Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama Connection - every picture tells a(n online) story

Every picture tells an online story.

In a recent Gallup poll conducted in 70 countries that represents nearly half the world's population, 30% of respondents preferred Senator Obama as president of the United States against 8% for Senator McCain, with 66% of Japanese and Australian respondents preferring Obama to McCain.

Why does he seem to engage people's interests, even outside of mainland USA? 

The research for the book I'm writing gives an interesting perspective. By October 2008, Obama ran one of the world's most astute online engagement campaigns in history. Here are the facts:
  • According to Hitwise, he regularly attracts 68% of all weekly presidential campaign-related web traffic.
  • According to data marketing company Compete, he regularly generates 2.6 million weekly unique visitors to his official website.
  • He has 740,000 MySpace friends.
  • He has over two million Facebook fans.
  • He is ranked the 15th most connected individual on business online network, Linkedin which numbers 26 million users, predominantly US senior business professionals and executives.
  • He has 105,000 followers on online networking platform Twitter.
  • A hip-hop music video set to an Obama “Yes We Can” speech was posted repeatedly on YouTube with the top two postings alone being viewed 10 million times.
  • According to, he had 31,192 subscribers on Youtube compared with 2,844 for his rival, John McCain in February 2008. One of the most popular Senator Obama videos is a clip of him tripping over a roadside kerb while reading a message on his Blackberry device.
  • In the last few weeks leading up to the campaign, reported that the Obama camp launched an iPhone software application called Obama ’08, that provides the user “instant access to Barack’s positions on important issues, as well as local and national campaign news as it happens”. The application promised “comprehensive connection to the heart of Barack Obama and (vice presidential running mate) Joe Biden’s campaign”.

He has also raised tens of millions of dollars in campaign funds over the web, mostly is micro-donations from masses of individual supporters. I think I know who has the mandate of the connected individual.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Business Card Connection


 Jen was sitting in a particularly heavy traffic jam one day, stressing about being late for an important meeting. This was one of those nightmare snarls where you move a metre every twenty minutes. 

A truck driver in the lane next to her - in an attempt at sociability to ease the boredom due to the lack of forward progress - called out to her and asked her what she did for a living. She responded that she coached growing small businesses around the country. He replied, "Really? I know someone who could use some help - do you have a card?". She dived into her glove box and handed him her business card. The ensuing follow-up interactions resulted in a series of business consulting engagements for Jen's business. 

 If you met someone at a business meeting, corporate function - or even in a traffic jam , you could invariably end up giving or receiving a business card. The VALUE of a face-to-face interaction that's consummated with the exchange of business cards is realised with WHAT you do with the information on that small piece of cardboard AFTER you receive it. 

For Jen, it led to a revenue opportunity due to her diligent follow-up discipline. As an active online networker, every business card I collect becomes an invitation to online business network, Linkedin. This way, I can formalise the physical contact with a business prospect via an active and mutually agreeable virtual connection. 

My rationale is that if you've met someone face-to-face albeit briefly, exchanged business cards and then formalised that interaction with an accepted invitation to an online network by the invited, you've established a legitimate business connection. 

 The beauty of an online business connection database is that it's more visible and actionable than a wad of business cards that have piled up over the years. It is more searchable by criteria such as location, expertise and industry. 

Most importantly, it usually updates itself as the onus of keeping data current is with the invited, not the invitee. For me, the real value is that you can download your Linkedin connections into an Excel spreadsheet - at any time - to retain your connections in your own database. 

 I've been on Linked in for 14 months and have accumulated almost 3300 connections to date during that time. To me, they are all potential business connections which I plan to actively utilise at the appropriate time for my business. Having them on an accessible and dynamic database gives me this option. What do you do with business cards from people you meet? Are they relics of past meetings or potential business opportunities?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The 4 P's of Online Networking


I wrote this article for Professional Marketing magazine, October-December 2008 edition. You can download it by placing the pointer on the image, right clicking to show the sub-menu then choosing "Save Picture as.." option to download to your computer.

If this all gets too hard, make a comment or send me an email and I'll send you the pdf file. As usual, all comments and feedback welcome!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Connection Survey Results: When you hear the word “connect” or “connection”, what image or picture comes to mind?


 In September 2008, I conducted a social survey to see if there were any patterns in a person's perception of what "connection" meant to them. I surmised that there was a link between their profile, attitude and behaviour towards connecting. 

 I posed a simple question to a random group of business colleagues, friends and family, aged between 18 to 80 years of age and from different regions globally. The question was: When you hear the word “connect” or “connection”, what image or picture comes to mind?

I asked respondents for a first-thing-that-comes-to-mind answer. I collected responses via a combination of email responses and face-to-face interviews. I received 130 survey responses and here are the results. Although there was a small percentage who suggested a mix, their first response was taken as their answer. 

The responses could be grouped into five broad areas:
There was the CLASSICAL image typified by responses such as nature, love, the universe, Viturvian Man and Michaelangelo’s Creation painting, which depicts the hand of God reaching out via a single finger to the finger of man.

The second category was CONCEPTUAL imagery, with responses such as puzzles, connecting dots and building blocks.

The third category was RELATIONAL depictions, which incorporated responses such as hands touching or hand shakes, people kissing/hugging, attraction, passion and lightning bolts/sparks.

The fourth category was PHYSICAL, with responses such as bridge, chains, links, wires, switches, power points, phone and!

Finally, STRUCTURAL, which has networks, process maps, family trees, DNA structures and organisation charts.

I am now analysing the results based on demographics and degree of connectedness. Those results will be available in the book I'm writing on the evolution of communication to connection and the considerations and challenges for society and business, due for release in February 2009.