Technology, Meet Emily Post

Posted on September 13, 2010 by 3 Comments

Etiquette In Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, by Emily Post, was the original reference book for good behavior. A lot has changed since the first printing in 1922, and I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how technology might have an effect on these “rules.”  Combing through a well-worn copy of the book from 1940 (an updated version, Etiquette:  The Blue Book of Social Usage), it is interesting to ponder how we might insert technology into 2010 and try to determine what the appropriate behavior might be.  In other words, What Would Emily Do (WWED)?

 Etiquette in Business

Let’s begin with the “Etiquette in Business” section. The first paragraph begins, “If you had a commission to give and you entered a man’s office and he remained lolling back in a tipped swivel chair, his feet above his head, the ubiquitous cigar in his mouth and his drowsy attention fixed on the sporting page of the newspaper, you would be impressed not so much by his lack of good manners as by his bad business policy, because of the incompetence that his attitude suggests.” As I was reading this section I wondered how is this different than people who bring cell phones and laptops into meetings and text or email during the discussion?  People have taken time out of their busy schedules to engage in a discussion to achieve an outcome. How is texting or emailing participating in the meeting?  How is this different than “lolling back in a tipped swivel chair…cigar in…mouth…”. When one is focused on a device in a meeting, is this not disrespectful to the others in the room? 

Today multi-tasking is revered and rewarded. Droid’s latest ad shows us how their device allows a businessman, who is in a meeting, is able to use the device to complete multiple different tasks like texting and emailing while he is in the meeting. This allows him not to “miss anything” – except maybe the content of the meeting.

Manners for Motorists

 “We are all made nervous by the driver who keeps looking out all the time, expatiating on the view and paying no apparent attention to what is happening on the road. Or the one who turns around to talk to those on the back seat. Or the one who carelessly lets go of the wheel while he lights a cigarette or screws the windshield up or down, meanwhile letting his car meander toward the ditch or else cut over toward the wrong side of the road.” Today, Ms. Post might ponder the driver who makes cell phone calls while driving. Or texts. Or checks messages. Or fiddles with the GPS system as the car careens down the freeway at 70 mph.

 Traveling at Home and Abroad

“To do nothing that can either annoy or offend the sensibilities of others, sums up the principal rules for conduct under all circumstances – whether staying at home or traveling,” this is a rather poignant line from the section on “Traveling at Home or Abroad.”  I guess it depends on the definition of “annoy,” but how many cell phone calls do we overhear every day – loud details of business deals, sales statistics, dinner plans and meeting recaps do we overhear at the grocery store, at the mall and at restaurants each day? This certainly annoys my sensibilities.

Much has changed in 70 years and we have evolved (Ms. Post might argue – devolved) — our society is much less formal and gadgets have changed our lives — arguably for the better.  But there are definitely things we need to think about as we further dive into a world saturated with technology, multi-tasking and access to instant information. Are we being respectful to those around us? Are we being mindful of how loud our cell phone conversations are? Are we being safe while we are driving? At restaurants, are we on the phone while we are sitting with, or next to, other people? Are we texting at the movies? Are we using devices to take us “outside” of meetings, or are we focused on the task at hand? Each of these activities implies to those we are with that they are less important than the conversation we are having with someone else, and I’m sure Emily would agree, that is not polite.

***Part two of Brooke Preston’s series on Twitter and Customer Service will be posted next week

Making Sense of World Cup Chatter With WE twendz pro™

Posted on July 9, 2010 by 1 Comment

Since the World Cup tournament kicked off June 11th, we have been tracking Twitter conversations around the tournament using WE twendz pro™.  To say people are talking about this tournament in social media channels is beyond an understatement —  they are roaring.  Tweets regarding this football extravaganza have reached over half a billion people, and Twitter has crashed multiple times over the past month because of the volume of noise.  That’s a lot of chatter, but who cares?  What does it all mean?  How can one make sense of it?  Who has the time to make sense of it?

To me, using Twitter can kind of feel like being pelted with teeny, tiny rocks over and over.  In general, I don’t care about two thirds of what I hear each day.  I only have so much capacity in my little brain and unless whatever is being said is concise and compelling, it doesn’t stick (this might explain my attraction to US magazine  “stories”).  Even before we use Twitter, don’t we get bombarded with information all day, every day?  Everywhere we turn, TV, radio, friends, newspapers, magazines, work, life – people are always telling us stuff.

So what cuts through the Twitter noise?  Is it the loudest voice?  Is it the most repeated information?  Is it how the information is delivered?  Is it the source that makes us take note?  For me, it is a combination of all of these, and that’s why twendz pro is such a great tool. 

Data & What to Do With It in Two Simple Steps

In a nutshell, here’s the way twendz pro™ works:

 1. You choose the key words and phrasing you would like to monitor on Twitter, and we set up a dashboard for you, which can hold up to 30 days of tweet data.

2. Our analysts then mine through the findings, and walk you through them. You can decide what type of chatter you want to hear on Twitter, then have a nice, smart person analyze that pile of data for you, and make helpful, objective suggestions about what it means, which informs the actions you might consider taking.

It’s like programming your radio to avoid the static. It’s efficient.

Our World Cup Lesson

So what did we learn from our analysis of the World Cup? We learned that outlets like The Onion, Huffington Post, ESPN and Mashable chatted up the World Cup on Twitter. We learned that Russell Brand, Tony Hawk and Shaq, to name a few well-knowns, joined the discussion. These people have gazillions of followers, so their voices might have a bit more impact.

We learned that at the beginning of the World Cup, Brazil was the fan favorite with 34% of tweeters cheering for that team.  Argentina followed Brazil as the second most favored team at 9%, then Spain at 8%.  Now that Spain and the Netherlands are in the finals, we are finding that the Netherlands is favored by fans over Spain 58% to 42%. 

Why you should care?  We’ve gathered some interesting factoids and stats about “influencers” – the persuasive voices who Tweet about this tournament, what teams are favored, and how those stats have changed over time.  Just think about how this tool could be used to analyze business trends, to find out what people are saying about your brand and who is saying it. 

Tapping into this humongous audience to learn about what people are saying about you (and your competition) allows you to course-correct mid-campaign, to make it even better when it is already going well and to improve your strategy next quarter. 

Relevant Data for Meaningful Solutions

Twendz pro isn’t about tracking every little Tweet. Twendz pro is about mining the data that matters and distilling it into useful information that can help people solve business problems.  Our World Cup dashboard analysis was fun, global reaching and a way to stay in touch with the tournament.  We didn’t plan on solving any business problems, we wanted to hear what people were saying and who was saying it, and we wanted to share the fun factoids we learned. 

This tool can be used for much more than “fun factoid” learning.  It can be used to learn the impact your messaging may be having on your brand and the resonance it is having.  It can also be used to track how discussions about your brand are trending over time.  Data is available in piles if you want it.  Big whoop.  It is what you do with that data that matters – the statistical analysis that comes with twendz pro – the human element – is really what allows us to understand how we can use the information in meaningful ways.

Losties ENGAGE! I can’t wait to DISENGAGE.

Posted on May 21, 2010 by 1 Comment

Is this how it ends?

Is this how it ends?

I’ve been watching  Lost since the first episode aired September 22nd, 2004. I’ve been mostly loyal, straying only during Season 3. I am fascinated by this show and its cult following because it is either super clever or a perfect example of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” This series has a magic pull on its fans and, not surprisingly, we found via WE twendz™ pro that “Losties” like to engage on Twitter.

“Lost” is like the Dungeons and Dragons of TV.  I envision pasty white teenagers (okay, adults, too) sitting in their basements on Tuesday nights with their friends, watching the week’s episode and looking up words like “Farraday” and “John Locke.” They debate theories, blog about characters (“I LOVE KATE”), Tweet about obscure references and post their thoughts (“I HATED THIS EPISODE”) on Facebook. 

We took a look at over 6,000 Tweets pertaining to “Lost” over the past two weeks and sentiment regarding the show was split right down the middle. Phrases like, “absolutely love,” and, “I hate,” “lost is my life right now,” abound. People were most fired up (in a bad way) about the episode, “The Candidate,” because it didn’t even come close to revealing who the Candidate was going to be – Losties want their answers. You would think by now that they would know better…

Tweeters accurately predicted the obvious choice for the final candidate:  Jack, but the most interesting tidbit of information we gathered from our analysis was how engaged the Losties were. According to WE twendz pro, on a scale of 1-10, the people who Tweeted about “Lost” had an engagement rating of 9 (twendz pro uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the engagement rating. It is a weighted ratio of replies, retweets, questions, hashtags  and links).

I am not a Lost fanatic. I do not read the blogs (okay, sometimes I do). I do not write about it on a blog (until now). Although I have followed this series since the beginning, my level of understanding remains at 100,000 feet and I must say, I am grateful I can see the light at the end of the tunnel because this show makes me feel stupid. I used to watch the “dummy” episodes – the ones with the subtitles to help the “slow” people understand, but I quit because my husband made fun of me.  I can’t wait for this Sunday’s series finale when I will finally be put out of my misery (and I will no longer have to look at Claire’s dirty hair) and I know I am not alone.

Bradford, McCoy and Suh, OH MY! Who Will be the Next #1 NFL Pick?

Posted on April 21, 2010 by Comments Off

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Twitter conversation about the NFL draft has grown steadily over the past 2 weeks. On April 9th, the velocity per hour was 9.5 tweets. By April 15th, it was up to 25.6. On April 19th, volume was at 38.7 tweets per hour, and the momentum continues to build. So, who is headed to the show first? We’ll all find out Thursday, but our prediction is …

Using WE twendz™ pro, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide’s Twitter mining application, we took a look at what users were saying about the most popular choices for the #1 pick.

 Conversation focused on 3 All-American players: Gerald McCoy, OU defensive tackle; Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska defensive tackle; and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. McCoy generated the least amount of tweets, but he garnered very strong positive sentiment and also achieved the highest overall impact (a combination of reach, resonance and engagement). 

Suh was the second most tweeted player. This Nebraska bruiser from Portland, Oregon was the only contender to make the top 10 in hashtag uses at 35. Suh had 73% more tweets than McCoy, but the influencers didn’t mention him as much as they did his rival.

Heisman trophy winner Bradford was the resounding favorite. His tweet volume was more than double that of McCoy, but, most important, the influencers (ESPN NFL commentator Adam Schefter, to name drop) loved him. Over 44% of the key influencers tweeted positively about this quarterback. 

According to WE twendz pro, Gerald McCoy had better pack his bag for St. Louis.

And the Masters Fan Favorite is …

Posted on April 8, 2010 by 1 Comment

Before I give up this answer, brought to you by WE twendz pro™, let’s talk about sentiment vs. volume.

What we wanted to look at heading into The Masters was how people were talking about 4 favored athletes. We knew there would be a tremendous amount of volume surrounding 1 of the contestants, but would that volume be positive or negative? What about the other contestants? Is anyone on Twitter actually talking about the skills of these athletes, or are they talking about the drama surrounding them?  We gathered data during the week leading up to the competition.

The Masters, one of 4 major championships in professional golf, is arguably the most prestigious tournament on the PGA tour. Thousands of fans flock to Augusta National golf course in Georgia to cheer for their favorites, and to, of course, to be seen.

We observed what the Twittersphere was saying about the golfers and wondered who this year’s fan favorite was.

We all can probably guess who generated the most volume. We counted 21,174 tweets in the last week about this contender. Tiger Woods is 2 victories away from tying the record for the most wins at the Masters, but the tweets weren’t about his ability or his chances of winning; they were about his celebrity. The topics were largely about his marriage, not his performance. The conversations were about his desperate need to reclaim his position as a championship golfer.

Sure, some of the chatter was about his athletic prowess, but the “best golfer in the world,” has a long way to go until he is again remembered for his golf game. Only 141 of more than 21,000 tweets were about his quest for the green jacket and only 66% of those conversations wanted him to win.

The overall sentiment tied to this contestant was clouded by drama, but there were several comments about his “desperate need to reclaim his position as a champion golfer.” There were also questions about his ability to focus and to pull off a win. Not surprisingly, WE twendz pro™ revealed mixed emotions for this contender.

The second most talked-about contestant was Phil Mickelson, with 408 tweets. Phil had some fans cheering for his victory, but most of the conversations were about his pairing (with you-know-who) and about his choice of selecting his wife’s oncologist as his caddy. Although there was little commentary on Phil’s ability to win the Masters, 76% of those who did tweet about his chances were rooting for him.

Surprisingly, last year’s champion, Angel Cabrera received only 34 tweets. Yes, 34. This man won the tournament last year and only 34 people talked about him on Twitter. Only 3% of his fans thought he would win. 

Ernie Els was the third most talked about contestant. 386 people mentioned Els, The 6’3” South African favorite known as “The Big Easy,” in their conversations. People are sentimental about Els, a player seen as a good guy with a long history in golf. There was a little discussion about his choice of caddies, but the majority of people were simply wanting him to win and lauding his performance ability. With 94% of those tweeting about Els cheering him to victory, Ernie Els appears to be the WE twendz pro™ fan favorite on Twitter.

So what does this all mean? We threw out the topic, “Fan Favorite for the Masters Tournament” and measured sentiment around the conversations. We had to do a lot of sifting through the noise to figure out who the fans were pulling for. Hard data and volume were just part of the puzzle; human analysis provided the missing piece.  

21,174 conversations focused on the contestant who has been at the center of a media maelstrom, and the runner-up generated only 408 tweets. Ironically, the person who generated the third highest volume was the clear winner with his fans – Ernie Els.  Although the volume of the conversation surrounding Els wasn’t nearly as high as his competition, the fans who did talk about him did so in an overwhelmingly positive way.

There has been more drama leading up to this tournament than at a Perez Hilton party, but as we cut through the volume and sliced through the noise, it became clear that Ernie Els is darling of the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament.

Happy Birthday, twendz!

Posted on April 5, 2010 by 2 Comments

About a year ago, WE gave birth to an innovative new product that changed the way people were able to digest information gathered from Twitter.  To date, WE twendz™ has been lauded 8 times by communications industry leaders and has won 5 awards, including PR Innovation of the Year (PR Week) Innovation of the Year. We’re proud of this baby!

This Twitter-mining Web application tool allows people to monitor conversation themes of their choosing and to evaluate the general emotion of tweets in real time. To compliment twendz, our dream team of measurement analysts and developers created  WE twendz pro – a subscription service that takes Twitter analysis even deeper. 

 In addition to all the tricks twendz offers, twendz pro provides deeper, more sophisticated analytics to help brands engage with top influencers. Subscribe to two months and the third is on us (and please share this product with those you think might be interested).  Sign up now and enter code “TWZBDAY” in the “how can we help you?” field.

We’d like to take a moment to congratulate our product team for their innovative and creative vision, and to wish twendz a very happy birthday.  Here’s to our growing family!

WE twendz pro Mines Twitter for Oscars Call

Posted on March 8, 2010 by 2 Comments

Using our twendz pro™ service Twitter analysis tool,  Waggener Edstrom Worldwide last week predicted that The Hurt Locker would win the Academy Award® for best picture.  Last night, that prediction came true.

WE twendz pro™ is an influence analytics tool that monitors Twitter conversations and is able to capture user sentiment.  In addition, and more importantly, this tool allows users to sift through the noise and focus on who really matters – the key influencers and what they are saying about certain topics.

“The Hurt Locker” has barely made a ripple at theaters and to say “Avatar” is a blockbuster is a giant understatement, but, the popular vote isn’t what mattered Sunday.  It was counting the influential voices that matter that made the difference.

Other social media measurement tools predicted Avatar would take home the top prize.  What seems to give the WE twendz pro™ system an accuracy advantage is the focus on monitoring key influencers.  Spiral16’s monitoring platform, Spark, for instance, predicted Avatar, but focused only on volume, not sentiment, nor influencers.  This is a great example of how important it is to analyze all aspects of the conversations – volume alone doesn’t necessarily yield a predictable outcome.  WE twendz pro™ uses a formula (sentiment influence + quantitative + qualitative analysis) that can help businesses make informed decisions.  If one of these equations is missing, the analysis isn’t as sound and the crystal ball can grow cloudy.  And sometimes, even if the equation is complete, despite our ongoing quest for accurately predicting the future, we will still fail to read the minds of everyone.

As we continue to fine-tune the use of social media measurement tools, we get closer to being able to accurately predict outcomes.  The Academy Awards® is just an example.  The opportunity exists for organizations to use influence-focused analysis tools to both chart the right strategic course and avoid unfortunate pitfalls. Isn’t this a real time gauge of consumer sentiment?  What an exciting adventure!  We are just scratching the surface of what social media measurement might mean for the future of, well, just about everything.

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