Tag Archives: Social Media

TechCrunch Squirrels Have Blogasm Counting Tweets

More ranting. Step back so no one gets hurt. I realize that this is useless for those at TechCrunch. They won’t listen. They’re confident they know everything. But, it is at the very least therapeutic for me. I’ll also be able to use this as just one more case study example of the cluelessness my students should avoid in sites like TechCrunch.

Does anyone else get really turned off by these lame attempts of people trying so desperately to assign rankings of authority to all things blog, Twitter, etc.? I do. And, I’m fed up.

First, let’s consider the term authority, please.

An authority is “a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested” and/or the authority is an “accepted source of information, advice, etc.” (Source, and isn’t it sad that we have to share a definition for something like this?)

Techorati has been touting authority in their indexing of sites for some time. They still put the technorati-authority image in their results. You have to click the lil’ “?” to see that it is only Technorati’s version of authority. Translation? They need to have a good word to try and make their results look legitimate – even when they are not legitimate. And Technorati’s claims of legitimate authority is ridiculous.

At least they have now decided to label it “Technorati Authority” in their definition, but they don’t use the “Technorati Authority” label throughout their site. This makes Technorati continue to be a laughing stock with regard to rankings and research.

What’s the problem with these uses of the term authority? Technorati, for instance, does not actually vet the sites and links they are using to assign these labels of authority and ranking. Gee, come to think of it … even Google doesn’t vet incoming links/clicks either. Hmmm? They are, quite simply, just counting things. Is counting enough? No. “In counting tests, an African Grey Parrot, Magpies, Ravens, and squirrels can ‘count’ up to 6.” (Source) Maybe the parrots, magpies, ravens, and squirrels are running some of these sites.

Yes, I’m sorry to tell you this but … squirrels are in charge of TechCrunch. Meet the co-editor squirrel at TechCrunch. Squirrel #2 put paws to keyboard and tapped out this little gem: It’s Not How Many Followers You Have That Counts, It’s How Many Times You Get Retweeted.

Squirrel boy is all excited. I think he had a blogasm. Seriously.

[blawg az-uhm] –noun

the physical and emotional sensation experienced at the peak of blog comment excitation, usually resulting from stimulation of the social media link-bait blego (blog ego) and usually accompanied by (mostly males) commenting, tweeting and blogging with idiotic glee. Synonym: ignorance (is bliss)

Some people have created a few little toys that count things. Woo Hoo!. This has sent squirrel boy (and his friends; the parrots, magpies and ravens) into an apoplectic frenzy of sycophant reach-around joy. See Full Metal Jacket, if you’re not familiar with the phrase.

You see, they’ve found a new link bait post topic that will likely carry them through a few days of the startup downturn and holiday “we can’t find any real news” vacuum that exists today.

What these tools are doing (yes, the scripts & the people) is counting what is sort of an exponential shell game. Certainly the Twitter users with the most followers have a greater potential to be retweeted. That doesn’t mean they are influential. It doesn’t mean they are writing interesting content, either.

Has anyone followed back to see who the retweeters are? Has anyone followed back to see if the retweeters are making fun of the post? These are just a few of the possibilities. You see, the most influential and/or interesting retweets might well be taking place between a group of just three or four people. Has anyone looked into that? No. So, we now have just the simplest examples of why these simple counting scripts are pretty much worthless as a research tool.

One person is making some ridiculous claims with his lil’ toy, too.

My comment, which I chose to post here instead, is as follows:

Well, it is an interesting script that counts stuff. However, it really has very little meaning, now does it. In research, we tend to compare similar variables. When you write, “They are the once (sic) producing most interesting content across the twittersphere” you’re stating a falsehood. No, they are (at best) posting content of interest to their audience. That’s all. You have not vetted the content in each retweet instance. Therefore, you don’t know if they are making fun of the person or retweeting it because it is interesting or any number of other possibilities. You are, quite simply, counting RT. That’s it. This is nothing more than an exponential shell game and/or fetish with assigning ranks.

We won’t waste time by discussing independent, status and/or dependent variables here. The squirrels may be able to count, but they sure won’t understand the concepts behind research.

Folks, when you see people all excited about their new abacus (that’s a compliment, by the way … these guys probably couldn’t work an abacus) run the other way. They are clueless. It is more TechCrunch self-absorbed nonsense.

Would a more powerful and useful version of search for Twitter be welcomed? Yes. Do these new tools do that? No.

Yes, I realize this is perhaps the beginning of development of useful tools. But, don’t get all hyped up with terms like authority and rank when your current toys don’t accomplish the feat. Please, stop the insanity. I beg you.


Students: The Council of PR Firms asks, “What is the most dangerous idea in PR today?”

Cross-posted from PROpenMic.

Reformed PR practitioner B. L. Ochman writes a review of the recent Council of PR firms (CPR) critical issues forum in her blog, What’s Next.

Read the Council’s take on the event in Dangers Equal Opportunity for Smart Marketers, PR Firms, Lively Annual Public Relations Council Critical Issues Forum Addresses “Most Dangerous Ideas” for Future of PR.

The conversation has actually already become an old one. The paradigm shift caused by the advent of social media software (both free open source and paid platforms) has given voice to the masses in a way never seen before. Word of mouth (WOM) is now digital and spreads like wildfire, or creeps along where no one can see it – then achieves a Groundswell of reach people in PR only dreamed of just 10 years ago.  Continue reading

The “utter bullocks” claim that “93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media”

Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Clemson University PR professor, offers up an excellent review of the Cone “utter bullocks” claim that “93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media” in their survey.

The survey seems to be another example of doing a “survey to market your company’s services” effort. An effort, by the way, that we see all too often.

Frederic Lardinois wrote about the survey in ReadWriteWeb, Study: 93 Percent of Americans Want Companies to Have Presence on Social Media Sites.

Lardinois does a less than deep evaluation of the study. It is almost as if Lardinois is sharing the information as if it is gospel. Now, to his credit, he does ask some the same questions I have:

It would be nice to see Cone break these numbers down a bit more. What types of social media sites, for example, do users prefer? Are there any specific categories of companies and brands that they want to see on these sites? How exactly do they want to be marketed to? What do they think about implications for their privacy?

Unfortunately, he also shares statements like “60% of Americans regularly interact…”

Extracting those types of quotes from the survey’s results are ludicrous. Simply put, at best the results are that 60% of respondents to the survey believe that Americans regularly interact with corporations online, or some such statement.

Without providing a legitimate methodology report, so that we may judge the veracity of the survey, it is irresponsible to make claims such as “…60% of Americans regularly interact…”

What are some of the problems here?

First, we don’t know anything about their respondent pool except that they answered the survey online. Second, was the respondent pool self-selected, or did the Opinion Research Corporation team (ORC) actually develop a legitimate list of potential respondents? Third, if so … how? Fourth, does Cone and ORC just expect us to believe their claims? Sadly, I think they do.

Now, if you look at the Opinion Research Corporation’s corporate history and milestones, one suspects that they have a legitimate strong history of research. Yet, because they are in business and do not control what their clients do with the final report, the results are

Why can’t we tell you exactly how good or bad the survey is? Lack of transparency on Cone’s part. The methodology statement they offer is pretty much void of any information. “The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation among 1,092 adults comprising 525 men and 567 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 3%.”

I am so tired of seeing PR and marketing agencies putting out this type of survey. It devalues legitimate research when they provide no true / realistic / useful methodology report along with their release. Cone doesn’t offer a link to go see the methodology, nor a link to request one. Oh, there is a link to the PR person that wrote the release, but no promise of providing any detailed results if we request them. So, with a hope in my heart, I have now written to Andrea Larrumbide, Cone, alarrumbide@coneinc.com and we’ll see if we can get a true methodology from the survey.

Yes, I’m pretty sure this is another survey designed to market Cone, not designed to truly ascertain social media reach. I’ll let you know if I hear back from Cone.

Update: I did hear back from Andrea. She was kind and provided a PDF breakout of four crosstabs showing male/female responses on some questions. It is so inconsequential, I’ll not share it here. Cone, Andrea writes, has the following policy: “We only share questionnaires and additional results with our clients.” So, there is no way to accurately judge the veracity of this survey’s results or the survey instrument, unless I become a paying client. Let’s see raised hands of all those that think that’s going to happen. Yeah, thought so. After this, I’m convinced … this survey is “utter bullocks” as was suggested by Tim, in the ReadWriteWeb article’s comments.

In the long run, these types of “survey to drive business” efforts do more damage to perceptions of survey research than they do good for the companies that engage in the practice.

Now, the good news is that no traditional news sources have (as of yet) bitten on the release, at least according to Google and Yahoo! searches. Oh, there may be some out there, but I can’t find them. The bad news? Lots of blogs and other sites are spreading the meme with little critique. See Google Web Search, Google News Search, Google Blog Search, Yahoo! Web Search, and Yahoo! News Search

I shared this in SocialMedia, too. Have any of you tried that site?

Corinne Weisgerber :: Blogging & Managing your Personal Brand

Here is an excellent slideshow for exposing students to their first taste of online activity.

Gee Ekachai, of Marquette University, linked to the author of the slideshow – Corinne Weisgerber, of St. Edwards University.

Both are involved with PROpenMic, by the way. Visit their profiles in PROpenMic: Corinne Weisgerber and Gee Ekachai.

Truly a great, simple slideshow that all educators should use, IMO. It drives home the point of personal brand management. Some of the better quotes, “Google is the new resume” and “Find the Skeletons in your cyber closet”. You’ll enjoy this one. Continue reading

Wonder why we do local reporting in class activities? Look at CNN … if it’s good enough for them …

OK, I’ll admit. This is a little bit of a personal rant. I don’t do this much, but I’m kinda fed up – just a wee bit – so, I’m venting. :o)

Local news reported in a social network / emerging digital media kinda way.

When I first thought of this for classes, some time ago, I’ll admit to having that image of Al Franken’s SNL faux coverage of politics flashing through my mind. But, today it really is possible and provides students with realistic and valuable experience.

As we embark on our class activities at The Loveliest Village, students may wonder why we’ll be doing all this local reporting using lil’ cameras, laptops and social media / social network software platforms to publish.

Well, if it is good enough for CNN, it’s good enough for us, right?

Now, imagine using the skills my students develop in these exercises and then share those stories, videos, photos and more with news outlets online and print.  Hey, they are seeking content. Get the drift? This is how we all may be doing a good portion of media relations in the future.

Actually, forget the future.  I had students doing it today.  This summer they pitched and delivered stories, video and photos.  This semester they are collaborating with multiple news outlets to place stories they will create for class.  Yep, it is not just what they post in The Loveliest Village.  These news outlets have actually sought us out for content.  No kidding.

So, students will create content much the same as CNN is now doing.  Pretty cool, huh.  ;o)  And people said I was nuts.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Well, some people said I was crazy.  Didn’t know what I was talking about. Why show students how to do this?  Hmm?  If it is good enough for CNN, I guess it’s good enough for us. :o)

According to that PRWeek article, at CNN journalists “…will report for broadcast and digital mediums with lightweight kits, including wi-fi-enabled laptops, cameras, and editing tools.”

So now, our students will be able to understand how major media works – the new way.  They’ll be sharing the content that reporters are looking for in this new world.  Not only ‘are’ we way ahead.  We’ve ‘been’ way ahead, for some time.  Update: And, by the way, it isn’t just major media.  Local … local … media has sought us out to create content for their sites.  Hello?

What CNN is now doing is what we’ve been talking about and doing for a long time now.  :o)  Just sharin’ …. just sayin’.


Obama to Announce VP Choice via Email and SMS :: Maybe, We’ll See

Obama VP announcementAccording to an email I just received, Barack Obama is going to give his supporters the news of his pick for Vice President via email and SMS, before anyone else.

Hmm? Well, it would be a first. I must admit to a wee bit (OK, a lot) of skepticism on this one. All the news organizations are signed up for all of his mailing lists, after all. They also see mailing lists we never see. So, will his supporters really be the first to know? Continue reading

Three Links :: Excellent Posts and a Video For You

Still exploring the Revolution theme and the featured posts capability. So, this week, I’m sharing three posts from great people. You’ll enjoy them, I’m sure.

First, we find an article about social media perhaps producing social change and helping someone with a terminal illness. Then, we learn that the SEC has recognized the spread of online / web communications (particularly social media) and they’ve now updated guidelines for publicly traded companies with regard to their Web sites and (if you read it into the speech) social media. Finally, we find the most wonderful video. You’ll want to watch it. Look to your right and you’ll find it is our featured video today. Continue reading