payday

Using Google Analytics’ New Report Dashboard

Written by Jeff Larche on July 9, 2011 – 3:56 pm -

My work with Accenture has meant this blog has been silent since I joined. I’m loving my work there, by the way. But as for the central focus of this blog, I’ve been continuing to have fun in my off hours with web marketing analytics, especially using Google Analytics. If you use this app, you know they’ve launched a major upgrade of their reporting. It includes a way to create custom dashboards. Below you’ll find one small way I’ve used these new custom dashboards to save time and gain valuable insights.

Until I joined Accenture I was one of the contributors to Jason Fall’s exceptional social media marketing blog, Social Media Explorer. I miss being in such terrific company (they haven’t kicked me out of their Facebook group, something I’m very pleased about). I also miss those posts and the greater audience they had afforded me for my ideas on measuring social media.

But all was not well. I had always wondered how often people viewed my posts, the way I can with this blog. Yes, I could see which posts were the most likely to go viral. I could get that like anyone, from this summary of all of my posts there.

Then Jason shared with his contributors full reporting access to his Google Analytics metrics. Heaven!

Now I had a different problem: I could see aggregate information, but there was no easy way to view just the information about my pages. If the structure of the site had been, say, “domain.com/jefflarche/blogname,” I could view only the pages starting with /jefflarche/. That’s not the case, though. So I walked away, vowing to someday find a way to create a report that would give me a breakdown of my posts, at least for the KPI of Page Views. I got busy today by creating a new Dashboard for the profile. I then populated it with Widgets. Here you can see what the set up looks like for each widget I added (one per post):

Below are the steps taken in this form:

  1. I chose the widget called “Metric.” This shows one number only (along with a couple of others, for context), instead of a chart, a timeline or a table
  2. I chose the metric of Pageviews. But I needed to add a filter. For that, you can see I chose to only show the count for pages that contain a unique string. For this example, I chose the unique string social-media-awareness-measurement/ portion for this post’s URL
  3. I gave the widget the title of that post and linked to it so reviewing content for hints of popularity (or lack thereof!) would be easier

Pretty easy, no? Once I had added a widget for each, this is what I got:

So what insights can I glean from this? First of all, it took a while to build an audience. I learned as I went along, from the first post (lower right corner) to the latest (upper left). I knew this from other measures, which made it particularly sad for me to walk away from the posts. I saw a growth for 693 percent, comparing the views my first post got versus my last.

Turning Information Into Insights

Here are other insights:

  1. People love “how to” content, and respond to headlines that contain those magical words. (I knew this from my direct response days, but it’s cool how thoroughly this has been carried to the online world.)
  2. People like to read reviews of relevant books. That’s what I did with the extremely popular post Lessons from the Twitter Love Guru
  3. Sparklines can give valuable hints to user habits

This last one isn’t readily apparent. I’m going to assume you know what a sparkline is and just say that each of them above shows a sharp rise and fall in readership. After the week it has been posted you can see the view plateau very near zero. It’s to be expected. But there was an outlier, which you could only see if you viewed the full report. It’s shown above right.

Not only did this post not immediately “click” with readers (look at the leading tail), but once it did, its tail at the end is thicker, showing more ongoing popularity. If you’ve been a reader from the start, you’ve already read here and elsewhere about The Long Tail. Here it is in action!

This odd sparkline caused me to dig deeper, and I saw this report for all sources of visits to that page since it post (to the right).

It shows a significant number of links from referring sites and search engines. The referrers obviously liked the content enough to send their readers to it. And search engines? This is the ultimate long tail. I even got four visits from Google for the phrase “measure if people share your content on social media.” Believe it or not, this is hotly contested (I no longer show up for this phrase — at least in the top three pages).

By the way, “feed” stands for Feedburner, which means the fourth (or third, depending on how you look at it) source of visits is people who read Jason’s blog using an RSS reader.

As I said, it pays to be in cool company. By the way, here’s a shout-out to Argyle Social. They’re right near the top as a source for clicks to this page. Their latest post, Is Post Automation Effective? particularly fitting. I would say certainly say yes!

A Link To All of My Social Media Explorer Posts

If the headlines of the above got you curious about my content, I encourage you to visit this summary page, with links to all of them. I’ll be watching this new dashboard to see just how many of you do!


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Studying a Twitter ecosystem one user at a time

Written by Jeff Larche on January 24, 2011 – 12:43 pm -

If you’ve been following my (roughly) monthly posts on Jason Falls’ blog you know that I’ve taken this tack: On his blog I cover the key concepts of a particular web analytics approach, then provide additional support for that idea here.

A recent example is from two months ago. I posted about the use of Brownie Charts as a way to report Content Interest Index. I posted a parallel piece here on another use of the technique (Using Brownie Charts to Measure Bounce Rates). You could say this blog has become my laboratory: Results of preliminary experiments are described here, while the “real” story is broken on Jason’s blog. Tomorrow will be a little different.

Tomorrow, on Jason’s blog, I’ll be posting on someone else’s innovation. It is a review of an extraordinary book: Hashtag Analytics. I’m a huge fan of its author, Kevin Hillstrom, and over the years I’ve spent way too many hours creating Excel-driven models in order to replicate and fully understand his findings.

I’ll be doing that again, this time in support of Kevin’s approach to monitoring Twitter communities. Check back at this tag (hashtag-analytics) to read updates on my “lab work.” Ill be reporting over the next several weeks.

When A Hashtag Community Member Is “Removed”

You may want to check Kevin’s blog as well — especially later this week, when Kevin reports on the future vitality of the hashtag community #measureHe posted about it last week. Now he plans to theoretically whack an active member. Here’s an excerpt from his post, where he invites readers to suggest whom to “remove”:

In every e-commerce company, somebody is responsible for forecasting sales for the next twelve months, by day. So it makes logical sense that any community manager would want to know what the future of his/her community is, right? This is something you don’t find in any of the popular Twitter-based analytics tools. This is my focus. This is what I love doing, it’s completely actionable, and it’s an area of analysis not being explored!

Next week [the week starting January 24 — that’s today!], we’ll do something neat — we’ll remove one important user from the community, and we’ll see if the absence of the individual harms or helps the future trajectory of the community. If you are an active participant in the #measure community, please send me a user_id that you’d like to see removed in the forecast … I’ll run an example for the individual who gets the most votes.

And in two weeks, we’ll compare the #measure community to the #analytics community … competing communities doing similar work … which community is forecast to have a stronger future?

It’s a fun stunt / modeling experiment that has real world implications. It should serve as a proof of sorts of the predictive power of his Hashtag Digital Profiles and the statistical work behind them. More relevant to online community managers, it should illustrate why showing your participants “love,” lest they never return, is of tremendous importance.

What To Expect Here

I will be applying my own Hashtag Analytics to a different online group — one that has the advantage of weekly meetings. It’s a fairly new group, so the rules may not fully apply (Does an acorn sprout follow the same natural laws of growth as a full-grown tree?). To ensure I don’t jinx my test or influence the community — in a far more direct way than Heisenberg was referring to — its identity will remain unknown until I’ve gathered and analyzed a critical mass of data.

Do stop back.

January 25, 2011 Update:

Here are two related links I didn’t have yesterday. The first is Kevin’s post where he removes that member to the #measure Hashtag community. The second is my review of his book today on Jason Falls’ blog:

  1. Hashtag Analytics: Removing a Member of the Community
  2. Lessons from the Twitter Lover Guru

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Join the Bum Rush for Charity Water!

Written by Jeff Larche on October 15, 2010 – 8:51 am -

I’ve been blogging about the book series Age of Conversation, and its affiliated Social Media Bum Rushes for charity, since the first one in 2008. I’m proud to have a chapter in their latest volume, Age Of Conversation III: Time To Get Busy. Within its pages I’m in extremely good company, with 170 other social media pros. My very brief chapter (really a micro-chapter, with a lower word count than most of my blog posts) is on social media analytics.

I am pleased to announce that we’re staging another Bum Rush today, on Blog Action Day.

Each year any blogger who wishes to participate in Blog Action Day writes on the same theme. This year’s theme is water. So let me tell you about Charity Water. It’s a nonprofit organization that brings safe and clean drinking water to developing nations.

Now, every sale of Age Of Conversation III: Time To Get Busy goes to support Charity Water and help developing nations get clean, safe drinking water.

How cool is that? Please join our bum rush. You’ll learn more about the power of social media, and become part of the solution to one of the world’s toughest health challenges.

How do you join the Bum Rush? Generate more sales of book at Amazon.com. Purchase it yourself and encourage others to as well. If you work for an organization that hands out Christmas gifts, get them to pop for multiple copies. They make great gifts!

One caveat: Please only purchase 1 copy at a time because Amazon.com counts bulk orders as one.

You can buy the Kindle version here (it’s the Charity Water affiliate link). You can get the paperback version here and the hardback version here (the other two Charity Water affiliate links). What else can you do? Here are seven ideas:

  1. Register for Blog Action Day.
  2. Blog about Blog Action Day and mention Age Of Conversation: Time To Get Busy. Use the same affiliate links that are in this post so that Charity Water can get its contribution.
  3. Join the conversation on Twitter. Use hashtags #aoc3 and #BAD10 for your comments about the book.
  4. Trackback or comment on today’s post about the Bum Rush at http://ageofconversation.com.
  5. Digg, Stumble and bookmark on Delicious.com all the posts you see about the event, including yours.
  6. Become a Facebook fan of Age of Conversation 3 (“AoC3“) and interact with us on Facebook.
  7. Send an e-mail to all your friends and get them involved too.

If we all band together and work for a common cause, we can make a difference. Join us in the bum rush on October 15, 2010 and help us raise money for Charity Water.


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Posted in Age of Conversation, Social Networks, Web Analytics | 2 Comments »

The time wasn’t right for Google Wave

Written by Jeff Larche on August 5, 2010 – 8:17 am -

One of the first adding machines was created in the mid-1600s. It took another two centuries before they were common in the workplace. Did adding up figures suddenly become more difficult or error-prone after two centuries? What exactly about numbers changed in the late 1800’s to make this new technology so suddenly appealing?

Of course the answer is that it was us who changed, not the fundamentals of math. To say we changed slowly is an understatement — in spite of the major economic improvements and workplace enhancements that came from their adoption.

It’s hard to imaging myself being one of those poor office clerks who added figures in his head all day, back in the so-called Age of Enlightenment. What I can be pretty sure of is this: A machine that does adding for you must have initially seemed far-fetched; even comical. How on earth could a machine do the work of the human brain? There must be some sort of catch.

Of course you know where I’m going with this.

Many writers of obituaries for the soon-to-be-euthanized Google Wave have said it was a slick solution lacking a problem. It therefore died of neglect.

I agree that it lacked a critical mass of users, but I disagree with the “lack of problem” assertion. Google Wave did real work, and it did it in a way that was flawed but thrilling for the vast potential it represented. At least, it thrilled me.

Ever since the mid-1990s, when I read the book of a very young Michael Schrage, No More Teams!: Mastering the Dynamics of Creative Collaboration, I realized that there were many barriers to good workplace collaboration. Chief among them was technology. Especially back then, personal computers were isolating machines. They forced us to relate with a small screen and a single keyword.

One of his observations was that before we could take the next incremental leap in teamwork, we needed a revolution in the technology that supports us. Of course he was right, but his pronouncement overlooked another barrier: We might be handed the technology we need to collaborate in a networked age and its environment so unfamiliar that it is almost universally rejected.

A year ago I predicted that we would be working within something like Google Wave “in two years.” I seem to have missed in that number by a factoring error of 10 — maybe even 100.

That would put adoption of the Wave at 200 years from now. In the meantime, I guess we all continue to add up columns by hand and grouse about our dreary workaday lives.


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Posted in Productivity, Social Networks | 2 Comments »

Twiducate concept is too good to stay in the classroom

Written by Jeff Larche on July 20, 2010 – 9:04 am -

Yesterday Naomi Harm give a keynote address at the Lake Geneva Schools Technology Academy, an educational event for elementary, middle school and high school teachers. Although I wasn’t at the event, word reached me about a social media-inspired educational platform called Twiducate. Similar to Yammer (“Twitter for intra-business communication”), Twiducate does not use the already overtaxed Twitter platform, but instead uses many of the principles that make Twitter so useful.

I took a test-drive of Twiducate last night, and two things struck me. The first revelation I had became the title for this post; The developers of Twiducate will be hard-pressed to stop work groups other than classrooms from using the tool. The other revelation is about education reform. Yes, reform won’t happen on its own. But certain facets of it will happen naturally, “seeping in” from the emerging social media zeitgeist. Avoiding new teaching environments like Twiducate will be like holding back a rising tide.

Here’s a video:

So: Will the subversion of this tool be harmful?

I think asking the question is moot. This type of thing will happen regardless. I’m thinking of at least two other examples of where a social network is forced to morph because of the unintended uses those pesky members decide to put it to.

  1. Fotolog.com started as a primarily photo-sharing site, similar to Flickr.com. But its meteoric growth in the last decade — especially in Chile, Argentina and Brazil — was due to users hopping on to connect and generally socialize. Sharing favorite pics became secondary.
  2. If the above sounds like dumb luck — like simply being in the right place with the right product (read: social toolset) — you’re right. And you’re also probably thinking of my second example. Although Mark Zuckerburg might posit that Facebook’s growth was all part of some master plan, we shouldn’t forget that he built it in his dorm, six years ago, as merely a “Harvard-thing” — primarily an easy way for him and others to organize study groups.

Check out Twitucate. Do you agree that it’s more than education’s new “Moodle-killer?” Does it have “legs” beyond academia, and is that a good thing?


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Jim Raffel to talk about business blogging strategy at Milwaukee Likemind

Written by Jeff Larche on July 9, 2010 – 11:17 am -

As co-host of Milwaukee Likemind (search for #MKElikemind on Twitter), I never fail to enjoy the presentations. True, I help to choose the content … but take my word for it. I’m also constantly surprised by the fascinating twists and unexpected tangents these conversational events take.

Haven’t you waited long enough to check one out? Here’s the information on next Friday’s event, from the MKE Likemind Posterous blog:

Jim Raffel, CEO of ColorMetrix Technologies and blogger at JimRaffel.com, has some big ideas on how to improve your blog. At least, he has formulated and put into practice many ways to improve his own blog, and he has offered to share with you some of the best. Jim will be speaking at the July 16, 2010 Milwaukee Likemind, starting at 7:00 AM. …

Even if you do not currently have a blog, or manage a blog for your business, Jim’s message is one you should hear. That includes:

  • If you don’t have a blog now, considering getting one
  • Consider your blog a way to advance your personal brand
  • The blog as an “ongoing job interview”

“Twitter is great, but it’s microblogging. It gives you a chance to say what you’re thinking. But it doesn’t represent rich  ideas or insights” Jim said. “Your blog is where you can drive people to find out more about you.”

The event will be held at Bucketworks, 706 5th St., Milwaukee, just north of National Avenue. Here’s a map.

If you’ve heard Jim Raffel speak, you know what an engaged and exciting speaker he is. His blog is a new one that I’m following, and I’m finding the content valuable and well presented.

I hope to see you in a week!


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171 pros offer practical advice in Age of Conversation 3

Written by Jeff Larche on May 25, 2010 – 12:03 pm -

Back in 2008 I discovered that many of my favorite authorities on social marketing had contributed to a one-of-a-kind volume: The Age of Conversation. I was glad to endorse it as a reader.

Now I’m even more excited about Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton’s latest project — as one of its 171 contributors. Age of Conversation 3 is published by the new digital publishing company Channel V Books. It’s available through all major online retailers, as a Kindle e-book, and in the ePub book format that woks with other major digital readers.

Here’s a quote for the publication press release:

Age of Conversation 3 captures the distinct shift from social media as a hypothetical consumer loyalty tool, as it was considered only a little more than a year ago, to its current state as a staple in the modern marketing toolbox …

“We have seen an incredible shift in the role of social media over the past three years. It has moved from an outlier in the marketing mix to one of the strategic pillars of any corporate marketing or branding exercise,” said Drew McLellan.

“And it doesn’t end there,” adds Gavin Heaton. “As the many authors of this new book explain, the focus may be on conversation, but you can’t participate in a conversation from the sidelines. It’s all about participation. And this book provides you with 171 lessons in this new art”.

The genesis for the series itself has all the makings of a thrilling read: regular correspondence between people around the world; a proactive collaboration between 15 countries; and two marketing professionals who have never met each other face to face, scrambling to learn how to publish a book from the ground up.

Raising Money For Worthy Causes

This book is a good read as well. It’s also a way for its owners to do good works.

The first Age of Conversation raised nearly $15,000 for Variety, the international children’s charity. The next volume raised another $10,000 for the cause. McLellan and Heaton used a social marketing campaign tactic they called the “Conversation Bum Rush,” described in my March, 2008 post.

All profits from the sale of this volume are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a children’s charity nominated by me and a majority of the other 171 authors.

Find out more at the Age of Conversation blog. And feel free to join the Age of Conversation Facebook Fan Page.

The Authors:

Adam Joseph Priyanka Sachar Mark Earls
Cory Coley-Christakos Stefan Erschwendner Paul Hebert
Jeff De Cagna Thomas Clifford Phil Gerbyshak
Jon Burg Toby Bloomberg Shambhu Neil Vineberg
Joseph Jaffe Uwe Hook Steve Roesler
Michael E. Rubin anibal casso Steve Woodruff
Steve Sponder Becky Carroll Tim Tyler
Chris Wilson Beth Harte Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Dan Schawbel Carol Bodensteiner Trey Pennington
David Weinfeld Dan Sitter Vanessa DiMauro
Ed Brenegar David Zinger Brett T. T. Macfarlane
Efrain Mendicuti Deb Brown Brian Reich
Gaurav Mishra Dennis Deery C.B. Whittemore
Gordon Whitehead Heather Rast Cam Beck
Hajj E. Flemings Joan Endicott Cathryn Hrudicka
Jeroen Verkroost Karen D. Swim Christopher Morris
Joe Pulizzi Leah Otto Corentin Monot
Karalee Evans Leigh Durst David Berkowitz
Kevin Jessop Lesley Lambert Duane Brown
Peter Korchnak Mark Price Dustin Jacobsen
Piet Wulleman Mike Maddaloni Ernie Mosteller
Scott Townsend Nick Burcher Frank Stiefler
Steve Olenski Rich Nadworny John Rosen
Tim Jackson Suzanne Hull Len Kendall
Amber Naslund Wayne Buckhanan Mark McGuinness
Caroline Melberg Andy Drish Oleksandr Skorokhod
Claire Grinton Angela Maiers Paul Williams
Gary Cohen Armando Alves Sam Ismail
Gautam Ramdurai B.J. Smith Tamera Kremer
Eaon Pritchard Brendan Tripp Adelino de Almeida
Jacob Morgan Casey Hibbard Andy Hunter
Julian Cole Debra Helwig Anjali Ramachandran
Jye Smith Drew McLellan Craig Wilson
Karin Hermans Emily Reed David Petherick
Katie Harris Gavin Heaton Dennis Price
Mark Levy George Jenkins Doug Mitchell
Mark W. Schaefer Helge Tenno Douglas Hanna
Marshall Sponder James Stevens Ian Lurie
Ryan Hanser Jenny Meade Jeff Larche
Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher David Svet Jessica Hagy
Simon Payn Joanne Austin-Olsen Mark Avnet
Stanley Johnson Marilyn Pratt Mark Hancock
Steve Kellogg Michelle Beckham-Corbin Michelle Chmielewski
Amy Mengel Veronique Rabuteau Peter Komendowski
Andrea Vascellari Timothy L Johnson Phil Osborne
Beth Wampler Amy Jussel Rick Liebling
Eric Brody Arun Rajagopal Dr Letitia Wright
Hugh de Winton David Koopmans Aki Spicer
Jeff Wallace Don Frederiksen Charles Sipe
Katie McIntyre James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw David Reich
Lynae Johnson Jasmin Tragas Deborah Chaddock Brown
Mike O’Toole Jeanne Dininni Iqbal Mohammed
Morriss M. Partee Katie Chatfield Jeff Cutler
Pete Jones Riku Vassinen Jeff Garrison
Kevin Dugan Tiphereth Gloria Mike Sansone
Lori Magno Valerie Simon Nettie Hartsock
Mark Goren Peter Salvitti  


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Posted in Age of Conversation, Social Networks, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »

Voice: The original rich media

Written by Jeff Larche on May 14, 2010 – 1:47 pm -

I had a fun time talking to the group this morning at UnGeeked Elite. I spoke about the power of voice asset management. If you’d like to know more, here’s a post recently on our VoiceScreener blog, by our CEO, Kelly Fitzsimmons, describing Voice as an Asset (VaaA).

I promised to post a mind map of the post-presentation discussion. Here it is (click to expand):

Also, if you want to check out that TEC video, here’s my original post about it, Jeff Han’s demonstration of multi-touch screens. I was wrong in that it’s more slanted than vertical, as I had said in the presentation. I had seen another video of him demonstrating the screen somewhere else, and that one was more vertical, and shot more at a distance.

Finally, Jonathan Brewer, (@houseofbrew) of FirstEdge Solutions had dared me to show him that super-comfortable office chair I work on. Here’s the photo I just posted of it on TweetPhoto (click to expand):


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Posted in Milwaukee, Productivity, Social Networks, Visualization | 1 Comment »

Join me at Ungeeked Elite

Written by Jeff Larche on May 12, 2010 – 3:22 pm -

If you work as a marketing professional in this part of Wisconsin, read on! Here are two brief videos with reasons why you should join me and over a dozen other speakers at Ungeeked Elite, to be held May 13 through 15, 2010, at The University Club, 924 E. Wells Street in Milwaukee.

Can I count you in? Use this form to contact me for special pricing!


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Search conversion lift seen from social media

Written by Jeff Larche on March 9, 2010 – 7:05 am -

On Friday I gave a presentation in Chicago, at Loyola University, on social media and compliance. We covered many topics dear to the hearts of those who participate in social media and would prefer not to go to jail due to SEC or HIIPA violations. Left to other presenters was the topic of social media’s importance in today’s marketplace.

It’s just as well that I left the topic out. Since most of the attendees were bloggers themselves (yes, more than half of them — I counted hands!), covering the importance of social media would have been preaching to the converted. But recent research, by GroupM and comScore, helps remind us all that some of the strongest reasons to engage in social media aren’t readily apparent.

The study showed that people using search engines who also use social media are “more engaged consumers” and “more likely to be looking for places to buy and brands to consider.”

The research found that consumers using social media are “1.7 times more likely to search with the intention of making a list of brands or products to consider purchasing compared to the average internet user.”
Here are more findings from the study:

  • Consumers exposed to influenced social and paid search exhibit 223% heavier search behavior than consumers exposed to paid alone
  • Fifty percent of social media-exposed searchers search daily for product terms, compared to 33% of non-exposed searchers

And finally, this is the finding that I thought was most revealing: “In organic search, consumers searching on brand product terms who have been exposed to a brand’s social marketing campaign are 24 times more likely to click on organic links leading to the advertiser’s site than the average user seeing a brand’s paid search ad alone.”

How much do you spend on paid search ads? This finding suggests to me that whatever you invest in pay-per-click advertising, you can reduce that cost or improve its reach by combining it with a well-planned social media engagement.

Great post-presentation feedback

After the presentation I met a ton of the audience members through Twitter. This is a group who really understands how social media can extend the value of a presentation! One participant, David Kamerer, had a great suggestion for a way to improve my compliance presentation. He suggested I add some content on the CANN-SPAM email marketing law. Thanks, @DavidKamerer, and the other folks attending the talk. I had a blast!


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Posted in Search Engine Marketing, Social Networks, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »

How to get non-Twitter users to tweet

Written by Jeff Larche on February 28, 2010 – 4:28 pm -

You’d think it would be impossible to get those who haven’t signed up for Twitter to get hooked on the immediacy and community of “tweeting.” You’d be wrong.

Just now I wanted to watch the statistics while I had the USA – Canada Olympic Gold Hockey Game on the television. I logged into the official Winter Olympics site. I found paydirt — and a surprising real-time Facebook status feed. You can click the image for one that’s easier to read:

What struck me about the Facebook feed is I didn’t have to log in. Since I already had Facebook loaded in another browser window, it immediately gave me the opportunity to add my own two cents to the cheering / jeering session. I didn’t, but I did find the flow of other people’s comments to be a fun addition to my solo enjoyment of the game.

I’ve written before about how Facebook is a perfect set of social media training wheels for the newbie. This is more evidence.


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Posted in Social Networks, Web Marketing | 2 Comments »
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