Twitter vs. Facebook vs. MySpace

8 10 2009

The trend graph below from Comscore/Chicago Tribune will likely tell you some things that you already knew, or at least suspected:

  • Facebook is continuing its steady rise in popularity
  • Twitter has experienced exponential growth over the last 12 months but user numbers are now steadying
  • MySpace plateaued, and its popularity is on the decline


Importantly, these trend graphs measure ‘unique visitors’ as opposed to simply restating the total number of registered users. That’s important because it indicates how many people actually decided to login in a given month.*

In this light, the downward trajectory of MySpace looks bad indeed. What’s also interesting is the steadying of Twitter’s growth. I would wager a guess that this illustrates the high rate of churn from people who saw Twitter as the next big thing because of all the media hype, signed up, and then tuned out.

A final word on revenue streams, or lack of them in Twitter’s case. MySpace has a couple. Facebook is now profitable. And Twitter will ‘roll out premium accounts this year’.

Oh dear.

[Sources: Comscore, Chicago Tribune]

* I doubt these numbers reflect people who access Twitter via 3rd party clients though.

The Daily Fail – Digital refusnik of the year?

7 10 2009


The Jackenhack Awards 2009 are just over a week away, and over the past couple of days the nominations have been coming thick and fast. So far, we’ve seen shortlists for:

All the nominations are quite funny, and the ‘one to watch’ in my opinion is the Twitter Twat category.

dailymailThat said, what most caught my eye was the Digital Refusnik Of The Year category. This one is designed to award those who are ‘making the best bid to stay retro’ and ‘refusing to acknowledge carnage in their business and the wider industry’ as a result of things moving digital.

The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday are among the nominees, and The Jackenhack’s summary for them borders on sublime. Here it is verbatim:

“Anyway, we thought we’d nominate the Mail for suggesting that use of Facebook and Twitter will…

Every now and then (ok, daily) The Daily Fail gets taken to task for it’s over the top headlines or hysteria-inducing editorial.  Chris Applegate’s Daily Mail-o-matic app and Daily Mail Oncological Ontology Project are probably among the nicest examples of this on the web. But I had no idea how utterly insane it was with respect to Twitter/ Facebook until seeing that list.

But anyway, my tickets are bought and hopefully I’ll see you there next week?

Now, back to online crime, drugs, prostitution and pornography

The Jackenhack Awards 2009

[Photo credits: B3ta, Jackenhacks]

The day I (accidentally) spammed everyone on Twitter

26 09 2009

On Wednesday I attended the #TechPRDrinks night at the Savoy Tup with ‘the great and the good ‘ of London’s tech PR scene, organised by Will Sturgeon. There was lots of drink, lots of banter and a lot of familiar faces. I soon found myself having to answer one of the most important questions of our time:


Who would you rather be Batman or Spiderman?

Rachel Hodgson from Fleishman-Hillard was in the Spiderman camp, and Tim Hoang of Porter Novelli was representing Batman.  Neither side would give in, so we agreed to disagree. And then Tim and I agreed that Rachel was wrong. Batman is awesome.

The banter carried on to Thursday over Twitter:

SpamBanterSpamBanter2SpamBanter3 - Copy

In an attempt to put this baby to rest, I created a poll on POLLpigeon:


Modest results came roaring in, and the POLLpigeon app sent a few public tweets on my behalf like so:


I expected the app would do this much, which I was alright with. Then I shut down the laptop for the evening, and went to the world premiere of Rage with Skype, the world’s first interactive multi-venue film premiere (I’ll post on that later).

spam-boyUnbeknownst to me though, while I was offline and at the movie, POLLpigeon was sending DM’s to anyone following me begging them to enter this stupid poll. Add that to the public calls for participation and I began to look spammy indeed.

Flash forward to Friday morning, when slightly worse for wear, I fired up my laptop to find evidence in my inbox and on Twitter that ‘I’ was indeed spamming people by DM.  I was pleased though that people were either concerned my account got taken over by spambots or reassuring me that they would do the poll by DM. Both reactions, I find quite sweet. A taste:

SpamWarningsSo WTF happened? Well, apparently when I signed in with my Twitter username and password to create the poll, I must have authorised them to send out DMs to the people nice enough to follow me. This doesn’t really appear in their terms of service or anywhere else on the site.  And it’s particularly embarrassing when one creates such a completely ridiculous poll, as I did.

A couple public apologies later during my morning coffee, and a bit of access revoking for POLLpigeon (Settings > Connections > Revoke Access) and order was restored.

SpamSorryI know it’s not the end of the world, and probably not worth a whole blog post. But there was a weird feeling in my stomach as I read the concerned DMs and replies on Friday morning, worrying that people might get the impression that I would purposely spam them.  Not a great reputation to have for people in my line of work.

I was happy I got the benefit of the doubt though, so thanks.


fbzombie1In closing, screw POLLpigeon. I don’t mind coming off like a bell end sometimes, I just like it when it’s in a manner, time and place of my choosing.  On a more serious note I worry that seemingly harmless apps like this will take Twitter the way of Facebook 1.0, when you couldn’t log in without being informed you’ve been bitten by a zombie.

Oh, and since you’re dying to know, Batman FTW.


[Big honking disclaimer, Skype is a client]

Upcoming parties and networking events in London: @twestivaluk, @measurementcamp, @overheardatmoo

9 09 2009

In the coming weeks there are quite a few events on the social (media?) calendar that are worth giving a shout out to.  I’m going to do my best to get to as many as possible. See you there?

Twestival Local

Off the top: Twestival. An obvious choice for the Twitterati here, and I don’t know many people who aren’t going. If you haven’t yet got your tickets – buy them now! The London Twestival will be in support of ChildLine, ‘the UK’s free, 24-hour helpline for children in distress or danger.’ Every single penny goes there. There will be free drinks and great entertainment including music from The Hours. Massive shout out to the organisers who have again pulled off something truly global, and great.

Measurement Camp

The monthly open source movement for knowledge sharing and industry collaboration for social media types, from across the marcoms spectrum: Media, Ad, Digital, Social Media and PR agencies.

Tech PR Drinks

The brainchild Will Sturgeon from Lewis  PR, it’s a meet up for ‘the great and the good of the UK tech PR industry’. Missed the last one, so looking forward to this one.

MOO’s 3rd Birthday Party

You can’t seem to go to any networking thing in this city without being slipped a Moo MiniCard, and the funky online printshop is celebrating 3 years in the business. Happy birthday Moo, love your cards.

[Cross posted on: hyperTEXT London]

The social web’s most engaged brands

20 07 2009

Interesting report out today about which big brands are doing the ‘best job’ online across a number of social media channels. The study was conducted by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint, and ‘ranks the top 100 brands by ‘social media engagement’. The social media channels in question include blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums.

Amazingly, the study claims a correlation between social media engagement and revenue growth. Working in social media marketing/PR, this is music to my ears. But I’m inclined to agree with TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld:

I really doubt that their level of social media engagement had anything to do with their revenue growth, it is just that the strongest brands are the most engaged.

That said, this study was conducted by former Forrester Analyst Li (Groundswell anyone?) so I wouldn’t count the findings out completely.

So who comes out on top?

  1. Starbucks (127)
  2. Dell (123)
  3. eBay (115)
  4. Google (105)
  5. Microsoft (103)
  6. Thomson Reuters (101)
  7. Nike (100)
  8. Amazon (88)
  9. SAP (86)
  10. Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

I love lists, but I love case studies even more and the report contains some best practices from Starbucks, Dell, SAP and Toyota. Its definitely worth a skim.

For me, the report highlights the need to keep my finger on the pulse of what other brands are doing online – and learning from it. When I come across a decent case study online I tend to file it on my Delicious profile under a ‘casestudy’ tab for future reference.

Some notable case studies include US electronics retailer Best Buy and soft drink giant Coca Cola, by Robin Grant from We Are Social. Michael Litman from Consolidated also did a smashing job a few months ago with his Mashable post about the Compare the Meerkat campaign. Beyond that, here are a few others that caught my eye recently:

Am I missing any?

[Full report – ENGAGEMENT: Most Engaged Brands On Social Media]

[Photo and article via TechCrunch]

“United breaks guitars”

9 07 2009

TaylorGuitars LogoMore than impressed by the efforts fellow Canuck Dave Caroll who posted a video on YouTube a couple days ago singing about how some United airlines ground crew workers seriously damaged his prized Taylor guitar. The video has quickly picked up steam online, gotten mainstream press on the other side of the pond and created a bit of a headache for United Airlines.

united_logo1According to the Canadian Press: “Carroll spent the past year trying to get compensation from United because he says his favourite guitar was practically destroyed by baggage handlers.” When he got nothing, he made the following video:

The song is actually pretty funny, and reminds me a bit of the ‘world’s best passenger complaint letter‘ to Virgin that made the rounds on the internet back in January.

A story in the Chicago Tribune says that Carroll “spent hours reasoning with United agents in Chicago, New York and India” over a nine-month period to pick up the $1,200 cost and it went nowhere. So he took action. In Carroll’s word (via his YouTube channel):

I promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world.

I wouldn’t want to be Ms. Irlweg right now.

Apparently Taylor Guitars in California has since got in touch to say they’d be happy to see if they could “repair the damaged guitar and they promised a deep discount on his next purchase.” Well done Taylor (but how about a free guitar for Dave?)

Though United has they ‘liked the video’ and wanted to use it as ‘textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future’, they still come off a bit battered from this. Some attempts have been made through their Twitter account to say sorry to their 15K followers but I can’t help but think the damage may well be done.

Ben Mutzabaugh on USA Today’s ‘Today in the Sky’ probably said it best: “The move shows just how quickly the Internet can help a disgruntled customer can turn the tables on a company and its effort to manage its public image.”

At the time of writing, the video has received over 500K views on YouTube. That’s an awful lot of people with the message ‘United breaks guitars’ stuck in their head.

Better get Tweeting some more United…

Michael Jackson in numbers. Shamone.

7 07 2009

Earlier this morning I tweeted an article that I thought, at the time, might have been overstating things a bit:


No doubt the memorial service was  expected to be big, but the biggest event in the history of the internet? I was a bit skeptical. But the article rightly pointed out that:

Since Jackson’s death almost two weeks ago, fans have been inundating social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace with comments, tributes and downloads, while searches for Jackson-related news have reached record levels on Google and Yahoo.

The ‘morning after’ he featured prominently on my Spotify playlist. And scrolling back over my Twitter activity the last couple weeks, I’ve made my fair share of #MJ related Tweets (here, here and here for example).

I can’t really comment on the ‘biggest event in history’ but on reflection, I think the Times might have had a point to an extent. The last couple weeks have been pretty significant and a number of services have been showing signs of Michael Jackson-related strain. So I’ve decided to go back and compile many Michael Jackson online stats as I could, to get a sense of the enormity of what’s been happening. There’s certainly been no shortage of them:

(Credit: Google)

I could go on but you get the picture – it’s been a pretty mad couple of weeks! I think the figures above show not just a morbid fascination with Michael’s death, but also a celebration of his life to an extent.

Something tells me that Michael’s story online won’t end anytime soon.

Do comment or let me know if I’ve missed any significant stats/figures/etc.