Will Britney Spears crash Twitter

A few days ago Michael Arrington over on TechCruch ran a story about Britney Spears joining Twitter, or more precisely, her management team starting TheRealBritney avatar for her fans. At the time of writing this post there were 5,045 followers of @therealbritney for only 26 updates. So what? Barak Obama has 101,133 followers (though with only 238 updates); surely this has been the real test of Twitter over recent months. Well, perhaps not. You have to run campaigns to get people to vote in the USA. Politics is for a select group of very interested people whereas music is for everyone – maybe not Britney Spears’ style, necessarily, but even with her haphazard performances of recent years, more people worldwide would know of Spears, than Obama. How can this effect Twitter?

The Allure shot of Britney that caught Dvorak's attention on TWiT 165

The Allure shot of Britney that caught Dvorak's attention on TWiT, episode 165

A few months ago, during the great Twitter instability, when the platform was losing contacts and going up and down, I was listening to a podcast episode of TWiT (This Week in Tech), and the team suggested that Twitter would fall over when a genuinely international celebrity spruiked the platform. (Leo and Dvorak talk about it again in the current podcast – episode 165) They suggested that Twitter is being pushed to the limit by insiders, bleeding edge adopters and technology geeks who are not only testing the viability of micro-blogging, but seeing how it can be used for communication, business, marketing, social networking and whatever else falls out when you shake it hard enough. It was under this strain of rapid early adoption that the platform was finding it difficult to scale. They went on to say, if someone with real international purchase like Paris Hilton jumped up and said “Hey guys, I heard about this really cool thing called Twitter, you should give it a try”, the whole thing would fall over in a heap from the massive traffic surge – so badly, I remember them saying, that it would never recover.

Is Britney the Paris Hilton of that story? Or has Twitter become robust enough in the past few months to withstand the pop Queen’s assault?

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Wiki Wednesday on 12 November at Atlassian

James Matheson from Saikore and CustomWare just left a message on the Events page to say that:

Wiki Wednesday is happening again on 12th November 2008. We have added a bit more structure this time around, with guest speakers and a proper venue. Please join us a Atlassian’s HQ at 6pm. You can find out more at the Wiki Wednesday site here:


Wiki Wednesday’s are a great opportunity to meet some of Sydney’s top experts in the field of Wiki design, implementation and strategy, including James, Angela Beesley from Wikia, Tim Starling from the Wikimedia Foundation, and senior execs from Atlassian, to name a few.

Let me know if you want any further info on this FREE event. As they say on the Wiki Wednesday website:

Every few months in Sydney, a group of developers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, consultants, educationalists, accountants in practice, or anyone interested in wikis, social software, and web 2.0 get together to share their experiences. Everybody is welcome. Wiki Wednesday’s have been happening in Sydney for a couple of years and are also held regularly all over the world.

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Jeremiah Owyang’s recommended web strategy reading

I get a great deal of value out of reading Jeremiah Owyang’s blog and tweets. Here is an extract from a recent post where he has summarised some of his best and finest for everyone’s benefit. Shel Israel’s theory of “Lethal Generosity” (link from Jeremiah) is also worth a read.

Here is an extract from Jeremiah’s recent post:

In the spirit of sharing, over the past few weeks in client calls, I’ve referenced these posts several times, one of the challenges of my blog layout is that it’s difficult to find the most visited or commented posts, here’s some I think you’d enjoy.

The Many forms of Web Marketing for 2008 (translated into 5 languages): A large index, be aware of the toolset before you begin crafting a strategy. I’ll be updating this for 09, so please leave a comment, I’ll credit you.

The Irrelevant Corporate Website (translated into 10 languages): “Blasphemy!” A marcom manager told me yesterday.

The Many Forms of Web Monetization: an important post for startups in today’s economic times.

A Chronology of Brands that Got Punk’d by Social Media: This is the list you want to stay off of.

List of Social Media Strategists and Community Managers in enterprise corporations: Unlike a wiki, I vett each submission and check their profiles to the best of my ability.

Impacts of Social Media on Customer Reference Programs: If your company harvests positive brand mentions and make case studies and toss the negative ones, they need to read this.

Social Media by Industry: Auto, Finance, and Insurance. Need to find examples for your boss or client? These lists can help.

List of Communities, Virtual Worlds, and Social Networks for Youth, Boomers, Retired, and Beyond: Need to reach a specific demographic, this list is a start.

Applying Social Computing to the Entire Product Life Cycle: If you’re thinking about social media for marketing only, you’ll need to expand further.

How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel, A Comprehensive Guide: I’ve been moderating quite a few panels, and have found some patterns that work for me. I still need to self-check to make sure I live up to my benchmark.

How I use Twitter: I often tell people I don’t mind if they unfollow from on Twitter as I’m very high volume, but there is a method to how and why I use the tool.

For the rest of the post click through to Recommended Web Strategy Reading

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Social media star killed the banking experiment

I wanted to put this post up quickly to record the progress / collapse of this finance industry social media project from NAB and to continue my commentary on this important SMM watershed. Charis Palmer at The Better Banking Blog has tried to explain the challenges of the NAB UBank MyFutureBank experiment from a bankers’ perspective. The commentary and discussion from social media experts Gavin Heaton and Stephen Collins that follows the post are interesting reading. Here is the first paragraph, click for the rest of the post.

Why bankers are wary of social media – By Charis Palmer, The Better Banking Blog

Here’s a scenario for you. You’re a consultant, blogger and social media “guru” (there seems to be more and more of them popping up these days). Your business involves advising banks and the otherwise less informed on how to cut it in the big bad world of the Interweb. You have plenty of good arguments to convince your corporate clients why they should be embracing all things Web 2.0, so you’re a little bit irked that they don’t immediately ‘get it’. Still, they pay well, so you persist. After all, for as long as they don’t get it, you have a business.

Click here to read Why bankers are wary of social media

(Update: Here are two posts on this topic by Crikey Blogger Trevor Cook. One with his opinion about the fallout and another with several other post-mortems.)

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NAB UBank social media saga continues

As the “media shitstorm” – as Cheryl Gledhill calls it – continues, her company has decided to take down the original blog post that kicked off much of the controversy about the NAB UBank social media experiment, www.myfuturebank.org (Update: MyFutureBank has been closed, according to reports from The Better Banking Blog – see my next post. Thanks to the Servant of Chaos for the tip-off). The following article by Kathryn Small from iTnews summarises the issues:


NAB accused of dishonesty by social media commentators

NAB’s latest social media experiment has been slammed by commentators and customers as ‘dishonest and not-very clever’ behaviour.

The bank is accused of using anonymous accounts to criticise readers of its new website, UBank, and to post comments on a commentator’s blog.

UBank launched last week with a website for customers to provide feedback about banking in Australia.

The website reads in part: “We need your help. Please share with us and our visitors what frustrates you about your bank, and more importantly, what you would do differently to improve your banking experience.

“Regardless of the issue: rates, fees & charges, customer service, transparency & integrity or touch points (e.g. ATMs, branches, phone or internet banking), we want to hear from you!”

Users initially made comments like ‘plenty of ATM’s, and good customer service would be good’ and ‘I hate it that banks don’t pass on the full interest rate cuts’.

UBank’s head of online services, Monty Hamilton, wrote in reply: “It’s great to see some positive contributions – of course we can all post negative content, and that would be funny for a bit, but let’s keep it positive.”

One reader responded: “The instructions to the left say ‘Please share with us and our visitors what frustrates you about your bank’ – so I don’t know why you are suddenly turning around and saying ‘let’s keep it positive.'”

This was met by an anonymous commentator, who accused the reader of being “an agitated [sic] employee from a competitor bank”.

Social media commentator Cheryl Gledhill said in a blog post that the anonymous comment, and some others, appeared to be written by an incognito UBank staff member.

– Read the rest of this article at

NAB accused of dishonesty by social media commentators – Business – iTnews Australia

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The FREE business model, as Chris Anderson explains

Chris Anderson’s discussion of FREE online business models raise many of the same questions that my posts about advertising-driven and subscription-driven media models did after the Future of Media Summit 2008. Read people’s comments on his original post.

This is a key debate taking place worldwide as traditional/print/atom/physical (call it what you like) businesses look to translate their revenue generation model online, as they acknowledge the growing impact of the digital space.

I had a meeting today with a travel agent who has a website. Their site, however, is nothing more than manually controlled brochure ware for events and prices. They didn’t recognise the significance of search engine traffic, the potential for ongoing interaction with clients, or the ability to offer FREE advice and information to new visitors. I could go on. You don’t think about a travel agent being involved in the FREE economy, however, they have built up so much specialised information which they happily pass on to people over the phone, or across the desk on a regular basis that they ARE giving away valuable ‘intellectual property’ without having it clearly packaged-up and branded. This content can easily be ‘wrapped and branded’ as important, FREE product that will assist travelers, particularly in highly-targeted markets. Will this sell travel services? If the information is valuable and engaging, it’s a reflection of the type of service you will provide. And people want to buy valuable and engaging services and products.

Here’s what Chris Anderson has to say about FREE:-


FREE: the cocktail party version

When you’re writing a book you need to have your elevator pitch down or “What’s the book about?” will become the most dreaded four words you can hear (followed closely by “how’s it going?”).

Obviously the one-sentence version of the answer should be something close to the book’s subtitle. But I haven’t nailed that one down yet, so these days I just say “The economics of zero dollars and zero cents” and hope for the best. Some people glaze over and move on at that point, but for those who stop, intrigued, and ask me to explain, here’s what I say:

We all know free–it’s a trick that marketers use. But free is changing. When you think about it, there are two economies, one of atoms and one of bits. In the atoms economy, which is to say most of the stuff around us, things tend to get more expensive over time. But in the bits economy, which is the online world, things get cheaper. The atoms economy is inflationary, while the bits economy is deflationary.

The 20th Century was primarily an atoms economy. The 21st Century will be equally a bits economy. This book is about the differences between 20th Century free and 21st Century free–free moving from a marketing trick to a new economic model.

Anything free in the atoms economy must be paid for by something else, which is why so much traditional free feels like bait and switch–it’s you paying, one way or another. But free in the bits economy can be really free, with money often taken out of the equation altogether. People are rightly suspicious of free in the atoms economy, and rightly trusting of free in the bits economy. Intuitively, they understand the difference between the two, and why free works so well online.

– For more see: The Long Tail – Wired Blogs.

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TechNation Australia » Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media

I just read this story on TechNation and wanted to re-post it as I concur absolutely. I have also met with Dan Walsh from Kwoff and highly recommend the site. I have had many discussions with colleagues about the value of a site like Kwoff for Australia and we agree that it is almost impossible to target or reach an Australian audience through Digg currently. Walsh’s co-founders are Stephen Mayne from Crikey and Greg Barnes. You can see Stephen Mayne put Dan ‘under the hammer’ on The Mayne Report.


Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media

October 1, 2008 9:08 am Kim Heras

Social news aggregator Kwoff continues to get picked up by more and more publishers looking to leverage the social web. Not long ago a link to kwoff was added under all online articles on the Daily Telegraph’s site. Now they’ve been added to News’s Victorian tabloid, the Herald Sun as well as the Illawarra Mercury, which is Fairfax’s regional newspaper for Wollongong and the surrounding areas.

There are 3 things that make me happy about this

1. It shows an even greater commitment by leading media outlets to social news

2. Both News and Fairfax could have stuck with Digg etc. but chose to add an Aussie site

3. Kwoff co-founder Dan Walsh (who I’ve spoken to several times) is a nice guy and it makes me happy to see nice guys doing well.

Actually, next time you’re posting something to Digg/Reddit etc. why not add Kwoff to your list? It’ll only take a few extra seconds but you’ll be supporting the local industry.

via TechNation Australia » Blog Archive » Kwoff Gets Picked Up By More Big Media.

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