Monthly Archives: January 2009

America 2.0

In a historic sense, we have officially begun the era of America 2.0. Many political pundits and Presidential historians will make a living for the next generation with analysis of what the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama will mean for our collective futures.

obamaMy angle is simple and parallels the major technological force that is reshaping our society, Web2.0.

In Presidential terms, there have been a few major inflection points in our history. If you doubt this just ask a grade school student.

There was Washington and the creation of our nation, Lincoln and emancipation and the Civil War, Franklin Roosevelt for the New Deal, World War II, and the Great (first?) Depression, Lyndon Johnson for civil rights, and Reagan for the the fall of the Soviet Union.

In each case history can be starkly categorized in a before and after view.

In communication technological terms we had similar points of demarcation such as the invention of language, use of written alphabets, scrolls and books, the printing press, mail service, libraries, telegraph, radio, television, telephone, wireless communications, computers, the Internet and now Web2.0.

President Obama came to power in the midst of, and partly because of, the changing societal norms in the way we all communicate.

Franklin Roosevelt with his fireside chats,  mastered radio as a communications vehicle. John Kennedy mastered the medium of television and Ronald Reagan combined television with a mastery of the pulpit at Evangelical Churches to communicate his message. President Obama is the first Web2.0 President.

The real message here is that we have now passed the tipping point for Web2.0. This is no longer an election story, but one that will be commonplace in how we move forward as a society.
Web2.0 will be part of all future marketing campaigns as well as political movements. The 10’s of millions of “friends” in the various Obama social networking groups do not cease to exist on January 21, 2009. Social Networks live on. These lists will grow, will influence, will be influenced, and will become the number one asset in the inevitable re-election campaign of 2012.

With a new found appreciation for the power of Web2.0, marketing organizations, brands and other organizations are jumping into this medium.

Here are my Web2.0 examples from the inauguration:

CNN.com

facebook/obama

How compelling was it to watch the inauguration on CNN’s web page with all of your Facebook friends scrolling their comments, compared to “Katie Couric 1.0” on one-way, non-interactive broadcast television?

Facebook Postings:

During the Inauguration I got recommendations from a relative in Israel, in real time, to befriend someone who was posting their reactions and photos, live from the Washington Mall by way of Facebook.

Falcons 1976:

My high school class recently started a virtual reunion on Facebook. This class was very much shaped by the titanic forces of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. We had an integrated school district with busing in a community that was largely segregated. To share the joy and amazement of what we witnessed this week with some long lost schoolmates was fantastic.

Other:

Twitter, MySpace and Youtube were all a buzz with a constant flow of words, photos and videos.

We are all connected in a way that has tipped the political landscape.

During his speech, President Obama stated that the old rules no longer apply. There are many ways to interpret this statement. One way is that we are so connected with Web2.0 that the old rules of controlling mass public opinion are just that, old.

Social networks, whether formed for political purposes, commercial marketing or high school reunion’s organically exist, grow and feed amongst themselves. They are the new medium for mass communication.

The important lessons from history are that this change, this inflection point, is not inherently good or evil, it just is. Its power is in how it influences our real lives. In the case of President Obama, it has affected all of our lives and perhaps the future history of the world for the next generation.

It is up to us to determine the uses.

Will it continue to empower self expression and sharing of ideas or become an even more powerful mechanism for controlling public option?

We are now sitting at a point in history that will be written about for the next 100 years.

The choice is how we use this new communication medium is ours.

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Filed under America 2.0, facebook, inauguration, mobile, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, new media, politics, President Obama, Presidental History, Social Media, social networking, Twitter, You Tube

Does President Obama Need to Bail Out Twitter?

obama tweets

During this historic week there will be many pressing issues for the new administration: The Economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Hamas, Global Warming, Energy, Education, Social Security, Health, and lastly Twittgm logoer.

Billions are being given to GM to build more car&trucks that the public really no longer wants. For a fraction of that investment we could save Twitter and the worlds premier micro-blogging network.

To Twitters credit they have finally hired a business development person. A good step in figuring out the revenue side of their equation. However, here is my New Year’s gift to Twitter.

Twitter has a large following and seems to have no way to make money, or does it?

One of my colleagues seems to have broken the revenue code for Twitter. Since she asked that I protect her identity I will call her “Mickey”. Mickey has been blogging with Twitter for a couple of years. Her Tweets have a modest number of followers: perhaps a couple of co-workers, friends, relatives and a few random lurkers. What was valuable about Mickey’s Twitter existence was her Twitter name. It seems that a company that wanted to broadcast their product messages on Twitter desired Mickey’s Twitter name. Similar to those who made money by domain sitting on website names, there is actually a real economy in Twitter names!

Mickey and this company negotiated a settlement with real cash exchanging hands.

band

A recent article in Venture Beat revealed that 93 of the top 100 brands do not own their own Twitter brand names. Naturally this “opportunity” is not unique to Twitter. Clearly the same economy exists at Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.

All of these social networks have become large transmission networks for targeted content and thus have an obvious commercial value.

A big difference between Internet domain names and the private namespaces of social networks is that they are privately owned and reserved by the owners of the SN. The Internet has the Uniform Dispute Resolution Mechanism, while there is no such mechanism for Social Networks. These networks operate within the normal commercial guidelines of any business and are thus subject to trademark and copyright laws within the jurisdictions of their business. Namespaces for Social Networks are in a big gray area right now.

In the Twitter terms and conditions they state:

“We reserve the right to reclaim usernames on behalf of businesses or individuals that hold legal claim or trademark on those usernames.”

Now back to Mickey.

Why should Twitter allow their subscribers to barter usernames and not profit from the network that they own?

Here are my two suggestions for Twitters Commercial Business Model.

obamaFirst, Twitter should recover all trade names for companies that are owned by individuals who are speculators and not official company officials. (At least Mickey got her payment!) This move would signal that Twitter is serious about the business use of their network. Any company that wants to do business on Twitter and capitalize from their valuable network should have to pay a direct fixed monthly fee to Twitter. In addition, a variable monthly fee can be gained based on number of Tweets and followers. These businesses would pay for access to millions of subscribers, just like advertisers pay for television ads.

Second, Twitter should build a business-matching engine. This feature would suggest that users follow certain commercial channels based on their Tweets, interests and other fans and followers.

These suggestions are not going to garner 100’s of millions for Twitter, but they are the prerequisite to larger advertising and subscription models.

If they follow some of these ideas, Prsident Obama can spend more money for the bailouts of CitiGroup, Ford and GM.

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Filed under advertising, E-Commerce, economy, mobile, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, obama, politics, social networking, Twitter

Israel fights Hamas with Twitter and YouTube

21st century wars are being fought with 21st media. It has been widely reported intwitter_logo the traditional print and broadcast media that Israel is using microbloging on Twitter and longer video releases on YouTube to promote its view of the war against the terror organization of Hamas. This was most probably prompted, in part, by the use of these same mechanisms by Hamas. The Israeli Defense forces have their own YouTube channel for their reports of the war.

This is the second major world event in which Twittered Tweet accounts played an important role in informing, debating, crafting and influencing the mainstream media.  The other one I am referring to is of course the horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.  In that instance, there were real-time first hand accounts of the attacks.

Another less publicized example was the December 21st crash of a Continental airliner in Denver.  One passenger , Mike Scott, gave a real time account of crashing.  Personally, I would have other things to be thinking about at such a time.

youtube_logoIn Gaza, reporting organizations in the U.S. complain about not having access to the war zone, yet citizen reporters and “official” sources are streaming a constant account with mobile devices.

What does lack of access really mean in a Mobile Web 2.0 world? Words, Text, Pictures and Video will flow in real time from anywhere that has mobile or Internet service.

If I were a savvy reporter for CNN, I would monitor these accounts from 100s (if not 1000s) of sources and use them as pieces of a larger jigsaw puzzle. A big plus is that it is a lot safer to watch your laptop screen for the war accounts then don a flak jacket and wander into harms way!  Social Media can provide a view of any event, but it is not the complete story.

There is no substitute for journalistic professionals on the ground, flak jackets and all.

Some examples of the microblogging barrage in the war include:

An official Q&A session from the Israeli consulate in New York.
Their screen name is Israelconsulate.

News Tweets from Al Jazeera via account AJGaza on the Arab point of view

A Twitter count of Qassam rockets fired into Israel via screen name Qassamcount.

And lastly, a Twitter micro-blog with various points of view called Gazafacts

A real-time chart of Twitter posts on Hamas, Israel and Gaza can be seen by clicking here.

hamas rocket fire

One Million Israelis live within range of Hamas Rockets

There are recent accounts of Twitter accounts being disabled as unnamed people or organizations launched denial of service attacks in the Twitter #Gaza channels. So, not only is Twitter a tool for both sides in this war, it is being attacked for being that broadcast mechanism.

I searched several of the social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) for Gaza, Hamas and Israel.  My conclusion is, despite Israel’s launch of an IDF channel on YouTube, the bulk of Web2.0 content is very negative towards  Israel.  Given this reality, it is easy o understand the need Israel has to promote their own view on social media networks.

It is clear that all forms of Web 2.o media will play major roles in future world events.   Managing the social media channels will be as important as managing traditional television and print media in influencing public opinion.   Similar to a Qassam rocket, Web 2.0 provides a mechanism for waging asymmetric warfare.

A real-time search of what’s being said on Twitter about Hamas, Israel and Gaza can be viewed by clicking here

If you don’t like what’s being said, just join in on the conversation.

Note: The author’s Twitter account is njspence

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Filed under Aljerzera, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Isarel, mobile, Social Media, Twitter, wireless, You Tube