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Ignite X is a recognized, integrated marketing agency in Silicon Valley that delivers content marketing, executive branding, and public relations services.  

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Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way. 

Filtering by Category: Social networking

Being a Great Moderator

Carmen Hughes

vlabjowyanfeb08.jpgOver the weekend the blogsphere was on fire with the unfortunate story about a disaster of an interview between Sarah Lacy and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Train wreck seems to be how many have described it. We do feel for the interviewer and the public lambasting that she's received. In case you missed it, Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine and Dave McClure of 500hats blog weigh in with good summaries. One of the team at Ignite was the event chair at the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab's (VLAB) February panel on Multi-Platform Social networks that featured a fantastic panel including representatives from RockYou, Social Media, Google's OpenSocial, Bebo & Mogenthaler Venture Partners. The moderator of this panel was Jeremiah Owyang, Managing Director, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, and blogger of Web Strategist, who did an absolutely stellar job. The moderator came well prepared, was extremely knowledgeable about the space and very adeptly engaged the panel and audience of about 350 people with solid questions, interjecting humor from time to time. Jeremiah did a great thing that we haven't seen too many moderators do; he took the extra step of surveying his readers in advance of the event on what they wanted to hear from these panelists. What a great move! In fact, Jeff Jarvis' piece echoes the very recommendation that is part of Jeremiah's standard practice.

For those of you out there planning to moderate a panel or do a one-on-one interview with an industry heavyweight, say Steve Jobs :-), take heart in Jeremiah's best practices on how to be a great moderator. Earlier this year, Jeremiah wrote a comprehensive piece on this which should be a helpful best practices guide for moderating. www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/01/30/how-to-successfully-moderate-a-conference-panel-a-comprehensive-guide/

I 'm sure by closely following his guidelines, one can avert the unfortunate situation that might have been prevented if the focus was more on the attendees and keeping their interests first and foremost at hand.

Is Email really Cool Again?

Carmen Hughes

madonna_vogue.jpg New York Times Saul Hansel posted a provocative piece around the concept of Inbox 2.0, which has since set off quite a buzz happening in the blogosphere.  

We’re delighted to see a renewed interest in email. Most recently, the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Delaney & Vauhini Vara wrote an excellent article titled, “Will Social Features Make Email Sexy Again?

Several startups are also emerging that are each taking different approaches aimed at bringing relief to the ongoing email overload madness. The evolving landscape includes a wide array of options, ranging from spot solutions to content-based email solutions to comprehensive email management solutions.

Our client, Deva Hazarika, the founder & CEO of ClearContext, has a great blog focused around the subject of email. He posted an insightful piece titled, “Inbox 2.0: Email as a Social Networking Platform,” that highlights some interesting bloggers’ viewpoints that were part of today’s firestorm in the blogosphere. Summarizing some of Deva’s key points: 1) The real value of using the information within email lies not in the prioritization itself, but in doing interesting things with that information. Combining all of that data within the context of email, and paying attention to what people are actually DOING in the client, provides the ability do things with email that are a lot more intelligent than simply displaying a message or finding out who your most important contacts are. 2) Intelligently using that information to make the entire email experience more powerful and productive for people. And done right, it will also make people's experience with any email/contact based site or application more powerful, because it will be driven from a set of rich profiles full of deep context, not just a list of names.

ClearContext aims to bring help to the endless deluge of inbound messages and interruptions consuming in-boxes is taxing employees’ resources and reducing time they can devote to priority work. Studies show that email overload causes people to work anywhere from one to two extra hours a day. Email overload coupled with multi-tasking, constant interruptions and ad-hoc projects are drastically impacting workers’ effectiveness and productivity loss to the tune of up to $1 billion (yes, with a ‘b”) dollars annually for knowledge-focused companies having 50,000 or more workers. ClearContext’s IMS 4.0 helps users save an hour or more a day (260 hours annually) with smart, automated features to gain a much better handle on their daily email management. For fans of GTD, IMS does everything that the “Getting Things Done (GTD) Outlook Add-on” can do and then a lot more.

What's around the bend with social networking?

Carmen Hughes

Investor’s Business Daily newspaper recently published an interesting article on social networking. The article* essentially talks about how MySpace and Facebook have attracted the bulk of the traffic to their sites and explores existing niche opportunities for other social networking sites.It got me thinking: how many social networks are sustainable in the market? When will the market become saturated? According to Hitwise, the number of social networking websites or sites with social networking features has risen 40% over the last year to 4,721 sites. Days ago, Ning announced a new milestone of 100,000 user-created social networks, up from 30,000 in February. When Ignite launched TagWorld in 2005, we collectively ribbed that it was social network site #101. Even back then we knew the company was “late to the party.” But TagWorld had a technological advantage that gave it the ability to leapfrog others; It is now serving as the foundation for MTV’s new foray into social networking. Since 2005, there have been countless other social networking sites catering to older folks, people looking to lose weight, music aficionados, etc. After we helped TagWorld get on the map, Ignite began working with Multiply, a site with a different twist—focused on relationship-based relevancy, ie: real friends and family not virtual buddies.Multiply has succeeded by focusing on their differentiators (privacy, relevancy, and cutting-edge communication features) and is now at the doorstep of becoming a top 100 internet site.

Given Google’s ability to become the leader in search despite facing a saturated market, there’s always a remote possibility for some future social networking contender to usurp MySpace or Facebook. But by and large, the social networking ecosystem for “pure-play social networking sites” has indeed begun to settle with increasingly less room to wedge in and carve out a piece of the social networking pie. Here’s how the landscape seems to have taken shape:

  • Leading pure-play social networking sites (roughly 10 million uniques or above)
  • Niche-focused social networking sites (music, travel, weight, cooking, singles, exclusive, etc.)
  • Age-focused (children, tween, teenager, young adult, adult, senior)

I think there is little opportunity for a brand new upstart (short of one that truly is outstanding) to muscle in against more established players that have already gained a solid user-base (multi millions) and have had a few years to become entrenched. Having said that, since social networking has become the standard for how we increasingly interact with others, I believe we will continue to see a mushrooming of exiting internet sites, newer sites and future ones, none of which are social networking sites per say, introduce a social networking feature/component.As we look ahead, 4,721 sites with social networking features is likely just the tip of the iceberg. (*Disclosure, Ignite facilitated partially with client references for the IBD article.)