Our API directory has hit another major milestone. We now list 5,000 APIs, just a short four months since passing 4,000. No longer is the web simply about links connecting one site to another. Instead, developers are using tools to connect data and functionality from one site to another site. It’s an incredible transformation that has happened over a very short period of time. APIs are at the heart of Google’s strategy and they led directly to the growth enjoyed by Twitter and Facebook.
In the previous post, I discussed some results of a survey where we asked about how companies can use social media to achieve competitive advantage.
In that survey, Prof. Quy Huy and I, also asked participants to tell us how the structure of their industries was affected by the introduction of social media tools.
We conceptualized industry structure by using the well known Porter’s 5 Forces framework. Essentially, we asked about the impact that the introduction of social media had on barriers to entry in the respondent’s industry (i.e. did the barriers to entry increase, decrease or remain the same), intensity of competition (i.e. did it increase, decrease, remain the same), power of buyers (i.e. did this power increase, decrease or remain the same), power of suppliers (i.e. did this power increase, decrease or remain the same) and the threats of substitutes (i.e. did these threats increase, decrease or remain the same)…
Imagine that you wanted a new home theater system. But instead of spending hours in Best Buy or on Amazon comparing configurations and assembling the parts you needed, you could signal what you wanted and a company would create it for you. You might simply Pinterest the elements you liked, including information about your space or noise limitations (“One-bedroom apartment on busy street in New York,” or “suburban space that needs stuff protected from little kids”), and then have a retailer give you a personalized, optimal configuration.
Right now, social is largely seen as a way to amplify messages (“Like” us on Facebook!) or to create conversations around customer service (“We’re so sorry you’re having a problem,” the persistent tweet from @ComcastCares). These two key functions — Marketing and Service — are regularly discussed as shaped by social era dynamics.
But the social era can — and will — be more than that. It will help us decide what we make, how much we make, and how we finance that production. While social media doesn’t shift Porter’s model, the social era surely does…
When big business leaders think about social media they tend to focus on three things: innovative technologies, marketing applications, and IPOs — the three factors that make Facebook and Twitter so hot.
But if that’s the focus, it’s surely misplaced. Because it isn’t the social media per se that you should be attending to; it’s the media used by the people and organizations that care most about what you do. These “stakeholder media” aren’t always Facebook or Twitter…
Marketers have long known that consumers vary widely in terms of their influence over others, but today’s social networks are making those differences plain for all to see. Aiming to zero in on the shoppers with the widest social clout, Volga Verdi is a California-based fashion brand that offers its customers discounts depending on the number of friends, followers or fans they have on popular social networks. READ MORE…
History it seems has a habit of repeating itself in Scottish rugby and some ruts seem forever inescapable. And this has never been more apparent than in the past week.
The week started very much as it finished – you could even argue that it got worse.
But this is nothing to do with results or performance. This is to do with support and respect.
Last week, a player suddenly retired from the Scotland team. The player ranks tenth in all time appearances for Scotland, fourth in all time point scorers, tops the drop goal list, claimed many man of match awards representing his country, was instrumental in notable victories over England, Ireland, South Africa and the first ever Southern Hemisphere tour win in Argentina. He also appeared in two world cups and was voted Scotland player of the tournament by his teammates at one of those. For such a player to suddenly retire mid tournament, one would naturally assume that it was the result of an unfortunate injury. When you add the name Dan Parks, any such assumptions are quickly replaced by others far more damning for Scottish rugby, its media and its supporters.
The press were quick to point their fingers at the public citing all the cases of criticism and lack of support they could find. And they were right to – outside of Firhill (and its predecessors), Dan was never guaranteed the support and respect his considerable contribution to Scottish rugby’s fortunes deserved. However, the press were less keen to point out their own part in the story and the effect their own criticism had not only on Dan but on the way the public perceived and treated him.
Fair, however, isn’t the press’s primary concern. In Scotland, criticism of our national team, sells papers and gets page views. In the frustration of defeat, it’s easier to conspire with a reader’s desire for blame and apportionment than to fly the flag for performance, improvement and optimism.
Criticism can of course be fair and even helpful when it is restricted to a specific incident, match performance or even run of form. But unending, unyielding and unwarranted criticism served with an extra large side of pessimism is neither fair nor helpful.
The Scotland on Sunday’s match preview for Wales v Scotland was unrelenting in its predictions of failure. Article after article told that Scotland were not only going to be beaten but beaten well and beaten in just about every position and aspect of the game.
Yet the Scotland team that took to the pitch dominated the first half and played attractive, entertaining and free flowing rugby that would be a credit to any side in the world. The only problem was in that final pass and getting across the try line. It’s accepted that this down to confidence and hoped that at some point, good performances will breed the confidence to start scoring tries. But can a team really develop that confidence when they are constantly being sledge-hammered with negativity, criticism and pessimism by their own press?
Unfortunately, it is not only the media who are to blame.
Social media has given supporters tremendous opportunity to interact directly with pro-team and national side players but it has also given them tremendous power and a power that needs to be used responsibly.
Twitter has different implications from the newspaper comment sections and forums where hate and bile boil in anonymity and the comfort of knowing those you were insulting were almost certainly never to see your diatribe. Those mediums are distant and hands off.
Twitter is direct and hands on. It’s also instant, unmoderated and uncontrolled. Anybody can tweet anything about anyone and anyone else can retweet or reply including a mention of anyone else they like. And that’s what’s wonderful about it. But it’s also what’s dangerous about it when it comes to venting frustrations in the form of insults or unfair criticism of others.
While some seem to have few issues with @ mentioning those they are insulting or criticising directly, others choose to instead to only include their name. However, that does not mean it will not be seen by the player, their colleagues, their friends or their family as conversations develop and include accounts with followers other than those of the original poster. Hashtags and searches bring in an even wider array of readers. Would you be happy to tell @PhilBack he cannae play for toffee directly (or even to his face)? And if not, are you still happy to say Phil Back cannae play for toffee knowing there’s a chance someone else might RT it into his timeline?
Again the type of criticism is key. Phil Back may not care that you think he bodged a pass, tackle or kick – he may even agree. He may also agree that he was daft to concede that penalty, that he had a bad match or hasn’t been in his best form of late. But do you think calling him useless, saying he doesn’t try hard enough or telling him he should never play for Scotland again is so easy for him to shrug off? Do you think if he reads that over and over again, he’ll be able to play with the confidence we want and need to see for the team ever to achieve their full potential?
Dan Parks may not be on Twitter but that is no guarantee that the torrent of criticism and insults tweeted after his kick was charged down during last week’s Calcutta Cup (a team rather than individual error) didn’t filter through to him via friends, family and colleagues who do use the platform.
Hopefully all the positive remarks and well wishes tweeted about him after his retirement was announced were passed on. However, despite the criticism and regret for the treatment Dan had received, it seems supporters have been slow to learn from that lesson also.
Joining Parks in receiving criticism on Twitter after the England game was one of the better performers from that match who was told through an @ mention that he lacked one of the more fundamental skills of a rugby player. The player himself did not reply or retweet but one of his colleagues did step in to defend him. A colleague who was not mentioned in the original tweet and who did not follow the sender – clear indication that tweets can cut deep enough for players to discuss them amongst themselves.
On Thursday, insults were saved for the stands and a player’s mother abused.
And following the match in Wales, numerous players were the subject of some fair and a lot of not so fair criticism on Twitter. At least five players were deemed so bad that as well as criticism and even abuse, it was also suggested that they should never play for Scotland again. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Dan Parks wasn’t the first, isn’t the only and won’t be the last to be on the receiving end of unfair criticism from fans. Nor will he be the only one to have questioned whether continuing is worthwhile given the heartache and criticism they face.
There are a few things that set rugby players apart from those of us who watch from the stands or our sofas –talent, ability, dedication, determination and resilience being a few of them – but they are still people. People who sometimes make mistakes no matter how hard they try and people whose feelings can be hurt and confidence undermined by the misjudged words of others – particularly when those words are heard over and over again.
The psychological issues why Scottish teams struggle with confidence and killer edge are complex and deep rooted within our culture. However, confidence is infectious and confidence breeds confidence. The more people who chose to support the team positively rather than needlessly criticise, the more others will be encouraged to do the same. The potential is there to create a swell that will feed through to the team and actively assist in the creation of the confident, try-scoring side we know they have the talent and potential to be. And if miracles really do happen, it may just rub off on the media too and further boost the players’ confidence rather than chip away at it.
So that’s the challenge for all Scottish rugby supporters: to make#BackingBlue more than just a hashtag or a simple good luck message before a match; to realise that supporting our team is more than singing Flower of Scotland or cheering a victory; to make supporting our team and our players something we actively do and do to its fullest – particularly when mistakes or frustrating results mean OUR team and OUR players need OUR support the most.
"This business model is right for a company selling Purina Dog Chow, circa 1970."
"There’s no way we could ever be this collaborative."
Both are comments I got about my book, back in 2009, about setting direction, collaboratively. The first is from a Google executive; the second, from an exec at Cisco. Same business model architecture, two entirely different responses: obvious or unachievable….