On Wednesday, Jully 22nd 2009, Webtrends hosted a Social Media Club event with Jeremiah Owyang (@owyang) on the top floor of the building.
Attendees were excited to see Owyang before his keynote speech at the next day’s Internet Strategy Forum (ISF) on Thursday, July 23rd, at the Governor Hotel in Downtown Portland.
Questions and Answers for Jeremiah Owyang
As we drank Widmer beer and pizza, Owyang answered some of our questions – some of which cam through Twitter (through tweeting @SocialMediaPDX).
If you want to follow along with what was said, you can check out the hashtag #smcpdx.
Can journalists engage the Groundswell and retain their abilities?
Take for example Megan McCarthy of CNET – she’s a traditional journalist but publishes as fast as the bloggers. She publishes a post immediately and then lets people know she’ll be updating the post as the news increases.
I’ll let you know something – Embargoes are almost dead. TechCrunch doesn’t honor Embargoes when they get them from large companies. As soon as that Embargo goes – it gets published. But it’s all real time now – kind of a free-for all. The rules have changed.
What do you think of web companies as long term businesses?
The think is – startups are cheap. It takes 15K -20K to get a startup running And VC’s are going to honor that. There’s still going to be money coming into the space. Because it’s cheap to run a startup these days.
Lets talk about the challenges – they’re focusing on the tools and features, not about what consumers and business want and need.
You can tell whether these companies are going to survive or not by just looking at their homepage. Are they focused on the tools and the features, or are they focused on ‘how can I help you?’
Are there any companies that are doing that well?
I was just over at Jive. They understand that very well over there. Radian6 is getting the hang of that in the startup space. They’re hiring people out of enterprise.
Is Twitter a waste of time for small businesses?
That’s the wrong question. The right question is – is the audience for that small business on Twitter? There are a lot of people out there that should be asking clients this question when they provide social media marketing services.
Most small businesses and restaurants are Using MySpace, and then Facebook comes around.
At Forrester we have a methodology. The POST methodology. It’s in that order. Not TSOP – that’s backwards, and not even a real word!
First is Demographics, Psychographics, Technographics. How do they use technologies and where are they online? Are they reading blogs.
The O in POST is the business objective. What are you trying to do? Make them do things better, listen to them more?
The next piece is Strategy.
What is social media strategy? It’s not the tools. It’s all the things that happen behind the scenes to make it successful. The policies. The engagement.
Then, at the very end, the Tools. The Tools come last.
It is better to focus on the long-term piece – what are people doing? And how to work with them?
What are some pieces that people can look to?
Chris Brogan does a lot of good stuff. I’ll just start with the blogs. Razorfish has been doing a lot of good stuff. I think the best way is to go to the companies and pick apart what they’re doing well.
Comcast, Dell, Half-and-half Microsoft, Dell.
And those changing things? Best BUy is tryin to do a lot with social.
One of the best persons to follow is Obama.
We see corrpoations merge all the time and cultures change all the time. Amazon and Zappos, for instance.
I was with Tony a few weeks ago.
I think the big difference is that the culutes are very difference. What you might expect is that a lot of the inventory will appear on Zappos.
This is important to know. Social media doesn’t scale. If we’re all about building one on one social media with these tools. It doesn’t scale.
Zappos is about one to one relations. You ask them a question and they’ll give you a response. But that means they have to hire one person for every 100 interactions. If you do, you’re going to have to start outsourcing.
One thing you can do to solve this problem is to focus on word of mouth marketing on the customer side, or get the customers to help each other. They haven’t built a tool that has customers help each other yet. Maybe they’ll build a page that lets people correlate certain items of clothing with shoes.
We’re just at the early stages of references and recommendations. Our research on Trust. You should expect your friend recommendations to appear on
rather than being supported by people you don’t actually know.
There was an article in Wired about the Facebook wall. With my friends telling me what to buy and what to eat. That is their exact strategy.
The social networks are Facebook and Twitter is not to be a destination site but to get the content out there. And they know that.
My most re-tweeted tweet was “IBM is afraid of Microsoft who is afraid of Google who is afraid of Facebook who is afraid of Twitter who is afraid of whales”. I know this because each of those companies has told me who they are afraid of.
What about walled gardens?
Consumers don’t think of walled gardens. Most people don’t know or care.
People don’t remember that Email is the biggest social network – and no one has leveraged that yet.
Email does all of those things – Email signing your name, CC’ing, E-mail lists and groups.
Would you say that Email is broken?
No Email is not broken. All the A-List bloggers communicate by Email. I’ve totally seen it happen. They don’t use the tools. They use Email.
Yahoo Gmail, ect. These are the dominant social networks.
Do you think people appreciate Yahoo! and what they’re doing? Like with Yahoo! Pipes?
There’s a lot of innovation at Yahoo!, but we only see it in pieces and spurts.
That’s definitely a trend we’ll see in 2010. Aggregation.
Right now the trend is pollination – that everyone is trying to get things out there. That creates a lot of buzz. Friendfeed, Google Wave – all of these things will be trying to aggregate the signal.
And people are saying –“ is this going to be a tool used in Enterprise?” Well, it’s going to be as successful as Google Docs is in the Enterprise. Google is not an enterprise play. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
Kelly Feller: The goal is to minimize the touch points .We think
“Oh my gosh” Twitter might increase that – Kelly Feller – From Intel social media.
Audience: Is there a cost differential for Twitter vs. calls?
Owyang: If people are Tweeting about Best Buy in their free time or off hours? Should they get paid? No – because they’d be doing it in their free time. This is something that’s not been solved yet.
Here’s something that’s happening. CRM – Oracle. There’s basically a huge database about you and what you do. Lots of companies are pulling in data about you and what you like. And then if someone says, “Arggh! This Sony TV has 4 dead pixels” – they know to send someone out – via a tweet or comment – to help them with that. But if people use a different ID, it is difficult to know where something comes from.
The second thing is that companies are not ready for this – they’re just like “woah”.
Mobile in Japan is big. Did you know they only use the phone for 4% of the time to talk on it? It’s a different type of behavior – it’s a different type of engagement.
Audience: Why do they have two?
UncleNate: One for talking and one for data?
Audience: Youth don’t E-mail. They have E-mial accounts just to set up social accounts and things.
Owyang: One of my relatives in college says she only uses E-mail to talk with old folks like me.
But as the digital natives move into the work force, they’ll be forced to use Email.
Owyang: It’s interesting that Twitter is more skewed towards older people. But youth have been using SMS for years.
As an analyst at Forrester Research, Jeremiah is on the cutting edge of all things social media. He authored the recent report “The Future of the Social Web” and is #2 on the “Twitter Power 150 List.”
About Social Media Club of Portland Oregon
Social Media Club (SMC) was started in 2006 by Chris Heuer, co-founder and partner at The Conversation Group, and Kristie Wells, Co-Founder and President of Social Media Club, with the core mission to:
- Expand Media Literacy
- Share Lessons Learned Among Practitioners
- Encourage Adoption of Industry Standards
- Promote Ethical Practices through Discussion and Actions
Social Media Club Portland is one of a growing number of SMC chapters across the globe.
Interested in getting involved or would like more information? Feel free to contact us.
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About the Author
Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and new media consultant based in Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic.