Busting 7 Blockchain & Bitcoin Myths

Busting 7 Blockchain - Bitcoin MythsIs there more to the current blockchain hype than there was to the Bitcoin hype of the past ? 7 myths debunked. 7 reasons to be skeptical.

Two years ago, Bitcoin was at the peak of its hype cycle. The digital currency’s value skyrocketed. Increasing tenfold in 4 months, it passed the $1,200 mark, the price of an ounce of gold at the time.

Bitcoin chartThen, after a couple of security breaches and scandals such as the collapse of the largest exchange Mt. Gox in 2014, Bitcoin’s value fell down to $200. The speculation frenzy came to a halt. So did the VC’s enthusiasm for Bitcoin-based business models.

In 2015 the hype machine started humming again. The new hype revolves around the idea that Bitcoin may not be viable as a currency, but the blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that records bitcoin transactions would have a formidable potential on its own. Read more

#AskJPM Chronicle of A Social Media Disaster

It started on November 7, 2013 with a harmless tweet from @jpmorgan proudly announcing a #TwitterTakeover, i.e. a live Q&A session on Twitter. Jimmy Lee, a senior vice-chairman of the bank was scheduled to answer questions about life & careers in banking. Date and time were set to Thursday, November 14, at 1:00 pm. The hashtag was #AskJPM.

#AskJPM Twitter Q&A Invitation

The invitation did not trigger much response. The community manager @jpmorgan kept tweeting it again at regular intervals, using small variations, introducing the speaker, and answering a few questions.

Four days into it, on November 11, however, came a first sign of trouble, albeit a weak one, with a tweet in a joking tone that was immediately followed by an apology:

@jpmorgan Is it true “JPM stands for “Just Pay More”? #AskJPM 😉

@jpmorgan Oh, come on. I was teasing! #AskJPM 🙂

From then on, tweets started taking a definitely more negative turn, with fake, ironical questions and the spreading of critical information on JP Morgan. For example, on that same day :

#AskJPM What is the maximum amount of material wealth that a person can accumulate and still be allowed into Heaven?

Anyone thinking of doing #AskJPM might want to familiarise themselves with Jamie Dimon’s rap sheet: http://www.scribd.com/doc/130290952/Gf-Co-Executive-Summary-JPM-Out-of-Control

At this stage, @jpmorgan did not seem to worry, or at least did not show it publicly. Laura Dimon, one of the daughters of Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan’s CEO, even chimed in with a tweet asking a communication manager (who will remain unnamed. He may have lost his job by now) to confirm the time of the Q&A session.

But on Wednesday, November 13, the day before the scheduled event, around 4:00 pm, the few negative tweets changed into a rapid stream of always more aggressive questions. Worse, tweets started to come from more influent Twitter users: instead of regular users with a few hundred followers, they were now journalists and activists with many thousands followers, like @kevinroose and @alexisgoldstein. Quickly, the various twitter accounts of the Occupy Wall Street movement took over, with  OccupyWallSt (192 000 followers) and @OccupyWallStNYC (158 000 followers), just to name two.

The wrath was fully unleashed. Nothing could stop it. A few examples (and I’m not choosing the most virulent ones) of the tweets :

    At what number of Billions of Dollars in fines will it no longer be profitable to run your criminal enterprise? #askjpm

How many homeless people did you create in ’08? #AskJPM

Hey, @jpmorgan: What’s it like knowing that you’ve escaped punishment for securities fraud again & again? #AskJPM http://other98.com/dont-negotiate

@amy10506: Every time another person loses their home to an illegal foreclosure, does a bell ring? #AskJPM

RT @amy10506: Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your model a success? #AskJPM

At this stage, many observers seriously questioned JP Morgan’s social media initiative:

So @jpmorgan really created a hash tag (#AskJPM) where anyone can tweet them ANY question? I’m guessing they’re regretting that about now.

This included @aspignal , a correspondent for The Economist :

How are you planning to spend the savings made from firing your social media team? #askJPM

Many tweets, like this one, were retweeted and favorited many hundreds of times.

Within an hour, all was lost.

Within 2 hours, the press was in on the case. At 6:00 pm The Huffington Post reported on JP Morgan’s social media debacle.  Around 7:00 pm the entire financial community from @ ZeroHedge (176 000 followers) to @AmerBanker was reporting and tweeting about it.

Soon after, during the night, @jpmorgan cancelled the Q&A session :

#AskJPM Twitter Q&A Cancellation

It did not stop the outpouring of anger, criticism, and insults. The day after, on the day originally planned for the TwitterTakeover, every news site, from the Financial Times to Mashable, had a post on JP Morgan’s failed PR stunt.

How to avoid using Twitter to shoot yourself in the foot

There are lessons to be learned from this fiasco.

  • Don’t let interns run your social media strategy. Whoever launched the #AskJPM campaign does not understand social media. Whoever approved it, does not realize how powerful and strategic it is.
  • Don’t live in a bubble. JP Morgan is going through one of the worst phases in its history. Scandals have piled up: accusations of misleading investors on subprimes, trading losses of the London whale, possible corruption of Chinese officials, illegal foreclosures, exchange rate manipulations… JP Morgan has paid $30 billion in damages and penalties since 2009! How could managers ever think they could have a conversation on a public social media like Twitter without these issues being raised?
  • Listen. This was a disaster foretold. Several tweeters saw it coming right away and said so. More generally, if JP Morgan had treated Twitter as channel to understand the public and not as a traditional channel to push their message through, this wouldn’t have happened.

As one tweet puts it :

How detached from reality do you have to be to think that an #AskJPM hashtag is going to elicit anything but anger and mockery?

Now, a few execs at JP Morgan may be less detached from reality. They certainly have learned the hard way how powerful social media can be.

PS. I published a version of this article in French on Culture Banque.

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Content curation on Scoop.it and Twitter

Content curation takes a lot of time, which is why I’m not maintaining this blog. I curate content on a series of topics using Scoop.it, Pinterest and tumblr.

My Scoop.it topics are closest to the themes of this blog. In case anybody is interested, here they are :

    Scoop.it is a great tool. It’s very easy to use and truly multichannel, mobile and desktop. I love Pinterest. I struggle a bit with tumblr.

    However, my all time favorite tool for content curation is not a content curation platform. It’s Twitter. I find Twitter most efficient at the three stages of content curation : Pulling relevant content, re-Purposing it and re-Publishing it.

    Talking about content

    Debates about content, content marketing and the heralded merging of content and commerce are giving rise to new, quite ominous expressions such as “newsification“, “commerce journalism” and last but not least “native advertising

    I guess these will be among the topics addressed in the many conferences on content and content marketing that are about to take place, particularly in April in NYC.

    Here they are :

    Social Content Summit

    NYC, April 4 2013, $190

    This conference is hosted by content marketplace Contently and aims at bringing together 200 marketers, publishers and agencies to explore and understand the future of content marketing and social sharing.

    paidContent Live

    NYC, April 17 2013 $1,295

    This would be my favorite if I could be there.
    paidContent Live hosted by paidContent/GigaOm will look at digital content innovation that works across book and magazine publishing, news media, entertainment and more.
    Senior executives from across the media, entertainment and information sectors will gather for a timely discussion on the business of content.

    NYC, April 22-23 2013 $495

    The 2013 B2B Content2Conversion Conference will present key insights into managing the content life cycle, including topical takeaways such as business executives’ content preferences, SEO, Social media, and content for lead management and strategic selling.

    Content Marketing Now

    Berkeley, CA, May 8-10 2013 early bird fee $695, discount code “awesome” (from post on LinkedIn)

    Marketing and PR professionals will gather at the 3rd annual Content Marketing Strategies Conference, hosted by dlvr.it and Business Wire, to gain practical ‘how to’ advice on content marketing SEO, content distribution optimization, content ROI, and learn from case studies by brands including Red Hat, New Belgium Brewing, FOX’s hit show Glee and much more.


    Groupon’s Fired Chief Takes Full Responsibility

    Groupon Stock from Yahoo Finance
    Groupon’s Stock has fallen by over 80% since IPO Source: Yahoo! Finance

    Business Insider published yesterday the goodbye letter written by Andrew Mason, Groupon ex-CEO’s, to Groupon’s employees.

    In this letter Andrew Mason admits being fired and takes full responsability for Groupon’s failure : “From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a  stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price”.

    This admittance is probably one of the best things Andrew Mason has done for the company he founded.

    He was not alone to be misguided. Most importantly, he was not alone in misguiding others by overstating Groupon’s market value when raising $1.3 B dollars from investors and later issuing Groupon’s stock at $20 in its Nov. 2011 IPO. After a very short rally, Groupon’s stock price fell to below $5, where it’s staying now.

    Hopefully, Groupon’s board will be wiser in the guidance they give to the next Groupon CEO.

    Social Media Evergreen Content

    “What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet” is generally interpreted as a warning about the dangers of social media. Social media can spread information like wildfire, irrespective of whether it’s beneficial or harmful. Social media can keep passing on information forever, irrespective of whether it’s become obsolete or not. You better be careful about what you share after a few too many drinks at the company party.

    Charlie Bit My Finger - Again! YouTube VideoSo much for the dark side. But the persistence of content on the Internet and its ability to continue to propagate through social media also have a positive flipside.

    Persistent social content can be the gift that keeps on giving – a positive content evergreen.

    Brands are now successfully emulating the famous examples of content evergreen… Read more

    Offline to Online Curation

    Digimarc Pint-to-PinDigimarc Corporation has come up with a new “Print-to-Pin” solution which enables consumers to “pin” content to their Pinterest page by photographying a watermarked picture from a magazine with their mobile phone camera.

    This is a great example of seamless offline to online (O2O) integration. The watermark offers all the benefits of a QR code in that it contains code that determines exactly which picture and which content will be uploaded and clipped on the consumer’s Pinterest board. But it does not have the drawbacks of an unnatural and quite inelegant-looking QR code — which is hugely important for fashion and luxury brands.

    Content Curation – The Slide Deck

    This slide deck on content curation tools for brands is the companion to my eponym post – it focuses slightly more on the shortcomings of curation
    View more presentations from ttorris on Slideshare

    Content Curation Tools For Brands

    I haven’t published on this blog in a while because I turned to content curation instead.

    My thinking was that there is more smart content online than anybody could ever read. I’d rather, I thought, point to that content than contribute to the ongoing content inflation by adding my own 2 cents. In short, I was hoping that content curation, through filtering and re-organizing existing online content around topics would contribute to the discovery of smart content.

    I researched content curation using mainly two curation tools: one more business-oriented tool, Scoop.it, to monitor four topics (including Content Curation and Mobile Payments included in the Curated Content section of this blog) and one consumer-oriented social curation tool, Pinterest, to curate half a dozen varied topics of personal interest (books, art, shoes, designer handbags… yes, I love those).

    Here is what I concluded from this research:

    • Content curation does help content discovery. Curation helped me discover and share content on my favorite topics. Numerous reports show that social content curation à la Pinterest brings traffic to brand sites. Curated content embeds brand content into a rich inbound context of external content.
    • Social content curation fosters customer engagement. Consumers who curate a brand’s content not only send it traffic, they also bring to the brand and its product a much needed validation. Brands like Whole Foods that participate in social curation on Pinterest increase their customers’ engagement.
    • Corporate curation tools help create a competitive advantage. In addition to public social curation platforms, brands should use scoop.it or corporate collaborative content curation tools like Curata, CurationSoft or Zemanta to listen to their market, optimize their content and collaborate on their content strategy.
    • But content curation is no panacea for failing content creation. Curated content supplements original brand content, it cannot replace it. If a brand has no story to tell, no original content, no topics to share with its audience and no Social Media strategy, content curation will only increase the overall online noise level.

    Brands struggle to meet the Content Marketing imperative

    Brands Looking For VisibilityMost of us do “curate” content in that we collect, filter, edit, and re-dispatch online information related to the topics that are relevant to our friends and followers. We want to become the go-to person for our target audience on the topic we curate.

    So do brands… (click “more” for more, this is a long post)

    SEO & Inbound Marketer’s Success

    HubSpot's FREE Inbound Marketing Glossary

    HubSpot's FREE Inbound Marketing Glossary

    In the current uncertain online indexing climate where sites can be Pandalized from one day to the next, it is comforting to see that at least top SEO gurus, SEO software publishers and inbound marketers achieve great visibility.

    Top notch US SEO/inbound marketing sites rank in the global top 1,000 on Alexa, they enjoy great visibility, high traffic and a strong social following. The leaders:

    Less popular, maybe because more narrowly specialized on SEO (and for that reason a must-read):

    These sites achieve great visibility because they follow their own advice and in particular : 1) they offer free high-quality content, 2) they manage an active community, 3) they enjoy large numbers of quality backlinks.

    Read more