more than 152 million blogs[6]

More than 175,000 new blogs launch every day[7]

Not convinced yet? How about some more statistics?

  • One in four social network users knowingly follow brands, products or services on social networks. For those who use these sites and services
    several times per day, this figure increases to 43%.[8]
  • Americans spent an average 5 hours 35 minutes a month on social networking sites in 2009
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest,[9] with
    750 million people, having over­taken the US, at 308 million[10]
  • Facebook users shared 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) per month in 2010 [11]
  • Online communities are visited by 67 percent of the global online population, which numbered 1.8 billion at the end of 2009 [12]
  • Nearly two-thirds of US Internet users regularly use a social network (and almost two-thirds of all Americans are on the FTC’s no-call list!) [13]
  • Nielsen Netview found that in 2010 social media use by Americans dwarfed other online usage by more than two-to-one

US Monthly Time Spent Online Graph

Figure 1- Source: Nielsen Netview, June 2010[14]

Managed security company Network Box found in an April, 2010 survey[15] that
social media sites dom­inate Internet usage by businesses. According to the company, employees watching YouTube videos accounted for 10 percent of
all corporate bandwidth during Q1 2010 – up two percent over the previous quarter.

The top five bandwidth Websites, and the percentage of all bandwidth they used, were:

  • YouTube – 10
  • Facebook – 4.5
  • Windows Update – 3.3
  • Yimg (Yahoo Image Search) – 2.7
  • Google – 2.5

Business usage of YouTube and Facebook sucks up almost 15 percent of the average org­anization’s bandwidth! This brings us to another reason to be
interested in social media: It’s already here. Your enterprise is already dealing with its effects. You need to understand it, plan for it, and create
a social media strategy for your business, if only in self-defense.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, consider the fact that Amazon recently was granted a patent [16] for “A networked computer system [that] provides various services for
assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users,” – in other words, social networking. When the big boys get this
serious, you know something’s going on.

Next up: How is Social Media Relevant to Business?

Can’t wait for all the chapters? Buy Be a Person: The Enterprise Social Operating Manual and save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV .

Nielsen Online:

Source: Ellacoya

Source: Technorati –


Source: Alexa –

Source: Blogpulse via Royal Pingdom: Internet 2010 in numbers:

Hmmm. Apparently Technorati said this as long ago as 2008, but this seems to be an accepted bit of Web lore at this point: a stat everybody
quotes, but has no findable source.

Edison Research and Arbitron The Social Habit II: Internet and Multimedia Study 2011:

For a light-hearted take on what this means, see:

Royal Pingdom: Internet 2010 in numbers:

Nielsen, Social Networking’s New Global Footprint: and Switched, FTC’s ‘Do Not Call’ List Hits 200-Million Mark, but Telemarketers Still Call:

Nielsen Netview:

Network Box survey:

Amazon granted a social networking patent:

Why Your Business Needs to Take Social Media Seriously

Many business leaders dismiss social media as a collection of toys and games for people who like to waste time talking about what they had for lunch, bowling irritated birds, and raising virtual crops.Picture of a crashing wave

It’s true.

Social media, like the cell phone in your pocket, can be used for trivial and stupid things.

Those leaders who may be inclined to take social media seriously often point to various problems with existing social networking sites. Facebook, the leading social network, for example, exhibits a significant lack of concern not only for privacy, but users in general.

While this is also true, new site on the block Google+ is pushing Facebook to pull back a little on the privacy front and may challenge them on the user-centricity side. The site
captured more than 25 million users in its first month of existence and may yet challenge the Facebook gorilla for dominance.

In other words, the social media marketplace continues to evolve, and everything you now think you know about social media may very well be wrong in a minute or two.

Turn Haters into Evangelists

Just as the sites are evolving, our personal behavior norms online are evolving. Sure, there’s a lot of negativity out there, and much of it could come your way if your business ventures into social media. Perhaps it will take the development of ubiquitous video connections to moderate thoughtless online behavior. It’s kind of like flipping off a careless driver and then finding out he’s your neighbor. If you knew that in the first place, your reaction would be less extreme.

And that’s the point about social media: Be a Person.

If you’re worried that people will bad-mouth you online, first consider that they probably already are. Next consider how creating a personal relationship with the haters might affect their behavior – potentially turning haters into supporters or even evangelists. There’s more about this process in our series, How Can Social Media Scale?

Social Media for Online Survival

If the forgoing is still not enough for you to get off the social media dime, the most compelling reason to get into social media is for survival.

If your business has a presence online, and you’re interested in being found via search engines, you have to get into social media. Now.

Search is morphing from the mechanical, SEO-dominated techniques of today to a recommendation-based model based in large part on what people are saying about your brand on social media.

In the rapidly-approaching future, what your prospects’ friends (yes, even for B2B brands) think about your products and services is going to be much
more important to online findability than today’s page-rank-based, how-many-keywords-you’ve-stuffed-onto-your-pages techniques (a gross simplification of modern SEO, to be sure).

Social Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that businesses will no longer have the convenience of considering people as generic “consumers,” differentiating them only by gross measures such as ethnicity, location, salary, job title, and other demographics. Businesses in the future will not only have to know more about their customers, they’ll have to better know their customers and be able to relate to them as individuals.

That’s a sea change, and if businesses think they can ignore it by discounting social media or dismissing it as something that doesn’t work, they risk missing the wave.

This sea change poses a number of very serious questions for all businesses:

  • How can relating to the whole person scale?
  • Is it possible to hire enough people to establish relationships with all your prospects?
  • How will you deliver a highly-personalized product or experience to your clients?
  • How will you convert customers into supporters into evangelists?

These are the important questions, not whether Twitter is stupid or Facebook is a joke.

If you’re not working on the answers to these evolving questions, you really could miss the boat and be under the wave, not on it.

8 Steps to Starting a Business Relationship Using Social Media

We’ve stressed in our books ( and in our training that social media is all about relationships, not porting old-media tactics (advertising, marketing, promotion) to this new medium. The goal online is to create relationships and Be a Person.

So how do you get started using social media to create a business relationship? Well one way is to follow our 8-step process, detailed in the following.

1) Find Targets

Using LinkedIn as an a example, if you’re not already connected with the person, or already have a list of people you want to connect with, you start with targeting. Identify other users using LinkedIn search (limit: 100 results) or Google search (use Pay attention to the keywords you use to narrow your search. If you pay for a premium LinkedIn account, you can really hone in on a particular group, such as vice presidents of engineering for Fortune 1000 biotechnology companies with fewer than 10,000 employees.

2) Learn About Your Targets

Once you find potential targets, study their profiles. If you’re a degree away, you might ask for an introduction, but you need a really good reason. I often do not pass on LinkedIn referral requests because I don’t want to endorse shallow requests. If you do go the referral route, be sure to give the referrer(s) a good reason to take your request seriously and a good reason why the target may be receptive to you.

3) Join Your Target’s LinkedIn Groups

As an alternative to getting referred, find out the LinkedIn groups your target belongs to and consider joining them. Follow the group discussion and if your target posts, comment on the post. Repeat.

You’re looking for some commonality and a reason to engage in a dialog. You’re building a relationship, so look for opportunities to give information or otherwise provide value.

4) Ask to Connect

Ideally, you’ll always have some interaction with the target before asking to connect. At the very least, become active in the group by posting questions, resources, and demonstrating your expertise. By this I don’t mean crowing about how your business is the best thing since sliced bread. Keep all comments non-salesy.

If the target doesn’t post in the LinkedIn Group, you can send a connection request specifying group membership, but that’s a cold call. Be sure to describe the reasons why you want to connect (not “I want to sell you something”). Never send the default LI invite unless you really know the person well!

5) Learn More About Your Target

Once you’re connected, watch your LinkedIn update stream for activity from your contact. Comment or like as appropriate. Your goal is to appear in their update stream, and attract their attention. Let them know you’re there, thinking of them, and contribute something of value. Repeat.

6) Ask Questions and Offer Assistance

After an appropriate length of time doing the above, message the person and ask them a leading question: What are you working on? How does <recent event> affect your job/business/organization? People love to talk about themselves, so get them talking.

If appropriate, suggest resources or solutions to their problems. You’re getting to know one another, so spend sufficient time in this stage. If you’re selling something or yourself, do not bring that up at this stage! It’s OK to describe what you do, but wait until the contact asks if possible, and don’t make it the focus of your interaction.

7) Coffee Shop Your Target

Finally you’re ready to suggest having coffee. Give a good reason to meet, beyond getting to know one another better. That reason should not be so you can sell something. It should be focused on your contact – “I’ve got some ideas about the problem you’re having. Shall we meet for coffee to discuss?”

Now you’re in the real world and all the good real world networking techniques come into play. But still don’t start selling. The rule of thumb in social media is to give four times before asking, but at this stage, you still aren’t ready to ask.

8 ) Know When to Ask (or Not to Ask)

At some point you’ll know when it may be time to ask. But it actually is better if you wait until your contact suggests you may be able to help.

Even if you feel it’s time to ask, don’t give them the hard sell. Don’t you hate it when a friend, family member or acquaintance puts the touch on you for some multi-level marketing scheme? Isn’t that awkward?

You’ll find that, if you’ve been getting better acquainted, it may have become obvious to your contact that you may have something they could use, and you may be surprised that they come to you with an opportunity. That happened to one of our partners who made a sale to a major multinational corporation that had previously told him his company was too small to work for them.

After following this process, his contact spontaneously said, “There’s a project starting that you guys would be perfect for. I’ll have someone give you a call.”

As IRL, So Online

Just as IRL (In Real Life) you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and ask them for a favor, don’t do it online. Your objective in social media should be to build relationships, not push your message out to thousands of strangers.

Just as in your own life you are probably much more likely to act on a friend’s suggestion to see a movie, buy a certain car, or dine at a particular restaurant, so it is online. People hate being sold, but they love referrals from friends. Establish a community of friends, and your business opportunities will multiply.

We’d love to hear what you think in the comment area below.

Social Sites Defined

Social Sites Defined

There are a bewildering array of social media sites. In this post, we define many of the popular sites and terms your company should be familiar with. This is the second in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises.

The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the first post, What is Social Media? See the subsequent posts Why Social Media? and How is Social Media Relevant to Business?

Social Networks


Some rights reserved by Butch Lebo

Social networking sites will come and go, but approaches to going social  can be adapted for any site. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most popular and useful social sites and concepts out there, and give some quick definitions.


Facebook is the largest social networking site by far, with more than half a billion users. Many of its users use the site to keep up to date with friends and to “follow” celebrities, popular TV shows and movies, and causes. However, many use Facebook for serious purposes such as recruiting talent, selling products, and creating communities around brands or products.

The major features of Facebook include friending – connecting with other users so that you can see their activities; posting statuses – short blurbs about what you are doing or interested in; reading what others are posting in your News Feed, a constantly updating timeline of the comments and activities of your friends; and playing online games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville.


LinkedIn is the most professional of the popular social networks. Users tend to be more affluent and influential, and more of their interactions involve some business purpose rather than being purely social. LinkedIn is a great place to prospect for talent, find partners and customers, and find volunteers and donors. LinkedIn is organized around your user profile, which is like a resume on steroids. In addition, users’ profile pages feature a News Feed similar to Facebook’s as well as any number of plug-in applications such as Reading List by Amazon, SlideShare, blogs, and others.

LinkedIn has many features that enable you to find and connect with other users, but you are limited in the number of people you can contact directly and/or connect with. LinkedIn uses a principle of three degrees of separation: those you are connected to are your first degree network; those that your connections are connected to are your second degree network; those who are connected to your second degree network are your third degree network.

You can only directly contact your first degree network, but can ask those contacts for help in connecting to people in your second or third degree network.

One of the most useful aspects of LinkedIn is their Groups function. Anyone can create a group and invite like-minded people to join. It’s a great way to meet others who share your interests. Another useful function is LinkedIn Answers, which enable users to ask and answer questions on any subject.


Twitter is what is known as a microblogging social network. Members post messages of up to 140 characters (known as tweets) and those who follow them see the messages in their News Feeds. Often derided as shallow, trivial, and boring, Twitter is used for talent acquisition and all sorts of business and professional functions, including organizing online and offline events, and spreading the word about products and brands.

People who follow your tweets are called followers, and if they like a tweet they may retweet it – repeat it – to their followers. You can find people to follow by using the Twitter Website’s search function to search for words or phrases, or for special keywords called hashtags. Hashtags are created by putting a pound sign (#) in front of a word, for example #nonprofit. People do this so their tweets can be associated with others on a similar topic. For example, many recruiters post their job openings on Twitter using the hashtag #job.

Twitter is often used to call attention to a Website or a blog or other online destination. With only 140 characters to play with, it’s hard to say anything complicated, and thus Twitter often serves as an advertisement for lengthier treatments of a subject.

Twitter Directories – WeFollow, Twellow, etc.

Twitter has spawned its own universe of related sites, including many different sites dedicated to helping users find tweets and tweeps (people on Twitter) of interest. Directories like WeFollow and Twellow enable users to list themselves, add tags describing their interests, and use tags to search for tweeps that share their interests.


A tweetup is not a site, but rather an offline gathering organized via Twitter. Organizations as diverse as NASCAR, NASA, and non-profits such as GiveMN and Maui Food Bank[6] have used tweetups. Tweetups offer a chance for people who may only know one another virtually to meet in person. It’s a great idea for enterprises because it can solidify interest and support for your cause.


YouTube is a free service that lets people post short videos. Users can create a channel to house multiple videos, and other users can subscribe to the channel, tag videos within it, and comment on them in text or by posting a video reply. In most cases, users can embed (insert) videos on their Websites without the poster’s permission, thus providing a free source of content for their own Websites.

YouTube is largest video service of its kind, but there are lots of others. YouTube tends to be in the forefront of the social networking aspect of video.

StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, Flickr

These sites are known as social bookmarking sites. Each provides ways for people to discover Websites, videos, blogs and pictures of interest based on the efforts of other users, who tag sites of interest with keywords that others can find via searches. StumbleUpon will email you with suggested sites in categories that you select. Delicious and Digg enable you to search for keywords and suggest general interest items. And Flickr specializes in photos, enabling you to post and tag photos and share them with friends.


Short for Weblog, blogs are a way to post longer-form articles that may include pictures and videos. The average blog post is not terribly long – perhaps 400 to 700 words – that usually treats a single subject. Some blogs are user’s everyday thoughts, like a diary, and others examine technical, philo­sophical, or religious topics. The most popular blog site is the Huffington Post (now part of AOL), which examines political topics, but there are also popular blogs that follow celebrities (TMZ, Perez Hilton), technical gadgets (engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch), or post satirical takes on current events (Gawker, The Onion). Anyone can create a blog, and tens of millions have. A blog is a particularly good way for enterprises to engage with their communities.

Google Alerts, Blog Search, Reader

Google has a wealth of tools to aid you in monitoring what people are saying about your organization on social media sites. Google Alerts are automated searches you can set up that will search for keywords and email you the results regularly. At the very least, your organization should have some Google Alerts set up. Google Blog Search does, guess what? Blog searches. It’s another great way to keep tabs on the conversation. Google Reader enables you to subscribe to RSS feeds (see below). Most blogs have feeds that Google Reader can consolidate into one place for you to read, sample, or skim.


Google+ is a young network with features similar to Facebook but with a more-effective way to organize your friends into “circles.” The network exhibited phenomenal growth, attracting more than 10 million mostly male users in its first two weeks of operation. While many of its features are derivative, Google+’s Hangouts feature, which enables users to create ad hoc meeting spaces, may force other social networks to create their own equivalents. The site’s Sparks instant messaging feature may even give Twitter a run for its money. Google+ has a real potential to challenge Facebook for social networking dominance. A related effort, Google’s 1+ equivalent to the Facebook Like button, released in March, 2011, achieved broad acceptance in a phenomenally short period of time, and has been especially spurred by the release of Google+. By the beginning of July, 2011, four percent of the top 10,000 sites had added a +1 button to their homepages, up 33% since the beginning of June. Google combination of a social network with its search engine dominance may help it eat into Facebook’s impressive social media dominance.

RSS Feeds

Standing for Really Simple Syndication, RSS is a way for users to “subscribe” to the updates of a site or a blog. Subscribing means that whenever the content changes on the subscribed-to site, an update is made available. You can keep up with the update by subscribing to the RSS feed using an RSS feed reader, like the free Google Reader. That way you don’t have to constantly revisit the site to see if anything has changed. You should consider implementing an RSS feed for your own site and social media properties.

Social Aggregators – Plaxo and FriendFeed

Started in 2002 as an address book synchronization service and purchased by Comcast in 2008 for $150 million, Plaxo added social aspects including the ability to follow multiple social media News Feeds from more than 30 sites (like Twitter, Yelp, Flickr, Facebook, and LinkedIn), a birthday reminder and e-card service, and user profiles. Plaxo’s 20 million social members (and 50 million address book users) tend to be business-oriented. Although it’s not often thought of for its social networking features, Plaxo is worth considering for use by enterprises. FriendFeed enables social media friends to follow one another’s’ feeds from more than 50 social networks in one place. FriendFeed pulls friend activity from other sites and assembles it into a News Feed on its site. Users can thus just check the FriendFeed without having to visit several social sites to keep up with their friends.

Personal Curation

An emerging type of social media site allows users to create and curate their own publications based on their social media activity and feeds. The resulting magazine-like electronic publications feature articles harvested from, for example, the activity of a user’s Twitter followers and Facebook friends., for example, scans and categorizes your feeds daily for links to articles, blogs, pictures, and videos. The publication has a front page and multiple “departments” containing material in categories such as technology, business, and politics. See an example at Summify is much simpler, presenting your top five news stories from your social networks, and delivering it by email, web or iPhone. Storify is less-automated, and enables you to curate your own publication by selecting specific material from Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, YouTube, Google searches, RSS feeds, and other Storify publications via a simple drag-and-drop interface. PearlTrees takes a little different tack, installing a brower plug-in to enable you to publish “pearls” – little pointers to Webpages or other resources. PearlTrees users can navigate “pearltrees” – organized connections ¾ link to them, or collaborate on creating them. As the torrent of social information grows, more tools to enable users to filter and curate information will crop up.

Location-Based Sites – FourSquare and GoWalla

With the rise of the smart phone, location-based sites have gone wild. FourSquare allows users to “check in” either manually or automatically at real-world locations such as bars, restaurants, and other venues. The idea is to help provide a real-world connection for social-world friends. But detractors say the information these sites provide about where people are right this moment is an invitation to burglary or worse. You’ll want to consider whether to make location-based sites part of your social media strategy.

Expert Sites – Squidoo,, eHow

There are lots of expert sites on the Web. Some are heavily curated ( has editors assigned to most of their expert areas); some are automated (Squidoo aggregates lots of content on a single topic); others are organized around how-to areas (eHow has articles and videos that show you how to do almost anything). You should review these sites to see if they’re talking about you and your cause, and to determine if they might include your organization in their materials.

White Label Sites – Ning

White label social media sites provide the tools for you to build a standalone social media site for your organization. One of the oldest and best is Ning (“peace” in Chinese), which hosts more than four million sites. Incidentally, cofounder and Ning chairman Marc Andreessen created the first insanely popular Web browser, Netscape, back in 1996 and sold it to AOL for $4.2 billion in 1999. Your organization can get started on Ning for a few dollars a month. Of course, first you need to know whether your community needs (another) place to go, and whether you’re ready to commit to the effort necessary to create and host a community.

Orkut and Bebo

Social media is a worldwide phenomenon, and while a large percentage of Facebook’s membership lives outside the US, there are also social networks like Orkut and Bebo that focus on non-US members. Orkut is owned by Google and has more than 100 million users. After starting as an invitation-only network in the US, its largest proportion of users now come from Brazil, where it is one of the most popular Websites, and from India. Acquired by AOL in 2008 and then sold to hedge fund operators Criterion Capital Partners in mid-2010, Bebo was also started in the US and now has more than 40 million users, a quarter of which are from the UK. If your organization wants to reach outside the borders of the US, consider using social networks such as these.


Knowem is one of many sites that will allow you to reserve your organization’s presence on hundreds or even thousands of social media sites. You can use the site to do this even if you have no plans to create a presence on hundreds of sites. It’s a good idea because a) you may someday want to join one of the obscure sites and b) you may want to prevent others from usurping your identity on social sites. Knowem is also a good way to research specialty social media sites where your community may have an active presence.

Social Media Badges

Many sites provide badges, little graphics that represent the site or some achievement, to supporters who then post them on their blogs or other sites. One example of this is on LinkedIn. When you join a LinkedIn group, you have the option to display the group’s badge on your profile so others see you’re a member. Badges are also given by sites like FourSquare to signify some achievement or status. It’s a good way to enable and encourage evangelists. There are also other types of badges that recognize achieve­ments of your supporters, such as “Top Blogger” or “Most Valuable Evangelist.”

Up next: ­Why Social Media?

What is the Difference between Social Media and Snake Oil?

The main difference between social media and snake oil is that social media works.

We have more than 100 case studies in our Enterprise Social Media Framework across all industries and company types that show real benefits from the proper use of social media. While best practices are still evolving, companies that are getting the most out of social media understand they need to:

  • Be a Person – Social media is social, meaning involving people. If your company insists on rigidly controlling an impersonal, old-media push-type message, you won’t be successful. Be a Person is the name of a series of books we’ve written to help companies understand how best to use social media
  • Be authentic – Don’t try to be what you’re not. Social media users will see through artifice and insincerity. There are lots of examples of companies who failed because they ignored this dictate. See the Wal-Marting Across America entry in our Social Media Hall of Shame for a good example.
  • Be transparent – If you try to hide, obfuscate, or deny embarrassing news or policies, you’ll get found out. It’s much better to be transparent, as scary as that might be.
  • Be consistent – This refers not only to your messaging, but your online branding. Use consistent graphics and messaging everywhere you are online. You can customize your message for various groups, but don’t tell one segment one thing and another something different.
  • Be patient – ROI will come, but it’s like offline networking. You don’t expect to ask someone you just met at a mixer to invest $100M in your company, right? Relationships will come. And it is very possible to measure the return on your social media investment.
  • Be careful – There are various legal restrictions that may affect social media, especially if you’re in a regulated industry. There are other state and federal laws that can affect social media use by your employees. At the very least, you need to have a social media policy for your company. See the Online Database of Social Media Policies for guidance in creating yours.

Finally, look beyond the obvious suspects – sales and marketing – into other areas of your business for opportunities to leverage social media. In fact, we believe that sales and marketing may be the least impressive thing social media does. You may find great social media success in product development, customer service, talent acquisition and especially employee engagement. There are few areas of most enterprises that can’t benefit from social media.

This question was asked on the The Business Technology Forum  on LinkedIn. Join that conversation at

Flashing the Mob With Digital Community Officers

By Ken Morris, JD

Philadelphia, London, Cairo and more recently the 7-Eleven incident in Germantown, MD are examples of centuries old behavior – people gathering in groups and behaving badly. Police in Germantown initially believed the 7-Eleven flash mob robbery was planned using social media. Post interviews with the suspects, police discovered that the teens planned the raid on the convenience store while on a bus ride from a county fair.

Governmental response has ranged from shutting down communication networks as in the blocking of cellular traffic on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (a likely constitutional infringement on speech) to active monitoring of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The latter approach is an important effort but insufficient to quell the planning of illicit activity. We recommend combining the monitoring of social networks by becoming part of the network – a concept central to community policing.

Community policing is best defined as the system of allocating police officers to particular areas so that they become familiar with the local inhabitants. Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and now Google+ are merely digital forms of analog communities.

We acknowledge that police departments are operating in environments of fewer resources. The efficiency and scalability of social networks provide a unique leveraged opportunity to engage those communities with only a modest investment. Monitoring tools are readily available. Mobile platforms allow for real-time notification and engagement by Digital Community Officers (DCO’s).

First things first.

  1. Determine your digital community policing objectives.
  2. Define measures of success.
  3. Assess which communities/networks are most valuable to engage.
  4. Become an active part of the digital community.
  5. Determine appropriate responses to less than helpful activity.
  6. Actively publicize the presence of your DCO’s.
  7. Consistently evaluate progress.

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
– Robert Kennedy

What’s Google/Motorola All About?

Bloggers and analysts have spilled a lot of ink and electrons about Google’s move to buy Motorola Mobility. The comments tend to fall into two camps: Google’s brilliant; Android’s dead.

I think Google may be playing a deeper game than many give them credit for.

Personally, I’m in the camp that thinks Google’s hardware partners will have a problem with Google competing with them.While it’s possible that Google checked out the acquisition with these partners before going ahead, I don’t think so. Not only does that not seem to be their style, why would they tip their hand to competitors who might want to mount their own bid for the struggling Motorola?

It seems to me that Google is too smart not to know that owning a hardware maker might alienate their hardware partners, and thus the plan may be to spin the hardware portion of Moto back out, keeping the patents and possibly some of the talent.

Taking a look at Google’s play at buying wireless spectrum back in 2007-2008 might be instructive. At that time, the ink and electron spew was all about two things: Could Google really change their business model to morph into a telecom provider, and would they offer free, advertiser-supported services on the bandwidth if they obtained it?

It turned out that Google’s spectrum bid was a ploy to force the price up so the winner had to be more net neutral, based on “open access” requirements set down by the Second Report and Order released by the FCC.

That wasn’t as it seemed either and I suspect we’ll be hearing about plans to sell Moto Mobility to HTC or Samsung in the future.

What is Social Media?

What is Social Media?

Social Media is one of those terms that everyone may immediately assume they can define. In our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises, we take a stab at a definition.

This is the first of a series of posts from the book (itself part of a series for different audiences) which is available in paper form at save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the following posts Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? and How is Social Media Relevant to Business?

What is Social Media? Social Networking? Social Computing?

“Social media are online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author.
To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests.”

Joseph Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis

First off, we’re going to use these three terms interchangeably throughout this book — social media, social networking, and social computing — because they all really mean the same thing — online activities involving three major components:

  • User Generated Content (UGC)
  • Participating in online communities
  • Sharing opinions and ratings with others

Most organizations are struggling with the effects, threats, and promise of social media these days. Many are reaping huge benefits from social media. Others are dipping a toe in the water. And perhaps the majority are wondering why they care what some Twitterer had for lunch. (We don’t and frankly, nobody does.)

This book will straighten this all out for you. It not only gives you a solid foundation in the strategies and the “Whys” of social media, but also a firm grounding in the “Whats” of creating your organization’s social media presence. You’ll learn the rules of the social media road, how to create a social media strategy before you start using the tools — our No Tools Before Rules™ concept — and tips and techniques for maximizing the effectiveness of your social media use.

Social networks really aren’t that new. Many recognize the Website, launched in late 1997, as the first social network site.[1] SixDegrees allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and surf the Friends’ lists.

Figure 1 —’s First Main Page — First Social Network

Others point to the ancient discussion groups on USENET (begun in 1979), the pioneering online community the Well (AKA Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link — started in 1985), the communities on CompuServe (1979) and Prodigy (1988), and Internet Relay Chat (IRC — started in 1988) as early social networks.

While all these examples did indeed constitute online communities, they may not quite fit the modern definition of social networking for a variety of reasons, including the limited number of social features and their integration into the communities. However, they did fulfill our three requirements for a social network: They enabled, encouraged, and facilitated User Generated Content; they were online communities; and although sharing opinions and ratings with others was not usually formalized, commenting was generally fully supported.

So social networking has been around at least since 1979, when Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, and Steve Bellovin, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, created the USENET software and installed it on the first two sites: “duke” and “unc,” which were connected by a relatively new network (created in 1969) called the Internet.

But in reality, you probably already belong to the oldest social network of them all: email. Electronic mail began in 1965 as a way to send messages on a mainframe computer. Modern email was invented by Ray Tomlinson, one of the forefathers of the Internet, in 1971.[2] The only one of our three social networking criteria that email doesn’t obviously fulfill is: participating in online communities. If you’ve ever been part of an email group (AKA a listserv) or email newsletter, you know email can provide online community.

So you are a veteran user of social networking!

Up next: Social Media Sites Defined

The book Be a Person: The Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV