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A Social Media Insider’s Recap of 2009

Originally published in MediaPost

Cat Paint Screen Shot

Amazingly, some highlights from this year had nothing to do with photogenic cats.

A Social Media Insider’s Recap of 2009

Assuming you’re working this week, hopefully you have some
time to catch up. If you’ll indulge me, I’ve rounded up what I’d consider the
highlights from the past year of my contributions here.

For me, 2009 started with a dramatic change in perspective, as
I transitioned from the Search Insider to the Social Media Insider after 224
of the former. In the first ten weeks of the year, I largely
explored how search and social connected. I noted the value of
community-powered retail
search engines
and bathroom
search engines
and search
engines to help with a move
, showed why
Skittles overhauled its own Web site
(a column so tenuously related to
search that I almost didn’t submit it), and made a plea for Google
to incorporate Twitter’s content
. The Twitter column concluded, “At some point… Google will
need live search. When Google&;s ready, the question will be whether any
scalable live search platform needs Google.” Sure enough, Twitter needed
Google, and such a partnership was one of few revenue streams for Twitter this

That was just in the first 15 columns. The next 32 (not
including this one) were part of the Social Media Insider, where I got to join
the inimitable
Cathy Taylor
. Here are some columns and topics that resonated.

Best Practices

This is one of the most tempting areas to cover, but it’s
always a risk to sound too professorial or even too obvious. One from May that
managed to work was a treatise
against the “c-word”
(campaign). Especially after an email exchange with a
reader, I wanted to write a rebuttal to show when campaigns make sense for
social media. I never got to it, so there’s one I can consider for 2010.


As a thought experiment, I proposed a new pricing model: CPSA,
or cost per social action
. I can’t say it’s an industry standard yet, but
the dialogue on MediaPost and elsewhere was reward enough.


I love diving into mobile, even if I’m
no Steve
. Some mobile coverage came up when looking into mobile apps,
including a
broad look earlier
and then the recent tongue in cheek example of Cat
. The most popular in this category shared
research from AdMob
on mobile social network usage.


Personal stories run the risk of
turning a trade column into Reader’s Digest if done too often, but when they
work they’re easy to relate to. My mother-in-law continues to amaze me with her
Twitter prowess
, even if she had to take a hiatus in the fall when her
netbook was in the shop; her nearly 900
are happy to have her back. Travelers and Los Angeles readers
appreciated social
media’s impact on my Labor Day vacation
. I also got nostalgic for my
camp counselor days
, and it turns out I wasn’t alone with such experiences.


As proof that ideas literally come
from everywhere, I attempted an acrostic inspired by one of the most famous
prayers said on Judaism’s Day of Atonement. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to
come up with 26 ways
marketers sin using social media
; I’ve had to ask forgiveness for at least
a couple of these myself.

Top Ten Lists

If I learned anything from digg, it’s
that top ten lists are easier to read, and when they work they’re fun to write.
I shared top ten lists on claiming
social media domains
, corporate
, social
graph ad targeting
, and most recently how
social media changed our thinking this year
. I wasn’t stuck on the number
ten though: there were five
ways to use Twitter lists
, six
ways to improve conferences
, and twelve
reasons to look at Google Wave
(admittedly the Wave hype was premature).


A bit of advice: if you’re going to attempt
a top 100 list, you better be able to get there. I’ve been working on one for
my blog for months, and I’m stuck in the 70s. The 100
ways to measure social media
came together much faster, and I still see it
tweeted on occasion.

Thanks to everyone who commented on, emailed,
tweeted, blogged, and inspired these columns this year. Most importantly,
thanks for sharing what’s most valuable to you – the time you spent reading
these. My resolution is to continue to try and respect your time in the year
ahead, and I look forward to all the conversations that these contributions

Happy New Year, and may a healthful
and prosperous 2010 await us all.

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Comments to: A Social Media Insider’s Recap of 2009
  • Avatar
    December 29, 2009

    Thanks for all you contribute to the social media realm. Your posts/articles are insightful, entertaining and informative all at the same time. I have to admit I wasn’t a huge follower of yours until about half way through 2009 so I know I have a lot to look forward to in 2010.
    Thanks for all you do and for coming to Rochester earlier this year, we’ll have to get you back here sometime again soon.
    Happy New Year,


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