Our Twitter
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On August 16 Converseon  announced an important partnership with Twitter to infuse the Firehose – all 80+ million daily tweets – real time in to our Conversation Mining platform. You can read the release here.

Twitter logoIt’s a significant advance, and a big commitment. But it is also critical:  if you care about social CRM or near real time social engagement, you simply cannot operate without access to the full Firehose. As Forrester Research said in response to the announcement, “ultimately, this is a big step in the listening platform market…”.

And indeed it is a big step.  In our experience, general API Twitter data represents only a fraction of tweets (those limited to “high velocity) and Twitter is continuing to limit that data stream.  Just last week, reports surfaced that Twitter is limiting historical searches to four days. The plain truth is that there are currently significant blind spaces abound even for those companies who may be using paid listening services if they don’t have Firehose access.

At Converseon, we take pride in bringing a healthy skepticism to new platforms and technologies. In the early days, we too were a little skeptical about the growth potential of Twitter.  However, it indeed has evolved into the heartbeat of social conversation.  As author and technology observer Steven Johnson wrote recently in Time Magazine, “Twitter is looking more and more like plumbing (of the web), and plumbing is eternal.”

We’re proud today to plug this plumbing into our Conversation Mining solutions to finding meaning and insights – and action – in the immense stream of data to help brands harness the power of social across the enterprise. Effectively managing the vast amount of data is one challenge since in addition to Firehose we mine blogs, newsgroups, and more. Finding meaning in the data is the other.  This requires a lot of technical horsepower, advanced text analytics and human intelligence.

But we’ve been preparing ourselves for this for quite some time.  And the benefits to brands are myriad; they include demand/lead generation, customer service, real time social engagement, and, ultimately, using active listening as an engine to transform brands into social organizations with real time intelligence flowing across the organization for action and competitive advantage.

Let the Firehose begin.

by Ben González and Chris Boudreaux

Twitter_bird Dont Replace TweetMeme With Twitter Button (yet)

A lot of folks are still confused about whether they should replace existing TweetMeme buttons with Twitter’s new Tweet button (more info on the Twitter blog), and we recommend the following:

  • For content created prior to July 2010, maintain your TweetMeme button.
  • For content created during or after July 2010, you can use the Twitter button.
  • For blog content, we’re stuck. Blog posts created prior to July need to maintain the Tweetmeme button, but posts created since July 2010 can use the Twitter button. However, the TweetMeme and Twitter plugins do not let you apply the button by post, or based on publish date. You must apply it to all posts or no posts. NOTE: While Twitter has not published a WordPress plugin, a few community members have, for example: here and here.

As of today, the Tweet button from Twitter shows lower tweet counts than existing buttons from TweetMeme. If you replace your TweetMeme buttons, your visitors will see lower tweet counts that on the Twitter button, versus the TweetMeme button.

For example, See this screen shot of Chris Boudreaux’s social media research database on SocialMediaGovernance.com for a quick glance at what the two buttons look like together:

(click to enlarge)

SocialMediaGovernance.com Screen Shot

You can see in the image that Chris added the new, light blue Twitter button to the right of his existing green TweetMeme button, and the two display dramatically different counts (210 for TweetMeme and 76 for Twitter).

While TweetMeme has been working with Twitter for months, Twitter began counting “… a couple of weeks before the launch of the Tweet Button. This means links which have been shared on Twitter before July 2010 will not contribute towards the count”, according to Twitter FAQ.

Therefore, if you trade the TweetMeme button for the Twitter button on content that existed prior to July 2010, your visitors will not see the true count of tweets you have earned.

If you use both buttons, you should review the FAQ on Twitter.com to avoid duplicating content. (See: “I want to use multiple Tweet Buttons on my page. Is there anything I should know?”)

For some, the quibbles of style that pop up by cluttering your articles with two Twitter share buttons are irrelevant when the count is king. Others will default to Twitter’s crisp aesthetic.

You should also consider Twitter’s new ability to auto-suggest up to two relevant accounts after a user retweets, as one potential reason for deploying the new Twitter button.

In any case, we are very interested in hearing your experiences and insights which can help to inform decisions regarding which buttons to deploy.

by Chris Boudreaux and Adam Edwards

Update (August 16, 2010): Google PR phoned this afternoon to let us know that this screen shot was an experiment, and that the search results below the ads are organic; they’re just mixed with results from Google Maps. Our point was that the results seemed to exclude traditional organic search results, and that the page appeared dominated by organic results from Google Maps.

Yesterday, for the first time, we saw a standard Google web search results page, without any standard web search results.   That is,  a search for “car rental nyc” returned a Universal Results page showing a map alongside results from paid, local, and books categories (see screen shot below). Not one standard organic result appeared on the first page of results.

(click image to enlarge)
google-local-web-search2 Google Removes Organic Results in Local Tests

As it expands its Universal Results strategy, Google is testing lots of changes to their main search results page. Most of the significant changes occur in searches that contain a localized search term (such as a city).

First, Google added a “sticky map” in the upper right, which maintained a constant position on the screen, as the user scrolled down the page.  The sticky map appeared to disadvantage paid search results appearing below the third slot, which disappeared behind the map as users scrolled down the page.

In the search results we saw yesterday, there were no organic results until the second page.  When we performed the same search today, we found a single organic search result at the bottom of the first page.

This could be a watershed moment for Google, and it could force local or franchise businesses to use AdWords and Google Places (formerly Local Business Center).

Creating a great web site with strong SEO may no longer take you into the first page of local search results.

Categories: Search, SEO, SEM

In an industry where it is more and more difficult for brands to separate fact from fiction and understand the differences between Listening platforms, Forrester Research, led by Zach Hofer-Shall, recently published their review of Listening Platforms: “Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010″, and you can download a complimentary copy from Converseon.

Forrester Wave Listening Platforms Q3 2010

In order to identify the category leaders, Forrester evaluated offerings from nine companies according to 76 criteria, including data sources, textual analysis, functionality, consulting and analysis services, strength of management team, and corporate and product strategy.

Based on performance across these dimensions, the companies were then grouped into four categories: Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders and Risky Bets (see image above).

Converseon, we are pleased to report, was recognized in the Leaders category as one of three vendors that “combine the best offering and go-to-market strategy.” Also, Converseon scored highest for text analysis and the second highest for its consulting and analysis services, strength of management team and corporate strategy. A free copy of the report can be downloaded from our website.

According to Forrester, “Converseon offers a leading product with its “customized for your needs” mentality. There is no standard Converson installation, (Converson) builds a tailored dashboard for its enterprise installation and offers professional services around every step of the Social Intelligence process. Converseon’s model of starting with technology and adding human analysis makes for highly effective data quality, leading custom reports and strong functionality.”

We are especially proud to be one of the very few listening platform providers to remain independent. Our approach enables us to iterate quickly, partner deeply with our clients, and move fast to meet marketplace needs.

We understand the category is still quite young, and that leading brands are looking for solutions not just for today, but for the next years as Social Intelligence evolves and becomes more deeply integrated into the DNA of enterprises. This is an area where Converseon excels.

We focus on designing listening solutions (beyond simple “tools”) to help infuse listening across organizations, for multiple use cases, and to help large enterprises redesign business processes to make the intelligence actionable. This includes governance, policy, infrastructure, training and more.

Perhaps most profoundly, we believe that social media listening is the first step in effective business redesign. All too often, once social intelligence is flowing through an organization, there is a moment of realization: “These are great insights and intelligence but we’re simply aren’t designed to act on this.”

Real-time intelligence requires business process redesign to enable agile movement for competitive advantage. That’s why Converseon remains the only leading provider of Conversation Mining with robust management consulting and activation practices.

Of course, we see others in the industry moving into this space too via joint partnership or rollup/acquisition, and we believe that our strength lies in organic evolution. We are proud that our team is rapidly evolving and our solutions growing. I am also quite excited because some of the most interesting technology and solutions have yet to emerge from our R&D work.

We appreciate the industry recognition for our work, but won’t for a moment rest on our laurels. We have a 24-hour rule here: even with good news, we allow only 24 hours to pass before moving on. And we agree with the general observation of the industry: the best is yet to come.

You can obtain additional information from Forrester.

The Forrester Wave is copyrighted by Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester and Forrester Wave are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. The Forrester Wave is a graphical representation of Forrester’s call on a market and is plotted using a detailed spreadsheet with exposed scores, weightings, and comments. Forrester does not endorse any vendor, product, or service depicted in the Forrester Wave. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change.

ChrisBoudreaux2 Welcome Chris Boudreaux
As the arteries of social media intelligence continue to grow and infuse across organizations, increasingly there is a recognition that most enterprises are not designed effectively to act quickly and with agility on that intelligence.  It’s a moment many large enterprises who have engaged in listening have come to at some point – how do we redesign what we do to make this work?  As one senior executive from a major automotive brand wrote to me: “this social media listening has unearthed many dysfunctions that we had happily buried away, but have now been surfaced.”  This is positive transformation.

At Converseon, our Conversation Mining technologies are segueing rapidly into business process redesign.  This is an important differentiation for us in this space.  We are the only leading provider of Conversation Mining with robust management consulting and activation practices.

The Social Media Management practice has grown very rapidly  under the tutelage of Mike Moran, Constantin Basturea and others.  Today, we make a very important announcement that will significantly strengthen this practice – the addition of one of the leading thinkers and practitioners in this space, Chris Boudreaux.

All too often in the social media world, self styled “experts” are quick to throw around shallow commentary wrapped in the guise of knowledge. The social world is full of flashy largely meaningless commentary (see BusinessWeek’s Beware of Social Snake Oil) which simply muddies up the industry and distracts from the important work the leading practioners are doing.

That’s not Chris.

When I met him I was refreshed by his modesty. As I dug deeper over time, I discovered layer upon layer of depth of knowledge ranging from governance to management theory to data integration and business intelligence. His approach represents what we value most at Converseon: substance over style; modesty where our work (and clients) speak to our excellence; a focused intelligence about the deep meaning of what we do (ranging from the social sciences to computer science and beyond) and where we all work with great collaboration and respect towards the greater mission. Where we put clients needs above our own and we focus on the transformatory nature of our work.

We view business consulting melding closely into social intelligence strategies.  It will become a key driver in business redesign.   Our Social Media Management together with our listening technologies and activation practice, enable Converseon to provide a unique “end to end” solution designed to help brands fully leverage the power of social across the enterprise.    This practice – which encompasses governance, policy, infrastructure, training and  more – helps drive and facilitate internal transformation to make social listening actionable and help drive business results for our clients across the enterprise.  Of course, this requires an “inside-out” approach encompassing deep expertise in change management, data integration strategies and more – the very skill set that Chris brings.

I met Chris through his work and reputation.  And as I got to know him, I realized even more so that he brings a level of incredible substance and “get it done” attitude that is refreshing in the social business space.   Like much Converseon’s evolution, our meeting was serendipitous.   But it is serendipity of the kind that brings the best and brightest together to forge new solutions and help drive the industry forward.

Today, I welcome Chris to Day One of his new mission. Here’s our release announcing his appointment. And here’s a link to Social Media Governance – Chris’s site that I’m sure you will agree is an important contribution to the discussion on social media management.


Categories: Converseon News

In a continued effort to showcase the best and brightest minds joining us at Converseon, we will highlight recent additions to the Converseon team through our blog. Our eclectic POV’s will be on display on a range of social media related topics. We’d like to introduce all of you to Mallory Dash, who authored the below post.

logo_large To Boldly Go Where the Masses Have Gone BeforeSome would say we’re transitioning to a new era in social media, as new sites and tools change the way we create and consume content, interact with our peers, and engage with brands. I often find myself comparing this change (along with most other aspects of my life) to Star Trek: The Next Generation, minus Geordi’s visor (but including Wil Wheaton).

A recent article from iMedia Connection discusses the opportunities and challenges brought about by social media, and goes through a slew of new tools and features available to marketers. To ignore these methods of reaching your consumers online is to forge some sort of attempt to defeat the Borg- simply put, “resistance is futile.”

But what does this mean for marketers and those trying to make a brand impact online? It can often seem overwhelming to keep track of all the tools made available to marketers in the online space, and as powerhouses like Facebook and Google continue to add more social features to external sites around the web (ie Google Buzz, Facebook Connect or their Open Graph initiative). However, it’s important to realize that these tools are still only as effective inasmuch as your brand’s key messages make sense and inspire your target audience to action. All the Holodecks in the world won’t change the reality that your brand is what consumers perceive it to be. How you use these tools will always make more of an impact than which tools you choose.

It’s all comes back to what Captain Picard would say to Riker… “Engage.”

Categories: Uncategorized
imedia-agency-summit Join us at iMedias Agency Summit in Austin!This week more than 130 agency executives looking to gain and share solutions that will improve client campaign performance will converge to Austin for the iMedia’s Agency Summit. The Summit gathers agency senior leaders who come together to spend time in a collaborative environment with their peers–and their partners–to gain strategic vision on an increasingly integrated media landscape and their role in it.
As part of the Summit, our CEO Rob Key will lead – on Tuesday, May 18th, starting 2 pm – a session on social media’s transformational role:
Insight Address: “If You See Social Media on the Road… Kill It”

Social media is hot, but unfortunately most of the conversation continues to revolve around tactics, such as creating a Twitter account or producing a viral video. Fascinated by a dizzying array of tools and tactics, businesses and agencies tend to miss the right way of adopting social media that will capture the attention of the C-suite.

Paraphrasing a famous Zen saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” this session will examine the deeper meaning of social media by looking beyond typical associations and into how it is transforming organizations. The value of social media is extending across the enterprise – from R&D to customer care, marketing/PR and beyond – to drive sustainable business advantage. As brands are increasingly discovering, this requires not just intelligent “listening” but also redesigning a more agile social business that extends across multiple use cases. This redesign poses both opportunities and challenges for agencies.

In this session, Rob Key will discuss examples of how social media is transforming businesses, and best practices on how some leading organizations are taking an enterprise approach to social media for competitive advantage. Key will also discuss why it may well be time to kill the term “social media” to gain better traction and success within the C-suite, and share what a post “social media” world may look like to brands and agencies.

Categories: Uncategorized

After most of his young professional adulthood at Converseon, we’re very proud that our own very Paull Young has taken the position as Director of Digital Strategy at charity: water, a cause that has been a passion of his for some time. In that position, Paull will be helping to utilize social media to generate support for their efforts to provide clean drinking water in impoverished areas around the world.

It’s a noble cause and one we’re enthusiastic to support.

At Converseon, we have always believed that what we do transcends who we actually are. We hope the causes we nurture, the ideas we help spread, our role in helping to transform and inspire go far beyond our walls. We believe in this era, social purpose matters on many different levels.

We take great satisfaction in our people going on to do great things, even as they remain part of our family. Paull will continue to be part of Converseon spiritually and physically (and not just because of the lunch crumbs he left on his desk ;-) ). He has been named a Converseon Fellow, which is awarded to individuals who have made great contributions and represent the spirit and passion that we work hard to embody here and will continue to consult with us and clients.

We’re all quite excited for Paull since outside of Converseon (and the Australian Rugby League), charity: water is his great passion. I’m also proud that Converseon’s team can contribute to important causes greater than ourselves. His legacy of Australian slang, his passion for the business and to make a difference of the world is exactly the type of person we want at Converseon. And as Paull can attest, there’s great room here for the best and brightest to join the Converseon family and become a lifetime member of the tribe.

Categories: Converseon News

Today Converseon is pleased to announce the launch of CHORUS™, the first measurement solution designed to holistically track and measure the relationship between online and offline word-of-mouth.

At Converseon, will have long recognized the need to integrate other measurement approaches to capture not just an individual’s digital persona, but also their offline dimension.   After all, Word of Mouth is an online and offline phenomena.  It is incumbent on brands to understand both these worlds and the interplay.   As such, we are proud today to announce another industry innovation that we have been working on for the last few months.

As a first in its field, CHORUS™ comprehensively fuses advanced social media listening and analysis together with offline word-of-mouth tracking, in partnership with WOM analytics company ChatThreads.

“Until now, online social media listening and offline word-of-mouth tracking have essentially been two parallel universes,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon.  “While an increasing number of brands are measuring online conversation, there has been a significant void in the measurement of online’s impact in offline word-of-mouth, and vice versa.  CHORUS™ solves the problem of how social media conversation impacts the proverbial offline kitchen table discussions.  For the first time brands can clearly understand and measure word-of-mouth in all its forms.”  Key notes that even with the growing proliferation of online social media conversation, an estimated 80 percent of word-of-mouth occurs offline.

Converseon’s proprietary Conversation Mining™ technology, together with the mobile-enabled touchpoint tracking developed by ChatThreads, bridge a long recognized chasm between what is put forth in multi-channel advertising and marketing campaigns, and what enhances brand affinity, stimulates word-of-mouth discussions, and drives purchasing decisions.

CHORUS™ combines, organizes and reports data gleaned via these two methodologies to create unique actionable insights to improve media and message optimization. This product now gives marketers a deeper understanding of what media fuels consumer discussions and decisions.

More details about the announcement are available at http://bit.ly/chorus-solution

rethink10-full-361px Meet us at ARFs re:think Convention & Expo!Re:think, the prestigious Annual Convention and Expo of the Advertising Research Foundation, is back! Hosted at the Marriot Marquis in New York on March 21 to 24th, this year’s edition aims to provide the participants with ideas, insights and tools that will allow them to succeed in the “new normal.” We’re going to be there as well – with a both at the expo (look for “Social Media #1″) and a panel discussion on IBM’s use of social media (disclosure: IBM is a client). Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 23: Learning in the New Normal
3:30-5:00pm, Key Issue Forum Track #1, Social Media and Brand Opportunities
Ziegfeld Room, 4th Floor

Social Media Research: Accelerating Insight-Based Execution
Learn how IBM uses social media to create dynamic marketing execution enablement platforms that can transform the value of market research.

  • Amy Laine – Principal Client Research Analyst – Market Trends and New Opportunities Program Lead, IBM
  • Pauline Ores – Market Insights, Principal Consultant – Social Insights Practice, IBM
  • Rob Key – CEO & Founder, Converseon
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