For decades, entrepreneurs had to subject themselves to venture capitalists to get their businesses off the ground. Not only would they have to reveal their entire business to them, they would have to give up 20, 30, even 50% of their company’s equity in exchange for money. Recently, a variety of startups such as Kickstarter and Quirky have come along that helps entrepreneurs skip the traditional VC model and go directly to the masses. By connecting entrepreneurs directly to consumers, these platforms helped companies like Pebble and Ouya raise over $8M to develop and launch their products. On paper, it sounds like a win-win situation: startups get great exposure and marketing and consumers get an early piece of the action.
The 2012 London Olympics are officially over, the medal count tallied and athletes are returning home. While the U.S. topped the charts in overall and gold medals, and the U.K. scored more golds than ever before, the real story was how prominent a role social media played. In it’s nightly broadcast, NBC even had a segment that highlighted key activities that happened in the social sphere. It’s clear the “social olympics” were a success on many levels, so much so that increasingly, social measures are being applied to athlete and event popularity. Twitter now uses “tweets per minute” as an official benchmark for gauging consumer energy.
This NYTimes infographic is one of many superb data visualizations produced during the games. It shows the relative % gain in Twitter chatter of 140 Olympic athletes over the course of the games. It’s a small sampling, but the notable athletes are represented. The beauty is that because it’s relative gain over baseline, even lesser known athletes can stand out if they were able to generate conversation. Presumably, the conversation was about their performances in the games, but often it was the athletes themselves that stimulated conversation. From diving star Tom Daley outing a troll to athletes getting distracted on social media, it’s clear it played an important roll in their mindset.
For athletes that gained big new followings, it will be interesting to see how they use social media to interact with their new fans. Best to strike while the iron, er I mean gold is still hot.
Could social media used as an indicator for supply chain management?
@ErnoLaszlo CEO Denton is onto something. By monitoring what consumers are saying about his products, he’s able to get a quick pulse on what’s selling and what isn’t. This isn’t a replacement for proper supply chain management but it certainly makes for a novel approach.
Social networks used to be popularity contests, with few if any limits on the number of connections one could form. But even though technology enables us to expand our reach, can we really actively maintain a social network of more than around 150 people? I wrote about Dunbar’s Number a few years ago and it seems like some developers are listening.
Bucking the trend of big, smaller networks like Path are limiting users to 150 connections, forcing users to be judicious about whom they share with. Their goal is a fewer number of higher quality interactions, which seems to be more similar to how we live offline. Pair takes that concept to the extreme, with just two(!) people in a network. This turns social networking on its head and I think they’re onto something, as the NY Times investigates.
It’s early days for social analytics, but ever since the term “viral” was coined, there have been many attempts to determine how and why content gets rapidly disseminated across the social sphere. While there probably isn’t a single formula that works for all, understanding social amplification is a bit of art and science. The NY Times’ R&D group has taken an analytical approach through Project Cascade, a beautiful visualization of how some of their content spreads over time, seeking patterns and trends.