Tag Archives: social media

Social Media: Handle with Care

It’s been more than 36 hours that India’s financial capital Mumbai is under seize. In the ongoing battle with the terrorists in one of the biggest terrorist attacks on India ever,  Mumbai has demonstrated “citizen journalism“, in the real sense. While the role of social media and its contribution in the current situation cannot be denied but there’s more to it than just that.

What’s true and what’s not ?
What’s original and what’s not ?
Whose genuine and whose not ?

A cursory glance at #mumbai tells us it’s all happening on the web but lets try to not add more noise and rumor

1) Spread something without verifying the source
2) Spread hate against someone or a community
3) Spread information that could be used negatively
4) Say something just for the sake of saying

“social media dispenses gossip as well as truth, see the mumbai stream on twitter search” –  GregoryLent

List of Terror Victims

Critical Take:
Mumbai: flash mob or social media in action?

Tracking a Rumor:
Indian Government, Twitter and Common Sense

Code of Ethics for journalists: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Various shades of Tweets:
1) http://twitter.com/jeremyclarke/statuses/1026483093
2) http://twitter.com/mikewhills/statuses/1026358690
3) http://twitter.com/arjunghosh/statuses/1026295741
4) http://twitter.com/Sweetnote/statuses/1026551347
5) http://twitter.com/shahpriya/statuses/1026602197
6) http://twitter.com/kapso/status/1026608870
7) http://twitter.com/skepmod/statuses/1025822277

How to use social media for tracking buzz

Whether you are own a company or love a product. Tracking what’s being said about your company, that product or even yourself on the web is quintessential. Quintessential because listening is the first step when it comes to  using social media. Listening to what people(both users and nonusers) are saying about you amongst themselves is one of the most important ways to get feedback for improvement and this feedback is mostly genuine and frank and thus critical.

Here’s a list of tools/services that I use to track the buzz for kwippy

1) Google Alerts:
Google alerts offer an easy and simple way to track what’s being said about something. To create an alert
a) Provide your search term.
b) Choose a type. You can choose from web, news, blogs, groups, videos and comprehensive. Comprehensive includes web, news and blogs.
c) Choose how do you want the alerts, via email or feed.
d) Choose how often do you want the alerts, as it happens, once a day or once a week.

Checkout Google alerts help page here

2) Friendfeed Search:
Friendfeed is an aggregator which supports more than 35 services including Flickr, Google Reader, del.icio.us and GetSatisfaction. A search on FriendFeed can tell if someone shared/bookmarked a blog post about your company or product or asked a question on GetSatisfaction and much more. Here’s a sample search query for FriendFeed search.

3) Twitter Search:
Twitter’s search is a great way to checkout what’s being said about your company/product in the twitter world REAL TIME. What’s even good is the fact the they also offer atom feeds for the search results which you can take home and play with. Friendfeed search and Twitter search will give you some repeats as some people integrate their Twitter account with their FriendFeed account. Here’s a sample search query for Twitter search.

4) Kwippy Search:
Using Kwippy’s search you can track the buzz around you company/product on kwippy. Friendfeed search and Kwippy search will give you some repeats as some people integrate their Kwippy account with their FriendFeed account. Here’s a sample search query for Kwippy search.

5) BackType Alerts:
Backtype is a service that helps you organize your comments that are scattered across the web. Using BackType alerts you can track what’s being said about your company/product in the form of comments. Checkout the alerts page here. Thanks louis for sharing this

We’ve covered tools for web, blogs, news, aggregators, twitter, kwippy and comments. These should be enough to keep you busy but if you still get time and want to go deeper you can try searching other platforms like rejaw, lifestream.fm , identi.ca and more.

This is not it, the sweet part is that you can use these tools in a myriad of ways. For example you can
1) Integrate atom feed of your Twitter search results to kwippy and follow them over your gtalk as mentioned here
2) Integrate your Google alert feeds with kwippy and follow them over your gtalk as mentioned here
3) Get your twitter search results emailed by using tweetbeep

If you’ve been using any/all of these tools, would love to know your experiences.

Conversations, who’s doing what?

“Social Media is people having conversations online” – Marta Z Kagan.

This in my opinion is the most simple yet apt definition of social media that can ever be. Once you start connecting the dots you’ll realize that’s indeed what social media is all about. Be it the latest craze aka microblogging sites, conversational tool/services, social-networking sites or any other media sharing site. While the social objects may differ from service to service the end goal for most is to get people talking/commenting around those objects. Since humans are by nature social and love talking/discussing/debating conversations are the ultimate hooks for a site and if done rightly can do wonders to a site’s engagement.

Wait for a second and think what was your last activity on your favorite site ? Mine was commenting on a comment someone made at a friend’s facebook status. Facebook does a great job in providing these hooks to let people have conversations. It started off with a simple wall, then it was user uploaded images/videos and now its status messages. Comment chains on people’s status messages is getting common by the day. According to me any site that needs to grow and be successful needs to handle conversations extremely well and give it all it takes.

Here’s a brief comparison of how some sites that I’ve used/still use handle conversations.


Each of these features/attributes play an important part in the conversation game. People might not realize it consciously but these features/attributes help in forming hooks that keep people engaged to conversations and in effect increase site’s stickiness.

Threaded Conversations make it extremely easy to keep track of comments/replies around an object.

Parallel Conversations is a purely online experience. Unlike real life with the context switching issue you can online have parallel(almost) conversations with someone or a group on different topics. What it means is that its really difficult offline to have conversations with someone on two-three different topics simultaneously/parallely for long but its far easier online(in some services).

No Character Limit lets people express their views/thoughts without any restriction thus enabling proper discussions/debates.

Follow up Notifications lets people stay in touch with conversations they like which in effect means that people are always connected to a conversation and any activity even weeks/months of inactivity can infuse life again. Conversations are now immortal.

Invite People to a conversation lets people invite other people to begin/join a conversation. It helps in the free flow of conversations across the site and making them VIRAL.

Comment Feed lets you own not only the comments on your objects but also on other people’s objects. You can know take your comments and use them the way you want.

We at kwippy have added a new dimension to the equation by introducing the “Invite people to join/begin a conversation feature” to make the conversation mix more engaging.  How have your experiences been with on-site conversations ? What do you think can make conversations more sticky ?

Early Adopters vs early adopters

An early adopter or lighthouse customer is an early customer of a given company, product, or technology. – Wikipedia

If you are a regular user of any social media site chances are that you might have come across this term fairly often. Think Early Adopters think Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel and the likes. Interestingly a lot hasn’t been said about the fact that for each Early Adopter there are hundreds and thousands of “early adopters” who are more or less that important for a new service. An early adopter could be a defined as scaled down version of an Early Adopter in most metrics. Having hundreds of subscribers/followers instead of thousands,their blog readership would be in hundreds instead of thousands etc. While the frequency at which they use the new services would roughly be same as Early Adopters but when it comes to trying new services and giving regular feedback/suggestions they are often ahead(in numbers and frequency respectively) of Early Adopters.

Essentially these are the people who are the bridge between Early Adopters and the mainstream users and are just as interested in exploring new services as it can be and are just as passionate about what they do but with a smaller sphere of influence.

In the past year or so that I’ve been using social media services I’ve seen quite a few instances in which a new service picked momentum because some Early Adopter started using it regularly and started spreading the word. Does it mean that “Its mandatory for a new service to get blessings of an Early Adopter or two in order to succeed ?” . Sure it helps if someone whose articulate, has insight and has a big follower base starts to use a new service but I am not sure if this was the case always and with every successful service. By successful here I just mean in terms of active users & web traffic.

I am not too sure if popular sites like Orkut, Scribd etc caught eyeballs because of some Early Adopters.
If I think about it, I got to know about these sites and many more from people who would fall in the category of “early adopters” and not “Early Adopters”. While the early adopters might not have the same levels of expertise or insights but they make up with extra enthusiasm and optimism.

As aptly mentioned by Steven early adopters don’t equal success i.e If you have Early Adopters as raving fans it won’t necessarily mean that the mainstream audience will love your product just as much or the revenue would not be a problem.

In my opinion while new services should keep an eye on the Early Adopters and try to convert them to regular users of their service they shouldn’t be obsessed with just them and NOT overlook the small fish in the sea aka the early adopters because the early adopters because are easier to find(and please).  Also, since they are more close to the mainstream audience in terms of their usage & behavioral patterns their feedback would probably be more relevant/useful if you are targeting the mainstream audience. What also tends to happen at times with Early Adopters is the sense of entitlment (which at times comes in initial days itself) which could leave the team behind the service in a perplexed/worrisome state and they’ll end up expending their energies in the wrong direction.

I’d summarize it all by saying while Early Adopters are great to have one should get obsessed by them and shouldn’t ignore the early adopters in the process.