Archives For Social Studies

As posted on Social Studies on August 18:

Michael Jackson’s funeral notice may have generated a CNN Breaking News Alert today, but the big news for us Minnesotans captured four of the top 10 trending spots on Twitter:

Brett Favre, Farve, Vikings and WCCO.

But why was local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV trending right along with the news of Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings?

Because they broke the story — via Twitter.

Via David Brauer at MinnPost:

Reporter Mark Rosen, preparing for a Hawaiian vacation set to begin Wednesday, got a call around 8:30 a.m. from a team poohbah. Fifty minutes later, the tweet heard round the world — well, at least the sports world — went out via @wccobreaking:

“A high-level source with the Minnesota Vikings tells WCCO’s Mark Rosen that QB Brett Favre is expected to sign with the team Tuesday.”

The station’s willingness to sit on a story that would quadruple its web traffic — producing a spike only exceeded by the 35W bridge collapse — reflects oft-derided mainstream newsroom values.

While the concept of news breaking online is nothing new, it’s exciting — and indicative of the changing landscape — to watch legacy journalists embrace new media channels, such as Twitter, for their breaking news reports.

The content mainstream news institutions gather, confirm and report is just as valuable today as ever before, but the distribution model must change to keep pace with technology, generational habits and the ever-quickening pace of the news cycle.

For example, although I don’t often watch local television news, I do subscribe to all available local TV station Twitter feeds, frequent their Web sites and read reporter blogs. I learned of Favre’s new Vikings deal via Twitter, sent it to a friend via e-mail, who posted it to his Facebook page.

News is news, in spite of the delivery format.

Now bring on the Super Bowl tweets!

Leave your comments on the Social Studies blog.


My new post on Social Studies today…5 New Social Media Things I’m Excited About

1. Foursquare
It’s like Twitter, except not only do you care where your friends are AT THIS VERY MINUTE, you all earn points for going to those places. I signed up for Foursquare long ago, but just like Twitter, it takes a good base of friends actively using it be fun. Local businesses would be smart to set up Foursquare nights/tours for their early adopter patrons. Are you the mayor of anything yet?

2. Google Voice
I finally got my beta invitation and locked in my Google Voice number with a personalized XXX-XXX-GREG, which I’m very excited about. You can set it up to forward all calls to cell, home and work phones or filter some folks to one or the other. Online voicemail with transcripts is fun, and I was able to install an app on my smart phone to make calls without using minutes and send SMS without using my plan’s allotted texts. The set up was very intuitive, and I’m excited about the future of this technology and integration with the Google cloud suite.

3. Stuff in 3D
I’ve seen some microsites and business cards utilize Web cam to 3D technology, but last week I discovered Best Buy (client) using the advancement in human brainpower to put graphics on their ads that turn into 3D images when placed before your Web cam. The technology is here, and it’s time to experiment. Can you imagine a tiny Trent Reznor playing a 3D show on your laptop?

4. TweetYourSenator
President O’s PAC is still spending all of those tiny donations leftover from the election, and this time he’s made it simple to “Tweet Your Senator” about healthcare reform. As if our elected representatives’ aides didn’t already have their hands full sending form reply letters and deleting voicemails from constituents, now they have incoming tweets to ignore. But wait! There are a surprisingly large number of congressional members on Twitter, and I’m excited to see ways to harness the burgeoning interest in tweeting.

5. Twibbon
If you were an avid Twitter user in the summer of 2008, you’ll remember Ze Frank’s Color Wars, where users chose a team, tweaked their avatar to show their team spirit and participated in challenges just like summer camp. I was on the red team and remember agonizing over my avatar in Windows Paint trying to get it just right. These days people pimp their avatars for more genuine reasons (green avatars for Iran, Stellan, etc.). And thanks to Twibbon, it’s easier than ever to tweak your avatar with a cause or image overlay. Don’t see a cause that resonates with you? Make your own. Very cool.

–Greg Swan

Please leave comments over at Social Studies.

My new post on Social Studies:
Tara Hunt, from Intuit, spoke on the topic of how people interact and exchange information in online communities: through social capital, or as Cory Doctorow calls it, < a href=””>Whuffie</a&gt;.

Hunt gave a thorough deep dive into the importance of online communities – both through listening to what they’re saying about brands and also engaging with them. She encouraged marketers to join online communities – but not as a researcher or marketer. Instead, marketers should transparently join, listen, learn and participate in these communities to, “figure out why they would give a damn about your brand.”

One key area is seeking the community’s feedback on brand initiatives, campaigns, new products, etc.

Here are Hunt’s 8 Commandments of Receiving Feedback from Online Communities:

  1. Get advice and input from experts, but design for the broader community
  2. Respond to all feedback, even when you respond by saying, “No thanks”
  3. Do not take negative feedback personally; remember that when people give feedback, they are doing so because they care and have taken the time to improve their experience
  4. Give credit to those whose ideas you implement; nothing says “we are open to conversation” beter.
  5. When you implement a new idea, make sure that you highlight it, and ask for feedback
  6. Make small, continuous changes rather than waiting to implemtn everything at once
  7. Don’t just wait for feedback to come to you, go out and find it; people are probaby talking about your product elsewhere.
  8. No matter how much they like you, there will be haters. Mind the haters. Don’t feed the trolls.

You can view all 318 slides here.

Please leave your comments over at Social Studies.

I have a new post up over at Social Studies: Is your lawmaker on Twitter?

Here’s the post, but please leave comments over at SS:

Back in July, members of the U.S. Congress fought for their right to Twitter with a Let Our Congress Tweet campaign. It’s success, thanks in large part to Texas Rep. John Culberson, helped modernize rules — letting representatives tweet from the House floor.

If you caught President Obama’s annual message last week, you may have noticed attendees typing on their smart phones. But they weren’t just replying to urgent e-mails pertaining to national security — a handful were tweeting the event:

The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank wrote, “Some members called it a new age of transparency, a bold new frontier in democracy. But to view the hodgepodge of text messages sent from the House floor during the speech, it seemed as if Obama were presiding over a support group for adults with attention-deficit disorder.”

And here is Keith Olbermann’s take:

Harsh words, and I can understand the sentiment that everyone, particularly legislators, should pay attention when the president speaks. However, I do disagree (and not just because it was recently proven doodling while listening improves cognition).

Mobile social networking is growing fast, and I’m no longer shocked at its popularity and permeance.

At the SXSW Interactive conference last year, I was struck by the presence of an unseen digital backchannel wherever I went. Whether it was in a panel about metrics, Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote meltdown or a sponsor party, attendees were sneaking a glance at their Twitter stream to see what others were thinking, saying and doing.

In the year since, the trend has now grown to the point Congress members are offering their real-time insights, feedback and criticism on public policy. It’s a heck of a lot more convenient (and entertaining) than watching committee meetings on C-SPAN or skimming a monthly eNewsletter detailing what pork your local legislator earned you this quarter.

In fact, the trend has grown to the point I rarely attend an event that doesn’t have a fledgling digital backchannel. People tweet about snowstorms (#snowmageddon), American Idol (#americanidol) and political debates (#debate).

Twitter has given a voice to the masses, which is challenging the long accepted “I speak and you listen” model. I don’t consider multitasking adolescence. Instead, it’s an unavoidable communication complement, and one that should be embraced and leveraged rather than shunned.

Do you ever watch legislative committee meetings that drone on for hours on C-SPAN? Me neither.

But if you’ve ever read your representative’s quarterly pork newsletter and wish you had a feeling for their personality, challenges and passions, now you can thanks to social media tools like Twitter.

What worries me more than the Congress members who offered real-time insights, feedback and criticism during the president’s address are the representatives who didn’t share their feedback with constituents at all. Now there’s something to question.

Is your representative on Twitter? Find the full list here at

I have a new post up over at Social Studies: “Just Who Is Twittering

Also, can’t miss the opportunity to share our official Socializers rock video from Halloween:

New marketing blog posts today:

Social Studies: I Want My Obama Headlines (to hoard in the basement)

Perfect Porridge: Perfect Porridge Indy Band Marketing Tips: SXSW

Cross-posted from Social Studies:

The days of watching a Presidential or Vice Presidential Debate without a scroll on the bottom of the television screen is long gone. This year, CNN showed real-time results from dial testing focus groups, Bloomberg and CNBC scrolled stock tickers and Fox News featured SMS text polling and results (e.g., Text VOTE to 36288).

But that’s old news and still a one-way information flow (yawn!).

The year 2008 will be remembered as the year social media enabled anyone with an Internet connection to help add their perspective to the debates.

During the Presidential Debate last week, Libertarian Candidate Bob Barr — uninvited to the formal Obama/McCain debate — answered moderator questions and provided McBama counter-points in realtime through Mogulus. Comments were enabled on the online streaming portal, so viewers could participate and help shape the discussion.

During both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates, Current TV featured a bleeding-edge offering called “Hack the Debate.” With the aid of Twitter, Current integrated real-time Twitter messages (a.k.a. “tweets”) from users along the bottom of the broadcast window on Current TV. Anyone who included the word “#current” in their tweets had the chance to see their micromedia commentary aired worldwide.

Here are some video highlights from the Presidential Debate last week.

Sometimes the comments added value — “You know who I feel bad for? The “lower” class. The poor. Who is going to fight for them? It’s a shame. No one mentions them.” (@davidbadash)

And sometimes the comments provided comic relief when things were getting too serious — “The moderator might as well just say “BOOPITY DOOPITY WAKAWOOWOO” because they’re just talking about what they want, anyway” (@rightasrayne)

But with my laptop on my lap, phone at my side and television remote nearby, social media allowed me the opportunity to glean what people across the country thought of the debate question-by-question and afforded an opportunity to voice my perspective (and snarky comments) to the masses.

Social media spiced up the age-old, one-way debate format this year, and it will never be the same.

In the words of @mikethomas84, “the only winner in this debate is the internet.”

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