Archive for September, 2009

Buzz for Good


Over the last month or so I’ve been let loose to play with some social media monitoring tools and weigh up their business potential. I now like to think I’ve got good a grasp on what they can do in commercial terms, but I was always tempted to delve into more general social insights.

I investigated how much of an effect Banksy had in social media since his exhibition in the Bristol museum. It was significant. People use social media to talk about social stuff, so obviously they were talking about queuing for hours…even I did! I would have liked to search for my friends and develop some personality profiles for them based on their activity across social media. But I didn’t. It felt a little close to the line!

Anyway, at no point did I give real consideration to how these social tools could be used to help with social issues. Searching keywords across social media channels isn’t just about figuring out whether Twitter or Flickr is more popular with Apple customers. The potential to put these tools to use to help people with personal issues is huge and this only dawned on me when reading this article by Jonathan Nyguen for 360 Digital Influence. In it he ponders how Radian 6 could be used to prevent suicides and mass murders. It’s rational thinking, though some of his points aren’t quite right (sentiment analysis in Radian 6 is a manual process), the idea behind it is great. When you consider the bigger picture, this use of the tool is the most obvious, charities should be getting the use of these tools to help them help others before their situations get out of hand. The Samaritans could be using it not just to prevent suicides, but to reach out to people who are involved in communities for eating disorders, or who are self harming etc. The tool would allow them to be proactive in finding these people before they have to be reactive in handling that last gasp phone call from somebody who is on the edge of ending their life.

With this in mind I’m encouraging all social media monitoring providers to offer at least a discount on their tools to charities who will be able to put them to use in a positive social sense, if not provide the tools to them for free. If it can bring about positive change, then let’s make sure it happens.

Buzz for good – #Buzz4Good.

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My posts from a few months ago were pushing for Spotify to get their service mobile. Now with the announcement that Apple have (quite surprisingly) given the thumbs up to the Spotify iPhone app & todays release of the smartphone app, I thought I would also add my thumbs up to what could be the strongest argument for the ‘Freemium’ business model so far.

The app is only going to be available to those who have signed up to the premium service, charged at £9.99 a month. Prior to the apps launch that monthly fee meant you avoided interruptions from Jonathan or any of the insightful tit bits from the idiots who have decided to call Spotify’s voicemail. It also occasionally got you access to musical content a little earlier than the non premium user. Not great value for money, unless you really hate Jonathan.

However, one watch of this promo for the iPhone app should be enough to get you excited (if you like music that is).

Offline access to your playlists, streaming available via 3G as well as wi-fi and all the search functionality of its desktop equivalent. It’s looking like a great little package that I believe could become the most profitable app in the iTunes store so far. Are you sure you’ve not shot yourself in the foot here Apple?

No, this will drive smart phone sales once established as cloud content becomes widely accepted. The worry of not being able to play the music on an iPod will disappear and the mass market will turn to mobile devices that support the cloud content they use on their computers. Had Apple turned down the Spotify app, it would have left the Google Android platform to be the sole mobile OS offering Spotifys mobile application, resulting in Google having a great argument for choosing Android over the iPhone. Now that would have been Apple shooting itself in the foot!

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I’ve just enjoyed reading through this slide show from Paul Isakson:

It got me thinking about what drives people to use social media in the first place.

It’s likely that the majority of you who are reading this have a Twitter account, a Facebook profile, probably a LinkedIn profile, some sort of RSS reader, maybe a Lastfm profile and some other profiles on sites that are relevant to your hobbies and interests. Ask yourself this, why did you join them? What did you expect to find on these sites? How have they benefited you? How have they changed the way you go about your offline activities?

I think it’s important to untangle this huge net that marketing & PR via social media has become and take a step back. Look at it from the start of your own journey into social media; never forget that even though you may have been on Facebook for 4 years, some people are only just signing up for a profile today. How do you make their first steps into social media that little bit more enjoyable & engaging?

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