Recommended Reading 3/30/09

At its essence, Twitter is nothing more than an RSS feed. The tools are what make it so valuable. Online Best Colleges has come up with this great list of 100 Twitter tools that do everything from identify people you haven’t tweeted in a long time to figure out how much time you waste on Twitter. And you can waste a LOT of time on Twitter!

Nielsen: Social Networking Overtakes E-mail in Popularity

Active reach in what Nielsen defines as “member communities” now exceeds e-mail participation by 67 percent to 65 percent. What’s more, the reach of social networking and blogging venues is growing at twice the rate of other large drivers of Internet use such as portals, e-mail and search.

A statistical analysis of social network users that is totally made up but bitingly accurate, at least in the satirical sense 🙂

Six ways to make Web 2.0 work – The McKinsey Quarterly

McKinsey looks at the characteristics of organizations that have successfully leveraged Web 2.0 technologies. Quoting:

  • To date, as many survey respondents are dissatisfied with their use of Web 2.0 technologies as are satisfied. Participatory technologies should include auditing functions, similar to those for e-mail, that track all contributions and their authors. Ultimately, however, companies must recognize that successful participation means engaging in authentic conversations with participants.
  • We have found that, unless a number of success factors are present, Web 2.0 efforts often fail to launch or to reach expected heights of usage. Executives who are suspicious or uncomfortable with perceived changes or risks often call off these efforts.
  • What distinguishes them from previous technologies is the high degree of participation they require to be effective.
  • While they are inherently disruptive and often challenge an organization and its culture, they are not technically complex to implement. Rather, they are a relatively lightweight overlay to the existing infrastructure and do not necessarily require complex technology integration.
  • Since we first polled global executives two years ago, the adoption of these tools has continued. Spending on them is now a relatively modest $1 billion, but the level of investment is expected to grow by more than 15 percent annually over the next five years, despite the current recession.
  • The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.
  • Successful participation, however, requires not only grassroots activity but also a different leadership approach: senior executives often become role models and lead through informal channels.
  • Efforts go awry when organizations try to dictate their preferred uses of the technologies—a strategy that fits applications designed specifically to improve the performance of known processes—rather than observing what works and then scaling it up
  • [Success requires] a more effective play to the Web’s ethos and the participants’ desire for recognition: bolstering the reputation of participants in relevant communities, rewarding enthusiasm, or acknowledging the quality and usefulness of contributions.
  • Numerous executives we interviewed said that participatory initiatives had been stalled by legal and HR concerns. These risks differ markedly from those of previous technology adoptions, where the chief downside was high costs and poor execution

Self-publishing today is inexpensive and relatively easy. For authors who don’t want to put up with the run-around of finding increasingly skittish professional publishers, it can be a fast way to build a personal brand and actually make decent money.

Social Networks Drive Video Views

The most common way that viewers find videos is direct navigation to a video site. About 45% of all video views were from by consumers who started at YouTube. A survey by TubeMogul found that social networks have a bigger influence on video usage than search engines, accounting for about 80% of all visitors.

Twitter User Base Continues To Grow

According to Pew Research, 27% of bloggers use Twitter and 11% of Web-equipped US adults have used a microblog service. That second figure has nearly doubled in the past year. There is a high correlation between Twitter use and use of other Internet technologies. The median age of a Twitter user is 31. By comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, while Facebook users median at 26 and LinkedIn users at 40.

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