When number crunchers go rogue

Now, I like my infographics.  In fact you can see a bunch of them on one of the pages on this blog, but only I saw one today that I simply cannot believe.  It was on this article and the infographic is below:

SocialMediaGlobal

I simply cannot believe that mobile penetration is 91% and that only 600m people don’t have one. Penetration and subscriptions are two very different metrics – one is the number of contracts out there, the other is the number of actual people who have phones.  I know many people with 2 or more phones (and therefore contracts) so this number to me feels grossly inflated by over-consumption in the Western world.

A similar feat of maths blindness comes in the shape of social networks.  Frig me, pretty soon we are going to have more people on social networks than people who have internet connection.  How can this be?  Simple really, if you are active on social media, more than likely you will have one account for one and one account for another so there is probably a large amount of duplication here.

The premise of the story the infographic is trying to tell I have no issue with, but it’s where they use the figures to tell an incomplete/incorrect story that pisses me off.

Now’s the time to get going

So the first six months of the year are gone.  How have I fared with my resolutions from the start of the year.

  • Blog once a week (at least) – July has been an embarrassing month for me… say no more
  • Tweet once a day (at least) – This one is coming along nicely.
  • Become more patient with the kids (if they let me) – Doing pretty well here – kids are behaving better, being less demanding and playing better with each other so this is happening with little effort from me
  • Make a concerted effort to reduce on the swearing – I think I’m doing pretty well
  • Film more family memories – I’ve been filming a lot more and taking photos of stuff we do so the 2011 family album should be decent
  • Get eldest riding a bike without stabilisers –he has refused to get on it since I took out the stabilisers so not sure how this is going to go
  • Go camping at least twice (now once) – done and such a success I may try to do it again and achieve my original target
  • Organise a reunion with friends from Portugal who I have not seen for 20 years –Managed to do this in May 
  • Become mayor of somewhere on Foursquare (my own home or workplace not included) – I’m currently Mayor of 25 non-home/work related places.  These include cafes, supermarkets, shops and a beach
  • Get to Wii Fit age of 37 – last measurement was 41 but this was taken in April!!! Not good enough really
  • De-clutter the house – House de-cluttering is done.  Conversely, the garage is cluttering nicely.
  • Sell something at a car boot sale – Actually did 3 to get rid of all the stuff
  • Move house – house on the market, just waiting for the right buyer
  • Get on a Segway (easy one as a ride on one was a Xmas present, but still valid I think) – Done in February
  • (NEW) Take kids swimming on a regular basis – Need to start this up again.  We did try martial arts in July but that was a huge fail
  • (NEW) Read a book a month – I’m just finishing a book by  Derek Sivers  and then I aim to move to a marketing/advertising related book – though I’m not sure which.  And that’s my main problem, too much choice on the book front
  • (NEW) – Limit myself to a maximum of two coffees per day – I’m achieving this, apart from when my mum comes over when my consumption rises.

Is iOS5 really a game changer for Twitter?

A lot is made of Apple‘s recent announcement that their latest mobile operating system – iOS5 – would incorporate a deep integration with Twitter. See example articles here and here.

In the battle between Facebook and Twitter as the poster child for the social world this is huge news, but will it really answer Twitter’s key issues.

I love Twitter, so I don’t want this to sound like I’m a twitter-hater, but I think we need to take a pragmatic look at what Twitter needs and what iOS brings.

Over the next couple of paragraphs I will iterate what I see as being the key things this deal will bring.  Feel free to disagree with me and pick holes in my arguments.

For full disclosure, thanks to a developer friend I have iOS5 with its Twitter integration.

  1. Brand awareness – I would hazard a guess that most people are aware of Twitter, what it is and what it does, so not sure that this deal will really accelerate or enhance that.  What it will do is increase…
  2. Registered users current numbers suggest that Twitter has around 200m users.  This deal will have a massive impact on the number of registrations because the sign-up process is so easy.  I would expect that the user base for Twitter will grow by around 50% over the 12 months after launch.  However, number of people registered to the service was never really the issue for Twitter.  Their issue is…
  3. Usage – the average Twitter still doesn’t use it very often, a massive percentage not even hitting double figures.  The Apple deal should increase that  purely because it is so easy to tweet – only 2 clicks away. This is a huge step forward because Twitter’s monetary value is directly linked to usage.
  4. Business model – Twitter (and most social networks to be fair) have struggled with this one.  Their original vision did not incorporate how to monetise their ‘invention’ should it take off. Widening the user base will help Twitter in that they will have more eyes (and wallets) to attract.  They will also have more information through which to make their intelligence and targeting better.  But, from my experiences so far there is a critical piece missing…
  5. User Experience From what I have seen and experienced the Twitter integration is only outward.  To get updates from those you follow you still need to access a Twitter client. This makes the experience very egotistical because (via the integration) the communication is only one way – and that’s not what social networking is all about.  Perhaps they could integrate Twitter into their new Messages service (whereby you could select some/all of the people you follow and get their updates on the Messages).

The lack of notification of new messages feels like the piece that is missing to make this the real game changer that Twitter and Apple want it to be. Ultimately time will tell.  I think this is a great development for Twitter but there are still some kinks to iron out.

What do you think the deal will bring to Twitter (and Apple)?

No, thank YOU!

As part of my yearly resolutions I decided that I should try to read more – at least a book per month.  And I intend to do it.  It won’t always be a “work” related book, but it keeps me in the habit.

A couple of months ago, I heard about Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book ‘The Thank You Economy”. The book is essentially a call to arms to all businesses to join and use social networks/social media to promote and sell.  It goes through the caring & commitment needed, tips, ideas, case studies and statistics about doing so.  It’s the only way to re-humanise business.  We have moved too far from local community shops where everyone knows everyone, to a time where companies are faceless; where your relationship with your local shops only extends to a ‘Hello’ or ‘Goodbye’.

I’ve always been quite interested in SM and Gary is an infectious speaker; full of energy and passion (see this video).  I decided that I would give it a go. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Vaynerchuk defines TYE as (essentially) a throwback to the 50s, where businesses knew their customers personally, knew their needs intimately and delivered diligently. They knew that if they didn’t people would go elsewhere.  He believes social media gives us the opportunity to create that one-to-one relationship enjoyed by our elders.

He takes us through a brief history of how we have come full circle to a place where customers demand individuality, appreciation and authenticity from the people they do business with.

He goes through objections to social media (and provides arguments to counteract them) and what businesses need to be aware of/need in order to make the most of this opportunity. He also notes the biggest mistakes companies make with Social Media:

  • using tactics instead of strategy
  • using it just to put out fires
  • using it to brag
  • using it as a one way communication vehicle
  • just retweeting other people’s content
  • only pushing product
  • expecting quick results

Lastly, and this is where the book gets really interesting, he goes through several case studies where people have used social media to good effect for their business – in a variety of sizes and a variety of industries.

Do I believe in it all? Not all of it, but a large extent.  I think bigger, more established companies will always struggle more to ‘get with the times’ &  make it work simply because of the bureaucracy and hurdles involved in making things happen in such monolithic organisations.

Nevertheless, all in all, this was a really enjoyable book with many valid points, perspectives and arguments. I think anyone involved in social media would benefit from reading it – especially if only just starting their business and looking for a cheap (but time consuming) way of promoting it or companies who are just starting to dip their toes in the water.

Below are some quotes from the book (some salient to social media, others just amusing) as well as an illustrated version of the book (courtesy of Ogilvynotes).

Real business isn’t done in board meetings; it’s done over a half-eaten plate of buffalo wings at the sports bar…

In 1984, you’d get stuffed in your locker for gloating over your new Apple Macintosh; in 2007 you could score a hot date by showing off your new iPhone.

There’s only so low you can go on price. There’s only so excellent you can make your product or service.  There’s only so far you can stretch your marketing budget.  Your heart, though – that’s boundless.

Everybody counts, and gets the best I have to give.

But they’re not going to give me that chance unless the other guy slips up.  And even then they’d probably give him a second chance, because forgiveness is the hallmark of a good relationship.

..if you wait until social media is able to prove itself to you before deciding to engage with your customers one–on-one, you’ll have missed your greatest window of opportunity to move ahead of your competitors.

The customer you should be scared of is the one who has a bad experience, doesn’t say a word, and never returns.

It remembered that behind every B2B transaction, there’s a C.