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    Entries in Social Media (34)


    Maybe you're spending too much time on Twitter

    Recently Twitter made available to all users of the service its advanced analytics tools that show interesting statistics around impressions, (how many people actually saw a tweet), engagement, (replies, favorites, retweets), and trends over time on these metrics.

    To check it out for your own tweets, just sign in to Twitter then click on http://analytics.twitter.com/

    Below is a screen capture of the top part of my Twitter analytics review from this morning, take a look and then a few comments from me after the image:

    Apologies if it is a little hard to read, but the couple of points I wanted to call out from observing my own data and that might be applicable to you are not really dependent on the precise data points anyway.

    Point 1 - Hardly anyone sees the average Tweet. As of this week I have about 25.4K followers, give or take a few. The average impressions, (people that actually SEE my wonderful Tweets), ranges between about 500 on the low end and 1,200 on the high end. So if you do the math, that means only about 2% - 3.5% of my followers even see the average Tweet. Of course, I have little idea which of my followers these are, but that is a separate point.

    Point 2 - Of the people that actually see my Tweets, about 1% of that group actually "engages" with the update - (replies, RTs, favorites, link clicks, etc.), resulting in an engagement level, when compared to the overall number of followers I have, is almost akin to me simply shouting my status updates and pithy tweets out of the window. Maybe 1 in 10 of my Tweets have 0 engagements, meaning no one replied or clicked or favorited, etc. That is the tweet falling in the woods and having no one there to hear it scenario.

    Point 3 - I think we all, me included, need to keep Twitter, (and every other social network probably), in perspective as to its true reach, value, and the imprimatur it foists on those who have seemed to "figure it out". I have way more followers than the average Twitter user. But I am not sure that really means all that much when looking at some of this data. And I am not even talking about the folks who have bought followers or somehow gamed the system in other ways. That is another story totally.

    I guess my final point is that I and everyone else needs to keep data like this in mind and not just when thinking about Twitter or social networking in general. It is really more about figuring out where and how to spend your time and effort such that you are getting closer to whatever it is you are chasing. And if Twitter is a part of that strategy for you, then you definitely ought to dig in to your analytics and get behind the data.

    What do you think, have you checked out your Twitter analytics? Are my numbers representative or am I just bad at Twitter?


    Three quick takes on the Facebook mood manipulation study

    By now you have certainly heard or read about Facebook's 2012 study in which researchers altered the messages and posts presented in about 700,000 users' newsfeeds in order to determine if seeing relatively more negatively or positively connotative posts would in fact make the user him or herself tend to post more negative or positive posts than they might otherwise.

    Turns out, that yes, seeing more positive or happy kinds of posts led users to post (to a small degree), more positive and happy updates themselves, while the inverse, with more negative posts in the feeds led to more negative updates than would have been expected.

    Here is a quote from the research paper that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    “When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”

    This study became news not so much for the findings themselves, (which seem kind of obvious), but for the expected and now kind of tired internet rage that accompanies every questionable move Facebook makes around privacy or related matters. How dare they manipulate the emotions and possibly the mental well-being of so many of its users in the name of a (kind of dopey) experiment? That kind of thing.

    So since I  A: Don't really use or care that much about Facebook to be emotionally invested in this, and B:  Need something other than the NBA or HR Tech to blog about occasionally, here are my (FREE) three quick takes on what this entire 'Facebook is using us for lab mice' kerfluffle should mean to you:

    1. You have been a lab mouse for years, you just like to forget this (or don't care). The instant Facebook began to tailor or select on your behalf the updates and posts it decided to display for you, (as opposed to a simple reverse chronological feed of all the updates from your friends and the pages you follow), you became a part of their little devious laboratory. In fact, you likely have no idea why Facebook shows you what it does, you just kind of accept it and move on. You miss probably hundreds of updates every week because Facebook has decided not to show them to you. You are already a mouse in their maze. 

    2. The business of Facebook is selling ads. The 'emotion' study, the hiding or promoting of items in your feed, the insane amount of times Facebook asks you for more information about you and your life are all for one (ultimate) purpose only - to better target you with 'relevant' ads. The more that FB can do to understand you, the longer it can keep you engaged and using the site, the more it can learn about you. And the more it knows about you the more about you it can package and sell to GM and Clorox and Microsoft. You get angry at FB for this little experiment because you have not yet made the leap to seeing them for what they are - a giant, publicly traded corporation that has to make its numbers every quarter. 

    3. You (probably) care too much about Facebook for this to matter to you. If this emotion study and the dozen other times FB has played fast and loose with privacy in the last few years really bothered you that much, you would simply opt out. But I bet 99% of the people that are reading this post have an active FB account. I do too. It doesn't mean that I agree with what they like to do with our data, but it also means that for whatever reason we keep giving them the benefit of the doubt, while silently acceding to their experiments and whims. We have allowed FB to become so important to our family lives or our businesses that we simply keep taking (and giving) whatever new change/experiment they care to dish out. I read 10 articles today expressing various levels of outrage over these 2012 experiments. I have not yet heard of anyone I know deleting their FB account.

    If you don't like the rules, then you have to start your own game, in your own sandbox. Until then... 

    Ok, I'm out. Be sure to 'like' this on Facebook. Maybe Marky Z. will make sure other happy people see that you did.


    Reactions to notifications from various social networking sites 

    In no particular order of importance (and likely no overall importance whatsoever)

    "Person you don't know wants to be your friend on Facebook"

    "Who?" followed shortly by "Why?" followed shortly by "I really dislike Facebook already, I can't see how this will make it better." (Aside - Facebook is one of the few services that gets worse the more you use it. )

    "Person you don't know has just followed you on Twitter"

    "   "

    "Person you know has sent you a Direct Message on Twitter"

    "Please send me an email. I don't need another 'Inbox' to have to ignore."

    "Person ABC has mentioned you in their 'Follow Friday' tweet"

    "I remember 2008 too."

    "Person you don't know would like to add you to their professional network on LinkedIn"

    "Yes" followed shortly by "Please don't send me any LinkedIn messages. I don't need another 'Inbox' I have to ignore."

    "Person ABC is now following you on Quora."

    "Oh yeah, Quora. I should really try and attempt to answer a question on there someday.... Nah."

    "Person ABC has added you to their Google+ Circles."

    "People are still doing that? Huh."

    "Steve - here are some Pinterest boards we think you will like!"

    "Pinterest - it is pretty clear you don't know a thing about me."

    "Person ABC started following you on Instagram."

    "Be prepared to be consistently bored."

    "Person ABC wants to be your friend on Foursquare."

    "There are about three people that need to know where I am at any given time. You are not one of them." also "You will come to learn that I go to bagel shops a lot."

    "Person ABC favorited you page on About.me"

    "Now come on. About.me? Really? I am embarrassed to even have an About.me page."

    It does all seem a little silly sometimes, doesn't it?

    Happy Tuesday.


    You don't have to social network to make it

    Cleaning out some old 'saved for later' items in my RSS reader over the weekend and I re-visited this gem from Bob Lefsetz, 36 Things We've Learned which ran a few weeks back on the Big Picture site. 

    In the piece, which is simply a series of observations about the modern music industry (but certainly could be relevant to any number of fields of endeavor, particularly ones that have undergone significant change and disruption from technology, social networks, or other external influences), Lefsetz shares this 'learning' regarding social networking, which is below:

    22. You don’t have to social network to make it.

    You’ve just got to do great work, constantly.

    An interesting observation at least, if not a true 'learning.' But one that at least made me think for a little while. In our little corner of the world, the Human Resources/Talent Management space, it seems like lots of people, many of whom I know and respect quite a bit, the 'early social tech adopters' have spent lots of time and energy and pixels exhorting the 'rest' of the profession to get on board with social technology and social networking in a professional context.

    Still in late 2013 I see folks giving presentations and talks aimed at mainstream HR professionals and designed on 'selling' the benefits and importance of social networking for these HR/Talent pros. These kinds of sessions usually take the position of trying to convince the slow adopters or disbelievers that they have to get on board, or risk getting passed by or marginalized.

    But I wonder, or at least I ask you to wonder for a moment, if that advice is actually true, or at least mostly true. What if Lefsetz is right, and doing great work is really what is needed and that trumps the need or desire to simply 'network' more, (social or otherwise).

    The last CHRO I worked for (at a publicly traded company with 5,000 employees), achieved that lofty position in 2011 or so without having so much as a LinkedIn account, much less a professional blog, active Twitter feed sharing the latest from Harvard Business Review or a leading or even participating in one of the daily Tweet chats on HR and Talent topics. 

    But she did great work. Had great mentors. Built a great and loyal team. Earned the respect and trust of the rest of the C-suite.

    Spent the time doing great work and not worried at all about social networking.

    Or to take a slightly different take on the issue, just ask yourself this question today - is that hot article or blog post being shared all over social media today really any good? Does it really have any non-obvious important insights? 

    Or is it just being tweeted a lot?

    Happy Monday. Look out above your head in case an Amazon drone is buzzing.


    You're not just the product, you're the (unpaid) employee too

    With the rise and subsequent IPOs or gigantic acquisitions of the largest social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, an often-repeated observation about the users, (and source of content/value) for these platforms has been, 'You're not the customer, you're the product.'

    The idea in the sentiment is simple - the end users of these social networks create all the content via status updates, photos, or in the case of LinkedIn, a catalog of all your professional credentials, and the owners of the networks then package, parse, and sell this information to (variously), advertisers, 'power users', or other services. And as long as the individual value equation for consumers/users remains in balance, i.e. you feel like you are extracting more value out of say using Facebook than your perceived cost of allowing Facebook to sell ad space that shows up in your feed every time you open the app, then you happily will continue to use the service, supply more content/inventory, and keep the machine running.

    Remember, you are not the customer, you are the product.

    But if you are the product, or more accurately, you are an active contributor to building the product, then would it be too far a stretch to say that you are also the employee?

    Take a quick look at this piece on Business Insider about a recent case being raised by some power users of the review site Yelp, that derives all of it's value from the end user comments, ratings, and reviews of restaurants and bars.

    A group of reviewers recently filed a class action lawsuit against Yelp, claiming that the company should treat them like employees and pay them for their reviews.

    The suit argues that since Yelp's business model and success is dependent on its over 42 million user-submitted reviews, the company technically employs those users and should fork over some cash (wages, reimbursement of expenditures, and damages). The plaintiffs believe that willfully volunteering to share their thoughts about a business makes them employees because Yelp can only make money if it has their reviews.

    Yelp, which went public in 2012, told Circa that the case is a "textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit" and said that the law does not support the idea that voluntarily using a free service equates to an employment relationship.

    Sounds kind of crazy, right?

    I mean, Yelp or LinkedIn or Facebook does not force you to create content for them or to have a profile on their networks.

    There really is no hint of an employment agreement or relationship that is established between any of these services and their users. So it does seem on the surface anyway, that the Yelp user's lawsuit doesn't have much merit.

    But if we seem to pretty easily accept the entire notion of 'You are not the customer, you are the product', then why doesn't it make logical sense to take it to the next step, in that you as one of the millions of builders of at least an element of that product should not be compensated somehow?

    Every time I get an email from LinkedIn pitching me to upgrade to one of their premium, paid accounts of some kind, I have the same reaction (I say this out loud too, although no one seems to listen) :

    "Pay for a LinkedIn account? They should be paying me."

    And they should be paying you too.