Posts Tagged ‘Empire Avenue’

The Great Fracture

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by Geoff Livingston 23 Comments

Petermann Glacier September 2008 [High Res]
Image by NASA

Every mature market experiences rising competition that carves off specialized pieces of the leaders’ established footprint. It’s how Southwest, JetBlue and others brought the major traditional airlines to their knees (and bankruptcy). For social networking leaders, the great fracture is upon them. Those of us on the front line are left to pick networks and tools.

Facebook has run away with the race. Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of smaller social networks have taken their seats behind the leader. Yet as time continues, more and more niche networks like Tumblr, Instagram, shiny object du jour Pinterest, Reddit and others carve off their piece of the pie.

The phenomena of so many social media choices has moved from creating to social media fatigue for the most faithful to full-on overload. Even the most tech savvy people find themselves making tough choices.


The State of Influencer Theory Infographic

Posted on: July 15th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 18 Comments

The State of Influencer Theory

The above infographic — “The State of Influencer Theory” (download here) — was published today as part of a primer on influence theory that appeared in SmartBrief on Social Media. The post updates a section of Welcome to the Fifth Estate to include leaderboard theory, such as Klout and Empire Avenue.

Addressing some issues pointed out in “Infographics: Art or Porn,” this graphic is designed by Jess3 (thank you, Jesse and Leslie), the industry leader in online data visualization. The infographic fits on one screen view. Because the graphic depicts people and theories, it is designed as a fun, cartoonesque map that illustrates the evolution of theory, creating a pop art element to it. The downloadable graphic is licensed as Creative Commons (with attribution), is high resolution, and can be made into a poster or screen wallpaper.

The key for the data elements in the graphic can be found in the companion post and is listed below:

The Tipping Point (2000) by Malcolm Gladwell – Movements are caused by three types of influencers; connectors, mavens (subject matter experts) and salesmen. Examples: Old Spice Guy, Dell Listens.

Six Degrees/Weak Ties (2003) by Duncan Watts — Data analysis shows influencers rarely start contagious movements, instead average citizens provide the spark. Examples: Egyptian Revolution, Tumblr – Digg Events.

One Percenters (2006) Jackie Huba & Ben McConnell – It is the content creators amongst Internet communities that drive online conversations. Examples: Lady Gaga, Ford Vista.

The Magic Middle (2006) by David Sifry: The middle tier of content creators and voices break stories and discussing that trickle up into widespread contagious events. Examples: 2008 Obama Election, Motrin Moms.

The Groundswell (2008) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff: Movements start within communities, and leaders rise up out of the community, and can have many roles including content creator, critic and collector. Examples: Haiti Earthquake Texting, Pepsi Refresh.

Trust Agents (2009) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith – Influencers are people who build online trust and relationships whose communities look to them for advice and direction. Examples: Gary Vaynerchuk (WineLibrary.TV), Republican Party’s #FirePelosi Campaign.

Free Agents (2010) by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine – These trusted influencers are independent of traditional command and control organizations, and crash into the walls of storied cultures. Examples: @BPGlobalPR, Robert Scoble at Microsoft – Channel 8

Leaderboards (2010-11): Influence can be quantified by online actions taken by a person’s community, including retweets, mentions, comments and more. Examples: Klout, Empire Avenue.

Because the article is meant to serve as an objective primer on well-discussed theories, there’s little opinion about which theories work and don’t. You do see some alignment in the graphic of top down versus bottom up theories, as well as the basic offsetting of these two theory families, with Gladwell and Watts taking opposite sides. However, there is much to say from an opinion standpoint, and it will be said here next week. :)

5 Social Media Distractions

Posted on: May 9th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 17 Comments

Soleil In Her Exerciser

When there are more choices and conversations to spend time on, one can easily become distracted. Social media as an industry has created many distractions — some of which are enjoyable, some not — that can easily cause one to lose focus. This makes time prioritization and good decision making a critical skill set. Experience shows making a conscious choice to focus on what matters, individual professional and/or personal goals, makes a huge difference.

Here are five social media items that in hindsight have been personal distractions:

1) The A-List

It’s easy to become annoyed with the A-List. The fodder is endless, whether it’s their lack of originality, the ridiculous posturing and ensuing absurd behavior, or a ridiculous stream of bad practices retweeted by hundreds or thousands. Oh yes, spending time on the ills of leading A-List voices is very easy.

Overfocusing on the A-List is like feeding the trolls. The more you talk about them positively or negatively, the more you increase their stature. Further when talking about them as A-Listers rather than people just like us, you put them above yourself, lowering your market stature. Ironic, given that most of these conversations seek to reduce the barriers between the top and middle tiers of blogging voices.

In the end, negative or positive discussions about popular content producers only distracts one from pursuing their dreams. Just like Albert Einstein said ‘What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.’ So focus on what is right and matters to you. Focus on your business or personal dreams, reward those that merit praise (without labels), and ignore the rest.

2) Mistaking Attention for Respect

Balancing online presence and wasting time is always a difficult thing. But there are many people who spend their entire day on social networks or talking about social media while their business bombs. Or competitors outflank them while they are playing on Empire Avenue or Angry Birds, or some other nonsense. Meanwhile there are people receiving much less attention who are pulling down big contracts, spending time with their families, and achieving great things, like raising $20,000 for charity, successfully concluding a business, or changing the way news is reported.

Real results earn respect, while a big social network presence, well, that just equals a lot of attention. Understanding that online attention is not the same as a real outcome — personal or business — is the realization that online popularity can become a distraction.

3) Rankings

Windmills in Schermerhorn
Image by eric van der eijk

Measuring one’s performance against their peers has been an easy distraction, bothersome or pleasing, in nature. But while rankings like the Ad Age 150 provide a barometer for general intra-industry performance (or at least popularity), they don’t mean much to customers.

Yes, online engagement is important and demonstrating you can actually walk the social media talk matters. At the same time, writing for a stakeholder group like CMOs may be much more important to you than getting the most retweets. What is the goal? This is the difference between quantifying and qualifying online worth. Does it really make sense to compare yourself to others? Never lose sight of the big picture, otherwise you’ll find yourself chasing phantom windmills.

4) Gossip and What He/She Said

The rumor mill is thick in social media. Sure, it’s fun. So what? How does this help you achieve goals? Ever count how much time you are spending talking about other people rather than focusing on your business or goals? Notice the similarity between this one and the A-List. It’s just another form of the same problem, except a bit nastier. Enough said.

5) Social Media Conferences

Rare is the intra-industry social media conference that produces actual business. SxSW and the defunct Gnomedex are the only two that come to mind. SOBCon has been very educational from an online business owner’s perspective. The rest, well, they are great to see your online friends. If you have family and business objectives to achieve, while enjoyable, social media specific conferences tend to waste time, unless it is how you choose to spend vacation. Otherwise stick to professional conferences designed for businesses with an online focus or track.

Another way to think about the topic is when you pass from this world, what do you want your digital legacy to be? Are you investing time in what matters? Or are you distracted?