Archive for December 2011

Buzzword Roundup – January 2012

December 29th, 2011 — 8:00am

Covered in this post: SOPA, Timeline, and the cloud

SOPA – the “Stop Online Piracy Act” being debated in Congress generated a huge backlash from web content providers, techies, and many people who care about the web.  Intended as a way for content owners to protect copyrights from pirates of movies, e-books, etc., it was widely seen as an overreach – giving big companies the ability to shut down websites without due process.  My understanding is that websites “accused” of violating copyright laws (by the copyright owner) would be erased from the web, using DNS providers (turn off your domain, and your site is gone!).  GoDaddy was fingered as a supporter of the bill, and domaineers moved over 30,000 domains to other providers in protest.  GoDaddy quickly changed their position on the bill.  Congress tabled the bill for now and went on vacation, but the debate will rage into 2012.

Timeline – The new feature rolled out by Facebook over the last month, described as a digital scrapbook – of your life.  I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I predict it will confuse and anger many users, and increase the “creepy” factor of social media.

The Cloud – term used for a hosted application platform for your files and applications.  It’s sort of like a “network hard drive” accessible from anywhere.  “Cloud computing” is also being touted for websites as well.  The idea is that computing power and space is melded together (rather than physical servers) to allow for scalability and redundancy.  However, the pricing on some of these platforms is based on the computing cycles you use, and some have had significant outages.  These platforms may come of age in 2012 though, so keep an eye on it.

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Is Facebook worth it?

December 14th, 2011 — 10:37am

So you’ve taken the advice of the web gurus, and set up your company facebook page.  Maybe you’ve paid handsomely for consultants to do that for you and advise you on how to “leverage” social media.

Great – how are the results?  Customers kicking down the door now?  If you are struggling to see the tangible results of your efforts, you are not alone.

According to the Facebook website:

More than 800 million active users
More than 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day


Ok, let’s see.  The first keyword is “active” – it’s not defined, and it’s not clear what % of the total accounts are active.  For example, are there 2 billion accounts, and only 800 million are active?  Not sure.

The second misleading stat is the “50%” – gee I guess that means over the course of several days, 800 million unique users login to facebook….Ehh…not so.  Power users who login every day will skew the results here.  If facebook defines “active” as someone who logs in once a month, then you can see what happens.  Let’s say 200 million people are “power users” who login every day.  Right off the bat FB can say “25% of active users are logging in on any given day.”  Now, all you need is another 200 million of the remaining 600 to login per day, and you have 50%.  Of course, if an “inactive” account suddenly logs in, maybe FB declares him active and now he counts as well.  Plus new signups, etc.

What is my point in all this?  Simple – when you post your “status” updates – how many of your users see them?  Well, if you have a list of “power users” – maybe a lot of them.  But, if you have mostly “occasional users” – your views might be much lower.  Then consider this – Status updates “scroll down” as new posts come in – so unless your “friends” diligently scour their updates to make sure they see everything, they can miss your update.  The power users may do this, but my bet is that the occasional users do not.  Heck, I check FB every day, but I don’t take pains to make sure I see every update.

My conclusion is this – keep your social media expectations in order.  Email and e-newsletters are still far more effective at reaching your audience than social media.  People check email more often, AND handle each message – at least reading the subject before deleting it.

So don’t buy all the social media hype – it’s nice to do, and may someday be the primary mode for reaching your audience, but that’s just not the case today.

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