Archive for December, 2008

2008, farewell my friend.

risk vs. reward

Good bye 2008. Thanks for all the memories. Most of all, thanks for the giant kick in the ass. We may not like it, but many of us probably needed it. Things might be a little rougher for a while, and what you leave us with is a whole lot of uncertainty about the future, but you know what? We needed a strong dose of reality to knock some sense back into us and get us back on track.

So what did we learn this year?

We learned that many CEOs aren’t any more qualified to run companies than a sandwich artist. Perhaps less so.

We learned that entrusting your livelihood to said CEOs isn’t necessarily the best career decision in the world.

We learned that every job will end someday, somehow, and probably sooner than you’d like.

We learned that marketing and advertising have fallen asleep at the wheel when it comes to creating value.

We learned that relatively unknown technologies like social media can actually win presidential elections.

We learned that the pendulum indeed always swings back.

We learned that pull works better than push.

We learned that companies that refuse to adapt will fall behind and fail.

We learned that the same is true of people.

We learned that the signal is there, and you’ll find it if you learn how to sift through the noise.

We learned that greed, not ambition, is the enemy.

We learned that value is smarter and more sustainable than growth.

We learned that proper metrics matter.

We learned that tools are just tools. Nothing more.

We learned that in the end, it’s all really about people. Connecting with them. Listening to them. Helping them. Building value for them.

We learned that throwing money at a problem is still a lot of “experts'” favorite solution.

We learned that many experts are in fact total hacks.

We learned that there is tremendous value in asking why.

We learned that there are other people out there who, like us, believe there is a better way.

We learned that everyone can make a difference. That everyone must make a difference. That the alternative is more of the same epidemic incompetence that led our economy to the brink of collapse.

We learned that innovation and evolution happen with or without us… So it might as well happen with us.

We learned that years go by fast.

We learned that nobody has the answers. Especially not the people who claim to have them.

We learned that there is a better way, and that if we work together, we will change the world.

We learned that anything is indeed possible.

Yes we can.

To everyone who dropped by the brandbuilder this past year, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Have a great New Year’s eve. 🙂

See you all next year!

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The questions came up again and again last week on Twitter: Does anyone know how many people use Twitter? Which cities have the highest Twitter usage? Who exactly uses Social Media and where? What do we know about the demographics of Twitter users? (Etc.)

I spent all of five minutes researching the internets to find the answers to all of these questions and bring you what is probably THE most comprehensive aggregation of Social Media stats, demos and other factoids in existence today. (Yes, my right index finger even broke a sweat.)

If anyone ever asks you anything about Social Media statistics for 2008, you can just point them to this post. (You’re very welcome.)

Okay, so to start us off, here is the breakdown of the leading social media platform usage by country as of Nov. 2008. It’s a great snapshot of where social media is today: Not at all the one-size-fits-all model many of us might think. This map doesn’t show why platforms are growing the fastest – just which ones have the most users for each country. If you want to see the map in its full glory or see how it’s changed over time, go straight to its source: oxyweb.co.uk. The site gives you a great month-by month snapshot. (As you can see, Twitter still has a looong way to go – which may not be a bad thing. Quality over quantity and all…)


Now that we’ve had a glimpse of each country’s SocMed platform prference, let’s have a look at specific demographics for each of these platforms, from Badoo to the inevitable YouTube. Courtesy of the brilliant and enterprising folks at Ignite Social Media, here is the definitive 2008 report on all things Social Media, from geographic and search traffic data to basic demographic info (age, gender, education and household income). This is a KILLER quick reference guide for all you marketing/agency folks out there trying to get under the hood of certain SocMed platforms. Below, the Twitter data. If the font is too small to read, download the report. The skinny: The most common Twitter user is male, aged somewhere between 35 and 45, is college educated and makes a decent living. (Mid-career professionals.) Specific demos aside, Twitter seems to have a pretty even appeal across gender lines and income brackets, which is a good sign.


You can download the full report here. I’ve already printed my copies and covered my office walls with the pretty graphics. Thanks again to Ignite for having taken the time to put this document together. Impressive work.

Another report you might want to look at is TechCrunch/Hubspot’s State of the Twittersphere, which also provides us with some interesting factoids about everyone’s favorite social media platform:


For example, did you know that 70% of Twitter users joined in 2008? That 20% of Twitter users have joined in the past 60 days? That the average user has only been on Twitter 275 days?

Or how about this: The most popular days of the week to Tweet are Wednesday and Thursday. An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 new accounts are registered each day. Only 5 percent of all Twitter users have more than 250 followers.

Great stuff. Check it all out for yourselves here.

If you are looking for microstatistics like fluctuations in Twitter usage in the last seven days – or peak Twitter usage times, look no further than TweetRush‘s little dashboard:

twitter-rush-hourEvidently, people are busier at work in the morning than they are in the afternoon. Hmmm…

Now for bragging rights: Since Twitter seems to be exploding all of a sudden, many cities around the world are vying for the #1 Twitcity spot. Well, don’t just wonder where your homestead ranks, find out! Twitterlocal serves you the Top 30 Twitting cities (arranged by sheer volume of tweets) and also allows you to search for tweets in specific areas. As I write this post, the top Twitter cities around the world are Tokyo (JP), NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London (UK). Here’s the list:


Bear in mind that this list is generated by twitter update volume during a 24 hour period and NOT by net Twitter user per city. The two are quite different. (Don’t go thinking that Tokyo has 37,212 Twitter users.)

If you do want to see a Twitter user count by city or state (and actually find Tweeps there) look no further than Twellowhood. Great map-based tool, so you can zoom in and out, pan in every direction, etc. The tool is still in beta and only includes North America (US and Canada) but look for it to extend to every country very soon. Great way to visualize/search Twitter usage geographically, and even dig deeper into who the users are. (If only phone books could be this well designed.)

Twellowhood - Zoomed-in on South Carolina

Twellowhood - Zoomed-in on South Carolina

For a metrics-obsessed guy like me, this is far from enough, but it will at least help you guys get started next time a friend or client asks you to give them some idea of who does what where in the Social Media space.

As always, please feel free to add more info, data and sources to this post via the “comments” section of this post. And if this inspires you to dig up even more data and publish your own Social Media reports, that will be a very good thing.

Have a great day!

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Brandbuilder Chihuahua Christmas 2008

Let me join Chico and Chiquita to wish you all a very, very, VERY Merry Christmas. No lumps of coal in anyone’s stockings this year!


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Our warmest wishes to all of you today and this evening. We want to wish everyone safe travels and a very wonderful Christmas Eve.

We’ll make today and tomorrow’s posts pretty light since most of you should have better things to do than read a 30,000 word post about marketing and business and whatnot on Christmas. So today, unplug a little. Take the business hat off, and toss it someplace where you can forget it for a bit. Get into some jeans, have a delicious hot beverage (cider… eggnog… chocolate milk… Latte… sake… whatever… ) and enjoy your rare time off.

And as always, you can track Santa’s progress via Twitter (We’ll all keep an eye to the sky) and NORAD.


Have a great Christmas Eve, everyone.

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