The Best Social Media Presentation I’ve Seen

Paul Adams is a user experience research at Google. He recently gave a speech outlining research by Google and others into how people connect with each other and what that means for the internet.

It’s easy to follow, persuasive and, most importantly, not about technology. It’s about persistent facts about how people behave and what that means for designers (his audience) and marketers (my audience).

It’s a long read, but well worth the time: The Real Life Social Network v2

Twitter Wreath: Who I Follow on Twitter

I’m spending the holiday with my family, but much of my time is spend with my digital family — the folks who keep me informed online.  I’m creating a Twitter Wreath — a ring of links to some great people I follow on Twitter with the hopes that they’ll share their favorite Tweeters (twits?) as well.

twitter wreath

I’ve listed some of the savvy professionals whose updates I track through Twitter. Am I missing you or someone good?  Please comment with a link to your/their Twitter profile!  Better yet, make your own Twitter Wreath.

Happy Holidays,

-Alex (aka @digitalalex)

A Whole Buncha Links from Twitter

Here are some useful online marketing links you may have missed.  I published quite a few on my Twitter profile, so follow me.

A Very Special Post: Jim Sterne, Career Advancement and Guruocity?

after school special

On this week's very special episode of Digital Alex, Alex optimizes your landing page.. with his mind!

I’m out and about on the web. Thanks to Li, Rich and Corry for the opportunity to be a very special guest on their blogs. It’s like an after school special…

Jim Sterne!

I interviewed Jim “The Godfather” Sterne about his upcoming session “Measuring Success in a 2.0 World” at Search Engine Strategies San Jose. I know, I know, 2.0 is a really awfully moniker, but Jim’s got a lot of great thoughts, especially about social media measurement and video analytics, so read up.

The Secret to a Web Analytics Career: Stop Learning Web Analytics

IQ Workforce recruiter Corry Prohens (who is looking for Philly web analytics talent) let me write up a storm on his blog Web Analytics Rock Stars. My topic du jour? Web analytics career advancement.

In my guest post “The Secret to a Web Analytics Career: Stop Learning Web Analytics” I advocate that people who analyze numbers should spend more time learning about the channels their measuring. Radical concept, right? Learn more web analytics career secrets right here.

I have Corry’s contact info if you need a web analytics job in Philly, alex @ alexlcohen . com

Wait, Am I a Web Analytics Guru?

Definitely not. Rich Page kindly interviewed me for his Web Analytics Guru series. I am so not a guru. I’m just a guy with some opinions and a blog. But, I do love to talk and write, so he found my weak spot.

Check out the interview for my thoughts on the Micro-Hoo debacle, the future of web analytics and learn what Avinash told me to do. Check it out right here!

Still reading? I like to guest post or write for lots of sites. If you have a website or newsletter with substantial readership and want some content, drop me a line alex @ alexlcohen . com

18 Must Read Articles from my Twitter Account

web analytics twitterI often stumble on a lot of great articles that don’t trickle down to my blog. Instead, I often share them on Twitter. Follow me to get all of the resources (DigitalAlex).

You can also check out my FriendFeed. I share great posts from my Google Reader there.

  1. Sample Correctly to Measure True Improvement Levels
  2. Writing for the Web — And Getting It Read
  3. Creating a Positive Professional Image
  4. Stats on the growth of mobile video
  5. Breakdown of each search engines share of mobile search
  6. Yahoo Developer’s Ideas to Improve Site Speed
  7. An overview of landing page design
  8. Form analytics from ClickTale
  9. Learn linkbait from Matt Cutts
  10. PR Secrets for Startups
  11. The WordPress SEO Guide
  12. Get a free web analytics industry report
  13. Web Analytics Data Reconciliation: How To Guide
  14. The SEO Success Pyramid
  15. Learn how Google uses testing
  16. Analytics for iPhone Apps
  17. Non-profits can get free money from Google!
  18. Interesting thoughts on PPC testing

Follow Me on Twitter

On a non-blog note, I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of months now.  If you tweet, follow me on Twitter as DigitalAlex.

For those who don’t know, Twitter is a micro-blog platform.  Your communications, or tweets, are limited to 140 characters.  I use my Twitter account to share good links and chat with industry folks.  Here are a few you might also want to follow:

See you there.

Facebook Application Strategy – Why Do Some Apps Rule?

You can’t read a blog or magazine these days without finding some mention of Facebook, especially their decision to open up the Facebook platform to 3rd party application developers. Techcrunch recently cited O’Reilly’s research about the adoption and use of the over 5,000 applications that are on the Facebook platform. Guess what, only 84 account for 90% of the usage. Here’s the top 5 and the associated developers (full list at either of the aforementioned sites)

1. Top Friends (Slide)
2. FunWall (Slide)
3. Super Wall (RockYou!)
4. SuperPoke! (Slide)
5. Video (Facebook)

Like blogs, podcasts and social networking before, Facebook apps are the tactic du jour for marketers. So what makes some apps take off? Like every other good strategy it starts with the users and thoughtful planning.

What Do Successful Facebook Apps Have In Common?

Scanning the list of top applications and having watched my own social graph (fancy language for friends) adopt applications, a couple of things stand out. First, many of the top applications are simply porting over popular features of other social networks. Case in point: Top Friends. In addition to being proven, these applications are built on familiar concepts that speed up their adoption.

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Yahoo! Mash Wants to Dethrone Facebook: My Review

Yahoo! Mash Social Networking SiteYahoo!, possibly reeling from the rejection of their bid from Facebook, is once again testing out a new angle on social media–Yahoo Mash. With an enormous user base of their Yahoo! services, there’s a huge potential for Yahoo if it catches on. I got beta access to the service and took it for a whirl. It my opinion, Yahoo Mash has a long way to go.

Yahoo! Mash – The Social Wiki

Mash is trying to fuse the idea of a social network and a personal wiki into one interface, a social wiki, if you will. Users can tweak their own pages and can directly edit the pages of other people. Obviously, this could get out of hand pretty quickly, so you can limit editing access to just friends, family or some other inner circle. When you invite someone to Mash, you can even create a page for them in advance that they ‘claim’ and make their own. This begs the question: who actually wants to do this? I’ve got a few theories:

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My Friends Hate Pownce

Pownce-logo I am the ideal target for a new tech company: young, urban, constantly connected and quick to adopt new and interesting technology. So why, then, was Pownce dead-on-arrival as soon as I started using it?

If you’re not familiar with Pownce, you probably know one of its principles: Kevin Rose of Digg fame . He teamed up with some friends to create their own micro-blogging platform. This follows, of course, in the vein of Twitter and Jaiku.
As Jason Pontin highlighted in his article for the NY Times, Pownce is currently floating high on the halo effect of Kevin Rose and the exclusivity of its closed launch (this is somewhat offset by InviteShare, the invite swapping site recently bought by TechCrunch). I got my own invite through my colleague Chris Difonzo and decided to take the service for a test drive.

The concept is simple enough: broadcast persistent notes to all or select portions of your network through the site or downloadable interface. Whereas Twitter is focused simply on the question of “Where are you?” and Jaiku is more social and sharing oriented, Pownce is honing in on extending micro-blogging to files, events and links. As Jason pointed out, there is a nice potential for a closed-door file sharing network, though Pownce has technologically nipped that in the bud for rich media by limiting files sizes to 10 m.b.

The problem is I never got to experience any of these features. Fewer than 25% of the people I invited were interested in even joining and the ones who have joined haven’t Pownced anything. No matter how much I might want to check it out, my friends simply don’t care about Pownce. I think there are 3 key reasons:

  1. Lack of Critical Mass – Unless you’re ensconced in a world of early adopters, it’s hard to get people to experiment with the latest platform. For my friends, there is no incentive to even check it out (they’re not intrigued by technological exclusivity). Without enough people willing to play in the game, I got tired of Powncing by myself.
  2. Social Media Saturation – Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, Blogs… the list of ways that I can virtually socialize is endless, but my time isn’t. I only end up investing my time where my network already exists instead of trying to recreate it every time on the latest and (potentially) greatest new thing.
  3. Death By Fragmentation – As content leaves its mother nest and spread its wings over web 2.0, I’m the guy trying to keep up and not to get pooped on. Each new platform ends up adding a layer of complexity and most of my friends are hesitant to try something new without a hook.

Of course, there’s no good complaining unless I can offer a solution. Here’s what I really need:

        1. Social Aggregators – RSS readers do a great job of collecting all of my feeds, but that’s just one aspect of my life. I’ve got IM, Skype, MySpace, LinkedIn, 2 personal email accounts and a work one, blogs to write, blogs to read, a work calendar that intertwines with a personal one and more. I need a tool that unites my life instead of layering on complexity. Twitter and Jaiku have both worked on Facebook-to-Micro-blog porting and Pownce has a forthcoming API. Still, the closest I’ve come to uniting my life is my iGoogle homepage and that leaves much to be desired.
        2. Automatic Network Building - I can’t be bothered to tell you all of the people I know or, worse yet, try to remember and type them all in. I want your whiz-bang servers to do the work for me. And I’m not talking about just getting my Gmail contacts: I want you to track down everyone on all of my other sites and lists and make connecting to them through your service easy. If I have to think, you can forget it.
        3. Free Prize - I don’t actually need a plastic figurine of Kevin Rose, but I do need a compelling reason to invest my increasingly scarce time in your service and, more to the point of this blog, get my friends involved (this is social media, right?). It could be functionality, e.g. I’d like to be able to “Pownce” songs from the web or my iTunes to share with friends. It could be promotional, e.g. strike up some exclusive content partnerships or offer deals–anything to give me a reason to move from awareness through trial through repeat usage.

          All of these services are still largely the play thing of a minority of users at the moment, but we all know how that goes. Stay tuned.