Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Social Media Laws of Thermodynamics

I saw that some one very clever had applied the Periodic Table to social media here to try and apply some of the thinking that chemists have used to make some order of the naturally occurring elements and in turn, try and predict how the elements will interact with each other. The aim being to try and determine how different social media elements will interact with each other. 

As a chemist by trade [my degree] I was [some have said] unnaturally over excited by this development. It is utter genius! I really really wish I'd thought of this.

So, instead of getting geek envy, I thought I would see if it worked for other scientific principles. And, by jove!, I think it does. The Laws of Thermodynamics determine how energy systems behave. Or more specifically, they explain how heat [energy put into a system] and work [energy got out of a system] behave in thermodynamic processes. 

I'm thinking that if we equate thermodynamic systems to different types of social media i.e. social media systems, then there are similarities between the laws of thermodynamics and how things work in social media. So, here goes my attempt and applying the thermodynamic laws to social media to try and help determine how social media systems behave.

The Laws of Social Media Thermodynamics.

1st Law of Thermodynamics
Energy cannot be created or destroyed

1st Law of Social Media Thermodynamics
Attention cannot be created of destroyed
By this I mean, the total amount of attention that any person can give to social media is finite - there are only 24 hours in the day. 

Another way of looking at it is:
1st Law of Thermodynamics states that the net heat applied to the system equals the net work done by the system. 
In the 1st Law of Social Media Thermodynamics this becomes: the net attention given to a social media system [e.g. Facebook, twitter etc] equals the net usefulness of that system. 
i.e. the more people put in or use a social media system, the more it does for them.

The mathematical way of expressing the first law is:
dE = TdS - PdV
Where E = Energy, 
T = temp, S = Entropy, [TdS = energy in]
P = pressure, V = Volume [PdV = energy out]
[btw Entropy is a measure of randomness]

In Social Media Thermodynamics
E = usefulness or value of a social media system to a person

Energy in:
T = time spent by a person using social media
S = the number of different social media channels a person uses

Energy out:
P = pressure you are under at work [i.e. time needed to spend on other things]
V = volume of tasks you need to do.

2nd Law of Thermodynamics
Energy systems have a tendency to increase their entropy over time

2nd Law of Social Media Thermodynamics
Social media systems increase their entropy over time
i.e. social media systems get more functions, features and people find more uses - the level of random-ness increases.

3rd Law of Thermodynamics
As temp approaches zero, entropy approaches a minimum

3rd Law of Social Media Thermodynamics
As time spent using social media tends to zero, the entropy of social media tends to zero
In other words, the less time people spend using social media, the less new types of social media, applications and uses are developed.

From my rough interpretation, I reckon it works. Kinda. But, its been a while since I studied thermodynamics at uni, so any thoughts on improvement greatly appreciated.  

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Will on TV

It's not often that you help a pseudo competitor [not sure if that's the right word] get on TV. Today I got a call from an old colleague who wanted someone to be interviewed by the Beeb in Shepherds Bush on Facebook's change to it's privacy T&Cs. Being up North these days, I couldn't do it, so I sent the opportunity the way of Will McInnes via Drew B. 

Will was fab on the box as you'd expect. Check it out here.

It did make me think though, that James Warren's philosophy of 'being nice' applies to everything in social media: brands, clients, people and pseudo competitors. 


Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Twitter Stream Graphs

Really digging this nifty tool from neoformix called Twitter Stream Graphs that, funnily enough, create graphs of a twitter stream. The stream can be either around a keyword or brand or a twitter ID and the graph shows the words most commonly associated with the key word or brand. Nice or what:)

Here's one I did for Durex.

It covers that last 200 tweets that mention the key word.

I reckon this would be really useful for a snapshot of what people are saying about a brand in twitter and also measuring the buzz around a campaign that you expect to be talked about in twitter.

Plus, I know its unrelated, but I really like it because it reminds me of a water temperature map of an ocean that I used to study in geography.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Ekstreme: neat social media presence tool

I came across a neat little tool that allows you to quickly get a snap shot of a brand's presence in social media, called Ekstreme. Ok, I know there are shedloads of free tools out there [howsociable is probably the one I use most to get a snapshot], but the reason I liked this one is that it lists the blogs posts that include your search term with a short extract from the post.

This means you get an at-a-glance look at what is causing the buzz. In this case, it was the squeaky video balloon video by Durex.

Plus, Ekstreme also gives you Google Trends results [which howsociable doesn't], Topix, and delicious results.

It's not the ultimate in social media presence analysis tools, but it definitely fits the category of neat and I would even go as far to say it could be classed as nifty or even cunning - due to the post extract listing. 

Friday, 13 February 2009

Manctwester raises £3500 for Water

Manctwester, the Manchester Twestival, went down a storm last night and by first count, we reckon we've raised about £3500. This is enough to buy a village a fresh water well which would provide a sustainable water source for the local community. Dead chuffed about that.
Over 120 tweeple came along and took part in some vigorous bidding for the kindly donated prizes including a Wii, iPod Touch, a Durex love kit, a couple of cases of Tsingdao and a North Face jacket. I managed to outbid everyone to get my mitts on two first class train tickets to anywhere on the TransPennine Express network - am thinking Edinburgh - for £80, which goes to Water. 
The event wouldn't have been a success without the stirling efforts of Katie Moffat, my fellow conspirator and to be honest, the person who did all the hard work and made the event happen. Also, on the night Jo, Cath, Gemma and Katie G ensured that everything went off without a hitch. 

I hope Amanda et al want to do another one, cos it was great fun and very worthy at the same time. Now off to nurse my twangover [sorry, had to do it].

Monday, 9 February 2009

Video search to replace Google?

An interesting article in the New York Times points to people using video search to find the stuff they need, rather than Google. OK, so it's based around one case study of kid who prefers video search to Google with a few comments from people with a vested interest in video search.

Still, skepticism around the evidence aside, it kinda makes sense as people generally prefer pictures to words. Plus, as the article states, there are shed loads of cheap digital video cameras around and You Tube user stats are through the roof.

I can see how more people will use video search engines like Blinkx to find stuff, but I can't see it taking over from the big G for a while yet.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Facebook opens Status API

I read here that Facebook is opening it's Status API and that this will be the end of twitter. A couple of thoughts:
  1. It's great that Facebook is opening up this particular API as it means people a lot smarter than me will think of ingenious ways to create tools that interact with people's Status updates. The one I am really looking forward to is a search tool that allows you to search for brand names and other key words in people's status updates [if any developers are reading this 'please please please']. This area of social media is the only one that you can't easily analyse for, say, brand presence, sentiment etc.
  2. This is the end of twitter? I think Middlesbrough have got more chance of winning the Premiership than twitter disappearing. Twitter is far too mainstream now and people have developed quite strong networks that they won't want to give up. Plus, twitter is used in a different way. Most people tweet several times a day, often about work related stuff, they use twitter to engage with people, again on work related issues, and like me, they use it for real time news as most news outlets have a twitter stream. Even my local radio station Rock FM has one.  So, I don't see it going anywhere.
I reckon this means lots of cool tools will be coming our way that help interact with people on Facebook and analyse what people are saying in their status updates. And twitter will keep getting more and more popular - even Richard Bacon was talking about it on a some Sunday morning cookery show today. 

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Zombies in the road

Loving this stunt in the US where hackers have changed the warnings on the electronic road signs to say things like "Nazi Zombies ahead".

It's very funny and will get lots of people sending it on to their friends [like I did]. But, like many of these cool guerilla type things, I rack my brains to work out a way a brand could do something similar, and just come up against lots of legal, ethical and 'just not right for a brand to do' barriers. 

Or it could be that I'm getting old and running out of imagination.  

Monday, 2 February 2009

MancTwester: Manchester's twitter festival

Am very excited about helping out with the Manchester Twitter Festival next Thursday, cunningly called MancTwester - you can follow the updates on twitter here. It's part of the global Twestival initiative to raise money for the charity: Water

My small contribution has been to introduce sex and very potent alcohol into the raffle. I hope they go down well [cheesy pun intended].

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Social media and porn

Loving this clever use of 70s porn clips by Diesel. Definitely a classic example of a social object.  I can't help wondering how the guys who made the ad presented the idea to the client: "Hey, we've had this great idea. We want to take a bunch of porn clips, and put some basic cartoons over the naughty bits."
And not a patch of denim in sight anywhere.