Author Archive

Fluffy Links – Wednesday May 21st 2008

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

New blogs Certain People and Positive Boredom.

How steroids will give you the body you want and quickly. But take your balls, nips and hair.

Reflections of, the way we used to be. Spying using teapot reflections. Like.

Oprah makes great use of Skype.

Gordon Brown answers questions on his YouTube Channel. Will Brian Cowen get a channel? Sexiest Politician in Ireland Eamon Ryan has one already. But then he would because the last sentence says so.

Some nice tunes.

Check out Paul Graham’s argument pyramid.

The top secret Google Zeitgeist Europe event was on yesterday in the UK, here are the videos.

Velvet Underground – Venus in Furs

Eamon Ryan TV – The Youtube Channel

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

A selection. Interesting screen caps. What’s the Sexiest Irish Politician (the Facebooks don’t lie) talking about would ya think, just from the screen caps? Yes Minister Ryan has a YouTube Channel and I think it’s a great idea. I think it would really rock if he answered other YouTuber questions on it too. Even some of the tougher ones.

Internet Marketing – Measuring your Facebook campaign

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

It seems the experts that were at the IIA Congress last week didn’t know how to measure the success of a campaign inside Social Networks. Well here you go folks. For those that are hiring an Internet Marketing company in Ireland to do some social network marketing stuff and they don’t offer stats from the below methods then maybe you hired one of the many cowboy operations that slither around this area.

There are various elements in this and it all depends on which ones were incorporated into your campaign.

Check your website stats:

While Facebook is a walled garden and you can’t see inside it without logging in, they still send a lot of traffic out to websites. If you have set up a Facebook Profile, a Page, a Group or run Facebook “Social Ads” then they can all send users from Facebook to you. In addition so can anyone else in Twitter if they’re talking about you. For a marketing campaign you should have special website addresses tailored for the campaign so you know only your campaign elements are sending that traffic to your site. Google Analytics or any of the clones will allow you to measure incoming traffic from Facebook and you can tell if they are coming from profiles, ads, pages or groups.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Lexicon allows you to see what Facebook users have been discussing. It’s a keyword trend program that doesn’t show the number of times a keyword is mentioned but the number of people who mentioned the keyword one or more times over a certain period of time. More details on Facebook Lexicon here. For companies you can get an estimate of the number of times your brand or product is mentioned. Ideal to see are there jumps around the time you start a campaign. You can also compare up to five different keywords at the same time. But there’s a big but, it doesn’t give raw numbers so it’s just a rough estimate but it’s still good. Maybe you can purchase them from them though? Big marketing companies would probably pay for that.

Facebook Lexicon

Facebook Pages

I recently created a Facebook “Page” which is very much like a profile but for a company, brand, product. Instead of friending this Page, you “Fan” it. The Page was called “Gnéas” as a joke. When you become a fan, your friends also see you’ve become a fan of it as it shows up in their news feed. So a few people saw “Damien is a fan of Gnéas” and the viral element would have encouraged others to join too. The stats that are provided to Page owners are fairly good.

This is the Insights Control Panel (Everyone calls the stats Insights these days):
Facebook Stats

This is a graph of sign-up activity:
Facebook Stats

Some demographics of the Fans:
Facebook Stats

Facebook Social Ads

Read this Blog Post on how to run Social Ads. Like Pages there’s a whole section on statistics for your ads.

This is the Ads control panel. Note that the ads for the Gnéas page got canned because the Facebook prudes deemed the ads inappropriate:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Here’s how you can export all your data to Excel and add more calculations:
Facebook Ad Measurement

Facebook Apps

Many marketing campaigns will include the creation of special applications to get people to learn more about your brand/product. If you have an application created, Facebook will give you a whole load of information about installations and usage. Who, what, where, when etc. Data once again can be exported and presented to you.
Facebook App Measurement

Messy Measuring – Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups can be created by anyone and some do well and some stagnate. It takes a lot of work to keep activity going and Facebook really prefers if you use Facebook Pages to do marketing. They supply nice stat tools as mentioned above for Facebook Pages but nothing at all for Groups unless you pay a considerable sum for a sponsored Group. But you can manually check your group and measure it. Measuring it is a case of seeing how many have signed up for the Group and what the activity is like. So for example, the Bertie, Take Enda With You group:
Facebook Groups

You can see how many members there are. Then you can see what kind of activity is happening by counting the number of discussions, photos and videos that have started/ were added.
Facebook Groups

And you can also look at the Wall activity.
Facebook Groups

As I said, nothing that’s automated and more work but still data that’s valuable. Other measurements to take into account are the number of people that respond to messages that you send to the whole Group. See what the response rate is like. Don’t be surprised if it’s very very low.

I hope this was useful. Shall I do one on Bebo next?

Fluffy Links – Tuesday May 20th 2008

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Yes that was me on Prime Time last night. I blogged about Bebo and YouTube yesterday if you want my complete thoughts on it, not just some.

Primal Sneeze takes to task.

Some nice .ie domains that have not been renewed. Plus Blacknight have a .ie domain sale now on too.

Keith took some great notes at a recent conference on subscriptions. Cog from his blog.

it@Cork have a nice Web 2.0 intro class on next Tuesday. I’m not just saying that because I’m on a bajillion subcommittees at it@Cork

Spaces still available for the Galway Business Blogging Course. Same for the Waterford one.

50 more tickets are going to be released for Interesting 08.

Buckminster Fuller used Twitter, kinda.

Flying penises, once just seen in Second Life are now being seen in real life. It’s all very Matrix-like with stuff from one world seeping into the other.

Fantastic presentation from the Adaptive Path people at Google:

Duran Duran – Ordinary World

Google Health: Now we know that rash wasn’t from poison ivy

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Google Health is live. It’s US only but I was able to get in. Terms and Conditions. I’ve written before about Microsoft’s HealthVault and I stand by it. These services are good and if the data they collect can get us better medical advice, better and cheaper consultants and screw over Irish medical consultants. WOO. But I also want a cut on the money that Google makes from this data. As I said before about Microsoft but it equally applies here:

If we can move our money from a money bank, why not move our health data to a health bank? I’m sure HealthVault and the clones will add more features over time to negotiate discounts on tablets and meds for you and everything else that uses the service, naturally with Microsoft getting a cut too. And just like a bank, we should be able to make money from what we store in it. Microsoft will make money from the data from charging access (by charging for the applications that access it) and also from those discounts for what you get, as well as ads when you do medical searches via the site. Why should Microsoft or whoever make all the money? It’s our data they are profiting from, share the wealth guys.

Looking at the service itself:
You can already import your medical records from a host of places, mostly clinics right now but still. Impressive.

Here are some screenshots.

Google Health

Google Health

But do you trust Google? Now think about all that data and the fact that they WILL in the future integrate with the 23AndMe DNA analysis company they’re investors in, you comfortable with all your email, chat conversations, word documents, medical records and DNA all controlled by one group? There are many secret laws in the U.S. since before and after 9/11, how do you know Google isn’t complying with one?

There’s also the dervied data that Google has you on you. I wrote about this before too.

More from Google Blogoscoped:

Google continues to ask for your agreement for Google to pass on information about you to entities and individuals you define. As examples, Google lists sensitive information related to e.g. sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, alcohol abuse, genetic diseases and more.

Google in the Q&A later on explains that they may share aggregate, anonymous information from their Google Health records (a statistic like “10% of users with diabetes got a flu shot”).

Hmmm. I’ll wait another while just yet thanks.

Can you Digg this? – A Nokia charger cost Vodafone Ireland over 1700 quid

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I think this is worth DIGGing. Frank wasn’t allowed collect his phone from repair until he returned the crappy spare they gave him AND the charger. He forgot to bring the charger back with him.

After arguing with the store manager she refused to trust him to return the charger if she handed back his phone first. She didn’t care that he spent over 200 quid a month with Vodafone. Over a charger than doesn’t even work on the latest Nokia phones. So they lost a golden customer.

Here’s the DIGG post

This is a picture of a donkey:
wild mule
Photo owned by lexdenn (cc)

So you’d let your kids play in an unsupervised playground?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

There’s been a good bit of talk again of late about Bebo and Facebook and YouTube and the good and evil that happens in and around them.

I’m a proponent of social networks and think like most technologies that they’re a very positive thing but anything that enhances one aspect of humanity can enhance the good or the bad.

Social networks in the Irish context sprung up overnight and became the defacto place to hang online for teenagers and those in their early twenties. This still holds true. It was a new place and a new way of interacting. Our current daily social norms have taken 100s if not 1000s of years to form, Bebo is a new world where these norms are being worked out as we speak by those inside it and those outside must be baffled and scared when maybe they should be bringing their wisdom and experiences into it to share and guide people.

Zoned out on code
Photo owned by ToastyKen (cc)

The good:

Relationships are accentuated with social networks. They’re good people management tools. We can store details of dozens and hundreds of friends and acquaintances. The mobile phone allowed us to store hundreds of numbers on our phone that we’d never remember without a physical address book. The social network expands on that. Our friends can update us by just changing their status on Facebook or upload pics of their holidays to Bebo and everyone they’re connected to get informed of this and can look at the pictures. The daysof sending 15 postcards to people is over. A facebook update takes care of it all. Social networks also reconnect us with old friends, friends who we’d never remain in contact with because of Geography. Families scattered around the world can stay connected and informed via social networks. I often chat to old college friends in America and New Zealand. Because of the ability to stay connected over a lifetime and over continents, our friends lists are much larger than before. The Dunbar number with the idea we can only maintain a certain amount of quality relationships with people has been inflated hugely now. I firmly believe humanity is becoming far more friendly because of these technologies.

Photo owned by Annie Mole (cc)

The bad:

With this new Big Brother and American Idol nasty culture, everyone seems to want to be nastier than Simon Cowell and on social networks, blogs and YouTube you see some people trying to outdo each other on how can be most vitriolic. In a normal social situation people like this would be rebuked but online that doesn’t seem to happen. Given the positive reinforcement from mainstream TV shows, it’s only encouarging people to explore their hyper-critical sides. I’m reminded of a free class in school that gets rowdier and rowdier as time goes on and gets calmed down with the teacher next door coming in or the free class ending when the next class starts. Imagine this rowdy class going on forever. Not good.

There does not appear to be much supervision on these sites of the kids. Playgrounds do not necessarily have supervisors but they are within reach of homes and people doing about their business in estates. Sites like Bebo, Facebook and YouTube have report abuse functions and they seem to be working hard at making them better but it’s not that you need adults going “stop that” but you do need people going “Do you not think that? How about?”.

Choose your poison
Photo owned by szlea (cc)

The utterly horrible:

Things can go out of control quite quickly. Like real life there’s bullying and harassment though it can be controlled slightly as you can lock down a profile and deny the bullies access to leaving comments. Like Lord of the flies though, kids without adult guidance could take things down a wrong path and keep going and going and going. Bullies in real life are recording their attacks (what is it with bullies and dictators being some of the earliest adopters of tech?) which rang from tauting, to violence and beatings and uploading them to YouTube and Bebo and distributing these videos amongst their peers. The videos get taken down eventually or sometimes rapidly after complaints but pop up again in new videos that get around the blocking software. The bullies build shrines to their attacks like the way some serial killers takes momentos of their murders. You have terrorist groups doling out punishment beatings to people or covering people in paint as a visual method of ascerting their authority and this tar and feathering is now happening online too. But it’s accentuated. A network of 1000 kids can see a video within hours wheras word of mouth is a lot lot slower than that.

So what can be done?

Don’t ban Bebo or social networks. Parents should learn how to use social networks and take part in them and see where their kids are playing these days. They should be able to dive in and out now and then but without excessively spying on their kids but parents should have the ability to make sure everything is ok. Same goes for teachers. Demanding access to their profile though, I’m not so sure. I do wonder whether the report abuse functions should be better too. Were I Bebo I’d consider the Community model where the community looks after each other with voluntary moderators ensuring smooth sailing. Perhaps if you are under 16 for example you’re profile is always connected to an identified counsellor or team of counsellors who can give advice.

The services do have age restrictions but it’s not like they ask you to prove your age so 8 year olds can just like and say they’re 15 and they’re on Bebo. YouTube is 16 and over, Facebook and Bebo are 13 and over, in line with US data protection laws and MySpace is 14 and over.

The worst thing a parent can possibly do is believe the hype that only bad things happen on these sites and they need to slam them without ever understanding them and I fear that’s what is happening again and again.

A big thank you to Josie Fraser for her advice and thoughts on this area. Here’s a great overview to Cyberbullying and how to deal with it. RTE 1’s Prime Time programme is doing a piece on Cyber Bullying tonight at 2130. It might be worth watching.

Seesmic Video comments – A spammers delight?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

By the way, given Loic‘s passion and ability to market his products I have no doubt that Seesmic itself will be a success. Not many startups can get Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and the man that ruined the Star Wars legend to use their service to promote their movies and Seesmic also keeps trying new things too while the other videoblogging services just seem to wallow. So Seesmic itself will do well and make money for their investors and employees but I think this video comment aspect is not a good development.

You may have seen a few blogs of late allowing people to leave video comments in the comments section. That’s due to not very reliable flash based video blogging service Seesmic. I tried using it a few months back and was less than impressed. Totally flakey and bug ridden and it crashed Firefox. It’s improved an awful lot and I think Loic the founder and the team understand blogs and social networks more than most in that area. But leaving a video comment instead of a string of text? Not good for SEO, not good for people that scan through comments. Video comments make blog posts less usable, not more usable. Just like podcasts as a means of getting around typing make the web worse, not better. Too many lazy people and those who love the sound of their own voice are using podcasts and videos to produce content which would be better in text form.

Instead of quickly scanning through comments and finding interesting links that those leaving comments might provide, now you have to click 17 individual videos and watch people feed their egos when they leave comments. Joy oh joy.

Naked Vlog Campaign
Photo owned by koka_sexton (cc)

But while Loic says it stops nasty anonymous comments, I think Seesmic blog comments are perfect for spamming. Askimet won’t stop some video spammers since there’s no text to figure out if it’s spam or real conent, a person that clicks the message won’t spot it’s spam til the video is playing. Spammers resort to image text spams by email now, so why not video text spams for blogs? There’s enough people gaming YouTube with shit videos by keyword spamming and they can’t tackle that so well. Seesmic will prove a perfect distribution mechanism for spam. I’m sure it’ll eventually be dealt with somehow but in the short term expect blogs that allow video comments to start getting video spam.

Fluffy Links – Monday May 19th 2008

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Check out Christian Hughes‘ blog.

Frank covers the Student Enterprise Awards. Is that our own Rick there?

An interactive version of Picasso’s Guernica.

New Irish site Check Lottos. Checks your lottery numbers for you and will let you know your winnings.

Very detailed Cyberpsychology digest from Sinéad. The first of many we hope!

Cybercom cover fakebloggers and how they could get done now for creating false blogs Ireland.

It’s hard to meet a girl in Saudi so the ingenuity involved in finding one is interesting.

Fragments. Haydn is launching this today. Inexpensive art that everyone can access.

The Black Cab Sessions. Another version of the “bands playing live music in odd locations” type setup. Death Cab for Cutie playing in the black cab is the latest.

Our Taoiseach. Our making?

Sinead O’Connor – Thank you

Social networks and suicide

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Today the Sunday Independent had a bit about Facebook Memorials and a suicide expert decrying them, though I think they meant Bebo Memorials.

To me Dan Neville’s comments seemed quite balanced, he gives out about the memorials but he also says the bad old days where suicide was not talked about should be left in the past. The Indo put their twist to it. Yeah, I too was surprised at that.

“The Bebo and Facebook tributes that are going on at the moment are not appropriate at all because they are allowing people in crisis to involve themselves in events after the suicide and that can be extremely dangerous.”

“I would be extremely concerned about guards of honour by school friends and sports clubs at the funerals of suicide victims — not because the person involved should not be recognised for what they did, but because it also gives a signal of attention and recognition.

“Someone in crisis looking at these guards of honour and Bebo and Face Book tributes might say to themselves ‘look my crisis will be over and I will get this type of attention or send off, or recognition of my life from my peers,'” Mr Neville said.

Banning teenagers from doing something, though? That’s going to do what? If Bebo pages in memory of someone that killed themselves are taken down in order to prevent more suicides it’s not going to work. That kids create them means that there’s a need for them to remember their friends. Why not instead have links to suicide prevention campaigns and links to people on Bebo that people can message if they have a problem. Suicidal people will find out these memorials be they on Bebo or elsewhere, they’ll come there and maybe you can intervene there. There’s a greater chance of interevention there than out in some dark corner of the web.

The scary thing about suicide though is that it’s contagious in a way and I remember hearing someone on Morning Ireland (maybe it was Neville himself) talking about news reports on suicides can actually trigger people into considering it. This is why there are suicide clusters in areas.

Neville talks about banning these memorials but these memorials are where people are going to remember their friends. It would surely be like trying to ban talk of their friends in the classroom or pub or when they mope around in groups in shopping centres. Instead of banning them, why not establish guidelines with the community that create them?