the service is allowing thousands of Southern California residents to stay safe by receiving up-to-the-minute geographical information about the spreading fires. Twitter’s short, instant updates are perfect for bare-bones, factual updates, and and it’s not the only Web service helping out panicked Californians. Several Google Maps mashups have emerged with dynamic blaze information and evacuation details, and a number of blogs are tracking the destruction chronologically to allow people to predict if their homes will stay safe.
People could track the relevant tweet-threads by following keywords such as #sandiegofire. Some relied much more on this source of information (i.e. tweets via mobile decive) than their landline based internet connection, which could have broken down at any time.
This is obviously a tragic example of how twitter can be useful. But nevertheless it shows that there is a lot of potential in this one-to-many sms/microblogging tool.
I know that most people will see this as a wake-up call for their industry, but I find it especially relevant to the Digital Marketing industry. Young people are learning about Marketing in the types of environments depicted in A Vision of Students Today. We need to empower and power them better. From the looks of things, they are already using the tools needed to succeed, but are stuck in „industrial complex“ like systems. They are mass collaborating, they are engaged in online social networks, they are spending more time with communications like email. Overall they are primed to be excellent professionals in the Digital Marketing space.
The other two videos have been around for a little longer already, you might have seen them:
Sometimes it feels like there never is a single day without news about Facebook. Today, the New York Times published an article about „investing in a theory“ – the fact that there is a hype about participating on Facebook, programming widgets, earning revenues in any way possible. But nobody really found out how just yet:
Now it appears that such exuberance has infused the expanding Facebook universe, even though no one has yet proved it is possible to build a profitable business with sustainable revenues on the site. Some developers report earning tens of thousands of dollars in advertising with the applications they have created. Yet their applications are mostly running ads promoting other Facebook applications â€” a situation that recalls the earliest Gold Rush miners, who earned a living selling shovels to other miners. And developers must cover the cost of hosting the applications on their own Web servers.
Nevertheless, people are as optimistic about this as they were about the whole industry some 7 years ago.
This summer, Lee Lorenzen, a venture capitalist in Monterey, Calif., who describes himself as â€œthe first Facebook-only V.C.,â€ started a $25 million Facebook investment fund and introduced a Web tool, at Adanomics.com, that assigns a monetary value to Facebook applications.
There are 348,289,583 installs across 5,160 apps on Facebook.
These applications were used 25,756,704 times in the last 24 hours and have a combined valuation of $286,885,848.
Facebook has approximately 40 million Unique Active Users in the past 30 days and a valuation between $10Bn and $15Bn.
This translates to between $250 and $375 per active user.
… a combined valuation of $285 million! $250 valuation per user! Hard to believe, but that seems to be the reason why Microsoft decided to invest in Facebook. (A small amount that will dent their annual report like a rounding error.) So is this a real deal, or is it a hype?
The optimism of some of the widgets programming marketeers are so optimistic, that it makes me sceptical.
„We have the potential opportunity to create the new MTV,â€ (iLike)
Mr. Lorenzen values popular Facebook applications likeWhere Iâ€™ve Been (lets users show which countries and states they have visited), Texas Hold â€™Em Poker and Whatâ€™s Your Stripper Name (suggests what you and your friends would call yourselves on stage) at around $2 million each.
Most hope to either attract Facebook-users to their website and offers, some might publish ads on their widget canvas. But will that really be enough to sustain these valuations?
On a side note: If advertising is the model for generating any revenue, Facebook might actually perform much worse than other sites, because people are so familiar and engaged with the existing contents/widgets, that ad banner blindness will be much more common amongst these users than visitors of other media sites. That’s at least what some people say, and I think that is a reasonable assumption.
However, it could also imply that any click on a banner on Facebook is probably much more valuable than clicks on other networks. Simply because it wasn’t an accident or pure boredom. The user is actually interested in whatever the banner offered.
Soon enough, apparently, Facebook will start targetting ads using information they take from the profiles (makes sense, doesn’t it?), so ads should also become much more relevant.
The whole phenomenon of Facebook widgets definitely needs to be watched carefully, and I don’t think it would hurt for companies to test the water publishing small widgets and measuring the effects. But I am still sceptical about this exuberant optimism. Prove me wrong, I would be very much delighted to report on successful tactics any time!
Todayâ€™s younger generation is the single best predictor of future behaviors. And right now they are leveraging multiple social Web sites: MySpace and Facebook to chat with friends, Evite to send party invitations and LinkedIn to stay front and center for new business relationships. E-mail for these users has become a tool used strictly for the purpose of collecting business information â€” special offers, promotions and business information.
As we increase our usage of social networks, our use of e-mail will inevitably decline, reducing the success of e-mail marketing campaigns. Marketers need to take the time to understand what sites their users are comfortable in and then evaluate marketing opportunities in those spaces.
I don’t think it’s only that. (But it will be a large factor.) The other email killer is things like skype and other chat tools, mobile phone messaging, and RSS.
For any communication with your contacts, ther is a better way than email. Or at least there will be. With spam still filling most people’s inbox, they will undoubtedly move to other, uninterrupted channels and only open their email accounts to separate the „bacn“ from the spam.
So email marketing is not dead, as people will continue to use it. But in the next 5 years or so, we’ll probably see a shift in usage patterns, decreasing the target audiences attention to email. It is now, that we need to test the alternatives, so that we have working tactics in the future.
Try out producing widgets for facebook, offering RSS feeds (this should already be a no brainer!), sponsor chats and communities (or offer them yourself), and may be start advertising on the long tail of the web…
So who is surprised about this move, really? Wasn’t it obvious that at some point, Facebook will leverage their knowledge about their userbase? As it says in a Wall Street Journal article:
Social-networking Web site Facebook Inc. is quietly working on a new advertising system that would let marketers target users with ads based on the massive amounts of information people reveal on the site about themselves. Eventually, it hopes to refine the system to allow it to predict what products and services users might be interested in even before they have specifically mentioned an area.
Sofar, targeting was only possible in terms of age, gender and location. In the future, targeting variables can include anything that users enter, e.g. personal information, planned events, music preferences, and much more, especially if information from widgets is included…
This sounds much like the well-feared transparent consumer. But apparently, Facebook will at least not disclose any information to advertisers:
Facebook would use its technology to point the ads to the selected groups of people without exposing their personal information to the advertisers.
The only thing that strikes me is the fact, that the ads will be within the news feed area. Of course, that’s an area with lots of attention, but I doubt users will like that! But, according to that article, Facebook needs these iprovements, because people spend a lot of time on the site, but don’t click on the ads…