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The if, what, why, how, who and where of what it means to be influenced within the social web.
Curated by Andrew Spong
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Consumers logging off facebook, ignoring new Apple products

Consumers logging off facebook, ignoring new Apple products | Influenced |

* 52 percent of respondents to a SodaHead poll reported that they planned to spend less time on Facebook

* 73 percent of respondents believe a future social network will eclipse Facebook altogether.

* 72 percent of consumers were disinterested in a possible iPad mini

* 74 percent were similarly underwhelmed by the prospect of the iPhone 5.

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Big business's social media buying frenzy

Judging from the deals, social media for business is moving from start-up to establishment faster than you can tweet “buyout.” Several billion dollars have been spent on mergers and acquisitions in the sector over the past several months, with no sign of letup.


On Tuesday Oracle purchased Involver, a company that makes software for a nontechnical person to build a complex corporate page on Facebook and other social media. The price was not disclosed. Earlier in the week purchased, also for an undisclosed sum, GoInstant, which enables people to browse Web sites together.


It was Oracle’s third big social media purchase this year, and the seventh by Salesforce since March 2011. Among the notable deals, in May Oracle paid a reported $300 million for Vitrue, which also makes social marketing software, and a day later Salesforce paid $689 million for a social marketing business called Buddy Media. In June Microsoft said it would pay $1.2 billion for Yammer, a kind of Facebook for use inside the corporation.


It is a fast adoption of a new business tool, particularly compared with the other hot trend, cloud computing. While cloud took years to gain corporate credibility, social media, which is often delivered through cloud-based systems, is selling fast.


Social media is particularly attractive for marketers, since hooking product information up with consumers enables them to elicit and observe behavior better. That enables them to make and sell products more effectively.

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A new economy is emerging and generosity will be one of its currencies

A new economy is emerging and generosity will be one of its currencies | Influenced |

Where does #socialgood on the Internet come from?


Richard Janda, a professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University and co-author of a recent book on corporate social responsibility, says, “The Internet helps us to gauge or measure our reactions relative to those of others. It does this by allowing us to see and count how many others are swarming to what I like.


“We need to know that others are doing so as well, so that my willingness to give gains collective significance.” It’s a form of accountability-based influence. The more you can compare yourself to others and see what they’re doing, the more you know they can see what you’re doing.


There’s a new economy emerging and generosity will be one of its currencies.

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Microsoft buys social intranet Yammer for $1.2bn

Microsoft buys social intranet Yammer for $1.2bn | Influenced |

Microsoft has snapped-up internet start-up Yammer, which enables businesses to create their own private social networks, in a $1.2bn (£770m) cash deal.

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Designing for social good

Designing for social good | Influenced |

Curtis Waterbury writes:


'Designers continue to fight for a seat at the table in terms of developing solutions for social good.


It doesn’t matter how much funding you have (though it obviously helps) — that’s not where solutions come from. They come from motivated and creative individuals who can also inspire others.'

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Why social is good for business

Why social is good for business | Influenced |

An infographic exploring the relationship between HR and social technologies.

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Social media used poorly in the UK workplace

Social media used poorly in the UK workplace | Influenced |

A Kelly Global Workforce Index workforce survey show that 44% of UK employees feel that social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is impacting negatively on workplace productivity.


[AS: Who's surprised? #facepalm]

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75 percent of suite executives say that social tools will change business strategy

75 percent of suite executives say that social tools will change business strategy | Influenced |

Three-quarters (75 percent) of senior executives surveyed by Millward Brown (n=2,700) said that social tools will change business strategy, stating that they had already been able to improve the following aspects of their business:


* Bringing together ideas and thoughts from a geographically dispersed team (79 percent)

* Productivity (76 percent)

* Ability to find information, people and expertise more quickly (72 percent)

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Social is not a source of innovation. Social is a state of mind.

Social is not a source of innovation. Social is a state of mind. | Influenced |

It happened. It’s over.


The bubble was popped by Facebook’s IPO belly flop. Some saw it coming, but before May 18, plenty of smart people saw only blue skies. Chris Sacca predicted we’d see a $56 price on opening day. But within 2 weeks, the price had dropped 29% to a low of $26.83. According to Bloomberg, it was the worst IPO of the decade.


[AS: Interesting though it is, this article only gestures towards to the salient point here, namely: social media are not marketplaces.


Social is not a source of innovation. Social is a state of mind.


'What's the best business model for social media?' is a contradiction in terms. Facebook shareholders are the unwittingly funders of a platform that is making free global networking an entry-level expectation for those participating in the social web.


They're not there to promote social good and a progressive agenda. They're there to make money. And they're getting burned. It may not make them any money, but it may well be the catalyst from which the next generation of free, open, crowdsourced, subscription-hosted (someone has to pay) networks emerge.]

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Companies that have successfully integrated social into customer service

Companies that have successfully integrated social into customer service | Influenced |

Consumer demand for social customer service is soaring. A recent study by Sitel revealed that social media is no longer an ‘opt in’ for customer service but essential, with 15% of consumers aged 16-25 year olds now using social media to resolve an issue rather than any other method.


For Generation Y, social media is now the primary communication channel and ultimately a need rather than a must.


Those organisations with insight are beginning to realise the benefits of social and creating specific communities to start engaging with their customers.

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The future of search

The future of search | Influenced |

A few days ago, Microsoft announced that Bing would be adding a social search bar to its search results. In January, Google rolled out Search Plus Your World, a feature that integrates social sharing popularity into search results.


Why would the big search engines welcome social into their territory? One reason is that social search tactics have been around since the early days of search engines.


As search becomes social, what will you do with the power it offers?

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How to design technology with natural user interfaces

How to design technology with natural user interfaces | Influenced |

Microsoft expert Steve Clayton presents a vision of the future where gesture, sound and artificial-intuition create a world that extends the possibilities of our creativity.

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How to make money online

How to make money online | Influenced |

Seth Godin writes:


* The first step is to stop Googling things like, "how to make money online." Not because you shouldn't want to make money online, but because the stuff you're going to find by doing that is going to help you lose money online. Sort of like asking a casino owner how to make money in Vegas...
* Don't pay anyone for simple and proven instructions on how to achieve this goal. In particular, don't pay anyone to teach you how to write or sell manuals or ebooks about how to make money online.
* Get rich slow.
* Focus on the scarce resource online: attention. If you try to invent a way to take cheap attention and turn it into cash, you will fail. The attention you want isn't cheap, it's difficult to get via SEO and it rarely scales. Instead, figure out how to earn expensive attention.
* In addition to attention, focus on trust. Trust is even more scarce than attention.
* Don't worry so much about the 'online' part. Instead, figure out how to create value. The online part will take care of itself.
* Don't quit your day job. Start evenings and weekends and figure it out with small failures.
* Build a public reputation. A good one, and be sure that you deserve it, and that it will hold up to scrutiny.
* Obsessively specialize. No niche is too small if it's yours.
* Connect the disconnected.
* Lead.
* Build an online legacy that increases in value daily.
* Make money offline. If you can figure out how to create value face to face, it's a lot easier to figure out how to do the same digitally. The web isn't magic, it's merely efficient.
* Become the best in the world at something that people value. Easier said than done, worth more than you might think.
* Hang out with people who aren't looking for shortcuts. Learn from them.
* Fail. Fail often and fail cheaply. This is the very best gift the web has given to people who want to bootstrap their way into a new business.
* Make money in the small and then relentlessly scale.
* Don't chase yesterday's online fad.
* Think big, act with intention and don't get bogged down in personalities. If it's not on your agenda, why are you wasting time on it?
* Learn. Ceaselessly. Learn to code, to write persuasively, to understand new technologies, to bring out the best in your team, to find underused resources and to spot patterns.
* This is not a zero sum game. The more you add to your community, the bigger your piece gets.


[AS: Like a 'Best of Seth Godin' in one blog post. Great.]

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Favortree using social gaming techniques to encourage sharing

Favortree using social gaming techniques to encourage sharing | Influenced |

Need a cup of sugar, but don’t know which neighbor to ask for help?


Favortree (@favortree) , the first favor-trading game for mobile phones, can help connect you with your neighbors. The game rewards members for providing favors for others by gaming the experience with a virtual fruit tree- the more someone helps others in their community, the more fruit grows on their tree; fruit can then be exchanged for favors.

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Reviewing social technology companies' customer service

Reviewing social technology companies' customer service | Influenced |

Quora is a website that crowdsources answers to just about any question imaginable, including "What is the meaning of life?" and "Is it possible to stick someone to the wall with Velcro?"


But anyone searching for a phone number for the company is out of luck. Not only is the number unlisted, but the very question "What is the phone number for Quora?" has gone unanswered for months.

Quora is not the only social technology company that presents an anti-social attitude to callers. Twitter's phone system hangs up after providing Web or email addresses three times. At the end of a long phone tree, Facebook's system explains it is, in fact, "an Internet-based company." Try email, it suggests.


LinkedIn's voice mail lists an alternate customer service number. Dial it, and the caller is trapped in a telephonic version of the movie "Groundhog Day," forced to work through the original phone tree again and again until the lesson is clear: stop calling.


Voice calls have been falling out of fashion with teenagers and people in their 20s for some time . But what is a matter of preference for the young is becoming a matter of policy for technology companies; phones cost money, phones do not scale. Besides, why call when you can use Google, or send a Twitter message?


On the other end of the line, however, some people may not know how to Google, or do not want to use Twitter. These users may be older, or less technically adept, and they are finding the method of communication they have relied on for a lifetime shifting under their feet. It does not make sense, they say, that a company with products used by millions every day cannot pick up the phone.


"A lot of these companies don't have enough employees to talk to," said Paul Saffo, a longtime technology forecaster in Silicon Valley. Facebook, for example, has just one employee for every 300,000 users. Its online systems process more than 2 million customer requests a day.

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Without shared values, your 'engagement' is meaningless

Without shared values, your 'engagement' is meaningless | Influenced |

Ilana Rabinowitz writes:


'I imagine that many corporate social media documents list engagement as a goal.


Whether it’s an individual initiative or an overall strategy, the word “engagement” has become the ultimate prize in the world of social media. Yet, gaming the system, creates only an illusion of engagement.


Try as you might to create massive amounts of engagement, it’s your mission—the meaning you bring to your community that determines genuine engagement.'

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Four startups doing social good

Four startups doing social good | Influenced |

Zach Davis writes:


'Recently Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, made the claim that history’s greatest entrepreneurs are amoral. When confronted with a decision between what was best for the health of their business and what was most ethical, Gladwell believes, entrepreneurs have empirically favored the former.


It’s hard to argue with his case. The bottom line doesn’t factor benevolence. And although most consumers wouldn’t knowingly support a business with faulty morals, without the information omnipresence that is the Internet, shady practices could stay in the dark.


Not any longer.


Today, through social media and social news websites, business practices are seen through glass walls. People buy Toms in droves while condemning Nike. Not only does the bad get punished, but the good is rewarded. Today we want to shine light on 4 startups that are promoting this social good:


* Kula Causes

* Roozt

* Summerqamp

* Nextdrop

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'Easily susceptible users tend not to be influential, and influentials tend to be quite stubborn'

'Easily susceptible users tend not to be influential, and influentials tend to be quite stubborn' | Influenced |

Research by NYU Professor of Business Sinan Aral suggests that:


* peers of the same age are most influential on each other

* women are less susceptible to influence than men.


'He also settled a long standing debate between Malcolm Gladwell and his critics over whether messages go viral due to an army of highly influential broadcasters or after being dropped into a population of share-happy users.


According to Aral, a viral campaign needs both. Easily susceptible users tend not to be influential, and influentials tend to be quite stubborn. The trick is finding a population that has enough influencers to spread the message to enough susceptible users.'


[AS: the term 'susceptible' makes me a little queasy. I may have preferred 'veteran' and 'novice', but then again this implies a correlation between experience and competence that need not necessarily exist.]

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Klout scores feed a social media sickness

Klout scores feed a social media sickness | Influenced |

Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) writes:


Want to REALLY increase your social influence?


Here’s how.


- Surround yourself with people who care about you.*


- Do good work.


- Be kind and helpful.


Just do those three things and the influence — the influence that matters — will take care of itself.


[AS: *The first point one sounds a little like 'lock yourself in the echo chamber with the sycophants', but I'm sure that isn't what Mark intended. I'm therefore glossing this as 'Surround yourself with positive people who are making a difference and are committed to change for the better, just like you are.'

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A social business case study: BrewDog

A social business case study: BrewDog | Influenced |

James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog commented:


“Five years ago, BrewDog was, Martin Dickie, myself, some second hand equipment and Bracken the dog. Now we’re Scotland’s largest independent brewery, selling our craft beer in 27 different countries and owning 8 amazing craft beer bars across the country. We’re opening three more bars in three months adding 40 new members of staff, yet all we hear about in the media is redundancies, downturns and Lady Gaga.”


James Watt continued:


“The economic crisis has been our biggest catalyst for success. This is an environment for the innovators, for the misfits and the mavericks. There is a revolution happening, and heads will roll. We can see the empires of old crumbling, and the winners will be the people with the passion and commitment to make great products and make their companies work no matter what.


“People are fed up of having the wool pulled over their eyes; of being told their beer is from Australia when it’s from Burton-on-Trent, or that it tastes better because it’s ‘extra cold’, or because it has a QR code on the can,” added James Watt.


“When times are tough, people see through the thin veneer of corporate ad-speak and seek out genuine quality and value. The media say the beer market is in decline – but sales of good beers are going up and up. It is the global monolithic mega corporations peddling lame, tasteless lagers that have their head on the block, and the craft beer revolution is wielding the axe.”


[AS: BrewDog have aligned an unswerving, two-fingers attitude to the brewing hegemony with great products and an innate understanding of what people who enjoy beer want, supported by a business-critical need to include them in their success as equity partners.


BrewDog are a true social business, and I salute their achievement -- as well as their beer. Cheers!]

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Social networks, the Tertius Iungens orientation, and involvement in innovation

Social networks, the Tertius Iungens orientation, and involvement in innovation | Influenced |

Abstract: This study examines the microprocesses in the social networks of those involved in organizational innovation and their strategic behavioral orientation toward connecting people in their social network by either introducing disconnected individuals or facilitating new coordination between connected individuals.


This tertius iungens (or “third who joins”) strategic orientation, contrasts with the tertius gaudens orientation emphasized in structural holes theory, which concerns the advantage of a broker who can play people off against one another for his or her own benefit.


Results of a multimethod study of networks and innovation in an engineering division of an automotive manufacturer show that a tertius iungens orientation, dense social networks, and diverse social knowledge predict involvement in innovation. Implications of the study for innovation and social networks, as well as for social skill and agency within firms are presented.

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Social Media users neither interested in nor influenced by adverts

Social Media users neither interested in nor influenced by adverts | Influenced |

"In the old days, Keith explained, marketers created buzz by engaging consumers with "brand extensions" -- sales promotion, direct marketing and free publicity.


"The internet now allows us to do those three things with amazing efficiency and creativity," Keith said. "But none of those activities substitute for creating and sustaining the brand itself.


"The point is we need both -- the brand-building skills we learned in the past, combined with the brand-extension tools technology offers today. The danger is that in our mad dash to be digital, we lose sight of the former, and a brand's core values begin to disintegrate."


[AS: and when your 'brand's core values begin [or (my POV) continue] to disintegrate', will you then accede to the possibility that marketing as you understood/understand it has *no place* on the social web, and never has?


This piece really made me boggle. We have already entered the postmarketing age. Wake up.] 

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100 ways to measure social media

100 ways to measure social media | Influenced |

1. Volume of consumer-created buzz for a brand based on number of posts

2. Amount of buzz based on number of impressions

3. Shift in buzz over time

4. Buzz by time of day / daypart

5. Seasonality of buzz

6. Competitive buzz

7. Buzz by category / topic

8. Buzz by social channel (forums, social networks, blogs, Twitter, etc)

9. Buzz by stage in purchase funnel (e.g., researching vs. completing transaction vs. post-purchase)

10. Asset popularity (e.g., if several videos are available to embed, which is used more)

11. Mainstream media mentions

12. Fans


14. Friends

15. Growth rate of fans, followers, and friends

16. Rate of virality / pass-along

17. Change in virality rates over time

18. Second-degree reach (connections to fans, followers, and friends exposed - by people or impressions)

19. Embeds / Installs


21. Uploads

22. User-initiated views (e.g., for videos)

23. Ratio of embeds or favoriting to views

24. Likes / favorites


26. Ratings

27. Social bookmarks

28. Subscriptions (RSS, podcasts, video series)

29. Pageviews (for blogs, microsites, etc)

30. Effective CPM based on spend per impressions received

31. Change in search engine rankings for the site linked to through social media

32. Change in search engine share of voice for all social sites promoting the brand

33. Increase in searches due to social activity

34. Percentage of buzz containing links

35. Links ranked by influence of publishers

36. Percentage of buzz containing multimedia (images, video, audio)

37. Share of voice on social sites when running earned and paid media in same environment

38. Influence of consumers reached

39. Influence of publishers reached (e.g., blogs)

40. Influence of brands participating in social channels

41. Demographics of target audience engaged with social channels

42. Demographics of audience reached through social media

43. Social media habits/interests of target audience

44. Geography of participating consumers

45. Sentiment by volume of posts

46. Sentiment by volume of impressions

47. Shift in sentiment before, during, and after social marketing programs

48. Languages spoken by participating consumers

49. Time spent with distributed content

50. Time spent on site through social media referrals

51. Method of content discovery (search, pass-along, discovery engines, etc)

52. Clicks

53. Percentage of traffic generated from earned media

54. View-throughs

55. Number of interactions

56. Interaction/engagement rate

57. Frequency of social interactions per consumer

58. Percentage of videos viewed

59. Polls taken / votes received

60. Brand association

61. Purchase consideration

62. Number of user-generated submissions received

63. Exposures of virtual gifts

64. Number of virtual gifts given

65. Relative popularity of content

66. Tags added

67. Attributes of tags (e.g., how well they match the brand's perception of itself)

68. Registrations from third-party social logins (e.g., Facebook Connect, Twitter OAuth)

69. Registrations by channel (e.g., Web, desktop application, mobile application, SMS, etc)

70. Contest entries

71. Number of chat room participants

72. Wiki contributors

73. Impact of offline marketing/events on social marketing programs or buzz

74. User-generated content created that can be used by the marketer in other channels

75. Customers assisted

76. Savings per customer assisted through direct social media interactions compared to other channels (e.g., call centers, in-store)

77. Savings generated by enabling customers to connect with each other

78. Impact on first contact resolution (FCR) (hat tip to Forrester Research for that one)

79. Customer satisfaction

80. Volume of customer feedback generated

81. Research & development time saved based on feedback from social media

82. Suggestions implemented from social feedback

83. Costs saved from not spending on traditional research

84. Impact on online sales

85. Impact on offline sales

86. Discount redemption rate

87. Impact on other offline behavior (e.g., TV tune-in)

88. Leads generated

89. Products sampled

90. Visits to store locator pages

91. Conversion change due to user ratings, reviews

92. Rate of customer/visitor retention

93. Impact on customer lifetime value

94. Customer acquisition / retention costs through social media

95. Change in market share

96. Earned media's impact on results from paid media

97. Responses to socially posted events

98. Attendance generated at in-person events

99. Employees reached (for internal programs)

100. Job applications received


[AS: What's changed since 2009? How many of these are valid to healthcare? What would you swap out / reorient?]

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Social media's impact on children 'merits big debate'

Social media's impact on children 'merits big debate' | Influenced |

"This extraordinary revolution in digital media has been driven by young (software) engineers, many of whom are not parents, many of whom are somewhat socially awkward and many of whom have not really thought through the social and emotional consequences" of their product

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