This morning the White House posted Obama's birth certificate to their Pro Channel on SlideShare. While the politics around this are rediculous, I'm really proud that the White House would put so much trust in our service and are forward thinking enough to turn disclosure into a social object.
A long time ago Tim Oren scribbled this on a napkin to help explain a little of what he learned about collaboration.
We put wikis in the top left, email in the bottom left and IM in the bottom right. He described that at the top right is a collaboration sweet spot, but a place that is very hard to start off with. You create something to the left or below it and try to evolve it. You could easily put Twitter and Socialtext Signals in the top right. Twitter in effect evolved out of eariler learnings from blogging. Signals was an evolution of a social software platform. Good theory, and the point is doing new things in real time is hard.
Today SlideShare launched Zipcast, a web conferencing product that is fast, simple and social. Its a natural evolution of what SlideShare has been, a new way to asynchronously share slides. Its new not just in how it is integrated into the fabric of the real time social web. Building a collaboration solution on top of a thriving professional sharing community with millions of presentations viewed by over 45 million people per month is decidedly new.
If you are in marketing, you can host social webinars with promotion being a byproduct of using it. If you are in sales, you can launch a pitch immeadiately without the complexity of setup and asking someone to install a download. If you simply have an idea to share, there is no stopping you because it is free for public and viral meetings.
And what I really like about is it is web conferencing actually on the web.
“SlideShare is the fastest growing external social media site Dell is engaging through, said George Palantine, Dell Senior eBusiness Manager and a Beta customer of SlideShare Pro. "The custom branded Channel for Dell Large Enterprise was easy to set up, the new analytics features help us measure what we manage and we are able to directly capture leads from within the communities professionals participate in.”
Various criticisms have been raised against the channel, however, including the fact that it does not allow comments and accusations that it is simply a way for Pfizer to boost its profile. Experts have questioned whether the new venture can be called ‘social media’ when it simply provides one-way information.
It is currently under debate whether the pharmaceutical industry can legitimately engage through social media due to the strict regulations that govern its interactions with the public.
The FDA and pharmaceutical companies in the US are working towards establishing some ground rules to guide the industry’s online interactions, and these are likely to have an impact internationally.
I consider myself reasonably qualified to determine what is social and not. It took a little digging, as Pharma News doesn't write articles with links, which must mean they are 'not web.' But here are some tweets:
@boegner: Pfizer on Slideshare is NOT a social media activity. How can it be when its one-way info ? Comments are turned off. #hcsmeu#hcsm
Which raises some fair points, but comments are just one way to social within the power law of participation. And a lawyer might point out that comments directly on the content of a regulated company are a no-no. See Prem's
post for a discussion on the legal risks at stake for regulated social media for Pfizer and others.
What Pfizer has accomplished so far sharing -- in ways their industry should follow. The content is shared in an accessible way within the largest community of sharing professionals. People can favorite it, share and embed it. In other words, they they are weaving core content into the social fabric of the web. From there, conversations can occur in blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
Now, Pfizer does have employees on those networks where conversations can occur about the content. In fact they did:
Responding to critics on social media platform Twitter, Ray Kerins likened the current situation for pharma companies seeking to use social media to “assembling a child’s toy without the instructions”, adding: “SlideShare is part of our multi-year strategic digital//SM plan and we are happy with the progress.”
And people commented back:
London-based healthcare communications agency Aurora has defended the use of SM amongst UK pharma in its blog. The company’s Neil Crump wrote that “as pharma companies venture into this uncharted territory, our early champions must be encouraged, must be championed, must be nurtured. Otherwise we will lose them and we will be back to square one, and that would be a terrible shame.”
Sounds social. Regulation seems to introduce some friction to the process. What is said on the web sometimes goes through a vetting process, or is done by individuals qualified enough that regulated companies take risks on them. Regulation effects design, in the same way that form follows funding. You won't find open comments under the brand of a a regulated institution anytime soon. Regulation also gives weight to to some parts of the web. Identity infrastructure, has evolved recently with promise for the distributed identity than we have seen before.
We're often swift to say how regulation stifles innovation. But it also yields innovation. Not to work around it, but with it on values that are important in some fields like identity, privacy, trust and accountability. And being social.
I had the dubious honor of hosting the first Barcamp in Palo Alto, with a Socialtext wiki and office, of course. Since then, Barcamp has been a worldwide phenomenon that has turned events on its head. The Open Space methodology truly had democratized how people can come together. First designed to emulate the hallway conversations that occur at formal events, people know realize their own power to come together when every participant can be a presenter.
The practice of hosting a Barcamp is well known and documented. For participants, the rules are simple. When it starts, it starts. When it ends, it ends. Whoever is participates is the right group of people. And everyone is responsible for following the law of two feet.
You may have noticed that when it comes to Events, . Soon there will be 3,000 presentations from Barcamps all around the world. And with support for video, the sharing will only get richer. In every camp I've hosted I tacked on another request -- to document and share the session you are in for the people that can't be there.
Now SlideShare has created the Barcamp Channel, bringing together the presentations, documents and videos from Barcamps around the world in one place. Its still rough, but will be great to see what emerges.
A lifetime ago I worked on an Eastern European telecom group's IPO and one of my favorite slides in my deck was borrowed from Goldman Sachs to paint the picture of a Multimedia Cycle. Yes, I said multimedia, but right now there is something shifting in the ad market that may or may not mean a recovery to yet another boom for the internet.
In 2002 I described the multimedia cycle like this,
"Just as potential customer spending drives advertising expenditures, Ad
spending drives the development of content to create ad space.
Development of content drives spending telecommunications services to
delivery it. Development of telecommunications services requires
investment in applications and infrastructure."
I also pointed out how GDP is correlated with ad spend and noted that ad spending drives internet recovery.
In 2004 there were signs the ad market recovered and the Web 2.0 boom was getting started. Google drove advertising innovation. To the point where way too many bloggers thought they could live off it. This ad recovery fueled a venture boom and falsely led many startups to leverage someone else's business model instead of finding their own. Many of course didn't make it through the crash, and those that did focused on creating their own leverage.
Ad revenue isn't what it used to be. And it won't be. Which may lead you to have concerns about the current recovery:
The last boom didn't deliver innovation in new ad formats and metrics,
and there still isn't a solid ad model for social networks like
Facebook. Put simply, advertising still works for the old web. More on this later...
Ad commoditization is moving far beyond text ads into other formats. The display ad market has moved to Real Time Ad Exchanges (disclosure: I'm an advisor to Triggit, which helps helps buyers optimize real time spend). Conversion rates always decline as the audience becomes sensitized, with the recent exception to newer formats like video ads (won't last long.
The B2B lead gen business has been cutthroat as well.
CPMs, CPCs, CPEs & CPLs are falling through the floor. In part this may reflect the broader economy, but every last efficiency is being wrung out of the markets.
What this means is what we've known. That traffic & engagement are less easy to monetize than during the last recovery. Or at the very least less than what was believed at the time.
This may lead you to believe the multimedia cycle will not be fueled, and internet recovery will stall the creation of the next wave of startups. But things have changed.
In Apple's Garden of Eden, you can skip advertising and directly monetize your content and apps. Subscription and ad models are ready for the taking as well. But this forbidden fruit drives your app down to $.99 and you only get 2/3rds. You find yourself in the hit business, and usually it ends up being Hollywood's studio model instead of an indie.
Startups already have to innovate their own ad models, and rise above them. When shit lobsters (a complement) like DaveMcClure are calling for coupons, that's what he means.
The big case in point is Twitter's launch of Promoted Tweets, the launch of Bill Gross' TweetUp and other new ad formats for the real time web like MyLike. It's not just about Twitter finally finding a business model, built upon the problem they created for brands. They are testing a new ad format and ranking algorithm that hopes to strike a balance between advertiser and user. And the real test is if they gain distribution through their search and other ecosystem partners starting tomorrow @chirp.
I'm going to go out like a bird on a limb here to suggest that it may be another tipping point for Twitter. One that involves actual tips. And supports a good portion of the ecosystem. This will serve as a litmus test for ad formats on social networks.
But the key for Twitter is if they can gain a distribution advantage for how they monetize. The qualms of them buying partners shouldn't concern partners, a lack of acquisitions should. "Filling holes" is a ridiculous analogy, btw. It reminds me about that story of a Dutch kid
taking his finger to a dike. But not literally.
Others ad formats are arising, like with SlideShare's AdShare for
professional sharing (advisor disclosure).The question I have is if new ad formats and other ad innovation will fuel another modest boom, because ads will always be a portion of new rising internet business models that are widely adopted. What form will they take? And will social gain a creative form that is valued as much as the creativity we have despite it.
You may not know that 80% of Slideshare's members are business decision makers. With over 20M unique visitors per month, that's a lot of business people presenting themselves. The Slideshare team picked up on some of the patterns of promotion within their community and developed two new Slideshare Business products to make them more efficient and effective: AdShare and LeadShare.
I've been using both AdShare to promote my content and LeadShare to generate leads through my content for about two months now with great results. With AdShare, my presentations are the ad content, and are displayed according to how the community ranks their effectiveness by clicking through them.
Typically, B2B marketers produce "assets" like whitepapers, webinar recordings, presentations and other collateral. Then they make them available to sales prospects on a landing page which describes it, but you have to fill in a form with your contact information to get it. You can't engage with content or socialize around it to foster trust.
LeadShare inverts this lead generation model. You can request or require that a user fill in the lead gen form at the end, middle or front of the document or presentation. It is presented in the context of the community, but can also be extended to your site through embeds.
Businesses are engaging and fostering trust more than ever with Social Media, but its difficult to directly tie these activities to the Lead Generation that feeds the business. Advertising is seeing growth in new interactive formats with contextual relevancy, but are fighting an uphill battle against sensitized decision makers. For these two world to get along, incentives must be aligned for quality creative production and community participation.
I believe SlideShare for Business represents a new ad format and self-service network that can help Social Media drive direct and measurable business results. And I know Slideshare members will develop creative and compelling ways of using it I can't predict.