Archive for April 2010

What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Customers

Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes
Mia Dand posted a summery of “What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Business” which covers the new social features introduced by Facebook. The minute I saw her post's title, it occurred to me “what does it means for your customers?”.
Today I got a call from one of my friends, and he said “your picture is placed on CNN website”. I said “pardon?”. But it took a while for me to realize what has really happened. I visited this page on CNN website yesterday, and clicked on “recommend” button to test this new feature. Later, when my friend visited CNN website to read the news of his interest, he suddenly saw a section  called “friend’s activity”, under which my profile picture is appearing with the social actions I took on CNN website.

Makes perfect sense for CNN as a business isn’t it? CNN (with the help of Facebook) tracked my behavior, and recommended this page, to my friend who happened to visit a different page on CNN.Smart marketing!

Now let’s take look at it from a customer’s point of view.

For my friend, the page I “recommended” actually doesn’t have any relevance. He is from the banking industry, and very little he is interested about what Facebook is up to do next. He doesn't have a tiniest of interest about Facebook or social media marketing. Just because we are “friends” on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily means we always share the same interests.

Saturday, April 24, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What Motivates People to Participate in Social Media?

Sometime back, I initiated a discussion thread on the topic “What Motivates People to Be Highly Engaged in a Community?” on Richard Millington’s community site "Commania".  This discussion created one of the liveliest threads on Commania, which brought quite a lot of interesting insights into,what really keep motivating people in actively participating in online communities.

Having an idea of what drives the most active participants in a community is important for a community manager to keep the liveliness of the community. If it is said that only 1% of the users of Social Media, actively contribute for content creation; then, isn’t it important to know what motivates this 1%? If you know the factors driving these people, you can intensify the existence of such factors, and hence increase the level of participation.

I’ve researched several literature written on human motivation, and summarized some of the salient drivers in a self explanatory model.(Click on the image to view it in full size)

Before participating actively in social media, one must have an intention of doing so. Even if you have the intention, sometimes the situational factors can cease you from actively participating in the community.

Your intention to participate can arise from either intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation embedded in the action itself (comes within the individual), rather than from external rewards such as money or recognition. Intrinsic motivation comes from the pleasure of completing the task satisfactorily. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation refers to the motivation coming outside the individual. These are external factors such as money or recognition. For example, a person might engage in a certain action because of the monetary benefits that he could gain by completing the action. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure, that the action/task itself may not provide.

Personality of an individual plays a major role, whether he/she is motivated mostly by intrinsic factors or by extrinsic factors. A person with a highly extroverted personality, might be more likely to be motivated by factors like recognition, reciprocity, and affiliation, whereas a person with a more introverted personality might not be interested in such factors.

Defining Some of the Concepts in the Model

Altruism (as defined in Wikipedia) is selfless concern for the welfare of others.

Peter Kollock (1999) suggests, a person is motivated to contribute valuable information to the group in the expectation that one will receive useful help and information in return. Indeed, there is evidence that active participants in online communities get more responses faster to questions than unknown participants. He identifies three major reasons for why people actively participate in online communities. 

Anticipated reciprocity., A user is motivated to contribute to the community in the expectation that he will receive useful help and information in return.

Increased recognition., individuals want recognition for their contributions. The desire for prestige is one of the key motivations for individuals’ contributions in an online community.

Sense of efficacy., Individuals may contribute because the act results in a sense that they have had some effect on the community.

Other Resources

This presentation by Trebor Scholz, on the topic “Motivating People to Participate” is one of the most resourceful information I found on the internet about this topic.

Dawn Foster of Fast Wonders blog writes about “What Motivates Participants to Engage in Online Communities”, which I thought as quite comprehensive too.

[Way] back in 2006, Kelly Nuxoll writes about “What Motivates People to Participate in Online Communities?” on

If you have any other helpful resources on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment, or post a link to a related web resource.

Originally posted on Like this blog? Get email updates when I post next time, or subscribe to the feed on a reader. Follow me on Twitter @Amisampath 
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Building Professional Relationships with Social Media

Although I was not one of the first Facebook users, I do consider myself to be an early adopter of social media. With friends spread out all over the US and the world, I started using it from a personal perspective, to keep in touch with people. Then, when I joined Twitter in April of 2008, I started to see how social media is also valuable for business – I figured I would use it to keep up on industry news, raise the profile of my company, and see what other legal marketers were talking about.

While I do use Twitter and other social media channels for all of that, I quickly learned the most important thing about social media: it’s all about relationships. Some people might say that I’m biased to look for that as a theme, because my company, the International Lawyers Network (ILN), is an association of law firms worldwide, and it, too, is all about relationships. But I’ve been especially struck by this theme over the past few months as I’ve traveled to both legal industry and social media conferences.

One of the things that has been drilled into me during law firm client panels since I joined the ILN five and a half years ago is that "clients hire lawyers, not law firms," essentially saying that it's all about relationships. This was backed up again by a client panel I attended while at the Legal Marketing Association’s conference in March, where the panelists talked about how important chemistry is when choosing a lawyer to hire. But this principle doesn't just apply to law firms - everyone makes purchasing decisions based on chemistry. For example, if I'm looking for a new web designer for our group's website, I'm going to want to work with someone I trust, someone who understands my personality and how I work, as well as what I want to communicate through the site. Where will I find those people? My starting point is always my personal and professional networks – I ask other people that I trust in the industry who they’ve worked with and who they think will do a good job by posting a query on our industry listserv, putting a call for help out on Twitter, and even asking my networks through a status update on Facebook and LinkedIn. That gives me a short list to do my research – for that, I’ll go online and Google the companies. I’ll visit their websites and see who their clients are, and then take a look at their clients’ sites to see if they fit in with my company’s style. I’ll check to see if they have a blog so I know what they’re talking about and maybe I’ll even see if they are on Twitter. I’ll look for an individual at each of those companies to connect with online at LinkedIn. And that’s when it comes down to chemistry – who can I work with? Of course, I’ll set up phone calls or meetings if they’re located nearby to talk with them about my project, but checking out their online profiles first can give me insight into the type of culture at the company, the personality of the person, and whether we can work together. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention finding out if they have the appropriate skills – it’s assumed that when I get to my final list, everyone on it will be talented. So the differentiation is about their relationship with me, not their abilities. This process applies both in my personal and my professional life and I've talked to others who feel the same, so when working with my own clients, I always try to think about how I would want to be approached.

If I’m talking to my networks and doing my initial research online, most likely, a lot of other people are doing the same, so I have to ensure that my company’s online profile and relationships are solid. We have a website that’s regularly updated with our member firm news and links to our blog, where I talk about issues in the legal industry that my audience wants to hear about. I don’t just push out news about my company – I’m trying to engage with my audience in each post, to give them something of value, and get them to think about the topic and contribute to the discussion. I use Twitter to point people to my blog, but again, also to engage. I read what people are talking about, ask them questions, pass along their blogs and comment on their posts. Some of these people are now on my list of Facebook friends, where they get an even deeper insight into my personal life and get to know me beyond my professional role. On LinkedIn, I connect with other professionals, both in and out of the ILN and share news with them, participate in our ILN group by starting discussions, asking questions, and providing relevant content. By making myself and my company relevant and valuable to our audience, I raise the profile of the ILN and position the group to be top of mind when someone in that audience needs assistance, either from me or one of our attorneys.

But you don’t need to wait until you need to hire someone or you need someone to hire your company to network and form relationships with people in your own industry. I have gained and continue to gain so much from the relationships I have formed with other talented, passionate people in the legal marketing industry and last month’s conference showed me that very clearly. Social media also played a large role in enhancing my experience at the conference itself, and was best explained by legal marketer, Heather Milligan, in a post on her blog, The Legal Watercooler. By connecting with people through social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and then taking those relationships offline and meeting my contacts in person, I am able to build friendships that inspire me professionally, support me personally, and give me a collective expertise to draw on among people I already trust.

I came away from the Legal Marketing Association conference and more recently, from Social Fresh Portland, with a lot of good ideas and excitement about future projects thanks to the sessions and the people I interacted with there. But overwhelmingly for me, my greatest takeaway has been about the relationships - whether you're connecting online through social media, in person at a conference or cocktail party, or over the phone, it's all about engaging people and finding that right chemistry. Not only can it lead to business (and it doesn't have to), but it enhances my life in many other intangible ways.

This is a guest post by Lindsay Griffiths. Lindsay is a marketer and an events planner for the International Lawyers Network; an association of 91 high-quality, full-service law firms with over 5,000 lawyers worldwide.  She is officially a runner, and blogs about her running career at "Run Lindsay Run". You can contact Lindsay by tweeting her @ LindsayGriffith
 (If you wish to publish a guest post on Ami’s Space; drop me an email at amitha@ this domain)

Related Books on Amazon
Invisible Bridges: Building Professional Relationships for Results

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

25% Of Search Results On Google For The World’s Top 20 Brands, Link To User Generated Content

SES magazine (June 2009) featured an interesting article titled “Turning Blogs and User-generated Content Into Search Engine Results” (by Chris Aarons, Andru Edwards, & Xavier Lanier), which reveals a rather shocking statistic for many conventional brand managers. As stated in this article, according to MarketingVox and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, “More than 25 percent of search results on Google for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.”

This is going to be bad news for the brand managers, who believe they are in the center of the universe and they control everything about the brand that they manage. Apparently, it’s not you who is going to decide at least 25% of the things said about your brand on Google search results. Your customers; both happy and frustrated, will add at least 25% of the content appearing in these Google search engine result pages (SERPs). Yes; this includes the lot you have frustrated with your last brand blunder!

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Facebook Language Change PDF - Leaked Document

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Dialog Launches “Twitter Via Text” in Sri Lanka

Today, Dialog Telekom (@dialogtelekom) the Sri Lanka's largest mobile communication operator announced the news of introducing Twitter via Text service to Sri Lanka for the first time. With this, Sri Lanka becomes only the third country in the Asian region, to support Twitter via SMS, after India and Indonesia. This is expected to be a huge boost for the popularity of micro-blogging concept in Sri Lanka, with millions of Dialog customers are now being able to tweet form their mobile.

Twitter in Sri Lanka, is not as much as popular like Facebook, who dominates the social networking in the country. Most Sri Lankans use, Facebook status as a micro-blogging tool while only a fraction of the market have signed up with Twitter. Businesses too, have identified Facebook as a handy marketing tool, but Twitter marketing in Sri Lanka is still in its infancy stage.

How to activate Twitter via Text in Sri Lanka?

From your Dialog mobile, type START and send a text message to 40404. You will receive a confirmation, requesting you to reply with your Twitter username (if you already have an account) or reply with SIGNUP, to create a new Twitter account. Once you tweet your username to Dialog, they will reply asking you to reply with your password. If the password is correct, they'll request you to confirm by replying with OK, to use your mobile number with Twitter. 

Once the above steps are followed, you are now all set on Twitter SMS. You can now tweet, by simply sending text messages to o manage your Twitter via SMS; go to "Devices" in your Twitter home page.

Related Readings:
Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day
Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Sri Lanka Elections Department to Use Facebook Connect for Conducting Parliamentary Polls

 (Picture: Mark Zuckerburg explaining the Facebook Connect API, to the Sri Lanka elections chief Mr. Dayananda Dishanayake. Mr. Dishanayake is seen here examining one of the Facebook Connect widgets installed in Election Department servers)

We are about to witness the true capability of Social Media and Web 2.0 in changing our lives, when Facebook partners with the Department of Elections in Sri Lanka (DOESL) this year, to conduct the worlds first legitimate parliamentary election using the Facebook Connect API.

Thanks to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Mark Zuckerberg (the CEO of Facebook) and Sri Lankan elections chief Mr. Dayananda Dishanayake; millions of Sri Lankans living abroad will be able to vote in the upcoming Sri Lanka general election, by simply logging into their Facebook account. This will mark the history as the first time a social networking site is used for conducting a serious poll, like a parliamentary election.

The system will work with the standard Facebook Connect API, with few advance security features enabled, to avoid any interceptions during data transmission from user PC’s to the elections department servers. Sri Lankans living abroad, can login to on 8th April 2010, to see a special link placed on the website as “Connect with Facebook to Vote Online”. Clicking on this link will authenticate the user, and they will be prompted to enter the Sri Lanka passport number, to verify as a legitimate Sri Lankan voter. A combination of one Facebook account and one Sri Lanka passport can caste a vote in the election. Thereafter, the system will block your Facebook account and the passport number, if you make any further attempts of voting.

Speaking at a press conference to brief the media about this arrangement, young entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg said “this is the next level of of Facebook’s endless endeavor of being truly a social utility”. He further added, that he tried to introduce this system to US elections department during last presidential election, but the (then) ruling party Republicans lobbied against the bid, citing the possible disadvantages senator McCain would have received, given the massive popularity earned on Facebook by Democrat candidate Barack Obama. “However, Sri Lankan government responded positive, when we offered them the system. Two global commercial banks operating in Sri Lanka, which has major experiences in dealing with the Sri Lankan government in some oil hedging deals, and short-term government borrowing, played an intermediary role in making this a deal” said Mr. Zuckerberg, when asked about the intermediaries involved in taking two parties to an agreement. He refused to reveal any pricing details of the deal, and how the payments were handled by these two banks.

Speaking in the same press conference, Mr. Dayananda Dishanayake told the media that, he is at last relieved that a reliable system is installed in his department, after dealing for years with the inefficiencies of locally developed software to manage elections. “Finally, now I can retire and go home with peace in mind. If someone complaint about computer “gimmicks” in this election result, now I can ask them to file an “abuse” report to Facebook, by simply clicking a button”.

JVP Protests Against the New System

Meanwhile elsewhere in Colombo, the Marxist opposition party JVP called a press conference, objecting this as another undemocratic move by the Rajapakshe regime. Speaking in the press conference, the JVP leader Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe told the media, “This is another western conspiracy to challenge the sovereignty of our motherland. Facebook is an American company, and it represents the neo-colonized, capitalistic evil forces of the west”.

UNP Worried Over Possible Family Influences in the Deal

We contacted Mr. Thissa Attanayake, the general secretary of UNP; the major opposition party in the island nation, to know their response towards this move. “We have strong evidence to say that, Basil Rajapakshe owns a sizable stake in Facebook shares. He bought these shares, to the name of a senior Vice President of Facebook Inc, named one Mr. Chamath Palihapitiya, who is a native Sri Lankan. Chamath is the son of a first cousin of Basil’s ex-girl friend during school days. This is another shameless move by Rajapakshe brothers, to bring in their relatives to powerful positions in this country, and make this a family regime. See what has happened? Even the election department is going to be run by someone linked to the Rajapakshe family”.

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Originally posted on Like this blog? Get email updates when I post next time, or subscribe to the feed on a reader. Follow me on Twitter @Amisampath 

*If you are sill believing this is true, please check the date stamp for this post and check who is the April fool!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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