Monday, August 17, 2009

Corporate Twitter Toolbox - My Blog Post on Mashable

I am very thrilled today as my blog post about Twitter Tools for the Enterprise aired @Mashable.

I have been blogging since May 2005, I have team blogged and guest blogged before, so I thought I'll respond to comments on my post couple times through the day as Mashable has 1 billion pageviews. I am wowed by my experience today as my post got tweeted times so far and so many people did RT (Repeat Tweets), friends liked and added comments on the article at Facebook.

Thanks Everyone and Mashable, you've made my day!!!

Mashable has done an amazing job with their site to make it easy to tweet and show social conversations separately. They tweeted the post, shared links on their facebook fan page and made it so easy for their readers to extend the conversation into their ecosystem. I want to explore this further as its set the golden standard for extending your site into an ecosystem.

Here's the blog post I am referring to below:

Twitter is a great listening post for companies to monitor conversations related to their brand and engage with customers; and there are a variety of tools available to help groups and corporations tweet, collaborate, and generally manage their (Twitter) workflows. From tweeting and responding to customers to tracking the conversation and measuring the effectiveness of Twitter campaigns, there is a bevy of great tools out there for corporate tweeters. Finding the right Twitter applications is a challenge for social media managers, though, because new apps seem to spring up each day and they often have overlapping feature sets.

This is a list of the top Twitter tools to manage your social media engagement with your customers. Read More

update: Thanks for the twitter RTs to @jasonwiener @Mindfieldusa @thinkmaya @pcrampton @prisch @cdiamand @mjcarter @sumaya @LadyLeet @tifroz @ak2consulting @betsybrottlund @alexanderking @maryamwebster @carolynmellor @lars_kamp @mogotix @GhadaLancer

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Twitter and Extending Community to Social Ecosystem

Twitter developer Jesse Stay blogged about how Twitter changed their api and once again did not proactively tell developers. It is brewing a discussion from developers trying to communicate their frustration to Twitter with 84 comments last I checked and got him onto the techmeme leaderboard.

Extending Community to Social Ecosystem

Yday, I led a discussion at the Community Leadership Summit (#CLS) in San Jose about how communities are being extended to social ecosystem and twitter is facing just that today!!!

First I define "A Ecosystem is all online touchpoints where your customers congregate".

Earlier, customers were contained on your web site with forums and mailing lists. Then came social media where you added blogs, wikis and embedded pictures and videos from flickr and youtube into your web property.

Now it is impossible to contain your customers on your site. They are on all social mediums.

So a community manager has to go where customers are and engage in conversations there!

My savvy audience at the Community Leadership Summit discussed the complexity of tools to do this, the time and resource limitations to monitor all blogs and social sites and the fragmentation these conversations caused when they were trying to build one cohesive community.

Twitter Developer Community and Social Media

Twitter API team has many social media footprints to engage with developers!

1. An active developer forum with 4600 members where this is not brewing as the hottest topic.

2. A customer support twitter handle @twitterapi, which they do a pretty good job of monitoring and responding to users.

3. A wiki since Nov08 which the api team update often from their conversations on the forum or twitterapi.

4. They have a new api blog since mid June09 which is announcements from the api team.

5. I found Twitter API team has an announcement group on Google for Api releated notices.

6. Increasingly, the twitter api team is making time to visit with developers face to face.

Yet, developers are screaming and discussing their new api change on Jesse's blog today! Twitter api team hasn't arrived on the scene (atleast responded to it there yet).

So when your customers talk among themselves elsewhere, its your ecosystem, whether you like it or not!

The good news is that as long as your community is talking they still care about you and are ready to engage and help make the community better.

Twitter API team has not been afraid to admit to things that were their fault to help developers before. See tweet below:

My suggestions to extend your ecosystem are:

1. Engage your evangelists. Jesse has been a vocal voice of reason for the developer community and this is not the first time. Top developers are posting comments not only because the issue resonates with them, but because they respect Jesse.

2. Setup a listening post to find where there is chatter about your topic and watch where your customers actively engage in conversations. This can be done by a social media metrics tool like SM2.

3. Educate your community to come and talk to you where you are most comfortable to answer their questions. Go where they are and bring them to your forum or blogs by acknowledging their concerns and directing them with a a link to a tweet or blog post or brand page.

How can twitter handle this conversation everywhere? Are you a community manager, how do you handle your customer conversations across ecosystems?

Tweet me @sujamthe or post a comment!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Starting Twitter Meetup in the valley and seeding them worldwide

I have always been fascinated by the bottom up innovation from barcamps and meetups.

I enjoy the facebook ecosystem thanks to The Bay Area Facebook Meetup . Our mailing list guides me on what is hot in facebook and extension into the world of iphone apps, opensocial and now twitter apps. Fellow facebook garage organizers worldwide connect with me and I invite them on local visits or share live event videos.

I want your advice, suggestions on what will work best to create twitter meetups worldwide and facilitate interaction amongst twitter developers across them.

First I am starting a twitter meetup in the valley

I have started a new twitter meetup in the valley here. Its a place for developers to demo their cool twitter apps and come together to hear from the experts on what makes a success twitter app and keep up with the changes in the twitter app world.

I want to seed Twitter Meetups Across the world

Twitter apps do not reside on twitter, and as twitter Api lead Alex Payne put it "twitter operates on the edge of other networks". So its all the more reason for us to get together and learn how to build twitter apps that integrate into all other app ecosystems.

I am humbled by the fact that innovation happens one mind at a time all around the world. So I want to tap into the learning of twitter app developers in various pockets of creativity worldwide across the US, across the world in different time zones.

The marketer in me warns me that I have to understand twitter app developers and twitter app organizers as they evolve, but here are worldwide developer meetups/camps by different friends of mine that I hope to learn, emulate and draw inspiration from!

IphoneDevCamp started in the BarCamp model by Dom Sagella (@dom) and @RavenMe. They host annual iphone developers camp in the valley and have inspired 20+ satellite camps nationally and internationally with their own original events happening at the same time worldwide.

PreDevCamp is the newest in the world of Dev Camps, started by Dan Rumney, Greg Stevenson and Lisa Brewster (@whurley @giovanni and @dancrumb ) following on the IphoneDevCamp model to create many local developer camp events.

Drupal Meetup Worldwide organized by Robert Douglass is on meetup organized by a central group with organizers all around the country.

Social Media Club was started by @ChrisHeuer and @Kristie's Wells with a membership driven model with chapters worldwide. I worked with Chris on the barcamp event of Dave McClure's Graphic Social Pattern (GSP) conference in 07. I am not planning for a centralized or membership dues driven group. But lots to learn here on the motivation, inspiration and hardwork from Chris and Kristie.

DevNest (UK) by Jon Markell has twitter developer events in UK and has been an inspiration to me.

There are several CodeCamps, BarCamps, Cocoa Camps worldwide, they are annual events and not ongoing monthly meetups I aspire for!

I want to hear from you if you want to start a local twitter meetup, do you want to volunteer in this endeavor with me? Ping me @sujamthe on twitter.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Share a tweet with @sujamthe on what makes a good app #140tc

That was the call by Tweetie developer Loren Brichter that got twitterville to speak up to make Apple approve tweetie's new version. Loren is joining Dom Sagolla, who helped build twitter and makes awesome iphone apps and Britt Selvitelle of Twitter for a panel on "What makes a good app" tomorrow May 26th at 11.30am at the Twitter Conference 140tc in the Computer History Museum.

Need I say I am super excited to moderate this panel!!!

Do you have questions for this panel? What do you think works , what doesn't?

Here's my thoughts on this topic, read on and go ahead and send me a tweet, hashtag it with #140tc and #Twitapps or call me out @sujamthe !!!

I have seen the Facebook developer developer ecosystem build up since F8 Platform launch in July 07. After several meetups, hackathons and several repeat attempt by developers the secret is out. A good Facebook app is about fun apps that tap into 15 viral channels inside Facebook and build good metrics to track what works and adapt quickly to the users.

Twitter Apps are Unique so what makes a good twitter app is Unique:

Twitterville has a unique community engagement model which helps the viral adoption of twitter applications.

Twitter Apps do not reside on twitter. They connect to twitter using twitter API or twitter search API and reside on different web domains, mobile devices and sometimes float virtually connected by the viral feed on twitter aka a tweet.

Twitter API Platform is bubbling with energy. I see 50 new threads of developer discussions daily in the twitter forums. I see 10 new apps going live daily (there must be many more).

There are apps will millions of users - twitpic gets million users, twitstock raised $800K funding,

What makes an app good?

I would define it as initial adoption and engaging users to scale
Do you have any other definitions for a good app?

These different types of twitter apps sure gets our initial attention:
1. Twitterville never tires of new twitter clients:
We see twitter clients for diifferent mediums with competing functionality to support enterprise (multi user profiles), stats, access from multiple devices e.g. tweetdeck, tweetie, twirl, twitroid, twitterberry, hootsuite, cotweets
2. Apps adding functionality to keep twitter simple
Photo on twitter - twitpic, tweetphoto for photo sharing, bubbletweets with videos on twitter,
3. Innovative and simple to use goes with basic twitter
twitpay, tipjoy, stockpic, twitcal
4. Churning twitter data
twitgrid, twitfall, twitanalyzer

How do you scale the apps? On Twitter? Mobile Apps? Twitter Apps on Different Platforms?

1. What are viral hooks you can build into your app from the twitter api?
Via appname is one, what else is there?
2. Engaging community of users to drive your future functionality, how has it helped you?
Tweetie is a classic example of this. "user-driven evolution is mandatory for any product that works ontop of Twitter, much like Twitter itself says Loren Brichter of Tweetie. Tweetphoto got 5000 new users on Day1 with some creative launch strategy.
4. How much metrics and tracking do you have built in to see what functionality works for your users?
5. How is it different to build a good app on iphone vs twitter?
6. What is unique when you connect two platforms? e.g my app tmeet on iphone, or app on facebook

Look forward to the conversation on Twitter and to taking it to the 140tc conference.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

TechPolicy Summit brought geeks and policy gurus for amazing discussions in silicon valley

TechPolicy Summit started with TheFreeSummit on Monday May 11th followed by two days of in depth discussions at The TechPolicy Summit.

I was lucky to attend couple sessions. I went in ignorant about the need for geek entrepreneur's participation in tech policy and walked out with lots to ponder about.

Day 1: FreeSummit 6.45pm: @KaraSwisher Interview of Chris Kelly (@ck4ag), Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook and CA Attorney General Candidate.

  • Chris Kelly brings his experience from addressing privacy concerns for 200Mil users to become the potential attorney general of California.
  • Karawisher, the master moderator navigated questions to bring out a very interesting discussion. Panel video part 1 , Panel video part 2 Panel video part 3

Audience were amazingly well prepared for Q&A and added to the discussion well.

Day 3: Govt Transparency Panel with @TimOReilly, @Craignewmark, @Carlmalamud of, Ellen Miller, Bill Schrier moderated by Andrew Rasiej, Co-founder, Personal Democracy Forum

I loved this panel!!! Now I understand that the place of @TechPolicy Summit in the valley is to wake up tech entrepreneurs to the opportunities waiting for them with Gov data. The organizers had the right mix of experts and the panelists discussed openly to build upon each others point to bring out nuggets of wisdom.

Tim O'Reilly talks about his vision for identities and tech policy.

There was lot of discussion about opening up Govt data and what are the hurdles today in creating that transparency.

Carl's 8 Principles for how govt data should be made available.

1. Data has to be complete
2. Primary data should be available.
3. Should be timely
4. Should be Accessible
5. Should be Machine Processable e.g. check
6. Should be non-discriminatory
7. Should be non-proprietary
8. Should be license free

How do we get tech entrepreneurs to get involved in working with Govt:
Tim O'Reilly said there is more data collected by govt than exploited. We don't have to persuade the private sector. We just have to figure out what govt can do to enable private sector. e.g. we get financial data, weather data. Amazing entrepreneurial opportunity here to build businesses if more data is opened up.

CraigNewmark said it benefits us all if we have a govt that works. He gave an example of his vision of how citizens can participate. We could use our smartphone, take a picture of a pothole and send to govt and get it fixed quickly. There is a startup idea waiting to happen!

Washington's clay layer of resistance to change and the panel's recommendation to make it work for all of us:
Ellen Miller of Sunlight Foundation brought lot of stats from real life projects working in Washington.

Inspired by the Apps for Democracy by DC CTO, Sunlight Foundation did 'Apps for America' and got 45 remarkable applications developed. They built a community on to begin a conversation about how technologists could engage with data that govt was setting free. They quickly followed this with a wiki. Now state/city legislative info is being scrapped by volunteer technologists and 35 has been completed so far.

She quoted Rep Mike Honda as the Member of Congress who is an innovator who enabled availability of bulk legislative data. She said otherwise there is generally a culture of resistance.

Tim O'Reilly brought some hope by the term"clay layer". He said people at the top and people at the bottom want change and are stuck by the clay layer, the middle layer of people in Govt. who oppose change.

Craig Newmark offered a solution to permeate the clay layer. He said very emphatically that people want to be part of something big that works, so keep showing it works. If people outside of govt stand for people inside the govt, they will be part of something bigger and will feel motivated to create change and build transparency.

Thanks to @techpolicy organizers and staff for the awesom show and for Debbie and Ellen for getting me Veggie food!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Twitter, we are your community, please talk to us

Dear Twitter,

First, it is not a small change to remove @reply setting which is the life blood of twitter, accessing real people in real time.

@Reply is part of the real person connection which facebook or any other social network does not have.

We use @reply not just to do a quick IM with people we know but the discovery you mentioned in your blog.

We actually recommend new friends subtly to our existing friends by having an @reply conversation with them.
It helps discovery in two ways:

1. We get curious about the stranger in the @reply because of the credibility or conversation topic going on.

One example is I saw a friend inquire @PanerabreadCo and tracked back to find the friends' friend had found a screw in her coffee cup at a Panera Bread. It made me chat with that new friend to find out which location and engage in a conversation.

2. The content of the topic sometimes leads to discovery.

I would compare this to going into a crowded party and discovering our friend chatting with a friend not-yet known to us and getting interested in knowing the new friend from the fragment of their conversation.

Twitter works because it brings our real selves and lets us be.

@stephendann nicely puts it. "A half conversation is just a friend you haven’t yet"

I hope there is some new finding from our usage pattern that drove twitter to make this drastic change. I am curious to learn what it is.

I have two requests for you:

1. I request you to make @reply to a friend's friend or strangers an advanced option instead of turning it off.
2. Please hire a marketing communications person to help plan your customer and developer communications so you engage with us and tell us what you plan to do and why and continue to do what is in your best interest to grow, scale and keep twitter alive.

That way your community will guide you with real data beyond just the reports you see of our usage pattern because numbers can be interpreted in many different ways and we as your community will engage and find ways to help you grow in our mutual interest.

If (I am speculating here), this change is driven by the newbies who came to twitter from @Oprah, we can help them get comfortable with twitter and come up to speed by coming together with a wiki or some way to build an education tweet channel for them. I am sure twitterville will have many more ideas for all your concerns. All you have to do is ask!

To continued conversations!

Facebook has set the gold standard for developer engagement with feedback center

Developers Lead on Facebook Platform Engagement

Tyler Ballance as an early developer had created a Bugs App to track bugs and feature request for facebook and other developer apps in mid 2007 and facebook took over with their Bugzilla app to let developers openly share feature requests.

Facebook Platform has been a living breathing thing growing with new apis every day with a loyal following of developers with 600K apps and close to 200 meetups/garages worldwide. Facebook Platform's strength is that facebook truly listens to developers (not necessarily agree to everything) and let developers lead the growth of their platform. They have wikis, Forums and a Platform Page to engage with developers on a daily basis.

Open Feedback Center - A new gold standard for developer engagement

Now, Facebook has adapted a new level of transparency by Opening a Feedback Center.

This allows for developers to submit feedback on the developer related documentation and rest of the community to vote on it. It is an important step towards openness and not being afraid to listen. This is focused on documentation only so they have made their survey a monthly feature.

As facebook opens new apis, one common caveat developers face is that they get excited by a reference implementation, or from a blog post about the new api only to find that the api is not available in their preferred language of choice. I remember developers excited by status.get didn't find the Javascript version and went about to build their own wrapper.

So this is a great start for facebook to understand what developers truly want, the voting justifying the volume of developers asking particular support.

What caught my eye the first time I clicked on the Opening a Feedback Center was that Facebok chose UserVoice to provide this capability and allows user's to login using facebook, twitter, Google, Yahoo, OpenID or MyspaceID before it is mapped into a new UserVoice account. It is amazing that Facebook is truly open here.

It seems fitting in this era of social media to come from the leader in the social platform space.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When you look at Earth from Mars in 2400

update: I had this sitting in draft, its worth a read even if late!

I spent a fascinating evening on Apr 7th, listening to Esther Dyson talk to a room full of well fed hungry minds at the CIO meetup, organized by Tatanya Kanzaveli who brings her unique touch to her events in the valley. CIOTech's official blog post is here.

I was supposed to have met Esther in 1999 when my investor of my first startup Coola said, "you are sitting on a big idea, go find Esther Dyson in NY or Chris Shipley in CA". Chris replied to my email and I launched Coola at DEMO and am lucky for @cshipley's friendship and for Demo Conference to set the bar high about launch for me.

I went to finally meet Esther and got my answer, she had taken her vacation in 1999 after 20 years right when I tried reaching her in 1999!!!

Esther is an amazing person so full of intellectual warmth and passion for all the topics she covered. My attempt to capture the mesmerizing evening is here. It was a free Q&A style event and I have 15 video clips of each q&a here (low sound quality because of my iphone and good video quality because of Qik) See official video of the full event below:

Social media
  • Social Media has been a latent urge like our biological urge to spread our presence all over the web at all times. eg. news feeds show your picture you posted to friends even while you sleep
  • Search is God's gift to marketers. Social media is about listening without imposing their message which marketers are still learning.
  • Sponsorship is the right opportunity in social
  • Its amazing how people endorse a brand using social media, that means marketers get to hear good and bad.

  • Amazing stuff. She wants to goto Mars ofcourse.
  • Lot of discussion about space travel, her experience training to goto space and dreams for earth to colonize Mars.
  • Fascinating views on how we should make a controlled test environment on mars and come back and reclaim earth as there are too many vested interests that won't allow us to do the right thing to save earth for all of our species today.

Opening up healthcare data
  • Esther is passionate about this and has some investments in this space.
  • Lot of discussion about disintermediating healthcare as a business by getting healthcare data online.
  • Esther is from Russia and shared stories of her investment fund and her views on Russia as an entrepreneurial bed and how it was transparent about its opaqueness.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Platform Play and my plan for Web2.0 Expo 2009

I gave a presentation at P-Camp at Yahoo called Platform Play on Mar 14th 2009. The talk was about how the trend today is for all technologies to extend into platforms with developer APIs to tap into the innovation of developers. We shared best practice involved in extending a product into the Cloud (Web), Mobile and Social.

It was targeted at Product Managers and Program Manager and we had a lot of interaction with excellent audience. I presented how to add Social to your product, my friend Ed Maier of AOL Dev Network presented AOL's experience of opening up into the web and John Lin, an excellent PM ex-Adobe, presented how to scale into mobile with APIs. Thanks to attendee Srinivas who captured an excellent summary.

Web2Open at Web2.0 coming up Wed Apr 1 and Thur Apr 2nd:

Web2.0 Expo starts tomorrow in San Francisco and has a Barcamp event called Web2Open on Wed and Thurs. I am thinking of participating and want to do a session.

Please let me know if you have ideas on what I should present or will there be interest if I repeat this topic of extending your product to social.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tweetdeck bridges twitter and facebook, yay!

My facebook love: I love facebook for what it offers me, my real social graph, way to connect to friends with privacy controls, power of tagging and now extending facebook via Connect to the web. But the most important attraction has been the energy of entrepreneurs as they build new apps on the facebook platform and how the platform adapts to the needs of the users by opening up organically.

My twitter love: Twitter on the other hand is different as a platform as its totally open, the functionality of posting tweets is open and the data of twitter is available via twitter search api. On facebook, you can execute apps in the facebook as a platform. Wheresas with twitter can access twitter and build your own app to execute on the web, desktop and mobile. This is the magic if amazing creativity in twitter apps, which enhances twitter usage and is spreading it everywhere.

Tweetdeck is this new shirpy bird on my desktop that brings new tweets organized in groups and makes twitter very usable.

I love tweetdeck, twitter is not the same without tweetdeck for me.

Tweetdeck bridges twitter with facebook!

Today tweetdeck integrated with facebook connect to allow posting tweets or facebook updates or both all from tweetdeck. Nick O Neil predicted this last week but I am not sure I agree with the recommendation of name change as tweetdeck has brand equity.

What does it mean for facebook users on twitter:
  • First it gives you control on what tweets you want to share as status updates on facebook. So if you have a twitter app making all your tweets as status updates, it is time to turn it off.
  • After all the talk about facebook vs twitter it makes us think about what we mean when we post something, is it for specific friends, or we just thinking aloud w/o thinking about the world or something else
  • Tweetdeck solves a problem that twitter offers and facebook doesn't, ok, to some extent. You can call out a friend with a @reply on twitter, now you can call that friend on a status update on facebook from twitter using tweetdeck.
You can get the beta of tweetdeck here. Look at the comments here, they talk about user's excitement and how they are asking for more.

I love the innovation and how competition is getting us better goodies!!!!

Share your experience, are you using this as a twitter user or facebook user or a tweetdeck loyalist, how do you see it affecting your social updates.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

15 Similarities between Twitter and Facebook and 5 HUGE differences and what it means for social media

Oh How Similar They Are!

Facebook = Twitter
1. Poke = Nudge
2. Post Pictures = Twitpic and it tweets with a url to your picture
3. Videos = Tweet tinyurls, made easy by many twitter clients like twitterific
4. Share Links = Tweet tinyrls
5. Tag pictures = @name callout a person to tag
6. Comments = Reply to tweets
7. See a shared link and share the link = RT (stronger endorsement by the user)
8.Add link to feeds = Star favorite, you can also get back to your favorite tweets later.
9. Message = DM
10. Private profiles = Closed updates approved by user
11.Notification and feeds = Tweets
12. Status updates = Tweets, in twitter apps like twitterific you can add your location to your tweets or pictures too.
13. Facebook Apps – keep content fresh on facebook with fun tools = Twitter Apps is evolving with array of tools to offer new ease of use for twitter
14. RSS feed of feeds = RSS feed of specific user (more granular control, also keeps the focus on the individual)
15.Threaded comments = Comments not threaded, but theres a twitter app that offers that to people who want to track tweets as conversations

Oh How Different They Are!

There are amazing differences that are continuing to take them apart into different worlds and drags us as consumers that I suspect, we will soon reach a day when our loyalties are tested to choose one over the other, unless of course they partner or merge!

1. Private vs. Public Social Graph

Facebook is our real social graph, real family, friends, collegemates co-workers, teachers, colleagues, fellow churchmates, fellow parents, friends suggested or referred by real friends. Facebook is also single mindedly focused on offering the best privacy controls to the users so they can share as little or as much of their pictures, profiles, videos etc. with their real friends.

Twitter is your public social graph. Everything is open, anyone can follow you and there is lot of chatter anytime you tune in.

Chris Brogan the unchallenged Social Media Maestro, No.1 on twitter, facebook and blogosphere got me thinking about this very differently.
He says
a) we need a portable graph. It's silly that I can walk into Facebook and have amnesia of the friends I have on Twitter.
b) we need more than one face. I might have business colleagues, religious colleagues, friends from school, and admirers, and I don't want them to know about each other.
c) I need to have metadata and annotation that's only seen by me so I keep track of who's who in my own ways.

Mari Smith, fb queen (she actually has a tiara in her profile picture) says "There is much overlap between my personal and professional lives. I’m very open with what I share – yet always deliberate and strategic. I don’t share what I wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times, found in a Google search or that I’d be proud for my grandchildren to see in several decades’ time. Yet, where I draw the line is my private life and this is something really important for business people online to get. You don’t have to live in a glass house and reveal all.". Sound advice here!

2, The Real Me , Real Time!

Twitter gets access to the real me by the ability to call out a user with a @username. There is inherent viral play here as that user is now exposed to the followers of the first user, validating their social graph in real time, which is very different than on facebook.

for example: Joe can connect with Sharon as a collegemate on facebook. They can exchange wall posts on and off. Its personal between them. They may comment on a link and disagee on a topic. A friend of theirs may not see all their feeds and conversation but may see terse feeds of wall posts or comments. If they fall out of touch or grow distant, their communication just slows down. Whereas on twitter, they could call each other out and they validate their relationship, their views, how open they are to agree to disagree for all to see, participate keeping their relationship alive.

In twitter, you can friend anyone by following them without their knowledge or permission. You allow anyone to follow you and it is optional to friend that person back so the relationship gets mutual and allow them to send you a direct message. This is in contrast to facebook where you friend a person and it has to be mutually agreed and accepted before you can view their profile or post on their wall or see their feeds.

The main difference is that people can ignore their facebook messages.But in twitter if you call someone out in an @reply, it is reaching the real person, like an email. They can choose to ignore you or come check you out quietly and still ignore you or follow you or reply back making it a longer conversation. But you reached the real person. Their lack of communication sometimes becomes communication.

A more important factor is that twitter has built a culture where people open up with raw emotions to be more of the real person they are which bonds people together though they start as strangers. I like so many people who help me on twitter or people who share my quirks of going to the car dealer or dentist or losing my purse and feeling stupid.
This puts twitter in such a powerful position of becoming your real identity on the web, where you are really engaged. This is where twitter is becoming competition to facebook. It becomes a great tool for marketers to reach the real YOU! That is the single most reason for twitter to be spread spreading in the enterprise and CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED!!!

3. Different technology building blocks leads to different capabilities

Facebook announced new profile pages for famous persons is trying to cut into that segment of users who follow famous people on twitter.
What is fascinating to note is this is similar functionality but goes to the fundamental difference between facebook and twittr. They built out of different bricks as building blocks.

twitters fundamental building block is a profile made of tweets. @reply, followers, friends, DM, nudge are layered functionality on top of this.

Facebook’s building block is a profile page. That’s why when Facebook saw twitter get lot of mainstream media, they proactively created Profile Pages , which is a smart, expected move.

I love Facebook, but I am not convinced it will stop twitter's growth!!!

Both buildings are ready for the huffs and puffs and some people want to bet on which house is going to survive the big bad wolf.

My personal take on this is that we are at an early stage in the social media game and this competition is going to create new innovations that will shape the market to the next level. It is not about users on one social networking poking and sharing;we are entering a new level of interaction where realtime interaction, mobile, international and location awareness are going to allow for new ways of interaction for us as consumers and for businesses to engage with us .

4. Don’t underestimate the power of search

Facebook is closed, you cannot search any of your own feeds or status updates or comments or likes. You have a basic keyword search that allows to find friends or applications.
Facebook allows google to crawl public profiles and lets google bring it more users.

Twitter absolutely shines here!

Summize was built using twitter api and later bought by twitter and became twitters their powerful search tool. It also speaks to how open completely open the twitter API is, but that’s a different discussion!

Twitter search allows you to search to find conversation happening on any keywords and subscribe to it as a RSS feed. It is like have a Google SEM engine sending you customers to your RSS feed every 10 seconds.

This is getting marketers excited because now you have the power to watch your brand conversations, you can do live market research to find the pulse of products, brands and messaging.

It is sometimes good, sometimes not good to take, still it is good for the brands to rather become aware of this and intervene. See today's example of evitesucks tweets.

How hard is it to do A/B testing between two messages that you post as tinyurls on a tweet that lead to two landing pages that you can compare traction to?

5. Growth Patterns Tells the Real Story of Divergent Paths

Facebook is growing at 1 Million users/month with increased internal users.
Twitter has an organic growth with more companies joining it and experimenting with it.

Twitter is a community or has several communities built into it with its own set of rules and accepted behaviors.

Eg. Adding #tags, #Fridayfollow at end of tweets on Fridays to recommend new friends to follow etc.

So as new users join twitter they enrich their community and become part of it sooner than facebook where the user has to go through the learning curve for each user one user at a time.

So the twitter story is about faster engagement while facebook is about faster user acquisition.

Folks: Its 2.45am and blogger is acting up and not letting me add pictures. I'll update w them tomorrow. Good Nite. Lemme know your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BEST Awards at Bebo SF proves Social Apps are all about engagement

"Bebo's Engage to Success Today" Best Awards and Developer Meetup was held at Bebo SF yesterday.

It was a special day for me to see the grand finale of my project I started in October to help Bebo lay the foundation of a developer program. I started with an MRD for Developer Outreach and we filled product gaps in the platform by quickly launching Javascript suppport (FBJS equivalent called SNJS on bebo) and engagement metrics and announced the BEST Contest @ BeboDevNite in Nov 2008. Sun has been a loyal partner offering 1 year free hosting on joyent for bebo apps. They also offered the grand prize of a Sun Server to the BEST awards winner.

People Speak But Numbers Speak Louder

The best part of this project for me has been the bebo team and how developers got excited and gave feedback to get SNJS from beta to live. I remember countless spreadsheets and discussions keeping laser like focus on engagement. Bebo Platform is essentially the same as Facebook Platform, so anyone with a facebook app could port overnite to bebo. But the focus was to help developers with engaging apps build on bebo so they can monetize, scale and be successful.

There were 2000 new applications submitted to the contest in 2 months!
Developers email to bebo has grown 8 folds.
Engagement in terms of time spent/user/month for apps has grown by 70% overall.

This just proves that users are returning to use the apps on bebo.

Best Awards Event :

Top four apps were shortlisted as honarable mentions. They get Bebo's marketing support. Judges Dave McClure and Frank Gruber joined us in person. Jesse Stay could not join in person and tweeted his support.

1. Solid Sudoku - play solo Sudoku or challenge friends with a clean, stream-lined interface. Solid Sudoku can be found on Bebo at:

2. Robokill Trainer with J2Play - liberate Space Station Titan Prime in this classic arcade shooter with RPG elements. Robokill Trainer with J2Play can be found on Bebo at:

3. Bananagrams - form words as quickly as possible using letter tiles and the first player to use all their tiles then declares "Bananas!" and wins the game. Bananagrams can be found on Bebo at:

4.Kick Mania - an animated game with low level violence and high level fun. Kick Mania can be found on Bebo at:

The holy trinity of apps is distribution, engagement and monetization says Mr.Social Network Dave McClure
He had valuable advice to add developers and entrepreneurs on social platforms.

The event warmed up with Rockband, typical bebo style

Amy Berg, Bebo Platform Community Manager set the stage listing the top 5 apps. This was followed by bananagram app demo.

This was followed by Bowling Buddys by John of Playfish. I love all Playfish apps, they are a class apart! They bring real life games with a real life like engagement online. They have one of the best leaderboards ever.

Markus of TheBroth showed kickmania app. It is a cool game to use physics to kick someone.
Funny you can choose different kind of legs and buy shoes with virtual currency.

Dave Mcclure and Frank Gruber did a demo of Solid Sudoku as the developer could not join us. They were awesome with their expert comments and cracked up the audience.

And the Winner was Bowling Buddies! Congratulations Playfish!!! John of Playfish received his trophy and joked saying he will throw the server up in their cloud.

Pictures from bestawards are here -
Tweets from the event are here -

The best part of the event was the valley's ever enthusiastic social app developers who hobnobbed with the bebo engineers and the cool top developers and to leave knowing focusing on engagement has really worked to help bebo and the developers! So this is just a new beginning!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Power of Social Media Metrics

I have been playing with Social Media Metrics as part of my recent work for Intuit with social media strategy among cross-functional groups as a way to measure campaign ROIs.

I feel the same excitement which I felt towards Google SEM metrics tools in 2003 as they evolved with enterprise adopting ppc campaigns. Today we need social media metrics as social media becomes a part of the marketing mix.

Power of Social Media Metrics Tools and ROI (example UCGExpo)

The beauty of social media and why I compare it to Google SEM engine is because the information is all public. The tools harness the data and we can set specific keywords, related to our product or competition or a combination that relates to a particular product or brand.

My friend Bob Miko of pacific dialogue invited me to User Generated Content Expo 2009 in San Jose Feb 9-10th organized by Media bistro of Jupiter Media. There was lot of excitement - good speakers, interactive audience and exhibitors, all very focused on the topic with not much frills on free food or giveaways.

Social media metrics tool SM2 from techrigy shows how bloggers and tweeters loved UGCExpo.

Social Media Impressions - breakup by blogs, twitter, videos from Feb 9 to 12th.
(click on graphs to see larger view)

Demographics of social media coverage

Tone of Social Media Impression is mostly neutral or positive

So the pr folks have achieved more than their ROI. Jupiter Media and Media Bistro can use this as baseline to overlay their future conferences to measure ROI for social campaigns.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Craig Newmark on User Generated Content and Mobile + Social Panel - Day 1 User Generated Content Expo UCGX09

Craigslist's KeyNote on User Generated Content

I listened to Craig's keynote on Day 1 of at the User Generated Content Expo 2009 in San Jose Feb 9 and 10.

Here's part of the video

Craig Newmark story from UGCX09 - part 2 from sujam on Vimeo.

part 3 -nice lively q&a ( I need to find a way to get all q&a videos clips edited together and will update here later)

My Summary:
  • Culture of participation
  • Had no clue about branding just used common sense and did the right thing, just treat the customer like how you would like to be treated.
  • Realized he was not a manager and found a CEO
  • Repeat emphasis that this is not altustic
  • Paranoid of not listening enough to customers
  • Really enjoys listening to customers and let the community drive itself.
  • Amazing honesty. Tied his experience to Obama campaign and grassroots movement for us to participate in Government.
Mobile and Social Panel: Beyond the Desktop: Social Content goes Mobile

Excellent mix of panelists, experts across the mobile spectrum.

Moderator: Adam Hirsch, COO, Mashable
Speakers: Philip Miano, National Sales Director, Third Screen Media
Eric Litman, Chairman & CEO, Medialets
Bryan Barletta, Associate Editor,
Jonathon Linner, CEO, Limbo

Full Panel video (not including q&a) - (I'll update here once the video is ready on vimeo)

See my Summary from my tweets I did during the event. (I am adding it as a screenshot, pl let me know if you know how to show the twitter search results as a widget here)

Exhibits were 5-6 tables. I saw an interesting company ConnectBeam at the Exhibit Booth.
They make enterprise social software, particularly making it easy to find information posted in profiles/tags inside enterprise searchable using google, exisiting wiki, integrating all the different social apps, thereby saving $$$ by knowledge sharing inside a company. Worth checking!!!

Overall User Generated Content has fresh conference content, excited audience and I left wishing I could stay longer or return on Day 2 too!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Live Blog of DevJam @Myspace, sf monetization panel and OSML by Myspace

I am sitting at DevJam event @Myspace, will blog live as I find interesting stuff (I am not blogging everything here today!

3.30pm: Monetization panel:
Request to Myspacefrom developers from the panel:

1.Jason of App-o-rama: Can you make the approval process faster? When a developer adds and update it brings the app down for couple days which kills growth.
2.John.H of RockYou: More stability from the platform
3.Nick of MakeaBaby: Tell us as you change things that will break our apps proactively.
Audience Q&A:

Q: How did they get stared and arrive at offerpal for virtual currenct?

Its all about comfort level with the virtual currency company, everyone mentioned Julie of offerpal. They also did A/B testing and found offerpal was at par or better than others.
Q:How do you bring down an inflated virtual currency?
Jason had that experience in space domination game. 2 users reached the top level, we brought it down w their top user's permission.
Nick: We created new virtual goods. eg. W ehad an ipod, added a star in front of it, called it blinkpod and charged it 10 times more.

Q. Do you allow secondary markets?
Jason, no, you don't want someone else to make money that you could earn.
Q From Abdul Rehman (AR): Followup question, users are going to do that eventually. Why not setup an exchange.
A: Offerpal will add that if need arises, not needed yet.

4pm: Chris Cole of Myspace presents OSML
Updated with video here:

Myspace Devjam Feb08 from sujam on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Intuit's First Virtual Conference vconf

I usually blog from real events. Intuit Academy hosted its first virtual conference (vconf) for customers for two days Jan 21 and 22nd 2009 and I had the privilege to attend as their social media strategy consultant.

It was fun and talking to customers is the best way to understand any real business.

Conference Technology: It was a conference in our web browser and once we logged in, it opened a real player plugin and we were in a second life like environment. At first my pc speakers didn't work and it felt strange to watch characters move around quietly, but once it worked, it was very engaging.

There were Exhibits with staff ready to answer (chat) any questions.

There were scheduled conference talks.

Quickbooks Guru Michelle Long moderated a talk on "Marketing Ideas for Accounting Professionals" at the vconf. See her blog post of her Day1 experience here.

There was a lounge area where one could post announcements or just chat with a fellow attendee.

We had a briefcase where you could collect interesting documents for reference later. It was beautifully integrated with Intuit's current web property and the scheduled chat led to a webex session.

It was social only to the extent that we could find other attendees and chat with them any time.

A great start, time and money saver as a virtual conference tool. As for the conference itself, its one of many innovative social media moves to come from Intuit.

As I was awestuck by the conference, I found Whuffie Factor author and barcamp queen Tara Hunt has joined Intuit at their Partner Platform.

Congrats Tara!

Congrats Intuit Academy on a successful virtual conference!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Facebook Connect makes TV social with cnn live inaguaration

Today I remember my first TV watching experience in India when I was 9 and a neighbor bought the first tv in my entire neighborhood and invited everyone to their house on a Saturday evening to watch the one movie they showed in the only channel available.

Not long after, tv became a personal family affair with cable and 100s of channels and in my family now its a personal affair as we got rid of the box and watch hulu for what each of us want when we want! Its of course very social as we discuss Lost and Jon Steward and Seinfeld (nostalgically) with co-workers and friends.

This morning as all America woke up to an exciting day for the inauguration of President Obama, facebook took us to live to show the live video stream along with a facebook connect feed.

A Screenshot of cnn live here

This allowed us to sign into cnn with our real identities and bring our real social graph to the site in a side bar to post our status and comment on our friends feeds sharing in the anticipation as we waited for Obama, revelled in beautiful music and poetry, fretted about how it felt to become free from the last 8 years of divisive politics, marvelled at Mrs.Obama's dress, took in the weight of the moment and let the promise of hope and optimism wash us.

Facebook had it setup privacy setting to let us decide to send each status update to go public to everyone and did you notice it allowed us to comment on only the ones made by our friends, all feeding into facebook feeds for rest of our friends to watch and join in.

It is not surprising to see the mindblowing Numbers From the Obama Inauguration - 600,000 status updates and 4000 comments/min and 14Mil of us viewing simultaneously by 1pm ET

Facebook Platform vs Facebook Connect

Facebook App Plaform excited me because of the power of the viral play and the entrepreneurial energy of developers. Facebook Connect takes the app platform out into the web (potentially into the desktop and mobile).

Facebook marketing has always been about delivering, building large scale support before a pr launch. Facebook is doing it again with Facebook Connect launching 1000 sites before we saw press coverage.

Facebook Connect Timeline

Launch @f8 July 23 followed by a garage Sep 29 2008

Luke's Q&A to Bay Area Facebook Meetup
Snap Summit03 Oct 2008 - Dave Morin's talk

How-to-add facebook connect to your blog in 8 min

Power of Facebook Connect

Cnn live of the Inauguration with Facbook Connect subtly shows the power of bringing your social graph for an event driven media consumption. As Don Thorson put it, "this is how all tv should be"

If you are have a web app or desktop app you have to tap into the power of facebook connect. Think - social commerce on web sites, and social influencer marketing for user generation and lots more to come building upon access to dynamic facebook user profiles! its a no brainer!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

iphone meetup live blogging @timburks good visual design and web vs sdk programming guidance

I am at iphone meetup at TIPS Palo Alto. Nice Energy in the room here, lot of friendly faces from the facebook world here!

Quick Qik of the audience energy here:
(use this to see if you spot someone you met and want to connect back)

7pm: Christopher Allen, author of upcoming "iPhone in Action" book and programming guru is talking about Web Development vs SDK

He compared web development vs sdk development. Interesting to see his comparison of what's compatible with other phone development.

Web App uses similar technology to iphone: Google Android, Palm Pre (goes beyond local storage AQLite on iphone to ability to put a web app inside the app)

7 types of iphone development
- iphone compatible web
- iphone friendly web
- iphone optimized web, not compatible w nokia or android
- iphone web app eg iui app
- Dashcode web
- native app sdk
web app examples google reader, facebook app,,,,

Here's part of Chris's talk here:

@ChristopherA drew a lot of audience interaction with excellent Q&A. (See video of q&a part below)

8.15pm: Suzzane Ginsburg of ginsburgdesign, presents good visual design for iphone apps with a Urbanspoon vs Yelp

Summary is urbanspoon is built for iphone, yelp expects you to got the web site and iphone app is a translation.

Here's Suzanne's slides: Awesome presentation. I don't know if Yelp or Urbanspoon who will move fast to hire her!

Suzanne Ginsburg's slide embed.

There's better HD video being taken by some folks here, will update w those links if you guys can ping me w the urls.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Excellent Twitterville Talk by @Shelisrael

I started blogging from the talk on "Twitterville--Using Global Neighborhoods to thrive in tough times" by Shel Isreal at the IT/Software development Execs Meetup Group in mountain view.

Listening to Shel sharing his wonderful stories all evening!

Tatyana Kanzaveli organized the event and did an awesome job. Her Flickr stream of the event is here I even got good selection of veggie food :)

Started with his Crowdsourced book building story:

He started by comparing his last book "Naked Conversations" which he co-authored with Robert Scoble vs the new upcoming book "twitterville". Here's a quick summary of what I grasped from this talk:

  • First phase of social media was about reducing marketing excesses where advertisements create lot of noise while blogs filter to create conversations.
  • Now, twitter was about optimizing the conversations.
  • Shel was genuine and his focus was on keeping transparency and the joy of having real honest conversations.

Twitter Story:

Next he shared Twitter's story of how the founders came with it, and how it got traction from SWSX 07.

Twitter for Business:

We got to this part very later and Shel has wealth of stories. He shared the Dell story of how they got started from SWSX07 and made $1million, motrin how they managed the pr fiasco to curb it within a week by coming out and being honest on twitter, Ford story, GM Volt story that broke a news on twitter about a plant closing just as GM was going in front of congress. Best of all was @Comcastcares. Nice mix of pr, communicating with customers for brand management and a customer support example.

Sorry, at this stage, I had to stop and listen so my video doesn't do justice to the evening. I have some zoomed out video from my flip atleast you can hear Shel's own voice. (ok I'll update back once my videos are uploaded.)

Hope you enjoy the initial part of his talk!

This was the best part of the evening. Shel engaged with the audience with the same passion and honesty to hear their stories. I noticed something today! He cares about learning new twitterville stories with a genuine passion and does not pretend to be the expert. Yet he has perceptive answers for audience questions. Here are couple questions I captured:

Question by @cathybrowne What do you think about twitter as a news feed eg Mumbai story.
Shel: "We in social media are feet in the street in every corner of the world. We have information that can be braided into traditional media. point where Mumbai made the key point was when a 19 yr old kid took pictures and posted on flickr, where associated press, bbc , reuters didn't have feet in the street there and used the kids story.
@cathybrowne shared her own twitter story story about a plane stranded passengers that the world didn't know that cathy tweeted about and got media in to change the situation. Looks this Shel got another story for his book.

Q: How can we trust the accuracy of information on twitter?
Shel: Every reporter has to validate the truth of any story within their means. Twitter validates it better by real people respond, retweeting and spreading it around for validation.

Q: When people are tweeting about your company and you are the marketer when is the good time to get involved?
Anytime is good, just be transparent. He addd 'talk to me, have a conversation, don't make it all about your message and do all talking to me". You can use tweets and Direct message (DM) and continue your conversation with the same customer.
Q: Another discussion was about using twitter for specific educational ngo goals.
Spurred good discussion about the community aspect of twitter and tapping into it. For anyone getting started important is to build reputation.

Two overall takeaways from the evening are:
  • Twitter is about the real-time response from the market, its fast
  • The real purpose of marketing is to build relationship and somewhere along the way we forgot it as we made ads. Twitter brings it back to the basics of having real conversations with customers.
My personal interest in this topic:

I am a facebook fan, and use twitter a fairly decent amount. I have been wondering about the overlap of our private vs public social graphs. How do you see it merging or moving away for you as a user? How do you see it impacting your social media mix as a business? let me know!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Facebook, Feed Me More Feeds In the New Year!

2008 started differently for me when a friend posted a facebook status saying "baby looks like an alien in the ultrasound" bringing me into his home as he opened his heart.

All through the year, thanks to my facebook friends, I have
hoped as we voted in my first US presidential election
shared excitement of friend's cool dates
pondered the meaning of life, career and dreams
mused over spontaneous valley events
comforted the heartbreak of atleast one divorce
helped with couple job losses
shocked and pained with friends as Prop 8 passed
supported parenting nightmares with toddler power struggles
stayed up to chat with insomniacs and twitter addicts
shared the joy of new babies and many baby's first holidays
and fretted with growing-up parents as their kids grow up.

My life before my real friends were on facebook:

I have spent 14 yrs of my life mostly in Boston and thelast two years in beautiful Silicon Valley, enjoying America, making it my home and loving it. I have many friends, we have lived in our own worlds and meet at work, schools, temples, churches, gyms, play groups, hobby groups and recreation centers. There, we exchange a common american humor, curiosity towards other person's diversity and chat about what we share in common with sincerity which in my case is a lot of technology aka facebook, social media marketing, startup stories, mommy saga and yoga.

Once we moved to the valley, I was amazed at the diversity and the self segregated societies of the valley that preserve their cultures. Everything was new, our friends were all in Boston and the geek groups were the first to accept us. There's the Chines New Year in SF, Vietnamese Parade in San Jose, Durga Puja in Sunnyvale, Polynesian festival in Foster City, India Day in Fremont, Independence Day fireworks at Stanford, Garlic Festival in Gilroy and several geeky meetups including my own Bay Area Facebook Meetup each month. I've chanced occasional peeks into two separate corteries of 'serial entrepreneurs' and 'hungry wannabe-entrepreneurs', the two prominent groups that co-exist in the valley. I am not even listing the many sports hangouts, charity fundraisers and kids shows. (I cannot share all videos I like as they are in facebook limited by the privacy of friends who posted them)

Facebook has enriched my year by helping me cross the politically correct workplace boundary into the lives and hearts of friends.

In 2008, I have had more birthday wishes than all my past years, and wished everyone with wall posts and virtual gifts. I have visited more places on earth and shared special and scary moments with friends and made real friends of distant business acquaintances as they opened their feeds and their hearts and homes to us on facebook.

I've gotten a glimpse into the real lives of many of my friends who I knew professionally and bonded with family across miles. The best part is feeds come as everyone does whatever they do in their real lives - across boundaries of political correctness into their religions, culture, priorities near and dear to their hearts and ways of lives.

I've seen what holidays are important to each of my friends and what they really do to celebrate their holidays, thanks to facebook.

I've seen my friends Naveed, Raymond, Junaid, Shammara fast for Ramadan and wait for the moon for Eid. I celebrated Diwali by sharing a picture of a Diwali light arrangement we made at home and tagging 30 (facebook's maximum tag limit) Diwali celebrating hindu friends on facebook . I saw ghosts, fairies, Joe the Plumber among my friends. I have gotten a real Xmas cheer as I saw Luke share his Xmas tradition of making cookies at home with his wife. It put a smile on my face as this feed brought back childhood memories of the smell of an Indian sweet called Mysorepagu made by my Mom. Wed 25th was Christmas and the third day of Hanukkah, a gentle reminder thanks to Josh's feed.

For the past two weeks, I've joined the cheer and delays of of travels locals and far, shuddered at the ice storm pictures from my east coast friends, smiled at a cheeky video " All I want for Christmas is some jews" and at Jesse sharing the real christmas story video on facebook asking us to spread it around.

I have truly arrived in America, and though I am known to be obsessed with facebook, this time I think all credit goes to facebook to let my real social graph flow through facebook and getting me one step closer to my friends and to America.

Wish you all a wonderful new year 2009! Thank You all for enriching my life, looking forward to a new year as we continue to grow, share, learn, live and let live our connected lives.

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