Social Media Kool-Aid?

Paul Owen from Owen Media published a nice piece today in, asking if Social Media was a fad that is going away, or something really hear to say.  

Paul’s piece had a range of comments from other social media firms in town, so I don’t want to repeat everything here.  He did a nice job of grabbing insight from the agencies who specilaize in Community Management and outsourced Customer Support, while also getting input from more full service organizations.  

Our viewpoint over at Social3i is you’ll only see more commerce through social channels, not less.  There’s a giant blurring between “Wb” and “Social” now, so that they are really one in the same.

There’s another whole article on privacy to be written, but take that out of the mix and look at two companies that released product in the last week – Color and Zapd. Color has all the fanfare for the amazing (or outrageous) valuation.  Zapd made less noise but comes from a guy who’s launched a lot of startups in his day, Kelly Smith.  Both focus on instant content generation, and the packaging of such content.

Color takes the idea of friends, and flips it on its ear, turnign everyone in your proximity into co-authors with you.  Zapd lets you take those random photos and turn them into a web page in 60 seconds, so you can share not just the photos, but the whole story, all in the time it takes to in line buying a beer.

Combine these philiosphies with the GroupOn and Living Social commerce infrastructure, and you can see (well we think you can see) where this is all going.  Add in Facebook credits, more virtual currency, and One-Click purchase technology on the phone, and social becomes more than Facebook customer service posts and Tweeting back and forth at each other from the same party.

Anyway, check out Paul’s article, and if you think I said anything dumb, feel free to lay into me in the comments section.

LinkedIn’s Clever Nod to Early Adopters

In Marketing these days, it’s all about “Influencer Identification.”  As in, “How do I spend as little money as possible to reach the most important people who will say good good things about me?” It’s a simple srategy and hard to pull off.

On the flip side, there’s something you don’t see a lot of – the followup.  After spending all that time to get the early adopters to make referrals to the majority, many brands simply forget where they got their start.  That’s what makes this simple email from LinkedIn’s CEO so clever.

Dear Andy,

I want to personally thank you because you were one of LinkedIn’s first million members (member number 121884 in fact!*). In any technology adoption lifecycle, there are the early adopters, those who help lead the way. That was you.

We hit a big milestone at LinkedIn this week when our 100 millionth member joined the site. 

When we founded LinkedIn, our vision was to help the world’s professionals be more successful and productive. Today, with your help, LinkedIn is changing the lives of millions of members by helping them connect with others, find jobs, get insights, start a business, and much more.  

We are grateful for your support and look forward to helping you accomplish much more in the years to come. I hope that you are having a great year.

Now, this email did a few things for me.  I never really consider myself an innovator.  Occasionally an early adopter.  But I was #121,884 out of 100,000,000, and I needed to go into Excel to figure out that makes me in the top 0.122% of LinkedIn adopters.  Not just top 1%, but dang near the top 10% of the 1%.Telling me that little stat is a nice way of showing me some love without seeming insincere.

Maybe more importantly, it also makes me realize and remember that LinkedIn has been an important part of my online world for a long time.  I may not go there every day, and I may not currently use it as much as I use other services like Pandora or Twitter.  But I needed that gentle reminder that while I had fun flings with MySpace, Shutterfly, Biznik, Ning, WetPaint, Lala, Digg, Delicious, Foursqaure, Gowalla, and 100 other intrguing networks, LinkedIn has weathered all the storms, making it through both the good and bad times.  It’s never been the sexiest or most interesting site, but it’s always there, does exactly what it promises, and occassionally provides me little unexpected moments of joy. It’s slowly turned into that trusted friend that you can’t imagine life without – something way more valuable than those little daliances into the new and exciting things that always disappoint.

So it’s not often you get to say complimentary things about an old brand.  But I like LinkedIn’s nod to their longtime fans.

Super Bowl Ads Part 1

Remember when the Super Bowl was simply all about the commercials during the game itself?  Well how great is it that now we have YouTube, so we can watch all the commercials BEFORE the game itself, including all of the “Banned” ones that “didn’t make it.”  (Don’t you just love that every brand has a “Banned” commercial now?”

According to early research, this Volkswagen gem is leading the pre-game hype for Best Ad.  

Frames for Facebook

I love when I get to promote something that has popped out of the UW’s Foster School of Business.

Check out Frames for Facebook, a slick little iPhone app that lets you customize those 5 little pictures at the top of your Facebook profile that everyone gets to see.

All you do is choose a pic from your phone, manipulate its position across the 5 frames, and hit publish.  I played with a few things (some which worked better than others) and agree with the people who have told me they think it has great entertainment possibilities. For example, if the light was right, this Kid Rock photo would be pretty cool. 


#ParkaParty Taking On Life of its Own

Congrats to @Roosiehood.  What started as a little project to raise a few hundred bucks for local food banks is taking on a life of its own.

#ParkaParty is in full effect in the Seattle Twittersphere, and shows no sign of letting down.  If you haven’t jumped on board yet, this article from should explain it all.

Now I’m just waiting for my #ParkaParty avatar to arrive…….

In the meantime, here’s a fun little Flickr slideshow from the web site to show some of the folks who have donated.  



Gaming the Social Media System

It appears the time has come – or maybe it had already – in which clever entrepreneurial types can more easily game the social media system.

Now that we’re a good 4 to 6 years into companies leveraging social marketing programs, we’ve finally infiltrated the marketing directors who still don’t quite get the concept of building meaningful relationships.  We’re reaching a few decision makers who want quick fix solutions and simple metrics that don’t really correlate to anything actionable.

This article from Social Media Today talks about the proliferation of social scoring.  In concept, it seems like a natural evolution.  Why pay the same CPM to reach everyone, when you can pay a little higher CPM, but buy fewer impressions, to just reach the people who matter most?

But I think the principle breaks down when you take into account that once you use some arbitrary calculation such as “Klout” score, you have – by definition – developed a real world game in which the prizes are monetary.  Rather than spend our time on some casual puzzle game, why wouldn’t we develop ways that we can get on Virgin’s VIP list.  

This “Game-ification” of our online lives is not a new concept.  Scott Dodson talks of it in a very eloquent and interesting manner.  But once we’re using our social profiles, or creating alternate social profiles, to try to game retailers and get on their influencer list, we start to see the business benefits of social media breakdown.  

It seems to me that soon we’ll start to see a separation between companies run by marketing directors who are managing social programs with made up metrics, and those who actually understand their customer base.  And if you find a company with the former, go run up your Klout score and get free stuff…

Busy Seattle Technology Marketing Week

If you’re in technology marketing and advertising, this is going to be a busy week.

Tuesday: Social Media Club October Event “Building Ambassadors Using Social Media” at The Canal in Ballard, 5300 34th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (6-9pm)

Wednesday: TechFlash Meetup at Spitfire Grill, 2219 4th Avenue Seattle, WA (5-8pm)

Thursday: October Event at Havana’s Social, 1010 E. Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122.  (5-9pm)

See you all there.

Start your morning with

There are a lot of semi-useless social media tools out there.  One that I am liking more and more is  

In a nutshell, it takes your Twitter feed, and distills it into a front page of a newspaper, so you can scan all the important topics you care about in one shot.  It even splits them into categories like Sports, Media, Politics, Technolgy, etc….

Now, it only grabs feeds from the people you follow, so if you are one of those “uber important” types that only gets followed themselves, then it’s not going to be much good.  And if you follow a bunch of people that tell you about their sandwich, then you’ll have a boring as well. 

Here’s part of the Monday morning grab from

My New Favorite Social Tool – Flavors.Me

Nothing revolutionary here, and I may be a little late to the ballgame on this one. But I’m having a lot of success working with as a super simple, 10 minute way to build out nice looking web properties.

There’s nothing genius in the concept, but the execution is unbelievably quick and easy. In about 20 clicks, you can aggregate together all your social feeds, upload background pictures, change the font colors, and – if you choose too (I haven’t yet) – grab a custom url. So if you publish for multiple blogs, in theory you could grab all the rss feeds from those blogs, and suck them into your single page. 

There’s real value in the system if you are struggling with clients who have multiple locations, and can’t decide if they should have different url’s, different Facebook pages, etc… This gives you a nice aggregation capability.

For personal branding, I can’t think of anything much easier. Get your resume, photos, designs, feeds, reading lists, etc… all dragged into one place for an employer / client to look through, and save them the hassle of google.

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.