Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Big Tech Regulation

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Axios posted some survey results a few hours ago that suggests a majority of Americans are now concerned that the government won’t do enough to regulate How us technology companies operate.

According to the story, across-the-board concern about government in action is up significantly – 15 percentage points – in the past three months. And Axios suggests that it shows how worried Americans are about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but also a growing anxiety about the potentially addictive nature of some of the tech companies’ products, and the relentless spread of fake news on their platforms.

More highlights:

  • More than 8 out of 10 people, including big majorities across party lines, blame the technology companies for not doing more to safeguard their platforms against election interference.

  • When asked whether social media does more to help promote democracy and free speech or does more to hurt democracy and free speech, most Americans (55%) now say social media does more to hurt democracy and free speech.

Axios suggests that major tech firms response thus far has been to “tout the fact that consumers love their free, innovative products that have become staples of every day life.” But also that these new numbers suggest more people are trying to square their affinity for those services with the downsides that have reared their heads over the past year.

Still, more than 7 out of 10 Americans still believe that technology has had a positive effect on society.

We’ll just have to wait and see if it stays that way.

Written by turbotodd

February 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

Special Social Media Counsel

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Friday afternoon is usually the place news goes to die, but apparently not today.

First, indictments are coming out of the Special Counsel’s office (Robert Mueller) in the Russian election interference investigation. 

As reported in The New York Times, 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations were charged with illegally using social media platforms “to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

More choice details:

The indictment charges that the foreigners falsely posed as American citizens, stole identities and otherwise engaged in fraud and deceit in an effort to influence the U.S. political process, including the 2016 presidential race….

….The Internet Research Agency, operating out of St. Petersburg, was described in the indictment as a hub for a sophisticated operation designed to reach millions of Americans to disrupt the political process in the United States. Its annual budget was millions of dollars; its stated goal was to “spread distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general.”

The U.S president, Donald J. Trump, has already responded via Twitter:


On a tangentially related front, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report Friday that indicated malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. According to a report from Reuters:

The report quoted the U.S. intelligence community as saying the main foreign culprits responsible for much cyber activity against U.S. targets are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

But the report also suggested malicious cyber activity is not limited to foreign actors, and that corporate competitors, activists seeking to advance a political agenda, and organized crime are also responsible.

Written by turbotodd

February 16, 2018 at 2:36 pm

The Snapchat Story

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If you haven’t been following the evolution of Snapchat, then you probably don’t realize that it’s a mobile app that allows one to send videos and pictures that “self destruct” a few seconds after someone views them.

Kind of like those “Mission Impossible” messages that blow up after Ethan Hunt reads/views them. Only less dramatic.

What’s not disappearing anytime soon is Snapchat itself. It’s currently about to embark on an investor roadshow and is expected to have up to an $18.5 billion market value when it goes public.

Snap Inc. is about to offer 200 million shares for $14 to $16 apiece, far lower than valuations as recently as last November, which had the company then valued at between $20 and $25 billion.

A recently BloombergTechnology story suggested that even at $18.5B, Snapchat was at the high end of its range compared to its peers when they went public, 19.7 times forward 12-months advertising sales. Facebook was at 19.4 around the time of its IPO, and Twitter was at 13.

What slowed the momentum?

First, average daily active user growth fell below 50 percent in the fourth quarter. And, Snap posted a net lost of $514.6M in 2016.

TechCrunch recently reported that the competitive landscape for Snapchat is heating up, with the heat coming mainly from Instagram stories, but also now from new features introduced on WhatsApp.

Snapchat Stories is expected to have declined from 15 to 40 percent since Instagram Stories was introduced last August, which has now reached 150 million daily users.

Still and all, this is expected to be one of the largest tech IPOs since 2007, writes Bloomberg, trailing only Alibaba and Facebook.

So do you think some of Snapchat’s $18.5 billion valuation will disappear into the ether like its photos, or does it have legs (and enough of a moat) to fend off the competition??

Written by turbotodd

February 21, 2017 at 9:06 am

Talking Through The Cosmos

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What day is it again?

Oh, yes, Wednesday.  Hump day.

I’ve been so busy this week on back-to-back phone calls that I’ve hardly had an opportunity to lift my head and see what’s going on in the world.

I finally took a few moments this morning to do so, and discovered a couple of tidbits on the mobile front. One, the new Samsung Galaxy IV is now available, and two, the QWERTY keyboard version of the new BlackBerry, the Q10, is also available.

On the former, it’s a mixed bag according to the Verge, though a mostly positive bag but one that suggests Samsung Galaxy has plenty of “good enough” competition not to warrant the steeper price of entry for the IV.

And on the latter, TechCrunch writes the Q10 is “a QWERTY keyboard smartphone comeback worth waiting for,” which I’ll consider at least a semi-positive endorsement.

Me, I’m sticking with my LG Cosmos 2 feature phone.

Being a social and digital media guru of sorts, people look at me like I’m from another planet when carrying this phone.  That alone is a good reason to do so, as it’s a great conversation starter: “What the hell are you doing with that phone??!”

The other is, I like having a phone that works as a phone.  I have an HTC Android device, a Kindle, an iPod Touch 5th gen, an iPod Touch 2nd gen, and an iPad 1st gen for all my tablet needs. But for all the time I spend on the phone, good battery life and strong signal reception are key, and the Cosmos 2 continues to deliver day after day without fail.

“Can you hear me now?” are words rarely spoken through the Cosmos.

Speaking of the cosmos, in the social media realm IBM just announced that for the fourth consecutive year that IDC ranked them number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

Yay team.

Fact is, social networking adoption continues to soar as businesses look to transform their organization into a smarter enterprise that is capable of empowering a global workforce and transforming client experiences.

According to IDC, the worldwide enterprise social market segment reached 1.0 billion in 2012, representing growth of 25 percent over 2011.

As this demand grows, organizations are looking to introduce social capabilities into all key areas, from marketing and research innovation to sales and human resources. The challenge is that many lack the ability to capture and share the unique insights from each employee and use it to help drive real value to the business.

IBM’s social business software and services pair powerful social networking capabilities with analytics that help companies engage all key stakeholders whether an employee, customer or partners in order to accelerate innovation and deliver results.

Today, more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have licensed IBM’s solutions for social business, including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks.

IBM’s social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization. We live by it inside IBM these days, and it’s available both on premise and in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. IBM currently has three IBM SmartCloud for Social Business facilities based in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

You can learn more about the latest version of IBM Connections in the video below.

Six Keys To Effective Reputational And IT Risk Management

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In September of last year, I blogged about the IBM 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study, which I explained was an “investigation of how organizations around the world are managing their reputations in today’s digital era, where IT is an integral part of their operations and where IT failures can result in reputational damage.”

I also wrote “corporate reputations are especially difficult to manage in an era when anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection can file their complaint with a single touch.”

That continues to be the case, but what’s new is that IBM has recently issued another report on further implications of this study and its findings, and more importantly, what organizations can do to get on offense when it comes to better managing their corporate reputation.

The Connection Between Reputational Risk And IT

When the corporate world first began paying attention to the concept of reputational risk in 2005, organizations’ focus tended to be on business issues like compliance and financial misdoings.

Today, the focus has shifted to include the reputational impact of IT risks. Virtually every company is now reliant on technology for its critical business processes and interactions. While it may take 10 minutes or 10 hours to recover from an IT failure, the reputational impact can be felt for months or even years.

IBM - Factors Affected By IT Risk

Reputational damage caused by IT failures such as data breaches, systems failures and data loss now has a price tag. According to analyses performed by the Ponemon Institute, the economic value of a company’s reputation declines an average of 21 percent as a result of an IT breach of customer data — or the equivalent of an average of US $332 million.

The question now is not whether IT risks affect your corporate reputation, but what you can do to effectively prevent and mitigate these risks.

IBM -- True Price Of Reputational Harm

Six Keys To Effective Reputational And IT Risk Management

An analysis of responses to the IBM study revealed distinct correlations between the initiatives that organizations are undertaking to protect their reputations from the ramifications of IT failures and the overall effectiveness of their reputational and IT risk management efforts.

Based on this analysis, and the pattern it revealed among organizations that are most confident in their ability to prevent and mitigate IT-related reputational risk, there are six key initiatives that IBM recommends as part of every company’s efforts:

  1. Put someone in charge. Ultimate responsibility for reputational risk, including IT-related items, should rest with one person.
  2. Make the compliance and reputation connection. Measuring reputational and IT risk management strategies against compliance requirements is essential.
  3. Reevaluate the impact of social media. In addition to recognizing its potential for negative reputational impact, social media should be leveraged for its positive attributes.
  4. Keep an eye on your supply chain. Organizations must require and verify adherence of third-party suppliers to corporate standards.
  5. Avoid complacency. Organizations should continually evaluate reputational and IT risk management against strategy to find and eliminate potential gaps.
  6. Fund remediation; invest in prevention. For optimal reputational risk mitigation, companies need to fund critical IT systems as part of their core business

IBM -- Importance Of Reputational Risk

How IBM Can Help

When planned and implemented effectively, your organization’s reputational and IT risk strategy can become a vital competitive advantage. When you protect against and mitigate reputational risks successfully, you can enhance brand value in the eyes of customers, partners and analysts. Further, your organization can better attract new customers, retain existing customers and generate greater revenue.

IBM can help you protect your reputation with a robust portfolio of IT security, business continuity and resiliency, and technical support solutions. You can start with an IT security risk assessment, or penetration testing performed by IBM experts.

For business continuity and resiliency, you can begin with a Continuous Operations Risk Evaluation (CORE) Workshop and move on to cloud-based resiliency services. Our technical support solutions range from basic software support to custom technical support.

What makes IBM solutions work is global reach with a local touch. This includes:

  • Over 160 business resiliency centers in 70 countries; more than 50 years of experience
  • More than 9,000 disaster recovery clients, with IBM providing 100 percent recovery for clients who have declared a disaster
  • A global network of 33 security operations, research and solution development centers; 133 monitored countries
  • 15,000 researchers, developers and subject matter experts working security initiatives worldwide.

To learn more about the IBM Global Reputational Risk and IT Study go here.

Every Kiss Begins With Kay

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Kay Jewelers

IBM and Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and U.K., have worked together on a major e-commerce strategy and digital marketing redesign for Signet’s national U.S. store chains, Kay Jewelers and Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry.

This week the retail gurus of the world have been hobnobbing at the Jacob Javitts center in New York City as part of the National Retail Federation’s annual gathering.

So I thought it an appropriate opportunity to highlight a retail partnership between IBM and Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty retail jeweler in the U.S. and U.K..

IBM and Signet have worked together on a major e-commerce strategy and digital marketing redesign for Signet’s national U.S. store chains, Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry.

Building A Multichannel Strategy 

The initiative has transformed the multichannel experience for Kay and Jared customers and resulted in consistent sales growth, including a year-over-year increase of 49 percent in online sales as reported in the company’s recently announced holiday sales for fiscal 2013.

To advance its existing multichannel retail strategy and supplement its e-commerce and information technology expertise, Signet Jewelers U.S. Division engaged consultants from IBM Global Business Services and its digital consulting and design practice, IBM Interactive.

IBM and Signet U.S. collaborated to develop a unified strategy for delivering a more consistent, branded and personalized customer experience to Kay and Jared customers everywhere they shop — whether in a physical store, online or via mobile.

Key components of the multi-phased strategy include the launch of new transactional mobile sites, which enable customers to shop and purchase Kay and Jared products from their mobile phones, and a redesign of the Kay.com and Jared.com websites, which went live before the busy holiday shopping season.

The new sites combine best practices in optimized navigation and functionality, making it easier for shoppers to find, compare and purchase products online, along with new custom features that deliver a more guided, personalized shopping experience for which the company is known.

For instance, shoppers can now chat live with a customer service representative, compare product details side-by-side to help determine their selection, track recently viewed items and much more.

Mi amigo Paul Papas, IBM’s Smarter Commerce Global Leader for Global Business Services, had this to say about the partnership:

“Much of Signet Jeweler’s success in building Kay and Jared into two of the most trusted retail brands can be attributed to the expertise and superior customer service they deliver to create a world-class shopping experience. In an industry known for being married to tradition, Signet Jewelers is a shining example of how bricks and mortar retailers are redefining the customer experience and embracing digital channels, like mobile and social, as part of their overall strategy to deliver personalized interactions to their customers at every touch point.”

Behind the Redesign 

Initially starting with tactical enhancements to the Kay.com and Jared.com websites in late 2011, Signet U.S. launched complete redesigns of both sites in October 2012.

Signet introduced new mobile sites for each brand with transactional capabilities in mid-November.

The company has also launched a mobile app available on iTunes and the Android Market and introduced catalogs on the Google Catalogs app to tap into the growing population of mobile shoppers.

To elevate Signet’s social media presence, the company worked with IBM to define an engagement strategy, which Signet U.S. has begun implementing by launching a social media presence for Kay and Jared.

Each brand platform is focused on engaging consumers in the spaces that are most relevant to them, like Facebook and Twitter, to develop and sustain relationships, build loyalty and foster brand advocates who shop both in-store and online.

To help define Signet’s e-commerce strategy and roadmap, IBM executed research that included a customer segmentation analysis, voice of the customer surveys and in-store observations.

With deeper insights into customer needs and distinct shopping scenarios, as well as the capabilities required to support them online, Signet U.S. was able to deploy an integrated solution that extends the Kay and Jared in-store shopping experience to the web and mobile platforms.

About Signet Jewelers Ltd

Signet Jewelers is the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US and UK.  Signet’s US division operates more than 1,325 stores in all 50 states primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry.  Signet’s UK division operates more than 500 stores primarily under the name brands of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones.

Go here for more information about IBM Smarter Commerce and here for more information in specific about IBM’s Retail expertise.

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