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Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Egyptian Connection

This infographic shows the Egypt Influence Network.  Twitter uses are said to influence each other if they follow each other.

A larger view of this graphic shows this with the lines, as this close up demonstrates.

Users are placed near the other users that they influence and individual user size represents their influence across the entire network.

Given the dual languages used in most tweets, English is in blue and Arabic in red.

The analyst and designer is Kovas Boguta, the head of analytics at Weebly. According to the author the choice of language is a vital element. No doubt Arabic was used  more for on the ground mobilisation and English to spread the word beyond the country's boundaries.

"For me, the point is that the activists are cooperating with the west, on their own terms and in a constructive fact that is a key element and what allows this much bigger exoskeleton to tightly interface to the core. This is in contrast to what happened in Iran 2009...where the connections between those in Iran and the rest of the world were very thin and easily severed."

" The lump on the left is dominated by journalists, NGO and foreign policy types; it seems nearly grafted on, and goes through an intermediary buffer layer before making contact with the true Egyptian activists on the ground" - Kovas Baguta

Here is another piece of research put online that relates to the very recent Egyptian revolution. It is a preliminary result of the network of retweets with the hashtag #jan25 at February 11 2011, at the time of the announcement of Mubarak's resignation.

Your username is possibly  in this network if you  re-tweeted someone, or have been re-tweeted.

The data were collected through the Twitter streaming and search APIs by AndrĂ© Panisson, and is part of a research project involving the Computer Science Department of the University of Turin , the Complex Networks and Systems Group of the ISI Foundation and the Informatics department of Indiana University.
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Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Great Brush-Off And Why It Pays To Innovate

The power of social media and YouTube in particular to propel an individual to cult-like status is well known. Witness the rise of Justin Beiber or the Susan Boyle phenomenon.

What is less appreciated is the success of small businesses in harnessing the marketing potential of YouTube.

Diary of a Dirty Tongue
Large companies such as Old Spice have developed highly successful campaigns on a YouTube sponsored channel.

Orabrush is a small company that makes a brush and scraper which they claim removes bacteria from the tongue.

Surely a challenging product to push with strong competitors, but they are now poised to become in their own words, a "global retail powerhouse."

Dr. Bob Wagstaff the 75 yr old inventor of the Orabrush spent eight years trying to bring Orabrush to market. He spent over $40,000 on an infomercial and it only sold about 100 orders.

He approached Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and many others, but no one was interested in his tongue cleaner. He approached Oral-B and Colgate asking if they wanted to buy his patent. They were not interested.

In 2009, as a last ditch effort, Dr. Bob went to the Marriott School of Management at BYU and asked a market research class to see if they could come up with new ways to market the product online.

One student, Jeffrey Harmon, noted that 8% of those surveyed would buy the product online and by his calculation this small percentage still equated to millions of potential customers.

Dr Bob offered Jeffrey his old motorcycle in return for helping market Orabrush. Jeffrey got some friends together and produced a bad breath YouTube video and as they say, the rest in history.

Having risen to #2 behind Old Spice, Orabrush has shipped more than $1 million worth of tongue brushes to 114 countries and attracted the support of Google who have developed a widget for them that sells the product straight from the YouTube page.

Orabrush's 34.7 million video views have seen them move ahead of the likes of Disney and Apple in the most video subscriber stakes.

The video content is zany and entertaining;  the "Diary of a Dirty Tongue" is updated every Tuesday.

Having 266,00 Fans and 270,794 Likes on Facebook plus 3, 800 Twitter followers also contributes to their success, as does their rather novel 'Bad Breath detector' app. The latter blurts out comments such as, "I've never wanted to be flossed so much in my life."

To cap it off, Orabrush has just raised $2.5 million on the back of this social media performance.  Not bad for a small company in semi-rural Utah.  They believe in their product and were prepared to innovate using social media.
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