Digg Dugg its Own Grave

What’s new at Digg? Digg’s upcoming changes revolve around importing your social graph from sites like Facebook, then having a Digg page that shows the stories that were “Dugg” by your friends, the most. Sounds a bit like Facebook’s “Like” and Twitter’s “RT” features doesn’t it?

Before there was Facebook and Twitter, getting on the front page of Digg was every blogger’s dream. However, when your top 100 users control 56% of your homepage content, your upside can only be limited.

While Facebook and Twitter have grown by listening to customers’ needs and adapting,  Digg has already lost an overwhelming 13.8 million unique visits from March to April, 2010 (Compete.com, April, 2010) — a 36% dash. Kevin Rose, Digg’s founder, has made several announcements hinting to a Digg revamp soon, but it is yet to be executed.

Nowadays you do not see many sites eminently featuring Digg buttons anymore; those button have long been replaced with the likes of Twitter, Facebook Likes or even Google Buzz – Facebook, Twitter and Google all have the potential to feed you news relevant to your interests, and with far fewer absurd comments.

Digg is hopeful it could regain some market share and reboost its unique daily visitors to what they once were; nonetheless, in an age where everyone is embracing more relative interest-based  sharing, Digg will have a hard time doing so. Will version 4.0 revive Digg? Only time will tell.

The Almaza World Cup Game

Talk about a World Cup Facebook game! While watching a football game with his friends, the 40-something year old Lebanese soccer player slams an ALMAZA beer bottle on the table and dives into the TV box. Zigzagging and dribbling his way through defenders, the player is supposed to reach the goal and score to get to the next level and accumulate the highest points possible.

To increase Almaza’s brand awareness on social networks, Eastline Marketing’s main focus is to reinforce mate-ship between friends while keeping Almaza as the consumer’s first choice of beer. At the end of the day Almaza consumers not only take pride in drinking their local beer but they also take pride in their local beer culture as well which reflects in the ALMAZA’s slogan “Haida Jawna. Haida Ne7na.” ALMAZA who undoubtedly has the biggest market share when it comes to beer consumption, chose to leverage the 2010 World Cup event to introduce one of the most addicting soccer games on Facebook today. Moreover, to build up to the release of the game, Eastline Marketing created a Greeting Card application “TA3ABEER“, mixing fun and daring Lebanese lines with inventive ALMAZA visuals.

The game which enables the user to choose his favorite World Cup team and take on swarming defenders and referees, adds a special twist with special moves that he can perform for extra points. The more the user collects cashew nuts and peas – yeah, nuts and peas – the more he has the ability to do special moves and brush off defenders and referees. The best part of the whole game is that players with the highest scores win a customized foosball table.

Logging over 30,000 registrations through the first couple of days, the ALMAZA IHTIYAT Game is set to become one of the biggest socially enabled soccer games on Facebook. I’ve been trying it out for a while and my highest score is somewhere around 75 thousand points.

Play the game here and try to beat my score?

Measuring up to Social Media Efforts

While the progress of your social media efforts can be observable, the old mantra still rings true:  How can you tangibly assess social media value, gauge effectiveness and ROI? How can social media translate in sales and lead generation and when can one expect that to happen? Those are all viable expectations. The take-home lesson however is that Social Media Management requires commitment and patience. Modern times have left us with the impression that technology should shorten sales cycles. When it comes to social media, technology has placed you close to your ultimate consumer like never before, but with fewer barriers it has also left you vulnerable and more open to risk. Your success in terms of sales and rate of return on ad spent will strongly depend on your content and level of engagement over time. “It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted” and if you embed social media into your corporate culture, you will soon notice how this seed will start greening the landscape around it.

In short, what you should expect to reap from social media is worth a lifetime of seeding:

– Increased satisfaction, brand loyalty and awareness stemming from more efficient customer service. Get a feel for what your current or potential customers are saying as it happens.

– Competitive insights, business intelligence and innovation through identifying similarities and differentiating features. Join communities that advocate your products. Join that of your competitors.

– Efficient use of Public Relations and identifying influencers. Look for consumer endorsers and ambassadors and provide them with relevant content to activate a viral distribution of your brand across channels.

– More effective organic visibility and an extended brand reach through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

– Reduced market research costs for product development and audience analysis. Listen to consumers, empower them, enable them to take charge and gain benefits while they do.

– Reduced hiring and HR costs and less churn.

Social Media measurement is not merely about displaying number of tweets, followers, fans or impressions. How you determine your success largely boils down to restating your initial objectives and goals, so try to tailor your metrics accordingly. With this in mind, look for the real value of your online plan by asking for meaningful and concrete results such as user behavior before, during, and after interacting on your social platforms, as well as blog retention rates, audience analysis, the sorting and monitoring of social media conversations, and lead generation data both online and offline. Keep a regular eye on both the frequency and depth of engagement with consumers.

The choice is yours: Do you want your ads to interrupt consumer conversations, or do you want to become what consumers are actually talking about?

Monetary Value of a Facebook Fan

After putting the effort in building Facebook communities of fans, brands have been wondering about the monetary value of these fans. Virtue, a firm specialized in social media, has conducted a study to estimate the value of facebook fan at $3.60 per fan.

Virtue determined that each post that is posted on a brand’s Facebook page yields 6 impressions through fans’ friends’s news feeds. For example, with an average CPM of $5, Starbucks‘ 6.5 million fans are worth $23.4 million in media annually; however, not all brands get the same value for their fans. Some brands receive more impressions than others because their posts get shared and intereracted with by more users.

What makes users share and interact with a brand’s post? Open-ended opinion-seeking status updates, interesting industry-related news and other quality fan-related content that targets your fans’ intersts are guaranteed to receive interaction from fans. On average, a Facebook fan’s monetary value is $3.60; yet, the quality of your posts is what determines how much your fans will actually be worth.

Microfunding through Social Media

Instead of reaching out to companies for large donations, social media enables NGOs to reach bigger audiences and raise more donations. Recently, I came across an interesting project that has been leveraging the benefits of social media to raise awareness about several causes and gathering donations through microfunding.

Microfunding allows users to donate very small amounts ($10 for example), while working together towards larger goals. Although the donated amounts are bitty, the few donated dollars by each user sum up to make a difference in the lives of many others. The 12for12k Challenge has been able to reach a very large audience through Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media tools.

You might not give a lot with microfunding, but when you add up all of the people giving, you can reach significant fundraising goals to support your cause.

Chatroulette’s got some issues!

Recently, Chatroulette, the world’s biggest random video chatting social network, has been having some issues — nudity issues.

The website which was founded by 17-year-old Andrey Ternovskiy, has been flooded with users going naked on webcams, most of whom are men. Chatroulette enables quick switches between random chats coupled with seamless streaming webcam video to give users the full effect of the random chat experience which has boosted the site’s traffic to staggering numbers. Nonetheless, the increase in the amount of random nude men has decreased Chatroulette’s popularity and has Chatroulette’s chances of becoming a profitable, brand-advertising supported site.

A competition has been held to engage users in creating a solution for the problem. Some ideas like: auto-pixelating the image if no facial features are recognized and creating a sister website – Rawchatroulette.com are pretty brilliant; however, it would be intersting to see how the young Russian founder handles this issue.

Click here for more info on Andrey Ternovskiy’s future plans for chat roulette.

The Social Media Syndrome

You konw you’re a Social Media Addict when you:

1) Overshare

Your friends let you know that they pressed “HIDE” next to your recent status update or shared post because you’re updating too frequently.

2) Are always online

You get a message from your friend saying “HELP! My car broke down!” instead of receiving a phonecall from him/her because he/she knows that the fastest way to reach you is
through Facebook.

3) Twist the ratios

If you’ve met five of your six really good friends online – that’s 5 to 1.

4) Take few too many pictures

If you have 3 Facebook albums titled:

My New Car PART 1

My New Car PART 2

My New Car PART 3

…that’s a few hundred pics for your new ride!

5) Adopt things a bit too early

If your Twitter account shows the following consecutive tweets:
May 15: I can’t wait for the release of the #iPad tomorrow!!
May 16: I just got my Apple #iPad – I can barely wait for the #Android-Tablet!!

How addicted are you?

So…we’re not friends?

“Stan, poke your grandma!” his dad said. Stan’s hell began after his friends set him up with his own Facebook profile. He had to befriend everyone from his mom to his grandmother and when he wanted out of Facebook, Stan found himself in a battle with his own gigantic profile, playing Yahtzee.

Last night, South Park’s episode “You have zero friends” took a slam at social-networking giant Facebook and semi-slams at FarmVille, the popular Facebook application, and startup Chatroulette. The funniest stint of the episode would probably be Stan’s dad insisting that Stan takes timeout from doing his homework to add him as a friend on Facebook, saying “So…we’re not friends then?”. Stan finds himself dragged into the whole “Facebook” bubble, facing all sort of trouble with everyone he knows, from family to neighbors and friends.

The subplot of the episode revolves around a lonely kid called Kid Dropy who has no real friends, however, it means everything to him when Kyle befriends him. In the real life, Kip Dropy has been having no problems in making new friends on REAL Facebook; just check out his own Facebook page which has almost 200,000 fans.

Compared to the attacks the cartoon has dished out in the past, South Park Facebook episode took it relatively easy; yet, the delivery of the “friendship as a commodity for a person’s status” was exquisite.

Here are some highlights of the episode: