Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is Your Search Engine A Newspaper?

I was chatting with a friend here who works for a major media conglomerate and is getting her PhD in media economics. (Yes, she can multi-task.) She is working on a paper about online advertising. Her employer, the owner of several national papers and publications, is the biggest online advertiser in Turkey. She said she was surprised to find how in the US the top advertising revenue congregated around search engines and portals such as Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN... This made me think for a minute about how I got my news on a daily basis. To me, information is key. I track multiple sources at a time. I keep an eye on Yahoo news. I go through my blog lists on a regular basis. I read the NYT and WSJ - online and offline. The latest news is the greatest. Within all this commotion, I sometimes pay attention to online banner ads and pop-ups.

Advertisers get the biggest return from me when I search for a specific product or service. That's when I am ready to click around and chase additional information. Hence, the beauty of search engine marketing. Paid or organic, it reaches a relevant, engaged audience. My search engine is my default newspaper and directory.

Our conversation took another interesting turn, when another friend who oversees a number of brands for an international cosmetics company's Turkish branch said she is planning to cut back on her Web advertising in 2009. She complained that she was not getting enough ROI. Instead, she planned to focus on TV. Her budget was scaled back anyhow.

A new dish came to the table, we all got distracted with mozzeralla sticks and pizzas. So I didn't get into finding new audiences online with a list of sites that matched her audience's profile. I didn't get a chance to tell her about the brands who were moving money from traditional media to online, either.

The Turkish online audience is addicted to social networks and discussion forums. Turkey is one of Facebook's most populated bases in Europe. Similar to US Internet users, novice and seasoned users depend on major search engines to find information. Perhaps the solution for brands here is to move away from somewhat engaging banner ads and follow the audience to search engines and social networks.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Ban on YouTube Doesn't Stop Young Turks

After claims that a YouTube video contained degrading content about Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkish state, Turkish courts banned access to the popular video exchange site from Turkey. They didn't want anyone to tamper with the evidence while they reviewed the case.

Don't get me wrong, I am a follower of Ataturk's path and I staunchly believe in protecting his name and his institutions. But I am not sure if it may be possible to contain content on an ever dynamic social media site. My guess is that many people wouldn't even be able to find the video and the pertaining user comments that are in question.

But nowadays the focus on the case have shifted from the court's decision to the back roads Turkish Internet users take to access YouTube. As Milliyet, a leading national paper here, reported recently the number of Turkish visitors to YouTube has reached 800,000 per day, pushing the site to the most viewed 10 Web destinations in the country. Google searches on alternative ways to access YouTube returns more than 300,000 results. In a November interview, even the country's Prime Minister admitted to accessing YouTube through alternative sites.

The ban doesn't seem to stop young Turks from connecting and networking.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tulin Who?

Entertainment, especially if it doesn't cost anything, survives through most crises. Perhaps it's the best way to forget about daily troubles. Tulin Sahin - a Turkish top model - just launched a Web site targeting women called Tuliss. There is not much beyond a sexy landing page. Visitors can sign up to get Tulin's e-newsletter covering beauty, culture and fashion. I guess people are more focused on the celebrity factor than content. Within one week, 15,000 women from Turkey and the rest of Europe signed up for it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Retail Crisis - An International Perspective

Greetings from Istanbul - my hometown. After a 10+ hour trip, I finally gathered the force to get out a bit and run some errands. Our house here is near major shopping mall, Akmerkez, one of the largest in Europe. Usually it's so crowded that you need a bodyguard to clear the path for you. Just like in the US, people come here to stroll and to hang out, even if they don't buy much. It's always hectic. It's always busy.

At 5:30PM on Monday, it was near empty.

Stores sported discount signs, ranging from 30 to 70 percent... and you can pay in monthly installments.

In every store I entered, I was greeted by an average of 3 salespeople who had nothing else to do.

Unemployment rate was just announced on TV as surpassing 10 percent. They expect it to hit 12-13 percent soon... Turkish people are used to dealing with crises, but they are as nervous as those of us living in the US. They keep asking me, 'how is business in the States?' They know well: When the States coughs, they catch a cold.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Customer Circus

Following the debacle,
Comcast did a pretty good job of reaching out to both consumer and business audiences. I just saw their director of digital care, Eliason speak at the WOMMA conference. Looks like Bob Garfield is also acknowledging that Comcast is being responsive (at least) to customer issues. He is expanding the scope of his mission though - he'll continue his customer service reviews at

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ann Taylor's Smart Email

With the ongoing news about the declining economy and the dismal retail conditions, it is hard not to believe news that some stores will not be able to honor their discount coupons after January 1st. In fact, on Friday I got an email from a friend with a long list of retailers, the number of stores they were shutting down. The note indicated that any holiday deals, such as friends and family coupons/savings, would not be honored after the New Year's, since the stores would no longer be in business.

I am never coordinated enough to have the right coupon at the right store, but the email did create a short list of brands in my mind that I matched up to poor performance. Ann Taylor, one of my favorite clothing stores, was mentioned in that email.

Come Saturday, I got a note from Ann Taylor, debunking the rumors about honoring holiday deals and clarifying the reason behind the store closings.

Dear Valued Client:

It has come to our attention that false and misleading information, regarding our Company and our store closure program, is circulating on the Web, as part of a hoax to scare consumers away from purchasing gift cards. Ann Taylor is a financially strong Company that operates nearly 1,000 Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet stores across the U.S. In January 2008, we announced plans to close some underperforming stores, as part of a strategic restructuring program to make us an even stronger Company that can continue to serve you in the future. Our gift cards continue to be a popular and great option for gifting this Holiday season and can be redeemed at any of our stores, as well as online at and We look forward to serving you again soon!

Kay Krill
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ann Taylor Stores Corporation

Ann Taylor wins points for delivering a fast, online response from a top officer in the company. Being in PR, I can appreciate all the work that must have gone into crafting the right message and targeting the right customers. I am on Ann Taylor's Insights panel as a customer who cares about the brand. I had also signed up for a store card at some point. Not sure how they exactly selected the email recipients, but they surely reached the right audience.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Learnings from WOMMA Conference - Part 1

I have been living and breathing word of mouth marketing theory for the past few days in Las Vegas, where I was attending the WOMMA Research Symposium and Marketing Summit. I would like to use this space to share some of the key learnings I took away from the conference, which was rich with WOMM examples and best practices.

First, the Conversation Value (TM) Model developed by the research firm ChatThreads and colleagues brought quite a bit of substance to the discussion around the incremental value WOM brings to campaigns. The firm, leveraging the work of Dr. Walter Carl from Northeastern University (and ChatThreads' Chief Research Officer) and Prof. Barak Libai who is currently teaching at MIT University, has built an agent based model. The model takes elements such as the following into consideration:

- profitability per unit
- purchases per customer
- retention rate
- discount rate
- time periods people continue to make recommendations
- generational relay
- generational purchase rates
- number of program participants
- program, coupon, sample costs

ChatThreads uses survey data and statistical modeling to calculate the value of a conversation. It is like, if you are skipping a stone over water, you can estimate the number of times it is going to bounce and the distance it will travel based on the strength of your arm, the weight of the stone and what happens when that stone hits the water.

The model helps marketers go beyond metrics such as impressions, hits and clicks; which tell only part of the story. It puts a dollar value on an esoteric concept such as word of mouth. When I asked Dr. Carl whether the model was best suited to estimate the value of conversation around tangible products, he explained that it could actually have a variety of applications, including scenario planing.

So, imagine knowing how far the word will go when faced with a crisis or when writing the key messages for a campaign. Pretty powerful stuff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great Crisis Site from NY Governor

The New York State just launched a new Web site, Reduce NY Spending, to inform the public about the budget deficit issues and to draw them into a discussion. The design is great for its purpose. No bells and whistles. Just the right amount of information, which is quick to find and navigate. Information is not just in static prose, but also in video format - giving Governor Patterson the chance to speak directly to his audience. My favorite is the budget calculator, where visitors can see what goes into the state budget, play with the numbers and try to balance it out themselves.

Governor presents his plan to balance the budget, answers the most frequently answered questions and invites everyone to an speak up. You can send the Governor and his staff your two cents by using this form.

My hope is that the Governor and his staff respond promptly and effectively to questions they get from this section. Perhaps we'll see a truly interactive, public forum soon? Nonetheless, this is a pretty good crisis site example.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Motivequest Called It!

So, I am keeping the election widget on the right hand side, because it shows our new leader's picture. Motivequest CEO David Rabjohns had said he'd shave his hair off if his online promoter score didn't predict the outcome of the election. Well, he's keeping his hair I guess: the widget shows Obama 52%, McCain 46%. According to Yahoo News, that's exactly where we are with the latest count of votes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I just learned about an organization called ColaLife through the Springwise newsletter. The founder Simon Berry's goal is to bring medicine to children in Africa using Coca Cola's distribution network. In ColaLife's words:
Our idea is that Coca Cola use their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts to the people that need them desperately. Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as 'the life saving' compartment?

According to trendwatcher Sarah Nill, the soft drink makers' executives are in talks with Mr. Berry.

I was just reading today that Keller Fay research shows that Coke is the most talked about brand in the US. Maybe being number one comes with certain social responsibilities...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Buy Halloween Costumes and Give to Charity

I had no idea, but according to Costume Studio, every year Americans spend billions of dollars on Halloween. The costume maker has paired up with MySpace's cause arm, Impact. Along with MySpace Music, Stumble Upon and Invisible Children, they are inviting consumers to buy costumes for the benefit of Ugandan children. In fact, all profits from your purchases will find their way to this war-torn country's children in need. To fill up your shopping cart, go here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Note About Brave New Films on YouTube

I got an email from Simon Owens, who writes the blog Bloggasm and contributes to PBS's MediaShift. He wrote an article about Robert Greenwald, the filmmaker whose company Brave New Films distributes Michael Moore's latest documentary Slacker Uprising

The article and the Brave New Films' YouTube channel are worth checking out. When Simon wrote the article, the channel had almost 20,000 subscribers. About a month later, that number is close to 26,000. Whether you agree with Greenwald and staff's political views or not, that increase in subscribers is worth noting. You can imagine the number of forwards and discussions the Brave New Films' provocative videos created both on the left and right side of the spectrum.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One Twitter Push, Two Twitter Push for charity:water

On September 3rd, I got an email update from Twitter's Biz Stone, introducing Scott Harrison, the 33 year-old founder of charity:water, a non-profit that raises funds to build wells and bring clean drinking water to people in need. The organization has so far brought successful projectsto life in Africa (Liberia, Central African Republic, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi), Latin America (Guatemala) and South East Asia (India and Bangladesh). 

Scott was running a pretty cool fundraising effort, calling all September birthdays (his is the 7th) to donate to the cause and get their friends to do the same. The logic is simple: if you think you pretty much have what you need to get by, you can ask your friends to donate to the campaign instead of getting you things you may or may not use. 

I ran a quick search on Twitter and came across 15 pages of posts from the past 6 months about the charity. Many people announcing their own contributions, encouraging their friends to donate or buzzing about the charity's touching PSA and video announcements

My question is why stop in September? The charity has raised close to $1MM from donations. Its goal is to reach $1.5 million. I am a November baby. My birthday often coincides with Thanksgiving. I am thankful for a lot of things in my life and will ask friends to donate here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Russians Are Coming!

Last Tuesday, I was proud to give a presentation on digital word of mouth, at the Russian interactive marketing conference, Be Interactive.  The event was organized by the PRP Group and 360d-- sister companies to the GolinHarris' affiliate Comunica.  Distinguished speakers including Interactive Advertising Bureau's President & CEO Randall Rothenberg,'s founder and CEO Chan Suh, Avenue A/Razorfish's Europe President Darin Brown, AKQA's Director of Strategy Craig Walmsley, entrepreneur and MS Sequel's Digital Business Services Creator Bradley Starr presented their views and best practices in engaging audiences online. 

Besides hearing about the makings of successful campaigns from the West, we also listened to an in-depth presentation by Karl Johannesson, founder and CEO of J'son Partners, a management consultancy with offices in Russia and Central Asia. His speech was an eye opener to the possibilities in the Russian Internet market and its growth potential. 

Johannesson projects that the Russian Internet communications market will be $122 billion by 2012. Here is a look at the factors contributing to this area's increasing growth:
  •  Russia comes third (29 million people) in the number of Internet users in Europe, following the UK and Germany. 
  • There are 280 million Russian speakers around the world; 142 million of them are in Russia. 
  •  10.5 million households will be on broadband by the end of 2008. Yet competition is leading to massive infrastructure development. In 5 years, hundreds of Russian cities will come online with FTTB (fiber to the building), providing citizens with faster Internet access than current technologies. 
  • The average Russian Internet user is spending 1-2 hours/day on social networking sites (mostly accessing from work.)
  • Thirty percent of the Russian Internet audience is playing online games, engaging for 30-40 minutes at a time. 
Johannesson points to growth in home Internet use, advergaming and mobile Internet communications for the near future. Within the next few years, the boom of Russian Internet users on high-speed access will draw many more marketers to the area. Odnoklassniki (Russian version of classmates) and vkontakte (Russian version of facebook) will be followed by new online communication platforms that resonate with local preferences, created by local talent.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Grab The Online Promoter Score Widget

I just got an email from David Rabjohns, the CEO of Motivequest, saying that the company was tracking online buzz about the elections and had developed a micro-site, showing cybercitizens' reactions to the presidential candidates in almost real time.

Motivequest has a metric, coined as the Online Promoter Score, which allows researchers to study the correlation between online advocates' decrees and behavioral outcomes such as sales or votes! David is putting the Online Promoter Score to test, trying to predict the outcome of the election. So far, Obama is ahead. I grabbed the handy widget from the site, which shows the latest score. You can pick it up from here.

David says, if he's wrong, he'll shave his head and post it on YouTube. (His video, not his head.)

"I am so convinced of this metric that if we are wrong, and fail to correctly predict the outcome of the election, I will shave my head on You Tube for your delight. "

I bet you, he won't have to do that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tipping Point on Twitter

I try to update my twitter profile regularly, but I am certainly not one of those who publish every minute. I blurb once a week or so. I share my twitter address at the end of presentations. If colleagues find me, I let them follow me, etc. Lately, I started getting requests from folks who are in related fields (or not) who want to connect with me on twitter. Every morning, I find 2-3 updates in my email, informing me that I am followed by folks I've never met before. We don't know each other, but we tell each other if we're bored, running around over the weekend, or frustrated at a baseball game.

I'm thinking, because the universe of twitter is much smaller, it doesn't take that long for an active professional to reach the tipping point. You may not have to wait until 100 followers, 30-40 may just do.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Benchmark for Blogger Engagement Programs

There is a very useful diagram in Technorati's 2008 report about the State of the Blogosphere. It shows the vast number of blogs the search engine tracks and indexes (133 million). Notice the sharp drop to 76,000 when the diagram shows the number of f blogs with authority scores of 50 or more (i.e., those blogs with 50 or more links pointing to them, in the last six months).

The universe of on-topic and influential blogs for your brand may be very small - and there is nothing wrong with that. Relevance still trumps reach in blogosphere. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Technorati Updates State of the Blogosphere Study

That flu virus kept me from keeping up with dotwom in the past week, but I'd be remiss if I didn't provide a link to Technorati's new State of the Blogosphere Study. I was particularly intrigued by the numbers that show the percentage of bloggers that mention brand names on a regular basis. More than a third (37 percent) say they frequently post product reviews.  Even more (41 percent) frequently write about brands they love or hate. That's growing evidence for the value of online monitoring and the need to invest in digital customer service teams. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Slacker Uprising Coming

Oscar winning documentary filmmaker and liberal political commentator Michael Moore will be releasing his next film, Slacker Uprising on September 23rd -- online, for free. His subject are the young voters in red states who decide to get actively involved in the political process. No more slacking, they're going to register and they're going to vote (to Moore's liking hopefully...)

Fragments of the film are bound to go viral, given Moore's public persona, the hot-button issues in today's political environment and the social statement the film makes. Mass media will cover it and push it to broader circles. Can't wait to see slacker games emerge...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Consumer-Generated Media Makes A Difference for Health Information Seekers

Considering the millions of bloggers, social networkers, forum participants and their audiences, you might guess that the social media universe includes a broad mix of demographic groups. Indeed, there are plenty of teens, young and mature adults to poll about their social media activities. But we also need to pay close attention to the impact of social media on consumer behavior. The market is big enough. Soon, many companies looking to this space as a marketing platform will look for results beyond building brand equity. The latest data from Manhattan Research, a pharmaceutical and healthcare market research firm, suggests that brands who can engage patients and caregivers online may have the opportunity to strengthen their reputation and earn new customers.

Manhattan Research conducts ongoing studies focusing on ePharma consumers--adults who have researched pharmaceutical information online for themselves or for someone else in the past 12 months. According to their 7th ePharma Consumer(R)
survey, nearly half (47 percent) of ePharma consumers report that user-generated content has at least some impact on their health or prescription treatment decisions.

The percentage of consumers who indicate being influenced by user-generated content increases among younger ePharma segments. For instance, 64 percent of 18-34 year olds indicate that blogs, chat rooms, message boards and social networks have at least some impact on their health-related decisions.

There seems to be a craving for different perspectives and hearing others' experiences among caregivers. Among those who indicate that user-generated content has a strong impact on their healthcare decisions, 65 percent are parents with children in the household and 50 percent are people caring for someone with a chronic condition.

These findings point to significant advantages healthcare providers can gain by listening to relevant consumer chatter and becoming trusted resources to young adults and caregivers who are seeking answers online. Those healthcare/pharmaceutical companies that provide factual information to conversation leaders and answer patients' questions, will be mentioned in patients' conversations with physicians, caregivers and others suffering from similar conditions.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Content Better Be King If Your Video Runeth Over

I got an email from Joe Biden. Seriously, the personal approach the Obama campaign takes tickles me. As much as I know that a number of people pour their energy over the email strategy and copy, I get a kick out of seeing that I have a message from weekly horoscopes, trulia real estate alerts and... Barack Obama! Today, I got the VP-candidates first direct email. It's a video message that runs close to 3 minutes.

Often times I get asked the question, how long should an online video message be. I counsel saying under 2 minutes. If you can, stay close to 1 minute, I say, thinking of typical Internet users' attention limits.

Biden's message carries itself well. This is his first time in my inbox, so I am interested in what he has to say. I want to study his mimics, hear his message, think through how his words bode with the Obama campaign's mantra. Maybe if I didn't work in the interactive space, my eye wouldn't have gone to the counter. But, bottomline, if your online video goes over an acceptable dose of time, your content better be king.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blogger Raises Food

Call me naive, but I believe good wins over evil and right defeats wrong. Maybe not right away, but eventually. That's why I decided to focus on those who are using social media to do good and create a positive change in their community. I think we are too consumed with negative implications of blogging buzz on reputation. We forget how powerful blogs( and other social media outlets) can be in alerting people about an issue, directing the right audience towards a solution and raising funds.

The blogger I would like to highlight today is Cara Michele, who used her blog to rally the troops and serve breakfast to the homeless and the needy in Greensboro. Upon hearing that a local community center's kitchen was going to be temporarily closed, she reached out to her readers and her extended network. As a result, she not only raised a modest amount of money which went a long way, but also got cans of food ready to be served.

Cheers to Michele!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Indians More Interested In Linked in Than Are Americans

Folks at Pingdom, a company that monitors Web site and server performance, published a pretty interesting post recently about the global interest in social networks across the Web. Using Google's insights tool, they were able to uncover the geographical locations where social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5 and LinkedIn were being searched.

When living in the US, we have the tendency to think that our Internet market must be ahead of others in terms of size and usage, but a quick look at the ranks Pingdom has compiled, along with the Universal McCann's 2008 social media study, reveals a vary dynamic hierarchy across social network popularity. For instance, most of the searches for LinkedIn come from India, Holland and Denmark. The US follows Belgium in the fifth spot.

I initially thought India's dominance may be due to the sheer size of its population of professionals. Then I noticed that Israel, which has a significantly smaller population than India, ranked seventh in the list. To a large extent, online social networks are reflections of offline connections and cultures. Especially on LinkedIn, initial contacts are made with people whom you have met offline. It seems that Indian professionals are quite busy tracing their offline contacts on the Internet and raising social capital.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Opting In To Obama

The latest online twist in the Obama campaign shows how close marketing can get to politics or the other way around. sign up on the Obama campaign site and opt-in with your email address or text VP to 62262, you will be hearing Mr. Obama's choice for the Vice President directly from him, at the same time, or potentially before, the news hit the wires.

This initiative underscores the campaign's focus on grassroots action and makes a statement about communicating directly with voters, rather than creating events or going through the press to relay an important message to people.

The text messaging element might make some think this is an attempt to bring young voters closer to the campaign, but I think the reach is going to be far beyond young adults. Obama's message is so critical and so central to the national agenda that there will be quite a few people, who will opt-in to an SMS campaign for the first time and receive their first text message from Barack Obama.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Love-Hate Check with Brand Tags

I always wondered about the representativeness of online buzz. So many brands jump into it (or told to do so) thinking it's what the consumer thinks, period. It's representative of what a certain type of consumer thinks. These consumers had the will and the time to find the social media area and they had the courage and the drive to write about their thoughts about the brand.

Despite the potential skew in representing public opinion, I do see a lot of value in checking out online buzz about brands. At least you know if there is a problem. The nay-sayers and those with harsh words can reach far more people than those who are pleased with their brand experience. Consumers expect to be pleased when they shop. Anything that succeeds or fails beyond expectations make the news. And negative news travel further than positive ones.

That's why I like Noah Brier's Brand Tags Project - a site that displays cloud tags about hundreds of brands. Site members are shown a number of brand logos and are asked to type in the first words that come into their mind. The site does some magic and aggregates the responses and voila, you get the picture of what people associate with each brand. The words emphasized in cloud tags may or may not match scientific brand awareness studies' results. But they do show any negative sentiments that a sub-section of consumers feel towards the brand. This tool could be a great conversation starter with a client and it could provide many ideas to test through surveys.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Milestone for SocialVibe

ReadWriteWeb announced that SocialVibe, the social network that enables users to match causes and non-profits with brands, raised $100,000. I had written about what a unique proposition SocialVibe had before. As a member of the site, I feel pretty good about this milestone. It's always amazing to see how groups whose members have never met before can create change if directed in the right way and given the platform to join forces.

My hope is that one day we look back and realize how small a number is $100,000 is when spread across a number of charities and brands. I wonder if SocialVibe would consider an employee program to incentivize its members to bring in their companies and earn triple points on the site -- similar to matching donations or gifts. What if those brands on the site announced their initiative to their employees and their families? What if brands encouraged their fans to join the site and match the brand with a cause they liked. That sort of push and wide reach would give SocialVibe all the more momentum.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I have not packed a mover’s box in years, but the pain of lifting, carrying and pushing large objects through narrow doorways and blocked hallways is permanently etched on my mind. But when my colleague Rick showed me Klondike®’s latest viral video a few weeks ago, I simply cracked up. The video features two guys carrying a couch into a house while a task master Klondike bar coaches them with condescending remarks. A talking ice-cream bar, whipping two dudes with comments from the sideline...What’s there not to laugh about?

The video is produced by the SNL digital shorts team and was premiered on YouTube by the popular video producer Timothy Delaghetto. Currently, it’s been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube, Metacafe and Funny or Die. The Moving Day video follows on the footsteps of the previously released Phone Call video.

These videos, that are meant to drive interest around a Klondike video contest , are shaping to be viral success stories. They take a well-known phenomenon and put a quirky spin on it by having a non-human character speak and other actors say things that many people stuck in frustrating situations would want to say. They strike a chord in a humorous way. They give people the opportunity to be the funny person of the hour by passing it along to friends.

Yet it’s not just quality content that’s pushing the videos along Web networks. The team behind the promotion took a pretty strategic approach to distribution as well. The Phone Call video was first released exclusively on Metacafe. On the release day, the Klondike brand took over the Metacafe homepage, greeting every Metacafe user that came into the site through that central area. As I mentioned before, The Moving Day video was premiered by Delaghetto, who already had a sizable following and had been a fan of Klondike’s. The campaign for the video contest is also supported by the twittering Klondike bear (Twitter ID: Klondikebear), a Klondike Facebook page and intensive media relations and blogger engagement. Best of all, the contest submissions are flying in. So, what would you do for a Klondike Bar? ;-)

* Disclaimer: Klondike is a GolinHarris client. I decided to write this post because I enjoyed the campaign as a Web user and as a marketer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Next Generation Social Networks

Despite the economic downturn, the exponential growth of social network giants such as MySpace, Facebook and Classmates Online is strengthening our belief that the social media phenomenon will continue to bear new business ideas, social contracts and connections. Recent ComScore data (May 2008) was showing year over year growth of 34 percent for Facebook and 23 percent for

Their success is inspiring companies to start their own social networks. They range from branded private communities that give product-related feedback to public groups that grow organically, branching into discussions driven by consumers. Whether for large commercial players or brand communities, social networks’ paths to success share the same fundamental characteristics:

o Ease of access
o Ease of connectivity
o Ease of sharing

Social network users are already bombarded with information and many have multiple profiles to manage. Therefore, an emerging social network needs to have low barriers to entry and a significant benefit to lure new members.

The vanity in spreading personal stories, the voyeuristic appeal of sifting through other people’s posts and the satisfaction from connecting with old time friends represent the first phase of these Web 2.0 platforms. Next generation social networks will need to help transform virtual experiences into reality.

For instance, members will join a community to help fundraising efforts, give and receive recommendations for product purchases, organize for offline meetings/demonstrations or train for a new role in a company or community. Their membership and time spent online will have tangible benefits.

There are some social networks with goal-driven membership structures. Social Vibe gets its members to match brands with non-profits, Care2 enables its users to sign online petitions and take green actions and SheSpeaks brings consumers’ opinions about new products to companies. Yet in general, social networkers spend their time on entertainment and knowledge sharing. Going forward, marketers’ challenge will be to build and sustain networks around social or commercial goals.

* Gretchen Krieg contributed to this post with her research and analysis.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Create Your Own Presidential Campaign

As I am leaving for vacation, I thought I would share something fun with you through my blog. Go to the following link, enter your name and/or your friends' and they'll receive an email telling them they've been spotted in the news and they're a major contender in the presidential race....

I spooked some people already. I am not going to analyze why this is going around the Web as the latest viral phenomenon - no need to overthink here. Humor on current affairs trumps everything else.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Verizon: Who You Twittin?

I love Verizon. They work. Their systems work. I am saying this even though I am not their cell or wireless customer. I envy those Verizon customers who can talk on their phone in a tunnel, at the subway, on top of a mountain. Their 'Can You Hear Me Now?" campaign is worded perfectly. It addresses an issue every other cell phone user in the US experiences and coins it as a theme. It's part of jokes, it's part of conversations. Simple and therefore viral.

Verizon impressed me with their twittering customer service. My colleague Jeff who had a problem with his Verizon service twittered about it and got an almost instant reply from a Verizon blogger who saw his message. His technical issue was not resolved on the spot, but Jeff was so impressed with the approach, he told at least 20 people about this fast response and genuine care from Verizon.

So what happened with the twittering teddy? (Check it out at This is a semi-fictional character who is supposed to represent all the help Verizon can offer to upgrade homes and solve networking issues...I think...The site is a bit busy, first introducing the twittering teddy, then building stories around him, grassroots events, DIY tips, etc.

I think the twittering teddy speaks more to marketers then to the typical Verizon customer. Twitter and Web 2.0 are not mainstream terms. So, the clever tag line of 'how 2.0' is probably lost on many. Verizon does better when it tells a simple story and gets to the core of the problem.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

AP's Red Flag About Copyright In The Blogosphere

The AP announced that it expects bloggers to comply with copyright laws when quoting from the news source. The announcement stems from the allegation that the Drudge Report "reproduced" parts of AP articles rather than "referenced" it.

In principle, the AP is right about raising a red flag about copyright issues. Many cybercitizens, including myself, freely comment on the news. And during this process, some may inadvertently copy and paste more than allowed, without interpreting the content for their readers.

Yet the big question is, how AP will monitor and track all this activity. Would they have claimed the Drudge Report incident if it weren't for the blog's prominence? Perhaps we'll see more cases from ordinary cybercitizens, similar to the early days of online music piracy issues.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hillary vs Obama on Video

I read this fantastic post in SF Gate a few days ago on how the Clinton campaign lost the online video war.  San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli chronicles the Clinton campaigns missteps in communicating with online audiences through video releases. He notes how lack of an authentic voice, wrong script choices, mash-ups lead to the undesirable kind of viral activity. 

I don't think it's just the video medium though... The Clinton campaign didn't find its voice until we saw how hard Hillary was fighting and were reminded how hard she had worked to get there, representing all the women. 

Obama, meanwhile, had a very simple and clear message. Change. How refreshing amidst all the economic, social and political chaos! His videos and speeches are so emotional, you feel you are part of his movement just by passing it along. I am not even an American citizen. I cannot vote. I have to admit I felt drawn to his story as someone who lives here and has family affected by US politics in North America and abroad. 

Obama said what was on everyone's mind. The Web made it loud enough for everyone to hear. An authentic message, powered by passion and emotion, distributed by 1's and 0's. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Online Healthcare - It's A Matter of Trust

Healthcare communications is a fascinating field, especially when it comes to reaching patient groups online. Looking up health-related information is among the top reasons why people go online and yet the drug brands are pretty restricted in the way they can reach out to consumers--as they are part of a heavily regulated industry. These Web sites contain the basic drug facts, usage and safety information, without many bells and whistles. And some would argue that's the way it should be. It's about health facts, not entertainment. 

The Web 2.0 era's direct and simple healthcare brand sites seems to be reaching their audience. The 11th annual national survey of Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Medicines indicates that

  • More than half (53%) of all consumers go online to look for prescription drug information (up by 12 percentage points from 2007)
  • Half of consumers (50%) have visited the Web site of a pharma company and 40% have gone to an advertised brand's site
Meanwhile, the same study points out that consumers are not very likely to change their perception of drugs in pharma ads endorsed by doctors.  Seven in 10 consumers say the appearance of a doctor in a pharma ad doesn't make the drug seem effective or safe. 

So, the take away is that consumers are less likely to trust or rely upon paid endorsements even if it comes from a medical professional. They do make the effort to find out information on their own about drugs.

These findings make you think about the content marketing professionals plug into pharma Web sites. It seems like nothing is superior to objective, scientific, reliable and clear information. Patients will choose their own medical experts. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How Sporting Portugal Went Viral

It's hard to predict what type of message or content will go viral. There is no secret formula, but there are some smart choices you can make. First, understand the audience's attitudes. Second, make sure to strike an emotional chord. 

I was eyeing Marketing Sherpa's Viral Marketing Hall of Fame 2008 list. My personal favorite is Sporting Portugal's campaign that uses the soccer team's Web site to draw the audience into the team's experience as the new season starts. Fans who visited the Sporting Portugal site would watch the video of a nervous Paulo Bento, the team's coach, calling a fan and telling him to get down to the stadium as the game started. Then they could submit their phone number on the site and get a 'personal' phone call from Paulo Bento asking them to come and support the team at the stadium. 

The campaign drew more than 610,000 people to the site in two weeks and the team hit all-time season ticket sales record on the first day of the season (1,500+).  That's pretty successful, especially considering the country is about 11 million people. 

Having grown up in Turkey, where soccer is by far the most popular sport, I can attest to Mediterraneans' passion for their soccer teams. People develop para-social relationships with the players and the coaches through the media at a level that goes remarkably deep. When everything else is so-so in your life, your team's success means the world to you. When they win, you gloat. When they lose, your week is ruined. (Think Superbowl excitement that lasts as long as the season.) Soccer is the leading topic of conversation among buddies. Children need to play soccer to make friends in the neighborhood. 

You always discuss how the team "could do this to you!" And you have a few bits of advice to give to that player or coach. The Sporting Portugal campaign broke through the mold and heightened the excitement about the beginning of the season, because it held the phone to the fans' ears and had a real voice at the other end of the line. All of a sudden, the para-social connections became real. 

And if Mr. Bento has made a personal effort to call you, how could you let him and the team down? After that point, it's a matter of honor (and fun.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Dell's Blogger Outreach Was Successful

After reading about Dell's success with bloggers in Ben Worthen's Wall Street Journal article, I typed in red mini Inspiron into a few search engines. It was true! Consistently, all mentions on the first page of results were from social media, including top technology blogs. Only one mention was from the company -- and even that was from Dell's blog, aptly coined "your blog." The company had managed to turn the mike to tech-fluentials and they were promoting the new laptop since late May. 

Two things in the Worthen article are worth underscoring:

1- It took Dell a year (I'd say more) to engage with key bloggers
2- Dell has a team of staffers dedicated to tracking online buzz and responding where appropriate

In other words, blogger engagement pay off greatly, just like any other relationship, when you invest the time and energy into it. It's not about using the blogger's space as a sales vehicle. It's about making a valuable contribution to a conversation. It takes time (and in this case budget) to earn street creds...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Content Is King, When It's A Commodity

Like many readers I was fascinated to learn about Battle At Kruger, a YouTube eyewitness video, being featured at the National Geographic Channel. The video was taken by David Budzinski from Texas who was on a Safari trip. It is your typical story of baby buffalo gets attacked by the lions, who almost lose the baby to an alligator. The miraculous act happens when a buffalo herd shows up to save the baby. 

Budzinski shops the clip to the National Geographic Channel and the Animal Planet upon his return, without much success. Yet after his video garners 33 million views on YouTube, he gets the TV executives' attention and his clip is featured on the National Geographic Channel. 

Even if some people viewed the clip several times from several different computers, 33 million is a force to be reckoned with. The YouTube counter served as an indicator of how many viewers would watch the episode and how much money it would generate. 

Too bad we do not have the episode's ratings or insights as to why/how the audience decided to tune into National Geographic for this program... Or, I'd like to think they did. (Why would I want to pay for cable TV or remember to tune into the program, when I can just search for the same footage online and watch the director's cut as many times as I want for free.)

The dynamic between YouTube's audience and the TV executives made me think of my former classmate Fernando Bermejo's take on online audience measurement.  In his book, The Internet Audience: Constitution and Measurement, Fernando points out the following: 
  • the audience is the first requirement for a mass media channel to exist 
  • the media industry needs to define a commodity by its audience before buying or selling it 
Had it not been for the YouTube counter and the hundreds of comments posted under the video, the Battle At Kruger may have never made it to TV. Video views and consumer-generated comments do not have the same level of accuracy and representativeness as census bureau statistics. Yet, when the buzz is large enough to capture and the volume is too high to ignore, we get to embed user-generated content into traditional media. 

Friday, May 30, 2008

Online Communities Will Be The Face Of Your Company

In its upcoming issue, BusinessWeek writes it missed the mark three years ago on describing the social media revolution as limited to the surge of blogs. Well, hindsight is 20/20 and I think the main point here is the lag between early adopters, early settlers and the general population in adopting technology -- not smart journalists missing a beat.

I do remember feeling empowered by that issue. Back then, when few had figured out how companies could engage online influencers, it gave me more immunition and proof that social media was a force to be reckoned with and it made business sense. This week's article may be a fast read for those of us immersed in interactive media, but it's great support material to bring those who are on the fence about social media into the fold.

In particular, Jeff Jarvis's quote about the evolution of companies into customer communities is worth noting. Jarvis predicts three years from now, BusinessWeek's cover will be about companies as communities. Not suprising the comment comes from the person who built a community of dissatisfied Dell customers around his blog and applauded Dell, when the computer maker launched IdeaStorm--a terrific online feedback community where customers can tell the company their ideas for new products and services and Dell shares some ideas in its pipeline.

Assuming that word of mouth will continue to be more trusted than other communication channels when consumers make decisions, we'll see more IdeaStorms. Companies such as Passenger, Communispace and BrandNetworks that build private and public communities for companies are headed in the right direction with their clients. Market research, customer relationship management, influencer targeting and brand advocacy will converge on the same platform.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In An Ideal World...Sustainable WOM

A couple weeks ago at the WOMMA conference, I sat in at a very interesting discussion on building sustainable word of mouth campaigns led by Brains on Fire's Geno Church and Intuit's word of mouth marketing manager Michelle Makowsky. The model Geno put on the board made sense: We were to research, uncover consumer sentiment, create the message and the environment for WOM to grow, deliver, engage and keep up the momentum. He was describing a circular motion, which suggested I could and should go back to the drawing board as a marketer during the course of a relationship with a customer. "Good," I thought, "if I can tap into a large enough budget, we can do this. Maybe merge PR and marketing?"

Yet, the a-ha comment came from Michelle. She noted that this long-term approach may not resonate well with those responsible for marketing. "This would generate buzz, no?" "That's exactly the point," she replied, saying that most of us in the marketing world need to show results, to prove a campaign's worth, to show success, to move on to the next project or level. So, most players will focus their energy on any approach that will create a spike on the charts, now.

Indeed, a sustainable, relationship approach is too long of an ordeal, doesn't fit into a box and needs constant dialogue and activities with customers. It is CRM, in its truest sense, with creative ideas sprinkled over it to keep conversations going. If it's not forced, all the better.

Imagine you're trying to drive interest around a video contest. You reach out to the media, buy some ads, send a newsletter to your opt-in list, give a desirable incentive or gift to the winner, make it easy to find and click. This is similar to preparing for a great, big party where your friends invite their friends and those friends invite their friends and so on. But how will you keep in touch with them after the party is finished? Will they remember you?

To build sustainable WOM programs, we need to start thinking about the post-buzz plans. In this example, the video contest can be the start of a conversation or a fun way to keep in touch with the fans. Next generation of WOM campaigns need to incorporate longer-term community building efforts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Universal McCann Study Brings It Home

I have been pouring over the extensive social media landscape study from our sister agency Universal McCann. The study is in its third wave and has data from 17,000 active Internet users across 29 countries. WOW! The document is like a data geek's candy jar! 

The study shows a ton of interesting developments in social media and raises an equal number of questions as it answers. For instance, 

  • Orkut was created by a Turkish guy in California. How come it's so huge in Brazil? 
  • Do smaller populations have an advantage over larger ones, in terms of adopting new technologies? Is that part of the answer as to why blogging is almost ubiquitous in South Korea and Netherlands takes a leadership role in online video viewing? 
  • What's going on in the Philippines and Hungary? They are ahead of every other country when it comes to creating social network profiles.
  • When is Facebook launching its Turkish version? The country boasts the highest Facebook penetration in Europe and Asia.  
  • We all know great cameras come from Japan and they have a high incidence of smart phones. So, how come the Japanese are the least likely to upload photos to photo sharing sites? Do the Japanese have privacy concerns?
  • And mainly, if the Web is global, how come there are some many country-specific variances among active Internet users?
We need the country experts to interpret some of the data. The Universal McCann study brings forth many connections between culture and technology. The results certainly make one think about how Web trends catch on and skip across borders. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Be Good, Join Social Vibe

Just as I had been thinking about how we can create movements online using social media, I got the daily Online Spin newsletter from MediaPost. Incidentally, Joe Marchese's article was about leveraging utility and reach of social media to do good. The article is a great source of social networks set up by charities and celebrities to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes. 

I agree with Joe wholeheartedly as he writes, "The greatest potential of social media lies in its ability to enable and encourage people to do good." Who wouldn't want to change the world with a click? Ok, maybe it takes more than a few clicks. But if we want to make a contribution to a charity, we no longer have to take out our checkbooks and empty out our coin jars.  We can sign up for a cause and get a brand to make a donation on our behalf. 

That's the premise of Joe's socially conscientious network, Social Vibe. I recently signed up for it. My initial goal was to check it out for this blog post, but I must admit I really got into it. I just entered a username, created a password and started sifting through the charities that were in Social Vibe's catalogue. I could pick from a broad variety, ranging from education, environment and health to arts and culture -- some categories are thinner than others, but that's understandable since they are in beta.  I was asked to pick a charity and then endorse a brand to help pay for the cause. 

The process made me think of my values, what I wanted to stand for and how I wanted to present myself to the Social Vibe community and beyond. Fist I chose One Laptop Per Child, because I believe in education opening doors for disadvantaged children around the world. Laptops and Internet access can be the cohesive force in this process. Next, I looked through a bunch of brands and worried if they would cramp my style. I chose Powerbar to be the sponsor of my cause, not because I eat it regularly, but because I felt the brand had a clean reputation and offered a helpful product. Have I bought Powerbar in the past several years? No. Will I notice Powerbar in the grocery story and think of my cause? Yes. Will I think highly of the brand and recommend it to a friend looking for a snack before or after a rigorous work out? Yes. Because now, Powerbar and I are involved. 

I couldn't leave the site without picking Disaster Relief cause to help people affected by the recent natural disasters. I chose a brand that offered more dollars to match than others. I clipped it thinking I needed to start spreading word of mouth fast, while making as big of a contribution I could through the site. 

You should give this a try... 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Social Media In Times of Crisis

It is impossible to listen to the news without hearing about the tragedies following the earthquake in China and the cyclone in Myanmar. One feels powerless and helpless, faced with the magnitude of suffering -- but surely not as much as those directly affected by the natural disasters. 

Strange enough, I had just been working on a presentation for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) about the use of social media in times of crisis. For the past four years I have been partnering with the crisis communications expert Jim Lukaszewski to do these Webinars where Jim discusses the importance of first response, crisis messaging and use of dark sites and I give examples of how companies and organizations use the Web to respond to crises. Sadly, this year I am not short of disaster response examples. 

I had come up with the idea of looking at the use of social media in times of crisis, following a Katrina-related research project I had worked on with my colleague Moon Kim.  We were struck by the way NOLA bloggers were able to report from the ground while traditional journalists couldn't gain access to some parts of the affected area. 

I've been clipping examples and related research since then, noticing how bloggers are deftly using their writing pads, twitter accounts, call-to-action buttons and other widgets to raise awareness about crises and issues. In fact, I just added the button that will take you to a list of ways you can help victims in China. It is created by Ryan McLaughlin, a prolific expat blogger based in Suzhou. I reached Ryan in two clicks, after looking up the words "China," "earthquake," "blog" on a search engine. This little search is a testament to the connecting power of the Web. 

For those interested in reading more on the topic and reviewing scientific data on how social media outlets can be effective and accurate in reporting crises and discussing the aftermath, I highly recommend papers written by Assistant Professor Leysia Palen and her colleagues from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Their review of Facebook, Wikipedia and forum activities following the Virginia Tech tragedy and California wildfires are intriguing accounts of how social technology can be used to save lives, appease worries and confirm facts. 

There has been some criticism of social media reporters for propelling rumors by making hearsay statements. However, as Palen's research shows, open-source forums are self-corrective. Even if readers come across a questionable statement or factoid, they are in a position to dig further, post questions and get an answer -- fast. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wiggly Wigglers Win The Mousies

Previously, on the Next Fifty Years blog, I had written about Wiggly Wigglers as a social media success. The formidable small gardening business from the UK uses blogging, podcasting, and Facebook in addition to its catalogue and Web site to reach out to gardening aficionados and engage them in conversation. I just got a message in my Facebook account from them saying they won an award at the Mousies with their podcast series.

Here is the link from garden blogger Colleen Vanderlinden.

Kudos to Heather, farmer Phil and other characters of the Wiggly Wigglers podcast series. They are not just selling products. They are promoting a lifestyle. They make us all wish we were gardening in a quaint farm out there somewhere.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How Can You Pitch A Social Network?

You can't. And you shouldn't. PR professionals are often asked to reach out to online communities and social networks. There is an urge to draft a few paragraphs with all the key messages and call John Smith at the target Web site. But there is no such editorial contact at social networks. The whole point about the social networks is that every site member can be a contact who can hear your story and choose to tell it to their friends and family. The way to engage social network members is through e-CRM (online customer relationship management) and grassroots activism. 

For instance, a company looking to tap into the power of moms' word of mouth can set up shop on a mommy network and begin reaching out to the community by offering them a valuable service. The company can start a branded page or group on the site, but to draw and keep the right audience, they need to offer various activities, compelling content and conversation starters in these areas. Contests with prizes, expert advice, coupons, discussion forums, user-generated video platforms are some of ways to appeal to a social network crowd. 

To sustain momentum around the brand area, companies need to dedicate staff to respond to visitors' queries, lead and participate in conversations. They also need to have a graceful exit strategy, knowing when and how those conversations with the social network audience will reach a meaningful conclusion.

It's not a push strategy. It's not a pitch. It's an ongoing relationship. 

Thursday, May 15, 2008


A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine and I sat at my kitchen table and tried to poke holes in her new business plan. She wanted to start a social network and I offered help since I work in a related field. Her focus were the European professionals living in the US.  She split the site into two on a napkin: "Kindle on this side and mingle on this side, " she said. 

"Take it a notch higher and make it bigger," I replied in a voice that said i-do-many-brainstorms-allow-me. How about a site for expats? Each person becomes an expert for the city they know best or where they live.  A light bulb lit in her head, "You're right, it's so much bigger than just meeting others.  You need to know how to rent a place, where to send children to school before you even move!" she proclaimed. 

I was convinced I had set her on a new course, until I got an invitation to join from another friend who is half Turkish, half Libyan and who has lived in Libya, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Canada, India and the USA. It was the expat idea from the kitchen --though, already established and looking pretty slick with active city ambassadors, a donation line to AFS programs and new profiles being set up from around the world, by the minute. 

Here is InterNations' mission statement:

"InterNations aims to be the leading platform for exchange between internationally-minded and acting individuals. Building upon a strong and open-minded international community, InterNations is  committed to engage charitably and support cross-cultural understanding beyond the scope of its online community. To do so, InterNations and its members take specific actions together with the AFS Intercultural Programs to support less privileged people around the world in gaining access to international education and experience." 

Take a look at the Google Map showing all the InterNations groups around the world. It's quite beautiful. 

I am planning to go to a NY social get-together next week, to meet other members in person. I shall report back.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Online Word of Mouth - Same But Different

I recently read a very interesting report from the reputable word of mouth marketing research firm The Keller Fay Group. The researchers compared online and offline word of mouth on a number of brands from a variety of industries. Keller Fay has long been talking about the sheer difference in the amount of word of mouth activity that takes place offline vs. online. Their consumer surveys indicate that 90 percent of word of mouth takes place offline, leaving 10 percent to the online world. 

I think the world would be a sad place if much of conversation between friends and family took place through computers and few people preferred to meet and talk in person.  But don't think about this statistic to dismiss the value of online word of mouth. According to Keller Fay, what's discussed online vs. offline can be quite dissimilar. Now, that's an a-ha moment. 

In fact, this new report is that it shows there are no consistent similarities between online and offline word of mouth. People sometimes talk about a brand in the same way, whether online or offline. And sometimes the online buzz is quite different than what's shared in person or over the phone. 

Perhaps we should not be so hasty about assuming that what we see online among influencers and outspoken individuals is representative of what everyone else thinks. We are in an information era where we need to interview people offline about what they think, hear and talk about brands. We also need to scour the Web to see if there are any other issues or dominant opinions. 

Which set of consumer attitudes do we believe? Both! While online conversations may be less in volume as compared with in-person conversations, however they stick around longer as search engines catalogue information and make it available through links and cached files. Those who prefer to vent online may have quite different psychographics and demographics than those who would never post their opinions online. Moreover, people can hide behind the anonymity of user names and write in a very direct style online, while they keep their voices low offline--thinking that would be the socially acceptable way. 

I think Keller Fay is onto something, but as often is the case, we need more research based on this research. Is there a significant overlap between online and offline influencers? If you're a leader offline, I would imagine you're likely to lead online but maybe the Web is not the channel of choice for every opinion leader. And those who find their voice online, why wouldn't they speak up offline? What would it take for them to be as vocal in person as in digital space?

What do you think?