Recognizing the Impact of Social Media

via Twitter.com

More than 327,000 tweets per minute.  More than 4.2 million likes on Facebook.  More than 800,000 retweets.

It beat the previous photo share record holders of  Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding photo and a glass of beer tribute to a fallen soldier.

http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744/photo/1

(Special note: While the photo was posted election night, it was actually taken three months ago on the campaign trail.)

The impact of social media in today’s world is significant as the “four more years” photo was posted to Facebook and Twitter before a mass email was sent and even before the crowd was addressed in Chicago.

Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to recognize the impact of social media and the juggernaut it continues be.  How do you capture lightening in a bottle like this?  It happens at the intersection of timing and emotion.  It’s organic.  Social media is how the world is communicating.

Next time you have something big to share – how will you do it?

What Are Your Neighbors Reading? Bitly Will Show You

Where do you get your news? According to a recent article and interactive map featured on Forbes.com, that all depends on where you live. And we don’t mean because your local paper has the market covered.

A service that shortens URLs and allows for link tracking and analysis, Bitly recently mined data from millions of clicks on abbreviated and shared links to determine just where residents of the United States are heading for news and information. The data scientists who performed the analysis looked for news sources and individual articles that were unusually popular in certain states compared to national averages.

Bitly was able to do this because, as they say, “When you share or click a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, you’re most likely using a Bitly link. Bitly provides the infrastructure for social sharing across networks, and in the middle, collects a huge amount of data on how real people share ideas.”

Some of the results of the analysis are fun and occasionally surprising, while others are a bit more predictable. It’s important to remember what this data is really showcasing — not the demographic reading the article, but the demographic clicking on a Bitly link to the article.

While we like to think that everyone is exposed to Bitly links through social media interactions, not everyone is so plugged in. As a result, maybe it’s only the USA Today readers in Nevada that are clicking on Bitly to read articles, but more Nevada residents are actually reading CNN on their own. Maybe Huffington Post readers in Tennessee are simply more compelled to share what they’re reading through Bitly than New York Times readers. Because of this, it’s difficult for this data to be comprehensive. However, so long as we remain aware of what the data really indicates, this colorful map is quite a handy tool from a PR perspective.

One interesting observation is that the Washington Post’s interview with Joe Paterno about the Penn State scandal was a big hit in Tennessee and Alabama, while that paper’s general influence is contained to Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky. It’s observations such as this that just might change the way you think about your media outreach.

National coverage is great, but this map urges you to think about what “national” really means. And furthermore, this map is really telling us where news is being accessed via Bitly, something that’s very relevant to PR professionals as our goal is to find ways to spread information as effectively as possible, often with the help of social media. Which outlet’s articles were relatively popular in nearly every state? USA Today. Do you want to achieve national coverage, but Oregon is the heart of your story? NPR is your place.

Forbes will be updating the map monthly to assess the previous month’s hits, and it will be interesting to see how these maps morph, if at all. Maybe we’ll start to see more of a trend emerge as to who is reading which articles from which outlets.

In the meantime, it’s a pretty entertaining feature that you just might want to take a peek at when it comes pitching time.

News Travels Fast

Picture 1

News has always been know for traveling fast – and with today’s emerging technology we appear to be headed toward breaking the sound and light barrier.  Who would have thought years ago when CNN and ESPN introduced the continuous “crawl” at the bottom of the screen with breaking news and scores that someday we would turn our home pages into a similar crawl with RSS feeds, Tweets and Diggs.

Never has news traveled more quickly than last week surrounding the reports of Michael Jackson’s death.  The rapid buzz resulted in a Twitter overload and temporary shutdown.  Google searches were so overwhelmed the system viewed it as an attack on the Michael Jackson name and temporarily sent “error messages” and began requiring “captchas” to complete search requests.

I, like most, immediately went to my own Twitter account to see what the media had to say about the reports.   While only TMZ reported Jackson’s death, every other major news source in the country continuously updated their tweets as the story played out over the next few hours.  Following the initial report from TMZ, I also visited Scoopler to watch the “real time” conversations taking place online.  Scoopler updates were scrolling at a record pace as the online frenzy continued to reach record numbers.

Ready or not, this is the future of how quickly news will travel.

Click here to read story of Twitter crash

Click here to view Michael Jackson conversations on Scoopler