HTC recently posted to their Facebook wall a simple question: “How many mobile phones have you owned?” Within a day they received about 2000 answers. Using the Facebook’s Graph API I wondered how hard it would be to automate the analysis to find out the average number.Read more
When it comes to social media for business, there is one question on everyone’s mind: Who are the influential people in my area? Unfortunately answering this is easier said than done. Take Twitter for example. You could look at a user’s total followers or the number of lists they are on, but those are blunt instruments at best. When you’re focused on a specific topic, those numbers can be downright misleading.
After mulling this over, I figured a good measure of potential influence would be how well networked a person is in a particular topical environment. To test this hypothesis I decided to look at an area I know pretty well: the Washington DC tech scene. Since I already have a good sense of this community, I could verify the analytical results from my own knowledge.Read more
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Recently I had the pleasure to participate in the Public Media Camp, an unconference focused on strengthening local and national public broadcasting. A good portion of the discussion focused on the disruptive and new opportunities being presented by Internet-based dissemination and social media.
Of Hubs and Spokes
While the focus on social media related well to my work in public diplomacy, the very structure of public media actually seems quite similar to the hub and spoke model of the central State Department in Washington and the various embassies, consulates and missions scattered around the world. As with public broadcasting, content is produced and disseminated in Washington and the very diverse missions overseas. Just as NPR or PBS in Washington balances the needs of their direct national audience with the needs of their affiliate stations, the State Department also has to support an international audience for its America.gov properties while meeting overseas mission needs.
Additionally, most public media outlets focus more on informing audiences and social change than increasing profits. Public diplomacy has similar goals: changing perceptions about the United States’ and its policies and creating a better environment for U.S. goals, such as democratization, improving religious freedoms and so on. Without profits as a baseline metric, both organizations aim for more intangible goals, such as those elucidated above. This makes measurement more challenging, with related knock-on effects.