Blog Archives

Thoughts on Online Influence: Social Media

Am not sure if you saw this, but I was named one of the 25 HR Digital Influencers of 2010.

Now that could be hilarious.

It’s important to remember that influence/popularity/power in the digital world is totally different from the real world.

The issue is that the online world enables one to measure a lot of things – like impressions, number of readers, followers, fans across various platforms – which are collectively called “engagement metrics” because they show the number of people interested in the content you put out and the community that you help build.

On top of that there are things like PageRank by Google, Alexa Rank which show over a period the number of people who link to you and hence the “authority” you have.

It’s no wonder that there are enough services and information providers that slide and dice this data to enable people to make sense of these numbers.

Earlier there were directories like Technorati.

Then there came lists like the Career 100 – which combined data to rank blogs roughly in the same domain.

However with the rise of social and information and professional networks – and movement of the focus from pure content to the people behind the content – services that track “influence” based on Twitter numbers, Facebook fans, and Linkedin connections rapidly are making strides.

The demand is being driven – primarily in the western world – by companies who believe that “social influencer marketing” is the way to reach out to an increasingly splintered audience across these networks.

Enter services like Klout (my profile here) and About.me (my profile here) which want to enable people and others track their “reach” and “audience”

Then there is traackr which use algorithms

However, it’s early days yet and these systems can be easily gamed.

Let’s see how it evolves in the future

Why Twitter still beats Facebook

So Facebook (my page) has acquired Friendfeed (my profile) and most people are saying Twitter should be quaking in their boots.

I agree Twitter (my account) has cause for concern. Facebook after opening its search functionality to status updates – as well as the new Facebook Lite version are worrying signs for Twitter.

But here are the reasons I think Twitter can still outsmart Facebook.

  1. All said and done facebook is the place for personal and social relationships. It’s where people connect one on one. And unlike the social media mavens – most people have a small network and use it to connect with old friends. Most people don’t “follow” pages of products and brands. That is not the case in Twitter, where you can follow people without the awkward notion of virtual friending.
  2. Twitter is malleable enough for conversations or broadcasts – and while people suggest you should be conversational, brands can use it as a broadcast medium if they are smart.
  3. Twitter’s API and ease of use via the cell phone is great for people who are increasingly spending time on the mobile web. And I suspect Facebook Lite is a method to get to those users. Will we see a spurt of dabr and slandr services for facebook? Let’s wait and watch. Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop however have integrated Facebook updates into them
  4. People aren’t “retweeting” stuff on Facebook status updates – you can’t @ and reply to status updates and while links are shared they don’t have the collective wisdom that is evident on twitter.
  5. Apps get in the way. Every day I have to ignore numeous apps on Facebook to really uncover what my friends are sharing. Earlier apps were fun. Now they are killing facebook. Will Lite do away with apps? Don’t know. But more and more Lite is sounding like a not so great version of Twitter.
  6. I had a Twitter account much later than a facebook account. But I have more Twitter followers than Facebook friends. The folks on Twitter are better and more savvy in social media – if I have to brainstorm and talk of new ideas I’ll go to twitter.

The new Facebook page

Got the username for my facebook page (one needs to have 100 fans or more) finally.

So now we can connect on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HR.Blogger

The facebook page has a feed of both my blogs being updated as well as interesting blog posts by other bloggers that I share on Google Reader

What are some of the other way we can use the page? Any idea?

The 3 vertices of your social media presence

If you are looking at branding your strengths, competencies, skills and talents in these times of economic slowdown here are the three vertices on which your personal branding strategy has to rest:

 

1. Blogging: The fact that you are reading this means you get it. However, mere hobby or political or movie blogging (unless you plan to make a career in anything related to politics/movies) is not going to help. Even in India people are getting googled for the traces of their digital past. So blog about your professional passions.

Love to write code? Blog about the cool stuff you’re doing – but be careful not to reveal any company secrets.

Love to sell ? Blog about the latest sales method you employed and how it’s benefiting you.

Blogging as a cornerstone is useful in skills which can be showcased. Linking to news items or commenting your opinion is not enough. Your thinking and skills should be able to come through on your blog.

Love painting? Photography? Then you probably need to use flickr as a blog.

Respond to comments. Write passionately. Keep a deadline for yourself. Connect with other bloggers in your niche and build a community that grows. Participate in the blogging community events. Like this.

2. Social Networks: Depending on who you’re trying to reach out you could try to brand yourself on social networks like Orkut and Facebook. However, you could also choose to keep yourself private. However, if like me you choose to use social networks like a platform, then you’ve got to make sure you take every step by thinking about it – twice! You could also use a page on Facebook to brand yourself. Profiles on Facebook and Linkedin – are searchable by Google. Here are ten ways to use Linkedin (via the Linkedin Blog)

3. Twitter: Slowly but surely Twitter in India is becoming as much a way to increase one’s reach and connect with other passionate people. In a way twitter enables me to connect with people on a more personal level than a blog and have a mix of personal and professional conversations.

Try not to spam people on twitter, so things like Twitterfeed (which publishes my blogs’ feeds) are posted through a different twitter account. There are a lot of bloggers outside my niche with whom I would never have connected if it wasn’t for twitter.

According to my experience Microblogging services like Twitter help one build a breadth of networks while blogging help people build a greater depth in network. Or maybe that’s simplistic. The truth is somewhere in-between.

Twitter also has helped me shorten my earlier long winded statements – 140 characters only forces you to edit yourself ruthlessly.

Importing blog posts to Facebook notes

[tweetmeme source=”gautamghosh”]

If you are a blogger and are also active on Facebookyou can set up your blog posts to be automatically updated on your Facebook profile as your notes.

To set it up just go to http://www.facebook.com/editnotes.php?import and set up your blog feed to be imported.

Easy, huh?