Facebook and Twitter: incomplete discussions

by admin on March 23, 2009

in General,Innovation

TwitteratiI was pretty much head down over the weekend on a couple of projects so I didn’t get time to see the furore going on around Facebook and Twitter. I must admit I found most of the discussion intensely boring. Good ol’ Robert Scoble was back at it with his limited thinking, congratulating Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO on his apparent lack of willingness to listen to customers:

Zuckerberg is a real leader because he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s going to do what he thinks is best for his business. I wish Silicon Valley had more like him.

With bosses like that, I’m glad I’m not employed. I’d last about five minutes in a zoo like that. At times like now, such arrogance is exactly the wrong tone to set. It’s not so long ago that Facebook got itself in trouble over the TOS . At the time it promised to do something about it. In light of what Scoble says, we can safely assume that was one of Zuckerberg’s more ham fisted publicity stunts.

What Zuckerberg hasn’t learned is that a decent user experience matters. For years, people have been bemoaning the ugly, clunky SAP interface. It’s one of the reasons people get annoyed at the company. That will change with the new WebDynPro client but it’s taken a long time to get here.

Scoble thinks it’s all about advertising and that because of the ‘intimacy’ he claims Facebook provides, it is in a much better position to get those sticky eyeballs, while Twitter – he says – misses out. Mostly. He goes so far as to say that:

Advertising is NOT spam. A LOT of people actually LIKE seeing advertising. Look at how many people sign up for catalogs. Or how many people watch the Superbowl just for the ads.

Only in America. The TV companies have gotten wise to our channel hopping and now deluge us across every channel at the same time. Sure, some ads are entertaining but most are grim. They sure don’t get me to think more about buying a new car, more insurance or what not. Like millions of others, I just don’t have the spare cash.

On Twitter ad dollars won’t do it. They’ve just not got this one right. Sure, there is money to be made from SMS but when I’ve already got an all you can eat plan then I’m sure as heck not contributing. If anything, such notions are more likely to keep me on that type of plan.

The value of Twitter comes through what you can do with it in a business context. I’ve been saying that for over a year now. I see that Salesforce.com has bowled out a Twitter app for its CRM stable – it’s a freebie. As it should be because the value of information coming via the network is incredible. Sam Diaz at ZDNet:

As for the Twitter application itself, salesforce is enabling companies to query the tweets that are being blasted through the Twittersphere as they relate to the company’s brand, products or even competitors and monitor – in real time – what people are saying. A company like Comcast might quickly learn when a city is experiencing an outage or service problem, for example, while a company like AT&T might be able to monitor what’s being said about iPhone service in a particular region.

The fact SFdC has validated the market is goood news. Jeremiah Owyang jumps on the Social CRM bandwagon but limits himself to brand stuff.I see value there but it’s a only one part of the equation.

No less good news is the fact Siemens SIS is piloting ESME. From the press release:

”ESME helps to build communities and thus fosters efficient, company-wide communication between employees“, says Richard Hirsch, project manager for ESME at Siemens IT Solutions and Services. Companies utilizing innovative Enterprise 2.0 concepts are mainly seeking to improve communication between teams in geographically separate locations. What makes ESME special is that machines and software systems can also be integrated into the communication process. This opens up new possibilities for shaping working processes and boosts company productivity as a whole.

Siemens has 400,000 employees. You don’t need too many businesses of that magnitude to eclipse Twitter’s existing 10 million users. And you can monetize from day one.

But ultimately, the concern is that Twitter is a feature and not an application in and of itself. It could become a data collection unit and in that there would be huge value. But as ESME has proven, it is relatively easy to replicate – at least at one level. Scaling up will not be easy. It will be the business that figures that one out that will get the spoils. Here’s ESME has been super msart because it can tap into the Twitter data stream while generating its own. It therefore has the ability to provide and receive masses of data that can then be used in multiple ways.

All the attention right now is on the outward facing stuff but in reality, it is the internal communications that matter more. That’s where we’re going to mine value that’s readily actionable now.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Susan Scrupski March 23, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I spent a long weekend with a dozen professional women. After all the wine-drinking and silly reminiscing about our youth (we were school chums), it was sobering to realize how absurd socialmania really is. I predict it is going to take a Very-Long-Time before micro-blogging is absorbed into large enterprise. Unless, of course, it is introduced and supported by one of our favorite enterprise vendors. And even then, it will be a footnote, not revolutionary rebel movement.

Internet Strategist June 25, 2009 at 1:22 am

None of the Social Networking sites "get it" – the value for users is in providing quality content in an easy to access way. When they do that right they will also have the most valuable content for offering highly targeted advertising opportunities – the kind the users won't mind because they will be interested in them.

StumbleUpon once almost got it right and now that they've bought SU back from eBay they have a second chance. Whichever Social Media site manages to do this first and offers what Google AdWords once offered (but their greed since has killed) will be wildly popular.

I've explained that further in the post I linked from this comment. I'd be very interested in your insights on the concept.

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gucciwomenshoes February 12, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Unless, of course, it is introduced and supported by one of our favorite enterprise vendors. gucciwell.com And even then, it will be a footnote, not revolutionary rebel movement.

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