Knowing Who Drives Knowing How

When it comes to understanding the digital footprint of your consumers, it can be easy to become exasperated. Not only are there hundreds of Web 2.0 sites, the people who use them appear to be ever-more fragmented into smaller and smaller niches.

Yet despite this fragmentation, social networking sites should be considered gateways that help aggregate content and provide a useful method of contextualising consumer experience. A recent study by Anderson Analytics shows that there are clear age demographic related uses for each of the main social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace:

The study suggests that advertisers looking to connect through social networks will likely find consumers ages 15 to 24 on MySpace, versus 18 to 34 on Facebook, 15 to 34 on Twitter, and 18 to 44 on LinkedIn, according to Anderson.

Adoption rates of social networks

Now, if we cross-reference this data with the Forrester data about how people participate in social networking sites, suddenly we find that this data begins to make sense for those of us who have to plan and execute digital strategies.

For example, if we are focusing on those in the 65+ age group, we obviously need to look at Facebook. But we also know that this age group are spectators and critics – so when we begin to think through HOW we engage them, applications that allow for ratings, reviews and short comments are likely to win over applications that require content creation.

Of course, if you are just hoping to target those 15 year old entrepreneurs, cross pollinating LinkedIn and MySpace could well deliver you a lucrative niche. Hmmm … maybe that should be my next incarnation for!

Who’s The Old Dude in the Mirror?

I can remember, even as a very young child, thinking that my parents were old. Really old. And they were giants. They could lift me off the floor with ease, stride across the room in moments and eat plates of food that were larger than my head.

And later, when I was in my early twenties, I realised that I was fast approaching the age when my parents became parents. This made me realise that my perception was far from reality – I had imagined the lives of my parents only from my child’s point of view. But now I had questions. Surely, my twenty-something parents felt the same urges and stresses that I did. Wasn’t the world as open to them as it was to me?

Now, with every year, I look at the world through different eyes. I see the mistakes of my youth for what they were. Stupid, sometimes. Reckless, occasionally. But where I could, I only made them once. I learned not just from my own mistakes, but from others that I knew or observed at close range.

And slowly experience crept up on me. I learned to be neither daunted nor exhilarated by the unknown. I found pleasure in the slow, unfolding of relationships. And I realised that generosity required more courage than I had ever thought necessary.

And while these are things that I “know”, I still wonder, each day – “who’s the old dude in the mirror”. And you know what? He answers to the name, “Mr Heaton” – and I always thought that was my dad.

Via Marta Kagan (the marketing genius).

Tripitaka Gets a JaffeJuice Makeover

When Joseph Jaffe was in Sydney recently, we had the chance to meet for drinks and for dinner. It was a great opportunity to speak one-on-one, outside of the hubub of the ADMA Forum … and we were joined by Ian Lyons, Katie Chatfield, Jye Smith, Emily Baxter, Fi Bendall and Kristin Rohan, making sure that a great night was had.

During dinner, Joe asked about the Twitter avatar that I was using. It was an image of Tripitaka from the 1980s Monkey Magic TV series. Most people in my age group from Australia knew exactly who the avatar represented, but Joe was lost. It reminded me that even our pop cultural references can be exclusionary.

So, in order to help bridge the pop culture divide, I sent Joe a Monkey Magic T-shirt which he proudly wears in the latest episode of JaffeJuice TV (thanks to Jasmin Tragas for finding the shirt). Oh, and if YOU want one of the shirts, you can order it from RedBubble.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

(360/365) (207/365)Despite the various pronouncements that blogging is dead or being replaced by Twitter, I continue to find great writers all over the web. Some are new and some are well-known (to me at least). However, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the flood of new blog posts and ideas. As an antidote, each Monday I will write a brief post linking out to FIVE must-read posts from the last week.

Hope you enjoy them!

  1. Mack Collier’s Companies Don’t Fall for Social Media’s Fear Factor: As usual, Mack trains his laser focus on the business blog to dispel some of the myths
  2. Katie Chatfield’s Where Did the Future Go: Sharing a great presentation by Bruce Stirling
  3. Sonny Gill’s guest post on Danny Brown’s blog: Asking are we too connected, or not connected at all. Think about your own situation and weigh in on the topic
  4. Valeria Maltoni covers the Brains on Fire Manifesto: Valeria reminds us that passion drives conversation, not products and shows how Spike Jones and the team conceptualise this.
  5. Charles Frith reminds us how clever Michael Wesch is: “Context collapse” helps us understand how we cope with and process digital media within a social context. Fascinating.

And a quick question – what were your most interesting reads last week? Did I miss them?

Last Minute Call to Men

There are many impacts that we can have on the world – professionally, intellectually and emotionally – but for me, the most important impact we can have is on those that we love.

In mid-August, a new book will be published that documents, from  a personal point of view, the stories of what it means to be a man. So far we have received some fantastic contributions – running the gamut from fatherhood to adolescent transition. There is sorrow and there is joy … and each and every story is riveting.

But right now, there is still a chance to have YOUR story included in the compilation. Quickly take a look at the Perfect Gift for a Man site, register your interest, download the template and get writing. And in case you want some encouragement – here is a cheer just for you!

SAP and Social Media Brand Engagement


There is no doubt that there is a profound interest in the social web. On the consumer side, social applications allow us to connect with friends, acquaintances, celebrities, politicians and anyone else we find “interesting”. It can help us organise our lives, share our knowledge or expertise and, if we are lucky, find a life partner. The opportunities are endless.

Marketers can often see that these loosely formed, often organic, communities represent a great opportunity – for sales, marketing, brand building, customer service, market research and so on. Some may even see that the opportunity extends well beyond these categories – to other areas of their business. But it can really  be a struggle to place a VALUE on this – partly because the plethora of what can be described as “social media channels”, from YouTube to blogs and beyond each have different engagement characteristics and therefore represent different value propositions.

This report by Altimeter and WetPaint attempts to define and measure the impact that social media has on some of the world’s leading brands. It takes BusinessWeek’s top 100 brands and analyses their position in terms of social media engagement, providing scores, relative positions and explanations. The report showcases the efforts of Starbucks, Toyota, Dell and SAP (where I work).

One of the most exciting parts of this report is the finding that high levels of social media engagement correlates with stronger financial performance:

Back to the million-dollar question: Why do social media? We finally have a good answer: Because it pays off. While no one yet has the data to determine direct cause and effect, what we do find is a financial correlation between those who are deeply engaged and those who outperform their peers.

It is well worth reading the report in full to learn what some of the world’s leading companies are doing right, where the best practices lie, and understand how these are impacting the business across key indicators.

And, of course, the question remains … what are YOU and your business doing in social media? What’s your strategy? And how are you finding and measuring value in the process?

The Perfect Gift for a Young Man

passageAs I made that awkward transition into adulthood, I felt like I spent years pretending to be a man. Assuming the space and stance of a man. Answering (sometimes) to the name “Mr Heaton”. But I was rarely comfortable.

It was only some years later when I felt like I stopped the pretence. But the thing is … it wasn’t a conscious decision – the facade simply fell away. I just realised one day that the energy I was investing in my own creation was now focused somewhere else. It seemed to focus into myself, rather than outwards towards others.

And from that point onwards I felt comfortable in my own skin – as if I was filling out the clothes that I had been wearing since my teens. I felt I could breathe the shape of the world and hold it in my chest. It was a revelation.

The thing is, we all come to this sense of being in our own time. And the greatest surprise is that this well of understanding is always-already deep within us. Look quietly. You’ll find it there.


Every man has a story – no matter his age or experience. If you know someone whose story should be told, share it with us here. Each of these stories will be published in a special publication in time for Father’s Day in September 2009.

As Busy As a Bee with Tweehive

tweehive1 What happens when bee colonies collapse? Is there a Plan Bee?

To raise awareness around the essential role that bees play in the environment, a bunch of people have come together to produce TWEEHIVE – a Twitter based role playing game. This game will run over three days  in three months – July 14, August 7 and September 5 – all in the lead up to Pestival, an imaginative, educational and cultural experience designed to shift our thinking about insects, the environment and the way that we relate to the world.

How do you get involved?

  1. Change your profile pic to a bee for the day. If feeling lazy the pic at the top of this post is the right size & dimensions for twitterpic
  2. Check the #tweehive stream, interact with other bees & generally enjoy the buzz. If new to twitter that just means put "#tweehive" into the search box
  3. Follow @tweehive – there will be guest queen bees including Alison Benjamin. If new to twitter that just means put "tweehive" into the find people search box (top menu) & click "follow"
  4. Get into character. What would your bee be doing through the day?
    For inspiration
    when tweeting remember to write #tweehive to appear in the stream
    also remember you can message other specific bees by using @twittername in your tweet
  5. Join in the treasure hunt for flowers hidden on bee friendly and tweehive related websites. HINT these are luscious floating flower picture hidden placed at the bottom of the page
  6. It’s never too late to swarm – do tell all your likeminded friends.
    An easy way to do that of course now is simply taking part
  7. If you have a relevant website/blog do register to host a flower for other bees to find
  8. Watch out for on the spot tasks and other Tweehive surprises…

Do come and join the fun and the tweehiveFB group It’s part of an insect arts ecology event at London’s South Bank