Jobs in Social Media and Web 2.0 on the Rise!

December 30, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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When I’m curious about what particular companies are up to/ the strategic direction they’re heading, I often look on their careers web pages and scroll through the open vacancies.  It is hard for companies (especially those in high-tech) to find what they’re looking for in candidates without getting specific about the specific skills they’re after.

I recently found another great resource for getting a wider sense of where the market is going – Indeed.com’s job trends tool.  Indeed crawls the web looking for millions of jobs and provides a one-stop-shop for job searchers.  In 2005, the site posted over 35 million jobs culled from thousands of websites. They’ve recently opened up their archive of jobs allowing people to search this archive and plot job trends over time.

Today, I did a search for the most popular social media keywords. The results (below) are really interesting.  They indicate that companies everywhere are beginning to realize the value of social media and the importance of hiring staff with social media skills:



Post Script Jan 2, 2007: Vox doesn’t yet allow for trackbacks on comments. It also doesn’t allow non Vox users to comment on posts. This morning, I heard from via email from non-Voxer, Sophie, a Marketing Manager at Indeed, who kindly clarified a few of the questions that were raised in the comments for this post.  She confirmed that no job remains in the Indeed index for more than 30 days and they do their best to filter all duplicate and spam/scam job listings. So, the information in their trends section should be pretty accurate.

For any of you out there, who are unable to post comments, please feel free to email me at: socialmediablog@gmail.com, and I will manually post your comments.  It’s good to know that non-Voxers are reading!  To any of you Voxers out there that feel frustrated by the inability of non-Voxers to post, please write a blog about it titled: “Six Apart: Why Can’t Non-Voxers Post Comments? (and other feature ideas)” and give your thoughts.  Please use the tags: blog, Vox, comments, trackbacks, Six Apart, and whatever else you feel is appropriate.

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The Social Networking Awards – Vote for Your Favorite

December 29, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Contest, Events, Social Media
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Mashable in conjunction with PhotoBucket is hosting “The Social Networking Awards” and is asking you to vote on your favorite mainstream social networking site. The nominees are:

To vote, click HERE.

I voted for Vox because I use it so often, but each of the nominees has its strengths.  As I look at the list, I keep thinking that the old phrase “It’s not where you are but who you’re with” is as true in social networking as it is in life.  While I’ve experimented with a lot of the above sites, I’ve wound up using Vox and LinkedIn because these are the two sites that I find the most useful for interacting with people who share similar interests.

On a different note – I’m looking for new material for this blog – including new social media sites/services to review.  If you have ideas (topics of interest, products, services, etc.), I’d love to hear them. Email me at: socialmediablog@gmail.com.

Coming up in next week’s socialmedia blog a review of Brent Hoberman’s new baby – a social networking site for world travelers.


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Impact of the ‘Washingtonienne’ case on Social Media.

December 26, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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It’s been a slow news week in the world of social media and social networking – what, with the holidays, people are spending time with real life friends and family, rather than at work or with their on-line network.  But, there is one social media/ social networking story that is still making headlines and drawing crowds of millions with wide eyes and dropped jaws this week – yep – the ‘Washingtonienne’ case.  For those of you social media-ites who have been living under a rock, click here to read the latest on the status of the lawsuit, which is proving just as elicit and sexually-charged as the blog that sparked it.

In my opinion, this case is thoroughly ridiculous and a waste of the court’s time.  Apparently, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman feels the same way:

“I don’t know why we’re here in federal court to begin with,” Friedman told attorneys for both sides in April. “I don’t know why this guy thought it was smart to file a lawsuit and lay out all of his private, intimate details.”

Despite this frivolity and mis-use of the already over-burdened court system, I’m concerned by the way the outcome of this trial may impact social media and the way that bloggers and other social networkers freely express themselves.  I don’t believe in hanging out dirty laundry to dry in a public forum, but this is America, and if someone wants to do that, it’s their right, so long as what they’re saying is, in fact, true.  However, I also agree withMarc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

“Anybody who wants to reveal their own private life has a right to do that. It’s a different question when you reveal someone else’s private life,” he said, adding that simply calling something a diary doesn’t make it one. “It’s not sitting in a nice, leather-bound book under a pillow. It’s online where a million people can find it.

That said, if you want your private life to stay that way, it is advisable to know a little something about the integrity and personal habits of a girlfriend/boyfriend before you share your “private” life with them.  Apparently, Robert Steinbuch didn’t. According to the AP:

Cutler, a former aide to Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, says she created the blog in 2004 to keep a few friends up to date on her social life. Like a digital version of the sex-themed banter from a “Sex and the City” episode, Cutler described the thrill and tribulations of juggling sexual relationships with six men.

What will the outcome of this case mean to social media in the long term?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, the case highlights the importance of personal accountability.  In summary – It’s not nice to kiss and tell, but if you’re stupid enough to get involved with someone who clearly has a history of kissing and telling, don’t be surprised to read about yourself in their blog.

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BMW Using Social Media to Develop Community

December 20, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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Todd Schomer from SixApart tipped me off to the fact that BMW is using video upload and social media sharing as a way to involve prospective and current customers with their North America campaign to “Watch Holiday Wishes Come True”.  To see the videos that have been submitted or to post your own video, click here.

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Social Media Optimization (SMO): Rules to Live By

December 18, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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For those of you interested in using Social Media as a way to communicate to your customers, partners, etc., I recommend reading the following blog post by Rohit Bhargava, VP of Interactive Marketing for Ogilvy Public Relations.  Back in August, Rohit started an interesting conversation about Social Media Optimization (SMO), summarizing a series of rules for implementing a successful SMO strategy:

1. Increase your linkability
2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
3. Reward inbound link
4. Help your content travel
5. Encourage the mashup

In time, Rohit linked to a few additional “rules,” for SMO, as offered by other bloggers.  Including:

6. Be a User Resource, even if it doesn’t help you (Jeremiah Owyang)
7. Reward helpful and valuable users (Jeremiah Owyang)
8. Participate (Cameron Olthius)
9. Know how to target your audience: “If you don’t even know your target audience you are in trouble. I would love to have everyone using my product too, but you need to be realistic. There is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can’t. So know your appeal and who it is appealing to.” (Cameron Olthius)
10. Create content (Cameron Olthius)
11. Be real (Cameron Olthius)
12. Don’t forget your roots, be humble (Loren Baker)
13. Don’t be afraid to try new things, stay fresh (Loren Baker)
14. Develop a SMO strategy (Lee Odden)
15. Choose your SMO tactics wisely (Lee Odden)
16. Make SMO part of your process and best practices (Lee Odden)

A couple of weeks after publishing his original post, he wrote:

At this point, I think it’s safe to say the term has grown beyond a point when I feel like I can (or should) be the gatekeeper to decide what the 17th rule should be or how this area evolves.  So, to that end, for those interesting in continuing the discussion and helping SMO to grow – here is my quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about SMO:

  • Post your thoughts on your own blog
  • Add a comment to the original SMO post on this blog
  • Add a comment to a relevant blog post about SMO (whether they mention it or not)
  • Tag any blog posts or online content about SMO with the tag “socialmediaoptimization
  • Update the Social Media Optimization page at the New PR Wiki
  • Translate the rules into more languages (apart from those already done)
  • Tell your colleagues (especially those outside online marketing) about SMO

I agree that SMO is an important topic of conversation, and while I don’t want to “own” the conversation either, I would like to add a new rule to the list – building a bit on rule 9:

17. Make your Social Media Optimization strategy targeted and multi-pronged.  Know your audience and customize marketing messages, making them relevant and compelling to the core groups of people you’re targeting (e.g. YouTube users, bloggers, social networkers, people interested in specific topics, etc).

In my view, one of the most important parts of implementing a successful social media optimization strategy is not just knowing your target audience but making marketing messages to your different target audiences relevant.  I advocate using social media to articulate marketing messages in a slightly different way to different target groups – ensuring that the message a prospective customer received is tailored to their specific needs/interests.  From a customer’s perspective the best “sell” is a “soft sell” – one that makes them excited to buy a particular product/service rather than one that makes them feel “forced” to buy it.  In other words, people want to buy products because they actually want them, not because they’re told they want them.

The companies who participate in Second Life (as discussed in my blog on December 7, 2006) are doing something right.  They’re making their message relevant to a specific group of people with a particular interest.  These advertisers are offering Second Lifers something that is relevant to/ enhances one’s “second life”.  I recommend that companies take a similar approach to other marketing via other social media avenues.  So, for example, if you’re trying to attract YouTube users to purchase your product, talk about why your product is relevant to YouTube… If you make a mobile phone, place a targeted ad on the site that emphasizes about how easy and fun it is to watch YouTube using X, Y, or Z model of phone.  If you’re selling Mentos or Diet Coke, plug the YouTube videos that feature your product.

When you’re building an SMO strategy, take a more targeted approach by:

  • Customizing your ads, making them relevant to different target groups
  • Writing blogs and posting relevant track backs / comments in high-traffic blogs that point out the positive aspects of your products
  • Participating in popular social networking sites and “making friends”, etc.

In other words, don’t just know who your target audience is, but make your messages more relevant to each of the target audiences that you expect will read/watch/hear them.  Because product evangelism through social media can be done inexpensively (or, in some cases, for free), it is possible to execute a multi-pronged approach that is more relevant to target prospective customers than more conventional forms of advertising.  The goal should be to develop a multi-pronged SMO strategy that is more relevant/ compelling/ convincing to groups of target customers with different interest, with the aim of increasing the probability that marketing messages “speak to” different groups in different ways and therefore improve customer acquisition and result in increased sales.

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Gartner’s latest predictions about the Blogosphere

December 16, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Research, Social Media
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It’s been a busy couple of days, which have left little time for research and blogging, but I will be back full force next week.  In the meantime, here’s some interesting reading. Gartner’s latest study predicts the future of the blogosphere.

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Roundup of Exciting Social Media / Social Networking News

December 13, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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The World is abuzz today with all sorts of interesting news relevant to social media/ social networking.  Here are some teasers with links to keep you occupied with plenty of great reading:

MySpace is apparently the biggest site on the internet in terms of the number of page views.  Fox Interactive (largely MySpace) surpassed Yahoo, which saw a 9% reduction in overall traffic in November.  This is not all doom and gloom for Yahoo. Yahoo still has more than double the number of unique visitors to its site than MySpace – clocking in nearly 130 million unique visitors in November.  If you ask me, unique users is a better judge of website size, but I suppose traffic is also important.  Read More.

Speaking of Yahoo. Today, Yahoo and comScore Networks released a research report entitled, “Engaging Advocates through Search and Social Media.” This is a topic that I brought up in my recent blog “Social Networking and The Birth of S-Commerce: A Marketer’s Dream Come True”, in which I compared the power of social networkers to that of the folks that Malcolm Gladwell calls “Mavens” in his book The Tipping Point.  It’s great to see research emerging on the subject.

Skype is planning to start charging for “Skype Out” calls to mobile or landlines effective January in the US and Canada.  If you sign up before January 31, 2007, you’ll get the yearly cost for these calls at half price – a cheap $14.95/year for an unlimited plan (regular price is $29.95).  If you’d rather get a bill after every call, it’s still super cheap – $.021/min!  Read More.

A new social media website called DareJunkies launched it’s beta, which encourages people to submit videos of themselves executing on dares, which appear on the website. Call me juvenile, but it has the potential to be hilarious.  More importantly, it has the potential to be sticky. I’m not sure what their revenue model is, but I can see huge opportunity for ads, product placement in dares, etc.  TechCrunch calls it “A social networking site for jackasses”.  I won’t disagree, though looking at some of the challenges, a lot of it seems a bit more benign than the stunts of Jackass… more like videoing the dare component of a high school truth or dare game.  Take, the following example, which appears in the dating section:

See how many ridiculous pick lines you can try at the drive though window.  Try your best, your most suave moves, until they get increasingly more frustrated with you.  Finally get upset yourself claiming that “this is the Pick-Up window, if they weren’t interested they shouldn’t be working there.  If they can’t take a joke then order the Big Mac Combo…only if you’re not at Dirty Ron’s. Read More.

And, lastly, MobileCrunch is reporting that SharpCast has been added to US carrier Altell‘s deck.  I’ve been excited to hear SharpCast’s announcement for a while now.  While I’ve not seen the service working, I first heard about it last year when it was very much under wraps, as the company has quite a few folks that came from Palm, Inc./ PalmOne.  The service allows you to sync photos across all of your devices (phone, PC, etc.) seamlessly.  While this is not a social media site or technology, per say, I think it has long term potential to revolutionize the way that users of social media sync information with their computers to their phones and ultimately share. Read More.

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Five Across, Inc.

December 12, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Review, Social Media
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I was reading my daily dose of social media press releases when I came across a Social Media company based in Los Altos, CA called – Five Across (founded by ex Apple and Adobe developers).  Five Across provides social media and community building software.  Today, Onstream Media announced a series of “teaming and services agreements” with Five Across. “Ho hum” you say?  This is actually pretty interesting.

What the agreement means is that combined service of both companies will allow Five Across’ customers (companies, sports teams, etc.) to add multimedia experiences to their on-line social networking facilities.  Developing their own social networking platform is just one way that organizations etc. are keeping in touch with their customers and fans.  Adding the ability to upload user-generated content to their websites will positively increase the way that Five Across’ clients reach out/ market to their constituents and the way that those constituents interact with each other.

If anyone else out there besides me was wondering, “Could Five Across somehow be related to Six Apart?”  The answer is no.  Six Apart’s name was derived from the number of days between the co-founders’ birthdays.

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NY Times Enables Article Sharing / Posting on Social Media Sites

December 11, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Review, Social Media
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Today, the New York Times Co. began offering NYTimes.com readers the option of posting articles on Digg, Facebook, and Newsvine.com.  This new functionality now appears to users along with other, standardized options like “print” and “email” on free articles, but these new sharing options are not available on premium “paid-for” articles.  To read more, click here.

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Recently Unearthed E-Mail Reveals What Life Was Like in 1995…

December 8, 2006 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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1995-email-discovered
In typical Friday fashion, I was browsing TheOnion.com over lunch, when I came across an article that made me laugh – out loud: “Recently Unearthed E-Mail Reveals What Life Was Like in 1995”.  If you’re looking for a good laugh on a Friday afternoon… This spoof article will do the trick!  When I was done laughing, the article made me think about what has changed in the last 15 years and how the latest web 2.0, social media, and wireless revolution is now accelerating the pace of ongoing change.


Today, the Wall Street Journal reoported another first – CBS Corp. is getting ready to unveil a new, interactive game for mobile phones – based on (wait for it) “America’s Next Top Model.” The game will feature avatars (discussed in yesterday’s blog) based upon the latest line-up of real-life contestants from the show.

Eberhard Schoeneburg, CEO of Artificial Life, Inc., the company responsible for developing the game said:

We are very excited about this product launch and the opportunity of working with one of the world’s leading media companies to produce leading edge mobile games based on such a well known and globally popular TV shows as ‘America’s Next Top Model’ on the CW.  After the initial launch in the US we will also launch the game in many other countries around the globe.

On the surface, an interactive mobile game doesn’t seem like such a bad idea… A recent Telephia study finds:

Nearly 13.5 million mobile subscribers downloaded a game in Q2 2006, representing average monthly revenues of $46.9 million for the quarter. Since Q3 2005, the number of subscribers who downloaded mobile games from the operator portal has increased by 15 percent. During that same time period revenues jumped 63 percent.

Under close examination, I’m asking myself, “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?!!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as big a fan of mobile games as the next person, and I think there is a huge potential in both mobile games and corporate sponsorship/advertising in games, but I’m skeptical about this particular game concept.  I can’t imagine that the season (and interest in any show) would last long enough to financially justify developing a mobile game that revolves entirely around one series of a specific TV show.

I come from a mobile background and have worked with hundreds of mobile developers globally, as a Business Development/ Developer Relations Consultant at Palm, Inc.  Mobile game development, when done well, is an expensive and (often slow) endeavor.  The mobile marketplace is a lot more fragmented than the PC and console gaming markets, and there are a lot more scenarios to develop for, which contributes to the cost and development time.  There are thousands of different types of handsets out there – each with their own keyboard layout.  There are also a wide variety of Mobile operating systems and screen resolutions.  Screen resolution is a HUGE issue for mobile games developers because artwork doesn’t always scale well.  Realistically, how many mobile devices will they be able to program this game for?  My guess is – not many.

In my opinion, if media companies like CBS are going to use interactive/ social gaming for advertising purposes, there is a more effective way to do it… As an example, they can develop more general games, which have components/short scenes that can be dropped into/ taken out of a game quickly.  Developing mobile games that based entirely around avatars from one season of a show is too limiting.  How about building a mobile “platform” game where the characters have nothing to do with a particular TV show, but where users have to answer questions from last night’s episode of a particular TV show in order to get extra points or get to the next level?  That would be easy enough to do technically.  Better yet, why not engage multiple viewers of a particular show in a mobile gaming competition (any game will do), and the winner gets to meet the stars of a show?  All of these scenarios seem more sensible from a business perspective than the one CBS announced.  I bet the implementation of their announced strategy will struggle with device compatibility issues and heavy development costs.

The Wall Street Journal article also highlights something that I mentioned in my blog about Second Life yesterday… Marketers are increasingly using avatars to engage new customers and audiences.  NBC Universal apparently announced that it has signed a deal with Cyworld (who I plan to talk about in future blogs), a major social networking site, which started off in South Korea and is growing internationally.  Apparently, NBC Universal will be releasing an Avatar into Cyworld later this month, which is based upon “Fancy,” a character from “Passions,” which is a leading daytime show aimed at teens.  According to the article:

Cyworld members and NBC.com visitors will be able to buy avatar clothing and furniture and decorate a virtual bedroom for Fancy, who lives with her very rich grandmother. Cyworld launched its U.S. site last summer.

Ah, and to think, I remember when the coolest thing you could buy as a teenage soap fan was a Luke and Laura t-shirt (which, you had to write away for).  Yep, the world is changing at lightning speed.  I’ll have to save that article from the Onion and read it again in 10 years… At this rate, I’m sure it will get even better with age.

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