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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Needs to Offer a Social Media Monitoring Service

July 9, 2013 3 comments

Google's Index of the Web vs. Social Media Monitoring Tools

Radian6, Cision, Wildfire, SocialRadar, Trackur, Alterian SM2, Sysomos, Lithium, Viralheat, Brandwatch, UberVU, Trendrr, Trackur …  all good tools with rich featuresets and analytical capabilities.  They all have one problem, however.

They’re not Google.

No matter which tool you go with for social media monitoring, it inevitably cannot index as much of the web as Google, which currently has over 3.65 billion pages.  Some do an admirable job attempting to keep up by buying access to other indexes of web and social content – but that still isn’t complete and worse, it adds a delay to the process of merging the two databases.  As any social media manager will tell you – delays are something they can ill afford.

This missing data causes three major problems:

First, important mentions can be missed (or not accessed in a timely fashion).

Second, the archives are incomplete – looking at the present is a primary concern but historical data can be important as well.

Third, the analytics generated by the expensive social media monitoring platforms aren’t accurate; worse, they seem to get progressively less accurate as the size of the brand decreases.  If you’re Coca-Cola you’re okay, but this is a huge problem for most of the brands my colleagues and I work with which are primarily local in nature (which means they have a far smaller footprint online).

Despite their best efforts, none of these tools will ever be able to match Google’s prowess for indexing the increasing vastness of the web in real-time.  So Google needs to offer a social media monitoring service – and I would welcome one even if it had a pricetag as hefty as the aforementioned tools (some of which have a BASE price of $500/month).

Tapping Google’s enormous reserves of indexed content is even more difficult now that the search giant has eliminated RSS feeds for Google Alerts when it discontinued Google Reader, and now limits them only to searches of Google News.  All of the conversation about the “death of Google Reader” and subsequent scramble for alternatives has so far almost completely missed this critical detail which is, for my money, far more important.

I just went through the arduous process of reformatting a hundred or so RSS feeds I had built using Google Alerts because they’re no longer active.  Transitioning them to Google News RSS feeds is okay, but my understanding is that it won’t capture nearly as many mentions as a general Google Search.  Google even says as much here in outlining its standards for being included in the Google News index.

I completely understand the need to eliminate content that is not worthy of being considered “news” from the index, but the problem is that social media managers need to be aware of ALL mentions of their company/clients – not just the high-quality ones.

Google is well-positioned to offer this sort of service; they already have the data, they’re excellent at building easy-to-use interfaces, they’re excellent at providing analytics, and they’re well trusted.  I doubt we’ll ever see this service, but I’ll continue to dream anyway.

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The Presidential Race may be Close but Google is Winning Election Reporting

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment

There has been some pretty impressive tech on display during the 2012 election, but one of my favorites has been Google’s Election results:

Google's Amazing Election Results Reporting

Their live, interactive display that allows the same sort of smooth and intuitive navigation as Google Maps is truly stunning.

In addition to mapping county by county data, they’ve also tied in a variety of analytics and news sources from their various other platforms from Youtube to Insights to Trends.

Not only are they doing real-time mapping of the reported results, but they’re tracking where the AP has called the race for one candidate or another (I’d love to see them wrap in more news outlets and who they’re calling the races for – unfortunately they have an exclusive arrangement with the Associated Press).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More of this, please.

 

How Not to be a Social Media N00b – Resources From the 2012 NCMPR National Conference in San Francisco

March 25, 2012 Leave a comment

San Francisco Trolley

On March 11, 2012 I did a pre-conference workshop at the 2012 Conference of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).  It’s an organization for marketing and PR professionals in higher education at 2-year colleges.  Below you can find the resources from that presentation (the slides, handout, audio, and some video).

ncmpr2012hownottobeasocialmedianoob

If you found the materials or the workshop to be helpful, I’d appreciate a review on Linkedin.  Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do more workshops like these.

Video:

Handout:

  • How Not to be a Social Media N00b (.pdf) [I essentially crammed a variety of social media resources into this handout with brief descriptions so that attendees wouldn’t have to scramble to take notes while I blathered on.]

Slides:

Audio:

Chart – Social Media Platforms by Number of Users

March 8, 2012 12 comments

I threw this chart together for a presentation I’m doing; it includes current numbers for some of the more prominent social networking platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, Wikipedia, Foursquare, Pandora, Digg, etc.).  Hopefully I’ll be able to kick out updated versions every few months. [Updated to include MySpace – originally I had left them off because they’re the only major social networking platform that has actually lost users.]

Visualizing Social Media Platforms by Number of Users

Will the Filter Bubble Render Social Bookmarking Obsolete?

December 9, 2011 3 comments

Will the Filter Bubble Render Social Bookmarking Obsolete?

I don’t know – I’m just asking.

The Context

For clarification, the “Filter Bubble” is a term coined by Eli Pariser referring to the practice of search engines (most notably Google which enjoys the largest market share) tailoring search results to each individual user using an algorithm that takes into account that user’s online behavior (Pariser’s TED Talk on the subject is available here – recommended watch).  So depending on what sites I regularly view, what terms I search for, how long I spend on pages, whether or not I hit the “back” button immediately after viewing a page – the results I will see are different from the results you will see.  The concern expressed by Pariser is that it’s further helping us insulate ourselves away from people and ideas that are different from our own, allowing us to live in a self-reinforcing “bubble.”  Beyond cramping our ability to broaden our outlook, there are also nefarious possibilities – that, for example, those in charge of the algorithms that power search results could quietly weed out unflattering content or the content of competitors.

Social Bookmarking” is a practice facilitated by a variety of platforms and tools in which individual users curate the limitless content of the web by adding their own categories, terms, tags, keywords, and even annotations based on how they perceive that content.  So, for example, if I go to Slashdot – I know that I will see “news for nerds” whereas if I use Digg – I will see more entertainment-themed content with a specific philosophical/political bent applied to it.  (The brilliant satirical site Uncyclopedia has particularly hilarious send-ups of both Slashdot and Digg that illustrate their nuances.)

The Future of Social Bookmarking

Here’s how my train of logic goes: Read more…

Congress: Leave Google Alone and Leave the Tech to the Experts MMkay?

September 21, 2011 1 comment

Leave Google Alone

Right now former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is being grilled on Capitol Hill in the Anti-Trust hearings that the United States Legislature is holding about the search engine (and cloud services) provider.  Essentially Google is under fire for promoting its own content ahead of that of competitors.  So, for example, it would prioritize Google Local listings/reviews above those of Yelp.

If Google gives their own products preference in their searches – that’s their business and they have every right to do so.  Were some sort of law to come out of this in the form of a suit against Google or a statute passed by congress, it would attack the common practices of virtually every organization running a search engine on their site.

Here are some examples to illustrate how problematic that precedent would be: Read more…

For my Next Trick I Will Win a Truck Using Only the Power of Social Media

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Screen Shot of the 100 Cars for Good Voting Results Late in the Day

[Warning: the title of this blog post is entirely facetious.]

Kids Food Basket

One of my favorite charities in West Michigan, Kids Food Basket, may just have won a much-needed delivery truck to replace the one from their meager delivery fleet that died (the results aren’t in yet, but they were leading the vote count all day).  Many thanks go to Toyota which created the “100 Cars for Good” contest to not only give a bunch of highly-deserving nonprofits a chance to win a vehicle, but also raise their profile both locally and nationally.

Kudos to Toyota for putting together a first-rate publicity package for the entrants.  As most in the public relations world are aware, nonprofits are often at a significant disadvantage when it comes to promoting themselves because they’re not only challenged with resources, but staff time as well.

Toyota 100 Cars for GoodIt’s tempting to chalk up the success to the ethereal “power of social media” but in reality, it played a far smaller role than it appears on the surface.  Here’s what really was at play:

  1. A Great Product: it’s no accident that Kids Food Basket has exploded in popularity in West Michigan in the past few years – it’s a great organization with a great staff and noble aims.  The great outreach the organization has done to grow itself to the point where it now serves 5,000 students per day when school is in session is the single most important factor that made the promotional campaign for the “100 cars for good” campaign successful.
  2. A Great Community: I’m certainly not the first person to remark on the generosity that exists in West Michigan from the Kalamazoo Promise up to the gleaming buildings on Health Hill in downtown Grand Rapids.  Social media serves only as a convenient conduit to people who would drop what they’re doing to help virtually any good cause if asked even if it wasn’t via a Tweet.
  3. Great People: Like so many nonprofits, the staff of Kids Food Basket is packed with exemplary human beings who commit themselves totally to the cause.  They work long hours for meager pay because they love what they do and who they serve.  People like that are the best any institution can hope for, because they’re the kind of people who have deep and durable networks in the community which are exactly what you need to leverage for communications efforts like this.  Here’s why these people are so critical:
    1. They give enough regularly to be able to ask: You can’t ask for anything via social media unless you’ve given something to the people you’re asking.  In fact, the standard level of distrust means you have to give a whole lot to earn the right to ask.
    2. They’re established (and thusly believable): You can’t post this many requests for anything unless you’re well-established online as someone who is credible.  You’ll quickly be labeled a spammer.  Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy and fast to detect and ignore the fakers – remember, even computer algorithms can detect them.
    3. They’re willing to do the work (which also builds credibility): what this essentially means is that they use as few shortcuts as possible to get things done.  That means making as many individual, personalized messages as humanly-possible.  As we all know, people are far more likely to take action when asked to do so one-on-one.  Social media just lets you engage in that tried-and-true activity more quickly and without geographic barriers.

All of those pieces have to be in place for any social media campaign to work.  Those are the facts.  Anyone who promises you success regardless of your people and your product is lying to you.  No viral video, no search engine optimization, no iPad app, and no amount of bought followers can shine a turd.

Unfortunately there are plenty of Fauxcial Media experts ready and willing to do that – so caveat emptor.

If you want to know the details of precisely what plan we followed – I’ll detail those in a subsequent blog post.  As with any practical exercise in public relations, I gained a lot of valuable insights.