Moms — Online and Off

Infographic: The Digital Lives of American MomsI feel it’s appropriate, as we redefine the definition of “marriage”, that on Mother’s Day we recognize that the extended definition of what a mother is today. After all, the methods of conception and delivery are more varied than in the past. And children are more frequently raised by people other than their birth mother.

Mother’s Day reminds us that mothers come in all shapes, sizes and circumstances. Whether they are birth mothers, step-mothers, foster mothers, grand-mothers who are raising another generation, godmothers, savvy aunties, big sisters, guardians, mentors and more. Mothering is a skill set both learned and earned. Being a mother comes by chance to some, by choice to others.

Regardless, how do moms spend their time online? According to NeilsenWire.com (see accompanying infographic) their experience can be summed up in three words: Facebook; Twitter and blogs. In March 2012, 3 out of 4 moms visited Facebook; and 1 of 7 visited Twitter and 2 out of 5 visited blogging platforms (Blogger; WordPress and Tumblr). ‘Mommy Bloggers’ are a force representing about 1/3 of all bloggers.

Fact: The Census bureau estimates that there are 85.4 million mothers in the U.S. If she were alive today, the founder of Mother’s Day would not be among them.

Anna Jarvis never had children. She organized the first Mother’s Day as tribute to her mother in Grafton, W.Va. and Philadelphia in 1908 and later petitioned Congress to create the national holiday in 1914. It didn’t take long, however, for Jarvis to hate the very day she created due to over-commercialism.

So, let’s remove the restrictions on how we view Mother’s Day, and mothers as well.  Celebrate all the women who help mold us into the people we are, and let’s do so every day of the year.

Very Pinteresting, Why Facebook Paid $1 Billion For Instagram

Facebook InstagramIn advance of its much ballyhooed IPO, Facebook, which historically made acquisitions of $100 million or less, bought Instagram for cash and stock approximating $1 billion. The photo sharing mobile app, launched less than two years ago, was valued at $20 million in February 2011 and $500 million as recently as last week (based upon investor funding).

So, why pay $1 billion for it and why now? Five reasons:

  1. Platform. Instagram is a mobile app, and mobile represents the biggest upside for future marketing and commerce. Facebook needs more mobile features.
  2. Graphics. Pictures and images rule the day online. They’re compelling content that conveys the you-are-there experience with one-click satisfaction, and then love to share.
  3. Category killer. In two short years, it is by far the best known and most widely used mobile photo app. Go ahead, name two others (I’ll wait).
  4. Accelerated growth — and poised for more. Instagram launched on October 6, 2010.  Two months later in December it had 1 million users. By September 2011 it grew to 10 million users, and now boasts 30 million users. And that’s with it being an iPhone only app until a few weeks ago. When its Android operating system version was finally released April 3rd of this year, it was downloaded over 1 million times in the first 12 hours. Android users effectively doubles the potential user pool. And all of this was before the hype and buzz associated with its acquisition.
  5. Pinterest — or, why Instagram was worth a billion bucks to Facebook. Also launched two years ago, Pinterest is likewise driven by graphics, allowing users to pin their favorites to collection boards with sharing via social nets. Like Facebook, Pinterest has a “like” function and users can comment on content. True, Instagram features user-generated photos while Pinterest links to graphics linked to the Web, but here’s why that will change. Read more of this post

Social Media Week 2012: Love, Personalization and the Death of Serendipity


Ah, love. Each February 14 we celebrate all things love in remembrance of St. Valentine, a priest who (literally) lost his head over the emotion.  And so, by the powers of the Roman god Cupid; the Greek god Eros; and the consumer goods god Hallmark, we enjoy love found, curse love lost and are hopeful for love to come.

The logo for Love@AOL

Love@AOL - one of the first online dating sites

For me, it also brings back memories of my first “real” job in social media, as a Community Manager at AOL for one of its largest channels, Love@AOL. Launched as a Valentine;s Day special feature in 1996, it did so well that it became a permanent channel, with (at the time) the largest collection of online dating profiles featuring the newest innovation of the day — photos! Simply put, people — even online —  expressed a need to connect, to be social.

Fast forward to yesterday in New York City at the Third Annual Social Media Week New York. In his keynote speech titled ‘Top 2012 Trends in Social,  JWT CEO David Eastman pointed out that four key operators own almost all of the information about you  online. He called them “GAFA” (pronounced “gaffa”), they are: Read more of this post

Happy Birthday Facebook and an Apology to Mark Zuckerberg

the facebook original welcome screen

Facebook's home screen - 2004

Late afternoon eight years ago today (February 4, 2004), in a small room at Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg flipped a switch and TheFacebook.com went live. Did he know he created a revolutionary platform that would help define the term social media? Hardly. As reported by The Harvard Crimson five days later, the Mark Zuckerberg of then is not much different from the Mark Zuckerberg of today: talented, impatient and cocky.

Having come off creating Facemash.com, his take on the popular “Hot or Not“site where people submit their photo for public judgment (except that he hacked the photos of Harvard students from the schools records resulting in student backlash), he turned his talents towards a Friendster type site — but one based upon “weak tie” connections like school; dorm residence; subject classes rather than a desire to find a date (or mate).  Perceiving the University’s attempt to create a universal face book as moving too slow, he wrote the code for TheFacebook in his dorm room in one week. Talented; cocky; impatient.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.

After five days TheFacebook had 650 subscribers. Just eight short years later, it counts over 845 million worldwide registrants.  Early on, Zuckerberg rejected an offer from Friendster to sell for $10 Million just a few months after going live. A bold move for a college sophomore.

From the Harvard Crimson 2004 article:
“While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “

In 2008, he resisted Yahoo!‘s offer of $1 Billion (a move many thought foolish). This past week, Facebook filed the paperwork for a $5 Billion public offering that would value the company at between $750 and $100 Billion.

And so I owe Mark Zuckerberg an apology. In 2010, TIME Magazine named him Person of the Year. I wrote an entry at the time stating that it was not the best choice available (see Mark Zuckerberg,TIME Magazine Person of the Year — But Not Mine). But with a 28% ownership stake, Zuckerberg stands to be worth $28 Billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a “B”. Obviously, I was wrong in 2010 and for that I apologize.

I hope he’ll forgive me.

Social Media: An Essential Recruitment Tool

You’ve heard how companies are increasingly utilizing social media to recruit new associates, but what exactly does that mean? Jobvite‘s 2011 survey provides a look at which social networks recruiters and hiring managers use to find and assess prospective employees.

How Many Businesses Use Social Media?
Social Recruiting Plans

The answer is just about every company does, with almost 90% responding that they either already do or plan to use social media as a recruitment tool.

This makes sense, as more job seekers search for positions via digital means. Early in my career I poured over pages of job listings in the Sunday New York Times classifieds section weekly. Today’s digital route is much more efficient in finding opportunities and marketing themselves online.

Which Social Networks Are Most Important?
Social Networks for Recruiting No surprise here, LinkedIn, long known as the social network of professionals and recruiters, gets the most play with 86.6% of respondents utilizing that network. Launched in May 2003 as a business-related social network, LinkedIn’s 120 million members are a prime audience for talent recruiting and vetting.

What’s impressive are the numbers posted by Twitter and Facebook. Dismissed by many businesses, they provide a large, often different recruitment pool, with insight into prospects’ character via status updates, photos and affiliations.

When Do Companies Look at Your Social Footprint?
Use of Candidate ProfilesAnd as you can see, you’ve got an almost three out of four chance that the company you’ve applied to will search out your online presence – even if you do not provide them with their links.

Advice: Do your own social media audit. Perform a Google search on your own name and see what is returned. Check out all of your mentions to see which you should take down, modify or request a correction.

Remember: What happens online, stays online — for all to see or discover. 

Great Infographic on Social Media Use

See full infographic after the jumpEveryone likes a good infographic — a chart or visual that conveys important information in a visually compelling way — but not everyone who creates them does it right. I love this one called “The Growth of Social Media” by the good people of Search Engine Journal. A ton of info, such as:

  • If Facebook were a country it’d be the third largest in the world
  • 1 in 4 Americans watches a YoutTube video every day
  • 49% of Twitter users rarely or never check Twitter
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment and 95% of those use LinkedIn

And there lots more. See the full infographic after the jump.

Read more of this post

STATS INTERESTING: Social Media By the Numbers

Social media is NOT about stats. Too often, companies put too much emphasis on the numbers (how many followers; how many “likes”, etc.) at the expense of ignoring the true value that social media provides.

And even though I believe in the old adage, “There are lies; there are damnable lies; and there are statistics”, I recognize that having a few quick stats on hand can help you gain support for social media — so here are a few:

  • 5 percent of online shoppers note that social media influenced them to visit a retailer’s website (Foresee)
  • 82 percent of 18-29 year olds utilize a form of social networking (Pew)
  • 40% of corporate Twitter accounts engage in some kind of customer service (Burson-Marsteller)
  • In 2011 marketers will increase their social media usage by 75 percent (Brian Solis)
  • 48 percent of consumers combine social media and search engines in their buying process (GroupM)
  • Of all social networks, YouTube has the highest Net Promoter Score with 50 percent of users saying they would recommend it to a friend (MarketingProfs)
  • ~140 Million Tweets are sent each day (Twitter) (update: July 2011 ~200 million/day)
  • 24 percent of adults have posted a review of a product they have purchased (HubSpot)
  • 41 percent of the companies report that there is no staff dedicated to social media (Useful Social Media) (see graphic)
  • 35 percent of small businesses utilize social media in their marketing mix (eMarketer)
  • Facebook expects to bring n $4.05 billion in ad revenues this year (eMarketer)
  • One out of every six minutes spent online is on a social network (comScore)
  • 73 percent of the US internet population visits Facebook each month (comScore)
  • 62 percent of Facebook users between 35-54 years of age have liked a brand (eMarketer)
  • 47 percent of journalists will use Twitter as a source for a story (Digital Journalism Study)
  • The average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300 percent increase in referral traffic (Search Engine Land)
  • 61 percent of Facebook users who have liked a brand note that they are more likely to purchase from that brand (AllFacebook)
  • 96 percent of Americans use Facebook (Business Insider)
  • 46 million Americans check their social media profiles daily (Edison Research)
Sometimes, having a handy stat or two can help you build support for your social media initiatives. Then, once they’re on board you can really open their eyes to the value of social media.
For more interesting social media stats, see the source article for this entry: Social Media Stats for the C-Suite by  Jeff Esposito
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