Innovating with Social Media: Facebook, Flash, Blogs and Wikipedia


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Final Group Project Assignment Check-In

There’s one more administrative detail I need your help with. In order to have things go as smoothly as possible on Thursday, May 6 between 10:30am and 12:30pm when all the groups will be making their final presentations, I’d like to get a list together of who is doing what. That way I can provide you all with a presentation order before we get started.

So, please post a comment here with your group name and a complete list of group members. (If you see that someone else in your group has already posted a comment, there’s no need to repeat your comment!) If you haven’t come up with any clever name, just name the group after your favorite color or animal. 🙂

10 Reasons to Read This Post

Well, really, there are more than ten reasons to read this post, but the most important one is because it contains the Top 10 Ideas to remember about our MIS3580/JOU3810 Social Media Innovation course.

#1: A starfish is oft mightier than a spider

Starfish and the Spider from

Starfish and the Spider

From the summary:

One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm.

#2: What would Geronimo do?

Lead by example.

#3: There is no President of the Internet

Be like a catalyst:

  1. Genuine interest in others.
  2. Numerous loose connections, rather than a small number of close connections.
  3. Skill at social mapping.
  4. Desire to help everyone they meet.
  5. The ability to help people help themselves by listening and understanding, rather than giving advice (“Meet people where they are”).
  6. Emotional Intelligence.
  7. Trust in others and in the decentralized network.
  8. Inspiration (to others).
  9. Tolerance for ambiguity.
  10. A hands-off approach. Catalysts do not interfere with, or try to control the behavior of the contributing members of the decentralized organization.
  11. Ability to let go. After building up a decentralized organization, catalysts move on, rather than trying to take control.

#4: Starfish or spider? How about a hybrid.

Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon are all examples of successful hybrid organizations.

Continue reading

Final Assignment Details

On Thursday, May 6 at 10:30am (our courses final exam period) there are two things due at the beginning of class:

1. The final group project — also send a copy via email to both instructors. Also post your Flash prototype to our class blog.

2. The final individual project — also send a copy via email to both instructors.

Also, during that class meeting, the final group project presentations will occur.

Final Group Project Presentation Guidelines

  • Your presentation should be 5 minutes long and will be followed by 2 minutes for questions (plus 1 minute between presentations).
  • Your presentation should answer these questions:
    (b) what problem are you solving?
    (a) how do you propose solving it? — including a demonstration of your prototype), and
    (c) what are your recommendations for making it a succes?
  • It is highly recommended that you practice your presentation so you can be sure you can efficiently and effectively get through all of the required material in the alloted time!
  • Please put any electronic materials on a memory stick or post to the web in a readily available location.
  • One or more group members may deliver the presentation, but all group members are expect to be present and available to answer questions about the project. During the presentation all group members should join together with the presenter at the front of the room.
  • Although we would like you to treat these as formal presentations, there is no dress code. Wear whatever you are most comfortable in for a presentation.

Final Individual Project Guidelines

The final individual project is a 5-10 page report (including graphs/figures and/or screen shots) summarizing what you learned this semester in the process of writing for your blog along with an analysis of patterns of Website traffic over the course of the semester.

There are three primary content areas for this report:

1. A summary of what you learned in the process of creating content for your website. What insights did you gain in relation to the material that we discussed in class. (Target: 1-2 pages)

2. A recap of the website promotion activities your proposed in the early assignment, a discussion of how they were implemented, and an assessment of their effectiveness (or lack therefore). (Target: 2-3 pages)

3. An analysis of your website traffic over the course of the semester. Pick key metrics that you feel provide the most insight into your website and discuss how those changes over the course of the semester in relationship to key events (e.g., more posts or website promotion activities). (Target: 2-5 pages)

Viral Marketing and the Power of Networks

Today we’re going to talk about the role that networks play in the adoption of products and ideas.

In short, why are some things successful beyond all reasonable expectations and others, even if they are technically superior to available alternatives, total failures?

Viral Marketing and the Power of Networks

The essence of viral marketing is when a satisfied adopter tells two friends about a product and, then they’ll tell two friends about it, and so on. The power of such compounding can be seen in the parable of the ruler and the chessboard.

Successful viral marketing has three major challenges to overcome:

– Initial product adoption: do I need shampoo and I am willing to try a new brand?

– Adoption attrition (e.g., keeping churn rates low); will I buy the same brand again?

– Product recommendation: how many others will I recommend the product to?

Growth and Churn

Joel York created a mathematical model showing how growth rates and churn rates interact in viral marketing. Here’s an example:

He describes three phases to viral marketing:

1. Brute force sales and marketing

2. Customer advocacy

3. Ecosystem buzz

Network Roles and Network Effects

Who was William Dawes?

The Network Effect

Additional Resources

Here are two books that have popularized some of these ideas. The Tipping Point is the better known of the two, but I found Made to Stick better written.

From the Publisher’s Weekly review of The Tipping Point

The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell’s thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of “word-of-mouth epidemics” triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened.

From the Publisher’s Weekly review of Made to Stick

Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of “stickiness”—that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable. They start by relating the gruesome urban legend about a man who succumbs to a barroom flirtation only to wake up in a tub of ice, victim of an organ-harvesting ring. What makes such stories memorable and ensures their spread around the globe? The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.

Final Group Project and Presentation Requirements

For the final group project there are three components:

1) Describe a plan for a product extension for Include answers to these questions:

– What is the product? Provide a description.

– What problem does it solve?

– How does it work?

– Who is the target audience? What are the audience demographics? Why is the audience interested in your product or service?

– What is the financial model (how will it pay for itself)?

– How would you market it?

– Why do you think this is a good idea?

Provide results of market research conducted for the project or service and evidence that the market research made it into the final plan.

2) Prototype – build a prototype in Flash that demonstrate the key essence of the proposed offering (an audio-visual prototype of the product or service). The prototype will be created in Flash, using any media. (You may choose just to use video, for example.) A prototype is an example of what your product or service would look like, and/or how a typical user might use it (a use case scenario).

3) Presentation – each project team will make a presentation on Thursday, May 6.

NOTE: Our class meeting on Thursday, May 6 is at 10:30am to 12:30pm

Fixing Sound Problems in Flash

Hi there,

Several of you have had problems controlling sound playback in Flash. I have found the answer – it’s new for Flash CS4!

The command is as follows:;

If you have sounds associated with a scene, it is best to place this command into the functions that tell Flash to go to a new scene when a button is pressed. So if you have a button called b1_btn that is supposed to go to Scene 1 when pressed, and your addEventListener says to execute a function called dob1, function dob1 would look like this:

function dob1(Event)
gotoAndPlay(1, “Scene 1”);

So when dob1 is executed, FIRST the sound stops, then the playback head goes to the new scene. When the sound starts on frame 2 of the new scene, the SoundMixer.stopAll(); command does not affect it, but when the user clicks one of the buttons to go to yet another scene, the SoundMixer.stopAll(); kicks in again.

Some other things to do:

1. All sounds should begin on the second frame of each scene, or at least NOT on the first frame. If the sounds begin on the first frame, they may get cut off.

2. All sounds should be set to stream.

Hope this helps.

Clarification on the Website Promotion Assignment

I’ve had a couple of questions on the Website Promotion Assignment. To avoid confusion, here are some details.

You will describe 5 different website promotion activities in total. The first 3 are things that can be done at no cost and are things that you are going to do in the next two weeks (or may have already done here very recently). The 4th is something that you are proposing to do and can be done for $100 or less. The 5th is something you are proposing to do for $10,000 or less.

Here’s an example of what the start of a description of one of the three no cost strategies might look like…

Idea #1: Correct punctuation and grammar

Description: I plan to start making sure that all of my blog posts are written in complete sentences with correct punctuation and grammar. My writing will be more like…

Rationale: I think that blog posts that are written well are more likely to attract an audience. I think this because…

Objective: I hope that more readers will spend more time at my site reading what I have written and when they come to the site that they will also…

Measurement: I will know if this strategy has succeeded if the average visit length has increased. My secondary goal is for the average number of pages per visit to increase and the bounce rate to decrease. These measures are appropriate because …

Repeat similar information for the remaining ideas, even if you feel like you are repeating similar details from strategy to strategy. It is likely there will be some overlap in rationale and measurement, but writing things out for each strategy will help you uncover where differences exist or where your rationale may not be as strong as you think for.

I hope this helps everyone with their assignment. Let me know if there’s any questions.

More on Web Analytics and Web Advertising

Today we’re going to do some hands-on work with Google Analytics and talk about some key considerations for tracking the success or failure of a web promotion effort.

Google Analytics tour: (For more details, head to the Google Analytics IQ Lessons at Conversion University.)

We’re also going to discuss advertising with Google and Facebook. I will show you some examples from an online advertising campaign I ran.

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