YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest metrics – lecture 16

We continued out exploration of analytics tools for social media with YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, the most commonly used platforms nowadays by digital media communicators. Similar with our previous lecture on Facebook and Twitter analytics and tools, we focused during the lecture on two elements:

    1. everything that we can measure on the platforms chosen without a log-in or access to analytics
    2. tools that can help monitoring and evaluating activity on those platforms


Currently YouTube’s traditional reporting information is made per video and includes number of views, number of likes and dislikes, number of comments, number of subscribers and the number of videos in the same channel. This data can provide information about the popularity and visibility of the video as well as information about the reactions to the video content if considering the video comments. Also on the video page, there is a time graph displaying the evolution of views volume accessible by clicking on the reported number of total views, a particularly useful feature when monitoring content and considering reach.

For channel owners, the YouTube analytics tool is complex and provides opportunities for in-depth analysis of data. Since Google’s purchase of YouTube in 2006, its influence on the monitoring and reporting of YouTube’s analytics has been increasingly visible. More recently, YouTube’s analytics includes both “views reports” and “engagement reports”. Of particular interest are the traffic sources, playback locations and audience retention metrics. While the traffic sources data can be linked with sharing activities on other platforms  (such as sharing a link on Twitter or Facebook), the playback locations helps complement that data by indicating whether the content was viewed directly on YouTube or on a different platform as embedded content (this can be linked with Google Analytics – revisit the Google Analytics Fundamentals videos for more info). Finally, the audience retention metric indicates how much of the video content is viewed (this is particularly important to identify whether the content length is appropriate and when viewers lose interest in the video). This a particularly important metric, more important and insightful than the volume-based metrics looking only at reporting number of views.

Also important metrics are those related to engagement: likes, dislikes, annotations, comments – all these indicate the mood, tone, and manner in which the content is received and reacted to including the meaning is given to it by its viewers.

YouTube metrics that matter

Depending on your objectives, there will be different metrics that will be relevant. However, in general, it is not just the mere number of favorites or subscribers, or comments that should matter for you but rather:

  • the fluctuation of subscribers (how to win/lose subscribers; correlate this data with the content you post)
  • the likes/dislikes ratio
  • the sentiment of comments (ratio of positive/negative)
  • subscribers, favorites and shares compared (these are good signs of interest and loyalty)
  • video view retention (are your viewers watching the videos in their entirety and if not, what are the most/least viewed parts of the videos)

To read about metrics that matter and how you can optimize YouTube, check out ZOGDitigal’s blog and Carla Marshall’s post.

A further webinar on measuring success on YouTube can be found below:


LinkedIn is a professional network and provides some of the most multi-dimensional metrics due to its 3 layers of interaction: personal, groups and company pages. Each comes with specific metrics to follow.

Personal profile metrics

While for personal profiles one might look into the number of connections of a person, number of endorsements and recommendations, a user can also see the number of times their profile was viewed in a week as well as the number of times their name was shown in searches within LinkedIn.

Group metrics

In terms of groups, the metrics available to be seen include number of posts, number of discussions, number of comments/discussion, number of comments/post, number of shares, sentiment of comments and much more. Recently, LinkedIn has launched an analytics tool for groups (read Hubspot’s article for more details) which provide information on demographics (this includes seniority level, function, location and industry), growth and activity (including jobs, promotions, comments and discussions).

Again, depending on the objectives of the group, one might be able to determine its success by combining some of the analytics. For instance, if engagement is the objective, then it is the ratio of discussions to the number of comments that matters the most. If this could be supported with data from the number of shares and the sentiment of the comments.

Company page metrics

LinkedIn also enables companies and organizations to create their own pages and share their own content. This has good potential for corporate communications, corporate social responsibility and human resources departments as it enables companies to showcase themselves and their talent while also looking for new staff and links.

The page metrics displayed include number of views, number of shares, number of followers, number of likes, number of comments providing information both about the popularity, visibility and reach of the page as well as about the tone and sentiment of the users/followers’ reactions to the content posted.


Pinterest is by default a very visual medium however its reporting of data and terms used are very similar with those of Twitter. This includes followers and following, number of pins and repins, number of boards, likes and comments among others. A high number of repins and shares could be considered a sign of increased popularity of an item or board. On the other hand, a high number of followers might show a high interest into someone’s bookmarking activity.

A walk-through of the analytics available for business accounts available in the video below. An alternative to the business analytics option of Pinterest (available only to paying accounts) is Tailwind.

Of particular interest are its virality, engagement score and engagement rates metrics that focus on the interaction with the content rather than the just reporting the volume of activity related to an account. These scores are aggregated for the entire content but can also be provided per item (pin) enabling you to identify the differences in reaction to the content you post and therefore enable you to adjust your content strategy based on the insight thus gained.

For more Pinterest analytics tools please check Mallon’s post.

Pinterest Web Analytics Walkthrough from Pinterest on Vimeo.


Instagram is also a very visual medium but, unlike Pinterest, it relies on the generation of original content by its users. Since it has been bought by Facebook in April 2012, Instagram’s layout and reported metrics displayed more commonalities with its new owner: posts, likes, comments. Unlike Pinterest however, Instagram does not currently have its own analytics platform, making monitoring trends as well as one own’s content more difficult.

Statigram however covers that need providing data about love rate (follower engagement and number of likes), talk rate (comments related) and spread rate (this could be associated with reach as it reports the number of likes received by an account from people who do not follow it).

What metrics matter overall

While most of the platforms have by now their own analytics tools, the metrics reported depend very much on the goals and objectives associated with the campaigns. However, as the analytics and monitoring tools become more sophisticated, the metrics that matter look more at how people use and react the content that is shared and they share rather than the mere volume. Therefore, pay more attention to engagement, conversions and patterns of behavior that indicate support, opposition or lack of interest in what you communicate.

Twitter and Facebook metrics and analytics – lecture 15

The social media landscape changes constantly and with the competition between the major players – Facebook, Twitter and Google(+) – increasing, communicators should be prepared to face a more rapid rhythm of changes. For instance, Twitter constantly updates its API (see a calendar of upcoming changes here) its most recent updates tightening security and making data impossible to be processed by third party platforms withouth the explicit consent (and login) from the account owners. This means that many of the Twitter monitoring tools are not working anymore and therefore this means less competition for Twitter’s own analytics platform. (Although websites like searchenginewatch claim that Twitter Analytics is free for every twitter user, every time I tried to use it I am sent to Twitter’s advertising platform and therefore can’t see any statistics without hading over my credit card details and without setting up a campaign).

As with the previous lecture on web metrics, Tuesday’s lecture focused on two elements: everything that can be measured and some tools that can help monitor and track activity. The rule stays the same:

  1. Objectives dictate tactics. Tactics dictate metrics. Metrics dicate analytics.

  2. Metrics are just numbers. They mean something only when to link them with your objectives and when you correlate them with other metrics.

  3. Digital media measurement comes with a lot of jargon. Learn it.

  4. Platforms tend to have their own associated metrics. Learn the rules, learn the vocabulary, check out the definitions they provide.

Twitter metrics and analytics

Please check last year’s lecture notes on Twitter metrics as it covers metrics with and without a login as well as provides definitions for reach, sentiment and influence.

Some of the tools however have changed. is not working anymore, Crowdbooster and SocialBro are now a paid for services and Twentyfeet has been sold and now rebranded to SumAll, a much more comprehensive tool that can be also used with Facebook and Google among others.

Here are some new ones for you to consider:

  • Mentionmapp – visualizes the mention network of a given account. The more connections, the more dialogical an account is.
  • Vizify – enables you to identify the topics you write most about (very good to see whether to stay on message). It also provides a visualization of one’s connections (this is a good feature to verify how relationships and dialogues evolve as well as whether you are reaching your influencers).
  • TweetLevel – an alternative to Klout and PeerIndex. It provides a score for the account’s activity and assigns it to one of the following categories: viewer, commentator, curator, amplifier and idea starter. The first is the least influential and the latter is the most. The plaftorm also identifies influencers and people who are influenced by the account. Similar to Vizify, this could be helpful in indenfiying whether you are reaching your target audience and your influencers. TweetLevel is also one of the very few platforms that provides a clear and transparent methodology for its calculation algorythm.
  • Twitonomy – includes mention and RT statistics together with a map for visualizing where the mentions are coming from. This can be a particularly useful feature to track online talk but also to identify whether your messages reach the geographical areas that are of relevance to your campaign. The platform also provides a follower analysis – an overview of follower’s data including tweets, following, followers and the most recent tweet. The list also has a search function which could be useful when used as an influencer, topic identifier tool.
  • Twtrland – similar features with Twitonomy.

Facebook Metrics and Analytics

Facebook launched its Insights plaform for pages last year. Facebook Insights has been recently updated. It now reports data on likes, reach, engagement (including clicks on links), visits, posts and people.


The likes reporting page focuses on mainly on volume of likes overtime. Of particular intrerest howver is the “net likes” tab which makes a difference between unlikes, paid likes and organic likes. The “where your likes came from” tab (referral traffic) is also relevant as it can help you assess whether you content sharing strategy works (especially when you share facebook links outside the social network).


Total reach is defined as the number of people who saw any activity from your page including posts, posts by other people, Page like ads, mentions, and check-ins. The reach reporting page includes other metrics such as post reach as well as a volume reporting of likes, comments and shares and hide, report as spam and unlikes. While the comments and shares could be categorized as positive actions (as users took a decision to contribute content to the network), the hide, report as spam and unlikes are negative measures very important in identifying the content that drives users away.


Similar to web metrics, the visits measure on Facebook Insights reports the number of times each of the Pages tabs have been viewed (similar to page/views). It also has an external referrers graph, particularly useful in linking traffic drivers to campaigns that you might be running and content that you share (or is found) outside Facebook.


The posts metrics tab organizes reach and engagement information (found in the reach and visits tab) and displays it in relation to each post.


The people tab reports information on all the fans of the page but also on the people reached (people who saw the posts in the past 28 days) and those engaged. For the people engaged tab to be seen a minimum of 30 likes per post is necessary. This should make you aware of critical mass and what Facebook considers as a minium benchmark of interaction and engagement.  If your targetting and segmentation has been done well, this tab should help you keep track of whether you are speaking to the people you actually aimed for. Moreover, the comparison between your fans and people reached will enable you to figure out whether your posts are viewed outside your fan base. In combination with posts data, this can provide you with valuable insight into how to adapt your content.

Remember, these tools make sense when you consider your goals and objectives and link tour metrics, monitoring and measurement with that.

Web metrics – lecture 14

We will dedicate this week and the following one to social media metrics and analytics. We’ll focus on two elements: identifying everything that we could measure and the highlighting some of the tools that could assist you in monitoring your project as well as measuring its impact and success.

A lot of changes took place since last year. Blogging platforms like have more sophisticated monitoring and statistics tools and Google Analytics has added more reporting elements to its dashboard including aquisition and conversions. However, whether using a blog or a website, the metrics vocabulary is shared so reporting will make referece to visits, unique visitors, pages, pages/visits, bounce rate, entry pages, exit pages, average time on site, organic and referral traffic.

Marc Poirier’s post on Mashable on marketing metrics is particularly useful.

Some of the metrics reported show daily activity and volume (visits, unique visitors, pages). Others, like pages/visit, average time spent on the site and bounce rates are good engagement predictors. Entery and exit pages provide valuable information about what the website visitors take interest into as well as their route into the website. These can be particularly useful when linked with flow as well as when linked with conversions.

Websites like Alexa and Hubspot Marketing Grader can provide insight into a websites’s traffic, ranking and SEO. Technorati does that for blogs. (Make sure you check how they mine and report their data!). However in order to monitor the success, reach and effectiveness of your online communications you will need to look into blog or website statistics and analytics. To determine what metrics are relevant for your project you will need:

  • to familiarize yourself with the web metrics vocabluary
  • to revisit your goals and objectives and determine what your targets/KPIs were and how you can translate these into metrics

Make sure you check the Google Analytics Academy playlist for more information (is at the end of the prezi above).

SEO / SEM – Lecture 12

Last week was an independent learning week dedicated to your exploration of SEO and SEM concepts.

In preparation for your task, a series of tutorials and readings was made available to you. This included last year’s guest lecture on SEO and SEM given by Amber Burton. Other resources included:

The tutorials included:

Peter Clapperton from Searchsmith also joined you last week and provided you with a very in-depth lecture about seo and sem. His powerpoint presentation together with an additional recording for the material he couldn’t cover in the lecture are now up on myBU in the lecture recordings folder.

User generated content_lecture 11

Our lecture dedicated to user generated content gave us an opportunity to revisit some assumptions and myths related to user generated content. While we updated the examples to include currently popular platforms relying on the contribution of their users, the lecture main points remain similar with those of last year. Please check here.

We also included a new reference to Heller Baird and Paransis “Customer Relationship Management From Social Media to Social CRM,”
report (2011 – on myBU) highlighting the differences in perceived importance associated by consumers and businesses for their online interactions (business-consumer and vice-versa).

To make content appealing and incentivize the user to join and contribute to your campaigns, we also added several tips:

  • making posts platforms appropriate (we presented auto-posting as not an ideal option and reflective of a lack of resources for managing social media)
  • watching out for trends or monitoring (more details on monitoring and creating a daily routine can be found on Ana’s website)
  • scheduling posts (for Twitter this can be done using Tweriod and BufferApp or using TweetDeck’s scheduling features;  for Facebook this can be done using the scheduling option).
  • Other platforms mentioned included Hootsuite, SocialOomph and PostCron

Privacy, policy and social media guidelines_lectures 9 and 10

Privacy (and online privacy)

When we started this semester we briefly spoke, among others, about the digital divide, cyber-utopian and cyber-distopian ideas. I indicated then that being aware of the techical requirements, infrastrcture and skills that digital media require will soon bring us into a new discussion about how corporate, institutional and commercial users define and perceive their presence online, their relationship and responsibilities with their (online)  stakeholders and the influence digital media platforms have on these outputs. Privacy is part of that discussion and Anna F.’s lecture on Monday provided an excellet setting for the discussion (Anna’s slides are already up on myBU).

Starting from the idea that privacy is related to “private” she questioned our definition and the boundaries and responsibilities we associate with it – from private actions, to private thougts, to private transactions, to private messages to private data. She expanded then the question to what would privacy mean in an online environment poining out that everything we do while connected to a device and to the internet produces data that can be recorded. This raises further questions about data ownership, the responsibility of data “holders” towards the data producing parties but also towards parties interested in the data (such governments, institutions, for profit or not-for-profit companies). Wikileak’s example (and the trailer below) is one of such diverging views.

Moreover, questions about deletion and whether a full deletion is ever possible in a environment that makes sharing and thus replication extremely easy and that promotes back-up and archiving of data also are important to be asked.

Sony’s data hack show the challenges and risk of sharing and storing data and the reponsibilities the companies have to disclose how data is used and to protest their customers.

To find out how businesses view and define privacy (its limits, the parties involved, their reponsibilities and rights) go read the privacy policies of the social media platforms, websites and services that you use. The policies will also provide insight into how the companies releasing the policies view the internet (as a place of business, as a medium, as a tool…) and how they define their relationship with their users (as providers, as guardians or protectors of their data, as intermediaries…).

(Social media) Policy and guidelines

The increased penetration and use of the interent around the world makes privacy policies necessary, as they are documents that explain rights, responsibilities and expectations of both users and organizations. The higher adoption of social media by businesses also makes discussions about social media views, roles and responsibilities necessary. To be successfully implemented and be relevant to business, social media policies need to have the business’ owners/managers support. Mic Acadam’s guest lecture to last year DCS students provides more detail about that.

As he points out, policies should cover several aspects of the business, its communication and infrastructure. These include disclosure, escalation and consequences as well technology, company time, ownership and expectations. Clear policies, support strategy and also make it While Coca-Cola policy highlights transparency while Yahoo’s focuses on responsibility and liability.

Social media guidelines on the other hand should provide examples and suggestion of good practice. Like the social media audits (which we covered during the previous week), there are various models of social media guidelines, each reflecting the views and objectives that companies issuing them associate with social media. Check out the materials on myBU for more examples.

To start your own policy and discuss about how you would define, plan and implement your digital media work and its effects, try using the Social Policy Generator tool or the Social Media Policy tool.

Competitor analysis and social media audits_lectures 7 and 8

A key element in the design of successful strategies is understanding a company’s market environment and positioning in comparison to its competitors. Whether off- or online, companies (better said their services and products) have a variety of competitors – from the direct ones that offer the same services or products, in the same area to the same customers, to the indirect and potential ones (see lecture slides and the Czepiel and Perrin reading on myBU).

Competitor analyses are done at various times in the life cycle of a service/product as a means to either identify new opportunities for expansion or as a means to benchmark with others. The analysis can be done either at market level (where the products’ customer function, technology and materials need to be taken into consideration) or at firm level where an understanding of how the market is organized and the strategic groups within it operate. Check Czepiel and Perrin’s article for more details.

Market positioning – the external and internal environment

Determining the service/product’s positioning on the market requires a deep understanding the business environment.

The STEEPLE analysis (social, technology, economic, environment, legal, political, ethical – an extended version of the PEST and PESTEL analyses) provides a framework for analyzing the major forces and influences in a market place. This helps map out the external enviromnent in which the product/service and the business operate. Lancaster and Withey (2007) have some good examples.

Using that knowledge, the next step is to identify opportunities, target audiences and a competitive strategy. The SWOT and exhanced SWOT/TOWS matrix can be particularly useful in this case in identifying market needs, strenghts and weaknesses as well as market requirements (see DiMingo 1988 on myBU for more details). As the SWOT/TOWS matrix combines an analysis of the external environment (threats and opportunities) and that of the internal enviroment (weakneses and strenghts) this enables the identification of market/communication strategies (either combative or defensive which emphasize strenghts and opportunities or try to diminish threats and weaknesses).

This helps identify real dimensions such as benefits or values that are important and meaningul to consumers/customers.

Perceptual positioning and perceptual maps

Perceptual positining is therefore the next step, that “translates market-determined values into the clear, focused language and visual images that install a product into its own niche in the consumer’s mind” (DiMingo, 1988, p. 3). The perceptual maps are therefore a visual representation of the consumer’s understanding of the product/service in comparison with its competitors. To construct perceptual maps one needs to:

  1. select two critical (as hot buttons/important/representative) dimension of the product/service (previous research might give you an indication what the likely dimensions are or primary research such as surveys or focus groups could help identify them)
  2. list your competitors (check the information in Czepiel and Perrin on how to determine your competitors)
  3. design your research (pick a likert scale 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, 1-100 and associate it with the two dimensions)
  4. ask your target audience (check out the segmentation lecture notes)
  5. create your graph (you can find a free excel template here)
  6. interpret your results considering how closer or far away your product/service is from the competitors and whether customer perceptions mirror the business’ perceived attributes (refer back to the SWOT/TOWS analysis)

Social media audits

Having an understanding of the business environment and of the market positioning of the product/service chosen, a similar pattern of analysis can be applied to social media. In effect, a social media audit is a online competitor analysis and its aims are therefore similar – benchmark, identify strategies for growth/change, gather market intelligence.

However, the specificity of social media – the fact that each platform has its own rules in terms of content (format/lenght), uploading, sharing and reporting results – makes social media audits more complex.

In the past many marketing and communications consultants and consultancies have proposed their own solutions and templates. Our “social media audit templates” folder on myBU includes many useful examples. This also indicates that there is no single way of conducting a social media audit but rather that the form, the metrics reported and depth of the analysis of the content and patterns of communication will be influenced by the business objectives and the objectives of the social media audit.

For instance, a “marketing audit might focus on mechanisms of promotion and evaluation, an advertising audit might focus on reach, architecture and content, a branding audit might look at content and integration while a public relations perspective audit might look at content, share of voice, sentiment and integration. The objectives of the audit and the perspective from which it is undertaken, will help define the elements that the report will cover and therefore the type of metrics to be reported“. (see previous lecture notes)

The social media audit seminar exercice (in the seminar folder on myBU) should also provide you a step-by-step messaging and branking consitency, coherence discovery example.

Further readings:

Free Webinars << CHECK IT OUT


BU have signed up to a scheme which means we get free high quality webinars from the Public Relations Consultants Association – PRCA

PRCA run a huge variety of courses with a PR focus – but of interest to us are the ones that focus on social media/digital – here is a flavour

– Creating and Curating Compelling Content for Social Media

– Generating Sales with Social Media

– Making The Most of Facebook for PR

– How to create an effective blog


Yes.  You log on to their virtual classroom and hear the lecture and see the slides, there is a chat room, but they can’t see or hear you.  (It is live not pre-recorded).

You need to register (see below) and then choose your course.  The full course list and timetable is below too.  They last about 90 minutes, and are very accessible.


Full price they’re over ÂŁ100 and we get them free by entering the SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE when you checkout  **check out myBU for the code**

The full list of courses are to be found here


You sign up for it here: YOU MUST USE YOUR UNI EMAIL ADDRESS

If you get stuck, contact Leo Fedorcio


I’ve done two courses on Media Relations and SEO and they were both excellent.


If you sign up for a session then please do attend as places are limited
You’ll get full joining instructions by email the day before, do follow the instructions to make sure you can connect to the virtual classroom!

Don’t forget to put the courses you attend on your CV because they’re valuable professional qualifications.

(Alison Smith – Politics and Media)

Strategy – goals, objectives, segmentation – lectures 5 and 6

To help you in your preparation for your group project and to make you think strategically about it, we dedicated this week’s lectures to the conceptual set-up of the strategy, namely the understanding and formulation of goals, objectives, KPIs and target audiences.

Strategy: What you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it?

A good strategy relies on a good understanding of the business/communication environment. This includes both internal and external factors, competitors as well as the business itself. This will help strenghten your ideas and help you formulate better goals (goals are general, conceptual statements about what the business would want to achieve). To be met goals will have to be “split” into smaller, more measurable statements that reflect your desired outcomes (or Key Performance Indicators – KPIs). Well formulated objectives should provide information on the target audience and the channels used, based on which both the tactics and the plan to implement them will be developed. Also, objectives and goals need clear verbs such as improve, support, change, maintain which, to a degree, give a sense of direction.

Goals can be related to reputation, relationship or task. Objectives are based on awareness, acceptance or action. KPIs are based on knowledge, presiposition and behaviour. Goals are more general. Objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART). Chaffey has some good advice on setting goals.

Now consider a mix and match:

Goals Objectives Outcomes
reputation awareness knowledge
relationship acceptance predisposition
task action behaviour

Remember, goals dictate objectives, objectives dictate tactics.

You should not consider what platform to implement your idea before you have clarified your opportunity and environment, goals, objectives and target audience.

Choose your target audience carefully

The more specific you are in describing and defining your target audience, the better. During this week’s lecture we covered a variety of clarsifications.

Kotler’s 4 areas of segmenting the consumer market should be particularly useful:

  • demographic (gender, income, social class, generation, income etc)
  • geographic (education, affluence, urbanization, race and ethnicity, mobility, family life cycle)
  • psychographic (lifestyle, activities, interests, opinions)
  • behavioural (initiator, influencer, decider, buyer, user)

In defining your target audience you should consider all 4 aspects. When you feel stuck, try to imagine your “typical customer”. The Apple vs PC commercials are great examples. And so is the Four Major Consumer Segments infographic. The prezi has plenty of more examples.

Remeber that while your business/client/idea will have a target audience, so do social media platforms (your channel).

A succesful campaign is the one that manages to find the right audience and address it via the right channel.

Some more readings:

Web Culture (lecture 4)

According to Globalwebindex cited by Portada-online, “globally digital including social media and mobile internet usage now accounts for 57% of daily media time”. This has numerous implications for users, organizations, regulators, governments and society in general.

Whether we check in to oust someone else as the mayor of a place, we help friends and charities to find online ideas or financial support for their causes or whether we believe the internet to be a good place for creativity or quite the opposite, there is a theory or a concept for that. As a way of getting even deeper into the digital media vocabulary, we explored several of the theories explaining web culture during our fourth lecture. While some have a rather philosophical take on the internet, others can more directly be applied to marketing and the way organizations and people connect and relate to one another online.

We spoke therefore of the digital divide, the hive mind including crowdsourcing and Morozov’s Net Delusion, the cult of the amateur, technological determinism, fungineering/ gamification and the long tail. The first speaks about inclusion and access (including knowledge and resources), the hive mind emphasizes the value of collaboration.

Digital Divide

The digital divide is about inclusion and access including knowledge and resources, about the haves and havenots of the internet. It raises questions about fairness, about literacy and about the duty of organizations to cater for all their clients including those not connected or not digitally savvy. 21century challeges has some intriguing material and guest talks about the digital divide in the UK.

The Hive Mind

Overall the idea of the hive mind is a positive one, emphasizing the benefits of collaboration. Applied to the interent it highlights the advantages of connectivity, of working remotely and reaching out to people and communities that think alike without being bound to the traditional setup of offline organizations. Check Shirky’s (2008) book Here comes everybody (excerpts available on myBU) for more details.

In a way, the hive mind is a utopian idea about the internet and its power and implies the existence of an internet society (For more utopian ideas on the internet check this utopialist). But the existence of an internet society should raise questions about how this society exists, how is it regulated and how it operates. A dystopian view of the interent is thus in order and Morozov’s book The Net Delusion provides numerous examples of how the internet does not work for the greater good and how the internet promotes segregation instead of multiculturalism.

The internet (as technology is general) is not intrinsically good or bad. It depends on who uses it and their intentions.

The Cult of the Amateur

Formulated by Andrew Keen (2007), the cult of the amateur promotes an apocalyptic view of the internet suggesting that without standards, taste, and institutions to filter the content that the amateurs will produce, the internet will surely destroy us (check also Lessig’s review, especially his reaction to intellectual property claim Keen makes).  If you were to consider any of these 5 singers dubbed the next Rebecca Black , you could argue that Keen is right.

Technological determinism

This is very much about the relationship we have with technologies and whether technology drives what we do or vice versa. Neil Postmas’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is a particularly good read.


Think of Forthsquare, Farmville or any other online space with games-like features where the users get into a high state of concentration and engagement. Gamification is not easy. It requires a story-line, it needs to credible and it needs to grow gradually increasing the level of the challenge as the story progresses. Some great examples are here.

The Long Tail

Is mostly about segmentation and online communities. You can see Chris Anderson’s own explanation here.

Why these theories?

As you get ready to brainstorm ideas for your upcoming campaigns, it is very important for you to consider your role online, your rights and responsibilities online, your audience and its access to the messages and platforms you choose, and the risks and benefits of communicating online. These theories raise questions about all those concepts and more and aim to challenge you to remain critical about the internet as well as to stay away from assumptions (such as everyone is online, everyone gets the internet, once content is uploaded the users online will certainly come and contribute).