December 2009

This simple question is at the crux of social media – after all why should anyone bother spending their increasingly limited time and resources trying to influence what a blogger writes if what they say has no impact.

Which begs two more important questions…

  • Firstly is there any proof that a blog can influence behaviour (specifically where it counts for many firms – i.e. procurement)
  • And secondly, how do I identify which blogs have the power to influence?

Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group ran a survey to find out what people thought of his blog. Anecdotally, you may think that seeing as Jeremiah has a huge audience that regularly comments on his posts, it would presume that his blog does indeed influence. Unfortunately for me, firms do not commit budget to presumptions so research like this is fantastic.

These are some of the results:


What can we learn from this?

  • Jeremiah’s blog influences action internally to a large degree
  • The correlation to actual buying is mostly equal for and against.

The fact that there is any link between the blog and procurement is a massive validation point. Obviously we are taking people’s words for this and it would be excellent to have credible evidence to back this up, but this in itself is a huge factoid.

They point that I keep trying to remember is that in the buying cycle, the people who are closest to the money have the greatest level of importance. Some argue that the media and analyst industry help to create buzz about a need or even a shortlist, but it is the (very few) people at the top that hold a significant amount of weight. This is why influencing these influencers is of paramount importance.


To my second point regarding how do I indentify which blogs are important – there are tools (such as BlogLevel) but this is part of a greater theme that I cannot do justice in this post alone.

A few additional facts about the survey on the methodology:

  • Survey fielded through Web Strategy blog, using SurveyMonkey
  • Conducted from Nov 30 – Dec 12, 2009
  • 19 questions total – 15 multiple choice, 4 open-ended. Specific questions about Altimeter Group and contact info are not included in the attached sample data.
  • 195 respondents – 100% of data clean

There are several other points that this survey found that are interesting but not directly related to this post’s title. However, as I have often said:

be interested not interesting

…what Jeremiah as also found regarding technical know-how fascinates me. Taken with the caveat that the people who read what is on his blog have an interest in what he says, the market skew is not a representation of the world en masse. However, it is fascinating to find that both many firms social media and mobile strategy are in their infancy. I guess 2010 may see a change to that model.

image image I am sure that Jeremiah will publish his own take on this survey but my thanks to him for giving me an advance copy of the results to draw my own conclusions on.

Originally posted on Technoabble 2.0

by @jonnybentwood

GSMA causes confusion with a strange choice of taxis at Congress 2010

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” or so said Mark Twain, once upon a time in a country far far away. Isn’t it great how a little bit of information (or misinformation) can have such a profound effect on the way the world is viewed?

Do you remember where you were when you heard that Nokia were not exhibiting at the Mobile World Congress 2010? Followed by the collective gasps of horror, the ‘tsks’ and ‘tuttings’ and inevitable barrage of rhetorical questions. Was this the end of the show as we knew it?  Would the congress go the way of the likes of Comdex etc?  Did anybody care?

Well no, I don’t think they did. Why?  Because the mobile industry has grown up. They are no longer the ‘kids in hoodies’ hassling the big fixed line communication providers as they try to hang onto shrinking marketplaces and margins.

The mobile boys dumped their ‘L’Enfant terrible’ image years ago and they are ready to do business with the new masters of the mobile world; the companies that offer the holy grail of the mobile marketplace:  “Content Monetization” … if you are allowed to utter such an awful phrase.

Those new masters are the media companies. Disney, Google, News International, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures etc; the list goes on. As does their list of premium interactive content which we, the viewing, button bashing public, just can’t get enough of.

So what if Nokia hasn’t spent millions of Euros building a booth?  No doubt they will have several hundred of their elite Finnish shock troopers going into battle all over the Fira and up and down “Las Ramblas” doing deals, pressing flesh and generally making their presence felt.

I wouldn’t bet my house on whether the Congress is going to be around forever but in my opinion as long as the operators want to keep selling airtime and m-commerce services, handset manufacturers want to shift volume and the whole world wants to watch the “The Simpsons” on the move Mobile World Congress ain’t going nowhere.


NEWS JUST IN: Nokia Microsite went live today announcing the rumoured presence in Barcelona.  Still – you get our point about Disney and stuff.

Regular visitors to The Pheasant will be familiar with Edelman’s Twitter influence measurement tool TweetLevel. While it’s by no means a perfect measure of a person’s influence on Twitter, it’s arguably the best tool on the market and something that, as an agency, we’re rightly proud of.


Over the month since its launch (and the beta launch of its companion service BlogLevel), we’ve looked at a number of influencer rankings including MPs, analysts and Edelman staff and today we’re launching our most ambitious project to date, we want to find out who the top technology influencers are on Twitter.


We can all probably guess what the top ten will look like, but what about the top 20, 200 or 2000? And will some of the assumptions around who holds influence be challenged by the findings?  Will marketing officers rank higher than technology journalists? Will analysts rank as highly as their profession would suggest? While the Tweetlevel data won’t hold all the answers, it will provide solid, reliable statistics on which to make credible – and perhaps controversial – assertions and assumptions.


To build the database of Technology Tweeters, we’ve developed a criteria checklist that looks at profile description, the most popular words used in Tweets over a given time frame as well as looking at followers and who people are following. We’re keeping the entry bar low however, as who’s to say that a geeky father of four from Wigan isn’t more influential on a technology buying decision than a reviewer for a big consumer tech magazine?


That’s the beauty and unpredictability of the new digital world, old models and assumptions can no longer go unchallenged and tools like TweetLevel are helping us all find out who the new influencers are.


So if you think you should be included in our round up, or you’d like to nominate a colleague, client or a friend send a Tweet with the person’s Twitter ID followed by the hashtag #2010techinfluencer. Or send their Twitter profile in the subject line of an email to and keep an eye out for the results early in 2010. For an explanation of the complex algorithms used to create TweelLevel rankings, please go here.


I must confess that I was never much interested in graphs and statistics because I’ve always found them somewhat necessary but boring, dull, static, not to say that they’ve always seemed to lack what we call usability after all.

For my surprise, a couple of years ago I was zapping some content on TED when I found this great talk by doctor and researcher Hans Rosling on his new data presentation software which is really amazing (it’s a 20 minute video but I strongly recommend you take the time to watch it whenever you get a chance).

I’ve shared the link with many friends and even talked about it during my classes at university, but since then, no other guru had really grabbed my attention until last week when the December issue of Yorokobu magazine landed on my desk. A two-page interview with London based writer, designer and author David McCandless, who recently launched his book The Visual Miscellaneum, a colourful guide that help readers like me make sense of the countless statistics and random facts that constantly bombard us.

According to David, people are gradually passing from text to images when consuming information especially in a media saturated landscape we are experimenting today. McCandless makes use of his knowledge in usability – result of years of experience in web design – to condensate his investigations in clear, concise and neat graphs.

Besides collaborating with The Guardian and Wired, David also shares his work in his blog Information is Beautiful as well as his Flickr, where you can find all kinds of information varying from the probabilities of dying in a plane accident to the hierarchy of digital distractions.

I’ve selected some of this work here – truly wish I could use some of his talent when drafting my next proposal or results report

from @vaneribeiro

Some interesting stats about the much-trumpeted Twitter community – visualized!



Billions spent on this. Billions spent on that. What does it all look like?

A concept-map exploring the Left vs Right political spectrum. A collaboration between David McCandless and information artist Stefanie Posavec.

I recently stumbled on a rather fascinating article which appeared in the December issue of Wired that really delves into the intricacies of privacy in today’s digital age. Well, that’s not really the main objective of the story, "Vanish: Finding Evan Ratcliff" . As the title suggests, Evan Ratcliff, a freelance journalist, decides to throw himself into an experiment, which, at first thought, doesn’t seem as hard as it sounds: Disappear. “I told no one of my plans, not my girlfriend, or my parents, or my friends. No one knew where I was going, or my new name. I left no hints. If anyone found me, it would because of my own mistakes.”

“….And?” was my initial reaction. I mean, how hard could it be? We see this kind of stuff depicted in films and TV series all the time. Change your appearance, don a disguise even, invent a new identity, pay for everything in cash, keep a low profile, and keep moving. Right?

Except for the fact that Evan continues to use his bank card on occasion, his real name when there’s no other way around it, and – here’s the real kicker- the Internet and even social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ah… yeah, probably hard to keep a low profile with the above considered.

Granted, when on the Net, he uses aliases and technology to cover up his digital footprints. But nonetheless, the story brings up a really interesting question: Is it possible to entirely “shed your identity in the digital age” today? Have you ever thought about what would happen if you passed away? Who takes care of deleting your Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In accounts? Does it just hang around in cyber space until someone contacts the said website(s) to flag your demise to the administrators? And what if no one ever does flag them?

We all know how easy, sometimes a little too easy, it can be to dig up information about an individual on the internet, even if he/she has never logged-on her/himself (ahem – I can tell you, for example, exactly which politicians and campaigns the grandparents of my friends gave contributions to just by a quick search on the web – so much for keeping your political beliefs private…). But as I was reading this article, I was not only fascinated by the sheer wealth of information on this guy that people were finding in order to track him down, but I was also entirely amused by the lengths that people went to in order to (legally) dig it up. It’s actually quite scary, really, which made me think of this article again a few nights ago…

I was speaking to a friend about Facebook, and he explained that his employer forbids him to “friend” any people at the company where he is currently contracted to work. Even if he is really friends in real life with such individuals, his company doesn’t want the lines between his professional life and personal life to be blurred. This started a lively discussion, of course, in which we debated both the merits and downsides of using Facebook today, especially when it comes to work.

At one point he opined that he doesn’t understand all the hoopla regarding people who claim that Facebook is a dangerous tool which can be detrimental to one’s privacy. “In the end, you’re the one who gets to decide what you put out there. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of a professional acquaintance happening upon your page and seeing that your status reads how drunk you got last night at friend’s party, then don’t put it out there.” [As a side note, here are a few hilarious cases which demonstrate this point perfectly…]

But I thought of the Wired article during the course of our conversation. Everyone is quick to point the finger at Facebook these days when it comes to the news swirling around about the sharing of personal information with others who may not know you. But really, this debate goes far beyond Facebook, and the Evan Ratcliff’s experiment demonstrates this beautifully. The amount of information hovering out there in cyber space about your average Joe is staggering. And with a little know-how, it’s almost creepy how easy it is to gain access to this personal information.

God forbid you ever posted a comment in the forum of a website entitled “I like to dress my dog up in cute clown costumes and dye his fur pink” on a dare from your friends 8 years back. I’d hate to see the look on your potential employer’s face when he Googles your name before deciding whether to invite you in for a formal interview.

by @Jjpisces

You can run, but you can’t hide

So Christmas parties are renowned for being embarrassing.  It wouldn’t be December without indiscreet inter-colleague relations, bad dancing and copious amounts of alcohol, of course.

As avid readers of this blog might know – we at Edelman are quite passionate about going the extra mile.  True to form – we couldn’t settle on just some nibbles and drinks to celebrate the passing of another year.  So some of our colleagues, indeed many posters to this blog, ran the gauntlet of embarrassment last night for the inaugural Edelman Christmas Panto.

Of course there were nay-sayers who thought that the Panto was the epitome of corporate cringe behaviour.  But in the grand Panto tradition we all screamed “Oh no it isn’t” and the Scrooges were proved wrong.  In fact the panto wasn’t embarrassing at all.  The plot was preposterous (who knew a mash-up of Macbeth and X factor would be quite so entertaining), the cast were tremendous, the lighting professional, set changes were slick, front of house staff were generous with vodka jelly, the band could have actually won the X factor, the costumes were incredible.  Particularly the Dog costume.  The Dog costume was my favourite.  It was a production created by colleagues for colleagues.  It was in two words, fully awesome.  Well done everyone.


But we thought it would only be appropriate to share some photos.  Rumour has it a DVD will be available through all major retail outlets in early 2010.

There’s been substantial interest in the news this week about the Stateside launch of Vevo – an online music player that is being dubbed MTV for the 2.0 generation, and perhaps rightly so. Firstly, the service has the buy-in of three of the major labels (at present, EMI, Universal and Sony), and has done so by novel means; EMI has gone down the tried and tested licensing routes, but interestingly the latter majors have gone for equity in the business. This equity approach shows a robust confidence of the service and perhaps also suggests the licensing route is perhaps going to wane in entertainment industries if major labels can instead get a share of the profits outright.
Secondly, what Vevo looks to have solved was the perhaps fundamental flaw in
Google’s high value acquisition of YouTube, with many analysts and industry commentators at a loss as to where the return on investment was really coming from, given the vast majority of content on YouTube is poor quality, grainy and often filmed from another medium in the first place, such as a TV or is a skateboarding cat. Would record labels want to have their brand next to a poor quality music video – pretty much no, and YouTube continues to flatter to deceive with regards giving Google back the billions spent to acquire it. That YouTube is powering Vevo however could resolve this; Vevo will be a branded, dedicated player with high quality content that will interest advertisers much more than current video quality – its CEO has suggested phenomenally strong rates as high as $25 – $40 per 1,000 views, an incredible jump from today’s norm of $3 – $8.
What’s more, if this content really is as high quality – and in the long term potentially exclusive or streamed live – this will encourage more people to share it and thus drive traffic even further; a solution to monetising peer-to-peer sharing (in the friends sense, not the technological sense). So is Vevo the saviour of the entertainment industry? Initial reaction has been very positive and it will be interesting to see how it rolls out in the States before hitting the UK sometime next year. Fingers crossed.


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