In terms of media, Michael Jackson’s death revealed some interesting insights in social networks. No, it’s not that people on social networks — like Facebook, Twitter , digg, etc — broke the news to their friends. Instant sharing is at the core of social networking.
The big surprise? MySpace became a serious destination for fan outpouring. Yes, MySpace, the site that some industry experts have declared dead. Yes, MySpace, the social networking pioneer that just laid off 30% of their workforce.
The King of Pop died suddenly on June 25, setting off a firestorm of news and reaction. Post-event analysis reveals that sites like Twitter and Google were hobbled by the surge in traffic. Google thought the surge in traffic was an organized attack on their site.
SIDE QUESTIONS: If Michael Jackson’s sudden death had this effect on the Intertubes, isn’t it time for the government to review the Net’s infrastructure? What would happen in a larger global event? Could the Net handle it? And is it ironic that television (that “old media”) works just fine during major surges? Debate, discuss.
Back to MySpace
As news raged, something weird happened at MySpace. People started to “friend” Michael Jackson’s MySpace Page at an astonishing rate. MediaWeek reported that “the official Michael Jackson MySpace profile was adding 100 new friends per minute.” Um, wow!
As of this writing, Jackson’s MySpace page has 567 thousand friends. That’s a lot of friends for a “dead” network.
And while Facebook is the current kind of social networks, MySpace is still considered the social network place for discovering music. MediaWeek also reported that “MySpace Music was streaming an average of 100,000 songs every ten minutes in the hours after Jackson’s death.”
It’s frustrating thing that they don’t offer a comparison. That is, how many friends was Michael Jackson getting per day before his death? Don’t know. And how many songs were they streaming every ten minutes before his death? Again, don’t know, so it’s hard to give a good comparison.
Post Mortem Suprises
Michael Jackson’s surprise death revealed a lot about the way people use the web and social networks. Based on the follow-up coverage, it’s clear that this Internet-thingy still holds a few surprises for us.
Yes, Facebook continues to be THE social networking juggernaut. But we knew that already.
The biggest surprise for many of the “experts” out there? MySpace isn’t dead.
Last weekend I went to the Book Expo of America 2009 in New York City. It’s a show that comes around every three years, so it’s not one that I want to miss. As the author of several books (and hopefully more in the future!), I attend the shows to network and connect with publishers.
Since last show, however, we’ve seen the launch of ebook readers, including the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. Many publishers offered ebook versions of new releases, which seemed to draw little attention from media reporting on the event. And yet, neither Sony nor Amazon nor Google (which is now selling ebooks!) had any significant presence at the Expo, which is more or less a professional trade show.
As an author, I would have liked to have seen at least Sony and Amazon at the convention with big informational booths. Y’know, preaching the digital gospel and stuff. I even brought my Kindle with me, just in case Amazon was giving away free sample books or whatever. Sadly, there was nothing there but a little standing kiosk. Nothin’ fun for us early adopters.
Side note: One of the convention organizers said that the word “BEA” was one of the most Twittered words in the country that weekend. That’s kind of cool. And there were several digital-focused panels, including a couple on blogging and Twittering, which was interesting to see.
Despite the ups and downs of the recession, the show still seemed vibrant and alive. It felt a little less crowded than in previous years, but there were still a lot of publishers and interesting exhibitors. It’s a brightly lit Candyland of fun for people who love books. You can’t actually buy anything at Book Expo, but you can certainly plan some of things you’d like to see under the Christmas tree this year.
And, yes, a little reassurance that (despite the digital revolution) there are still people out there who plan to buy books. At least for a little while.
LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS
As Twitter has grown in popularity, questions about how, why, and when to use it have skyrocketed. In advertising/marketing agencies, there is a responsibility (and pressure) to use new technology for branding.
According to Nielsen, Twitter is growing really, really, really, really fast. So, if you’re a marketer, you’re probably trying to figure out how to grab the tail of this comet.
For starters, you need to have something to say. I’m not kidding here. If you have nothing to say on a regular basis, don’t try to jump into the conversation.
Twitter is all about content. Messages, words, and insights. It’s fast, short, and fresh. If you or your brand doesn’t have something to share daily, you may want to sit out the Twitter craze. (Then again, most brands and categories have SOME industry news, so talk to your staff writer about info opportunities.)
Twitter content is legendarily short. Each message can run as long as 140 characters. Yes, you read that right, Tweets (a cute name for a Twitter post) are only 140 characters or less, including spaces, URLs, and line breaks.
(That paragraph actually ran 187 characters. Too much for a Tweet!)
There are plenty of tips and tricks for working within the constraints, community, and technology supporting Twitter. It’s a fun challenge for marketers, especially as the new opinion leaders begin to carve out their turf in this brave new technical world.
Future blogs will touch on how to leverage Twitter and some good examples of people who self promote using this “micro blogging” technology.
In the meantime, check out how I use my Twitter account to share ideas about content, marketing and technology at Marketing Buddy.
As a marketer, you have to get out there sometimes and interact at events. I was fortunate to be invited to be a faculty speaker at ExL Pharma’s “The 3rd Pharmaceutical Search Engine Marketing Strategies Conference: Best Practices for Integrating SEM into a New Media Mix.” The conference was held in Princeton, NJ, which is a really inspiring location.
This was a smaller, more intimate conference, which was nice because you really got to engage with the speakers. In a larger room, you can sometimes get overlooked in the conversation. But here, we could really ask questions, get involved, and interact.
During my part of the conference, I discussed interactive content and how it affects search engine optimization and some of the latest SEO techniques. Of course, it was a pharma marketing discussion, so everything I presented was customized to the needs of the audience.
Here’s the actual description of what they had me present:
Demonstrating What Skills are Essential for Building a User-Friendly, Search-Friendly, and Persuasive Site
- How To bring consumers to your site and convert them into customers
- Significant changes/shifts in SEM for Pharma over the past 12 months: What is new right now?
- Competitive SEM research: Search engine marketing does not occur in a vacuum of just your company. Learn what competitive data is out there and how to best leverage the information prior to launching your campaign or to optimize on an existing campaign
During my presentation, I really tried to engage the audience and invited them to participate. I used one of the core decks our agency uses to pitch new SEM business, but modified to to be more educational and less sales oriented. It was a good deal more colorful with larger pictures and fewer words.
There were several really impressive SEM/SEO presentations over those two days. And even though I do this full time, I found myself discovering new techniques and perspectives that helped me improve at my job. That alone was worth the price of admission.
Plus, it was really interesting to see how several micro-bloggers used Twitter to cover the convention for people who could not attend.
I need to offer special thanks to Jason Youner and Shawn O’Hagan for inviting me to participate at their event.
Here’s my bio from the ExL Pharma event. Kind of cool to be called “faculty.” I like that. Makes me wish I had gotten an MBA or something so I could teach at the college level.
As interesting new web technologies become available, I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites I need to visit….just to keep them fresh. (There are some feeds and whatnot to streamline these services, but that just becomes another site to visit.)
Recently, I’ve been trying to leverage these services by incorporating features into my personal website. As web technologies pendulate toward the middle, I am one step closer to converging on convergence.
My goal is to make my personal website a little more compelling for people who come to check it out.
- I also added a Facebook “badge” to my homepage. It’s really basic, but it looks kind of nice.
- Then I synched my Facebook with my Twitter. Sort of sounds dirty, doesn’t it? Anyway, now, when I post to Twitter, it automatically feeds into my Facebook “current status.” Nice.
You can check out my handiwork at: http://www.buddyscalera.com. Feel free to look at the code and see how it’s done. Very simple and easy to do, even for an HTML novice.
Eventually this blog will probably migrate over to my website too. I really like blogging here on WordPress, but I get frustrated when I can’t control my widgets or outbound links better. So, we’ll see.
Now, I am off to find new convergence tricks.
According to Wired magazine, blogging is dead. Sad that the venerable blog post…which broke down barriers of publishing…may be on the way out.
In some ways, it’s true. Blogging was amazingly democratic. Anyone could be a published author, just by posting a blog. For a little while, media giants reacted to the voices of regular people, some of whom became self-appointed experts.
Over the last two years, though, the media caught up. Many top blogs are part of the established media network. Professional journalists and media channels are using blogs to attract, well, us. Now, that democratic blog landscape is being claimed by mainstream media, decreasing the ability of regular people to become key opinion leaders.
Part of the problem is that the blog post…usually pretty short…is just too long. Our attention span is waning to the point that a few paragraphs is too much mental lifting. See Me Read Book.
The predicted replacement? Twitter.
So, if I seem a little long winded to you, check out my Twitter account at http://twitter.com/BuddyWeb
Twitter posts (called Tweets) are limited to 140 characters. That’s about the length of one long sentence. For me, that’s usually two punchy, short sentences.
So, if you like someone’s writing, you can subscribe to their Twitter. Their random thoughts can be posted to Twitter. In best cases, Twitter posts are sharp, interesting, or funny observations. In worst, it’s agonizingly dull people sharing their banal lives.
And, as marketers see this shift, they are discovering new and interesting ways of leveraging the Twitter channel. Or at least as much marketing as you can do in 140 characters.
All hail the short attention span. Just do it quickly because we tend to bore easily!