Archive for the ‘Online Communities’ Tag

Review: Sysomos

sysomosLast week I spoke with Steve Dodd and Nick Koudas of Sysomos, a social media tracking/monitoring service. They walked me through their product, features and showed me how it could be successfully implemented in a business or even by someone with a successful personal brand. Below is my review. Please note that this review is based on a presentation given to me by the Sysomos team, and I have not had an opportunity to actually try the Sysomos product or implement it firsthand.

Structure of this review: I’ve broken down the core elements of the product into categories and have reviewed them based on their merit. I’ve also included a brief review of additional features that are “added bonuses” or things you’d expect to see in a service like this towards the end of the review.

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Practice what you preach

When I attended Graduate school at USC I started to go through the steps of having my thesis published, mostly because I thought it would bring me fame, fortune, and a great job. (Clearly I had no concept of how many people actually read a thesis. For those of you in Graduate school, it’s about as many people as you have fingers on your hands. Advisor, parent(s), significant other, editor, and maybe a roommate). 

Midway through the submission process I stopped because I realized I was losing my mind, and publishing my thesis on paper didn’t really embrace what I had written. My thesis was on User-Generated Content and Viral Media, and it’s Impact on Broadcast and Marketing. I was committed to the fact that the topic was changing, so the medium should be changing. (In retrospect, that’s oh so McLuhan of me).

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Social Identity Crisis?

Mashable is reporting that Bebo has begun changing their user’s screen names without prior notification or permission. For most users, it’s a simple switch from a “-” to a “_” , but for many, the change in identity is an unwelcome adjustment.

Bebo’s membership adjustment might be necessary for their system, but will most likely provide a critical blow to their user base’s confidence in the product and messaging.

All of this prompted me to think about “online branded etiquette” — the rules that users hold the companies they love to. I’ve created a brief list below, but feel free to share your two cents as well.

  • Transparency: Be clear and upfront in your messaging and motives. This doesn’t mean share the secret ingredient, but it does mean treat your consumer the way you’d like to be treated. We’re inquisitive (and skeptical) creatures by nature– if you lay it all out on the line, you leave little room for doubt and negative Nancy’s.
  • Over Communicate: This one goes hand-in-hand with transparency. If you’re going to change something, add something, or do something, let your people know. To you, it might be like Christmas morning stumbling upon your favorite site’s new redesign, but for many users (who are creatures of habit and resist change) this could be the worst thing ever. Letting them know ahead of time (even if it’s just a teaser) will help to alleviate some frustration and chaos.
  • Be consistent: Regularity and frequency is something users respond to: if you make it a habit to push updates the first of the month, write a blog post every Tuesday, etc. users will come to expect it. They’ll include you in their life patterns and routines, which means higher page views/CTRs, and a more stable user base.
  • Understand your product: Explore the ways in which your consumers use your product. This will help you understand how to market to them, how to reach them, and how to ensure that you have a balanced relationship with your users. Who knows, you might even learn something new. 🙂
  • Gradually roll out changes: If you’re going to compel users to make a major change, make it optional at first, and be sure to accompany it with lots of clear, consistent messaging about the upcoming changes.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but from my experience, those are the key pillars.