What can professional journalists bring to the table – part #2


Excellent crowd sourcing gave Expressen journalist a story in a few minutes. Done and published. Added value to their readers. But next time…? I doubt.
I happened to be at  Kungliga Dramaten in Stockholm tonight, to enjoy the theater production “Tre herrars tjänare” with the protagonist Morgan Alling. Great Show… until Morgan suddenly run off the stage to vomit. Well we didn’t know until someone told us. A man from the back stage told the audience that Morgan felt a bit dizzy and it was time for a short pause.But the pause became for quite a while and later people in charge informed us that the show has to be stopped due to Morgans illness. Some said that he went to hospital for examination.Shit happens. But not the end of the story…
I checked in at Foursquare and told my network about the drama. And some of them wonder what’s happening. One of them was a friend and former Expressen employed, who also send me a sms.
He forwarded the tweet to his former colleagues at Expressen, who immediately tried to reach me, including over phone. A few minutes later he got my side of the story. As far as I could understand, he (or her ? because the story in Expressen were written by Marit Sundberg) also get in touch with Dramaten’s press officer, Christina Bjerkander, and got some info and statements from her. The story became short and pretty pointless, but maybe not for their readers?
I’ve got some reflections regarding this specific drama, though.
I guess things like this happens all the time, right? People is sharing their experiences and stories with their friends. A lots of journalists getting better and better at crowd sourcing, after all. They might not be so lazy as the rumour says (personally I’ve never said that journalists are lazy, maybe because I worked my as off as journalist once upon a time). And social media are a must for journalist these days to keep up with the latest.
But – and this is a big BUT –  in the long term I do think journalists in general must add more value than this journalist did in her article, otherwise she’s out of there. In the long term, she won’t be able to compete with the crowd when it comes to deliver stories. When things like this happens, people will tell their side of the story, for an example on twitter with the hashtag #morganalling. That will include the press officer Christina Bjerkander, and even the back stage people, maybe even Morgan himself, on his blog and his Twitter? Because all the info that can be shared – will be shared.  Information that can be digital – will be digital.  Influence indexes and ranking, might edit the story. Your personal magazine will package and distribute it.

This time – it didn’t happened (very few added info to #morgonalling). Maybe not even tomorrow. But sooner or later it will. And by then journalists like Marit Sundberg will got hard time.

Google+ page vs Facebook page – the battle has just begun…


The first smoke has died down. But the war has just begun. Page vs Page. Facebook vs Google. Two Superpowers against each others.

In the first place these social networks giants was created for people to connect with people. Or “friends and family” as Facebook use to call it. With their “profiles” as a basis for the communication within the network.

Then the time came for the companies to engage with their target audience. With their “pages” as a basis for their communication. And I guess the battle has just begun.

As far as I can see and understand both of these giants have just ended up into a massive clash! Where the value proposition for their users (as companies, brands, and others) is very much the same.

Of course they both have advantages and disadvantages. The SiliconIndia says for an example:

The greatest benefit of branding products in Google plus will be the link up with search engine. The search engine will track the brands on Google plus pages easily and will bring them to the top list in the search engine. Just typing “+Google” will take the user directly to the company’s profile page.
Facebook has again got something that will affect their market. The like button of Facebook is similar to the +1 button on Google plus. The hangout button is simpler to use when compared to video chat in Facebook with Skype. Now Google plus also going corporate will be a tough completion to Facebook pages.

Well – as I said – the battle has just begun… and I’ll will follow this war with great interest.

Now – I’ve just created my own “Google+ page” and I’m looking forward to see yours, and follow your point of view in this matter. Mashable show you how to get started.

Mark won’t organize the entire web – the crowd will


Nielsen just released their Social Media Report Q3 2011. The social media’s popularity continues to grow rapidly from an US perspective, connecting people with just about everything they watch and buy. And the Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website! Scary? Take it easy, Mark won’t organize the entire web – the crowd will.

Vinny Lingham, Entrepreneur & Search Engine Marketer, wrote the 13th of Juni 2007 that “Facebook is the new internet”. He said:

“I am constantly astounded by what FaceBook is doing – they just get it! Yahoo should have really paid the $2bn they asked for them last year – they’re probably worth $5bn by now! If FaceBook becomes another Google – I think everyone at Yahoo will probably revolt!
I personally think that MySpace sucks – and they are a bunch of Generation W’s that just don’t understand what the web is about! FaceBook will overtake MySpace globally well within 18 months – that’s my prediction!”

He was probably not the first guy that realized that something big was going on. But he was one of them. And I remember I did laugh at his headline by then. Maybe I shouldn’t. I knew that Vinny didn’t mean exactly that. Nor did Mark Zuckerberg when I once met him during an early FOWA conference in London, even though he already had some delusions of grandeur.

But – seriously – what’s going on – really?

Nielsen just released their Social Media Report Q3 2011, which shows that “the Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet. In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online. Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other U.S. website.”


Since Vinny’s post, hundreds of engaged people has speculated if Facebook is the new Internet or not.

From my point of view, I still don’t think that Facebook will become the new Internet, if you may call it so, but what I do understand is that people are social, and we love services that treat us like that, with all of our social needs and wants. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Mark Zuckerberg has succeeded in doing just that – to provide social services for social people. And it is becoming increasingly clear that other web services haven’t responded to our requests on that point.

Around that time when Vinny Lingham wrote that “Facebook is the new internet”, Jeff Jarvis wrote the historical quote from Mark, in the Guardian, when the “powerful newspaper publisher beseeched Mark Zuckerberg” in Davos “for advice on how he could build and own his community. The famously laconic Zuckerberg replied “You can’t.” Zuckerberg went on to explain that communities already exist and the question these magnates should ask instead is how they can help them to do what they want to do. Zuckerberg’s prescription was “elegant organisation”.”

So as long as no one else will organize the web to help people “to do what they want to do” on the Internet, maybe Facebook will continue to take lead on that. The question is how far they could go?

From my point of view – not so far. Facebook is and probably will be one of the most important network for socializing, and – yes – we might book our flight tickets there as well. But… The most likely scenario is that the whole world wide web will be “Facebookalized”. Facebook will work in symbiosis with the rest of the web and vice versa. Thousands of small web applications will permeate Facebook. And thousands of Facebook applications will permeate the entire web. “Like buttons”, “Sign up with Facebook”-features, are just a few examples. I think the web – the Internet – will be socialized, and we have to thank Mark for inspired lectured the rest of us to execute on that.

Mark won’t organize the whole web for us; the crowd will. But Mark is one of them. A true thought leader. Thank God (Mark) for that 🙂

And – no – this is video doesn’t show the entire life of Alex Droner, but it might show a tiny part of it.

Social Web continue to grow – the companies follows – without beeing social?


Check out the new stats and infographic from Search Enginge Journal. The web is getting more and more social. Rapidly. No wonder… after all we’re human beings who are pretty much social, right? Numbers of users and contributors are just booming. And companies are following.

But what’s their socializing status? Really? God knows.

71% of the companies (which?) are using Facebook, 59% are using Twitter, and 39% are using blogs in their “marketing”.

My experience though is that many of the companies are still using social media as another channel for their content. Take a look at their Facebook pages for an example. Some of the companies are just pushing their stories out, without listen, and then they’re counting the numbers of “likes” without answer the questions: Am I really committed to my audience? Am I engaged? Who is really engaged? If the likers never comment the companies updates or never contribute with anything to the wall. And vice versa… what’s left of the social part?

Let me refer to what Kevin Roberts, CEO World wide, Saatchi & Saatchi, says in his book “Lovemarks“:

“Forget the information Economy. Human attention has become our principal currency. Job number one for any marketer these days is competing for attention. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. But once you’ve captured that attention, you’ve got to show you deserve it.

The process really only has two steps – so why does everyone find it so hard? I think I’ts all because we obsess over the attention part and forget about why we need that attention in the first place…. We need the relationships.

Emotional connections with consumers have to be att the foundation of all our cool marketing moves and innovative tactics.So it’s time to stop racing after every new fad and focus on making consistent, emotional connections with customer and stakeholders. If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

The great journey from products to trademarks and from trademarks to brands is over. Trademarks are tablestakes. Brand are tablestakes. Both are useful in the quest for differentation and vital to survival, BUT they’re not winning game-breakers.

Today the stakes have reached a new high. The social fabric is spread more thinly than ever. People are looking for new, emotional connections. They’re looking for what they can love.”

The company’s social graph – and how to benefit from it


I had a inspiring session during the Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC) at Tjärö a few weeks ago. We were ca 50 social media evangelists that did discuss what ever a company has a social graph or not? And if it does exist; how does it look like, and how can the company use it?

At least my conclusion was that I don’t think the company itself nor the brand itself has a social graph. Because a brand is not a human being. Anyone may be connected to, and even have relations with brands but not social relations. Because you got to be human to socialize. But your brand is a social object and your products as well. Because people are talking about them. Some are more engaged than others, and some more angry than others. But people are sharing their thoughts about your brand. And I guess the sum of these people, that have your company (and/or your brand) as a social object, are the same thing as the company’s social graph, or at least the sum of the parts of their social graphs that are related or relevant to the company and/or their brand. We’re talking about the company’s employees, customers, stakeholders, and others.

Further on – if that’s the case – I do think the company can use and cultivate that kind of a social graph – with an extreme outcome. I’ll tell you why and how further down in this post. But first – let’s take it from the beginning:

We’re all human beings, right? We’re people. And people are social. We group ourselves into social networks, and talking to each other about different kind of social objects, and engage ourselves in communities.

It doesn’t matter if we’re consumers, suppliers, communicators or journalists. We all got to understand how we socialize, which is “the process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies through conversations, behaviors, practices, rituals and education”…. that “provide the individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society”.

A network is just elements connected to each other. But social network is individuals connected to each other.

And the Social Object is “the node” in these social networks. The Social Object is the reason why two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else.

And a group of individuals that have these social objects in common and share these interests with each other – are members of a community. Everyone on this planet is a member of a community, I guess?

Then Mark Zuckerberg took a part of this social environment to the web, and more or less invented the term “Social Graph” which describes the relationships between individuals online. Frankly it’s the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related.

My experiences are that companies and their marketing staff intellectually do understand the situation, and are in some sort of consideration phase, but that they are truly stressed about this “social graph” and the relationship-humbo-jumbo talk.

But if we do agree that “the sum of the people, that have your company (and/or your brand) as a social object, are the same thing as the company’s social graph, or at least the sum of the parts of their social graphs that are related or relevant to the company and/or their brand”. Then it wouldn’t be to hard for the company to benefit from this social environment. Let me give you a few examples what you as a communicator can do:

  1. Identify who’s connected to your brand.
  2. Find out if your brand is a social object (with sub subjects), and if that might have resulted in different kind of communities.
  3. Find out how these communities look like.
    1. Who are members.
    2. What exactly are they talking about.
  4. Become a member by yourself and serve the other members in these communities.
  5. Inspire those who are only connected to your brand but not talking about it, to become members and engage, the company’s employees in particular.
  6. Help these communities to grow and flourish as a whole.

I think for an example these guys (and organizations) might be connected to your brand, among many others:

  • Employees (and former employees)
  • Members of the Board
  • Owners
  • Customers (and former customers)
  • Supppliers
  • Retailers
  • Partners
  • Industry spokesmen and thought leaders
  • Industry colleagues
  • Competitors
  • Ambassadors
  • Journalists

They know your company. And they are all connected. And they all are important to you. But that doesn’t mean they are talking to each other nor with you or your staff about your brand. They might only be connected. They might be connected to your brand and talking to each other about it, but not with you and your staff. They might be connected to your brand, yourself and your staff as well, but not talking about it with anyone. Or they might be both connected to your brand, yourself and your staff, and talking about it with everyone.

These ones who are talking about your brand, have for sure different kind of needs and wants. And they probably talking about that specific angle of your brand in different kind of forum, in different sub communities.

No matter what group they belong, they all can be a member of these communities that talking about your brand.

Can your company own a such communities? Probably not. You can’t own a social object. You can’t even own your brand as a social object. They all are parts of the social environment!

But you can help an existing community to grow and flourish. Especially the ones who are connected to your brand.

You can be a proud member of the existing ones. You can invite other peoples to the existing ones. You can also set up “your own” (another) forum for an existing community to help it grow. And you can call that “your community” if you like. Just because that’s the community you’re involved in, or created a new forum for (as the owner / administrator).

But a community is boundless. Some of the members can easily pop up somewhere else, and the rest of the members will follow.

If you’re interested in this topic, please read “Your company has a social graph” as well.

Before you plan to start a community – think twice.


Funny. Or tragic? It happens all the time. Still. People is asking me to explain for them how to build a community.
Guess what? I use to answer like Mark Zuckerberg did when Rupert Murdoch asked: “How can we build such a great community like Facebook?” And Mark said: “You can’t.”

Ever since I’ve been inspired of Marks remarkable statements (and of course his work in particular). And in this case – he’s spot on. Of course you can’t.

Yesterday I got following mail from a friend – a smart guy that I do respect a lot:

“Hello!
Hope you’re doing well. I wonder if you can point me “right direction”.
I’m looking for a white paper, or person who can explain “how to think” of Facebook as a community. It’s simply about an idea involving XXX (which has a fairly significant facebook presence) and a twist on the community that I intend to try to YYY.
Any thoughts / ideas?”

I did answer:

“Hmm … sounds a bit vague to me. And I’m not sure what you mean, but I do believe that a “community” has nothing to do with the platform. A community is people who share a common cause. Who’s interested in or otherwise engaged in a common subject. Facebook is only a platform that might get communities to germinate and grow. Certainly a damn good platform. Try to catch and understand the engagement first.”

And after I’ve sent the reply, I was reminded of the blog post “Who owns community?” by Nick Tadd, that I read a year ago. I found it, and where he wrote among others things:

“You see, what I have learned from founding the Property Tribes forum, is that you cannot build a community.  Why?  Because it’s already there – you can’t build anything that was not yours in the first place. What you can do, however, is provide a platform and facilitate people using the site to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience. You can help them feel connected, you can help them feel valued, you can help them learn, you can help them feel that they “belong”, you can provide a space where they feel comfortable and among friends. Then let them run with it.  Let them make the community what they want it to be, not what you want it to be.”

He concludes his post with an conclusion:

“You cannot buy community and you cannot sell community.  If you are creating all the content yourself, and asking people to subscribe to that content, then that is a completely different business model and will not create community.  It’s also very hard work and time-consuming.”

And give us a few tips how to help people to organize themselves:

  1. Engage.
  2. Contribute.
  3. Pay attention.
  4. Let the community know they are valued.
  5. Connect people to each other.
  6. It’s about them, not you.
  7. Share.
  8. Don’t try and compete with your members.
  9. Be social.
  10. Be a friend.  Care.
  11. Don’t police or “moderate” the forum unless absolutely necessary.  The community will do that in their own way.
  12. Facilitate trust within the community.
  13. Understand that a community cannot be all things to all people.
  14. Celebrate the heroes in the community.
  15. Try and lead by example.
  16. Show respect.
  17. Believe in,  and encourage,  the wisdom of crowds.
  18. Enjoy it.
  19. Never stop trying to make it a better place for a community to organise itself – what ever your niche

So before you plan to start a community – think twice.

Facebook vs Twitter as journalistic tool?


Since I wrote the posting below partly about the brand new Facebook page “Journalists on facebook” and finished that part with the sentence: “I’m pretty sure that many journalist now will take the oppertunity to use this possiblity, to get more out of their daily work.” There’s been a lot of buzz regarding Facebook vs Twitter as a journalistic tool.

Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, says that the page has been created: “to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories. And that “the Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people.

I believe he’s spot on, but… I do respect the critics. Among other I got an e-mail from Daniel at Newsy.com who recommended me to see the video about the topic Facebook vs Twitter as a journalist tool.

The news anchor Jim Flink at Newsy, says:
“So, could Facebook challenge Twitter in the battle for reporters’ hearts? One blogger says – probably not:
“Twitter allows you to order the account you follow into lists so you can have all the information about one subject on the same feed while Facebook imposes on you the feed of every journalists you will follow, no matter the subject they are working on or they are specialized in.”

Gigom’s Mathew Ingram suggests the company might have to alter its image a bit to make this work.
“…many users still likely think of Facebook as a place to socialize rather than be informed — a place to play games … not necessarily a place where journalists are active. Those things may not be mutually exclusive, but it’s going to take some work to make them feel like they belong together.”

I do agree. But my point of view is that both services has some left to prove to be kick ass tools for journalists, and their audience in particular.

I would say that the biggest headache right now for both this services, within this matter, is that most people has only one newsstream (or wall) for all their interests, topics, networks, etc (discussion in groups excluded). And most of the people is as a matter of fact interested in several topics and member of many communities. Do you really want the latest news from the revolution in Egypt on the same wall as where my cousins birthday party shows up? I don’t. And these lists feature is too… time-consuming. The same applies for Twitter. Ranking system, like Facebook Edgerank, might make the updates more relevant, but doesn’t solve this problem.

Personally, I love my Google RSS Reader with an extensive but careful selection of sources (social networks included)  in combination with Flipboard.

B t w – what happened to the service “LinkedIn for Journalists”? What I can see is pretty much no more… Or it ended up as a tiny group.  And LinkedIn Today…? Well – we won’t start our days with that kind of news aggregator, do we?

To be continued.