For the past ten years, Federal News Radio
has been the go-to source for news about the federal community and the "business" of working with government. Federal employees, contractors and civilians tune in to Federal News Radio, via the airwaves and online, for the latest issues that affect federal agencies. Last week, Federal News Radio's Chris Dorobek interviewed Tim McLaughlin
, president and co-founder of Siteworx
, about what agencies can do to create more user-centric sites.
Siteworx, an interactive agency specializing in web technologies, interactive strategies and mobile web, has deep experience in developing and implementing sites that provide a rich online experience. Last year saw the launch of their public sector group
and a successful GSA schedule bid as they continue to expand into the federal space. This interview proved to be a great forum for Siteworx to share helpful tips for agencies looking to develop or relaunch a site (one key takeaway: the whole website development process isn't so scary!). Take a listen to the interview to hear all about the Siteworx approach to user research, optimization and the future of mobile sites for agencies.
You are SPOT on... social media is taking the business world by storm... I think it IS the new CRM (customer relationship manager).
The Audit Bureau of Circulation announced on Monday its preliminary circulation numbers for the first half of 2010 with AARP Magazine crushing the competition. The Magazine boasts 16 million readers over the # 2 spot (Better Homes & Gardens) this could be due to the fact that all AAPR members are automatically subscribed. When looking at these circulation numbers on their own, I cant help but feel a little bit of hope for the print industry. They seem high but in actuality they have fallen 2.3 percent since last year. The Huffington Post has published a great pictorial with the top 20 pubs. One conclusion I cant help but draw is that a majority of the top 20 magazines are aimed at an older audience (AARP Magazine, American Legion Magazine Im looking at you). Surprisingly, there seemed to be a number of what I would consider to be dated publications on the list like Family Circle and Readers Digest but I guess those fall in the previous category as well. The outliers on the list are generally very picture-heavy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the biggest gainer on the list is Game Informer Magazine, which rose in circulation by 21 percent. But an inside source (my brother) filled me in on the reason for its growth
video game sales generated almost $5 billion last year and are expected to be even higher in 2010, this publication covers upcoming games and gives trusted reviews of current games for consoles and PCs so its just growing with the industry. The biggest decliners so far this year were Newsweek (40 percent year-over-year), Playboy (34 percent) and Readers Digest, which dropped 25 percent and still managed to take the #3 spot.
Brilliant analysis. And funny, too.
I think its safe to say that a high percentage of the American population is constantly plugged into social media, thanks in part to the heavenly creation of the smartphone. Feel free to disagree, but I dont know anyone who signs out of Facebook through their mobile phone, or turns off Twitter just before going to bed. Its just unnecessary. We like to read what we want, when we want to
all as quickly as possible. Meaning, we all have various habits some of us keep tabs through our phones at work, during our Metro commutes home or on the couch while we clean out space on the DVR. Its all a matter of what suits our lifestyles best.
So why do I bring this up? According to a study
conducted by SocialFlow, a social media marketing company, Twitter traffic numbers are significantly increased on the weekend via mobile phones. In other words, people are Tweeting more often through their phones on the weekends, than they are during the workweek.
Studying a client that has more than 500,000 followers, SocialFlow reviewed Bit.ly clicks for two months and recorded these results
(all of which are in EDT):
- Mobile usage is really important at the peak (at 8 p.m. on Saturdays), an average of 41 percent of all clicks came from mobile devices.
- Weekends generally have a higher percentage than weekdays. (Its good to know youre not just shifting from following Twitter on your office PC to following Twitter on your home PC. Youre using Twitter on your phone!)
- Friday night looks more like a weekend, and Sunday night looks more like a weeknight. (Your mother will be happy to know youre staying home on Sunday nights.)
- People are less likely to click from their mobile devices in the middle of the day and wee hours of the morning than during morning rush hour or at night.
What does this mean for you? If you havent thought about it already, pay attention to your readers habits. Create mobile-friendly websites that your audience can easily access, read and respond to via their cell phones. While youre at it, consider increasing your own participation on Twitter during Friday and Saturday evenings. If this study holds true, you may as well take advantage of the peak mobile time and secure their attention before they hit the road and log onto their work PC on Monday.
What do you think? Do you tend to Tweet more often or pay better attention to the people youre following on the weekends via your mobile device? Have you yourself taken any mental notes to be active Friday-Sunday? Let me know what works for you
and if I should update my weekend routine.
- Mary Evans
The Internets big. I noticed this a few weeks ago when I was looking for news about BP.
Sure enough, there were roughly six billion news outlets reporting on the Top Killnot to be confused with the Junk Shot, the Top Hat, the Side Kill, the Full House, or the Louisiana 2-Step.
Anyway, with the Internet as big as it is, I can get my news from pretty much wherever I want. And I can get it with whatever slant I want. And if I dont like the real news, I can go to a blog that doesnt publish anything even remotely true!
The trouble is, we humans dont like to have our assumptions challenged. Psychologically speaking, we go to great lengths to avoid cognitive dissonance, and the easiest way of all is to simply duck information thats outside of our comfort zones.
Unfortunately, the Internet caters to these baser instincts. And social mediafor all its elevated talk of connecting the worldis a rather brilliant means of systematic isolation.
The more tethered we become to our social networks, the more they become our filters for the outside world.
My colleague Pheneice wrote an interesting post last week about folks who get their news primarily from stories their friends recommend. What a spectacularly insular concept!
And yet, evidently, its a winning ticketcustomized content, specifically tailored to the personal preferences of the consumer. Thats why newspapers are dying. Theyre not personalized; theyre cosmopolitan. And who needs that? Im the center of the universe, according to my Facebook profile.
Correlation or causation, I cant begin to say. But the facts are what they are: America has never before been this wired and connected. Or as divided.
About six months ago I was invited to speak to The Presidents' Forum
, a group of Washington, DC-based CEOs for companies ranging from $3M to $10M. I spoke on the topic of "The Social CEO"
and frankly, presented some ideas for CEOs to ease
into the social media scene without feeling like they have to run for the door with all there is to do.
As I work with CEOs every day, I've heard all the pushback, the doubt, the disbelief, and the endless tantrums of "you seriously want me to add MORE to my role everyday?"
I can say until I'm blue in the face: social networks, social media, online branding, Web2.0, pick a buzz word, are NOT fads, and I still get the straight-faced CEO who says, "yeah, but it's not for me, I have enough on my plate." This isn't related to age, gender, or industry. It's related to being the CEO.
My pitch usually makes them feel like they are off the hook except for some little things: "Just use some tools to listen," I say. "Never before have you had this chance to hear directly from customers." Or I plead: "think about using social networks with your partners: they are there!" or to "engage with your most important customers who would love to feel your support."
Well conversations are carrying on about social media and CEOs: There is a conversation on LinkedIn
where folks are placing odds on whether key leadership will ever become engaged. Charlene Li just published a book Open Leadership
, pleading with leaders to consider our new world of being open and transparent, and and using it to build better businesses. Mashable
and Forrester Research
CEO George Colony had a conversation just a few months ago in a post
reflecting on why there aren't more engaged CEOs. Jeff Pullas writes often about CEOs and social media, with posts that offer up and more explanations
.Wired wrote an article on "CEOs as Social Media Slackers"
based on a research study
last year conducted by UberCEO.com.
Most CEOs I know are pretty smart. that's why they are the CEO. Most CEOs i know want to do what's best for their company. That's why they are the CEO. Most CEOs I know want to take advantage of every competitive opportunity they can to stand out, be relevant, and be current
. That's why they are the CEO.
Ironically, CEOs are typically the best communicators in their business. They supply vision every day. They inspire confidence within their customer base. They hold ultimate accountability for being the person to drive change, hope and innovation. They encourage partners to do business with them. They are masters at establishing, nurturing and managing relationships.
I'm here to ask us communicators and marketers, to think about the role of the CEO, and frankly, to help him or her navigate this new world. The old way isn't broken, there are just some new tools and new rules, and CEOs might just need our help.
Don't get me wrong, there are
CEOs that are there. But for those that are leading with all their might and energy and yet haven't had time to incorporate social media into their everyday job, I think we should help make it easy, and understand all that the CEO has on his or her plate. CEOs always
want to listen, so help build them a dashboard. CEOs always
want to relate to customers; so help them identify who's actively engaged. Help to educate them on what really matters, and how to navigate in an efficient way. Share the highlights of the conversations that are happening that will help them plan a change of course, if necessary. Pluck out the places where customers are congregating and let him or her know you're paying attention.
Despite all being said to the contrary, I personally believe that sooner or later, the CEO will get there. He or she has to...they are typically social by nature...maybe that's why they're the CEO.- Elizabeth Shea (@eliz2shea)
I cant recall the last time I had a newspaper delivered at home. I, like many Americans, get my news online and increasingly share stories Ive read with my friends. The consumption and sharing of news has shifted to a distinctively personal level and social networking sites are where friends, or as I call them digital paperboys, deliver the news thats really fit to print.
According to a recent NPR survey
, Im not alone in seeing social media as my go to hub for interesting, personalized and relevant news. NPR
wanted to learn more about the consumption habits of their Facebook followers and found that:
- Nearly three out of four (72.3%) expect their friends to share links to interesting information and news stories with them online.
- About three of every five respondents (60.7%) said they get most or all of their news online.
- Three in four respondents (74%) shared an NPR story with friends via Facebook in the last five months.
Mashable also thinks that keeping it personal is the right mantra when it comes to todays news consumption. In their assessment of social networks and news sharing
, news outlets are increasingly exploring ways to streamline your preferences as well as friends preferences across social networks. Google has even taken notice and added tools under Google News
for an enhanced, customized experience with a News For You section that allows you to add news topics based on your interest and tailor the layout of your page.
In another example, Washington Post online
has integrated Facebooks Social Plugins into its site so that readers who are logged in to Facebook can see what stories their friends have recommended. At first I thought this could be a nuisance, but Ive honestly read more stories on Washingtonpost.com as a result of this. I trust my friends taste and interests, so Im more apt to take a moment to read their recommendations rather than search throughout the entire site.
But is everything shared worth the read? Maybe not, but I do like the fact that discovering news from your friends creates a more thoughtful, personal platform for dialogue about the things that matter to you.--Pheniece
Why is Thrianya, a high school-educated grandmother of three, helping top University of Washington scientists unlock the correct, low-energy shapes of complex proteins? Short answer: Farmville lost its luster.
Or so it would seem, according to Jeffrey Perkels 2008 feature
on FoldItan interactive, 3-D computer game that doubles as a legitimate biochemical research operation. In fact, just last Wednesday, new data
released in Nature
formally validated the effort.
Forget the how piece for a minute, because I think my original question is more interesting. Why
is Thrianya doing it?
The brilliance here lies in how FoldIt creator David Baker used social networking principles (competitive play, wikis, chat windows, etc.) to entice online players into the fold (as it were). After all, the prospect of doing tedious lab exercises, despite the intrinsic rewards, might not tear folks away from their PS3 consoles without some pretty convincing social networking reinforcement.
Speaking of the PlayStation, you might remember a similar, non-interactive screensaver called Folding@home that used the consoles idle processing power (a.k.a. distributed computing) to run experiments with protein shapes. And heres where we get to the how piece. FoldIt was born when users of a similar screensaver called Rosetta@home noticed how poorly their computers were manipulating the proteins involved.
I could do better was the user sentiment, and it turns out they were right. After analyzing data from 57,000 FoldIt players, the University of Washington has officially determined that human gamers outperformed the computer on five out of 10 puzzles and delivered similar results on three other puzzles by using more varied approaches to solutions not used by the computer. Dont look so shocked! Humans can also detect and express emotions. Id like to see a computerized robot try that. Oh, wait
Anyway, those keeping track of the ongoing war between mankind and theoretical Terminator-style robots will probably take great comfort in the FoldIt findings.
At the very least, its a solid demonstration of social networking power. Plus, you might accidentally cure cystic fibrosis while gunning for a new high score.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that newspapers are continuing to decline as important information sources…but the rate seems to have picked up, at least according to a survey by the Center for the Digital Future
. As GigaOM
reported last week, only 56 percent of Internet users find that newspapers are an important source of information. As for the Internet? Almost 80 percent of those surveyed find the web to be an important information source.
So what’s the catch? The tongue-in-cheek saying that “If it’s on the Internet it must be true” is starting to catch on with the wider Internet using population – a majority of Internet users surveyed said that they don’t think that the information found online is reliable.
One other point to bring up is the idea of “personalized” magazines and newspapers made possible by the (pending) proliferation of tablets, like the iPad, RIM’s “BlackPad
” and Microsoft’s to-be-named “iPad Killer.” When you factor in something like Flipboard
, I would imagine that these survey results would change substantially.
So what do you think? Have you cancelled a newspaper subscription, opting instead for online sources? Is the series of tubes and wires making up the Internet too unreliable for your tastes? Do you wish this debate would just stop?
Ocho Cinco was probably one of the most sought after interviews in the sports world that morning and a DC station got him by reaching out to him in a real way. They know that Ocho Cinco is on Twitter all the time, they know he regularly hosts tweetups for his fans and they knew that while he was packing to leave for training camp having their producer call his people would do nothing. The listeners spoke to him in a real way and once he was on the air so did the Junkies. I know its probably a stretch to tie this to what were doing in tech PR, but its been on my mind since I heard it. I think this message crosses markets though - people are communicating in different ways now so there are more ways to get in touch with your markets influencers. By knowing who youre talking to and how they communicate you could score that big interview too. Hearing this interview on my way into work last week got me excited for the day and got me thinking outside the box about how to reach our markets influencers.
If the experts are right, then there are anywhere from 200 million to 400 million active English-language blogs. That’s a lot of motivated bloggers.
Tony Karrer wrote a blog post
a few years ago about the top ten reasons to blog that still rings true to me. My favorite reasons for blogging -- to contribute, to learn something new and because my job depends on it. If we look at SpeakerBox clients, about half have an active blog. Their goals are a bit different from the ones identified above. For our clients, it’s about defining and owning a specific topic area, demonstrating thought leadership, and driving Web traffic.
And driving Web traffic is a biggie, especially with the advent of Google Caffeine. Caffeine allows Google to index more content, more quickly (50% more quickly according to Google
). Since freshness counts, many companies are spending more time on their blog, since that might be the one area of their site that is updated frequently.
So what should bloggers and brands due to optimize for Google Caffeine? According to SearchEngineLand
, “Content owners will reap the benefits of Caffeine without doing anything at all.” In a recent, eM+C article
, Search Mojo’s
Janet Driscoll Miller offers the following advice, “if you don’t have a blog, get one!” She also suggests brands monitor Google Insights for Search
to identify hot trending topics. If your brand or industry starts to spike, it’s time to author a blog post since trending topics are indexed more quickly. And finally, Siteworx
SEO expert, Gregg Wyland
suggests that Caffeine’s dynamic approach to gathering data may result in faster changing query results. Keeping content “up-to-date will be much more important now that Caffeine is live.”
Keep blogging, your jobs (and your company’s success) may just depend on it.