30th September 2007

Some thoughts on "5 P’s" of Social Media…

I’ve been doing a number of presentations as of late on social media and I thought I’d share a slide I’ve been using that I call the "5 P’s of Social Media."  I figured posting here might be a good place to get some feedback to make this even better.

The marketers out there will remember the 4 P’s of marketing popularized by E. Jerome McCarthy:  Product, Pricing, Promotion and Placement.

In the 2001 book High Intensity Marketing by Idris Mootee, the author proposed a new set of 4 P’s for the Internet age: Personalization, Participation, Peer-to-Peer, and Predictive Modeling.  Overall, I like this model and had never seen it before doing some research in prep for writing this blog post (I’ll have to get the book).  While social media has matured a great deal in the 6 years since this book came out, I think the model applies very well.

What I was looking for was a prescriptive and informative model for describing the various forms of social media as well as the underlying components required for describing a social media strategy.  Here’s what I came up with:


note:  It’s a build slide that starts with People and builds clockwise.

In fairness, it probably needs to be 6 P’s by adding "Purpose" - but for me, purpose is the overall talking point for the slide, therefore, you don’t see it here.  And 6 P’s? - Getting carried away!! :)

Here’s a short summary of definitions (though this is made more real by using examples that are relevant to the audience).

  • People:  The talkers, authors, contributors - empowerment of the individual.
  • Places:  All the diverse venues the conversations can take place in.
  • Process:  What collaboration (and moderation) you enable, how you entitle contributor types and how you integrate with existing systems.
  • Platform:  Where and how you tie together the places, processes, people (identity/privacy) and privileges.
  • Patterns:  Presenting, tracking, filtering, measuring, monitoring and decision support.

That’s it…let me know what you think, what I missed and what examples you might use.



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posted in General Community Discussion, Social Media, Word of Mouth, online communities, web 2.0 | 4 Comments

28th September 2007

What’s Web 2.0? Again….

In any given week I have the opportunity to talk with both the web 2.0 savvy and those that are still asking the fundamental question of "what is it?"  There’s no shortage of resources for answering this question, but as I’ve said before, the same explanation doesn’t resonate with everyone.

So, I thought I’d add another explanation that has been very useful to me as of late.

It goes something like this.  Most web users arrive on web pages via search - ultimately they are looking for something or have a question.  The problem with most web sites is they are lonely, closed experiences.  Visit any given web site and there could be 10s, 100s, 1000s, 10000s of other users on the site at the same time (depending on the size/popularity of the site) - but their presence on the site is invisible to you.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for, what do you do?  Back to search.

What web 2.0 does is it exposes the presence and activities of all these other users.  It turns a static experience into a social experience.  Better yet, it gives you access to the collective knowledge of all those other users.  And perhaps, most importantly it gives the users social proof that this is a "good" place to be.

Imagine you are in an unfamiliar city looking for a place to eat.  You see two restaurants.  The first one has no other customers in it…and the second one is crowded.  Which one do you want to eat at?  What if there’s a 15 minute wait at the crowded one?  If you’re like me you will go to the busy place.  All that visible evidence tells you a great deal about the restaurant that reassures you this is the place to be.

Now, it could be that other restaurant just opened and actually has better food, but perception, comfort and risk aversion naturally pushes you to the busy place.

It’s easy enough to pull this analogy apart and describe all sorts of web 2.0 sites that don’t really fit this example perfectly - that’s not the point.  The point is finding ways to describe this evolution that resonate with the broadest set of people possible.  If you want to be a web 2.0 evangelist to your friends, your mom, your legal department, your IT department or your executives, but they don’t seem to get it, who has the problem?  Not them, you’re the evangelist.  It’s your job to continue to find the right way to tell the story until you see that oh so sweet "ah ha!" moment.


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posted in General Community Discussion, Social Media, web 2.0 | 1 Comment

19th September 2007

Email is so "yesterday"

I was setting my out of office today for an upcoming business trip and couldn’t resist…here’s what I entered (with a few edits in the blog for some privacy):


Thank you for your mail. I’m out of office travelling on business Wednesday, Sept.  19th - Thursday, September 27th with very limited access to email.  Here are a few follow up options:

Old School:

- Contact my Admin, Jake Grey ( or ) as he knows how to reach me.

- If urgent, you can try my cell phone, # below in autosig.

New Media:

- Reach me through my blog at


- Track me down via Twitter at

- Post a message on my wall in Facebook at


Sean O’Driscoll
General Manager, Community Support & MVP
Customer Support & Services
Microsoft Corporation



I know, I could have been more clever and more complete, but there are only so many hours in a day :)


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posted in Microsoft, Social Media, web 2.0 | 2 Comments

16th September 2007

A Blog Policy does not a Blog Strategy make…

In recent months I’ve offered two posts focused on blogging.

Much of this has come from my own experiences at Microsoft and recent conversations with over 30 other companies about challenges, opportunities and best practices in social media.  When it comes to blogging the most common conversations organizations have both internally and with their peers are around policies and practices (roles & responsibilities, moderation, tools, legal, etc).

This has me wondering where the strategy is?  Given the explosive growth of blogging and where it really came from (individuals), it’s no wonder organizations started by establishing policy.  It’s one of those activities that is born from the front line, not from the board room.  I’ve seen blog policies that range from "thou shalt not" to detailed 10 page documents to simple guidelines that just re-enforce existing company policies regarding competitive information, privacy, offensive material, etc. 

Clear guidelines and policies for employee blogging are obviously necessary, but policy really isn’t the same thing as strategy.  Some may argue (and I partly agree) that blogging and strategy are oxymorons.  They will say that blogs are valuable because they are not driven by strategy but by unfiltered authentic voices inside the company across functions, roles and responsibilities.

Hmmm, I  agree with this, so what’s the big deal here regarding strategy.  Well, I guess the big deal is that I think things should be done with intention.  But, red flag, it shouldn’t be overdone and if the PR dept starts the process of defining the strategy - beware.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really against PR but if you’ve been through press training you likely need to be re-trained in this new web 2.0 world.  If your blogger’s posts are reviewed before published - you really aren’t blogging - you might as well turn off comments and call it web 1.0.

I’m perfectly happy with a blog strategy that is just about workplace health- this means, the business goal is about building employee empowerment.  This shouldn’t be your default strategy for lack of having one, but it is a great strategy if it is the design goal.  In general, strategy should support at least one (preferably more) of the following pillars:

  • Workplace health - attracting, developing and retaining great talent
  • Customer satisfaction - customer service, response mgmt and transparency
  • Cost reduction
  • Revenue - customer acquisition, globalization and marketing
  • Innovation - feedback and collaboration

A good blog strategy need not support all of these pillars and cannot violate the principles of transparency or authenticity, but should bring intentionality to your blog strategy by clearly articulating what it’s for (and what it is not).

When you hit the office tomorrow, try it out.  Go ask people what your company blog strategy is.  9 times in 10, I bet what you hear will be statements that are more about policy (what you can or can’t do).


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posted in Blogging, Social Media, web 2.0 | 1 Comment

13th September 2007

The Age of Individualism…

I was in a session today with colleagues across the industry put on by the Consortium for Service Innovation.  Much of our agenda was around the impact of online communities and social media on knowledge centered support environments.  As you dig into the impact of web2.0 in this space, the dialog naturally branched in many interesting directions including:

  • Community segmentation
  • The role of emotions and conflict in online communities
  • The impact on call centers and traditional knowledge management
  • Tools and technologies
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Organizational change management
  • …and more

It was on this last point of organizational change management where we discussed what the indicators of a "flat company" might be (related recent post).  The more we discussed, the more it seemed we were discussing a new business age…what seemed to me to be an "Age of Individualism."  I’ve talked about something related as consumerism meaning "consumer empowerment," but this term really has a different definition and doesn’t work well globally.

I liked the phrase "Age of Individualism" when I said it.  I wrote it down and thought, ah, there’s a blog post.  Turns out, I’m hardly the first (once again) to have this particular thought.  A quick online search found a nicely written piece by Micro Persuasion blogger Steve Rubel I recommend reading.

At any rate, nice piece Steve.



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posted in Events, Social Media, Web 2.0 and corporate HR, online communities | 0 Comments

9th September 2007

Let’s face it, not all friends are created equal in terms of what I want to share and how I want to communicate.  I would really like multiple profiles and profile preferences managed from a single place.    I don’t want to live in multiple social networks…meaning for business and for social.  I really just want one place to live and services in and out that allow me to communicate and share content, ideas and presence data in ways that make context sense.  Let’s say my daughter was in a dance recital yesterday and I wanted to share photos or videos.  I’m pretty sure my entire network doesn’t want to see this - nor do I want to share that kind of info that broadly.  Likewise, most of my personal friends and family could care less about my latest blog post about social media.

What I’d like is the ability to easily create, manage and publish to a variety of "friend populations" that I control.  The set up for me might look something like this:

  • Group 1:  All approved "friends" in my network"
  • Group 2:  "Friends" I approve but don’t really know
  • Group 3:  Business associates (all)
  • Group 4:  Business associates (within the company I work)
  • Group 5:  Business associates (external to the company I work)
  • Group 6:  Personal friends and family
  • Group 7:  Family
  • Group 8:  Fully custom 1
  • Group 9:  Fully custom 2

Then, give me the ability to configure (with easy multi-select on publish) who gets access to what content, ideas and/or presence data.  Admittedly this adds complexity to the system and in general, complexity is not good, but I think this would make Facebook even more of a personal platform for business, entertainment and social networking.

What do you think?


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3rd September 2007

Some word-of-mouth on "Word of Mouth Marketing"

I’ve been on hiatus from online for most of the past two weeks - a bit of needed vacation.  I didn’t quite spend the time the way I had planned, but I think I spent it the right way.  I had planned to read a couple of books, stay on top of my blog, catch up on RSS feeds that I’d fallen behind on, and work on some longer range personal objectives.  Well, I read one book.  Beyond that, I frankly just relaxed and enjoyed the time with family and friends.  Good for me!!  Not sure why I thought I could or should try to do all that other stuff while on vacation!

As I prepare to immerse tomorrow in my day job, I’m anxious to catch up on what I missed and get on with planning for what looks like a very busy fall schedule.

The one book I did read was a good one.  Earlier this year I joined the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.  I certainly didn’t see myself as a marketer, but I felt it would be a good way to connect with some industry peers focused on similar issues involving social media.  Well, it was - and I certainly recommend it.  I have met many great thinkers and experts on the topic of WOM over the past several months.  I’ve been particularly taken by the convergence social media is driving between marketing, customer service, online support and product feedback functions - driving connections across these silos should be a top priority for any company that wants to continue to have long term success.

A friend introduced me to Andy Sernovitz who I’ve had the pleasure of talking with now on several occasions.  Andy wrote an excellent book called Word of Mouth Marketing:  How Smart Companies get People Talking.  Andy has been a great contact for me and I certainly owe him a personal thanks for the conversations, but also want to recommend this book to anyone looking for smart, easy to follow guidance on how to implement Word of Mouth in your marketing strategy.


This is the book I wish I had read 3-4 years ago (though it wasn’t out then:)).  I can certainly see how this book would have changed how I thought about and implemented the programs, practices and internal negotiations I’ve been responsible for in recent years.  Andy brings nice structure to action planning through the 5 Ts:

  • Talkers:  Find the people talking about you
  • Topics:  Give people a reason to talk
  • Tools:  Help the message spread faster and farther
  • Taking part: Join the conversation
  • Tracking:  Measure and understand what people are saying

Now, here I am "Word-of-Mouthing" on the book - uh, hmmm - nice job Andy.

Hope to see you in November at the Word of Mouth Marketing Summit where I get to present this year!


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posted in Book Reviews, Word of Mouth | 4 Comments

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