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HP Study Shows Mainstream Media Influences, Social Media Amplifies
Following up on Text 100 SVP David Bailey’s recent Hypertext post about the results of a Hewlett-Packard study on how conversations become trending topics on Twitter that were released on February 15, we wanted to expand the discussion around the data. Results of the study showed that despite the perception that Twitters users with the most followers drive trends, mainstream media have the biggest role in shaping which subjects receive the most attention, reminding us of the importance of balancing outreach to the entities writing the news and those amplifying it.
Although the Twitter handles of mainstream media may not have the most followers (the most followed accounts tend to be those attributed to celebrities: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Brittney Spears currently round out the top three), the study found that traditional media outlets like CNN and the New York Times act as feeders for trends and that the rest of the Twitter community then serves as a filter and amplifies information shared by these outlets.
The findings make sense given that the recent Pew Research Center Study "Who Tweets?" found that more than 50% percent of Twitter users share links to news stories on a regular basis, and over ten percent do this at least once a day. Average Twitter users are frequently leveraging the platform to share the news that they find interesting and valuable, amplifying the content from traditional news outlets.
The H-P study also found:
The results of the study highlight the importance of targeting the right mix of traditional influencers and social media amplifiers when building awareness for your brand. Although social media entities and personalities have increased their influence, traditional media continue to be a trusted source of information, and as the producers of reliable content, will likely generate the topics that will become trends in the social realm.
There were 22 users who were the source of the most retweets when a topic was “trending.”
Of those 22, 72% were Twitter streams run by mainstream media outfits such as CNN, the New York Times, El Pais and the BBC.
31% of tweets of trending topics are retweets.
Most topics don't spend much more that 40 minutes at the top of the list of trending topics.
Must-Read Blog Post This Week: A Quick Look at the New Facebook Page Layout
Integricity, a design firm in Malaysia, has a great blog post that quickly digests the changes to Facebook page layouts that will be implemented whether you like it or not by March 10. Learn about the ability to FINALLY post to other pages from your brand page (not your personal account), Facebook’s latest photos showcase and the hotly contested “Everyone” wall filter that allows fans to order posts by pushing posts with the most likes and comments to the top. Read this post here.
Now That the Dust Has Settled - Thoughts on Quora and Q&A Platforms
Quora has been under the spotlight a lot these past few weeks. In fact, the buzz worked very well at the launch - maybe even too well. Thanks to the scarcity of invitations, Quora’s launch was as successful as Wave and Gmail, since everybody was crazy about having an invitation to see what's behind the curtain of the new social media darling.
And now that the buzz is slowing down, here are some thoughts about the platform and its value from a business point of view.
Q&A platforms - a place to express expertise
Quora by itself isn't big news – online Q&A platforms have existed for quite some time – forums were probably the first place not only for conversations, but also questions, answers, and sharing expertise. Even these days, some forums remain the best places to find experts focused on conversations around specific topics. Yahoo! Answers is a popular Q&A platform that has had remarkable visibility in search engines for some time, but unfortunately became cluttered with all the discussions. And LinkedIn also created a specific service (LinkedIn Answers) to tap into community experts.
One of the factors that makes Quora so specific at the moment is its restrictive access (limiting it to a certain category of population) and the quality of the profiles (contains prestigious contributions) on the platform. The question of trust makes a huge difference in the quality of the answers you'll get. That's why this platform is an excellent place to build great connections and online reputations.
Leveraging these platform for brands and business
Questions are conversations, and as for any conversations, monitoring is key. Even if the number of contributors on Quora is limited, the conversations are available online and well indexed by search engines. Don't think that what is in Quora stays in Quora - in fact, some search tricks will give you a quick overview of what's going on (just type YOURBRAND/TOPIC site:quora.com in your favorite search engine)
As always, you can listen to what your ecosystem and what challengers are talking about and their questions. But engagement is also very important. You must look at conversations about your brands and a good starting point is to engage in questions related to your business. It represents a great opportunity to position a brand and its experts and demonstrate knowledge and care of customers.
And what about the future Quora?
It's hard to say if Quora will be a big player tomorrow, but for sure the buzz is slowing down. Other players also have strong assets - challengers such as LinkedIn offer the advantage of having already structured network of people you trust and experts you can tap into. Yet it's still a great place for very targeted conversations with experts, demonstrating that conversations is all about two way exchange, and nurturing your ecosystem.
Trust, conversations, bringing value to a community - Quora is a good reminder for all of us about the basic principles of social media and what they can bring to individuals and companies.
Other articles we recommend about Quora:
Note that in the US, Sweden and Canada, Quora is now open to registration.
Still don't have an invite ? Contact us via the comments on the blog and we'll see how we can help.
Not in the US, SW or Canada? Use a VPN or a Proxy for the registration process
Paper.li: Your Personalized Social Media Newspaper
Paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or hashtag. After signing up for an account and registering your Twitter handle, Paper.li will extract multi-media content from your feed, including text (blog post, newspaper article), photos (Flickr, yfrog, Twitpic) and videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion).
Paper.li then analyzes the extracted text and aggregates the content into specific topics, e.g. Politics, Technology, Entertainment & Lifestyle, and will compile the day's most relevant articles in a newspaper front-page using the filtered articles, photos and videos.
Why Do I Need Yet Another Social Media Feed?
Well, for those who find checking their Twitter feed cumbersome or just simply don’t have the time in the day to keep up with it, Paper.li will be your new best friend. The content updates 1x per day and you only need to check it once to get an idea of the main conversations taking place in your network.
Additionally, for Twitter-reluctant colleagues, create them an account, or give them access to your Paper.li content to help convince them of the value to go a step further.
You can also create a “custom paper” based on more targeted searches on Twitter. This feature is useful for anyone following a specific subject matter on social media. Check out the FAQ page for a list of supported operators to construct a customized search.