Archive for January, 2009
:: a stunning TED presentation by brain researcher Jill Bolte, who tells the story of her own stroke and the insights she drew from the experience. Bravo, well done. // AjS
:: four winners have been announced for the “In Rainbows Animated Music Video Contest” that Radiohead did in cooperation with AniBoom, a video sharing site for animators. Four winners, not just one as originally slated, were selected because the submissions were simply too good to just pick one, says Thom Yorke. These are all excellent. Bravo, well done.
Transmutation, by Tobias Stretch:
15 Step, by Kota & Totori:
16 Tracks, by: Wolfgang Jaiser & Claus Winter:
Reckoner, by Clement Picon:
:: listen below for a conversation between Archie Hamilton, head of Split Works, and Louis Yu, from the U of Victoria’s CFVU 101.9. Among other things, Split Works brings foreign bands (Sonic Youth, Jens Lekman, Go Team, Jose Gonzalez) to perform in China. Split Works is also involved in promoting / developing local Chinese independent musicians. In the interview, Archie discusses at length the music industry in China. Follow him on Twitter at @archiehamilton, or Split Works at @splitworks. See here for another in depth interview with Archie.
On one hand, there are downloadable / installed widgets: small programs that run on a user’s computer and accomplish simple, discrete tasks. Examples might be an alarm clock, a notepad, or a window that scrolls the latest stock quotes. See here for a more detailed description of this type of widget.
On the other hand, there are Web widgets: similar in function to downloadable / installed widgets, but instead of running on a user’s computer, they are programs that are embedded into blogs and other Web pages (basically anywhere online that allows users to paste HTML code). See here for a more detailed description of this type of widget.
In January, 2008, the Chinese Web portal Sohu announced that it had partnered with Netvibes, whose Ecosystem service is a major widget platform. Sohu will extend Netvibes’ Universal Widget API (application programming interface) throughout Asia. For this reason, a lot of the most interesting widgets on the Chinese Internet are hosted on Sohu’s widget development platform.
Branded widgets present an excellent opportunity for companies to bring value to their online audiences in a fun, interactive, and most importantly, useful way. Below are a few examples of how branded widgets have been successfully used on the Chinese Internet.
contest widgets ::
For the LG KP500 “Cookie” mobile phone, LG released a branded widget on Sohu’s platform. It’s a simple memory game contained within a rendered version of the phone. The game uses icons from the phone and highlights some of the unit’s features: dragging icons reflects the KP500’s “Free Touch” technology, and shaking the phone to scatter the icons imitates its motion sensing abilities. Launched on January 6, the widget is already quite popular, ranking among the top recent widgets on Sohu’s platform. LG’s Free Touch campaign for the KP500 includes prizes for the top three “transmitters” of the widget: bloggers who use the widget score points when visitors copy the widget to their own blogs. In a similar contest, Heartext brand feminine hygiene products released a branded widget in August that was part of a two-month-long promotion. Users who installed the widget on their blog had their blog posts entered into a general popularity contest, the winner of which would receive a beach vacation for two. The widget itself allowed blog readers to “vote up” certain blog posts.
daily Taobao widget ::
This widget, hosted by Mynon, a customizable homepage server that lets users incorporate data / aggregate content from a whole range of other Web sites into one convenient page, features hot items from the Taobao online commerce / auction house served up through the Alimama advertising platform. Users can select the type and number of items they want featured in the widget, which is also available on Sohu platform. Mynon also hosts a branded Taobao-related game widget called “Changing Room,” that lets users dress up models in clothing that’s for sale on the site. Users can store and compare outfits, and when they find something they like, they can click through to Taobao and make a purchase.
specialty search tool widgets ::
Beijing’s Disanji Bookstore offers a branded widget that allows users to search for books in its inventory. The bookstore is located in Zhongguancun (Beijing), a major tech center near several universities, so it has a significant proportion of “wired” customers. The city directory Web site 58.com has a branded widget that allows users to consult bus route maps for cities across the country. Kingsoft offers a widgetized edition of its iCiba translation dictionary. There’s also a branded widget that lets users search the inventory of online retailer Joyo.com.
microblog widgets ::
One popular way bloggers use widgets is to include their Twitter feed (or other microblog posts) directly on their blog (Twitter’s is here). These widgets, known as “badges” (just another name for widgets), can be found at most of China’s major microblog providers, although like Twitter, they restrict access to registered users. Tencent is an exception, and it provides instructions for including a Taotao Flash widget on many popular blogging platforms. A good description of Fanfou’s Flash widget, along with a stylish alternative that plugs into Fanfou’s API is at the Flymoon Blog. Douban’s open API has led to the creation of a number of competing widgets that interface with its broadcast service, nicely summarized at Asiapan Talks.
music widgets ::
Another common use of widgets is as online music players. Most blogging platforms provide their own Flash MP3 players, and there are countless others in all kinds of styles available on widget indices. Neocha.com, a social networking Web site aimed at musicians and a range of other artists and designers, offers a widget called the NEXT Player, which delivers a continuous stream of Chinese independent music. It’s a model of single-task simplicity, drawing songs automatically from a database of user-created and user-uploaded music and giving users only one option: to go to the next song. It also has a sponsorship panel that runs advertisements / 3rd party links from Neocha partners, and provides direct links back to the Neocha Web site to view musicians profiles and other related information. More on Neocha’s NEXT player here. Another interesting branded music widget is from Yobo.com. This music box allows users to set up their own playlists, but also offers its own recommendations based on a “Music DNA” algorithm that attempts to gauge whether a listener will enjoy a song based on previous listening choices. Yobo also offers a large selection of branded widgets that use Sohu’s platform.
[FULL DISCLOSURE, 56minus1 is a part-time partner at Neocha.com]
[Friday 5 is the product of my work at Edelman Digital (China). Link here for the full Friday 5 archive. If you'd like to be added to the bilingual (English & Chinese) Friday 5 email distribution list, please send me an email at: adam DOT schokora AT edelman DOT com.]
:: a couple of days ago, Sina.com announced China’s “Top 10″ IT Bloggers for 2008. For the most part, the list was decided by netizen-vote, but the final results were ultimately determined by a panel of Sina.com judges. Either way, there are some heavy-hitting tech geeks on this list worth paying attention to (see below). Sina also announced the “most popular” IT business blog – CNNIC’s Web2.0 Research and Development blog; and the “most valuable / worthwhile” IT business blog – Microsoft’s Research Asia Pacific blog. Hat tip to Joel for linking me to this news.
2008 “Top 10″ IT Bloggers (in alphabetical order, as translated from Sina):
Chen Yongdong (陈永东) – During the Microsoft acquisition bid for Yahoo, Chen published almost 40 posts critiquing and commenting on the affair from many angles.
Hong Bo, aka “Keso” (洪波) – Keso continued to use his unique point of view and perspective to influence the Web2.0 space in 2008 with 49 blog posts.
Jin Cuodao (金错刀) – From the profound perspective of an IT industry and business management expert, Jin contirbuted original points of view about hot issues in 2008.
Lao Yao (老杳) – Using his deep academic and professional understanding of the IT space, he set up “critque unfair matters, praise those worth praise” on his blog.
Lei Jun (雷军) – By sharing his experience in venture capital / start-up investment and business mangement, it took Lei’s blog barely 3 months from launch to get a million hits.
Liu Xingliang (刘兴亮) – As a result of his many years working in the Web2.0 and service provider industry, Liu’s influential point of view easily caught the attention of netizen and blog readers.
Liu Jianguo (陆建国) – With his unique point of view and simple but profound language, Liu used his blog to report on the 200 “big and small” events from the Chinese Internet in 2008.
Moonlight Blog (月光博客) – By closely following hot Chinese Internet topics / problems from a technology point of view, readers fell in love with Moonlight Blog.
Wang Ran (王冉) – Wang observes IT industry phenomenon from the perspective of an investor; deciphering hot investor topics online while vividly sharing a unique perspective.
Xiang Ligang (项立刚) – 2008 was a year in which the telecommunications space was given a lot of attention, and thus Xiang made a living by continuously writing blog posts, igniting a sword-fight of battling points of view.
:: from this TechCrunch post it appears Stanford’s “iPhone application programming class” (CS 193P) has released a free Chinese language learning / dictionary application called “Qing Wen” (as in “请问”). Qing Wen is described by developer / student Karan Misra as “an extremely focused and streamlined Chinese-English and English-Chinese dictionary designed with the Chinese reader in mind. Lookup is meant to be fast and easy. There is just one search field which accepts anything you throw at it – Chinese characters, Pinyin, and English – and figures out the most relevant results. Since Qingwen is meant for students of Chinese, you can also easily add words to word lists for future reference and discover relationship between characters by seeing which other words they occur in and which other characters have similar sounds. Qingwen uses a modified version of CC-CEDICT as its dictionary.” Click here (direct iTunes link) to download the application from the Apple App Store. // AjS
:: there has been a lot of talk on Danwei and Shanghaiist (and everywhere else online) about CCTV’s (China Central Television) real-time censorship / interruption of President Obama’s inaugural speech while it was being broadcast in China. The first clip below shows a CCTV news anchor suddenly and awkwardly cutting away to a 2nd-screen analyst just as President Obama and the live Chinese interpreter say: “earlier generations faced down fascism and communism” (keywords: “faced down” and “communism,” of course). The second clip below shows an uncensored and Chinese-subtitled version of the entire speech, courtesy of Youku BUZZ (thanks Kaiser & Steven). Pasted below the clips is a complete and uncensored Chinese translation of the inauguration speech, courtesy of Shanghaiist, with the censored content underlined. For a more detailed analysis of the incident, click here. // AjS
现在大家都知道我们正置身危机核心，我国正在与四处蔓延的暴力和憎恨作战。我们的经济元气大伤——这既是某些人贪婪且不负责任的後果，也是大众未能 做出艰难的选择，对国家进入新时代做准备不足所致。许多人失去房子，丢了工作，生意萧条。我们的医疗太昂贵，学校教育让人失望。每天都有更多证据显示，我 们利用能源的方式壮大我们的对敌，威胁我们的星球。
再次肯定我们国家的伟大，我们了解伟大绝非赐予而来，必须努力达成。我们的旅程从来就不是抄捷径或很容易就满足。这条路一直都不是给不勇敢的人走 的，那些偏好逸乐胜过工作，或者只想追求名利就满足的人。恰恰相反，走这条路的始终是勇於冒险的人，做事的人，成事的人，其中有些人很出名，但更常见的是 在各自岗位上的男男女女无名英雄，在这条漫长崎岖的道路上支撑我们，迈向繁荣与自由。
这是我们今天继续前进的旅程。我们仍旧是全球最繁荣强盛的国家。这场危机爆发时，我们的劳工生产力并未减弱。我们的心智一样创新，我们的产品和劳务 和上周或上个月或去年相比，一样是必需品。我们的能力并未减损。但是我们墨守成规、维护狭小利益、推迟引人不悦的决定，这段时期肯定已经过去。从今天起， 我们必须重新出发、再次展开再造美国的工程。
我们无论朝何处望去，都有工作必须完成。经济情势需要大胆、迅速的行动，我们将有所行动，不光是创造新工作，更要奠定成长的新基础。我们将造桥铺 路，为企业兴建电力网格与数位线路，将我们联系在一起。我们将让科学回归合适的用途，运用科技的奇蹟来提高医疗品质并降低费用。我们将利用太阳能、风力和 土壤作为汽车的燃料和工厂的能源。我们将让中小学及大专院校转型，因应新时代的需要。这些我们可以作到。我们也将会作到。
怀疑者无法理解的是他们的主张已经站不住脚，长期以来折磨我们的陈腐政治争议已经行不通。我们今天的问题不是政府太大或太小，而是有无功效，是否能 帮助家庭找到薪水不错的工作，支付得起照顾费用，有尊严的退休。哪个方向能够提供肯定的答案，我们就往那里走。答案是否定的地方，计画就会停止。所有我们 这些管理大众金钱的人都将负起责任，花钱要精明，改掉恶习，正大光明作事情，只有这样我们才能重建政府与人民间最重要的信任。
我们眼前的问题也不是说市场的力量是善或恶。市场创造财富和增加自由的力量无与伦比，但是这场危机提醒我们没有监督时，市场发展将失控，当市场只偏 爱有钱人时，国家无法永续繁荣。我们经济成功的依据，不只是国内生产毛额的规模，还有繁荣可及的范围，以及我们将机会拓展给每个愿意打拚的人，不是因为施 舍，而是因为这就是达到我们共同利益最稳健的途径。
至於我们的共同防卫，让我们必须在自由和理想之间作一抉择，是错误的，我们拒绝接受。我们建国诸父在我们难以想像的危难之中。拟具了确保法治和人权 的宪章，被一代代以鲜血扩大充实的宪章。这些理想依然照亮这个世界，我们不会为了便宜行事而扬弃它。同样地，今日在观看此情此景的其他民族和政府，从最宏 伟的都城到家父出生的小村庄，我要说：任何一个国家、男、女、和孩童，只要你在追求一个和平且有尊严的未来，美国就是你的朋友，我们准备再次带领大家。
回想先前的世代力抗法西斯主义和共产主义，靠的除了飞弹和战车之外，还有强固的联盟和持久的信念。他们知道单单力量本身不足以让我们自保，也不能让 我们为所欲为。相反地，他们知道我们的力量因为谨慎使用而增强，我们的安全源自我们理想的正当性，我们所树立楷模的力量，以及谦逊和克制所具有的调和特 质。
我们是这些遗产的保存者。在这些原则的再次指引下，我们可以面对那些新的威胁，这些威胁有赖国与国间更大的合作与谅解方能因应。我们将开始以负责任 的方式把伊拉克还给它的人民，并在阿富汗建立赢来不易的和平。我们会努力不懈地与老朋友和昔日的对手合作，以减轻核子威胁，和地球的暖化。我们不会为我们 的生活方式而道歉，也会毫不动摇地保护它，对那些想要藉由带来恐怖与杀害无辜以遂其目的者，我们现在告诉你，我们的精神强过你们，无法摧折，你们不可能比 我们长久，我们必定打败你们。
因为我们知道，我们拼凑组合而成的遗产是我们的强处，而非弱点。我们是由基督徒和穆斯林，犹太教徒和印度教徒，以及非信徒组成的国家。我们由取自世 界四面八方的各种语文和文化所形塑。而且由於我们曾尝过内战和种族隔离的苦果，并且在走出那黑暗时期之後变得更坚强和团结，这让我们不得不相信旧日的仇恨 终究会过去，部族之间的界线很快就会泯灭。随着世界越来越小，我们共通的人性也会彰显，而美国必须扮演引进新和平时代的角色。
在我们思索眼前道路的此际，我们以谦虚感激的心想到，有些勇敢的美国同胞正在遥远的沙漠和山岭上巡逻。今天他们有话要对我们说，就和躺在阿灵顿（公 墓）的英雄们世世代代轻声诉说的一样。我们尊荣他们，不只因为他们扞卫我们的自由，更因为他们代表着服务的精神；愿意在比自己更大的事物上找寻意义。而在 此刻，能够界定一个世代的此刻，必须常驻你我心中的，正是这种精神。
我们的挑战也许是新的，我们迎接挑战的工具也许是新的，但我们赖以成功的价值观─辛勤工作和诚实、勇气和公平竞争、容忍和好奇心、忠实和爱国心─这 些都是固有的。这些价值是真实的，是我们历史上进步的沉默力量。我们有必要找回这些真实价值。我们现在需要一个勇於负责的新时代，每一个美国人都体认到我 们对自己、对国家、对世界负有责任，我们不是不情愿地接受这些责任，而是欣然接受，坚信没有什麽比全力以赴完成艰难的工作，更能得到精神上的满足，更能找 到自我。
美国，面对我们共同的危险，在这个艰困的冬天，让我们记得这些永恒的话语。怀着希望和美德，让我们再度冲破结冰的逆流，度过接下来可能来临的暴风 雪。让我们孩子的孩子继续流传下去，说我们受到考验时，我们拒绝让旅程结束，我们不回头，也不踌躇；眼睛注视着远方，上帝的恩典降临我们，我们带着自由这 个伟大的礼物，安全送达未来的世世代代。
:: “history of the internet” (by PICOL) is an animated documentary explaining “Web” inventions from time-sharing to filesharing, from Arpanet to Internet. The history is told using the PICOL icons on picol.org. You can download a pre-release of all picol icons here. You can see the credits for this movie here. For more work done by PICOL, click here or here. // AjS
:: Jordon Doner is a NYC-based visual artist, designer, and photographer best known for his fashion photos, which have appeared in V magazine, Interview, Jalouse, GQ, Wallpaper, Oyster, Visionaire, Surface, Jane, Marie Claire, Vogue, etc. Below are two of his more compelling visual pieces: modern remakes of Philippe Halsman’s photo of Salvidor Dali’s In Voluptate Mors (1951). Bravo, well done. // AjS
:: below is a sampling of how the Chinese mainstream media covered President Obama’s inauguration on their front pages today (January 21, 2009). All images courtesy of AB报. Inspired by Danwei’s collage of front pages when Obama won the Presidential election.
Some of the headlines above read (in translation):
- Obama takes up his post
- The White House changes masters
- Obama has taken up his post as President of the United States
- Obama assumes office
- “And he’s off!”
- Obama takes over the United States
- Black president moves into the White House
- The Horse has assumed office, effective immediately (note: “Obama” is transliterated in Chinese as “奥巴马” with the “马” character meaning “horse;” accordingly, he is often nicknamed “The Horse” (马) or the “Black Horse” (黑马) in China.)
- Obama is sworn into his post
- America has entered the Obama era
- President Obama has started work
- White House, black horse
- The first black man to take over the White House: the era of Obama as helmsman
- The stage curtain has opened on the Obama era
- America starts the Obama era
- Bush steps down, Obama steps up
- Obama’s time has come
- The Obama era stage curtain opens amidst crisis
- Transformational change: Obama takes charge of the U.S.
:: Edelman Digital recently published a white paper titled The Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Kit. The paper takes an in-depth look at how Obama’s team successfully utilized social media during the election campaign and how the team will leverage it during his Presidency. Read the full white paper here, or download a PDF version here. See below for a short except from the paper, a selection titled “Lessons from Obama’s Social Media Campaign.”
[full disclosure, I am employed by Edelman Digital; I don't usually publish work-related content on 56minus1, but this is particularly relevant and well done]
Lessons from Obama’s Social Media Campaign:
1) Laddering support through tiers of engagement – The Obama campaign understood that it needed to provide a variety of ways for people to be involved in the campaign based on their level of engagement. As TechPresident noted, the goal was to “provide opportunities for the most casual supporters to stay involved, while also providing more strenuous opportunities for the smaller core of activists.”
As a supporter moves up the ladder, each rung requires more commitment, creates more value, and will tend to hold fewer people. Whether you are canvassing for a candidate or advocating for legislation to Congress, an e-mail is easy to send but can be drowned out easily as well; a phone call requires more effort and carries more weight; a personal visit is the most compelling but also requires the most commitment.
The Obama campaign gave prospective supporters a menu of options:
Personal – You could start by friending Obama on a social network. Then, you might sign up for text messages and e-mails to stay informed about the campaign. As a supporter, you may make your first donation or register to vote.
Social – Once invested, you may post a comment to a friend’s profile, telling them why Obama was the right candidate for them. Perhaps you would jump to the MyBarackObama.com (MyBO.com) Web site, where you would create an account. After getting positive feedback on the site, you might join or even create a group.
Advocate – To drive interest in the group, you may post pictures, write blog posts or create a video declaring your support, which you could post to YouTube. With insights and materials from the campaign, you might host an offline event where you would ask supporters to donate money, register to vote, canvass or phone bank.
2) Empowering super users – In addition to providing tiers of engagement for the broader mass of supporters, the Obama campaign offered further support to its most committed advocates. The campaign tracked volunteers and took note of their most reliable activists. The campaign identified these connectors early and gave them the tools to activate others. These super users could create social and fundraising groups on the MyBO Web site. They also could organize their own networks of supporters that gave them access to the Obama database, from which they could pull phone numbers for doing phone banking from their living rooms.
3) Providing source materials for user-generated content – The MyBO Web site contained videos, speeches, photos and how-to guides that gave people the raw materials they needed to create their own compelling content in support of Obama. In return, supporters created more than 400,000 pro-Obama videos and posted them to YouTube. They also wrote more than 400,000 blog posts on the MyBO Web site.
The campaign could not possibly have generated this much content on its own. And it
was better that it didn’t. The most trusted source of information is consistently “a person like myself.” The authentic user-generated video is more compelling and elicits more support than official productions because we are more trusting of information that is from people who hold similar beliefs, share the same politics or religion, or are the same age or gender as us.
4) Going where the people are – While 60 percent of adults in the United States belong to a social network, most do not belong to more than one. If you want to reach them, you have to know where they are and connect with them there. As Obama adviser Scott Goodstein said: “Some people only go to MySpace. It’s where they’re on all day. Some only go to LinkedIn. Our goal is to make sure that each supporter online, regardless of where they are, has a connection with Obama.”14 Obama had profiles on more than 15 social networks, including Facebook and MySpace. But he also was the first presidential candidate to have profiles on AsianAve.com, MiGente.com and BlackPlanet.com, influential social networks for the Asian, Hispanic and African American communities. It is also important to note that Obama was not on every social network: he selected the most significant and important platforms in which to participate. While the unsuccessful Edwards campaign was on dozens of social networks, Obama limited his official presence to 15 and leveraged these platforms to direct people to the MyBO Web site, where the campaign had a greater ability to channel people to the specific activities and causes that were deemed the most important to fulfilling the campaign’s electoral strategy.
The MyBO Web site served as the hub for electoral activities, with spokes that reached to an array of platforms, all of which drove conversation back to the Web site in order to engage the people, empower the voices, raise the money and get the boots on the ground needed to win the election.
5) Using tools people are familiar with – These days, there is a social network for every distinct social niche. There also are umbrella networks that span all interests. Facebook has 150 million members; MySpace has 110 million; LinkedIn is approaching 50 million. These users have invested time, energy and social capital into developing their profiles and engaging other people on their network(s) of choice. The Obama campaign
leveraged these existing platforms to maximize the social velocity of its outreach efforts.
For instance, while Obama had more than three million Facebook friends, supporters also used the tools that they were familiar with in Facebook to find creative ways to spread the message in support of his candidacy. More than 900,000 people joined the “One Million Strong for Obama” group on Facebook. There were Facebook groups for Obama for almost every college in America. The campaign leveraged participation on these existing networks to reinforce messages across platforms and create as many touch points as possible.
6) Ensuring that people can find your content – If your content is posted but nobody can find it, does it exist? Can you convert anybody with it? No. According to Google, 90 percent of people who find a Web site through a search engine click on a result from page one of the search results. Therefore you have to be on page one or you will not be found. The Obama campaign understood this: it created simple Web sites with the URLs of popular search terms to increase the likelihood that they would appear at the top of the search results.
Additionally, when the opposition created videos criticizing Obama (e.g., Reverend Wright), the campaign released videos that used the same tags so that its positive response could be found when people searched for the original. The campaign understood that most people on YouTube use “related videos” to find what to watch. By mimicking tags, people were more likely to find the Obama response alongside the original critique.
Further, because the campaign knew that more than one-third of people do not distinguish between organic search results and paid search ads, it aggressively purchased search ads to increase the likelihood that users would be driven to friendly information.
7) Mobilizing supporters through mobile devices – Ninety percent of Americans are within three feet of their cell phones 24 hours a day. People still read more than 90 percent of their text messages, while pages of e-mails sit unopened in inboxes. Text messaging and the mobile Web offers an opportunity to reach supporters directly anywhere they are, any time of the day. It also is a much more cost effective way to mobilize voters. A 2006 study by the New Voters Project found that text-message reminders helped increase turnout by four percent at a cost of only $1.56 per vote, much cheaper than the cost of door-to-door canvassing or phone banking, at a cost of $20 to $30 per vote.
The campaign used major announcements to drive people to the mobile platform, such as Obama’s choice of Senator Joe Biden as his running mate, which Nielsen Mobile has quantified as the largest mobile marketing event in the United States to date.16 The campaign sustained interest through five to 20 targeted messages each month. For instance, supporters could text questions about polling places and receive quick responses from the campaign. More than 30,000 people signed up from within Denver’s Mile High Stadium while waiting to hear Obama’s acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention. The campaign also released a free iPhone application in October that gave people up-to-date campaign information and organized its contacts to highlight phone numbers for people in key battleground states.
8) Harnessing analytics to constantly improve engagement activities – Management consultants call it kaizen – the concept of constant improvement. Obama’s campaign tracked the success of every e-mail, text message and Web site visit, capitalizing on the analytics that are inherent in digital communications. Each ad and e-mail was created in multiple versions (e.g., different headers, buttons vs. links, video vs. audio vs. plain text) to test what worked and what did not. The campaign developed more than 7,000 customized e-mails, tailored to individual prospects, and made real-time improvements to its outreach materials. Adjustments were made daily to improve performance and conversion. It worked. As the campaign progressed, the effectiveness of the e-mail campaign increased and conversion rates similarly improved.
9) Building the online operation to scale – In February 2007, Obama met with Netscape founder and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen to learn how social media could power the campaign.17 The campaign spent more than $2 million in 2007 on hardware and software that would serve as the foundation for the social media operation. 18 It built an enterprise-level system that was ready to scale to millions of supporters. As the primary season progressed and the general election campaign began, Obama’s team continued to look for ways to innovate. It used a “crawl, walk, run” approach, integrating new (and improved) social media elements into the campaign. The campaign had a few early missteps, including the initial rollout of the mobile campaign featuring ringtones that were widely derided, and an embarrassing public spat with Joe Anthony, a devoted early supporter who was forced by the campaign to forfeit his MySpace.com/BarackObama page and its 130,000 friends so that the campaign could take control of it.19 But it was able to overcome these miscues by giving its supporters more and better opportunities to create their own social pulpits than any campaign had ever given before.
10) Choosing the right team – Long before the intensity of the 2008 campaign kicked in, Obama was already planning his online strategy. The Obama campaign had a core online team of 11 people with a total staff of 30, a number that climbed even higher toward the end of the cycle. While previous campaigns had treated online advocacy as an add-on, the Obama campaign integrated social media into all elements of the organization. Joe Rospars, the head of social media for Obama, reported directly to the campaign manager, David Plouffe. Internet and mobile was integrated into every aspect of the campaign.
The team also included Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, and Kevin Malover, a veteran of online travel agency Orbitz. Julius Genachowski, a longtime friend of Obama, served as the campaign’s chief technology advisor. Obama also tapped a distinguished group of advisors, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Many of these supporters will follow Obama to the White House, including one who is likely to be named the nation’s Chief Technology Officer.
:: the National Geographic Channel’s “On Board” program has brought Air Force One to the Twittersphere. Follow Air Force One on Twitter at @NGC_AirForceOne. What’s perhaps more interesting than this is seeing how much Twitter-muscle Guy Kawasaki really has. I took the screenshot below a shortly after Guy Tweeted that AF1 was on Twitter. At that time, NGC_AirForceOne had 391 followers; less than an hour later it had 512 followers (a jump fo 121 followers). How many does it have now? // AjS
:: public relations, marketing, and advertising blogs form a closely-linked community online in China. See below for a few noteworthy examples. The first four items are well-known in their respective fields and show up in each other’s blogrolls with heavy interlinking. The fifth item is a ringer that serves to show how traditional PR in China is taking advantage of blogs and online communities.
Flyu (飞扬新锐) says it “focuses on social media marketing and community word of mouth.” It’s a blog written by Yang Lei, former marketing director for the Yupoo photo site and founder of a number of online ventures including Weyii.com. Topics covered on Flyu include branding, social networking site (SNS)-related marketing, and Internet word of mouth (IWOM). Recent posts have followed the repositioning of Weyii.com from a cosmetics rating portal to a vertical SNS for women.
2. New Marketing Observer
Written by Sun Zhifeng (孙志峰), this blog on digital marketing in the context of the Internet and SNS communities shows up on a lot of blogrolls. The author, a marketing professional in Shanghai, presents case studies of online marketing efforts and analyzes their performance, such as Starbucks’ experiment with SNS and Mengniu’s search engine optimization / marketing efforts.
3. General Web2.0 topics
IT Focus is kept by Liu Huafang (柳华芳), a well-known IT columnist. Liu analyzes a wide variety of Web2.0-related topics including marketing and serves up IT job placements on another section of his site. The Moonlight Blog is kept by William Long. Its articles, which cover topics ranging from hosting issues and software, are widely-cited by other tech blogs. The author closely follows developments in the search industry and also reports on new trends in Web2.0 technologies. A large proportion of the posts on both of these blogs is directly applicable to digital marketing and IWOM-related topics.
4. Corporate Sites
CIC, an Internet word-of-mouth research and consulting firm, keeps a Chinese-language blog which comments on memes, developments in Internet word-of-mouth marketing, and other online trends relevant to the communications industries. From time to time it also publishes research results (in English). The blog is closely followed by people in the Web2.0 / digital marketing business and is on the blogroll of a lot of other IWOM bloggers. China Focus Interactive is a company engaged in Web2.0-oriented marketing and has a blog, Sonia’s Buzz, that discusses IWOM and Web2.0-related topics.
5. Aggregators and portals
China PR Blog is an aggregator of blogs written about the PR industry and by PR industry professionals. It’s run under the authorization of the China International Public Relations Association, which also publishes the industry trade, PR Magazine. 17 PR, founded in 2004, is China’s earliest PR portal. It aggregates news, educational materials, expert articles, and other information as part of a Web1.0-style website (yuck!), and it also features blogging and forums as web2.0-style tools (yay!) for information exchange. It’s currently home to the widely-read PR blogger Gao Peng. iResearch.cn has a Web2.0 section that features in-house columnists as well as other news and analysis concerning blogs, SNS, online communities, and e-magazines.