Archive for January, 2011

January 24, 2011

Booming Foursquare growth: Have you checked in? [Stats]

Yes, I’m sharing another infographic; what can I say? I love these things…

Earlier this week, Foursquare released the infographic below to help demonstrate their meteoric growth in 2010. A few things caught my eye:

3,400% growth: First of all, this number is crazy. Foursquare now has over 6,000,000 users. When I first started using Foursquare early last year, I only had about six friends on my list for about six months. I was able to add venues and capture Mayorships almost everyday. Now I’m getting about six friend requests a week, and it is very hard to remain mayor of a venue, even at the office.

Regional Dominance: Specifically, the American and Canadian North East. Dominating much of the “Top 3″ lists are American cities, most notably New York. I guess you would expect this from the fourth largest nation on earth (China, India, Facebook, USA), but the line dividing the continent west of the Gulf of Mexico is pronounced and somewhat unexpected. Also, a shout out to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand for checking in what looks like as much as, if not more than, the area from Southern California to British Columbia.

Wendy is the Mayor of Wendy’s: Need I say more? Congrats to a lady named Wendy in Madison, Mississippi for holding down the mayorship at Wendy’s Hamburgers. This has inspired me to become Mayor of David’s Tea shop here in Ottawa.

(click for a larger image):

Foursquare 2010 Infographic

January 10, 2011

Facebook vs. Twitter: 2010 in the numbers [Stats]

Earlier this week, a colleague of mine sent me the infographic below that compares the 2010 statistics of the two social media giants. I was particularly interested in the “brand followers” segregated by platform, and the percentage of “brand followers” who said they would purchase the specific brand they were following (67% for Twitter and 51% for Facebook). I would love to see this explored in-depth.

It’s good news for Twitter, as they have leveled the “awareness” playing field. I think they still have some work to do on communicating to non-users about what Twitter can do (not reflected in this infographic), but they may be satisfied in their 100 million + total users (This number is 175 million on the at

Finally, the percentage of “users located outside the U.S.” serves as a strong reminder of the largely untapped opportunities social media provides internationally.

There’s more good stuff in there, take a look. I thought it was worth sharing…

January 1, 2011

5 steps to get started in Social Media

Every week I get asked the question we’ve all asked ourselves when it comes to participating in an ever-growing number of social media networks: “How do you do it?” To many social media enthusiasts, this is often a very personal question, and one we have figured out on our own terms.

After trying to answer the question as it means to me, I’ve figured out that the people who are asking the question really couldn’t care less about how I use social media. What they are asking is how can they get started and use it well.

I’ve boiled down the typical conversation to this list of the first 5 things beginners should do to get started using social media.

1. Set goals: Figure out what you want out of the tool. Do you want to get the latest headlines? Connect with friends? Build your personal brand? Look for career opportunities? Discuss shared interests? Share photos or videos? What you want out of the social media experience will help determine how you approach the next steps.

2. Pick your poison: A common mistake of social media newcomers is they want to play in all of the sandboxes at once: a daunting task for any user. Once you have an idea of what you want to gain from the use of a social media network, then the choice of which one you should join becomes clearer. You don’t need to pick them all; start with one or two and really get to know them. Here’s a great infographic covering the strengths of some of the more popular tools.

3. Sign up and build your profile: Your profile is a great opportunity to share the essence of who you are and what you are contributing to the social media community.  If you fail to add a proper photo, background, biography, real (or believable) name, etc., you are limiting the ability of others to find you through the social media tools themselves or search engines. A full profile establishes a level of credibility and trust which encourages other other users to. For example, here’s my @David_Hall Twitter bio:

Communications & PR Pro – P/T Algonquin College Professor – Social media enthusiast.
Passionate about managing traditional & social media for @algonquincolleg

It doesn’t include everything about me, but it gives a good snapshot of my main personal and professional interests that I will be discussing on Twitter. Never underestimate the importance of a full profile.

4. Sit back and listen: Once “you are in” start poking around and experimenting with the tool; see what it does, see what it doesn’t do, and more importantly, observe how others are using it to share their information or content.You will quickly understand the “culture” of the tool which will help your transition to step 5 much easier. Many social media platforms are fantastic listening tools where you are able to crowd-source in real-time to get a good feel of the conversation taking place at any given moment.

5. Join the conversation by adding value: This is where you will sink or swim in social media – It’s all about content and conversations driven by the users. Be real, be relevant, be useful. Share a resource or expertise, ask a question, answer a question, report on breaking news, promote cool stuff, share your opinion on current events, and be sure before each posting to ask yourself “who cares?” If the honest answer is “nobody,” you may want to reconsider.

Final thoughts: Ultimately, social media is about sharing experiences. Pick a tool that best fits your interests. If you want to keep in contact with people you have met in your offline world, Facebook would be a good start. If you are looking for the latest information, breaking news, connections with thought leaders, and a place to share your experiences in a common conversation, Twitter is your first step. Start with LinkedIn to augment your professional presence online; and look to YouTube, Photobucket, or Flickr to share  and consume user-generated multimedia photos and videos.

Did I miss something social media newcomers should be aware of? Let me know, add your comments.


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