Social Networking Conference Miami 2010 Wrap: Market Opportunities, Good Practices

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good PracticesSocial Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices is a summary of my notes on the sessions I attended. I had four speaking engagements at the Social Networking Conference Miami 2010, so I was only able to attend a few sessions in their entirety, which are linked here. Others are summarized below.

Peter McGreevy, Partner, McGreevy & Henle LLP: Enterprise Social Networking Leaks

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: mcgreevyPeter McGreevy read the audience the riot act: he covered the danger of social networks and the importance of protecting corporate assets with appropriate policies. Highlights:

  • A key source of problems is the blurring of the home-work boundary; many employees don’t realize it and can  expose their employers to litigation by posting messages that are inappropriate in a work context.
  • 43% of companies don’t have social networking policies. Combined with the point above, this increases their risk exposure.
  • What kinds of risk? Try trade secrets, alliances in progress, business plans, intellectual property, logos, videos, documents.
  • Your employees represent your company on LinkedIn.
  • In a recent sting, gigs of porn were discovered on (federal) government computers; employees were surfing porn at work.
  • Employees venting or griping online can pose a significant risk.
  • The social media policy  is the first defense in the courtroom because, in it, the company lays out its intentions and guidelines. That puts the burden on employees to follow it; the company looks irresponsible in the courtroom when it doesn’t have a policy.
  • The policy and enforcement are the key; it is ineffective to block social media sites in most cases because workarounds are often fairly easy.
  • Make sure to have different parts of the policy spell out rules for various groups: employees, contractors. Give guidance for employee blogs, make sure they have disclaimers.
  • Monitor and enforce consistently.

Mark Brooks, Publisher, Social Networking Watch: 2009 Year in Review

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: Social Networking WatchMark Brooks brought attendees up to date on social networking highlights of 2009. Select points:

  • Twitter’s valuation is probably too high: it is $1.13 billion on revenue of $1.3 million; LinkedIn’s is $1.25 billion on revenue of $205 million; Facebook $7.1 billion on revenue of $710 million. Valuations will come down.
  • China’s Tencent sold $1 billion in virtual goods in 2009. Qzone is the largest social network in the world.
  • Watch the migration from Friendster=>MySpace=>Facebook=>? It was relatively fast, people are mobile. MySpace understood that people wanted to customize the look of profiles, Friendster didn’t allow that. MySpace failed because it didn’t combat fake people/profiles. Facebook did.
  • Look at Asia. Virtual goods are huge, $5 billion per year combined with Qzone, Cyworld (South Korea), Gree (Japan).
  • On the darker side, a recend government report in the UK found that social networks cost the UK £1.38 billion in lost productivity because employees spend 40 minutes per week on average.
  • Bright side: Kiva makes $100 million in microloans.
  • One highlight of 2009: Facebook declares a war on privacy by rewriting what information members may protect (much was reclassified public, giving people little recourse).

Christopher S. Rollyson, Managing Director, CSRA: Outperform Rivals by Using a Web 2.0 Investment Strategy

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: CSRA Christopher S. Rollyson and AssociatesThe premise behind my presentation is that a rare opportunity exists for astute leaders to grab significant advantage from their competitors because:

  1. Social networks change the economics of relationships because finding, developing and maintaining relationships is far less costly; every organization needs to understand this and develop skills in using social networks. This adoption will have a significant bearing on viability.
  2. 2010-2011 will see failures in social networking projects because firms approaching them as marketing investments, which will produce a poignant backlash, followed by deinvestment.
  3. By focusing social networking investments on relationship and using risk mitigation strategies, you can succeed and increase your investments and competency when your rivals are on the sidelines.

This presentation includes the Web 2.0 Adoption Curve, which predicts an imminent disenchantment and de-investment in social networking.

Claudio Schapsis, Chairman, LBS-LATAM & CEO BDNooZ: Mobile Social Networks Why are they different—Location, Privacy and Business Models

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: bdnoozClaudio Schapsis is a mobile location-based services expert, and he outlined the characteristics of mobile social networking, why location is important, how mobile changes everything, emerging opportunities, and how privacy platforms catalyze the use of mobile social networking.

  • A key theme of mobile is immediacy of time and place; people have their mobiles everywhere, so there is no waiting.
  • Mobile applications are very difficult due to the incompatibility of handsets. There are 5-6 major players in the U.S. alone (iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, etc.). Then you have the operating systems and screen interfaces (touch screen or not). This makes it very difficult for application makers to profit.
  • Keep in mind that it is very difficult to develop for mobile. It is much easier to migrate apps from mobile to computer than vice-versa.
  • Look for hypertargeting with geotags. The offers you receive depend on where you are. You will get coupons for a concert at Madison Square Garden only if the seller knows you like that hall and you are close enough to make it there before the concert begins.
  • eHarmony lets you poke another member if you are in the same geo, thanks to GPS or cell tower triangulation.
  • Apple changed the rules because its iTunes store lets it profit from the iPhone long after it was sold. That’s a new pardigm; handset makers would see nothing after the sale.
  • Don’t think you are getting anything for free. Even if you are not paying cash, your interactions and position are building a rich data repository for Google or whoever else is providing “free” services.
  • Gpsy is a GPS provider.
  • There are several providers of cloaking services that can take you off the grid given preferences; i.e. your geo only visible within a given radius of work or during certain times of the day. One is

Lou Ordorica, Community Manager, Reseller Marketing Services: B2B Community Viewpoints

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: RMSLou gave an excellent presentation about how to succeed with building B2B communities. Here are some his key points:

  • Flat is the new growth, and B2B buyers are extremely loath to open their wallets.
  • Relationship is everything, you need to engage customers and prospects to develop relationship. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • He gave a case study for implementing a Telligent white label social network.
  • Ask yourself key planning questions: what exists already? Pick good champions. Listen more than talk.
  • Capture a vision for the community/social network.
  • A community takes constant care and nurturing; it’s not like a website that was somewhat more forgiving.
  • Do the pre-work: create user personas and test them. Create structures for the community. Then select technology.
  • Sell the community constantly
  • Business results they saw were: decrease support calls because customers could identify and solve their problems online. Fewer employees. Lower operating expenses.

Simon Brodstock, Vice President, Dow Jones Enterprise Media: Social Networking & Business Information Technologies

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: Dow JonesSimon Brodstock addressed B2B enterprise social networking from a practice and business development perspective. Unfortunately, I missed part of his presentation, but here are some nuggets:

  • When trying to empower a sales, business development or practice development team, realize that cultural issues are extremely important; this means, trust and willingness to share. Also be attentive to under what conditions are people willing to share.
  • No matter what technology your organization uses, the old adage “Garbage in, garbage out” still holds. People control the gold, accurate information and the willingness to share the metainformation that makes it truly actionable.
  • Networking of all types is governed by serendipity, even though technology tries to manage it and make it more predictable.
  • People at all levels experience “overload” in terms of information and activity. Factor this in when you plan to encourage a group to share. There is no technology magic bullet, even though, when properly used, technology can significantly improve productivity.
  • People also need to be aware of etiquette that governs online sharing and social networking. This etiquette is new because the technologies and the social situations they produce are unknown to most professionals and executives.
  • To his credit, Simon didn’t spend much time talking about Dow Jones’ solutions, but the concept is integrating a business social network like LinkedIn with Dow Jones’ sophisticated data bases of company information. Therefore, it can produce “relationship maps” among executives at the click of a button. Each of these capabilities can work in isolation of the other, but they are even more powerful together.

Rick Bylina, Enterprise Mobility Evangelist, Motorola: Mobile Social Networking Trends and Android

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: motorolaRick Bylina had an interesting viewpoint of Android because several of Motorola’s phones run on it. Here are some highlights:

  • Motorola’s phones look like the iPhone; the big difference is a software concept called “Blur,” which attempts to collapse the functionality of individual applications into a unified experience. He showed some screen shots that looked interesting; the only way to assess would be to play with it.
  • As an iPhone and iGoogle user, I understood his customization comments thus: three screens (think iGoogle) come standard but Motorola added two more, so imagine that you can customize your screens by installing/removing widgets (as with iGoogle).
  • The other feature he emphasized was that all users’ settings are in the cloud. If you lose your Droid, get a new one, log in, and it restores all your data and settings seamlessly. You can lose the handset but not the data (as long as you pay your monthly bill ,^)
  • You can find your lost phone by GPS. If it’s been stolen, you can tell the cloud to erase the phone.
  • The communication between the Droid and the cloud is mostly one-way currently: the phone updates the cloud, but the opposite not (different from iPhone, which is bidirectional).
  • Can’t read my scrawl, but I think he said that the Droid has a presence feature that encourages you to connect with people based on their location: via SMS, email or voice mail, which only works if they have the Blur account (I conceptualize the latter as an effort similar to Nokia’s OVI, which I covered in Los Angeles).
  • The Droid currently can search the address book by a person’s name only (probably as iPhone 2.0), but I’m sure full search will be in the offing.
  • Full LBS (location-based services) will be available shortly, to bring you closer to friends.

Rich McKinney, Senior Media Strategist, Berry Network (AT&T): Enterprise Social Media Marketing

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: berry-networkRich McKinney told an interesting transformation story, and I was sorry that I didn’t catch all of his presentation. Here are the points I got:

  • Berry Network was founded in 1910, and it sold YellowPages advertising. I’ll christen that the Web 0.0 era (even before Arpanet! ,^) and today they are a subsidiary of AT&T.
  • Rich totally gets that they need to transform themselves quickly, and he’s a social business enthusiast.
  • For example, he referenced KogiBBQ, which serves people in mobile trucks, which broadcast their locations via Twitter; one time, Rich found one with a line 2-300 people deep; they got chased off by the police, so they located a few blocks away, and the crowd just followed them! (hopefully no non-customer police were following their tweets ,~)
  • “Twitter” was credited by the Oxford University Press for introducing many words to the English dictionary in 2009.

Final Panel

Social Networking Conference Shows Market Opportunities, Good Practices: final panelThe Power Panel included: Ann Aikin, Simon Brodstock, Rick BylinaRich McKinney, Kenton Olson and Claudio Schapsis, so we had excellent representation, with me moderating the circus. Excellent insightful questions from the audience made it fun and worthwhile. Hats off to the panelists, who took every last question! Here are a few insights:

  • Kenton reiterated that creating your own shortcode can be very rewarding (instead of “” try your own). It increases brand footprint and provides extensive analytics about your fans.
  • Simon reminded us that your team members are all consumers and will adopt technologies like social networks on their own; you need to dial into that, expect it and make it work for your organization.
  • Ann pointed out that it is much more difficult now to “market” to consumers. They aren’t listening to the old channels. They are listening to new channels (their friends).
  • Rick emphasized that, even though markets are splintering and sound cacaphonous, that is great for market research because people are talking more. If you’re listening.
  • Claudio stressed the need for novelty to gain the interest of your prospects and customers. It’s a main ingredient of passion.
  • Rich brought up that having a social media policy was fine, but it’s not actionable until you have defined roles and response processes. You will need them.
  • Simon mentioned that Dow Jones still has difficulty with its processes: they are accustomed to talking to readers, but now customers are far more accessible as individuals, and that is new.
  • Kenton: definitely plan on having distributed social media teams; you get many different people to cover various aspects of it (like a zone defense).
  • Ann: we have different people answering different types of questions: various injuries, diabetes, etc. Don’t think in terms of a “social media team” that “handles” it. (Me: That would be 20th century thinking).
  • Christine Gooding shared her work with a public client adopting social media; they created a training and mentoring program that worked really well. (Me: Remember, this belongs to the people, give them the tools to run with it).
  • Kenton, biggest risk: when the Sounders decided to let fans vote whether to retain the head coach. Talk about inclusion! Each season ticket holder gets one vote!!
  • Ann, biggest risk: losing control of the message. The CDC deals with life/death situations by definition, so they want to ensure that people are sharing accurate information.
  • Policy question: Rick mentioned that Motorola’s social media policy explicitly invokes Motorola’s ethics policy. He’s also familiar with the U.S. Air Force social media policy, it’s ten bullet points. To that, I responded that policies had to reflect the culture of their organizations. Ten points might work for a regimented organization, but a more free-wheeling culture might need, er, a few more points ,^)

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