Tag Archives: Facebook

Why KONY 2012 Makes a Great Case Study

Imagine you watch a 30 minute video on YouTube and you suddenly become a social activist.

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. This is what happened to millions of people across the globe in less than two weeks.

With one simple click of the mouse, users were introduced and became aware of a story occurring somewhere far off in Africa, about a war lord turning thousands of children into military zombies.

Here’s why this campaign makes for an interesting case study.

A few days after I shared the Invisible Children‘s KONY 2012 video on Facebook and tweeted the news on Twitter, I received an e-mail from Amnesty International (who I subscribed to). The e-mail started off telling me about how although this is the first time the world has heard about Joseph Kony, Amnesty has known about him for years – they just did not have the tools or know-how on how to execute the celebrity attention is he receiving now.

The KONY 2012 video that went viral reached over 80 million hits on YouTube in two weeks time. The utilization of celebrity appeal, charity, a 30-minute film and the power of social media have transformed online engagement to political activism (see below).

How the hell did this happen?!

For one, it’s a great conversation starter; the sheer curiosity factor fuelled massive discussion (we’re talking global here). Some 30-minute video was circling the web about a war lord in Africa and it was a big deal. People would ask, “But who is this guy?” and “Have you seen this?” and share videos with their friends.

This simple curiosity turned into a willingness to not just educate, but investigate what was happening. Who is Joseph Kony? What is he doing and where is he? Why are people talking about him? What is Invisible Children? How are people talking about Kony and the cause? Who is he effecting? When do we act? Can we act? Is he relevant to me, and now? (Covered the five Ws? Check).

And it sure as hell helped to get celebrities involved in the social media realm, tweeting and re-tweeting their concerns and support over the KONY 2012 video. Oh, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are supporting the Invisible Children cause? This is even more share-worthy.

Moreover, The Uganda Speaks campaign first tweeted by Al Jazeera English last Tuesday,is asking people in Uganda to tweet their opinions about Kony 2012. One interesting respondent tweeted, “There is a total disconnect between the invisible children and the community they claim to serve. Why make Kony famous? You cannot make a wrong person famous. Stop Kony, then what?” Exactly. Then what?

If the goal of Invisible Children was to raise awareness about the issue, then the campaign was a success. Not only did they receive positive feedback and support from millions, the charity also received backlash about having ulterior motives and unfair fiscal distribution. But as my graduate professor once said, “As long as they’re talking about you, you’ve got a fighting chance.”

However, if the goal is to arrest KONY by converting a quarter of the globe into Invisible Children’s own army-to-the-rescue and overthrow the political system, then they’ve got a lot of work to do. As Malcolm Gladwell argues, “Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice.”

From the launch of the video on March 5th, forward to almost a month later, over 100 million people have now seen the short film. Awareness about Kony and the LRA has increased tenfold and people have shared their thoughts and opinions about it.

All that is left now, is action. It’s great to have an idea, but it doesn’t mean much if there are no plans to execute. As  Madeline Bernstein of Technorati writes, “Knowing is better than not knowing, but clicking is not action.”

And in case you either haven’t seen the video through some social network or haven’t heard people talking about, first I’d like to know where on Earth are you. I’m kidding. But seriously.

Secondly, if you’re interested in watching the 30 minute long video, you can watch it below:

Photo credit: http://www.theatlantic.com

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Facebook Canada on Branding

Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada, joined AdWeek’s opening lunch session and presented the company’s findings on the rise and popularity of the social networking site.

Banks attributes part of Facebook’s success to the idea of discovery through word-of-mouth; users spend 8 hours per month on the site (YouTube users, in comparison, spend 5 hrs per month). On top of that, a staggering 800 million people are accessing Facebook every month. YEAH.

On average, Facebook users in the U.S. have 130 friends, whereas in Canada the average number of friends is 225. Although this number may seem small to other users who have over 1,000, the recommendation (and tagging) culture that has evolved from word-of-mouth have fuelled not only Facebook’s popularity, but the ‘likability’ of brands, products and services on the social network.

Additionally, Banks notes that brands play a huge role here and understands that Facebook, essentially, is social by design where people are at the core. He argues that advertisers must “fish where the fish are” in the social graph and become leaders to these large social groupings (similar to Godin’s idea of “tribes”).

According to Banks, building a brand on Facebook requires:

1. Connection: users must be able to connect though posts, videos, comments, likes and becoming fans of brand pages.

2. Engagement: advertisers/marketers must feed Facebook users with relevant information. This is often done with targeted ads.

3. Inspiration: loyal customers can transform into brand evangelists simple through platform integrations and sponsored stories.

From a recent Nielson study, 68% of Facebook users are more likely to remember something within a social context. Such users claim that they are not just recipients of a brand, but feel a part of a brand’s story (hence why event marketing is such a successful endeavour).

The importance of building a brand online is taking advantage of the media landscape and providing tools to the audience that they already know how to use. Humans need to feel that they have agency with media, thus marketers need to teach them how to understand it and motivate them to to use it.

Banks finishes with four takeaways of the future of social advertising:

1. There has been a shift from the information web to the social web.

2. Innovation has been immensely impacted by the social graph.

3. The social web has change and influenced the way people have relationships.

4. There is no better time than the present to capitalize on this social movement.

So what are you waiting for?

Photo credit: http://myportableworld.com

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AdWeek 2012: STAY TUNED

AdWeek 2012, Canada’s biggest industry gathering, will be hosted by the nation’s party city capital, Toronto (ok, maybe second to Montreal). Next week will follow event after event with presentations and speakers ranging from Facebook, AOL, Google, Yahoo! and more. Who’s excited? I am, obviously!

Here is my schedule of the events I will be attending and reporting on:


Facebook Opening Launch: Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada will be giving a keynote address.

“The Democratization of Influence: Today, the Web is built around people and in this socially driven and connected world, the democratization of influence means that friends influencing their friends is becoming the most valuable measure of a successful online presence.

Facebook fundamentally believes businesses are better off in an open and connected world that allows people to share the things they care about with their Social Graph. As consumer expectations continue to evolve to having what they want, where and when they want it, the only way to fully deliver on that expectation is through a smart and integrated digital strategy that puts people at the centre of everything that you do.

Jordan Banks will dig deep into how Brands can realize the power of the Social Web and inspire Canadians to influence their friends by connecting the +18 million Canadians to the brands and things they care about most.”


Ipsos Presentation: Influence Index presented by Steve Levy, President, IPSOS REID Marketing and Loyalty

Google, Apple, Tim Horton’s or Canadian Tire: What do you think is the most influential brand in Canada? We know!

Join this session where Ipsos Reid will share results from the first ever Canadian Brand influence Study. This session will unveil the most influential brands in Canada. What brand is on top? Who leads in the key business categories? More than this, we will share the “secret sauce” of brand influence. Why are some brands more influential than others?”


Google Speaker Series: I don’t have a description for this event yet, but you can only imagine what Google will bring to the table…

THURSDAY, JANUARY 26TH, 2:30pm-3:30pm

Extending Your Brand Message: “This not-to-be-missed panel will bring together industry leaders to debate the value of branded content and how brands can use it to extend their message.

As marketers strive to create campaigns that not only deliver their brand message but that suit the medium in which it is delivered (online, mobile, video, etc.), the need to extend rather than adapt campaigns becomes more real.”

Mitch Joel, Graham Moysey, Peter Vaz and others will discuss how brands can create credible content to support their campaign messages; how they can drive audiences to these branded content areas; and what role branded content plays in their overall marketing strategy


An Ad is Not Just an Ad: Sponsored by Yahoo!

“Ads are a key source for connecting consumers to new products and brands. However, not all ads are equal or have the same effectiveness. So how do you make sure yours is remembered and reaches its target?

Yahoo!’s Nick Drew and Tony Marlow along with Bryan Segal from Comscore, will discuss how choosing the right ad format and environment will have the highest impact on ad performance. Expect thought provoking ideas and insights on how to creatively convey your brand’s marketing messages to the right audience.”

Eek – I’m excited!

These are just some of the events that AdWeek 2012 in Toronto will be showcasing (heck, there’s even a Ad ball on Thursday night!). So if you’re interested in going to these events or are looking for another something else to attend, you can register at AdWeek.ca. And if you’re a student or a recent graduate, you get the bonus of a wonderful discount.

Hope you to see you there!

Photo credit: http://www.advertisingweek.ca

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Is Zuckerberg a Homewrecker?

Maybe Mark isn’t, but Facebook seems to be.

According to a 2010 study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, four out of five lawyers reported a rise in divorce rates in the past five years, with causes referencing social networking sites. And here’s the not-so-surprising news: Facebook was the market leader.

Two-thirds of the lawyers in the study attributed Facebook evidence as the “primary source” in divorce proceedings; MySpace came in second with 15% and Twitter lagged behind with 5%.

Because Facebook is attributed to the leading cause of divorces in the U.S., lawyers are now asking for their clients’ Facebook pages as a preliminary practice before proceeding with a case. This includes the detrimental (i.e. drunken) yet oh-so-common pictures posted online, which accounts for 76% of photos in the U.K.

The Divorce-Online study revealed one-third of divorce petitions reference Facebook. These Facebook users (i.e. separated spouses) are citing inappropriate messages, including nasty comments about each other and friends reporting bad behaviour of the conflicting spouses.

With the rate at which Facebook users are venting their grievances towards one another, the social network may consider updating their status to include “Divorced.”

I think we all should learn a lesson or two here about online etiquette… or perhaps just plain, old etiquette no matter what online/offline community you belong to. Or perhaps we can remember the simple way of dealing with conflicts, the more personal, one-on-one, nobody-else’s-business, “old-fashioned” way: “You wanna take this outside?” Sure, let’s.

Photo credit: http://goodmenproject.com

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The famous Twitter trends are few unique aspects within the social network, and the one key that made it all possible was that little hashtag sitting ever-so quietly on your keyboard.

And it has so much power.

Its power lies in a universal conversation, where Twitter users can hop on the net (what the kids are calling it these days), and participate in a real-time conversation about a shared passion. And this is all possible with a simple #.

Topics can range from anything to everything, including sporting events like the Superbowl, current events like #Occupy (probably 2011’s most famous social media revolutionary), and even Justin Bieber, who, according to Ad Age, was ranked the top Twitter trend for 2011.

For one, the #trending occurring on Twitter not only provides an easy avenue for people to communicate, but it also raises awareness about topics, products, services, brands and companies on, to a certain extent, a global scale (so long as you have a Twitter account).

Users can also use the hashtag to increase brand recognition within a captive, engaged audience that is included in every Tweet. Each user that participates in trending Twitter conversations is tweeting not only to that group, but their followers as well, thus increasing word-of-mouth, increase your following and to a lesser extent, brand advocacy.

Even now, we are starting to see the popularity of that little hashtag – sitting above the number 3 on your keyboard – penetrating networks outside of its own (the most obvious being Facebook). Although users are well aware that the social network does not provide the same [marketing] advantage as Twitter, Facebook users are still treating it as such.

The power of the hashtag has its advantages, but it does have its downfalls (though not many). Some Twitter users overuse hashtags and creating more Twitter gibberish, including #OneTimeAtBandCamp and #ImSoExcitedForSnow (you won’t be able to find these on Twitter).

Another downfall is the misuse of hashtags. Some companies forget to do their Twitter research and pick a trend that has been seriously abused by its users. Take Wendy’s for example. Their Where’s the Beef? campaign with the little old lady sitting in front of oversized bread buns and barely-there meat was indeed hilarious.

Even more amusing, however, were the tweets coming from their – perhaps poorly chosen – hashtag trend #HeresTheBeef. You can only imagine what people were saying about their burgers.

The advice for hashtags, then? Have fun, but be wise. Twitter users, if following the rules, can seek great benefit – whether recognition or monetary compensation – if playing by the rules. If disrespected, however, they may feel the wrath of their own doing – becoming your best friend or your worst enemy.

Who knew the little # can pack such a big punch?

Photo credit: lightspandigital.com

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Social Whores vs. Social Bores

Having too many friends on Facebook means one thing; having too little means another.

Is it fair to say that the more Facebook friends you have, the more popular you are and the more likely you rule the social realm (online and offline)?

Or, is it valid to say that the less amount of friends you have, the less socially capable you are and thus not as popular as Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell?

Elizabeth Donovan, author of Friend Me: Surviving Popularity in the Age of Facebook at Psychology Today, looks at the social systems of youth and argues, “For many teens Facebook’s friend list has become the golden opportunity to achieve acceptability from their peers.”

One student, who created a Facebook page of his own, claimed that popularity rules the schools and titled his fan page as Popularity in my school is determined by the amount of Facebook friends. Facebook users are even adding acquaintances and strangers as “friends,” who are more likely looked at as a number than a human being – and all for the sake of being labeled as the popular kid in school.

Popularity among teens is no longer an abstract rumor, it’s a social fact. – Elizabeth Donovan

According to a recent study including 176 Facebook participants, performed by Dr Daniel DeNeui, the more Facebook friends you have, the more popular you are and the less likely you are to be considered a loner by your peers.

DeNeui also found that although the average user have 120 Facebook friends, popularity peaks at 302 friends. Anything more or less than that throws you into the category of the socially superior vs. the socially inept.

But isn’t all this brouhaha about popularity somewhat fake? If strangers are befriending others just to add to their social count (Twitter is another enabler of social promiscuity), it seems to me that users are masking the truth (about themselves and what/who they represent) in the age old conflict of appearance vs. reality (Shakespeare anyone?).

Thus, is there any value (for marketers) in the socially capable vs. the socially isolated? Perhaps the more important question to ponder is does our online social status, in any way, affect our status offline?

What do you think?

Photo credit: http://blogs.cornell.edu

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Social Media’s Effects on Network Structure

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, argues that the future for individuals lies in niche-markets, as communities are becoming more and more specialized.

With the ability to access the Internet any time, anywhere, most social conversations are occurring within core networks about specific topics of interest.

The most obvious examples are the people are seeking employment on LinkedIn, befriending friends of friends on Facebook, and following and being followed by strangers on Twitter, asking questions and getting favours (including asking for organ donations).

As the Internet connects and permits all types of people to engage within these specialized networks, network diversity is also increasing. Our networks are becoming increasingly expansive and at a faster rate than the traditional/physical meet-and-greet route, and people are reaching out across various platforms.

Network users are following friends, strangers and mixing in with different community forums. As a result, the mode of communication has changed the way we communicate across physical and online barriers.

With face-to-face communication, we encounter strangers and acquaintances everyday. But this physical encounter may require more time and energy. For example, there is more time taken in joining or leaving clubs due to the physical necessities to go see people and visit places. Our “real-life” structure is somewhat limited and less mobile.

With the Internet, however, we encounter strangers and acquaintances, but we have more freedom to “move.” Through blogging, instant messaging, skype and other means of communicating on the Internet, we can casually slip into a conversation with so much ease (even with the possibility of going unnoticed), providing a sense of limitlessness.

How we communicate today did not seem feasible yesterday: our online networks have a lot less limitations than our physical ones. But is our online social networks really limitless? What are your other thoughts or comments on how social media has affected our communication network structure?

Photo credit: http://hosting.ber-art.nl

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Social Media Saviors

Amit Gupta, a tech entrepreneur recently diagnosed with an acute form of leukaemia, is reaching out to family, friends and strangers to find an appropriate bone marrow donor to help save his life. But he isn’t using the traditional route to search for a request.

Gupta found a way to test the strength, social responsibility and the altruistic character of the online community by asking social network users to contribute to his life-saving cause.

As an Indian-American, Gupta’s chances of finding a donor are 1 in 20,000, due to the under presentation of South Asians in the US donor registry. Thus reaching out to anyone willing to help across as many social media platforms as possible would hopefully increase his chances of finding a donor.

So far, Gupta has reached an impressive 17,700 on Twitter, 13,000 supporters on Facebook (with 422 subscribers), and a plethora of group support systems on Flickr, Tumblr and several other social media platforms.

With his followers, Gupta began organizing “swab parties,” where people responding to Tweets, Facebook messages and the like met in physical tech centres, including Google and Facebook. At these gatherings, prospective donors swab the inside of their mouths to collect their DNA and the information is sent to a testing lab to be registered in the national bone marrow registry, where they can be called upon at any time a match is found.

But relying on others, particularly strangers, has it’s downfalls. Calling on an  anonymous donor who showed up to your swab party a month earlier may have decided not to donate after all, since there is no personal connection for him/her to you and your situation. While some are more altruistic than others and donate for the sake of a good cause, others may not feel as comfortable with the idea of donating to complete strangers.

On the positive side, the ability for online social activity transcending into the physical realm has proved to be an enabler for turning people’s remote dreams into actual realities. Society has reached a point where we can call on strangers from a distance, even with a sense of urgency. In many ways, we are putting a lot of trust in our community and relying on its ability to lend a helping hand – whether it is to ask your fans to ‘like’ something or to ask your fans to help save your life.

David Hunt, chief medical officer of the national co-ordinator for health technology in the US Department of Health and Human Services, offers perhaps one of the more significant features of social networking:

The wonderful thing about social networking is it can create that sense of trust between elements of communities that have traditionally been relatively marginalised.

The diversity of respondents and the ability to congregate them under one roof (both friends and strangers of different nationalist) – and the speed in which we can do so – is quite remarkable. Before, this might not have even been thought of, and the time to complete such a feat would take a lot longer. But thanks to social media for being, well, social, people of various ages, races and connections all over the world will be asking others to help save their lives, one tweet at a time.

Based on Kate Dailey’s and Matt Danzicoh’s Amit Gupta and the Social Media Search for a Cure.

Photo credit: http://directmarketingobservations.com

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The Hidden Truth: Information Accuracy in Social Networking Sites

With the profuse amount of social networking sites that saturate the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, Ning, MySpace, Flickr, LinkedIn, Blogger and WordPress, Web users have a plethora of options to choose from to express themselves and share information with others (that is, if they choose to do so). Because of this, the sharing of personal information has led to an increase in public knowledge for Web users, not only for other social media users and our friends, but for marketers as well.

The question about the type of information that individuals share online leads to a more prominent question about accuracy and performance: how do social media users portray themselves online? Do people perform or undermine who they are and how does this effect truth? More importantly, if it is difficult enough for marketers to determine the ‘real’ person behind a Facebook page or a Tweet, what is the value of online market research and customer insights?

The easy accessibility that the Internet provides allows freedom for customers to express their thoughts and opinions about anything and everything. However, the value of information research online for marketers is contemplated when they cannot tell what is true and what is false (in relation to behavioral and attitudinal information). Thus while information is freely communicated throughout the Web, marketers must be cautious about the information they pull from customer insights and should appropriate a more scrupulous and traditional approach in gathering information online.

Read the rest of The Hidden Truth: Information Accuracy in Social Networking Sites.

Photo credit: http://www.cadrecmi.ca

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Snoop Dogg on Social Media

Snoop Dogg, one of the rap industry’s music moguls, has learned a thing or two about what it takes to building a brand online. Through a mix of social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, Snoop has made an even bigger name for himself with his peeps, or what he likes to call his “family.”

According to Seung Chung, president and co-founder of Cashmere Agency in Los Angeles, Snoop’s personal touch in the social media realm is what connects him to his audience and enhances what he does in his daily life routine. Relevant content is added as an extension of himself, which inevitably strengthens his brand.

“My recipe is just being me: I’m up front; I’m up close and personal. My fans don’t have a wall between me and them,” Snoop says.

Videos, for obvious reasons, are especially important to music artists (didn’t it almost kill the radio star?). Platforms like Viddy.com, where users can upload and filter their own video content online, as well as Chill.com that lets users collectively watch and comment in an open discussion forum, are creative networks that allow users to interact and actively engage with a brand.

Chung argues that the breadwinners of brands are the early adopters. This audience is more likely to spread the word about a new product, service or brand and even become your number one fan. These are the people who you can learn from, serve, and remain loyal to (as long as they are loyal with you).

Moreover, if you’re going to be as hip as this Snoop to the D-O-Double-G, you want to have a solid, integrated communications plan (i.e. keep it coherent and persistent). Content should be routinely posted to encourage interactions with your audience. Through this message, you can build persona and give it a voice.

Who knew you could learn a thing or two about branding from the Doggfather? Drop it like it’s hot.

Based on Shira Lazar‘s A Lesson in Social Media From Snoop Dogg

Photo credit by http://cursebynature.deviantart.com

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