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Google Buzz: #FAIL or Fab?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

For me, Google is the new LinkedIn.

I have a Google account linked to about 20 of Google’s various services. Analytics, YouTube, Reader, Alerts, AdWords, Docs, Maps, FeedBurner, Notebook … and these are all great services that have a huge impact on what I’m able to do via the Internet – as a consumer of information, as a “webmaster” …

The one thing that is absent from my experience with all of these services (for me) is “social.”

I have a gmail account with zero contacts, because it exists only to log me into my other services. I use Google Reader to share what I’m reading – but I do this by running my Reader RSS feed through twitterfeed.com into Twitter. I have subscribers on my FeedBurner account, but I have no idea who they are.

YouTube is social – but I don’t happen to be one of those users that has subscribers or makes comments.

Really, it’s the professional tools that have had me adding connections. Our web team is all on Google Analytics. We use Docs to manage our incoming work requests. And now, I’ve dipped my toe (very shallowly) into Wave to collaborate on a conference.

The thing about professional services … is that these are the people that i want to put up walls with. Not because they aren’t fantastic – I spend more time with them than most of my friends (thanks 9 – 5), but it’s just plain smart to separate personal from private.

So it looks like I’ll be treating Google Buzz (and all Google products) as a professional network. I’ll run my twitter feed through it – because I use Twitter to publish things that I am comfortable with having completely public. Almost 0% of my “personal” social network uses twitter.

There are things that are only of value/interest to my “professional” world, and others that are only of interest/appropriate for my “personal” world. Then there are things that might appeal to either or – especially as both services continue to mainstream and the lines blur.

So what does Google Buzz mean to me? Another service that I will pump my Twitter, Blog and “what I’ve been reading” list through. I’m almost hesitant to even set up a profile – it’s informal/fun fields (super power?) set a tone for glib content that I might live to regret three years down the line when I stumble back across it and realize that my funny-at-the-time answers have been floating online all this time in the background on a network I forgot about because there was no motivation for me ever to come back after filling out the profile back in February 2010.

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Toyota teams up with Digg to answer public questions 0

Toyota teams up with Digg to answer public questions

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Just had this email pop through from Digg.com, asking me to submit my questions for the President of Toyota (in the wake of the potentially soon-to-be largest automobile recall in history).

Toyota has definitely opened itself up here, it will be interesting to see which questions is answers and how.  Here are some samples submitted so far:

How far along is Toyota on moving into some truly gas free cars in the future? Are these kinds of vehicles even possible or feasible in our current lifetime?

I was a General Manager of one of your largest dealerships in the US. I was aware that this problem dates back to 2004. In fact, there was a death involved in a sudden acceleration incident at an Atlantic City Hotel in a Camry that our dealership sold. At this point is Toyota’s posistion going to chage as to the dates involved?

In the world of today, why does Toyota still produce 5 types of SUV’s, is that not excessive?

Mr. Lentz, I’m currently in the market for a new car, and until the recalls, the 2010 Prius was at the top of my list. I’m now back to square one and researching other manufacturers’ hybrids. While Toyota’s issues with acceleration and braking issues may be isolated, it has become clear that your company did not address these issues proactively or in a timely fashion. What is your message to non-Toyota drivers who may still be interested in your cars, but are very concerned about Toyota’s response to the current crisis?

How does Toyota maintain a minimal presence of union activity in its factories?

I have a Prius. I use it to drive around both of my children (ages 6 and 4 months), sometimes our family cat, and our family to the mountains. We drive in the snow, we drive it everywhere. Needless to say, we love this car. Why would you wait for so long to say anything and put all of the above in danger? As a consumer, I purchased a Toyota product because it had a conscience – because it was a thoughtful product. How are you going to right what’s happened and alleviate the concerns about Toyota’s integrity?

Some of these are pretty hardcore – others reminisce about owning a “Toy Yoda” as a child … One thing is true no matter what: These people are asking these questions outside of the Digg site as well, but at least now Toyota is able to collect them – and respond.  They can also see which questions hit home with the largest number of users, thanks to the Digg rating system.  They’ve brought the issue into their own court so to speak, and now they can address the community-prioritized concerns and put them into context, correct any inaccuracies, and repeatedly apologize in public.  The Digg page isn’t showing up in search engines for “toyota,” “toyota recall” or “toyota president” yet – and there is no mention of it on toyota.ca or the Toyota Recall Update page, which makes me wonder how invested Toyota actually is in the process or whether they just haven’t gotten to creating those links yet.

I haven’t really heard much about Digg lately, not compared to a few years ago when it was cooler than sliced bread.  So I looked up it’s Alexa data and it is definitely a little bumpy, but improved from where it was a year ago.  Partnering with topics such as the Toyota recall might really help Digg catch up to the other big social players …

Graph showing 12 months of Digg.com traffic, from Alexa.

Graph showing 12 months of Digg.com traffic, from Alexa.

Graph comparing Digg.com to Facebook, Twitter and Delicious

Graph comparing Digg.com to Facebook, Twitter and Delicious

Screen capture of the Toyota + Digg email I received today

Screen capture of the Toyota + Digg email I received today

Here’s the landing page:

Screen capture of the Toyota + Digg landing page showing Facebook Connect integration and 351 comments so far

Screen capture of the Toyota + Digg landing page showing Facebook Connect integration and 351 comments so far

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Facebook & LinkedIn show better results over time for sharing links

Posted by on Feb 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Our redesigned alumni newsletter was emailed out this past Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, we created 3 separate bit.ly links and used each on a different social network when promoting the online newsletter.
We posted status updates with the links on Twitter and Facebook, and started a discussion including the link on our LinkedIn alumni group.
Twitter started showing clicks immediately, and LinkedIn showed almost no reaction at first. Facebook was somewhere in the middle. After a few hours, Twitter stopped showing activity, Facebook continued to plod along and LinkedIn started showing activity.
In the end, Facebook brought us the highest number of clicks (9 of a total 22). LinkedIn came in second over Twitter (7 of 22), and Twitter brought in 6 (of 22)
Here is a little table:

Population Clicks % that clicked
LinkedIn 2405 7 0.3%
Facebook 638 9 1.4%
Twitter 263 6 2.3%

Observations:

  • Twitter responded the quickest, but had little impact after the first burst
  • Facebook and LinkedIn provided results over time: content on these networks has a longer lifespan
  • Facebook yielded the best return for us but Twitter users were the most engaged
  • The LinkedIn post would have been emailed to the 2,000+ members of the group whereas neither of the other networks would have had this type of support

Overall, I’m glad that there are services such as Seesmic/ping.fm and TweetDeck that streamline this for us – because 22 clicks is not a huge yield out of an overall audience of 3,306 (0.6%). LinkedIn is the service that I haven’t been able to streamline yet, which means that I have to post once to Twitter+Facebook, and then post a second time to LinkedIn – and it’s also the service that had the lower return.

Note: I could probably update all 3 in a single go via ping.fm, so I should look at this with our next announcement (though lately we’ve been trying to do individual posts on each network as much as possible, rather than carbon copies across all three). #hashtags seem to throw off some Facebook users, also Facebook has a higher character count as does LinkedIn, etc.

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2009 Slideshare Statistics: wow, thank you!

Posted by on Feb 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

Slideshare is a fantastic service for sharing presentations (and other things as well) – I repeatedly recommend it here at work and if it isn’t the presentation equivalent of Flickr to photos, I hope that it someday is.

The site sent me an automatic email with the following stats for my 2009 presentations:

Thank you so much to all those that looked at my work – it has been just a fantastic year with opportunities that I couldn’t have imagined even 12 months ago. Thank you specifically to Heather Kerrigan, Ann Hetherington and Brenda Liston-Hanley.

I plan on trying to keep my speaking to weekends only this year – but am excited about my next engagement (on a weekday) where I will be discussing personal brand and online privacy best practices with a group of teenaged young women over at King’s University College.

Thank you again for reading, I feel honoured!

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#heweb09 Increasing Web Usability (with or without a redesign)

Posted by on Oct 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

Notes from #heweb09 presentation – visit http://2009.highedweb.org for abstract & podcast.

Eye Tracking

poynterextra.org/eyetrack2004/hp7.htm > part of an eye tracking study > this is how fast people are looking through your pages.

users will spent at approximately 10 – 15 seconds scanning your site before clicking away – consume about 20%

F Pattern or Golden Triangle (piece of pizza principle) holds true.

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