Social Media – The Week That Was

by Shveta Singh3. July 2009 12:34       Bookmark and Share

What made news in the social media circles last week. Here’s a snapshot:

YouTube doubles upload limit to 2GB

YouTube announced this week that it would be increasing the maximum upload limit from 1GB to 2GB. This upgrade was revealed along with tips for sharing and embedding HD videos.  The upgrade is targeted at users focusing on HD video uploads.

Bing builds Twitter results into its search

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has now begun including the latest tweets of popular Twitter users in its search results. As of now, this new feature is available only for a few thousand Twitter accounts based on their number of followers and the volume of tweets they produce. Ashton Kutcher is one of them. 


Facebook gaining ground in Orkut dominated countries

Facebook of late is making inroads in Brazil and India -- countries where Google-owned Orkut is the leading social media property. The number of Facebook users in the two countries has doubled in the last two months, while Orkut has seen a relative slowdown in activity.

Social media in the war zone - Iranian twitter revolution, warning to Indian army and relief for US army

by Shveta Singh18. June 2009 09:44       Bookmark and Share

 

This past week has seen social media enter the war zone. Whether it is the Iranian twitter revolution or the use of social media by armed forces, social media has been constantly in news. Here’s a quick round up from the war zone. 

The landslide victory for the serving Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the subsequent charges of rigging by the supporters of losing candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, gave rise to a mass unrest in Iran last week. Within no time the news spread across the world, and in an effort to control the situation, the Iranian government banned all foreign media from reporting the protests. In addition to this, most popular social networking and broadcasting sites like Facebook and YouTube were also blocked to prevent citizen reporting.  This, however, has not managed to stop the flurry of information coming out of Iran. Thanks to Twitter and proxies, Iranian’s are sending out real time updates to the world. 

Here are some stats to give you an idea of the magnitude of activity happening:

Moving from Iran to armed forces… Some bad news for net savvy Indian Army men. The Indian Army has warned its personnel against the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut. This warning has been issued to prevent leak of classified information like place of posting, unit and rank to enemy agents.  On the other hand the U.S. army has issued an order unblocking social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, for the first time, for its men. This move, they feel, will allow soldiers to 'tell the Army story' and facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information.  

Progressive we must say… 

All in all, a busy week for social media on the front line.

Webby Awards 2009 announced. And the Webby goes to…Twitter

by Shveta Singh7. May 2009 18:59       Bookmark and Share

 

 

 

 

Twitter, the micro-blogging phenomenon, has won the prestigious Webby Breakout of the Year Award this year. This award, according to many, will help catapult Twitter into the big league, considering the fact that the previous winners of this award were the likes of YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr.  

Just 3 years old, Twitter has grown by 900% last year, and has managed to draw many a celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher and President Obama to its list of evangelists. The official Webby website goes on to call Twitter “the ultimate embodiment of the democratic spirit of the Web”, because of the level playing field it offers to one and all. 

Very well deserved we must say! 

Some of the other notable winners from the social media space include the photo-sharing site Flickr for the online community award, YouTube LIVE for online event, Digg for social networking and Pasricha's blog 1000awesomethings.com for Personal/Cultural blog category. 

In news category, NYTimes.com won the Webby for best writing and practices, whereas The Guardian was awarded the title of Best Newspaper site. Further, BBC won the webby for best news site category. 

This year the Webby Awards received almost 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries, including India. However, India’s presence in the final list is hardly anything to talk about. The two Indian mentions we could find in the “Honoree List” are the Jaago Re website and the mobile site of Moneycontrol.com.  

Hope to see some awards coming India’s way next year.

TheIt’s Advani Vs Congress in India’s First Digital Elections

by Shveta Singh10. April 2009 12:30       Bookmark and Share

Mr. Advani is not the only one wooing voter online now. With Congress waking up to the reality of online media, Election 2009 has truly turned into a digital war. Though Congress had stepped in late, still it is interesting to see what activities they are doing online.

 

Here are a few observations:

  • Unlike BJP where the whole Campaign is built around the communication Advani as PM, Congress’s online campaign is more party centric than personality oriented. Congress party’s ads are driving clicks to the party website www.aicc.org.in, whereas the BJP ads are linked to Mr. Advani’s website http://www.lkadvani.in
  • Both parties are using Google Adwords for their campaign. This has resulted in a unique situation where, on a single page, there are multiple ads where both BJP and Congress are vying for space from each other.
  • Congress has gone for 720x80 positioning and text-ads compared to BJP’s wide range of ads. Also it looks like Congress is offering a higher bid price, because, most ads are now showing Congress in the 720x80 positioning.
  • Mr. Advani’s blog http://blog.lkadvani.in/ has shaped up very well. His posts are frequent and well written. On the other hand, Congress’s blog http://votecongress2009.blogspot.com/ looks like an initiative gone wrong – bad formatting, errors, uneven fonts and the list goes on…
  • On YouTube, Congress seems to have got it right. The channel http://www.youtube.com/user/congressindia has 31 videos. The party’s Jai Ho Film is very popular with views as many as 40000. The BJP uploader http://www.youtube.com/user/bjpuploader?gl=IN&hl=en-GB  on YouTube is also very popular and has 260 videos.
  • Congress’s presence on Facebook and Orkut also leaves much to desire, when compared with BJP.

From whatever we have observed, BJP comes out a clear winner so far as the digital marketing strategy and execution is concerned. Partly because BJP had started its online campaign long before Congress. Now what remains to be seen is who eventually wins the elections.

 

 

L. K. Advani goes the Obama way — Omnipresent Online

by Shveta Singh17. February 2009 11:10       Bookmark and Share


 

The online bug has finally bitten Indian politicians, all thanks to the resounding success of the Obama online campaign. Surprisingly, the first adopter is not from the young leader brigade led by Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot, but the 81 years old Prime Ministerial hopeful — Mr. L. K. Advani.

 

Mr. Advani’s campaign team has launched a 360 degree online campaign in order to reposition Brand Advani as ‘The Leader’ for the young generation. Having started with a Web 2.0 Website and Blog, his campaign is now leveraging YouTube, Facebook, Orkut and Google Adsense to reach out to the young voter.

 

Impressive!

Impressive in terms of the scope of activity and tactics being experimented with. However, what remains to be seen is whether he can pull it off the way Obama managed. Just to bring all on board…

· On Facebook, President Obama has more than 5.4 million supporters and 570,000 plus wall posts.
· Obama’s YouTube address garnered nearly a million views.
· On Twitter, Obama sent out more than 260 Tweets to 144,000 "followers”, updating supporters on his whereabouts.
· The “My Barack Obama” community beautifully used online tools to organise offline activities and generate donations.
· All in all, Obama managed to raise $600 million from 3 million people, mainly through small contributions made online.

Coming back to the Advani Campaign. It is definitely ambitious but has had mixed results: 

· His Google Adwords campaign targeting and image ads are bang on. 
· His website is buzzing with activity. Pretty interactive with blogs, online volunteer form and discussion forum having more than 5000 posts. It has achieved an   impressive Alexa ranking of 474 and page rank 4 in just 1 year of its existence. 
· His Blog has well written posts, albeit infrequent. The last post is dated February 1st.
· His Facebook page has only 140 supporters and not much activity happening.  Whereas on Orkut, this number is 531. 
· On YouTube his channel has 191 videos and 82 subscribers as of now.

Overall, the mix of tactics is good, but the execution could have been better. His blog could do a lot better with higher post frequency and daily updates. Similarly, he would have engaged far more number of people on Facebook and Orkut, with interesting applications that let youth participate. For example – My expectations from the next Prime Minister?

 

Nevertheless, a great beginning. Hope to see many more Indian politicians engaging with their voters in the near future.

  

 
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