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The Problem with Social Media Coverage of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

24 Apr

Boston Marathon Police Scanner

I listened, shared and watched the details of the Boston Marathon bombing unfold via social media. It captivated a nation and through the power of social media we collectively stood together in unity seeing through every detail leading to the capture of the remaining bombing suspect which I will intentionally not make mention of by name. 

Amateur journalism was in full effect in 140 characters or less. Internet detectives used photos and videos that were shared across the web to piece together what they thought happened and who the suspects were. Mind you this all went down before the FBI officially released photos and video evidence of the real suspects.  People wrongfully were called out and immediately subject to scrutiny from these amateur web detectives, this is an unfortunate by-product of the digital social news age.  People now have access to a treasure trove of information in which they can formulate their own opinions and use social media to broadcast their thoughts to the world, good or bad. 

Reddit, a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of a link or text post, struggled to keep up with the traffic even taking steps to turn off commenting on its live feed threads. These Reddit feeds where based off of an interpretation of what was heard on the Boston police scanner. People follow along and they share what they think is going down and naturally this leads to inaccuracies as that message spreads across social channels.  

There was even a UStream channel that was set up that focused in on a Boston Police scanner which UStream confirms that at its peak 265,000 users were tuned in at the time of capture. Over the course of the day a total of 2.4 million people followed along at some point.  

It has never been more apparent through the inaccuracies of reported information by countless “reputable” news sources how desperate these news outlets where to keep pace with the “breaking news”.  News sources such as Fox News and CNN need to realize that the breaking news business has changed and they shouldn’t be so quick to take this shared social media content and present it as fact.

People knock social media and say that this is the problem with using Twitter or Facebook as a viable news source. To a degree they are correct but isn’t the bigger problem turning on CNN and seeing coverage of a story that is factually incorrect? I count on CNN to get it right and I count on social channels to get it information to me quickly. 

After the FBI released their photos and videos of the suspect almost immediately the social media community on Reddit had discovered another photo of one of the suspects leaving the scene. This photo clearly showed the suspect in higher clarity then what the FBI had released to us. Now that is the power of social media. 




Social Media Technology Acquisitions – Superpowers Unite

6 Jun Social Media Acquisition

Social Media Acquisition

The companies available for acquisition in the social CRM space just got a whole bunch smaller.

Corporate giants Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle are building a monster. Acquiring social media management systems Virtue, Buddy Media, and Context Optional these companies are poised to make a move to dominate the social marketing, listening and CRM space. With these recent acquisitions the space has been officially validated and now the real showdown begins. How quickly these giants can move to provide a simplified and effective social media tool for enterprise level brands to deploy across their organizations will be paramount to their success.

What do these tools do?

Enterprise level tools enable brands to create custom content, publish to social channels, provide moderation and allow for the measurement of performance from these social properties. Some of that custom content that is created can be anything from building contests to designing custom Facebook tabs and applications. In fact it’s these custom pieces that help drive fan engagement, which is what brands crave and easily creating them is key. Creating custom content that fans can interact with is what enables data capture, which is the holy grail of marketing.

The marriage of CRM and social marketing begins

Publishing, analytics and creation are necessary to have but the money is in the data, hence the common theme with all the acquisitions. These big CRM companies are trying to create the one stop social media nucleolus tool for enterprise brands. By doing so they will empower brands to not only publish content but also to create a CRM of social fan data that ties and tracks a specific fan to any actions they engage with on any of the brands social profiles. Knowing who your fans are and how that fan is engaging with you will allow the ability to better target your fan demographic through ads and other digital marketing mediums.

True enterprise level products are being built and a leader will emerge if usability and simplicity don’t come as an afterthought of the tools design. Many of these platforms are very complex in nature requiring advanced CSS skills to create many of the web app designs that drive the engagement and capture data.  The people who are using these tools on a daily basis need something that allows them to create content and publish that content quickly, this doesn’t look as “simplistic” as some of these platforms try to bill themselves as, does it?

Where do we go from here?

If the past several months are any indicator about what is about going to go down in the social media technology space we are in for one hell of a showdown between some major powerhouse companies.  It’s going to be the first company that can take a Steve Jobs like vision of simplicity and elegance and apply that experience to their platform. That company will lead this race and my bet is that its not going to come from any of these corporate giants listed above but instead from a company that can be nimble and move quickly with the nature of the industry to deliver an experience that is fluid, elegant and powerful to suit their needs.  

By – Adam Lazzara

Involver & Klout for Cool Kids Only?

27 Jun
Involver, Klout, Audi

Last week Klout and Involver partnered together to do something very interesting on Facebook.

First, you should know what Klout is about. Klout is a tool that measures social influence across the web. The higher the Klout score, the higher the social influence, at least to according to the people at Klout. 

Involver is a social media management system that allows brands to publish, monitor, measure and manage social media content across multiple social networks in one dashboard.

Now that the formal introductions are out of the way here is what they have done.

Klout and Involver have allowed brands to deliver specific content to fans with a specific Klout score. The greater your “Klout” score the more exclusive content from the brand will become available to you. In theory this seems like it could be a rather interesting way to deliver specific content to a fan with a larger social reach than other fans with a smaller social reach.  While the two companies should be applauded for opening this proverbial door of social reach potential there are still some major fundamental problems with it.

Problem #1

The announcement of this partnership came with an example. If you visited the Audi USA Facebook page you were greeted with a message prompting you to “Get your Klout Score and download your Audi Le Mans desktop graphic.” Clicking on this image will prompt you to authorize access to your Klout Score and thus allow you to download the Le Mans graphic image. I wasn’t a fan of Audi before I authorized access and despite allowing Audi access to my Klout Score I wasn’t prompted to “like” the Audi page so I took my Le Mans graphic and ran. Since Audi doesn’t even gain a fan from me authorizing my Klout score there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of value here especially after just giving me an image to download.

Problem #2  

Having a higher Klout score will give me access to “more exclusive” content. So if I am not constantly working on increasing my Klout Score am I not worth it to the brand to give me access to something exclusive? According to Involver “the Klout Coupon App is an innovated way to engage users while targeting your most valuable promotions to your most influential fans.” Again, I guess since I do not spend 12 hours a day tweeting and increasing my Klout score I am not worth receiving that special promotion.  Cool kids only I guess. 

Right now there just doesn’t seem to be much value to this interesting play from Involver and Klout but that doesn’t mean that there wont be.  On one hand the brand really isn’t giving anything away of any value and on the other hand the brand makes itself seem like they will only cater to the really “popular kids.” There is a fine line here that needs to be balanced but I believe with a bit more thought and strategy surrounding it, things can be rather beneficial for both the brand and the fan. Kudos to Involver and Klout for opening this door of social influence now we just have to see if it makes sense for us to step through it.  

Osama Bin Laden is Dead and News Breaks on Twitter

2 May

Osama Bin Laden Dead

Many of you who went to bed early last night are waking up to the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Killed by US Navy Seal Forces in Abbottabad Pakistan, Osama wasn’t hiding in a cave but a million dollar mansion designed with the sole intent of protecting him.

As news began to trickle out last night around 9:45et Twitter was cranking away at roughly 4,000 tweets per second just before and after the presidents speech.

The interesting fact here is that prior to the news being broken by official media sources the raid on the Bin Laden compound was being blogged about via Twitter by people in Abbottabad as those events were occurring. No other news medium captured the events in real time. Twitter has had its first true CNN moment.

Osama Bin Laden Twitter

America proved last night that we will be relentless in our pursuit of justice against acts of terror on the United States.

Many thanks to the men and women of our country who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy the many freedoms that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Today, I am very proud of our country, God bless the United States of America.

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