Who Owns Your Identity on the Social Web?

October 31, 2011

When I go to a bar, the bouncer usually stops me and asks for an ID. I show him my state-issued driver’s license and walk on by. This may be unusual, as I’m 36 (thanks, mom, for the good genes), but we’re all pretty accustomed to presenting our official identification when needed. We need IDs to vote in an election, and when we get pulled over for speeding. If identification is so commonplace in the physical world, why is it still such a hazy area on the Internet?
In the old days of web publishing, almost every site required its users to register in order to access certain functionalities, like commenting. However, each login was only useful to its corresponding website. Users had to remember a myriad of usernames and passwords just to read up on the morning news.

With the rise of social networks and search platforms, a few large B2C companies evolved into large-scale consumer identity providers (a.k.a. IdPs) — Facebook, Twitter and Google, among others. These companies began to fill the identity-management gap by giving users a few different IDs that worked across media websites. For instance, you can register at Mashable using your Facebook or Twitter ID, and a few others (like Google) will be activated soon.

As many of you know, when you register on a media site with your Facebook or Twitter identity, you’re usually asked to give access to your profile data (like name and email address), and allow that site to publish to your feeds (like your News Feed on Facebook, or your Timeline on Twitter). Presumably, media sites, not unlike Mashable, do this with the best of intentions. But they’re only going to publish content to your feed that you’ve expressed interest in, and then follow up with you via email, right? Maybe.

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B2B Technology Purchasers Influenced by More Digital Collateral

October 28, 2011

B2B marketing is usually viewed as being behind the curve with regard to the online space. It has a reputation of being more traditional in its approach to how prospects and customers are reached and then developed. While this image of B2B marketers being less progressive than their B2C counterparts is warranted to a degree it appears as if that perception may be changing.

A recent study by Eccolo Media (which is a content marketing company so our research source antennae should be up class) shows that B2B technology buyers are expanding their marketing intake palette a bit. In other words, it’s not all white papers any more.

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Internet users over the age of 55 are driving social network growth

October 27, 2011

State of Social Media: The Social Media Report 2011

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5 Deadly Twitter Sins to Avoid

October 26, 2011

Twitter can be a great platform for many inbound marketers to connect with potential customers, maintain relationships with current customers, and generate new leads. But that’s not to say that all marketers are using it appropriately.

To make sure you’re using it the right way, avoid these five deadly sins when utilizing Twitter as part of your inbound marketing program.

1. Thou Shalt Not SPAM
Spamming your followers with endless links to your own website is a sure path to a lack of interest and support and a distinct lack of appreciation.

Do not rely upon automated direct messages. Yes, these types of messages are allowed by Twitter. But many — if not most — users find auto DMs both spammy and impersonal. More importantly, they are a dying feature.

All sense of meaning and genuine feeling goes out the proverbial window when you send these robotic and generic thank you’s. Try to connect with as many of your followers as you can…personally. The bonus? An alternative message might be less of a hard sell, and as a result, more helpful. Consider saying, “Thanks for following! I can also be reached on @MarketMeHelp if you have any questions.”

Don’t spam using hashtags. This is a big, nay HUGE, no-no. Some businesses see a trending hashtag on their Twitter feed and then add that hashtag to their own tweets in the often misguided hope that those following the trending hashtag will think will see their irrelevant tweet and think they are awesome. You are not awesome for using that hashtag in your tweet. Avoid doing this at all costs. Your rep will suffer, and it will appear painfully obvious to all that you are promoting where you should not. Reserve hashtag use only for instances when the hashtag is relevant to you and your tweets.

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What Google+ Brand Pages Could Look Like

October 25, 2011

Just as Facebook was announcing its tweaks, though, Google was on track to add brand pages to Google Plus. That integration hasn’t been announced yet, although a handful of brands, including Ford, are already enjoying the possibilities.

There are several barriers to designing brand pages for Plus. For one thing, it’s hard to stand out the way Plus looks now. The somewhat rigid format has a leveling effect. But Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny, one of the agencies that accepted our challenge, says there are potential advantages to Plus, too. “A primary gripe among Facebook and Twitter users is that brands bombard them with messages they don’t want or care to see,” said Murphy. “In its current form, Plus doesn’t solve that problem, but Plus Brand Pages might, if they implement Public Circles.”

Skinny outlined how this might work with a hypothetical example for Mini, the auto brand. In this case, a Mini Countryman fan could join the Countryman circle and see just Countryman updates in her feed. “This level of selectivity isn’t possible on Facebook or even Twitter, unless of course you are a fan or follow the specific product you’re interested in — but there’s a major drawback to that method because the user has to seek out content streams,” Murphy says. “With Google+ it’s all in one place, and the all the admin has to do is feed pertinent content to the appropriate circles.”

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The Top Technology Trends For The Next Three Years

October 24, 2011

We have created four new categories to make IT stakeholder identification easier: 1) application platforms will be of high interest to your app dev and management teams; 2) integration will be of interest to app dev, data integration specialists, and even process folks (considering that processes can and should be integrated with apps and data); 3) infrastructure and operations; and 4) mobile computing, which spans infrastructure, app dev, and possibly line-of-business relationship managers who are very keen on mobility. And don’t forget your security and compliance stakeholders, who will generally care about all of these!

Before listing the trends and technologies, I also want to introduce a new twist to our research this year – we have identified four major themes that run through many of our business technology and technology trends. These themes are so broad and far reaching that we thought it worth calling them out separately; we are advising our clients to understand these themes as the context for responding to individual trends:

  1. Empowered. Forrester has been writing extensively about the empowerment trend for a few years now; however, we see further acceleration around this theme. Did you know that in 10 years, more than 50% of the workforce will be Millennials who grew up with thumbs on mobile keyboards? These workers are likely to furnish themselves with technology outside of IT’s control, and it’s likely to be much better. We think firms that learn how to manage and take advantage of mobile, social, collaboration, and self-service technology will have a big advantage. This idea influences a lot of our trends.

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New Research: 60% of B2B Decision Makers Use Social Media

October 21, 2011

According to a new report Social Strategy for B2B Marketing 2011 from Global Web Index, B2B decision makers are the most socially engaged in the world when compared to average internet users.

Social Network Use
39% of B2B decision makers had used a micro-blog (like Twitter) in the last month and only 22% of average internet users did. 60% had used a social network compared to 50% for the average internet user.

Influence of Social Media
Social media communication has become the most influential channel for business purchases globally, out-ranking face-to-face meetings, conferences, client entertaining or traditional trade advertising in most markets. Conversations on a social network led the category of what most influenced all decision makers at 15%, while direct mail was second at 13%. It was just a touch higher for senior decision makers at 16%, which was even with sales presentations for these senior leaders.

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