Author Archives: Paula Marttila

Foto: Chris Heuer

Social + Cash was the theme of the sixth edition of Swedish social media conference held last week by Annika Lidne, CEO of Disruptive Media. She has been organizing social media conferences in Sweden since 2007, attracting international guests and keynote speakers like Chris Heuer, Brian Solis, Stowe Boyd, Steve Rubel, Natasha Friis Saxberg, Henriette Weber, Jyri Engeström, Neville Hobson, and Peter Parkes. (See videos from all six conferenses and read Brian’s thoughts on his previous visit).

The one day conference has from the start been streamed live free of charge, having twice as many simultanious online viewers as the 200 attendees on site. The conversations on the live video chat and on Twitter have become the natural ingredient and trademark of the conference.

To quote the keynote speaker Chris Heuer, founder of Social Media Club:

“I really love Sweden and a big part of it is the experience I have at Annika’s conferences. There is just a different energy there, you can tell she really gets it, and wants to help others understand why this media is disruptive, too.”

Swedish State Of The Internet

A few figures from the state of the Internet in Sweden might be interesting to put the conference in context. 62% of the population of 9,3 M uses the Internet on daily bases, and according to recent report, the number of sold Iphones “in the home of Sony Ericsson” reaches up to 500 000. 5 % of the people blog, 27% read blogs, nearly 40% have a Facebook account, and Sweden is holding the 19th place on the list of unique Twitter users in the world. Sweden also holds the top position in the Nordics with highest number of blogs among listed corporations (17,9% Nov -08), thus higher than among Fortune 500 companies (15.8% Dec -09).

There’re also good efforts being made to identify and measure corporate social media, particularly Twitter, usage in Sweden.

So, how does the social capital that individuals and brands earn by engaging on the social web convert to ROI, return on investment? Does it, and if so, can it be measured?

Chris Heuer opened up the conference by urging us to move the lence of focus to delivering the promise of social media by changing from management to leadership, as by finding new success stories like clubs on Sunset Strip instead of the good old Dell story. Since free is not free, it costs time, money and attention, and the time being our most valuable resource, there should be a balance between what one gives and takes. Chris warned us from being selfish cookie monsters. Everybody needs to get paid, as one can’t live of Whuffie alone. He also talked about consious capitalism, where in the light of social media transparency, only individuals and companies who want to do good and make good products, without exploitative profit plans, will survive, thus profiting from social media. Watch the entire keynote and presentation on Slideshare.

The day offered many good examples of ROI, e.g. how an author, by releasing her book for free on the Pirate Bay, instead made money through donations, or how by engaging influential fashion bloggers in a transparent and trustworthy way with help of Bloglovin’ (Browser based blog reader with 96% female users and 5,5 M visits/month), Modcloth sold out clothes within 24 hours, or how the satisfied bank customers are the ones doing all the selling by discussing and commenting on the CEO’s blog. (All presentations in Swedish.)

To my liking, the day also highlighted the importance of ambassadors, how there simply is no universal social media strategy to be implemented, and how creating relationships and trust takes as long time online as it takes offline.

Catch up the whole conference in English and in just 53 min! with key takeaways summed up directly from stage by Chris Heuer, Annika Lidne and myself, moderated by Joakim Nyström, host of the Sweet Sunday Web Crunch, Swedish weekly live podcast show with everything Internet.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Follow her on Twitter:
@paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

The harsh and severe weather conditions in Sweden, with continuing snowfall and temperatures below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, are making Swedish social media channels to boil.

The horror stories of people’ve been let off at freezing empty stations without toilets and no information what so ever on connecting trains, as trains’ve been stuck for 13 hours overnight with no toilets, food or beverage, have flooded the media.

Last weekend was particularly troublesome, and whereas SJ, Swedish national railway company, has been failing throughout the winter to get the travellers to their destinations, properly communicate disturbances, as well as to compensate delays, Swedish online movie startup Headweb, rushed to comfort the upset travellers.

On Sunday afternoon it posted an offering via its blog, Facebook and Twitter: Send a picture of your train ticket in exchange to one free rental movie.

The retweeting and blogging took off, and in just couple of hours more than 300 delayed and disappointed travelleres had received a free online rental movie. Happy replies and reports from people watching movies while stuck on the trains, making their journeys more bearable, kept pouring in.

Now, the biggest parody in the story lies in the fact that the Twitter account of SJ is “open” only weekdays between 9 am to 4 pm. At the times like these the last thing a disteressed weekend traveller needs is to be greeted on Twitter with: “Logging off, have a nice weekend and good luck with the snowstorm”.

Sadly, even the entire SJ website was down for couple of hours during the rush hours on Sunday, leaving a busy phone line as the only source for information. To have alternative communication channels such as a blog, Facebook and Twitter account, or SMS service, if ones service fails, offline or online, would tremendously help out the situation and increase customer satisfaction. At the moment I can count up to five active Facebook groups with dissatisfied SJ customers compared to SJ’s own inactive Facebook page with 12 fans.

Not every transportation company, or for that matter any company, has come as far as Alaska Airlines, hence to avoid the worst backlashes and pitfalls when new to social media, such as SJ, one needs to be committed to integrate social media as a natural part of the business. There is really no such thing as opening hours” in social media.

Although Headweb didn’t get the travellers sooner to their destinations, it eased their pain and frustration offering compassion and a moment of recreation, i.e. what any company or a person should do when a fellow citizen is in need. An example of true brand building and social media marketing at the cost of – listening and caring.

Stand-up comedians have a saying when going on stage, which I think translates particularly well into social media: “Either you kill, or you get killed”. Either you build trust, or you just might lose it forever.

More reading on Headweb and Nordic online movie startup scene.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Follow her on Twitter: @
paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

It’s striking how fast one has come to experience search, distribution and measurability of ones content across different social platforms as a commodity, no matter how great or disruptive the service itself might be. Since all objects are social, we also have a need to share and know what’s going on with our content to better interact around it.

Good example of a great and disruptive service is Prezi, an online visualization and storytelling tool that aims to change the way people present information and tell their stories. To me Prezi was love at first beta invite, resulting it to become one of the very few software products that I’m actually, and happily, paying for. And I’m not the only one who’s been dazzled by how it inspires and challenges, both its user and audience, at the same time. In just within a year Prezi has become the darling of the innovative minds in tech, design and educational institutions. It’s often seen on stage in places like Davos, TED conferences, who also has invested in Prezi, and LeWeb. Robert Scoble is in love with it, and it’s certainly not every day Umair Haque describes a product as “total awesomeness”.

Thus, it’s no surprise that education, social media and technology are the most common words used in the public prezis.

The Hungarian startup with its Swedish CEO Peter Arvai and Jack Dorsey, Co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Square, on the advisory board, seems to have chosen the right path by being obsessive about the product development to create great user experience and an awesome product. As Jason Calacanis keeps reminding the startups on TWiST: “Create great user experience and an awesome product, and the business will follow.” Having both dedicated fans and paying customers with a great product is a good space for Prezi to be in, but to stay competitive I think it’s important they gear up its social sharing and discovery of content a notch.

Prezi was early to embrace social media by including basic social sharing options, as well as using blogging, Twitter and Facebook for customer feedback and service.

If that’s not enough for being social as a service, what am I still missing?

User profile and improved search: To be able to share and socialize around content it needs to be found. There’s no public user profile page, and since the search function only includes the titles of the content, it’s nearly impossible to search and find single users. (I’ve tested to add my name in the description field without any luck). For example: A search for Sean Percival results to a copy of his presentation saved by someone else only because his name is found in the title. On the positive note, Prezi has become more search engine optimized after changing its URL structure to more readable ones.

Tags and categories: Adding possibility to tag and categorize content will also facilitate and improve the search and user experience.

Statistics: A standard and important feature in so many levels, both to the user and the service itself. Prezi does have a page for popular prezis, which I believe would better serve its purpose if including metrics about number of viewings and sharings.

Notifications: Since it’s possible to “pad”, i.e. like, a presentation, as well as to comment on it, it’s necessary to receive a notification of some sort to be able to act upon it. This would also help to increase the conversation and engagement level of the Prezi community.

Slideshare: All the functionality mentioned is found on the largest document sharing service Slideshare, yet a closed door for prezis. As Slideshare doesn’t support Prezi’s file format and Prezi doesn’t offer any conversion functionality, this has become a slight inconvenience to, and a request from, its users, who now have to use manual workarounds.

Copyright: Gregg from GriDD

Whereas Prezi’s claimed to be the Powerpoint killer, it’s actually pretty funny to find over 200 Powerpoint or Keynote presentations on Slideshare about Prezi, or actual prezis converted to ones. Think if they were all prezis.

Prezi recently released an improved editor, to my liking, and is now also offering reuse of all the public prezis. There’s a free public license option so you can easily let yourself get inspired by the works of both Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons, and Sean Percival of MySpace, to get started with your own storytelling.

To quote Joi Ito: “All of our talks are inspired by others and using and reusing material should significantly improve the quality of all of our talk.”

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Follow her on Twitter:
@paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

There’s more to Swedish online music scene than Spotify. While waiting for its big U.S. launch and trying to avoid being jeaulous of the French now signing up for free, there’s other cool stuff from Sweden to discover new music with. On the go. For free.

One of my absolute favourite services to discover new music and keep it fresh is CitySounds.fm. It was developed in only 15 hours by Henrik Berggren and David Kjelkerud at Music Hack Day London. CitySounds.fm lets one discover music produced in cities worldwide, metropolitan or small town, as well as it automatically locates ones current city. It’s based on SoundCloud API, using all the public geotagged music available. Swedish SoundCloud is an online collaboration tool for music professionals to share music and audio files. (Check out Robert Scoble’s interview with SoundCloud co-founder Alexander Ljung to get wowed). Each city is listed by different music genres and one can become a fan of a city by sharing it on both Facebook and Twitter, thus adding social music discovery element to it. To favourite a city helps it also to climb on the popular chart.

New music providers are to be announced, and an update is coming out this week on the web version with enhanced navigation and better tracking of Facebook sharings, also replacing the old board with new one showing the latest updated cities instead. Since December CitySounds.fm is also available on the iPhone at price of $3. It’s already had over 2 000 downloads. A major update on the iPhone app is also in the making, expect it within next two months.

CitySounds.fm attracts today 60 000 monthly visits counting for approx. 150 000 plays.

Music Hack Day Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden, was also the place to accomodate the latest edition of Music Hack Day after BostonAmsterdam, Berlin, and London. Together with Mattias Arrelid of Spotify, Henrik Berggren of CitySounds.fm threw a great hacking weekend with Spotify, SoundCloud, Last.fm and Echo Nest among attending companies. 30 cool new music projects were born and I was as impressed as David Noël of SoundCloud and Matthew Ogle of Last.fm. Rumors are circulating having the next hack day either in New York, Barcelona or London.

Few Nice Examples:

My City vs. Your City by Michael Schieben is a pretty neat music discovery app that uses Last.fm data to compare what people listen to in different cities. As one can see, Stockholm and San Francisco may be close when it comes to tech but appararently Lady GaGa is the only thing we seem to agree on when it comes to music.

Songkick On Tour connects ones Songkick and Dopplr accounts to find shows happening in ones city of destination. Never miss a great gig when travelling. Songkick On Tour was created by Matt Biddulph, CTO of Dopplr.

Holodeck by Winston Design is kind of what Mobile Roadie is to iPhone apps, except for websites: With Holodeck an artist can create its own website in no time by pulling data from Last.fm, Songkick, Tumblr and SoundCloud accounts. Very neat. Check out.

All this new music discovery is made possible due to availability of open APIs. Hence, the power of open APIs is substansial when it comes to online innovation, both within product development and business models.

And there doesn’t seem to be any stop to the ever increasing flow and demand of music online. SoundCloud is experiencing 30% monthly growth, having 10 000 hours of audio uploaded every day! Last.fm does 2 million scrobbles per hour, i.e. automatically adds the tracks you play to your Last.fm account, and gets more than 45% of its traffic via 3rd party APIs!

To quote Matthew Ogle, Last.fm: “It’s pretty clear that 2010 is going to be an exciting year in music and tech.”

Online music scene community truly represents what’s great about the open and social web: The more you open up, the more you share – the more you receive and discover.

More bub.blicio.us reading on music.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Follow her on Twitter:
@paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

Flickr cc: Jösé

Bambuser, Swedish live video streaming service, keeps climbing the online social video ladder by announcing Facebook Fan Page integration. Fan Page integration has been one of the most requested features on Bambuser since enabling broadcasting live directly on Facebook Wall feed for three months ago.

The fact that the service, including Facebook Fan Page integration, is free to consumers and non profit organisations as well as ad free, makes this launch very interesting, thus challenging giants like Justin.tv and Ustream. It was only recently UStream launched its Facebook integration, for time being offered free in an add supported version only to brands, artists and partners – on request. To my knowledge no other service supports live broadcasting including commenting directly on Facebook Wall or Fan Page feed.

What’s neat about Bambuser’s solution is that the broadcast is pushed directly on the Wall and Fan Page feed, no additional clicking on tabs or boxes needed. The Facebook integration is easily done in Bambuser Settings via Facebook Connect by just filling in the Page URL.

The service has today users in over 150 countries supporting live broadcasting from over 200 different mobile devices, as well as from desktop browsers. The Facebook Wall integration in October significantly increased the number of channels created per week, having Facebook now counting for approx. 30% of all the videos viewed on Bambuser. In a tight iPhone race with UStream and Qik Bambuser managed to get their iPhone application approved just before Christmas. The iPhone app immediately made it to top ten downloads in the Swedish App Store, iPhone the most used mobile device for Bambuser, and doubbled the number of channels created per week to 6 000.

Enabling easy sharing across social networks is very powerful, which Justin.tv has also come to experience. It reported 68 percent increase of traffic and doubble the number of links shared since it started using the Meebo tool bar last summer.

With Fan Page integration Bambuser is now able to expand its offer to 1.6 million active Facebook Pages, of which 700,000 are active Pages for local businesses. This will not only going to play an important part for the future growth of Bambuser, but also for the use of social online video as a communication tool for businesses and brands, as Facebook is becoming the premier destination for marketers both in the U.S. and many worldwide markets with its 350 million users.

Facebook reaches currently one third of the population, over 3 million people, in Sweden, establishing it as an important communication channel. With the upcoming Swedish general election this fall, I’m curious to see how the political parties are to utilize online video and Bambuser in Facebook.

Thus, stating the obvious, social media truly is making online video going mainstream.

Paula is online strategist and startup evangelist. She blogs at paulamarttila.com and here at Bub.blicio.us.
Follow her on Twitter:
@paulamarttila
Drop her email at paula.marttila[at]gmail[dot]com

Pages 3