Diaspora fundraising saga … continued

The Diaspora* fundraising saga continues with an overnight ban from Paypal and then the re-opening of the said PayPal account “after community outpouring of tweets and emails”. I have nonetheless briefly checked Tweetreach and the report shows (on the past 1,500 tweets) an exposure of 84,393 impressions only with a mere 47 contributors. I suspect that Diaspora users must still be using emails, unless they posted their claims on Facebook?! (joindiaspora TweetReach report)

PayPal Freezes Diaspora* Account, Disrupts Fundraising Efforts  – LAUNCH –

UPDATE: PayPal has unfrozen Diaspora*’s account after community outpouring of tweets and emails.

Diaspora* the open source social network that arose out of privacy issues associated with Facebook last year, recently reached out to the community for donations to sustain the network, which was all well and good until PayPal shutdown their account.

“We’re sorry to say that PayPal has frozen our account, so we’re currently unable to process contributions by credit card,” Diaspora* wrote on its blog. “PayPal is notorious for arbitrary blocking of legitimate donations. We’ll get this sorted out as quickly as we can.”

On Oct. 12, Diaspora* reached out to its members and those on its waiting list to ask for a donation of $25, or whatever they would feel comfortable with giving the open-source company.

But until the Diaspora* PayPal acocunt is restored those who wish to donate to the social network can still do so via the company’s Flattr account. Diaspora* raised more than $200K on Kickstarter from 6K+ backers.

Peter Schurman of Diaspora* tells LAUNCH via email that the company found out their account was blocked when they tried to withdraw some of the more than $45K that has been donated. Friday morning, they learned that their withdrawal had been reversed.

via PayPal Freezes Diaspora* Account, Disrupts Fundraising Efforts  – LAUNCH -.


Diaspora, the open project to rekindle social media (not to kill Facebook)

Diaspora: the new social media platform

Diaspora isn’t about killing Facebook or Google+“, the people behind the new social media project claim on their newly opened wall, “it’s about reinventing the social web“. I was very lucky to be granted access to Diaspora, in alpha version, thanks to an invite sent by our fellow Like Minds Alumnus James Barisic. At first sight, Diaspora looks very much like Google+ with its “your aspects” links on the left-hand side, which link to Friends, Family, Work relations and acquaintances.

Skiormas Istraidės, a new Diaspora user spotted it: “it’s a little bit more elegant than G+. However looks very similar yet” he posted for all to see. But the real issue lies beyond the graphical user interface. It’s about the open Web and tearing down these walls (as well as respecting privacy maybe). Here was  Diaspora’s Yosem Company’s answer, which I am sharing with you: 

“Yosem Companys – 7 days ago – 101 reshares

I’m re-posting this comment I wrote, as some folks said they’d like to reshare it:

The media has painted us as the David that will either slay or succumb to Goliath. (Insert FB or G+ for the Goliath, depending on the media’s narrative.)

It’s also a function of competitive differentiation. You only know what something is by comparing it to something else that exists. The media has chosen to compare us to FB & G+, which is understandable.

The better comparison, however, is AOL vs the WWW. When AOL appeared on the scene, it was the only commercial email provider. You couldn’t send email to Prodigy, for example, from AOL, and vice versa. AOL would force you to navigate the Internet through AOL’s portal. Then the (free or open-source, use your preferred term here) WWW came on the scene. Soon thereafter came communication protocols that enabled different email providers to connect their users with each other. AOL clung to their walled garden approach and slowly over time was transformed from a monopolist into just one of many actors on the open web.

Fast forward to today, and you find a similar situation. FB doesn’t allow its users to message G+ users, and vice versa. FB forces all applications to use their API, thereby losing the richness of the larger web, forcing applications to conform to FB’s development environment.

D* is not trying to kill FB or G+. Like the WWW before it, D* is trying to reinvent the social web from one that relies on walled gardens to one that is open to all players. We believe the world will be better when users own their own social data and decide with whom to share it with, regardless of where these users are online. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to communicate with G+ users from FB, and vice versa. There is no reason why you should be forced to use pre-approved FB apps instead of any web app available online in its native environment.

D* wants to enable you to own your own data and enjoy the open web in a social way. It’s not about killing G+ or FB. It’s about enabling users to own their own social data and have the choice to use any service they want, which will force the walled gardens to provide better services, lest their users leave and take their own data to other services online that provide these for them.

English title of my French social media opus to be announced on June 24 on Blogtalkradio

I have been invited by Eve Mayer Osburn (aka Linkedin Queen) and Mary B. Adams for a chat at Blogtalkradio. Here’s an introductory video to the show (due to take place on Friday June 24th at 5.00pm CET) and below the video, a dump from the Blogtalkradio page’s introductory text. In the video I am describing the four main items which I will talk about on the show.

Scoop: I will also make an announcement about the forthcoming adaptation  of our best-selling French book “social media taught to my boss”

[note: intro by the organisers] Summer’s sizzling on the Social Media for the CEO Radio show. Friday 24th June 2011 please join us at 10 am US Central time / 17:00 European central time when hosts Eve Mayer Orsburn and Mary B. Adams speak to Yann Gourvennec, Director, Web, Digital & Social Media at Orange, the key brand of France Telecom, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators. Our guest is also co-founder at Media Aces, a non-profit organization whose aim is to promote the usage of social media for business, to help members to help each other. In his spare time, our guest is also blogging on Marketing and Innovation and is a lecturer atUniversité Paris Dauphine. Looking to pick up some tips on internet strategy and Web 2.0 implementation, social media for business, or corporate blogging, don’t miss this show.

Our show is broadcast live from Dallas, Texas and Paris, France while simulcasting a Twitter chat onTwitter.com/LinkedInQueen and onTwitter.com/SocialMediaDel. Join us by calling +1 (347) 850-8614 to listen or to ask a question on air. Orm Tweet your questions and comments to @LinkedInQueen or @SocialMediaDel using #SM4CEO.

Andy Sernovitz: “large companies getting into social media need support and SMBC was the missing piece in that puzzle”

Last week, I was attending the Blogwell and SMBC meetings in Philadelphia. I also had an opportunity to sit with Andy Sernovitz, the founder of SMBC and well known author of the Word of Mouth Marketing opus.

It’s now more than 2 1/2 years since I joined the former blogcouncil, now known as Social Media Business Council, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge. I thought, as Hervé Kabla and myself – co-founders of Media Aces in France – are currently finalising our book entitled ‘Social Media Taught to My Boss’ (in French, but I’m open to suggestions from publishers), that it would be a great idea to sit with Andy and review the history and principles of SMBC as well as take a bit of hindsight and see how things had developed over the years. It’s hard to describe but spending 3 years of field practice in Social Media for a large company implies that a lot of work and effort has been put into these initiatives. Sometimes it’s good to put down one’s tools and muse.

Andy keeps repeating that doing Social Media for large groups is not as easy as doing the same for an individual or a small shop. I know that many people must not believe that this is true. « You are a big brand hence it’s way too easy » a lot of people must think. Yet nothing has ever been more true. Innovating within a large enterprise is a never-ending, groundhod day-like heavy-lifting exercise. This is why SMBC is important. It enables the heads of Social Media like us to get together, to help each other and to learn from one another. This is what Andy is referring to as being the « missing piece in the puzzle ».

And this is also why there are now more than 150 members within SMBC. Hats off Andy!

here are some of the 150 members of SMBC as of now …

Don’t be prejudiced: b2b is the future of social media!

Time and time again, I have heard people say that b2c is better suited to social media than b2b. As a matter of fact, I am not at all sure about that. The fact that there are fewer b2b brands jumping on the bandwagon is probably more due to the maturity of that sector than the fact that the medium is not adapted to b2b.

Indeed, if one wants social media to have an impact, one needs to foster collaboration and create communities, which is generally done through 3 main things: passion, mutual help and common benefit. These 3 common ingredients of collaboration and social media are in fact very commonplace in the b2b arena; communities are often smaller, more specialised, but also very focused on their abilities to deliver and

illustration & maps by Mongabay.com

always ready to debate on technical points, points of view etc.

Besides, business to business is far less exposed than consumer marketing. In the recent Nestlé example, in which the Swiss firm has not quite been able to appraise the situation and deliver appropriate responses, online fighting with Greenpeace and other activists on social network is an unfair battle for b2c brands. The leeway that brands have in such cases to defend themselves is not very significant – and the case made by Greenpeace is a bit overwhelming too (see maps on the right hand side, courtesy of mongabay.com). Indeed, Nestlé uses Palm oil, which is both an issue from an ecological and dietary point of view, granted; but all mass producers of foodstuffs use palm oil because it’s cheaper and plentiful (now we know why). When activists target a company like this one, the result can be terrible, even though I am not at all certain that Facebook will have the best of Nestlé, the effect on brand equity is still very bad at the very least. At the end of the day, the Swiss manufacturer has yielded to pressure, but instead of turning this into a customer benefit, it’s more a matter of acknowledging their “mistake” and trying to catch up with the criticisms.

As far as b2b is concerned, there is less resentment, clients are more prone to negotiate than complain online, and they also know that when complaints are voiced too crudely online, it’s not always good for your own – and your company’s – reputation either. Besides, in b2b it is also easier for clients to make their points directly to sales and/or marketing. I have heard example in the United States of software vendors (I cannot quote brands) having problems with former employees who avenged themselves by becoming trolls (that is to say online detractors on forums ands social media), but in general the b2b environment is more straight-laced and more likely to trigger responsible discussions.

One may argue that you might get fewer comments on b2b social media and blogs in particular (at Orange Business Services we got 1,500 in 2009 only, so it’s not too bad in fact) but when we get some they are a lot better and more interesting than most of the comments that you get in b2c. Most of the time, they are passionate discussions about in-depth subjects, including complex points of views and explanations. How complex can you get on a consumer product? Usually, it doesn’t get very far or it gets round in circle. In b2b, co-creation and co-innovation is already old-hat, so why not use the Internet to pursue the discussion online?

Such discussions and comments enable one to improve one’s products (it happened to us 4 times in 2009), and it can even help us improve our knowledge when an Internet reader remarks on one of our articles, corrects our mistakes and helps us improve our points of view and visions. A little counter intuitively, I would even venture to say that b2b is the future of social media, because it is b2b brands which can actually most benefit from the use of these tools. We established the proof of this with our @orangebusiness twitter account by placing our brand in the top 10 French brands on Twitter, right behind worldwide renowned brands like Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint Laurent (source:  [Fr]01 informatique, May 2010) and even above Air France. Yet, being popular on the web with a brand like Air France is a lot easier when you think about it, the competition should even be unfair. No, it is unfair; but such is the passion triggered by what we did collectively that we are on the verge of building what is the nirvana of social marketing: a community (Air France already has one, it was created by one of their fans but it’s hard to admit that you have to relinquish the responsibility for your brand even though this is the right thing to do when a community already exists).

http://twitter.com/orangebusiness is the 6th French brand on Twitter (source: 01 informatique May 2010, April numbers)

Lastly, it is difficult for a b2b firm to do traditional advertising and namely TV commercials. Often, budgets are tight and TV commercials require vast amounts of money while delivering sometimes variable results. Into the bargain, most b2b players are reluctant to spread the word about niche products on popular TVs networks. Social media, on the contrary, proves an efficient and economical way to market b2b products: in other words, Nestlé less needs Facebook than we need Twitter (mark my word, I didn’t write does not need Facebook).

B2b is really well suited to social media even though this is not what you will find on the headlines because its subjects are more technical and — if taken at face value — less pertinent for consumers. But at the end of the day, this is also what keeps trolls at bay!

And this is also why a lot of b2b marketing budgets are dormant due to the lack of new ideas whereas so much can be done.

note : the illustrations and pictures are from Microsoft clipart gallery