Airline gets negative coverage via video

Every musician has the right to smash his own guitar let’s face it – it may be a right of passage but what happens when an airline does it for you…

Dave Caroll was not a happy man when his guitar received bad treatment while he was flying with the United Airlines. Dave witnessed the airline employees throwing around his band’s instruments during a layover in Chicago – which later cost him $1200 to fix.

He talked to many employees from the airline and eventually was told that he would not be receiving compensation for all of those repairs he paid for. In the end he wrote a song and made a fantastic video to go with it – UA beware!


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Twitter Research Findings: Gender Differences Abound

Is Twitter the Mad Men of online social networks? It may appear so as gender differences abound and males dominate the environment.bird

Research released by the Harvard Business School  examined the activity of a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users in May 2009 to find out how people are using the service. They then compared their findings to activity on other social networks and online content production venues.  Here are some of the findings which focus on gender differences. The results are fascinating:


  •  Of the sample (300,542 users, collected in May 2009), 80% are followed by or follow at least one user. By comparison, only 60 to 65% of other online social networks’ members had at least one friend (when these networks were at a similar level of development). This suggests that actual users (as opposed to the media at large) understand how Twitter works.
  • Although men and women follow a similar number of Twitter users, men have 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. This “follower split” suggests that women are driven less by followers than men, or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships.
  • Men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. To get this figure, we cross-referenced users’ “real names” against a database of 40,000 strongly gendered names. Even more interesting is who follows whom.
  • An average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman.
  • Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman.twitter research
  • An average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. These results cannot be explained by different tweeting activity – both men and women tweet at the same rate.

cool-bird-twitter-icon2The study then goes on to say that given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks the results are even more interesting. In a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women – men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know. Read more about the research paper regarding Twitter. and gender differences.


The findings are extremely valuable for those looking at Twitter as either a knowledge-sharing exercise within organisations and also for marketers looking to utilise the tool to engage with consumers online.  For example if the way to reach a woman on Twitter is through a man the impacts on influencer networks are surely impacted. More analysis to come!

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based research-led Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed


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Social Media: From IdeaStorm to DellSwarm

As marketing students we all probably remember the four Ps: Product, Pricing, Placement and Promotion – the traditional model of marketing.bee

Today marketing has been reinvented and the Ps are being replaced with Cs – Collaboration, Creativity, Connection and Communication.  Brands now need to tap into those online community connections and hence the term Swarm Marketing was born.

Recently Dell revealed Dell Swarm a new marketing scheme in Singapore. As discussed by the Ebiquity Blog it goes like this: If you agree to buy a laptop on Dell Swarm, the discounted price drops as others join your “swarm” and also buy.

Here’s how the Dell system is described:

-Start by picking the laptop you would like to purchase. Be the first buyer to join a Swarm and you’ll enjoy a price lower than’s best discounted price (after cash rebates).

-Join a Swarm after, and you’ll enjoy a new, lower price – as will all previous buyers. 

– Once the swarms closes – which is when the limit of 15 buyers or 72 hours is reached, whichever is the earlier, the price is then finalised. This final, lowest price now becomes everyone’s purchase price – including yours!

-To get the maximum discount, grow the Swarm by Sharing with your friends. You can share via Twitter Or post a note on your Facebook® profile and tell all of your friends Point others towards your Swarm using Digg, and other tools. Or simply send your friends an email directly! Not ready to buy yet? You can also choose to Follow the Swarm. You’ll then receive updates via email. As well as through free SMS alerts.

What other examples do you have of swarm marketing? are there examples in Australia?

Could your business benefit from a Swarm marketing approach?

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Big Ideas for Social Influence Marketing

I came across this presentation this morning -on my rss feed for the wonderful AppGap –  it is certainly worth a read.  What I thoroughly support in this presentation is the idea of breaking down the internal business silos between customer research, pr and crm – a position I put forward in a recent blog post entitled Social Media Why Its Not All About You  

If your social media agency can’t talk across the business silos (ie not just pr or a quick viral campaign) maximisation of the dollars you spend on Social Media will be reduced.

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Australian Newspapers and Ad Revenue

In a recently released report by Research and Markets entitled Analyzing the Australian Media & Advertising Industry it found that:

  • The Australian newspaper industry is outperforming its counterparts in the UK and US, with advertising revenues only falling marginally from 2008.newspapppppers
  • In the advertising scenario, there is a global recession, and it is forecasted that Australia will have a soft 2009, after two strong years of performance.
  • According to market researcher Aegis Media, the advertising industry in Australia will increase 1.7% in 2009. However, with a price inflation of 5.2%, spending will actually drop 3.5%.
  • Only the online sector will mark a real growth of 9.7%, but the figure is cut to 5.7% if price inflation is considered.
  •  The convergence of the Internet with television, the growth of wireless communication, and the increasing use of digital video recorders all offer new avenues and challenges for advertisers.
  • Further consolidation across national borders is also expected as ad firms try to deliver global capabilities in an increasingly competitive market.

 About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed

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Social Media: The week of Online Influence

It has been a week of ‘Influence’ locally with Ross Dawson launching the Influence Landscape Framework and Gavin Heaton summarising and commenting on some of the recent findings and blogposts.

Internationally ‘influence’ was also being discussed in a  paper by the Harvard School of Business and in the latest issue of Business Week where the cover page stated “What’s a friend worth”.cover

The Harvard Paper

The Harvard School of Business paper entitled  Do Friends Influence Purchases in a Social Network? (by Raghuram Iyengar, Sangman Han, and Sunil Gupta) undertook research to to look at the influence of friends on purchasing decisions.

The Study

Using data from Cyworld, (a very popular Korean social networking site) the study empirically assessed if friends indeed influence purchases. Using 10 weeks of purchase and non-purchase data from 208 users they built an individual level model of choice (buy-no buy) and quantity (how much money to spend).


The key takeouts of the paper were:

  • There is a significant and positive impact of friends’ purchases on the purchase probability of a user.
  • The study identifies three distinct group of users
  • However, there are significant differences across users. Specifically, this social effect is zero for 48 percent of the users, negative for 12 percent of the users, and positive for 40 percent of the users.
  • “Moderately connected” users exhibit “keeping up with the Joneses” behavior. On average, this social influence translates into a 5 percent increase in revenues.
  • Highly connected users tend to reduce their purchases of items when they see their friends buying them. This negative social effect reduces the revenue for this group by more than 14 percent. This finding is consistent with the typical fashion cycle wherein opinion leaders or the elite in the fashion industry tend to abandon one type of fashion and adopt the next in order to differentiate themselves from the masses.

The researchers said: “…The members in high status group have an influence on those in the middle status group for the diffusion of a new product. However, a successful diffusion in the middle status segment may make high status members lose interest in the new product.”  

The findings naturally have implications for the way you engage differing users within the social networks.

You can download the full report  to read more.

Business Week

In addition to the Harvard paper above the cover story on the June 1 BusinessWeek edition,  asks “What’s a Friend Worth?” 

The article examines how  “Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they’re beginning to have about our online friendships“.

The article is of note as it not only examines networked relationships in the external world (around social networks and marketing) but also examines them within companies from a knowledge management – KM perspective (ie how can we more effectively transmit knowledge around the organisation). 

Many years ago when I was involved in developing Knowledge Management strategies understanding social network analysis theory and identifying the ‘connectors’ within an organisation was vital in understanding knowledge flow and who would ideally make the ideal ‘knowledge champion’ within each companyand division.

The same connector/influencer knowledge was then applied when I crafted Internal Communication plans – particularly around ‘Change Communications’ or introduced a new decentralised Intranet that need the ‘influencers’ involved.

Social Network Analysis (SNA) has been around for many years its not new but with the focus on online social networks researchers are now scrambling to crack the code.

About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed

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Online Review Sites Gain Importance in Tight Economy


I recently read a fascinating  interview from econsultancy with Laura Nestler, Community Manager of Yelp. Yelp is an online review site that started in the US in 2004 and recently launched in the UK with new features. It is interesting to see how the site has been continually developing and adding new elements over the years.5-24-2009 10-03-54 AM

The most interesting aspect of the new version of Yelp is the additional functionality that gives business owners the opportunity to respond to reviewers favourable or unfavourable reviews.  This is a key development and I believe much overdue. The ‘two way dialogue’ model that forms the foundation of Social Media needs to occur to ensure continual dialogue and transparency.

So what else is new for Yelp? as with many online applications they have now launched our most recent iPhone application – Yelp for iPhone – and they expect to roll out further apps for other devices in future.

Review Sites in a Tight Economy

As the economy tightens consumers are spending more time on the internet researching product purchases before they buy.  Online product review sites are one of the leading types of user-generated content on the web today and their role will become increasingly important.

The following figures show the significance of review sites for consumers.

Does your website have a review element?  it might be a great way to start engaging with your customers today.

Review Statistics

  • Review users noted that reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals. (comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007)
  • 64% of consumers reported wanting to see user ratings and reviews, based on a study of 5,000 online shoppers. (Forrester, 2008)
  • 94% of UK online researchers use online customer reviews. (JupiterResearch/Bazaarvoice, January 2008)
  • 71% of online shoppers read reviews, making it the most widely read consumer-generated content. (Forrester)
  • Article of note: Tips on building your review site

    About the Author: Jenni Beattie is the Director of Digital Democracy a Sydney based Social Media Consultancy .  Enjoy the article? please subscribe to the RSS Feed

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