Tuesday, March 31, 2009

THREE jobs up for grabs at social media agency

Pleased to say we're scaling up to meet demand at Brando Social (the full service social media agency I work at four days a week).
So if you fancy joining a growing company in a growing sector, we've got a couple of roles right now:
1. We need a web 2.0-savvvy Tech Project Manager to start NOW. Good if you can program some too.

2. Account Manager. Ideally you have 3 + yrs exp (some digital). You're great at managing relationships with clients and you're hungry to learn about social media (if you happen to know loads already, that's great too).
3. Junior Researcher. You're currently working or have worked at a market research organisation or similar and have 1-2 years experience.

If you're interested in any of these roles drop MD Jamie Burke a line (cc me).

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Who follows me makes me who I am

I am made greater by my connections, so are my connections. A Stowe Boyd line I enjoy and share a lot.

So it's nice to be able to see my connections described.

TwitterSheep looks through the profile descriptions of your twitter followers and creates a tag cloud.

I guess who follows you is a pretty good description of who you are.

Who follows me makes me who I am - or as I've put if before, I am part of a community, therefore I am.

Seems to work for me...

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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Future of Newspapers

The Guardian's Open Platform project has caused a bit of a stir, at a time when mass media of all kinds is struggling to work out business models that have a better fit with the networked world.

The clever bit about the Guardian's plan is that they don't pretend they have the answers - they are sharing what they have with the rest of the world in the hope that a bit of global crowd-sourcing will evolve a sustainable solution.

At least that's my take. But let Dr Chris Thorpe tell you more.

Chris (one of Brando Social Consult's team) has been consulting to The Guardian on the project for the last six months. Now it's live he can finally talk about it.

I interviewed him at the Brando Social offices last week and have finally edited the video...

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winning With Social Media: The highlights

Here (finally) are the edited highlights of Brando Social's Winning With Social Media event.
If it whets your appetite, you can see videos and slidedecks from the whole event right here.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Poor old people's email

You'll often hear that only old people use email. It's a notion driven by the whole IM/SMS constantly-connected youth thing.

Latest stats suggest that what Google's Eric Schmidt famously described as 'a poor man's email', twitter, is proving a huge hit with, how can we put this delicately, the less young person.

Of the 7m users up to Feb 09:

Age Group Unique Audience Composition %
2-17 250,000 3.6
18 - 24 ** **
25 - 34 1,379,000 19.6
35 - 49 2,935,000 41.7
55+ 1,165,000 16.6
65+ 477,000 6.8
source: Nielsen NetView, 2/09, U.S., Home and Work
**These demographics have insufficient sample sizes

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The herd follows old school gaming

Via Herdmeister. Well, it is Friday.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MixCloud: 100 Beta invites to the Youtube of radio

I've been talking to the guys at Mixcloud.com for a short while now. They have a very interesting and potentially disruptive model to unleash on the radio industry.

If you'd like to give it a try I've got 100 beta invites for readers of this blog.

Just use the code: fasterfuture

If you try it and it's already run out, post a comment below and we'll get you on a waiting list (with a pretty short wait!)

Most internet radio sites allow you to choose the channels you want to listen to. Other players (of the LastFM kind) allow you to select individual tunes as the disaggregated elements for the user (with or without their peers) to reaggregate to their own preferences.

Mixcloud makes the unit of value the radio show.Their elevator pitch is: 'The Youtube of radio'.

In a mass-media model, imagine being able to listen to Russell Brand followed by Chris Moyles with Absolute Radio's Call Christian next up.

In a more niche global incarnation, imagine listening to a station of the shows you want to listen to drawn from a world of talent and relevance - with recommendations from your peers (and your behaviour) leading you to the right shows.

The idea retains ‘the show’ as unit of editorial control/value but places channel control in the hands of the user and their peers. Entertaining presenters, quality production etc remain valued in this model - whether its UGC or professional content.

Rankings could be ordered by preferences too (ie only want UK, only want rock, only want comedy, only those recommended by my friends etc

Mixcloud doesn't do all this just yet. But it's on the right road.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Me, Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore at Oxford Uni

All delegates receive a copy of the book Mobile as 7th of the Mass MediaIt's not often you get the opportunity to see both of the authors of the seminal Communities Dominate Brands in the same place at the same time (Alan Moore and Tomi T Ahonen) - and even rarer that you'll find yours truly joining them in what promises to be an exciting exploration of Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media.

Not only is that the title of Tomi's latest book, it's also the title of a course at Oxford University on April 22-23 led by Tomi, Alan and myself.

The new date (it was originally due to take place in December) means its on the days preceding the ever-brilliant Forum Oxford Future Technologies conference which is held at the same venue on the 24th.

Hope you'll know someone who ought to be there! Book Your Place

The following is from the University of Oxford's Continuing Education site.

About the Course

Mobile is emerging as the 7th mass media channel, whilst legacy mass media witnesses a decline. This course presents a journey through some of the most advanced content and media services deployed on mobile phones, in the most advanced mobile telecoms countries such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Finland.

Intending to build on the content of Tomi T. Ahonen’s sixth book ‘Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media’, the course provides a unique opportunity to explore the taxonomy of the seven mass media, with an emphasis on what lessons can be learned when newer media are introduced.

The course will begin by examining the overall industry and the consumers of mobile content, before moving on to explain how to build compelling content to mobile, and exploding the myths of the limitations of supposedly too small keypads and tiny screens. The most promising early media content types: music, gaming, TV, internet, advertising and social networking will also be discussed.
All delegates will receive a free copy of Tomi T. Ahonen's book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media.

Tomi T. Ahonen speaks to CNN - watch the video here

Who is it for?

Anyone in the current legacy media space who wants to understand new media, thus digital media executives in television, print, radio, cinema, recordings industries and advertising; all in the internet businesses who are interested in the future of the web; and those within mobile who work with media and convergence. No prior knowledge of mobile telecoms or media is necessary.

Course Presenters

Course Content

    The environment of mobile
  • Mobile industry ecosystem
  • Digital convergence and mobile, 5 industries
  • Customer of Mobile - Gen C
    The 7 Media
  • Legacy mass media Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV
  • Internet as first interactive media
  • Communities of Purpose and Long tail
    Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media
  • Inherently threatening
  • interactive
  • Seven Unique benefits of Mobile
    Clash of the Media
  • Print, Recordings, Cinema vs Mobile
  • Radio vs Mobile
  • TV vs Mobile
  • Internet vs Mobile
    Mobile Services and Applications
  • Evolution of handset - 8 C's
  • The Six M's service creation theory
  • Widgets
    Community and Mobile
  • Group forming theory
  • Mobile social networks
    Marketing and Advertising
  • Social Advertising Intelligence
  • and mobile advertising
    Making it magical
  • beyond the obvious with some case examples
  • Shazam, AQA, Blyk, Tohato, Flirtomatic, Cameraphone Dictionary
  • Summaries, conclusions, Q and A


Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, Oxford
First day registration from 8.30am when course materials will be distributed.
Refreshments from 8.30am on the first day plus two 30 minute breaks during the day and a one-hour lunch break.
The course will begin at 9.00am and end at approximately 5.00pm on each day.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The evolution of control: Coding is power

I had lunch with some of the guys from ThirdEyeT yesterday, and apart from business (I'm pleased to say I sit on the advisory board) we talked about something I think could be as revolutionary as the peer-to-peer publishing ability of the internet.

It all stems from a notion raised by Dom Penrice, one of the big brains behind the very interesting publishing model driving www.basedrift.com

Dom suggests the new owners of the means of production/control are not all of us (as you may conclude from the fact that we are all publishers now) they are, in fact, the coders. (image courtesy)

The ownership of the means of production has always been a pretty centralised affair.

Centralizing ownership meant centralizing control.

Way back when, The church owned the books and their production so it owned information. And that gave it control.

With the arrival of the printing press those who owned the means of creating and distributing information multiplied.

The result was new ideas spread more rapidly and were put into action faster, creating value for more and more people.

Or, the Renaissance, as it's otherwise known.

As industrialisation got swinging, and mass production started matching lowest common denominator needs, we developed faster and faster printing presses and distribution processes.

Cinema, radio, tv are all examples. Faster printing presses with ever broader reach.

Ownership of the means of production was still in the hands of the few though.

With the arrival of the Internet we all became publishers. Control of information was suddenly harder to make money from. Ask any traditional media owner.

Where once the ability to publish information (and therefore control it and everything reliant upon that) was scarce (and therefore valuable) now that ability had become abundant.

Publishing is virtually ubiquitous now. And almost ubiquitously virtual.

So a new currency emerged, a new scarce means of production: code.

Programmers now decide our experience and control our opportunities. They are the new press barons.

Except there are lots of them. Not ubiquitous. But lots.

So we've reached a new stage of control where more people (those with programming skills) have control, but still not enough for the true group forming value of the Internet to fulfil its potential.

How so? Well, just as an idea benefits from evolution, so an implementation.

If I share an idea, you will take elements of it that you find useful to share among your peers. Your feedback to me may benefit my version of the idea. Your evolution of it (with your next community of purpose) may make the idea a better fit for you and/or a better fit for the larger fitness landscape (the evolutionary model).

Ideas benefit from complex adaptive systems - such as peer to peer digital networks. The Internet.

They benefit so effectively from this today because our ability to publish our ideas one to another has become ubiquitous. We (pretty much) all know how to do this peer to peer publishing of ideas thing.

But far less of us know how to implement them when it comes to the coding and design.

And when an idea reaches that stage the evolutionary processes slow right down. There are too few people available to lend their skills to adapt code to make it a better fit for their purposes in rapid iterative processes of the kind we have for ideas.

Imagine if we could make it as easy to code as it is to publish.

Look what ubiquitous publishing has done for the production and exchange of content/information/ideas/
human relationships.

More content uploaded to Youtube in the last year than broadcast by TV ever.

Ubiquitous publishing.

Imagine ubiquitous coding.

That's precisely what Dom Penrice has in mind: finding ways to allow anyone to manipulate code, parcel up the value created and pass it on to the next person with shared need. The next person can then add their value to hone or reshape for their community of purpose. And so on ad infinitum with evolutionary processes amplifying or damping as dictated by the fitness landscape.

Dom's vision is that at each iteration those that have contributed get paid, feeding back, pyramid style, to the originator.

It is a supply web, networked world approach to programming and one which could be as revolutionary as the arrival of ubiquitous publishing itself.

ThirdeyeT are starting to put the idea of ubiquitous coding to practical effect in their new publishing cms. It allows them to change the design of their site (and not just reskin it) in two days flat - without the need for any specialist skills.

I know many a editor who would be very grateful of that.

In the days of the constant relaunch giving control directly to the people with the vision has to be a good thing.

We're all publishers now. All advertisers, all marketers.

When we are all coders, then the next revolution will begin.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nielsen report on the dominance of community

Interesting report from Nielsen. Key findings:
1. Social networks are used by more people than email globally now. Phew!
2. Facebook is growing really, really fast.
3. Peer to peer and community is where people, quite literally, are at - baby.

You know this. They don't. Share it with them.

socialnetworkreach - Free Legal Forms

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The nitty gritty of ROI in social media

I've been doing a little thinking about Return on Investment in Social Media. I'm often asked to place value against things I kind of 'feel' have value and can give you case studies about creating value, but often what is asked of me is harder and more focused than that.(picture courtesy)

They want an equivalent or comparable to page impressions (CPMs) or click through rates (CTR).

However short-sighted or crude you may feel that is, there's a reality about answering the question. Those asking it may have spent enough time with you and your presentations and pitches to 'get' what you're saying - but they've got someone looking down from high above them who hasn't had the benefit of all that direct education.

Rare is the client who has some 'experimental cash' to back their personal judgement.

So coming up with an answer helps your closest contacts persuade their bosses that there's a job that needs doing and is worth doing - ie investing in joining in conversations - becoming human in peer-to-peer networks.

Find that answer and they are happier, their boss is happier, you (ok, I mean we, get to be happier).

It seems to me that at its heart this is relatively simple, at least the questions we need answering are relatively simple.

They are about conversion rates.

And they are about the value placed on the defined action by the client/organisation.

For example, let's say for every 1000 page impressions The Company sells one Product X. The value of this to The Company is £10. So every 1000 pi you notch up is worth £10 to the client. A page impression is worth 1p.

Your media buyer will of coure be looking to buy at rather less than that.

And if for every 10 P2P recommendations of Product X The Company sells one product X, then the value of a recommendation is £1. Pay your social media agency 50p per recommendation recorded and you are laughing all the way to the bank.

And that's all there is to it.

Even when we move into where the real explosion of value in social media occurs - co-creation, we simply have to define the value of the chosen action.

How much is one idea from a 'consumer' who cares about making your products better actually worth? How much could crowd-sourcing NPD saved you? Don't forget to include the value of the free and powerful marketing you'll get from those involved in co-creating the new version of the product. And the A/B testing they'll join you in.

Subtract what you plan to share with them. You are going to share, right?

I say that's all there is to it - but peer to peer is a place of supply and demand networks - webs not chains.

So the questions can become more complex.

Consider just some of the elements of social media.

Images, videos, blog posts, blog comments, IMs, texts, email, audio, forums. In a perfect world you'd be able to place a varying price on recommendations/mentions in each of these depending on their scale and scope - and whether they are being uttered by someone followed/influenced by more people than another. And whether that persons 'influence' ebbs and flows topic by topic and moment by moment.

The variables are many. The complexity immense.

But we have to start somewhere.

For example, if a recommendation is made in social media has anyone actually calculated how many times more likely it is that a purchase follows, compared to a page impression?

Has anyone worked out the likelihood of a defined action after someone has installed a badge/app/widget on facebook etc compared with an ad being served at them?

Do you have answers? Do you have questions?

Either way, please comment below. If we get a little traction I'll take this into a wiki we can work on and share together.

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Introducing Brando Social Consult

Brando Social's Winning with Social Media event (at the Soho Hotel on Feb 26) was aimed at informing and exciting people about the revolution that is the peer-to-peer power of the network.
And we hope we did a good job of that. (yes folks, I do work for Brando Social!)
If you weren't there - you can download/watch/share any of the useful bits and pieces including:]
Welcome your thoughts and feedback as always.

MD Jamie Burke wrapped the morning up by introducing Brando Social Consult - our team of social media consultants with deep experience and a wide range of specialities - and telling those assembled about other services Brando Social offers. Watch the video and see the slides below.

Jamie Burke "Introduction to Brando Social Consult" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here's the slides that went with Jamie's session.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Social Media success stories

When Brando Social ran its Winning With Social Media event I presented 'What Is Social Media? and Adapting Brands and Organisations to the Networked World.'

The estimable Ted Shelton told me in the break he thought those presentations would benefit from a few examples. Funnily enough, that was always part of the plan... but in a separate presentation. And towards the end of the day this is what I shared:

David Cushman "Stories of success" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here's the slidedeck I was speaking to:

If you'd like to see the video play alongside the slidedeck go to the BrandoSocial.com site. And just so you know - I'm employed by Brando Social.

Previous posts with video from this event can be found here:
  • What is social media? How can brands and organisations adapt to it?
  • From interruption to engagement
  • ROI in social media: If you can measure it, you can place a value on it.
  • Using social media to unleash your people's potential

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Using social media to unleash your people's potential

The group-forming power of social media creates some fears for employees and employers. Issues of control conflict with the desire to unleashing potential.

Should you be letting your staff use social networks on 'your time'?
Do you want your boss following you on facebook? If not, how can companies take advantage of the power of social media to make the most of their people and for their people to make the most of themselves?

These are the thorny issue Dr Chris Thorpe tackles here in the fourth of the videos from BrandoSocial's Winning With Social Media event, held at the Soho Hotel in London last week.
Chris advises MySpace and The Guardian group, and he's one of the consultants at BrandoSocial.
He's helped create internal networks for some of the biggest names in business, too.

You can also see the video alongside the slidedeck here at the brandosocial.com site.

Watch and listen - and then, of course, join the conversation...

Dr. Chris Thorpe "Discovering the hidden talents" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here's the slidedeck Chris was speaking to.

Watch the preceeding parts of this event:
1. What is social media - adapting to the networked world
2. Interruption to engagement
3. The ROI of social media

More soon!
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

ROI in social media: If you can measure it you can value it

One of the toughest challenges facing those of us seeking to evangelise the use of social media for its group-forming, co-creating, conversation-enabling, epoch-making value, is getting sign-off from those holding the purse-strings.
Like many embedded in social media I tend to 'know' there's value in it. I don't need anyone to calculate it for me and offer me a Return On Investment.
But not everyone is embedded in social media - and that 'not everyone' often includes those in the boardroom who need to justify every sweat of spend to shareholders and other stakeholders - especially in troubled times.
So Luke Brynley-Jones' presentation at Brando Social's Winning With Social Media event might be just what you were waiting for.
Luke argues that if you can measure something you can ascribe value to it - and reveals how you can go about measuring social media.
It's the third video from the morning session of Winning With Social Media (which was held at the Soho Hotel, London, last week). Watch it below. I've also added Luke's slidedeck.
Alternatively, watch the video alongside the slidedeck on the brandosocial.com site.
The previous two parts: What is social media? and Adapting Brands and organisations to the networked world (by me) and From Interruption to Engagement (by Alan Moore) have been made available on this blog earlier this week.
And yes, there is more to come!
Hope you're enjoying the series and I do, as always, welcome your comments and contributions.
Disclosure: I work for Brando Social.

Luke Brynley-Jones "New measures of success" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here are Luke's slides to accompany the video:

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

From Interruption to Engagement

Part two of BrandoSocial.com's Winning With Social Media - held at the Soho Hotel in London last week, featured Alan Moore.
Alan talked about the journey from interruption to engagement.
See his video and slidedeck below. Part 1 (my opening bit) was published on this blog yesterday March 3.
Disclosure: I work for BrandoSocial.

Alan Moore - "What was wrong with interruption?" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here's the slides Alan was speaking to:
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What is Social Media? How can brands and organisations adapt to it?

Pleased to say we are now able to share video and slidedecks from BrandoSocial's Winning With Social Media event.
I'm going to add them to my blog over the next few days, in the order we appeared.
Up first, me, defining what social media is, defining the size of the prize and the urgency and inevitability of involvement - and how brands and organisations can adapt to our ever-more networked world.

David Cushman - "Setting the social media scene & Adapting brands to the networked world" from Brando Social on Vimeo.

Here's the slidedeck I was speaking to: (UPDATE March 4, Slideshare chose this presentation to feature on its homepage on March 3/4, 2009).

I'll be adding the videos and presentations by Alan Moore, Chris Thorpe, Luke Brynley-Jones and Jamie Burke over the next few days.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?