If you following the public debate about technology on the web, it is very likely that you at least once have stumbled over an article, tweet or comment claiming that blogs are slowly disappearing, and eventually might die. A seemingly obvious argument that would support this theory is the appearance of a huge number of ways for users to publish their thoughts and opinions. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are growing rapidly and are often being seen as the easier and quicker way for publishing of text and personal media.
And while that might be true in some cases, recent statistics from Nielsen/McKinsey research company NM Incite show that despite the increasing number of competing publishing platforms and the huge amount of time users spend on social media sites, the number of blogs is continuing to grow.
In October 2011, NM Incite tracked over 173 million blogs around the world as source of buzz. At the end of the year, that number had risen to 181 million. In 2006, the company only tracked 36 million. As the graph shows, this growth has been steady, with no slowdown during the past two years, when social media exploded.
So everybody who still thinks blogging has no future should rethink that statement. But what’s certainly going to happen is a fragmentation of the blogging landscape in terms of which platforms and technologies are being used. Just look at Google+ where some users post extensive texts. That might not be blogging in the traditional sense because no typical blog CMS is used, no pingbacks are being sent and no layout customization is possible. Nevertheless it doesn’t seem right to claim those users aren’t blogging just because they do it within a social network.
The NM Incite stats offer some additional insights into who bloggers are: The majority is female and half of all bloggers are aged between 18 and 34. Furthermore, bloggers are well-educated and active social web users – no real surprise here. In the US, the three biggest blog platforms Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr reach 80 million unique visitors per month.
So yes, blogging will evolve and change, and some users might even leave their old-fashioned blog in favour of a better connected social-media-site. But the need for people to express won’t be affected by that. We don’t know which platform they will use in 2, 5 or 10 years. But there is one thing we know for sure: They won’t stop publishing online.
Last week we announced that Twingly Co-founder and CEO Martin Källström has made the decision to leave his role after six years on duty. Today we want to give you the chance to learn a bit more about Martin’s successor, Peter Bláha, who is our new CEO.
Before you read our short interview with Peter in which he gives some insights into who we his and how he plans to develop Twingly, here are a few facts about him. Peter is 34 years young, a graduate engineer in data technology and he joins Twingly after 7 years of extensive sales experience in his last position as Director of Sales at the Swedish Network Provider IP-Only. Peter is married and he has 2 daughters as well as 2 dogs. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog – just don’t be surprised about the huge cover photos there. You will get background information on that if you carry on reading here!
Hi Peter. You leave the business-to-business telecom industry to lead a company working with social media and blogs. That’s kind of a big change, isn’t it?
True, but that’s also my intention: After having worked with selling data communication infrastructure and telecom services to large companies for seven years I felt the time was right for a new challenge. I have always been interested in the media sector and social media is an important and growing part of that. That’s why I consider Twingly a great opportunity for me to get to know another industry. It’s a new challenge, and that’s exactly what I was looking for.
Is it the first time you are the CEO of a company?
Yes, although my team at my previous job consisted of 5 people, now at Twingly it’s 8. So that’s not a huge difference concerning management.
You have lots of sales experience. Will that background shape your work at Twingly?
Yes, one of my goals is to make Twingly a more sales-driven company and to focus even more on developing products and services that our customers, like websites using our Twingly widgets as well as clients working with our blog data APIs, ask for.
What does that mean for bloggers who always have been at the heart of Twingly’s interest?
We love bloggers. They don’t need to worry at all. Since 2006 Twingly has been developing its technological basis and services. Now that most of it is in place, we can focus increasingly on selling services to our clients. But it is equally important to us to come even closer to the blogosphere, which is why we recently bought the Swedish blog portal Bloggportalen. The math is simple: If we increase the number of partners who use Twingly widgets, bloggers have more websites that they can link to and get traffic back in return. It’s a win-win situation.
Speaking about Bloggportalen: What can bloggers in Sweden expect?
We will improve its looks and make it easier to use and easier to register. We are also going to add new features for bloggers. Bloggportalen will be the place where bloggers increase the traffic to their blogs.
What else will happen at Twingly in the near future?
In addition to Sweden, Twingly is active in 16 different countries. We will put more effort into expanding our current business into foreign markets and we want to do that in the same effective way as in our home market. Germany and UK are top priorities and we are also going to analyse whether there are other countries that should be of interest to us. In those markets the priority will most likely be our blog data business, while in the Nordics we will heavily continue to push our widget services as well as develop Bloggportalen.
How are you as a leader?
I’m direct and honest, prefer low hierarchies and try to inform as much as possible. The more information the better.
Unlike the telecom b2b industry, the social media sphere is pretty public, both regarding praise and criticism. How will you deal with that?
Since I have participated in a Swedish TV show called “Gladiators” I have experience with receiving public feedback, both the good and the bad. I always try to answer criticism instead of ignoring it.
It doesn’t happen that often that the CEO of an Internet company (or any company) has been a “Gladiator” on TV…
Hehe, that might be true. I participated in the Swedish adaptation of the US entertainment show “American Gladiators” in 2004, and for the current season the producers called me and asked if I want to apply again. Since last time was lots of fun and I love everything that has to do with competition, I applied and got picked again. The whole program was filmed in a period of 3 weeks, so it doesn’t interfere with my new role at Twingly.
And you can deal with the occasional Gladiator remark you hear when talking to clients?
It’s a perfect ice breaker and eases up meetings a lot : ) !
Do you have another hobby you are passionate about?
Yes, 17 years ago I discovered my passion for Rugby, and today I play for the Stockholm-based first-division Rugby club Hammarby IF RF as well as for the Swedish national team.
Can you somehow use your Rugby and Gladiators experience for your professional life?
Well, the Rugby rules are hard to apply at work. You don’t tackle your clients or co-workers. But since I have been manager of a Rugby team for a few years, I learned a lot about how to coach 25 guys with very strong opinions. That experience naturally can be useful on the job, too. And through the Gladiators show I gained media training, which might come handy in some situations as well.
Will you get your Twingly colleagues to play Rugby?
Only if they like to : ).
Where do you want Twingly to be in the end of 2013?
My goal is that in the end of 2013, Twingly will be known to have the best quality and area coverage of blogs in Europe, and that any company which needs to get deep knowledge and understanding about the European blogosphere knows that Twingly can deliver that. Furthermore, I want Bloggportalen to be the heart of Swedish blogosphere.
November last year we launched Medienbewachen.de, a Wiki in German for everyone looking for social media monitoring tools focusing on the German-speaking market. On the Wiki you’ll find dozens of tools that can help you monitoring and analysing the buzz on the web. Many services listed offer a detailed presentation introducing their core features, pricing and contact details. Medienbewachen.de shall make it easy for everyone to find the tool suiting their individual needs best.
Since its launch, the Wiki has grown – it now lists 76 social media monitoring tools of which 38 offer a detailed presentations plus another 38 where a presentation will be added in the future. Every week we get in new requests regarding the Wiki and we are really happy to see that Medienbewachen.de also clearly helps with generating new leads and giving additional reach to the social media monitoring services taking part.
According to Stefan Vetter, Head of Marketing at MeMo News AG Switzerland, Medienbewachen.de has become the fifth biggest traffic source for MeMo News. He praises the Wiki for being an excellent platform where everyone looking for social media monitoring tools can gain a good first overview. Such a platform has been missing before, he said.
Echobot, based in Karlsruhe, Germany uses Medienbewachen.de actively as part of its marketing strategy. Tobias Görgen, Managing Director of Toocan, thinks that being part of the Wiki means increased traffic and visibility for monitoring tools. We made an interview with Tobias last year, you can read it here.
Google Analytics shows that during the last month 75 percent of all visitors came to Medienbewachen.de for the first time, while 25 percent were returning to the site. This means that people started actively using it as a resource for their research of social media monitoring tools, but also that a lot of new people find to the site. A good balance!
We look forward to developing Medienbewachen.de further and would love to see your tool listed as well, so you offer a social media monitoring tool aimed at the German market. Get in touch and we get you started!
Im November vergangenen Jahres haben wir mit Medienbewachen.de ein Angebot für alle gestartet, die nach Social-Media-Monitoring-Werkzeugen speziell für den deutschsprachigen Raum suchen. Auf dem Wiki findet ihr eine umfangreiche Übersicht zu Werkzeugen für die Beobachtung und Analyse von Sozialen Medien – viele davon mit einer detaillierten Präsentation. Ziel ist es, allen, die auf der Suche nach einem Social Media Monitoring Tool sind, bei der Auswahl zu helfen.
Die Site hat sich in den vergangenen viereinhalb Monaten sehr gut entwickelt. Mittlerweile sind 76 Social Media Monitoring Tools vertreten, davon 38 Tools mit oftmals detaillierten Präsentationen, sowie 38 weitere die noch eine Präsentation hinterlegen werden. Wöchentlich erreichen uns Anfragen, und Medienbewachen.de hilft ganz offensichtlich den gelisteten Unternehmen dabei potentielle neue Kunden zu erreichen und ihre Sichtbarkeit zu verbessern.
Stefan Vetter, Head of Marketing bei der MeMo News AG Schweiz, ließ uns wissen, dass Medienbewachen.de mittlerweile Platz 5 der Besucherquellen für MeMo News einnimmt. Sein Urteil: “Ich halte Medienbewachen für ein sehr gutes Angebot, um einen Überblick über Anbieter von Social Media Monitoring und Analytics im deutschsprachigen Raum zu bekommen – das hat zuvor einfach gefehlt.”
Echobot.de, ein junger deutscher Anbieter aus Karlsruhe, nutzt Medienbewachen.de aktiv als Teil seiner Marketingstrategie. Tobias Görgen, Managing Director von Toocan, geht davon aus, dass Medienbewachen.de vielen Anbietern zusätzlichen Traffic und damit zusätzliche Reichweite bringt. Mit Tobias haben wir übrigens im vergangenen Jahr ein Interview geführt.
Ein Blick auf Google-Analytics zeigt, dass im letzten Monat 75 Prozent aller Besucher auf Medienbewachen.de die Site zum ersten Mal besuchen, 25 Prozent sind wiederkehrende Nutzer. Das deutet daraufhin, dass bereits rund ein Viertel der Besucher das Angebot aktiv für seine Recherchen nutzt, während gleichzeitig sehr viele neue Besucher zu Medienbewachen.de finden. Ein gutes Verhältnis, wie wir finden, und nun gilt es Medienbewachen.de weiter auszubauen.
Fehlt noch ein Anbieter mit Fokus auf den deutschsprachigen Raum, oder wollt ihr euer Tool vorstellen? Dann meldet euch!
Today we make it public that, after six years on duty, I’ve made the decision to replace myself as the CEO of Twingly. Effective as of now, I no longer work on a day-to-day basis at Twingly. I remain as shareholder and will take a seat on the board of directors.
While recruiting Peter as our new CEO we also made the decision to elect Niclas Heurlin as Chairman of the Board. He has been on our board for several years and contributed a lot to our success. Together, the CEO and the chairman have very defining roles and it will be great to see how far they can take Twingly with the help of our great team.
I believe in intuition, the importance of taking your gut feeling into account when making decisions. Intuition is often thought of as something that comes to you in an instant. But life altering decisions are rarely made in an instant, and they shouldn’t be. You need to feel out the consequences of a decision over some time, sort of trying it out to see if it fits.
In big decisions I believe intuition is as important as in smaller ones. But it’s a different kind if intuition, that grows on you instead of appearing in a flash. These are the gut feelings that are really important to pay attention to. Otherwise you end up living a life that’s not what you want it to be. In the most literal sense, life is far too short to spend on anything else than fulfilling your dreams.
Last year I realized I felt uneasy from being too safe and not learning as much every day as I want to. I thrive in uncertainty. I’m an entrepreneur because I love the unknown, and Twingly is today a profitable and predictable business. We have accomplished a lot, even acquiring Bloggportalen.se which was our biggest competitor when we started up in 2006. The feeling of accomplishment is a big part of why I need to do something else: It’s time to take on a great challenge again.
Since the opportunity seldom arises I want to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone that has been part of my journey at Twingly. Everything I have accomplished at Twingly has been thanks to the best co-founders in the world; Björn, Nicke and Figge. The best team I have ever worked with; Anton, Pontus, Oskar, Jörgen, Mattias, Hugo, Anja, Kristoffer, Marcus, Annie and Charlotta. A great Board of Directors; Lars, Björn J and Niclas H. And the best supporters and advisors imaginable; all the people of the Swedish social media sphere, Bubblan.
There are a few people I especially want to mention that have helped define Twingly from the outside. Per-Åke Olsson, who opened the door for Twingly at Dagens Nyheter, our first customer. Joakim Jardenberg, the archangel of Swedish media, who has always been supportive but also never held back on due criticism. Emanuel Karlsten, who is a never tiring lighthouse in Swedish journalism. Matti Palm and Åsa Melin-Mandre, who helped shape the Twingly brand more than anyone else. And Sandra Källström, my wife and better half without whom I would never have made it to where I am.
Actively turning the page into a new chapter of my life allows me to get back to what I do best, dealing with uncertainty. At the birth of a new company everything is unknown and every day is an opportunity to learn something new. And a new opportunity to conquer the world.
This week, the digital industry’s biggest, most international event, CeBIT, is taking place in the German city of Hannover. One part of the annual happening combining exhibition, conferences, keynotes, corporate events and lounges is the Webciety, a special platform for the Internet Business.
And the cool thing is: The Webciety team uses our Twingly Live tool on their live streaming page to show reactions from Twitter in real time. If you click on this link you are being forwarded to the stream, and if you look at the right you see the Twingly Live box with the the real time stream of tweets containing the #webciety hashtag (there is also a second tab highlighting tweets that received the most reactions).
Since #webciety is a pretty popular hashtag on Twitter right now, some spammers thought it was a good idea to hijack it, hence the Live widget showed their tweets as well. Fortunately, Twingly Live offers tools to moderate the real time Twitter stream – something you can’t do with Twitters own widget solution.
After users have created a Twingly Live stream for a specific keyword or hashtag, they can access the admin area where they see all incoming tweets that will be shown. For each and every tweet there is the option to either remove the tweet or to block the specific user permanently. So if you create a Twingly Live stream and want to get rid of some tweets or even block spammy users, you can do that easily!
Whether these additional measurements are necessary is something that we decide on a case by case basis, and usually it’s only needed for some really huge events which get a lot of media attention. In most cases though, users are happy with the moderation features included in the admin area.
Did you know that even one of the largest ferry operators in the world, Stena Line, is making use of Twingly technology? If not you should definitely read the following inteview with Ronja Gustavsson, Social Web Strategist at the Gothenburg-based company. And if you did, you should read it anyway ; ) Stena Line uses our Blogwatch widget to show blog posts mentioning destinations that are connected to Stena Line’s network of ferry services – like here for example.
Why did you decide to integrate Twingly Blogwatch?
We integrated Twingly Blogwatch into our website in order to create a more transparent presence online, and so that customers have the chance to read other people’s Stena Line travel experiences. We think it is important to highlight our customer’s own stories to show a more nuanced and deeper picture about our products and services.
What importance do blogs have for your business compared to other, more traditional media channels and compared to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
Blogs are very much a personal story, and bloggers are big influencers. Stena Line has chosen to work and cooperate with bloggers in the same way as we do with traditional journalists. Blogs help us to gain credibility and to increase the awareness of our products, but they also provide us with constructive feedback that can lead to product development. Through blogs, or other two-way communication (such as Facebook and Twitter) we can secure that what we say and communicate about our products and services is consistent with our customers’ experiences. We can also get a deeper understanding about who our customers are, what they need and how they want to enjoy their journey.
Last year you have done two campaigns where a host of bloggers travelled with Stena Line. Can you tell us a bit more?
We think that there is no better way than to give our customers the opportunity to describe their own journey with us. It gives us and our potential customers a personal story about other traveler’s experiences. We try to have a strategic mindset when working with social media, and any campaign should also be an integrated part of our PR, marketing and sales strategy.
So last year we came up with the idea of a campaign called “The Blogger bus 2011”. We started with asking ourselves the following question: How can we create a credible online campaign involving bloggers? The result of our brainstorming was the idea to fill an entire bus with bloggers and to take them on a trip that they were blogging about. We also partnered with other companies focusing on the same target groups as Stena Line. In order to be part of the journey, bloggers had to participate in a competition, as we decided to look for “Sweden’s best childish fun blogger 2011”. In the end 15 blogging parents and their children got the chance to travel with a bus and ferry to Denmark for four days.
The jury judged the contestants on their blog posts and on how they described their journey from a parent’s and child’s perspective as well as on how children and adults can have fun and play together on their holidays.
We also did a second trip to Germany, but this time we concentrated more on travelers that enjoyed culture, dinning and wine. That hosted activity was named the Guide bus.
What was the main goal of involving bloggers in that way?
Measurements show that the degree of credibility and trustworthiness online is much higher for people we know and even for those we do not know than for companies who we only have business relationship with. Therefore it makes sense for us to be transparent and to let our customers and potential customers tell their own story about how it is to travel with Stena Line.
How will you continue to connect the worlds of blogs and social media with Stena Line in 2012?
We started the year with releasing a social login feature on all our websites in Scandinavia. To avoid customers having to remember yet another password, Stena Line has made it possible to boook trips and review already booked trips through a personal Facebook or Google account. A clear trend within social media is the focus on customer benefits and usefulness, and this is a good example of that. We have a lot of other interesting and exciting projects in the pipeline involving user generated content and social media that we are looking forward to roll out.