Archive for the ‘transparency’ tag
Guest post by Minter Dial @mdial on social, transparency and politics using the recent French Presidential election between Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande as a case study
The paths of social media and politics would seem to be inextricably linked. Politics has proven, in many countries, to be a great way to “democratize” social media, or the other way around. During the Arab Spring, social media helped inspire a change in regime. In the US, social media clearly contributed to Obama’s success in 2008 and the presidential campaign certainly brought a big lift to the likes of Twitter. On the other hand, the most recent digital marketing campaigns of the two finalists of the French Presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, were quite a disappointment and a missed opportunity for the country. In short, neither candidate was connected and their presence on line was stuffy, uninteresting and one-way, not to forget at times downright unattractive.
There’s something to learn here for government everywhere. If you’re a political strategist, a government official or candidate, or involved in any way shape or form with politics, pay attention.
In this United States, the importance of social media can not be understated in the coming election. As Brian Solis noted in his 2008, “Is Obama Ready to be a Two-way President?”, he observes that Obama’s use of social media was actually one-way campaign funding guised as engagement. As he observes, that strategy will no longer suffice.
Simply put, the digital teams of both Hollande and Sarkozy did a poor job. Perhaps the digital space was not the decisive battleground for the French presidential elections; nor did it have a role in materially influencing the ultimate winner. However, the manner in which social media was used clearly did not help. Bottom line, it was a missed opportunity to help promote digital media and encourage investment in the digital space.
Relatively weak impact of the web
The graph above from the French business newspaper Les Echos (article in French) shows how relatively little the web was considered as a source of information for following the French presidential elections. However, between social networks (5%), non-media websites (6%) and pure player media web sites (13%), there was plenty of room for a marginal impact. Considering most democratic elections are won and lost by rather small margins (1% to 3%), even these small audiences might have had an influence. The methods employed by the two candidates on social media were little changed from those of mass media; thus, there was little hope that the tide might be altered by a change of channel.
More concerned with the negative than the positive
The biggest concern among political circles was about how social media might screw up the elections by revealing the winner before the final “big” announcement at the end of the day. French electoral laws were never revised despite social media being around for more than 5 years. In a string of surreal moments of coverage of the Election Day by TV and radio stations alike — featuring many traditional journalists and prominent analysts — none was allowed to comment on their Twitter streams or Facebook messages, many of which were noteworthy and extremely humorous. The second ornery problem that faced the media oversight body (CSA), which must ensure that all candidates receive equal airtime, was how to cap (much less measure) social media airtime. The concept of shared and earned media takes on new meaning in this context. Overall, the preoccupations of the governing bodies and political candidates seem to speak more to a mindset and culture of fear & control.
General lack of innovation
Outside of the badges that Sarkozy offered on his website (largely for propagating information), much like Foursquare badges, there was nothing of interest or new in either of the two campaigns. Moreover, neither of the camps established a presence on Pinterest or Tumblr, and neither saw fit to create a blog. Worse, the only presence on Pinterest was a parodical board for Nicolas Sarkozy. Sometimes, the message is in the media. Clearly, in this case, the message was nothing new. The only valid strategy that caught my attention was that the Socialist Party evidently budgeted its social media activities under market research. Even if this strategy was somewhat obscured from the public eye, it is safe to say that using social media as market research to test and improve campaign messages is a smart investment in resources, especially when messages are time sensitive.
Effective offline is a good recipe for strong online community
I believe it’s fair to say that if you don’t know how to build community offline, you will probably struggle online. Neither Sarkozy nor Hollande were born to be community builders, men of the people. And it showed. Their campaigns were one-way, non conversational and sterile. At best, the Facebook and Twitter presences were a pure reproduction of the message on other media.
Here is a revealing (and condemning) table of the Twitter presences of Hollande and Sarkozy and how they stacked up against Obama. The figures were taken as of May 6, 2012 (when the second and final round took place).
*The account was essentially dormant up until the autumn of 2011.
** @fhollande was put into action essentially only in the last six months leading up to the elections, so the de facto average in 2012 was more like 30/day.
To put the number of followers into perspective, there are some 5.2 million Twitter accounts in France(1) versus 108 million in the USAMark. Although one cannot extrapolate with any degree of accuracy, the penetration of Obama on the US Twitter population is clearly markedly higher. As another benchmark, Britain’s PM David Cameron has over 2 million followers (versus 23 million accounts in the UK).
The daily tweet rate per day was absurdly high for Sarkozy (48.3) compared to Obama (2.1). In reality, Hollande’s number was equally ridiculous. The 3.5 figure is low merely because Hollande’s account lay dormant for 3 years. For both candidates in the run-up to the election, their Twitter stream was an incessant parade of communications, bereft of any conversation, much less personality. Hollande’s account had, to his credit, many first person tweets, but they were mixed in with a plethora of campaign slogans and political communications with a deliberate opaqueness as to who was the author. Sarkozy opted for just a few personal tweets, signed “–ns.” Clearly, however, neither candidate has, what I like to call, a high “digital IQ.”
The number of following-to-followers is substantially lower for Hollande at 1 followee for every 42 followers. On this score, Sarkozy was oddly on par with Obama. Obviously, Sarkozy “woke up” to Twitter on the eve of the elections: radically unprepared for any community build or social campaign. And, most revealing, neither of Sarkozy or Hollande’s camp invited engagement and constructive community building. Twitter was treated merely as another one-way channel of communication. At best, it was adversarial. At worst, it was dictatorial.
If the digital space, eCommerce and social media were sorely missing from the political debate, the opportunity to use the elections to “move” the public by example and to have a material impact on the economy was equally missed. For members of the C-suite of large organizations intending to figure out the scope, dynamics and potential impact of digital and social media on their business, the lessons of how not to run a campaign are multiple.
Twitter has made more news in France since the elections than before, thanks to an ill-advised tweet by France’s First Lady and Hollande’s current “partner,” Valerie Trierweiler. The latter tweeted her support for a candidate standing against Ségolène Royal, who was none other than Hollande’s former partner (and the Socialist Party’s failed presidential candidate in 2007). If you don’t know the story, check it out here on the New York Times; it reads like high drama. The @fhollande account has since risen to 411,000 at time of writing (July 4), adding 90,000 since his election. In the same period, @NicolasSarkozy has added 40,000 followers, despite not having tweeted once more since May 6 and having disappeared from circulation. Not much to write home about I would suggest.
(1) Based on the figures from Semiocast, end of 2011. It is safe to say, based on anecdotal evidence, that the number of accounts in France has grown substantially in the first half of 2012.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
We’re all familiar with the Miranda, the legal warning given to everyone who runs a foul of the law. But it might be time to add a few lines to that warning, including, “anything you Tweet can and will be used against you.”
Twitter just released their first Transparency Report and it includes 849 data requests from law enforcement in the first half of this year. Twitter granted 63% of those requests and those numbers on are on the rise. Twitter says they received more government requests in the first half of 2012, than they received in all of 2011.
None of these numbers should be surprising. Cases where social media has been called into evidence pop up in the news all the time. Some people get what they deserve, like the guy who posted a photo on Facebook of him stealing gas from a local police car. But social media posts are also being used to help win (or lose) divorce cases, custody cases, even (in hopefully rare cases), a murder conviction.
The other side of this coin is privacy. People who hide their identity with a phony Twitter handle expect their real name will be kept private. Silly people. How many times have I got to tell you that nothing on the internet is private?
Twitter requests for data don’t end at the US border. The charts show they’ve turned over data to Japan, Canada, The Netherlands, Greece, Australia, and the UK.
In addition to government requests, Twitters Transparency Report also lists the instances of DMCA takedown notices. They received 3,378 requests to remove copyright materials and that’s just from the first half of the year.
On average, they granted the request 38% of the time, which isn’t that much. Gotta wonder if many of the requests are bogus or Twitter simply didn’t have the man power to chase it all down. One thing working it their favor is the short lifespan of a Tweet. Chasing a user for a video they posted a year ago is pointless.
Twitter says that going forward, they’ll update these figures twice a year. If you want more details on how these requests are handled, they have a section in the Help Center on that.
Overall lesson, don’t post anything to Twitter that you wouldn’t say out loud in a room full of people, you just never know who might be listening.
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Inspired by Google, Twitter has partnered with Web accessibility startup Herdict to fight censorship and ensure privacy on the Internet. On Monday, the company released a Transparency Report that lists every copyright complaint or government request for information and whether content had to be removed as a result.
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With six million tweets circulating per day, it’s no surprise that Twitter receives hundreds of requests from governments and copyright holders to remove content.
In the new report, we gain insight into three categories of requests from the first six months of 2012: government requests for user information, government requests to withhold content, and requests from copyright holders to remove infringing content.
Complaints concerning copyright infringement far outweighed requests for user information. Between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2012, Twitter received 3,378 requests to remove copyrighted material and complied with roughly 600 of them.
And government officials are showing more interest in Twitter than ever before. The social media site received more requests in the first half of 2012 than it received throughout 2011. The rates of compliance are also shockingly high: In 2012, Twitter fulfilled more than 75 percent of these requests. Similarly to Google, the vast majority of user information requests are levied by agencies from within the United States.
Google offered props to Twitter this morning for its efforts to be more transparent. In an interview with VentureBeat, Christine Chen, a spokesperson from Google, said she hopes the move will inspire more Internet companies to follow suit. Notably, Facebook has yet to publish information about the nature of the requests it receives for user data.
“The more transparent that companies and governments are, the more meaningful the public debate can be about the free flow of information online,” said Chen.
If you’re looking for a way to liven up your home’s walls you can easily and inexpensively paint decorative accents if you have access to an overhead projector. Just photocopy the pattern you want onto a transparency and project that on the wall or piece of furniture you want to decorate. More »
We know… it’s crazy. But Gavin and I are ready to do it again. This time, we’d like Age of Conversation to take on a much more personal tone… how is social media impacting you, your work, your family and your view on life? Your chapter might be as elaborate as a real case study or it might be as simple as your best time saving trick. But it’s about you and how you “do” social.
This time, we’re doing both one and two page chapters. (see below)
Here are the sections for the book:
ONE PAGE CHAPTERS
One page chapters are grouped into “sections” to provide a sense of cohesion to the topics covered. (One page = 400 words or so) This year’s sections are:
Secrets – what is a secret, what is your secret and what are the limits of privacy in the Age of Conversation?
Transparency – what does it mean for a business to be transparent? How do you go about making your brand or business transparent? And what happens if transparency fails?
Authenticity – what does it mean to humanize a brand? What happens when business gets personal and how does so-called “authenticity” impact you on a personal and professional level?
Unexpected Consequences – anything from a painful lesson learned to an unexpected cross the globe friendship. Share your journey in this Age of Conversation
How Do I … – share your tips and tricks on social media. What do you do well and how do you achieve the outcomes you want?
CASE STUDIES – TWO PAGE CHAPTERS
We’d love to have your case studies. (Two pages = 750 words or so) They need to be projects that you have worked on or have been responsible for. You must include measurable results of some sort. We’re not going to get into the whole ROI discussion…but you need to show how it played out. Please don’t propose case studies based on other people’s work.
Want to join in on the adventure with us? We’d love to have you with us!
We’ll be closing the sign ups pretty quickly so if you’re serious about writing a chapter — sign up soon!
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The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Google for a year now, looking in part at whether Google is operating “fairly” in its search results. But if the FTC is really serious about protecting consumers, the agency may be better off taking a broader industry-wide look at search engine transparency and labeling practices.
Read the full story at the original publication link below. Read more » about The FTC should take a broader look at transparency
We all stretch the truth or exaggerate once in a while. The “little white lie” is a common part of life, but it seems to get a lot of play in the world of digital ad technology.
Whether it’s to keep up with the competition, to assert category leadership, or because product development isn’t moving as quickly as planned, exaggerations abound in this fast-moving industry.
It’s kind of a pain for marketers and agencies trying to wrap their heads around an already confusing universe, and it is most certainly fueling some of the skepticism out there. Phrases like “Come on, you’re all the same,” “I can’t tell the difference between any of you,” and “I don’t know why I should partner with you over another company” cut like a knife from where I sit, but aren’t wholly unwarranted.
To help marketers and agencies craft some smart questions for their next meeting, here’s some of what they will probably hear, and what they should know.
“We can target the same viewer across all platforms”
Online video is growing, along with mobile devices and connected television, and advertisers want to deliver their message to the same viewer across multiple platforms. In theory, this involves targeting the viewer on his or her iPhone right after seeing a brand message on a laptop at work, or on the Roku set-top device during morning coffee.
It’s a sexy story, but connecting those instances to the same user is not possible at this time. A digital powerhouse like Apple, Facebook, or Google might eventually make a connection between the viewers on each device, but this strategy is impossible to deliver at scale right now.
Questions to ask: How are you connecting the dots between the viewer simultaneously on their blackberry and MacBook while watching TV? More importantly, if you have solved that challenge, what are you doing to effectively leverage each channel with your marketing message?
“We provide full transparency”
Transparency has long been video advertising’s Achilles’ heel, and marketers should demand more (if not total) transparency up front. DSPs and exchanges provide access to large amounts of inventory and, in an attempt to quell fears around where the ads are delivered, they promise page-level metrics and reporting. But the complicated implementation of media buying and video ad delivery through channels makes it very difficult to get a handle on the actual page URL or information about the video content stream the ad is delivered alongside.
The lightweight integration between publishers and the ad exchanges from which DSPs buy inventory results in very little content and page-level information making its way to the DSP. Although there is the promise of transparency, buyers have to cross their fingers and hope for brand-safe ad placements.
Lastly, transparency means different things to different companies. So don’t take the assertion at face value. Rather, always ask what you will be able to see. The less it looks like a black box, the better.
Question to ask: Can you show me, not only on which inventory my campaign ran, but on which inventory my campaign was effective?
“We have over 6 gazillion potential video views”
Scale is quite possibly the most attractive quality for a publisher, ad network, marketplace, or DSP to discuss, and with good reason. Large scale is part of what allows an intelligent platform to deliver optimal performance, but it can also be grossly exaggerated. The key word here is “potential.” Beware the providers that claim more inventory per day than what actually exists across the entire digital video landscape. If the numbers don’t add up, they aren’t real.
Question to ask: Knowing my objectives, what is your actual reach to help me achieve them?
“Our technology constantly optimizes to your goals”
“Optimization” is an easy word to say, and a buyer would be hard-pressed to think of the last vendor pitch that didn’t tout that offering. The reality is, on many occasions, optimization is done by manually shifting delivery to the placements driving the best click-through rate (CTR). I will not turn this article into yet another missive on CTR, but rarely can one performance metric serve as a proxy for another. If you’re trying to move the needle on brand metrics, optimizing for clicks is not the way to go.
Question to ask: Can you optimize my campaign toward brand metrics? How do you do it?
Online advertising is full of cutting edge, comparable companies and products competing for brand dollars, which can lead some to stretch the truth to win the race. Differentiating a company truthfully and artfully is solid marketing strategy. When you sit down for a technology pitch, have your questions ready, and don’t settle for abstract answers.
Jason Burke is the VP of operations for VideoHub, the enterprise platform division of Tremor Video.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
“Group of business people hiding“ image via Shutterstock.
Google recently announced that the United States and several other Western governments drastically increased the number of censorship requests during the second half of 2011. The most recent Google Transparency Report, which is Google’s fifth transparency report since 2009, indicates that the U.S. government has increased the number of censorship requests by an alarming 718%. [...]
For the last two years, Google has been releasing data about requests to remove content and hand over user data from government agencies around the world. Late last night, the company released the latest set of this data, which covers the second half of 2011. In it, Google notes that it received 187 content removal requests from U.S. government agencies, asking for the removal of 6,192 items across the company’s product portfolio. To put this into perspective: in the first half of 2011, Google was only asked to remove 757 items in the U.S. and only received 92 removal requests. Google complied with 42% of these requests.
According to its report, Google received 6,321 user data requests covering 12,243 user accounts in the second half of 2011. It complied with 93% of these. While these numbers are slightly higher than for the previous reporting period, Google points out that this increase isn’t surprising, as it continues to attract more users and now offers more products and services.
In a blog post that accompanied the release of this data, Google notes that an increasing number of governments worldwide tend to ask the company to take down political speech. What’s most frightening here, says Google senior political analyst Dorothy Chou, is that “some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.” The Spanish government, for example, asked for the removal of 270 search results “linked to blogs and articles in newspapers referencing individuals and public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors.” In total, Google complied with 65% of the court orders it received and 47% of more informal requests.
A number of countries, including the Czech Republic, Bolivia, Ukraine and Jordan made their first removal requests last year.
As for the U.S.’s peaceful neighbors up north, Google says it “received a request from the Passport Canada office to remove a YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet.” Google did not comply with this request.
You can find the full report here.