No, I wasn't expecting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to cozy up to the Russians either.But cozy up he did yesterday, taking a $200 million investment from Digital Sky Technologies, an Internet holding company with Russian roots. Even if Digital Sky has only a 2% stake in Facebook, its perspective on how to monetize Facebook will loom much larger.
If you're not in control of your digital identity, the odds are pretty good that someone else is, or will be if you have any brand recognition at all. Consider the recent example of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose digital doppelganger created false identities spanning a range of social media sites and even claimed he had been diagnosed with skin cancer. ESPN advised in its NFL Rumor Central, "Not real, folks. In fact, if you see an athlete with a Twitter, you should assume -- at least at first -- that it's fake. Assume it's a Twitter twerp."
Today, I'm sitting here trying to parse the following bits of information from the increasingly confusing social-media-o-sphere: 1) Twitter cofounder Biz Stone says the company isn't looking into advertising to make money, but things like selling "light analytics" to companies, maybe doing revenue-sharing with mobile phone companies so we can Twitter our way, using our mobile devices, to distraction. 2) Google and Twitter both seem to be predicting that Adam Lambert will be this season's winner of "American Idol." 3) And Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt said at the Google Zeitgeist conference in London yesterday that Twitter made them …
There are seven words you can't say on television, according to George Carlin, but there's only one you can't say at social media conferences. As Carlin put it, it's the one word that will "infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war." This deadly c-word is "campaign"; utter it at your peril.
What a fun morning I'm having on Twitter search, looking for tweets containing the hashtag #fixreplies. Oops, wait a minute ... since I logged onto the site, a minute and a half ago, 230 more replies have come in with that hashtag. Oops, make that 276. Now make that 326. So what is everyone all tied up in their underwear about? The settings change that Twitter (415 tweets as of now) announced on its blog yesterday, saying that people would no longer see @replies (453) of people they don't follow. This has caused the first Facebook-style Twitter …
The world's gone (bleep)ing mad. However I try to explain what's happening now, I keep returning to that thought. It's what I told my dinner companions Thursday night at the Search Insider Summit, moments after I called my wife and she couldn't talk because she was teaching her mom how to use Twitter.
Social media and online advertising wonk that I am, I spent part of the morning looking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's just-released social media metrics definitions. Readers of this column may not see anything earthshakingly new here, but I'm encouraged thinking about how these definitions will help codify and legitimize social media advertising, and help crack the "engagement" code, one of advertising's great, eternal mysteries. (Maybe we should have gotten Tom Hanks on the case some time ago.)
The self-service ad model may not be the secret to Facebook's future fortunes, but it presents marketers with some largely untapped opportunities for reaching the most precisely targeted audiences online. Forrester's Marketing Forum last month provided me with an excuse to run another ad trial, as I demoed the platform to an attendee during a break and wound up creating a live campaign. Here are a few things I learned in the process.
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