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Archive for the ‘modern times’ Category

Roger Waters crowd

Pete Quily just saved me a few hours of work by publishing a fantastic Presidential Election/social media scorecard that outlines how the Obama campaign took advantage of social media and the internet to supercharge his grassroots movement all the way to victory. Remember the jokes about his having been a “community organizer?” It appears that the ability to create, organize and engage communities is a pretty useful skill after all. Combine it with social media, and you can work some serious magic – both in the political world AND the business world. If the Obama campaign’s success with social media strategies don’t convince CEOs and CMOs across the US that this “search”, Facebook and Twitter stuff is serious business, I don’t know what will.

Here are the numbers:

Barack Obama Vs. John McCain Search Engine and Social Media Showdown

Internet Presence
Barack Obama
John McCain
% Difference
Leading
Google Pagerank
8
8
0
Pages in Google’s Index
1,820,000
30,700
5828
Obama
Links to Website
in Yahoo – Pages
643,416
513,665
25
Obama
Links to Website
in Yahoo – Inlinks
255,334
165,296
54
Obama

Search Engine Results for Candidates Names in Quotes & Social Media Presence

Google
56,200,000
42,800,000
31
Obama
Google News
136,000
371,620
173
McCain
Google Blog
4,633,997
3,094,453
50
Obama
Technorati
412,219
313,497
31
Obama
WordPress.com
19,692
14,468
36
Obama
Google Image
24,200,000
8,620,000
181
Obama
Flickr
73,076
15,168
382
Obama
Flickr Photostream* 50,218 No Profile 50,218
Obama
Flickr Contacts* 7,148 No Profile 7,148
Obama
Google Video
136,000
89,800
51
Obama
Youtube
358,000
191,000
87
Obama
Youtube Videos Posted*
1,819
330
451
Obama
Youtube Subscribers*
117,873
none listed
117,873
Obama
Youtube Friends*
25,226
none listed
25,226
Obama
Facebook
567,000
18,700
2932
Obama
Facebook Supporters*
2,444,384
627,459
290
Obama
Facebook Wall Posts*
495,320
132,802
273
Obama
Facebook Notes*
1,669
125
1235
Obama
MySpace
859,000
319,000
169
Obama
MySpace Friends*
844,781
219,463
285
Obama
MySpace Comments*
147,630
none listed
147,630
Obama
Twitter
506,000
44,800
1129
Obama
Twitter Followers*
121,314
4,911
2470
Obama
Twitter Updates*
262
25
1048
Obama
Friend Feed
34,300
27,400
25
Obama

The statistic that should sum it all up: John McCain’s social network page has only 3 suggested sites, Obama’s suggests 16. One side understood how to seed social media channels to foster grass roots movements while the other had absolutely no idea what to do with social media beyond the obvious (using YouTube as a broadcast channel, and probing the value of Facebook/MySpace communities).

The Twitter Factor

Take a look at the Twitter numbers (in blue): Only 25 updates for @JohnMcCain vs. 262 updates for @BarackObama.

Less than 5,000 followers for John McCain vs. 121,300 followers for Barack Obama.

Boiled down to the basics: 10x more updates for Obama = almost 25x more followers for Obama.

Note: John McCain’s social networking site sadly makes zero reference to Twitter. Missed opportunity? Probably: One of the most notable effects of the McCain campaigns lack of focus on Twitter was obvious during the final few weeks of the campaign: A significant pro-Obama bias which left many McCain supporters alienated on the exploding live micro-blogging service. Instead of feeding John McCain’s social-media savvy army of supporters on Twitter, his campaign left them with little to do but huddle together and stand fast against a deluge of pro-Obama chatter. Imagine what YOU could do with 5,000 organized followers/customer/fans rooting for you on Twitter. Not understanding the value of these channels most certainly cost the McCain campaign dearly in the final weeks of leading to the Nov. 4 elections.

Why should anyone care about Twitter? One word: Numbers. According to stats provided by compete.com last month, Twitter’s year-over-year growth clocked at 573% in September 2008 vs. Facebook’s very respectable 84% YoY growth and MySpace’s negative 15% YoY growth. (Yep, MySpace’s unique visits are apparently shrinking.) Twitter’s growth is staggering.

At this rate, it may take less than 3 years for Twitter’s estimated 2.5 million* visitors to reach Facebook’s current 100 million* mark. When you consider that presidential elections can be won or lost by just a few thousand votes, it doesn’t take a social media expert to understand the extent to which Twitter WILL play a vital role in the 2012 presidential race.

* Worldwide numbers. Not US numbers. It is estimated that approximately 40% of Twitter users are in the United States.

Below: Twitter demographics (usage by age and gender). If you’re a student looking for a cool project involving social media, overlay this data with voter demographics and see what you find out.

2510539719_6e0af78a8a

To understand the full extent of the Obama campaign’s digital and social media strategies in these historic elections click here: Blue State Digital’s case study on the Obama online campaign is pretty comprehensive. (Political science, communications and marketing students will be studying this for years to come.)

Read Pete’s full post here. Great stuff.

Have a great Friday, everyone! 🙂

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Ruh-roh! Some silly daytime burglar tried to break into our house yesterday. Fortunately, our very own criminal mastermind only had time to rearrange our patio furniture and tie our old Golden retriever to a remote tree before they were interrupted – probably by my wife and kids coming home.

No windows were smashed, nothing was stolen and everyone is okay, so no worries.

Unfortunately, we have to upgrade the house’s security measures now or we’ll stress out every time we go out for dinner: Hello security cameras, additional window and door sensors, motion sensors, lasers, attack alligators and robot lions. Grrrreat. I spent the better part of the evening cataloging serial numbers on every valuable in the house and mapping out the security upgrade. Today, we’re installing hardware and talking to a couple of remote monitoring services.

All of this to say that regular blogging (Part 2 of our “save your dying brand” series) will resume tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.  Have a great day, everyone.

PS: Be sure to participate in yesterday’s survey if you haven’t already.

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Happy New Year everyone!
I am back in the office after a day of garage cleaning and remodeling – which is a pretty lame way to spend the first day of the year… but whatever. The family is still out of town, it was way too windy and cold for a bike ride, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. To get 2008 started on the right foot (no offense to left-footers), I thought I would share this pretty exciting new psychosocial disorder with you.
Ever heard of Ringxiety? If not, you’re going to love this (from Josh Clark’s article on Howstuffworks.com):

Ringxiety, first coined by psychologist David Laramie, is exactly what it sounds like: confusing the sound of a cell phone ringing with a sound similar to it. Since there’s no harm done, aside from a bit of annoyance — especially if a person struggles to locate his phone — most people seem to regard ringxiety as a curiosity or a fact of wireless life. The exact origin of this hallucination has yet to be exactly pinned down, however.
Some researchers think that ringxiety stems from a constant state of readiness that could develop in cell phone users. Before the advent of wireless phones, no one expected a call while driving in the
car, shopping at the grocery store or dancing at a nightclub. With cell phones, though, there’s a potential for a call to come through at any moment. Because of this, it’s possible that our brains are conditioned to expect a call constantly, and when a person hears a tone that reminds him of his cell phone ringing, he will believe that’s the case.
Others believe that ringxiety — or in this case, phantom ringing — simply stems from confusion due to the frequency of most stock cell phone ringtones and the location of our ears. Most standard cell ringtones play at a frequency of around 1,000 hertz. Humans are particularly attuned to pick up on sounds at this range, especially if they’re single-toned, like many ring tones. But because people have ears on either side of their heads, it’s difficult for them to pinpoint the source of a sound, particularly at this frequency — for example, from a phone or from a bird outside. To some, this explains the phenomenon of phantom ringing. This doesn’t hold true for multi-tonal rings, however, such as an
MP3 of a popular song.

… Which doesn’t explain why I can’t get that stupid Umberella song out of my head! But wait, the madness doesn’t stop here.
Those who opt to set the phone to “vibrate” rather than “ring” aren’t off the hook either. Even stranger than phantom ringing is the phantom vibration phenomenon. This is also a part of the ringxiety that David Laramie studied, although fewer ideas about its origins have been suggested. It’s similar to phantom ringing, but phantom vibration is a physical rather than an auditory hallucination.
Are you kidding me? Phantom vibrations?

“Hey, um… are like, your trousers vibrating right now?”
“No… I think it’s my phantom phone making an imaginary call to my pants.”

But wait, there’s more:

(Phantom rings/vibrations are) also similar to another, well-documented phenomenon called phantom limb syndrome. In this medically recognized condition*, amputees — people who’ve had limbs removed — report feeling pain in limbs that are no longer attached to their bodies. Is it possible that people have become as attached to their cell phones as they are to their own arms and legs?

* (as opposed to conditions like, say… Ringxiety.) To answer Josh’s question, perhaps not most cellphones, but yes, if I could somehow adopt my crackberry as an organ, I would. (I would settle for making it a limb, but that wouldn’t be as fun.)

According to a study published in September of 2007, 66% of cell phone users hear phantom rings. Sixty-six friggin percent!!!

Two thirds of us are therefore certifiably insane.

Worse yet, in just one generation, we have managed to go from good old trusty schyzophrenia (remember the good old days when we still heard voices – even if they came from our car radios or the TV static) to the sorry state of social isolation we’re in today: Instead of human voices, we are now hearing cell phone ringtones. That’s how detached from other human beings we’ve become.

(Me, I just hear phantom dog barks and parrot croaks, but that’s a whole different story.)

In his study on ringxiety, David Laramie found a link between increased cell phone use and phantom ring/vibration experiences. He found that two-thirds of the people he surveyed for the study said they’d experienced ringxiety. Those who experienced the phenomenon the most — 67 percent of the survey population — also used the phone the most. They used up more minutes, had larger phone bills, tended to be younger and also sent more text messages [source: Newswise].
The fact that the people who spent more time using their phone experienced ringxiety more often comes as little surprise. But there is another aspect of Laramie’s study that may be more revealing. He found that people who preferred to text others rather than call tended to be more lonely and socially anxious.
Does that mean the way a person uses his phone can predict his personality type? Possibly. Another study shows that phones may directly affect a person’s personality. Specifically, wireless devices can make us less happy.
In 2005, psychologist Noelle Chesley conducted a study of 1,367 men and women who work, have families and use cell phones. She found an increase in stress and a decrease in family satisfaction among both men and women who use cell phones. Chesley believes this is due to what she and other researchers call a blurring of the traditional lines between work and family life.
This blurring occurs when role boundary permeability takes place. Under this condition, a person’s role in one part of their life merges with another role. For example, a woman might get a call at work by one of her kids looking for the TV remote at home. In this case, the woman’s role of mother has infiltrated her separate role as employee.
Chesley’s findings show that while people with cell phones suffer from increased stress and lowered family satisfaction, e-mail — a more “passive” form of communication — does not produce the same results. This suggests that cell phones are more intrusive than other forms of communication, and our happiness suffers as a result of this intrusion.

In related news, lawyers jump all over this (as expected).
Related reading: The New York Times

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