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Microsoft Tag recently posted a blog on the state of Mobile in 2011. Amazing statistics… see the image below for all the details…

The Facebook “Like” button is not as simple as it seems. Clicking on “Like” is fun but there are implications attached to it that you may not know of.

Did it ever occur to you that by clicking on a Facebook “Like” button, you are implicitly agreeing to “endorse” and have your name associated with an advertisement (Social Ads) for whatever you Liked? And did you know that by agreeing to use Facebook, you have given them the permission to use your name and picture in the Ads (read FB terms of service below in this post)

Here are some of the Ads I saw recently on Facebook with endorsements from people (annotated in red boxes) in my friend’s list. I guess Facebook is just using names for now, but may enable the display of your profile pictures in near future.

All these Ads, called “Social Context Ads”, are being aggressively pitched by Facebook to Advertisers, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

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If you were ever at an event, were you curious about who the person close to you is and wanted to network with them, wanted to avoid carrying all the paper booklets and business cards, tweet about the exciting things happening at the event and comment on the posts by other attendees or were you eager to express your opinion to the speakers and the organizers?

Plug, a location-based App and platform for events, one of the first few products from Mobinett Interactive, gets you all this interaction right into your palm. From event information such as the agenda and maps to networking to keeping tabs on all the interesting stuff thats happening around you during the event, Plug offers several features that will engage all the stake-holders in an event – organizers, attendees and sponsors. Plug’s leaderboard makes an event really exciting by  giving it the feel of a game and increasing participation.

Plug is currently in private beta. You can download the Apps on iPhone and Android, or access Plug on any smartphone through a mobile website. Text messaging interface for Plug is also available as an optional feature.

Take the tour and learn more about Plug at http://plug.mobinett.com.

social entrepreneurship I will be speaking at ForSE 2009 on October 23rd, so figured should post a short preview on it.

ForSE which stands for FORum for Social Entrepreneurs is an annual conference spearheaded by the TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Social Entrepreneurship SIG. The conference brings together social innovators, leading business professionals, investors, donors, government officials, academics, and students to facilitate the sharing of new technology and business ideas, and to foster informed discussion on new social venture concepts.

What is the topic about? Here is the blurb…

Are “Social Media” and “Social Entrepreneurship” compatible? Already Twitter, Facebook, and the rest are revolutionizing the business and marketing of social impact.  Every day, it seems, another grassroots effort testifies to these platforms and their ability to spread a message to thousands, even millions.  Followers become funders, messages become movements, and social networks beget social change. How does the speed and reach of social media alter the formulas for successful social impact?  What happens when marketing evolves from broadcast to conversation, fundraising changes from large donors to micro-donations, or collaboration moves from sweaty basements to vast social networks?

While we’ll discuss more on the topic at ForSE and delve into the details, here are four basic tips for Social Entrepreneurs interested in leveraging social media:

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social-media“Social media” has become such a popular buzz word today… From board rooms to everyday conversations, you’ll not go without hearing those words several times. And yes that has also led to  every organization jumping onto the bandwagon – creating groups on facebook, linkedin, twitter, posting videos on youtube, pictures on flickr, starting blogs and so on. However, the lack of strategy and design on part of organizations makes this entire experience chaotic and a sloppy implementation in most cases adds more burden for the marketing folks with no significant ROI in sight.

While big corporations shell out thousands if not millions to employ consultants who put both the plan and hopefully the implementation in place, non-profits and smaller enterprises with half-baked knowledge scramble to put something in place with hardly any success.  This post will try to address both the plan and an easy implementation strategy for social media tools. Although I won’t go much into details, you can ping me for further clarifications or questions if any…

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As we start making the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, I can’t help but notice the hype around real-time web. Everyone from the VCs to the end-users are going gaga over it and money is being poured in, but no one really knows what the outcome will be and whether real-time data ‘really’ impacts our lives (i.e consumers).

The  joke in the entrepreneurial corridors today is that if you have a business idea make sure you end the mission statement with “in real-time” , then use the word at-least 50 times in the business plan and you’ll get funded!

Several funds and investors (prominent among them – Ron Conway and John Borthwick) are focusing on real-time startups. $23.27 million has been invested into pure twitter based startups and many more millions are being invested in other real-time startups. The  recent acquisition of Friendfeed by Facebook and Summize by Twitter has fueled more interest in this area. Even companies like Google and Microsoft are feeling the pressure and are improving their search engines to index data quickly (read/view Larry Page’s comments) while many of the smaller real-time startups hope to get bought out.

However, the question is whether real-time data “really” makes a difference in anyone’s lives. Shouldn’t startups focus on On-Demand web instead?

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Have been busy like crazy the last few weeks and hence the gap between my posts. Quite a few comments came in on my previous post on SMS Advertising based Business Model. Among them was one from the CEO of 4Info, Zaw Thet, who tweeted me saying that my costs were not accurate and that margins were much higher in this business and another from the CEO of CellForce, Naom Samson, who agrees with my estimates but tells me that the CPMs are much lower at $20, which if true essentially means that an SMS Ad business model is doomed… there is no hope at all. On the other hand I have to disagree with Zaw. For a company like 4Info which is a third-party Ad supplier, of course the margins are higher since they don’t pay a penny for SMS messaging. Instead they take a cut out of the Ad revenues which in fact  is killing their customers. With regards to costs, my estimates cannot be more accurate since I have personally had discussions with many aggregator companies including mblox, singlepoint, motricity etc and have their quotes.

Regardless, as I mentioned in my previous post, the SMS Ad model will never work for a startup. So the question is who is going to capture a piece of the $11 Billion market?

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