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Why Business avoid Social Media

You will probably find an increasing number of businesses putting their brand presence in social media sites. Several big brands (and also small brands) are using Twitter and Facebook to build relationships with their fan base.

Conversely, there are also many businesses who are (very) skeptical about this whole idea. Are you that stubborn businessman who is unwilling to try new social media tools?

If you are, you will most probably agree with the points below but look out for the counter-arguments!

1. Social Media is a Fad
Is social media still a fad?

I seriously doubt so. With so many celebs, businesses and politicians using social media as part of their marketing activities, it is hard to phase out social media just yet. Interestingly, social media is also creatively used to help police nab bicycle thieves in Boston! Social media is bringing real value to the communities and does not look anywhere near short-lived.

2. Social Media is For Kids
Looking at the adorable Twitter bird and endless gaming applications on Facebook, this argument is not without ground. But if social media is really for kids, how do we explain why teens don’t tweet and why the Facebook demographics are shifting to the 55+ age group?

It seems like the grown-ups are into our “kids” stuff now.

3. Social Media Can Hurt My Brand
True enough, social media is a double-edged sword. It can either bring you to glory or pull you down to hell. But let’s face the truth – If your product and service don’t suck (and you don’t offend anyone), your brand would hardly experience any negative response.

The resurrection of Dell from hell is a must read case study to prove this point.

4. Social Media is a Waste of Time
Time is a trade off for better customer relationships. Social media needs time but it is definitely not a waste of time. Think about it, you are hardly spending any money on this but it gives you great returns (tangible or not). Spending time on the people who support your brand (and also people who don’t) can improve the public’s impression of you. Why is that a waste of time?

5. Social Media Can’t Bring Any Returns
Comparing to other marketing channels, it takes more time to see the fruits of social media. To be honest, besides Dell, hardly any companies proved that they were boasted with a positive financial return through its use. But why are businesses still flocking in?

Perhaps the returns are intangible? As a result, they would take a longer time to measure and businesses with the lack of patience and foresight might lose out on returns (such as relationships, good opinions and satisfaction) that are as important or possibly more important than tangible returns.

6. Social Media is Unmeasurable
There are many ways to measure it and the measuring process depends a lot on your business objectives. Click here to learn how to do it.

7. Social Media is not for My Business Nature
Fair enough. Due to privacy issues, we don’t see businesses selling defense technology on Twitter or Facebook. However, if appropriate, a good idea would be to use social media with a “personal” touch instead. If President Obama is doing it without leaking sensitive information, so can you.

8. Social Media is Too Sophisticated
Yes it is if you’re not willing to start trying. Print Ad, Telephone and TV advertising, and the whole idea of the Internet were once overwhelming to most people. If we don’t break the barrier, we are not giving room to innovations.


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SEO easier then Social media are u serious

There are a fair number of excellent search engine optimization experts (SEOs) in the wild, but there are countless social media marketing experts, many of whom are self-proclaimed gurus in their field. However, the number of SEOs I’ve come across are much fewer and farther between than social media marketers. In fact, I hear the same SEO names every day; I learn of a new “social media expert” twice a day. Despite this, social media marketing is much more difficult than search engine optimization. Here’s why.

The Quest for Knowledge
What exactly does it take to become a search engine optimization expert or a social media marketing expert? In both of these aspects of search engine marketing, you begin by learning. As the ideal marketer, you gets your hands on every single search engine optimization and social media marketing book or blog you can possibly find, and then you absorb the information presented within like a sponge. You begin following the experts (you know, the real ones) online. After awhile, you’ll be book smart. You’ll know what to do and what not to do. Hopefully, if you’ve followed the right books, blogs, and people, you’ll be armed with pretty decent case studies and pretty decent material to embark on your own journey.
The SEO Angle
If you’re a brand new student in the school of thought of SEO, after you’ve learned about improving your web presence via search engines, there are countless opportunities to prove to yourself that you know what you’re doing. For you, this means practice and true application of acquired skill. It’s not that costly to buy a few domain names (brand new or aged), invest in web hosting, and start applying that knowledge you’ve learned to websites. You can build a website from scratch or set up something quickly via a WordPress installation. You can purchase neglected websites through auctions. At the end of the day, you have websites — your subjects — upon which to test. When it relates to SEO, you can start right away. And you should. After all, you can’t learn SEO just by reading about it.
Wait, Maybe SEO Isn’t So Easy Then
SEO is an art and a science and one that is extremely difficult to understand and perfect. In fact, “perfection” in SEO is an impossibility since SEO is an ongoing process. Why, then, is SEO really easier? The issue is that the assets for performing SEO are right in front of you. To become a successful SEO, it will be necessary for you to get off your butt and begin testing and retesting, tweaking and optimizing, working hard to improve performance and rankings over time. But the sites are there. The access is there. That’s the easy part. They just need you to apply your knowledge to them.
The Challenge for the Social Media Consultant
In social media marketing, you can easily become book smart. The problem begins when it actually relates to your street smarts.
See, it’ll take an incredible amount of time to engage in the education, but when it relates to social media marketing versus SEO, there’s something missing in the equation: experience. No, building your personal brand in social media does not count.
Social media marketing is a tremendous challenge, especially now that the market has become saturated with experts who clearly think that bringing their Digg front page success means that they’ve just launched a successful consulting business and can immediately sell their services to the highest (lowest?) bidder. In social media marketing, the assets are missing. The subjects are not there for you to test. You need clients. You need to be presented with a problem, one that you can actually analyze. You need to determine what kind of strategy you’ll implement. You then need to start executing. That’s not something you can easily do by just buying a few domain names and building up a real website presence. But that’s easy to do where SEO is concerned.
Just because your wonderful piece of linkbait that drove 30,000 visitors to via Digg succeeded once (or maybe twice) doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go at having those clients alone. You’re not yet a social media marketing expert, not unless you’re consistently applying your skills to different and unique campaigns and initiatives. Much like SEO. Except that in SEO, you’re lucky because you can get started immediately. In social media marketing, you need to start hunting for people who are willing to take the risk to have you promote content or to push a marketing agenda online in front of the right people. Or they need to find you. But when they do, they need to know that you have a proven track record of doing this on a regular basis and case studies to back that up.
Not All Experiences Are Treated Equal, Either
I do my own fair share of consulting by myself, but those who know me well know that I have been vocal about the fact that it’s great to work alone, but it’s even better to work with an agency where you can brainstorm with others and get access to some high level experiences not otherwise accessible as a sole consultant. Real experience with a wide array of clients opens doors of opportunities and gives you the ammunition you need to say you really do understand what social media marketing is all about. That’s why I am working as a consultant on some amazing projects at a social media agency too. There’s only enough I can do as a one woman show.
Learning is the easy part. Applying the knowledge is the hard part. When it relates to SEO, the ability to apply that knowledge is easy since you can either create or buy a website that lets you begin applying the skills you need to become an expert. When it comes to social media marketing, you need to build up a presence by obtaining clients of some sort. And you’ll soon learn that it’s not that easy to find them.

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4 steps to direct social media marketing

Here are four things your brand can do when entering the social media arena.

Globally, most people interact socially at least once a month (Forrester, McCann). Social media has become mainstream and is set to become big business in the marketing industry. Forrester estimates marketers already spend almost $1 billion on display ads in social networks and another $750 million on social media marketing. Spending on social media marketing is expected to grow to $3 billion by 2012.

The focus of social media marketing is to promote positive word of mouth through integrated social media campaigns. Personal recommendations and individual opinions posted online are the most trusted sources for consumers to find out about products and services. Social media automates, accelerates and exposes the process by which people seek and provide recommendations. In social media marketing, brands enter social media to encourage and measure this critical customer behavior.

The social media marketing process can be broken down into four steps:

Step 1: Show up
Companies must establish a presence in social media before interaction can be promoted. Dunkin’ Donuts illustrates how an engaging Facebook fan page can enable happy customers to connect to the brand. The company’s page has a variety of content including contests and quizzes. It also promotes other company content on other social media sites (Twitter, YouTube), and serves as a distribution point for promotions and news about store openings.

Step 2: Connect
After creating a presence, companies must establish relationships with brand followers. In other words, they need to find their advocates, connect with those people who are fans of the brand and have spoken favorably of it online. These connections enable companies to communicate value propositions and encourage adoption. Once a connection is established, companies can spread the relationship to other channels. Each site can have different social tactics. For example, Life is Good maintains a Facebook page. The company promotes local events and virtual rewards sent among Facebook members — the clothing is not even mentioned explicitly. Sales and promotion of the company’s clothing line is left to the website and catalogue.

Step 3: Give
Online interactions with brand followers and fans need to involve two things: an opportunity to contribute and an incentive. Promotions and contests are an excellent way to engage brand followers and fans. Charles Schwab offers their online followers a monthly opportunity to interact and contribute by suggesting copy for the “Talk to Chuck” national advertising campaign. Customers who submit questions and concerns have a chance to see their content addressed in TV and online advertisements.

Social networks are also a great place to engage fans or followers with new products. Some companies offer opportunities for loyal followers to sample new products. Receiving free samples is a good incentive for brand followers to engage companies online.

To best promote engagement, social media content must:

Be timely — opportunities should be relevant and provide some sort of benefit
Promote personal expression — empower fans and followers with opportunities that allow individuals to put a little of themselves into the content/application; this provides incentive to pass it forward
Be portable — provide the ability to share the content/application in multiple environments
Be meaningful — interactions should create value for participants. They can be entertaining, insightful, interesting or factual
Make it easy to act — calls to action must be prominent, easy to find and simple to respond to
A good example of online interaction and engagement is Office Max. The company offers entertainment value to share with friends each during the holidays with “Elf Yourself,” an interactive, sharable opportunity for expression. People upload pictures of family and friends that are then incorporated into an entertaining elf dance that has proven to be very popular and gets shared widely among social networks.

The Office Max example brings up a good point — all content should be shareable. Another good example of this is Capital edu. Capital edu offers college students the opportunity to take a picture of themselves holding a sign that declares their educational goal. The student then uploads their picture to a branded Flickr page where it can be shared and linked to among family and friends.

Step 4 Get
The final step is to transform social engagement into company value. This can be done in a variety of ways:

Create buzz — Social interactions can be used to create visibility and attention around events, product updates, store openings and new products or services
Product research — Companies use social networks as venues for the “new focus group,” engaging followers online to solicit feedback and opinions on new products. This information is then used to improve or change existing products or services
Customer service — Brands that are active online can identify who is talking about them, query new followers, resolve issues, and acknowledge when things go wrong. Customer service via social networks makes brands more personable and approachable to fans and followers
By making themselves available and engaging fans and followers online, companies can augment and improve marketing efforts significantly. Many marketers are unsure about how to enter social media marketing and fear that social media campaigns aren’t measurable. By taking a data-driven and measured approach to social media marketing, marketers can identify, recruit and engage socially active customers and prospects within their preferred social networks and communities.

A few marketing solutions exist to help companies that want to enter the social space. An effective solution should support marketers at every stage in the social media marketing process, enabling them to know which customers are active in online social media, and on which networks they are congregating.

An effective solution should also provide a means of measuring the response to social media content and identify the most engaged advocates for further interaction. Marketers able to obtain a precise measurement of the results of social media interaction are then able identify clear connections between social media marketing and company revenue.

So get started! Social media is exploding. Every month is an opportunity waiting to be seized.

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Quick ways to increase traffic through Social Media

Dec 14, 2009 –
Producing great content as a lead generation play is only part of the deal for most marketers. You also want and need to make certain that plenty of prospects eyeball, read, and share the content.

Smart marketers are turning to social media platforms as a way to create awareness about video, audio, and written content that teaches, demonstrates expertise and spreads the all important sales message in ways that can turn social media into a very effective lead generation tool.

There are many ways to go about using social media as a tool to amplify your content, but the best way is to develop and tinker with a systematic approach that you can kick into gear with each piece of content.

Here are the components of just such a system.

1) Before you write a word

I’ve often tweeted a kernel of a blog post out prior to writing just to gauge interest and maybe even solicit feedback and ideas. I’m always amazed at how valuable and accurate this can be at helping me with things like titles and resources.

I also tweet or update my status as I interview a guest for an upcoming podcast interview.

These kinds of practices can set the table and hopefully generate some interest and awareness of your content producing activities prior to amplifying the actual content.

2) On your turf

Make certain that it’s very easy for people to tweet, share, send or otherwise amplify content for you.

No matter what the format, add social media tools such as the Tweetmeme retweet button, Sociable plugin, AddToAny plugin or ClicktoTweet links that allow your readers to promote your content on Twitter or other social networks with just one click.

Use a plugin on your blog such as Related Posts to make it easy for blog visitors to find and share other relevant posts on your blog.

Another way to promote and amplify is to alter your content and repurpose it in vehicles such as an email newsletter, a short video abstract posted to Facebook, or a transcription of your podcast using CastingWords published as a printed article.

3) Social networks

When you write a blog post you should consider updating your status throughout a number of social networks that you participate in. The only hesitation is that you must consider your entire strategy here. If all you ever do is Tweet your new blog post, you may not find much engagement going on. I suggest that this be one of the ways you participate, but make sure you round this out with other useful updates as well.

While you can certainly overdo this, it’s been tested and proven that simply asking your Twitter follows to retweet by adding something like Please RT at the end of a Tweet does increase retweets.

Tools such at TweetDeck and Seesmic allow you to Tweet once and add your update to Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time. A Facebook App from Involver can bring you Twitter updates to your Fan Pages and Plugins such as Twitter Tools can even automate a Tweet each time you post to your blog.

A word of caution. While all this automation can sound like a blissful thing, you may find your amplification efforts more effective if you take the time to customize your updates and the way you refer to your content in slightly different ways for different networks. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but followers on Twitter react in different ways than friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn.

4) Social bookmarks

Spreading the word or sharing images, audio and video on sites such as YouTube, and Flickr is a great way to create new avenues to your content.

Taking a more active approach such as joining and participating in social bookmarking sites such as delicious, Digg, Reddit and Mixx can create powerful streams of traffic if you are willing to spend the time it takes to build connections and find people who want to amplify your content.

Darren Rowse of Problogger wrote a great piece that shows how he built fabulous traffic using a Flickr Group.

I also use a URL shortener in Tweets from StumbleUpon, another social bookmarking site, called that adds significant traffic and views from the StumbleUpon network.

Lastly, seek out and find niche social bookmarking sites in your industry as these can be sources of very highly qualified traffic. Here’s a great list to get you started from Traffikd.

I use a small business focused bookmarking site called BizSugar to generate additional interest in many of my blog posts.

5) Related content

A final, and probably more advanced, method is to seek out content related to yours and participate in conversations that give you the opportunity to highlight your content in logical ways.

The most obvious is to find related content on blogs and post your comments. Simply adding links to your posts in comments is an easy way to become a spammer, so make certain that you are adding value and earn the right to point to something you’ve written that helps make the original post more useful to readers.

A blog comment plugin like Disqus also shows the other places that people who make comments on your blog also read and comment. This is great data for finding related bloggers to network with.

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Financial troubles for Social Media

Anyone who doubts the power of social media to affect finances need look no further than the example of Kansas City Chiefs football player Larry Johnson.

The all-pro running back cost himself $213,000, and ultimately a job, by posting anti-gay slurs on the micro-blogging service Twitter — in 140 characters or less, of course.

Career trouble is just one way a badly managed social media presence can hit your pocketbook. Following are three areas where social media could damage your financial life, and how to avoid such pitfalls.

Andy Beal, CEO of the social media monitoring platform, says jobseekers should assume potential employers will do a Google search of candidates’ names. Social media profiles typically appear near the top of the search page.
If you have questionable pictures or posts on a public profile, take them down or make the profile private to avoid trouble.

“People just post such private things about their lives, and the whole world is watching.”
Also, steer clear of negative talk about a prospective employer on any social media platform, Beal says. Many companies monitor mentions of their brand throughout the Web, he says.

He cites the case of a Twitter user who posted about a new job offer from Cisco, but expressed doubt about “the daily commute” and “hating the work.” A Cisco employee noticed the tweet and demanded to know the name of the user’s hiring manager.

Even employees who think their jobs are safe can sabotage themselves by being too honest online about their personal lives, or by posting feelings regarding a boss, client, co-worker or company for whom they work.

“We’ve seen a lot of cases of people publishing status updates that have gotten them in trouble,” says Justin Smith, founder and editor in chief of Inside Facebook. “People have said things that have caused problems with their boss because of what they said about their work or because they’ve shared some other kind of private information about work online.”

Caroline McCarthy, a staff writer at CNET News, says the best defense against such mistakes is to use plain old common sense. Remember, anything that appears on the Web is just a screenshot away from spreading quickly, despite the best efforts of social media users to keep it private.

Debt collection
Social media has become a key tool for collection agencies trying to track down debtors, says Michelle Dunn, CEO of the American Credit and Collections Association and author of “Do’s and Don’ts of Online Collections Techniques.”
“If they don’t have a good phone number or the mail’s being returned, a lot of them use Facebook to find out if they have a different address or their employment information,” Dunn says.
Many bill collectors who think they’ve found a debtor on a social media site will keep an eye on that individual’s online presence, Dunn says.

“They don’t necessarily have to post anything to them; they just watch what that person is posting,” she says.

Setting a social media profile to allow anyone — not just friends — to look at postings can make your profile a particularly rich source of information, she says.

“People post things about if they’ve gotten a new home or a new vehicle,” Dunn says. “People just post such private things about their lives, and the whole world is watching.”

Privacy laws should preclude a collections professional from contacting and humiliating you on your social media page, Dunn says. However, some debt collectors violate those legal and ethical boundaries and assume false identities as a means of getting information, she says.

Social media sites ask for, and often get, a large amount of personal information from users. Unfortunately, identity thieves may use that information to perpetuate scams, especially if you use personal information when creating security passwords, McCarthy says.
“If you have a public Facebook profile that gives your birth date and your parents’ names and that kind of thing, they can provide the answers to security questions that your bank might have on its Web site,” she says.

Even if your profile is private, identity thieves may find other ways to get your information, Beal says.

“We see spammers, we see hackers, we see people trying to sell products using fictitious profiles,” he says. “There was a study done a few years ago where one group created a specific fictitious profile and the number of people that accepted their friend request … was pretty high.”

For this reason, be careful about adding social networking “friends” you don’t know in real life, says Beal.

“Social networking is not a popularity contest,” says Beal. “I don’t add anyone to Facebook or LinkedIn unless I know them.”

And remember, just because a social media site asks for information doesn’t mean you have to give it, Beal says.

Finally, McCarthy recommends never sending money to someone who asks for it over a social media service. Smith says that there have been reports of scammers hijacking accounts and posing as friends.

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List of Companies using Social Media and how
Corporate Blog:
Social networks: Facebook Page.
YouTube Channel: 123TV
Microblogging: 123TV
Flickr Foto-Stream: 123TV
3 Italia. Social networks: Facebook Business and La3 DVB-H groups.
Abbott Labs. Social networks: Facebook Labs Are Vital scholarship contest.
Absolut Vodka:
Online video: ABSOLUTworld
Social networks: Top Bartender page on Facebook.
Blogging: Nine corporate blogs.
Podcasting: Five corporate podcasts.
Social networks: Borderless Workplace.
Blogging: Life Insurance blog.
Podcasting: Life Insurance podcast.
Social networks: Facebook Acura TSX Connect fan page.
Widgets: Acura RDX Traffic on Yahoo.
Acuvue. Social networks: Facebook “Wink” application.
Addison Avenue. Crowdsourcing: Suggestion box.
Adidas. Social networks: adidas soccer on myspace; 70% of ROI driven by pass-along, aka “never-ending friending.”
Adobe. Tagging: Delicious account used to bookmark primarily tutorials.
Airplay. Social networks: Baseball Gameday Challenge Facebook application.
Content aggregation: By topic.
Online video: Alltop tutorial on YouTube.
Widgets: The Alltop widget.
Social networks: Shelfari.
Blogging: Web Services blog.
AMC’s Mad Men. Microblogging: Fake Twitter accounts.
American Express. Blogging: OPEN Forum.
American Legacy Foundation. Social Networks: MySpace, Bebo, hi5, xanga, Facebook, and Ning pages.
American Red Cross. Blogging: Red Cross Chat.
Animal Planet. Widgets: Killer Clips widget on Yahoo.
Annie’s Homegrown. Blogging: Bernie’s Blog (offline).
AOL. Blogging: Vincent Ferrari tries to cancel his account.
Blogging: iPod’s dirty little secret.
Social networks: Apple Students group on Facebook.
ArcelorMittal. Virtual worlds: Second Life presence.
Artful Home. Social networks: Community site.
Microblogging: ATTNews, ATTblueroom, and OnwardSmallBiz on Twitter.
Online video: Share AT&T channel on YouTube.
Photosharing: Flickr photostream.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Austin Ventures. Social networks: Facebook page.
Avaya. Blogging: The Contact Center Insights Blog.
Avis. Blogging: We Try Harder.
Social media press release: Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.
Social networks: Canada Breast Cancer Crusade on Facebook.
BAE Systems. Blogging: Graduate blog.
Bank of America:
Online video: Managers sing at a corporate meeting.
Social networks: Small Business Community on Clearspace. Medal Me! Facebook application.56
Bayer. Blogger outreach: Berocca Blogger Relief pack.
BBVA. Social networks: Finance community.
Blogging: New Thinking For a Changing World.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Wiki: MIKE2.0 Methodology.
Best Buy:
Blogging: CMO Barry Judge’s blog.
Microblogging: Barry Judge on Twitter. Community Connection Manager, too.
Online Video: Geek Squad HQ on YouTube.
Social networks: Created Blue Shirt Nation to allow retail employees to support each other.
Widgets: Desktop Planner widget and Sarah Moulton Recipe Reminder on Yahoo.
Best Western. Blogging: On the Go with Amy travel blog focuses on travel with kids.
Big Rock Brewery:
Blogging: Friends of Big Rock blog.
Bookmarking: StumbleUpon account.
Meetup: Friends of Big Rock.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube account.
Photo sharing: Flickr group pool.
Social networks: Facebook group. Friends of Big Rock. MySpace group.
Voting: Digg account.
Bigelow Tea:
Social Networks: MySpace and Facebook pages.
Blogging: Bigelow Blog.
Blendtec. Online video: YouTube channel has almost 100,000 subscribers and over 2.2 million views, helps sell B2B products to a consumer base.
BMW. Social networks: Facebook 1-Series Road Trip application. Rampenfest fan page.
Boeing. Blogging: Randy’s Journal. Tanker Facts blog.
Bon Appétit Magazine. Social networks: Facebook page.
Borax. Social networks: Dirty Girl Quiz Facebook application.
BreakingPoint Labs:
Blogging: Corporate blog
Microblogging: Twitter account.
British Airways:
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Social Networks: Metrotwin community.
Brooklyn Museum. Social networks: Click! crowd-curated exhibition, Posse community, ArtShare Facebook application.
BSkyB. Social network: Facebook.
BT. Blog: Insight blog.
Burton. Microblogging: storedotburton on Twitter.
Community: Netvibes Universe including blogs, bookmarking, online video, slide sharing, virtual worlds, and wikis.
Carnival Cruise Lines. Social networks: Carnival Connections community.
Cavidi. Blogging: HIV Viral Load.
Charles Schwab. Social networks: Money and More community with Communispace increased Gen X customer base 32% year/year (now offline).
Crowdsourcing: Super Bowl 2007 ad contest.
Social networks: Aveo Livin’ Large Campus Challenge generated 217 million audience impressions.
Chevron. Blogging: Event blog during the World Petroleum Congress.
Chrysler. Blogging: The Firehouse, a media blog for journalists and analysts. Corporate blog.
Cisco. Blogging: Twelve corporate blogs.
Clorox. Blogging: Dr. Laundry.
CNN. Microblogging: Political Ticker on Twitter.
Blogging: Coca-Cola Conversations discusses company history.
Online video: Sponsored Cans Professional 3. Diet Coke + Mentos by Eepybird.
Social networks: Sprite Sips and CokeTag Facebook applications.
Virtual Worlds: Virtual Thirst contest in Second Life to design a vending machine.
Widgets: Coke Bubbles on Joost.
Blogging: Bob Garfield’s Comcast Must Die.
Microblogging: Customer support on Twitter.
Online video: Sleeping technician on YouTube.
Common Wealth credit union (Canada). Social networks: Young & Free Alberta, which led to $3.6 million in new funds.
Conde Nast Traveler. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Crest. Social networks: Facebook page.
Cubby Bernstein:
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Social networks: BroadwaySpace. Facebook fan page and assistant’s fan page. MySpace profile.
Daimler AG:
Blogging: Das Daimler-Blog.
Content aggregation: FriendFeed account.
Online Video: Daimler-Blog YouTube channel.
Photo sharing: Flickr photostream.
Presentation sharing: SlideShare space.
Darden School of Business:
Blogging: Dean Bruner’s blog. Admissions News blog.
Podcasting: Podcasts@Darden.
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Del Monte:
Brand monitoring: Used JD Power/Umbria to listen to conversations from dog owners.
Social networks: Created a virtual private community called I Love My Dog (offline) to support R&D efforts.
Blogging: Direct2Dell generates 3.5 million pages views/month. Nine official internal blogs and hundreds of team/departmental blogs in English, Chinese, Japanese, French Canadian, Portuguese, and Spanish.9 Dell Hell. Osaka flaming laptop.
Brand Monitoring: Uses conversation monitoring from Visible Technologies.
Crowdsourcing: Ideastorm allows users to suggest and vote on ideas, has generated 9,800+ ideas. Employee storm, internal idea community has generated over 2,700 ideas.
Microblogging: 22 corporate accounts on Twitter, as well as 17+ individuals using “[Name]AtDell” handles
Virtual Worlds: Second Life island.
Deloitte. Social networks: D Street internal network.
Delta Air Lines:
Blogging: Under the Wing.
Microblogging: Short-lived Twitter account during brand redesign.
Online video: YouTube account.
Photo sharing: Flickr photostream and group pool.
Social networks: Delta’s Force for Global Good on Facebook.
Detroit Pistons. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Domino Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Doritos. Crowdsourcing: Consumer-generated Super Bowl ads.
Dove. Online video: dove evolution video on YouTube has generated over 7 million views.
Dwell magazine. Social networks: Dwell Connect.
eBay. Wikis: Broadly focused community wiki (now closed).
Edelman. Blogging: CEO Richard Edelman and Edelman Digital blogs.
Electronic Arts:
Online video: Integration of YouTube videos into the upcoming Spore video game.
Social networks: Smarty Pants, Spore, and Warhammer applications on Facebook.
Blogging: Sixteen employee blogs.
Brand monitoring: Using Collective Intellect.
Content aggregation: Friendfeed account.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Organization: Dan Schwabel, Social Media Specialist.
Photosharing: Flickr account.
Social Networks: EMC ONE internal network. Documentum on Facebook.
Ernst & Young. Social networks: Careers page on Facebook.
Eukanuba. Online video: YouTube account.
Blogging: Free Credit Report band blog.
Online video: YouTube account.
ExxonMobil. Microblogging: “Janet” was a fake Twitter account.
Facebook. Blogging: Corporate blog.
Blogging: Movie blog.
Social networks: Movie Pong Facebook application.
Federal Citizen Information Center. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Fidelity Investments:
Mashups: savings rate finder and checking account comparison.
Podcasts: Three topics relating to investment guidance.
Widgets: market monitor.
Blogging: Fisk-A-Teers blog.
Social networks: Fisk-A-Teers brand ambassador program.
Flying Dog Brewery. Crowdsourcing: Suggestion box.
Food Safety Information Center. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Blogging: Sponsored a test drive event for women bloggers. Where are the Joneses? blog.
Microblogging: FordDriveOne on Twitter. Twitter account for North America.
Organization: Hired Scott Monty to run social media.
Social networks: Ford Drives U Facebook group for student buyers. Where are the Joneses? group.
Wiki: Where are the Joneses?
WOM campaign: Hurra Torpedo campaign
Forrester Research:
Blogging: Twelve corporate blogs
Discussion boards: Interactive Marketing discussion boards.
Microblogging: Twitter account
Online video: YouTube channel
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
FujiFilm. Social networks: Z Spot Now for its Z20fd camera on Ning.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Podcasting: Gartner Voice.
General Electric. Blogging: From Edison’s Desk.
General Mills. Social networks: Eat Better America.Pssst.
General Motors.
Blogging: Seven corporate blogs. GM Facts and Fiction. GM Next.
Microblogging: GMblogs on Twitter.
Online video: I Got Shotgun.
Global Crossing. Blogging: IP Convergence.
Goodwill. Blogging: DC Fashion blog.
Blogging: Official Blog and 30+ other corporate blogs.
Online video: Google channel on YouTube.
Gourmet Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
GourmetStation. Blogging: Delicious Destinations.
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Blogging: alliconnect.
Social networks: myAlli weight loss community.
Guardian. Blogging: Comment is free.
H&M. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
H&R Block:
Microblogging: Twitter account with almost 600 followers.
Social networks: Facebook fan page with almost 1,000 fans.
Harley-Davidson. Blogging: Museum blog.
HBO’s True Blood:
Blogging: Bloodcopy and Tru Blood blogs.
Microblogging: Sookie Stackhouse character account.
Hearst. Social networks: Spin The Bottle Facebook application.
Heinz. Online video: YouTube contest
Hershey’s. Blogger outreach: Bliss House Party, generated 15,000 blog posts.
Blogging: 55 corporate blogs.
Microblogging: Twitter account used for promotions at BlogHer 2008.
Hitachi. Blogging: Six corporate blogs.
HomeGoods. Blogging: Openhouse blog, written by four customers, unpaid.
Honda. Widgets: Honda Fit Top Videos widget on Yahoo.
HSBC. Social networks: Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off on Facebook. The HSBC Business Network for entrepreneurs.
Blogging: 125 corporate blogs.
Forums: developerWorks.
Microblogging: Smart SOA SocialNetwork ((S3N)) Team on Twitter
Online video: Rational Heroes machinima videos and Meet Mr. Fong on YouTube.
Podcasting: developerWorksand Social Networking Now
Social networks: Rational Heroes community space.
Strategy: internal social computing guidelines
Virtual Worlds: IBM Business Center and Rational Software Conference/Hipihi in Second Life.
Wikis: developerWorks
Blogging: Blogger relations with Jen Segrest of OHIkea, creator of “Saint Tokig” and forced to change her blog name to “FlatPack Ohio.” Ikea Hacker. Ikea Fans.
Online video: Video sharing (Sweden)
Social networks:Community (Singapore). Facebook fan group.
Indium Corporation.49 Blogging: Nine corporate blogs.
innocent drinks:
Photo sharing: Flickr pool for the big knit.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Instituto de Empresa Business School. Social networks: ieCommunities.
Blogger outreach: Intel Insider program.
Blogging: Corporate family of blogs.Inside Scoop lifestyle blog. Game Faces blog.34
Microblogging: Intel Developer Forum and Inspired By Education.
Online video: YouTube account.
Photo sharing: Flickr photostream.
Public Relations: Social media news releases.
Social networks: Facebook Intel Developer Forum, Inspired By Education, and International Science and Engineering Fair pages. Intel Studios for unsigned musicians. Open Port for IT Pros. Intel Software Network Communities.
Sponsorships: PopURL collection for IT Pros. Digg Labs Visual Arc. Slashdot meet the experts.
Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts. Blog: Intercontental travelogue.
Blogging: TurboTax support team blog. Bob Meighan’s Amazon Blog.
Crowdsourcing: Suggestion box.
Microblogging: 25+ employee accounts on Twitter to answer product questions.46
Online video: QuickBooks account on YouTube.TurboTax Tax Laugh on YouTube.51
Ratings and Reviews: TurboTax
Social networks: Corporate umbrella fan page on Facebook. TurboTax Support community. QuickBooks community.JumpUp community for new businesses.TurboTax Inner Circle Community.
Wiki: TaxAlmanac.
Online video: Fake teen sex ad.
Social networks: on Facebook
Widgets: JCPToday desktop widget
Online video: YouTube Jeep channel.
Photo sharing: Flickr pool.
Social networks: Facebook fan page. MySpace page. Jeep community
Blogging: “JetBlue hostage” blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube channel for corporate communications. Valentine’s Day 2006 meltdown.
Photo sharing: Flickr pool.
Social networks: JetBlue University.
Jobster. Social networks: Facebook application.
Johnson & Johnson.
Blogs: JNJ BTW. Kilmer House – history blog.
Events: Camp Baby 2008 for mommy bloggers.
Online video: J&J health channel on YouTube.
Social networks: Facebook Acuminder application and ADHD Moms fan page.
Joffrey’s. Outreach: Java Beta Test. Results include new flavor and name.
Kago Kamine & Solar (Fireplaces & Solar). Corporate Blog:
Kaiser Permanente. Blogging: Dr. Maring’s Farmers’ Market and Recipe Update
Keen Footwear. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Blogging: KFC Nation Citizen Blogs.
Social networks: KFC Nation. Facebook fan page.
Kia Motors. Blogging: Kia BUZZ blog.
Blogging: Let It Out blog.
Social Networks: Let It Out community.
Blogging: A Thousand Words, Grow Your Biz, and PluggedIn blogs.
Microblogging: Chief Blogger and Chief Biz Dev Officer on Twitter.
Online video: YouTube channel
Organization: Hired a Chief Blogger.
Photo sharing: Flickr photostream
Podcasting: Kodak Close Up.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Tagging: delicious account.
Blogging: Adam and Tyler.
Social networks: One Minute Mogul Facebook application. First Taste product sampling community.
Blogging: Lock picking secrets revealed.Unbreakable Bonds blog.
Organization: Director, Web/Social Media, Donna Tocci.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
L’Oreal. Blogging: Vichy character blog and relaunch.
LaFraise. Blogging: Corporate blog.
Lenovo. Blogging: Voices of the Olympic Games, with assistance from Ogilvy. Personal blog of David Churbuck, VP of global web marketing.
LG. Blogging: The Official Blog of LG.
Library of Congress. Blogging: Official blog.
Linden Lab:
Corporate blog.
Online video.
Photosharing: Flickr group pool.
Virtual worlds: Second Life.
LinkedIn. Blogging: Corporate blog.
Loblaws. Ratings and reviews: Incorporated user-generated content into promotional materials to generate lift, using Bazaarvoice.
Lucky Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Blogging: Adventures in self-publishing.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Social networks: Mini-store application on Facebook.
M/A/R/C Research. Blogging: CEO Merrill Dubrow’s blog.
Marriott. Blogging: CEO blog.
Masi Bicycles. Blogging: Masiguy.
Mattel. Social networks: The Playground Community.
Mayo Clinic:48
Blogging: News blog.
Online video: Mayo Clinic channel on YouTube.
Podcasting: Medical and Health podcasts.
Social Networks: Fan page on Facebook.
Blogging: Corporate social responsibility blog. Fake Monopoly game blogs. Mom’s Quality Correspondents blog – “real moms” blogging about McDonalds behind the scenes.
Podcasting: Investor relations and other issues.
Social networks: Internal “Mindshare” community powered by Awareness Networks. College Hoops Extra Value Picks Facebook Application.
McKinsey & Company:
Microblogging: McKinsey Quarterly and Business Technology Office on Twitter.
Social networks: McKinsey Quarterly Facebook fan page.
Men’s Vogue Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Mercedes-Benz. Social networks: Generation Benz virtual private community.
Customer support: getSatisfaction page.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Blogging: Community blogs.
Online video: Bring The Love Back and Inspiration, Anyone? videos.
Social networks: Channel 9 developer community. Got Pies, OfficePoke, and Name That Small Business applications on Facebook
Miller Brewing Co. Social networks: Today I’m Toasting Facebook application.
Mini USA. Brand monitoring: MotiveQuest project.
Blogging: Molson in the Community blog.
Microblogging: Employees on Twitter include MolsonFerg, ToniaHammer, and MolsonRoss.
Outreach: Brew 2.0 event.
Social networks: “No. 1 Party School in Canada” contest on Facebook backfires. Or did it?
Monster. Widgets: Monster jobs widget on Apple.
Motorola. Wikis: MOTO Q Wiki with how-tos on using the phone.
Mountain Dew. Discussion Boards: Dewmocracy.
NASA. Microblogging: Twitter account.
National Geographic. Virtual worlds: LA Hard Hats virtual construction site.
National Instruments. Social networks: Nerd network.
National Marine Sanctuaries. Microblogging: Twitter account.
National Science Foundation. Microblogging: Twitter account.
National Women’s Information Center. Microblogging: Twitter account.
NBA. Widgets: 2008 All-Star Ballot widget on Yahoo.
NetShops. Ratings and Reviews from PowerReviews increased sales 26%.3
Blogging: Nike Basketball. Running.Women NFR.
Mashups: Nike 6.0 action sports community.Nike+ running route finder.
Social Networks: Jordan Brand Breakfast Club drew 120,000 members.3
Widgets: Nike+ challenges and goals.
Nikon. Blogging: Marketing blogger outreach campaign. Picturetown outreach campaign.
Nintendo. Online video: YouTube girlfriend on Wii Fit video.
Blogger outreach: WOM World.
Social networks: MOSH.20 Somebody Else’s Phone ad campaign: Anna, Jade, and Luca character pages on Facebook.
Blogging: OpenSkies blog.
Online video: Fly OpenSkies channel.
OpenTable. Social networks: Reservations application on Facebook.
Blogging: Hundreds of blogs.
Crowdsourcing: Oracle Mix.
Microblogging: 110+ employees on Twitter and other services.
Social networks: Oracle community.
Orange. Social networks: unsignedAct promotion.
PacSun. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Blogging: Mommy blogger event.
Social networks: Pampers village.
Paramount Pictures. Social networks: Stop Loss Facebook application.
Patagonia. Blogging: The Cleanest Line.
Peace Corps. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Pep Boys. Crowdsourcing: Suggestion box.
Blogger outreach: Can redesign triple package delivery.
Content aggregation: The Pepsi Cooler.
Organization: Hired Bonin Bough to run social media
PetSmart. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Pfizer. Widgets: Frame-Your-Horse widget on Yahoo.
Pitney Bowes. Blogging: Open Mike CEO blog.
Pizza Hut. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Microblogging: Twitter account for customer support.
Social networks: Community site.
Blogging: Pontiac Underground.
Social Network: Pontiac Pulse.
PR Newswire:
Blogging: ProfNet Post
Microblogging: 20+ employee accounts and three corporate accounts
Photosharing: Flickr photostream
Social Networks: Three fan pages on Facebook, including PR Newswire for Journalists; News Releases Facebook application.
Tagging: Michael Pranikoff on delicious
Widgets: Eight Google gadgets,
Progress Software.
Blogging: Four corporate blogs, including the SOA Infrastructure Blog.
Microblogging: Three Twitter accounts, including ProgressSW
Social networks: Facebook SOA Infrastructure group.
Progressive Insurance. Widgets: Progressive Traffic widget on Yahoo.
Blogging: Fake ad controversy.
Social networks: Facebook Usain Bolt application.
Blogging: Scratchings-and-Sniffings and PurinaCare Pet Insurance blogs.
Widgets: Yesterday’s News on Yahoo.
Queensboro Shirt. Blogging: Behind the Seams.
Blogging: Quizzle, What’s The Diff? blogs.
Crowdsourcing: Quicken Loans and Quizzle on Yahoo! Answers.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube account.
Photosharing: Quizzleblog photos on Flickr.
Reebok. Social networks: Run Easy community. Facebook fan page.
Blogging: Adventures in Organization blog.
Bookmarking: Rubbermaid on StumbleUpon.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube account.
Photosharing: Flickr photostream.
Social networks: Facebook fan page. Crowdsourcing: IdeaExchange has generated 8,300+ ideas.3
Santa Cruz Skateboards. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Microblogging: SamsungMobileUS and The Samsung Instinct on Twitter.
Social networks: Ant Fight Club application on Facebook.
SAP. Social networks: Developer community. Business process expert community. Ecosystem collaboration.
SAS. Blogging: Twelve blogs including A Shot in the Arm and Closing the Intelligence Gap.
Saturn. Social networks: ImSaturn.
Scotland National Health Service. Social Networks: My Community Space
Blogging: Insider’s Network blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Photosharing: Flickr group pool.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Securities and Exchange Commission. Microblogging: Twitter account.
SELF Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Seventeen Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Shop Direct Group (UK). Blogging: Corporate blog. Love Label from Littlewoods Direct.
Siemens. Widgets: NCAA basketball widget on Yahoo.
Silk Soy Milk. Social networks: Green Caps for Green Energy Facebook application.56
Simon School, U of Rochester. Blogging: Communications, Admissions, and Women’s Entrepreneurs Blogs.
Skittles. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Skype. Blogging: Business blog.
Slice Media:
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Social Networks: Facebook fan page.
Sonic Drive-In. Widgets: Gift List Manager widget on Yahoo.
Sony Electronics. Blogging: Sony Electronics blog. Fake PSP blog in 2006.
Southwest Airlines.
Blogging: Nuts About Southwest.
Microblogging: SouthwestAir on Twitter.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Photo sharing: Flickr group.
Widgets: Ding!
Splenda. Virtual Worlds: Second Life island.
Spreadshirt. Blogging: Corporate blog.
Spring Awakening musical:
Blogging: Totally TRUCKED! blog.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Crowdsourcing: My Starbucks Idea, over 50,000 ideas submitted.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Starwood Hotels. Blogging: The Lobby.
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Social networks: Facebook group.
StubHub. Social networks: Concert Scene Facebook application.
Subaru. Social networks: Subaru Owners Connection community which increased purchase intent 68% and converted seven sales.
Sun Microsystems.
Blogging: 4,600+ Sun-related blogs.
Online video: YouTube account.
Sybase. Blogging: Thirteen employee blogs.
Sydney Writers’ Centre:
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Podcasting: interviews with authors.
Social networks: Facebook fan page. MySpace page.
Blogging: Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile demands that the Engadget Mobile blog discontinue using the color magenta.
Social networks: Transmission with T-Mobile music show on Bebo.
Wiki: Sidekick wiki.
Taco Bell. Social networks: Facebook fan page and I Love Taco Bell application.
Blogging: Times Square billboard situation.
Social Networks: Facebook fan page. Dorm Survival Guide application with 7,000+ members on $500,000 budget. Facebook WOM campaign.
Widgets: Four widgets on Yahoo.
Teen Vogue. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Blogging: 14 blogs under the now we are talking banner
Podcasting: now we are talking podcast
Texas Instruments. Blogging: DSP blog.
The Economist. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
The Home Depot:
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Ratings and reviews: Bazaarvoice’s Ask & Answer
Tagging: Social bookmarking in several content areas
The New York Times:
Blogs: 60+ content blogs.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Social Networks: TimesPeople – article sharing in Firefox. News quiz Facebook application and fan page.
The New Yorker. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
The Nielsen Company. Social networks: Hey! Nielsen media commentary community.
The Wall Street Journal:
Blogs: 40+ content blogs.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
The Weather Channel. Widgets: The Weather Channel Mac widget on Apple.
Timberland. Social networks: Earthkeepers application on Facebook.56
TJ Maxx:
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Social networks: What’s In community.
Toyota Motor Company:
Blogging: Open Road Blog.
Brand monitoring: Client of Nielsen Online.
Microblogging: Open Road on Twitter.
Virtual worlds: Toyota Metapolis.
Widgets: Fantasy Football widget on Yahoo.
Transportation Security Adminstration:
Blogging: Evolution of Security blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
Travel Channel. Social networks: Kidnap! application on Facebook.
Turkey Hill. Blogging: Ice Cream Journal.
Tyson Foods:16
Blogging: Tyson Hunger Relief.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
United Kingdom government:
Microblogging: Twitter account
Online video: Number10 channel on YouTube
Photosharing: Flickr photostream
United States Army. Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States Department of Homeland Security:
Blogging: Leadership Journal blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States Department of State.
Blogging: Dipnote blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States government:
Microblogging: Spanish portal Twitter account.
Social networks: A-Space intelligence community with CIA, FBI, and NSA.
United States House of Representatives. Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States Joint Forces Command. Microblogging: Twitter account.
United States Navy. Social networks: Navy For Moms.
United States Office of Personnel Management. Microblogging: Twitter account.49
United States Senate. Microblogging: Twitter account.
Vanity Fair:
Blogging: Five corporate blogs.
Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Blogging: Policy Blog.
Brand monitoring: Using JD Power/Umbria to listen.
Victoria’s Secret. Social networks: PINK fan page on Facebook.
Virgin America. Microblogging: Twitter accounts for information and sales.
Visa. Social networks: Visa Business Network application on Facebook.
W Magazine. Social networks: Facebook fan page.
Blogging: Check Out, a blog written by buyers. Fake blog: Walmarting Across America. Detractor blogs: Wal-Mart Watch and Working Families For Walmart?
Social networks: Facebook Roommate Style Match application. The Hub. Elevenmoms community.
Wear-Dated Carpet:
Blogging: The Carpetology Blog.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Photosharing: Flickr group pool.
Social networks: Friends of Wear-Dated and Wear-Dated carpet Facebook fan pages.
Wells Fargo:
Blogging: Four corporate blogs.
Online video: YouTube channel.
Social networks: MySpace profile for Cassie, from Stagecoach Island. Facebook Stagecoach Island application and fan page.
Virtual worlds: Stagecoach Island.
Wharton School of Business. Blogging: MBA Admissions blog.
Whirlpool. Podcasting: Developed and sponsors The American Family.
Whole Foods:
Blogging: Whole Story blog.
Microblogging: Twitter account
Wiggly Wigglers:32
Blogging: Corporate blog.
Podcasting: Wiggly Podcast.
Social networks: Facebook group.
Social networks: Facebook application.
Widgets: Fan Nation News widget on Yahoo.
Xerox. Blogging: 11 corporate blogs.
Yahoo! Blogging: Search blog.
Yoplait. Blogging: Bravo la petite fleur!
Yum! Brands:
Blogging: CEO David Novak has an internal blog.
Brand monitoring: Nielsen Online and Radian6.
Online video: vermin issues.
Outreach: World Hunger Relief Week.
Blogging: 13 corporate blogs.
Crowdsourcing: Suggestion box.
Microblogging: Multiple Twitter accounts, including CEO Tony Hsieh.

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Top Ten SOCIAL Media Stories of 2010

Since MySpace’s founding in 2002, social networking sites have changed quite a bit. Through the rise and development of more and more networks–MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and beyond–we have seen time and time again that social media is a constantly evolving entity, one that’s difficult to pin down easily. 2009 was no different. From the enormous valuations and market-changing acquisitions down to the small ways in which social networking is affecting our lives, 2009 rocked the social Web. Here we look at the ten biggest social media stories of the year.

1. Twitter valuation at $1 billion

In case you missed it, Twitter blew up this year. It was just a small sign of things to come when the site noted 5x normal tweets per second on Inauguration Day on January 20th. For the first half of the year, the micro-blogging service experienced a rocket-ship trajectory. Twitter received so much media attention that in June it was calculated that the site had received $48 million in free media coverage. Growth of the site reached such incredible heights in the first six months that CEO Evan Williams had to assure everybody that the growth plateau in the second half of 2009 was only temporary. The Twitter noise may have reached the peak of its crescendo in September, when, in anticipation of the startup’s closing of a $100 million Series D funding round, rumors swirled that investors valued the company at $1 billion. On top of everything else, the Global Language Monitor named “Twitter” the top word of 2009:

“In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words,” said a Global Language Monitor spokesperson.

2. Facebook buys FriendFeed

Facebook goes cash-flow positive (September). Facebook hits 300 million users (also September). Facebook shares rise 42% in four months (November). Facebook hits 350 million users (December). There were a lot of notable Facebook stories this year and most of them simply reiterated the same thing in different words: “Facebook is still growing. A lot.” One story, however, underscores how Facebook is becoming a notable and viable acquirer. In August, Facebook made a combined $15 million cash and $32.5 million stock purchase of microblogging site FriendFeed. To the dismay of FriendFeed fans, Facebook was motivated simply to purchase the staff behind the technology at FriendFeed, leaving the service to see no future development. Though we have not yet seen any tangible results from FriendFeed developers moving over to Facebook, for now we can only assume that they are working on something awesome.

3. EA acquires Playfish for $275 million

As the Web continues to evolve, it seems like social media is changing the way we do just about everything. The video game industry, which for years has pushed towards the biggest, loudest, most powerful consoles yet, got a bit of a wake-up call in early November when Electronic Arts, one of the world’s largest third-party game publishers, paid $275 million in cash for a little social gaming company called Playfish. If Playfish meets certain criteria by the end of 2011, Playfish’s former owners could receive another $100 million. That’s a lot of money for a company that designs poker and restaurant games, free games that collect revenue via the sale of virtual goods, solely for social networking sites like Facebook. EA foresees mobile and online games will continue to make up more and more of the gaming industry in 2010. In attracting one of the most well-known game publishers and in reaching nearly 60 million monthly active users worldwide, Playfish is proving that social games like Pet Society, Restaurant City, and Country Story are here to stay.

4. Zynga worth $1 billion

A couple of weeks after EA’s acquisition of Playfish, speculation arose that Zynga – a Playfish competitor and the leading social gaming company today – was worth about $1 billion, since EA paid 3-4 times the revenue generated by Playfish. With incredibly popular games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille, Zynga sees 100 million monthly unique visitors and has registered over 200 million active users. FarmVille, the most popular social networking game ever with almost 75 million monthly active users, has been expanded by Zynga to a stand-alone site, where users sign in with Facebook Connect. Despite some controversy over scam offers made via advertising in Zynga games, which the company has since made efforts to diminish, Zynga is yet another example of social gaming on the rise. [Note: Zynga CEO Mark Pincus is presenting a keynote at Vator Splash on February, 4, 2010 in San Francisco. Mark your calendars.]

5. MySpace acquires iLike for $20 million

ILike’s sale to MySpace underscores that it’s a hit or miss world out there. While iLike had significant traffic of some 55 million users, and had grown to be one of the most popular social music discovery services with applications on Facebook, Orkut, hi5 and Bebo, it only fetched $20 million in a buyout by MySpace. The sales price puts iLike in a stark juxtaposition to Zynga – which is estimated to be worth $1 billion, and underscores the uncertainty of a startup’s future and exit when there is no monetization plan in sight. While iLike appeared to be on the road to greatness with its 55 million users, its exit valuation clearly signaled that unless a company knows how to monetize its users, the market won’t pay up.

6. MOL acquires Friendster

Friendster, the first mover and pioneer of social networks, made the last big social media news of the year (unless something else happens in the next two weeks) by being acquired by MOL Global, a Malaysian online payments company. Though financial details have not been disclosed, there are estimates that MOL paid up to $100 million in the deal. Though you may have forgotten all about Friendster, the 2002-founded social network is still huge in Asia, where it has 75 million registered users–90% of the entire site’s membership. Having raised just over $45 million since its founding as the original social network, this Silicon Valley darling may have led us to expect more from its exit. Nevertheless, MOL, already having implemented various payment systems into Friendster, will certainly enjoy the benefits of owning the actual network.

7. Citizen Journalism

When that US airways plane crash landed into the Hudson River in January, Twitter was the first one to let us know. And in June, when masses of demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran to express anger at a questionable presidential election in Iran, we only heard the dissent’s oft-censored voice because its community managed to find ways onto social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. We can only guess at how many people first heard about Michael Jackson’s death through a status update. As social sites grow in popularity, they become more powerful hubs of communication, and so it is only natural that in 2009 we experienced the rise of a new era of citizen journalism. YouTube even launched a Reporters’ Center to teach the basics on reporting the news. While there have been some less pretty side effects (like businesses jumping on trends for free advertising or uninformed “reporters” kindling false rumors), citizen journalism has the awesome potential to give a lot of power back to the people. Why else would censorship-heavy countries like China be so preoccupied with blocking social networking sites?

8. The Rise of Augmented Reality

Smartphones are very powerful devices. So powerful, in fact, that the tech industry has coined a phrase, “augmented reality,” to refer to an emerging form of reality, made accessible, supplemented, and molded by mobile applications. Aloqa, for example, notifies you through your mobile device of nearby hotspots, Facebook friends, or interesting events. Gowalla, which raised $8.3 million this year, is another location-based social networking service all about sharing and discovering new and interesting places in the world. Similarly, Aha Mobile informs users about traffic conditions in real-time. Probably the most popular augmented reality app is Foursquare, an application available for iPhone, Android, and other devices that has slowly been building a dedicated community of users obsessed with finding and sharing the coolest locations within cities. These technologies, just now emerging, signal the start of a new era of mobile social media.

9. Google + Bing go real-time

If you still think Twitter and other social sharing sites are just noise, then you’ll have to explain why Bing and Google are all about incorporating real-time in search results. Bing went there first, creating a branch off its main search engine called Bing Twitter, where users can search the Web via Twitter’s real-time updates. But Google took it one step further when it announced last week that relevant real-time updates would be implemented directly into Google search results. Not only that, but while the page remains open, the stream will automatically update in real-time. Coupled with an October update which includes forum posts in search results, these updates show just important user-generated content has become.

10. US Government 2.0

Partisan politics aside, we can probably all agree that the current administration’s ability to take full advantage of social media capabilities is a good thing. From Facebook to Twitter, President Obama’s fleet of advisers and assistants have created profiles to keep the public constantly updated about the goings-on at the White House. Videos on YouTube and Vimeo of presidential speeches, photos of meetings between diplomats, and a constant stream of executive updates made available across multiple sites may have made this administration the most accessible that it has ever been. Similarly, the US Army has gone to great lengths setting up multiple accounts across all the most popular social networking sites in order to get the most direct access with possible recruits. On the other hand, troops have had to deal with mixed and confused orders over the use of social networking while serving, as policies teetered constantly between full access and an all-out ban. Still, the government’s embrace of social media is just one more sign (as if we needed more) of the massively growing influence of online networking.


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