After listening to a recent TWIT Episode 143
. Apparently Comcast has a team and presence now in the social media space listening to customer concerns and even responding in some instances. So how should corporations approach this?
Business to Business (B2B) level
After some reflection, I think a presence by any and all companies is not just welcome in such a forum, but needed. I have a TweetScan that runs daily looking for postings on a specific software topic. My returned list during the business week consists mainly of 85% complaints. Many of these are misinformed/untrained users or a system where the administrators have no clue on configurations. Think of how perception can be changed by communicating and listening to the needs, wants and concerns of the actual users and not those that pay the big dollars at the corporate level. Companies can create a custom email, RSS feed or even instant searches with such tools as TweetScan (as shown on EverythingTwitter.com
Business to Consumer (B2C) level
I think this takes more than one person to monitor and effectively act upon. If the company is smaller, then it might be possible to have a positive presence by listening, acting and responding timely to the needs and concerns of the consumer. Larger companies with possibly thousands of followers will need a team to handle this.
Currently many companies already have teams in place to handle the constant flow of email that is sent in or submitted via web forms. What is so different in moving to such tools as Twitter. They just came from a phone only support model with tons of operators. Email was the next migration, followed quickly by instant messaging. Now with presence costing tons for companies to have a proper anonymous instant messaging support, free tools such as Twitter beg to be utilized.
I humorously tried to search for some names outside of http://twitter.com/ComcastCares
and found http://twitter.com/TimeWarnerCares
, who knows what else might be out there in alternate names. There were definitely some organizations listed.
I sense a turn of how we interact once again with companies that are getting the impact of the social media space.
Update: I was sent this link
from a comment for a story that Silicon Valley Insider did a few weeks ago.
I saw the write-up and entry on Mashable
about Orgoo. So I headed over since they had some immediate invites to take advantage of. The site is listed to do as follows:
an e-mail/IM integration service that, like goo, sticks together all your different mail accounts, contacts, and IM buddies onto one page
What I didn't expect was the following as shown in this screenshot:
While most sites will not store your information, I would imagine this one does. Well where the hell is the SSL on the site? They are taking all my usernames and passwords for a nice interface with no SSL at least? Then how is the data secured and stored?
I will look at the actual interface and talk about that later, when they fix this glaring issue.
I readily admit I don't always read the help, I like to play around unless I am really stuck. But this was an option I found out purely by accident. There are private rooms in FriendFeed. Below is a cutout from the help file and then a screenshot to show the implementation.
A room is like a mini FriendFeed for a particular subject or group of people. Everyone in your room can share stuff with each other and leave comments that only other people in your room can see. When creating a room, you decide whether to make it public, where anyone can join, or private, where you have to invite or approve each member. You can even have a room with a view by selecting "Show this room's content in my feed" -- this lets you view everything from your rooms in your feed as well, instead of just in the rooms themselves.
As you can see, you get a new tab for rooms and the ability to create your own. This has excellent abilities but then adds to the comment fragmentation we already get from so many sites. So while I like the idea of bringing in feeds/comments that are set for a specific group, I would definitely have to turn on the above feature that puts it into my main stream to keep up.
Also lacking are the abilities to bring in RSS feeds directly to this room. You can only share with a web interface or bookmarklet and create links from there. I would want images, media files and then the commenting ability built on top of that. I also cannot 'like' the posting or comment as I can in the main interface. Apparently this is something that has promise but doesn't have wings yet.
Is anyone using rooms outside of the one I got invited to?
We review Mento
, a social bookmarking and network service rolled into one. Listen in as we give it a rating and talk about the functionality, usability and stickiness.
You can find Corvida on Twitter here
You can find Chris on Twitter here
Music today was brought to you by Drop Trio, via Magnatune
iTunes is now official so you may subscribe there!!!
A recent screen capture of one of many Twitter tools
RSS has become such a high flow, nay a waterfall of information, we are always on the hunt for the better, bigger, stronger feed reader. I have no intention of specifying, recommending or telling you which to get. I will make a bunch of links for options at the end. Instead, I wanted to direct you into what you should look for in your reader and what feedback we need to give the readers developers. The overall theme is I want to spend the minimalist amount of time managing my reader, make it do the work for me to the best possible outcome. Do this from anywhere and be fast at it. A big list, but it can be done
The ability to give more feeds higher importance is a key factor and quite the limiting one at that in selecting a reader. Most of the readers simply let you import, add and watch RSS feeds, no matter what kind they are. But how do I always get the most important ones to the top? A finely tuned ranking system will let you specify particular authors, topics, keywords and postings that should move their way to some form of alternate and pronounced notification. This could be highlighted, always sitting at the top of your reader or it simply moves it's way there. Alphabetical is a nice option when you have a few feeds, but when you reach maximum capacity, it is unacceptable as the only way to view them. Even folders have the same effect, so don't attempt to go there with me.
Now in saying that, ranking needs to be coupled with locating, that I talk about below. A proper reader will take my keywords and add that to not only the weight I manually assign, but make it stronger in ranking when it includes a keyword. Heck, even MarshallK on Twitter liked the fact he could see his feeds by how often he clicked to read more of the feed item. That is taking ranking up a notch if it did the rest.
This is quite simply the easiest portion. I want the same feeds to show as read/unread across multiple machines and devices. Web, mobile and desktop. Let me control how often you expire older entries out in a main profile and then case by case basis. From there, possibly archive them in the same structure I had them for searchable reference. It is just text for gosh sakes all to the same sources. You just need to store my preferences and markings. Make the reader easy on the eyes, transformed for mobility and minimal clicks to get things done lilke sharing, marking, commenting and storing.
Allow for me to specify certain authors, keywords and sites from ever showing. A blacklisting of sorts for my reader. I love this site YY, but never want a posting on ZZ to show in the stream. Not a difficult concept is it?
I hit on this above in rankings and should expand more. Simply forcing me to go and find more feeds in todays massive waterfall is unacceptable. Make the software work for me, not just with me. Let it go find me content based on items I tag the most, read the most or simply specify. Bring me information instead of me having to forage my way and click to add feeds to my readers.
So you may have even one or two more items that are required for your daily ability to keep up. I would love to hear about them. Comment on here or send me a Tweet.
Some choices that I have played with or use.. in no order nor even closely inclusive at all.
for even more, see my Diigo bookmarks right here for another dozen or so..
I ran across NewsCred quite accidentally from an article on TechCrunch
a couple days ago. When I first went into the site, I was unsure what to make of it. Another news site? Yet another place for people to get their blogs listed and then get their friends to vote on it (a la Digg)? Another test of my patience in trying to set up some semblance of a proper newspaper reader? Well, no it wasn't so far.
Upon first glance, you are a bit confused why there is just a listing of articles on the screen with no apparent order reason, yet the outline looks vaguely familiar. It is a newspaper folks. They draw in, and I quote:
3 Tbsp - We took the 100 biggest newspapers by circulation worldwide and extracted all the English language ones.
1 Tpsp - We then took the top 50 US newspapers.
2 Cups - We combined that list with the top 100 blogs ranked by Technorati
From there, the next step is where you take control. You are able to select the news sources you want in each category (ie: world, business, technology, sports, etc) and have those show each time as a custom newspaper. Sources are ranked with credibility scores that has an apparent algorithm behind it. The author of the posting as well as the news source posting the article is accounted for in this mathematical matrix. The matrix then pushes out a graph of credibility by many categories, even with a RSS feed to follow as shown here:
If that is not enough sorting and ranking, each individual article has it's own unique credibility number
So for the layout, newspapers on the left, blogs in the middle and your sources on the right. After about a day of letting it sit and testing it out, I am back and here is what I think the good and the bad is:
- Multiple well known and defined sources of articles from major newspapers
- No way for you to randomly submit feeds as to blow up a site with crap authors and articles
- A relatively simple interface that has some basic cleaning up to do, mainly in the selection area
- Very few ads that disrupt the whole page flow
- The ability to customize each section of the newspaper to your liking
- I can get feeds in all my categories from RSS, yet that stops me from rating the credibility
- An integrated sharing pop-up (but see below)
- Email to is integrated into their site instead of launching your mail client
- A decent user giude, FAQ and 90 second tour, freakin hooray!!
- No apparent way to mark something read, how does it go away? How do I save it for later?
- Credible ratings are not visible on the summary news page, you have to open the article. Showing the number would not kill real estate
- It isn't clear why some articles are discredited, and confuses me if I should read it.
- Even though I do not read the sports section, having more direct sports related sites would benefit them
- I mentioned it above, the RSS feeds are cool but it takes me away from the site, why come back to rate?
- The integrated sharing pop-up is nice but why not let me put some of these social bookmark sites into my profile for easier cross posting. It seems to utilize AddThis.com without any apparent warning, I did not like that since those preferences get stored outside of NewsCred and it is not highlighted in my eyes it was doing it.
- Have the ability to hide my news and blog source selection area to give me back screen real esatate. Wait, then they have to move the simple ads they have, hmm, sounds like a UI design issue here
Overall, a site that I will watch grow and try to use for a while and see if I can get my daily newspaper headline fix. I have some other sites I use regularly, but that is another posting.
A recent search against my blog prompted me to actually define the profile of a social networker with VGS
(click to view the entire series) With the complexity of the affliction, who rightfully falls under the category "Social Networker" ?
Could you point them out in a crowd? Are they required to wear little widgets on their clothes showing their affiliation with specific sites? Would a t-shirt with the words
help the process of identification?
Let's explore some.
An immediate warning sign of an overindulger might be one of the following as the Person in Question does the following:
- has accounts on most major social network sites
- has accounts on most unknown social network sites
- must get access to all beta programs on social network sites
- runs social networking standalone apps (such as Twihrl and Facebook chat clients)
- has added numerous plug-ins to browsers to make accessing social network sites in mass easier
- loaded an application like Flock to attempt bringing sites into one interface
Any of the above alone might make you think you have strongly identified a social networker. But, that really doesn't define a profile of one now does it? It describes behavior and attempt through actions instead.
A true profile is:
- a person with an underlying need to be part of a larger community, either through virtualization or in real life
- Some go so far as to bring the two together by meeting with the virtual community in places such as conferences or gatherings at local bars and Panera's Bread locations
- This person finds themselves knowing more about strangers than family, even with some of the information being falsely presented
- The profile allows some variance for those that actual Google another person to gather as much information to verify what is being told. Others take the word of referrers as a voucher for someone they want as part of their community
- This person finds a fixed set of tools that must be running at all times, even on mobile devices
Another part of the profile is:
- the unwillingness to not be online to keep up with the never ending flow of information presented
- This person will spend hours each day going back through the history of sites to catch up where they went to bed the night or even days before
An advanced profile shows:
- those with higher than average technical skills able to create RSS feeds and Yahoo pipes to stream the information in a cleansed format.
- the ability to bring interaction into web, chat and widgets
- any attempt to find a single tool that not only allows blacklisting of specific information (such as Facebook birthdays), but postings on when someone drinks coffee
As you can see, this is only the beginning of a true serial profile creation process. As the social networker role emerges, we will be able to fully define and point these people out in a crowd. Shirt or no shirt
I have highlighted, defined and explored VGS
the past month or so. Apparently it is an Internet phenomenon with the number of links back and chatter on the pull of Virtual Gratification Syndrome. However, dosage has become the most recent issue. Normally you would get your minimum intake from your news readers and some chat services. More often than not, you would overdose to the point you had to turn some of them off entirely. I watched Scoble do this today when he turned off Twitter and FriendFeed but was soon posting on both again anyway.
Here is how dosage is being affected. With the splitting of content across services, you either have to be on them all, or watch your VGS flare up since you no longer can get everything you want in one place. Cases in point:
- People aren't commenting on blogs as much, they comment on blogs in FriendFeed
- People don't blog as much, they Twitter
- Bookmark services now add up to over 200, which one do you think I use?
- RSS readers are numerous and offer alternate abilities, some just for feeds (a la my Google shared), some for friends and some for social networking around feeds
- People don't send files over email, Drop.io and Pownce are trying to take that market.
So how do you cope? Where do you turn? When you start to get the VGS shakes, do you fire up 17 browser windows, a Twitter client and a multi chat interface (Digsby or Trillian)?
As each new service comes along, a small percentage of poeple move over. Not always because it is new, that is for immediate testing, but the value of the service. Then you have a few choices:
- Create a mega feed as I did in Jaiku long ago
- Pull as many friends with you as you can to the new service and start again
- Leave everyone behind to find you if they want
- Move to the new service and push everything back into it, as I did with Facebook.
So VGS dosage not only comes from the amount of time and energy you put into getting your fix, but the scattering of your suppliers. Do you drive to every new intersection to pick up your fix? Hope a central supplier comes in? Or find new ones where you were before when someone leaves?
Tell me, where is your daily dosage?
Our first site review is on Toluu
, a social RSS feed finder. Listen in as we give it a rating and talk about the functionality, usability and stickiness.
This will replace TheSocialNetworker series as a corporate merger is going on. Ok, not really but the podcast is growing and this will take it to the next level. So give it a shot and if you like it stay subscribed to the new one!!
You can find Corvida on Twitter here
You can find Chris on Twitter here
Music today was brought to you by Drop Trio, via Magnatune
Until iTunes is official you may subscribe right here
I find myself overwhelmed like many of you with enormous amounts of feeds, news and sites that I wish I could absorb in one sitting. I have recently taken a different approach to get back some of my time and allow for exploring more. Let's go into it.
First, there is the news reader dilemma. I know there is specific content I always want to see and topics I wish I could find more on. News readers like Particls
take care of this for me. I not only give it all my feeds to go and find, it also takes key word searches, and key word rankings, to go out and explore and find more articles based on my interests. If I find I am not liking something, I can deny more on that topic, source or even blacklist it all together. THink about this. A newsreader that takes a topic and finds content and feeds instead of specifying feeds and hoping for content (much like you hope from me all the time). Timesaving and absorbing new knowledge is the key here. I have found some online readers that are trying to learn from you and they do ok. But ok is not enough unless you can plug a feeder into my head at night while I sleep. I need finely tuned, cleansed and accurate feeds in a timely basis.
Second there is self built alerts from items like Google and TweetScan. Unless you can watch the public Twitter stream, you miss tons of good links and conversations. Using such tools as TweetScan
, I configure a listing of items to watch and each day it delivers me those Tweets. I can then scan quick and see if I want to comment or even follow that person. Not only have I sparked good conversations, I find new people to follow based on topics they write about. Instead of waiting for people to find me to follow back.
Social aggregators, or alligators. Whatever you want to call them. The large mouth of conversation as people tell us all about their entire life. I did a nice piece comparing aggregation versus lifestreaming a while ago here
. My point is, people control what they put into the stream,. not you deciding. So even with all the good stuff, as soon as someone inserts a site in their stream you don't like, you get the crud too. We need an aggregation service which a person lists all their stuff and then let me pick from there. A tuned and tailored information feed of poeple I want to follow.
Attention profiles. Do they exist in the true sense? How do they know what you attention is? Are things you look at required for work or for outside learning? Attention profiles are a new area I am exploring so my opinion is lopsided right now. I will refrain since I admit I need more practice before I speak.