“My blog is a compilation of my own knowledge”

Twingly is based in Sweden. During our years of existence we have gotten lots of support from the local blogosphere and social media scene. With a new interview series we would like to introduce you to some of the opinion leaders, influencers and well-connected bloggers from our home country. People who have been using Twingly for a long time, provided us with feedback and supported us in our mission.

Meet Micco Grönholm, a branding expert with a well-established readership and following. He is also known as “The Brand-Man“. Read on to learn whether he actually likes that name, how he has used blogging and social media to learn more about his profession and what he recommends people who want to create a personal brand online.

Hi Micco. Please tell us in a few sentences who you are and what you do.
My name is Micco Grönholm. I help international companies to succeed. Typically I work with business, marketing and brand strategy. I started in this field back in the 80s when I got the chance to work with the Converse brand in the Nordics. In the late 90s I was hired to create and launch the Bluetooth brand globally. Now, a little more than 10 years later, more than two billion devices with Bluetooth are shipped – each year.

You are a well-known blogger in the Swedish blogosphere. Do you find clients through your blog?
Many of the companies I work with aren’t based in Sweden, but most of them have some kind of connection to Sweden. Naturally my blog micco.se has created a visibility for my professional competence, as well as increased my reach. Probably it also has generated new clients, but I usually don’t ask.

What brought you to blogging?
The reason that I launched a blog in December 2008 was actually that I held some lectures about how to act on social media. Once I got the question about my own activity on the social web and I realized that I better get started myself. In the beginning the experience was not too pleasant, because I hadn’t shared my thoughts and opinions about branding and marketing with anybody else other than my clients before. Publishing publicly on the web and potentially being confronted with criticism and questioning was new for me and something I had to get used to.

Did you have goals you wanted to achieve with the blog?
I have always seen my blog as a compilation of my own knowledge. Especially in the beginning I blogged for myself. But already in my first post about the meaning of the word “marketing” in Swedish the CEO of the Swedish marketing Association wrote a comment. I couldn’t believe it since I never had been in contact with him before. Then I thought “wow this is powerful” and it motivated me a lot.

Slowly I realized that the blog was as a powerful personal brand booster as well. Back then I was fairly unknown in Sweden for what I did, also since most of my clients weren’t from Sweden. To validate my “authority” in branding I got the idea to let other, more well-known experts in the field of brand developing and marketing write guest posts on my site. I asked them, and since most of them knew me they agreed. Until now there have been more than 30 guest writers on micco.se. This also helped to gain readers and followers, both on the blog but also on other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Now people in the industry know in more broader terms who I am.

So building your own brand is now the main goal of your social media activities?
No. But I recognize that as a very positive side-effect. My main goal has always been learning. And in the 3 ½ years I have been active on social media I have learned more within my area of expertise than during the whole time before (I started my career within branding more than 25 years ago!). Thanks to the blog, Facebook, Twitter and other services I have access to people and competences that I couldn’t think of before. I don’t need to find everything on my own anymore. All kinds of content and knowledge is more accessible than ever, especially if you build a good network of interesting, competent people in fields that are interesting and important to you.

Your blog is focused on branding and marketing. Do you always stick to the topic?
Usually yes. I actually tried to cover more broader, popular topics a few times which brought me a lot of new traffic. For many bloggers that would be a reason for celebration. But in my case with my emphasis on professional content and longer, more in-depth articles I realized that I got too much casual traffic – readers who weren’t really into marketing and branding and who didn’t comment on my other posts. Today I don’t really care whether I have 300 or 3000 readers a day. Most important is to me to have readers that are totally interested in what I’m writing about and who participate in discussions about a subject.

On your blog you are calling yourself “The Brand-Man”. What’s the story behind that?
It was a colleague who gave me that name. During that time I liked it, it served a purpose. Now I’m actually thinking about abandoning it. It has created a persona that I’m not totally comfortable with. I don’t want to be seen as a guru, but that’s what the name implies.

If you have to choose, what would you rather give up: Your blog, Facebook or Twitter?
At the risk of surprising you but I guess the blog. I feel that the discussion has become too fragmented, and even though the number of readers is still growing there are less and less comments. I miss the discussions and questions. Sometimes I also feel that there is nothing more to write about, which probably has to do with my aspiration to write long-form, factual posts with little opinion.

Wouldn’t giving up your blog harm your business?
In the short term I don’t think so. Hopefully some people in the small community of Swedish marketers and advertisers would miss my posts, but I think neither my business nor my personal brand would suffer short term. BUT if I seriously would quit blogging, I’d probably rebuild the site into a marketing and branding Wiki. And I guess I’d find ways to continue writing my thoughts anyway, even though likely shorter, more opinion.

What’s your recommendation to people who want to use a blog for personal brand creation?
First of all, having that as main goal decreases the chances for success. Instead, I seriously recommend that you think about the purpose behind blogging and then find a niche that isn’t already taken. You need to be really good at something and really passionate about it.

And your personal secret for increasing reach and visibility in the social media sphere?
Identify the opinion leaders and multiplicators out there and engage with them, comment on their content, share it, link to them. By offering value you increase chances to get favours back. I have followed this path quite consistently and I hope that all the people I have “used” feel that they got something back as well. I’m thankful for everyone who has shared my articles and spread the word about me. Apart from making use of your or other people’s network, being genuinely nice and helpful without expecting something back might be a good advice as well.

“The biggest challenge with Big Data is to stop focusing on Big Data”

Every second, a huge and every increasing amount of data is published on the web. Gavagai, a Twingly Data client based in Stockholm, has developed a Technology to read, aggregate and understand this content. Fredrik Olsson, the Chief Data Officer, gives some more insights into this fascinating business and about what the startup is able to do with the blog data it collects.

At Gavagai, you do some sophisticated stuff. Please tell us in a few sentences what your business is all about?
It’s about continuously reading tremendously large and dynamic text streams, and delivering timely, and actionable intelligence based on the aggregation of information therein. Of course, what is actionable depends on the information needs you as an actor in a particular domain have, be it brand management, assessing threat levels for targets-at-risk, or keeping track of the sentiment towards a particular tradable asset. Example information needs that you are able to address using Ethersource, our system, include:

* How is my brand perceived in comparison to those of my competitors’?
* Why are my customers unsubscribing from the services that I’m offering?
* When is the best time to launch this particular advertising campaign?
* How is the campaign, recently launched by my competitor, received
among my target audience?
* Where is it most likely that the on-line protests against a certain
phenomenon will be publicly manifested in terms of a demonstration?

We have a number of case studies available at our blog.

Fredrik Olsson

What’s the founding story of Gavagai?
Gavagai was founded in 2008 by my colleagues Jussi Karlgren and Magnus Sahlgren, as a spin-off from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS). Gavagai was formed as a response to the many inquiries Magnus and Jussi received from people outside SICS regarding their research. Gavagai has been operational in its current incarnation since late 2010.

You are one of Twingly’s Data clients, that means you are using our API to access data from Swedish and English speaking blogs. Why do you need this information and what do you use it for?
We read data from Twingly 24/7. In particular, the Twingly live feed gives what we believe to be a very good coverage of Swedish blogs, which of course is very important to us in meeting the kinds of information needs outlined above, expressed by domestic actors.

Do you have any insights about this data from Blogs in Swedish and English you want to share? Some surprising fact or observation?
One epiphany we had some time ago was that we’re now able to aggregate and inspect attitudes and opinions of a population as a whole, that’s not necessarily visible in any of the parts. For instance, we can clearly see that Swedish bloggers are optimistic during holidays and weekends, something which is very hard to assess from the posts of any one individual. Analogously, we also pick up on aversive or hostile tendencies in the online population towards a given subject, but where it is hard to identify all the facets of the tendency in any one individual. For example, we recently set up a Xenophobic Tracker using, among other things, the Swedish blogosphere as input; the propensity of violent expressions in that context is not a pretty read.

But it’s not the peak items that we’re most pleased with. With Ethersource, we can pick up and note weak signals and tendencies where other methods fail.

What type of companies or organisations use your services?
The kinds of actors that require actionable intelligence in their efforts to manage brands, make informed decision based on the ‘temperature’ of an on-line population as a whole, keep track of the general mood in the markets, or trade with specific assets.

Your titel is “Chief Data Officer”. That’s not too common, is it? Do you think every company will need a CDO in the future?
No, I don’t think every company will need a CDO in the future. Hopefully, companies will be able to scale down on their data management activities, perhaps due to their use of tools and techniques such as Ethersource, and instead focus on their core business. Much the same way we are able to focus on our core business by obtaining data from Twingly instead of harvesting it all ourselves.

Big Data is one of the hottest buzzwords right now, which is a field you are active in. What’s the potential and biggest challenges of the increasing amount of data?
We’re currently concerned with human-generated text, so it is in the light of that the response to this question should be read.

The biggest challenge with Big Data is to stop focusing on Big Data. Big Data will, by virtue of the prevailing definition, always be slightly too big to handle with common tools. This has mainly resulted in people being obsessed with processing speed and ability to store large amounts of data. Few, if any, have focused on a layer in the so called Big Data Stack that so far has been missing: the Semantic Processing Layer. The key challenge for Big Data is to come to the point where it is easy and swift to turn massive data streams into actionable intelligence; knowledge that you and your organization can act upon in order to obtain a competitive advantage. To put it another way; the key challenge of Big Data is to be of service.

Being a researcher by training and heart, I believe that we’ve yet to imagine the biggest potential there is in harnessing truly Big Data. Let’s talk about that in a few years, when a more representative sample of our world’s population is active on-line. Then, we’ll be able to find the collective answers to questions to mankind, that we’re not able to think of now.

What’s on your roadmap for the upcoming years? Where do you see the biggest growth and potential for Gavagai?
We’ve got very exciting times ahead of us! Ethersource is already unique in the way it is able to read amounts of text that would overwhelm traditional language processing methods, handle multiple (all) languages, in real-time, and learn from variations in the input in an unsupervised manner.

Our development plans involve some fairly hefty stuff. In the short term, we’ll roll out a game changer in terms of a way of identifying the many meanings of a given concept, and use that information to disambiguate expressions of that concept as they appear in social media. For instance, imagine that you are a brand manager for Apple, Visa, “3” or some other brand with an inherently ambiguous and common name: How do you go about monitoring the attitudes and opinions towards the meaning of the word that constitutes your brand, and only that meaning? There is a solution…

The biggest growth and potential for Gavagai is as a supplier of the Ethersource technology to other companies, such as analytics firms, trading desks, governmental agencies etc, that already have an infrastructure in place, but that lacks the competitive edge the ability to understand and make sense of large text streams in multiple languages gives. Ethersource is an implementation of the Semantic Processing Layer of the Big Data Stack, and we intend to move it as such.

Who is Twingly’s new CEO, Peter Bláha?

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.

Peter and Zoe

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.

“It makes sense to let our customers tell their own stories”

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.

Ronja GustavssonWhy 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.

“We can make it more interesting to blog about politics”

Twingly is being used by a host of different kinds of websites. Even political parties such as the Swedish Social Democratic Party integrate with our Technology to connect with the blogosphere. We had a chat with Natalie Sial, responsible for web and social media at the Swedish Social Democratic Party, about how politics, social media and blogs influence each other.

Engaging in social media is being seen as crucial for today’s politics. Do you think it actually is still possible for a party to not interact with the people online?
No, I don’t think it is possible for anyone to mobilise or interact today if you are not present and visible online.

Can you give us a quick overview about your social media activities?
We want to reach voters on their platforms of choice. More than 50 percent of the Swedish population is on Facebook. Therefore it’s an important platform for communication and dialogue. We interact and let people have political dialogues on fan pages and we profile our political leaders on Facebook. Then we have Twitter which plays an important role for transparency and for spreading information. We tweet for example live updates from our press conferences and events as well as about everyday issues. Our YouTube channel is also pretty big and we upload everything from whole speeches to shorter clips about policies and presentations. Furthermore we organise progressive bloggers (red, green, independent) on Sweden’s biggest blog network Netroots. And our own website socialdemokraterna.se acts as the main communications platform, where all of our engagements on different social media channels are visible and centralized.

What is the story behind Netroots?
There wasn’t a good gateway to reach progressive bloggers in Sweden, so we are trying to fill that gap with Netroots.se which started in 2006. It is Swedens biggest blog network for progressives, gathering around 700 bloggers. We created the platform to make it easier for them to reach out. There are no representatives or board – it’s a network where blogger can share ideas. Since the network is so big now we saw a need for gatherings in real life. Small gatherings and meetings have been held around Sweden but now we decided to launch a national conference. From April 27 to April 29 in Stockholm we will be arranging the biggest event for progressives. The main topic will be methods on how to become a better net activist, blogger or opinion former using online tools. Special guests such as experts and bloggers from the US, UK and Middle East will be joining. You can read more on www.natrot12.se.

How much influence do bloggers nowadays have on politics?
It’s growing in Sweden. It was the bloggers that raised the health and auto insurance debate in the election 2010 which in the end was the only thing people were talking about. 70 percent of journalists today look at blogs and social media to get inspiration for news (according to Hans Kullin, slide 7). It is certainly growing. A lot of politicians take influences from people’s opinions which happens more often when an increasing number of people interact online.

You use Twingly to show incoming links from blogs. How has that worked out for you and what kind of feedback did you get?
For us it is important to show a bigger picture of political debates apart from the traditional media. We can never tell anyone what to think or write. But we can make it more interesting to blog about politics.

Recently the leader of Swedish Social Democrats was forced to leave his position. The story got a lot of media spotlight. How did this affect your social media activities?
Sweden has seen such levels of political social media activities before. The issues around our former party leader Håkan Juholt had great impact on many people and we saw huge numbers of tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates. We changed strategy and tried to open up as much as possible and tweet updates regularly about what was going on. We got positive reactions about that. The last year has been outstanding in regards to media coverage of our party – we couldn’t reach out in any better way than simply opening up and starting to communicate using all our online channels more frequently and cohesive.

“Without comments, any news site gets a certain PDF feel”

Dagens Nyheter (DN), Sweden’s biggest morning newspaper, has been one the first Twingly partners to integrate our widget solution into its website, back in early 2007. Today, five years later, we spoke with Björn Hedensjö, Head of Digital at DN, about how Twingly worked out for them, his view on the importance of blogs and comments as well as about what’s next for DN regarding social media.

DN was Twingly’s first client and integrated the widget in February 2007. What was the impact of that partnership and with what thoughts do you look back on 5 years of having incoming blog links showing next to your articles?
I started at DN in 2009, but the people working with digital there before me did a great job, and the Twingly partnership is a good example. The impact was big then and today we’re still a very natural environment for bloggers, and it’s important for us to put the incoming links in prominent positions on the site.

How has the role of the blogosphere changed for DN during the past years, and how important is it today?
I think it’s as important or more important today than it was a few years ago, despite the “competition” from microblogs and Facebook. I really feel blogs contribute in a unique way when they’re at their best, with in-depth coverage of current issues.

How much do you at DN actually work together with the blogosphere? What ways do you see for the future to leverage blogs even more for your site?
I wouldn’t say we work very actively with the blogosphere, but we link to blogs in articles when it’s relevant and of course all editors read loads of blogs. Also the Twingly partnership is important when it comes to tying us closer to the blogosphere. A senior editor of ours, Hasse Rosén, has recently started working with social and interactivity issues and eventually we’ll see some exciting results from that.

How valuable are reader comments for your web site?
Very important. Without them any news site get a certain, uncanny PDF feel.

If readers want to comment on one of your articles, they need to log in with Facebook, OpenID or a DN.se account. Do you find that to be the best solution to keep the quality of comments up?
It’s not the best solution, but it has proven to be a step in the right direction for us, I don’t think there are any easy or general solutions that fit all. We have plenty of ideas in the backlog, one being a rating or ‘like’ system, where users rate each others comments. That has been very successful on other news sites. Recently we also started working actively to encourage good comments by highlighting them, perhaps writing new articles based on them. But many things could be done to make it better.

How do you see DN develop in the future in regards to social media?
A closer Facebook integration is not an unlikely next step.

How will that look?
A little bit too early to say!

While there hardly seems to be anybody without a Facebook account nowadays, Twitter is still only a niche phenomenon in Sweden. Do you think that will change in the near future?
No, I think Twitter in Sweden is pretty much established as a meeting place for a tiny, influential minority. It hasn’t changed much since I got my Twitter account in 2008.

How much time do you personally spend with social media while at work?
Depends, if I have a not so busy day, which is rare, I allow myself to just enjoy them. Other days it’s strictly work, but I check Twitter and Facebook regularly.

What are the biggest trends in online journalism that you especially look forward to be able to work with at DN?
Open data services and quick, simple and direct ways to broadcast news. A colleague of mine recently shot, edited and published a very professional clip from a bus accident in minutes, all via his iPhone.

“Oft ist die Twitter-Tatort-Gemeinde zwiegespalten”

Click here for the English version!

Der Tatort ist die in der deutschen Twittersphäre am meisten und intensivsten diskutierte Fernsehsendung. Stefanie Aßmann und Nicole Greiner haben vor einiger Zeit in einem Blog damit begonnen, die Twitter-Resonanz auf einzelne Episoden auszuwerten und zu analysieren. Im Interview erzählt Stefanie, wie es dazu kam, was twitternde Tatort-Fans bewegt und was als nächstes kommen könnte.

Wer bist du wieso bewegt dich das Thema Social-Media-Monitoring?
Meine Name ist Stefanie Aßmann, bei Twitter @miss_assmann. Ich arbeite bei VICO Research & Consulting als Consultant und beschäftige mich dort beruflich mit dem Thema Monitoring und Social Media. Vor zwei Jahren habe ich mich im Rahmen meiner Masterarbeit das erste Mal mit Social Media Monitoring auseinander gesetzt. Damals gab es nur wenig Literatur zum Thema. Für mich war das ein Grund, dies zu ändern und das Blog zum Thema ins Leben zu rufen. Außerdem finde ich es sehr spannend, wie die Nutzer online über Produkte und Marken diskutieren. Analysen zur Social Media Kommunikation ergeben immer sehr interessante Erkenntnisse.

Du befasst dich seit einiger Zeit damit, die Twitter-Reaktionen zum Tatort zu analysieren. Wie kam es dazu?
Wir haben auf der Arbeit montags über den Tatort gesprochen und uns darüber unterhalten, wie viele Leute doch auf Twitter darüber diskutieren. Da kam uns die Idee, das es lustig wäre, den Tatort anhand von Tweets nachzuerzählen. Mit Nicole habe ich die Idee einige Zeit später wieder aufgegriffen. Leider schaffen wir es zeitlich nur selten, den Tatort zu analysieren.

Wieso sorgt gerade der Tatort für ein derartig großes Echo bei Twitter?
Das ist eine gute Frage und ein gutes Thema für eine Analyse. In meinem Freundeskreis schauen sehr viele Leute sonntags Tatort. Da viele Freunde der Social-Media-Welt beim Fernsehen das Smartphone nicht aus der Hand legen können, haben sie wohl angefangen, den Tatort zu kommentieren. Das Ganze hat sich irgendwann verselbstständigt. In meiner Timeline ist mir der Tatort jedenfalls als erstes TV Format aufgefallen.

Welche Tools und Verfahren verwendest du für deine Analyse?
Angefangen haben wir mit der Twitter-Suche. Zwischendurch habe ich auch das Tool von VICO eingesetzt, um eine Tag Cloud zu erstellen. Anja von Twingly war nun so nett und hat mir ein Liveboard zum Tatort eingerichtet. Damit erhält man einen guten Überblick, wie viele User zu welchen Schlagworten zum Tatort twittern. Um die Tweets zu sammeln, nutzen wir aktuell die Twittersuche und Live von Twingly. Ideen für weitere Analysen habe ich genug. Mir fehlt nur die Zeit für die Umsetzung.

Welche Folge war bisher die mit den insgesamt positivsten Twitter-Kritiken und welche die mit den negativsten? 
Da wir nicht jeden Tatort analysieren, kann ich das gar nicht so genau sagen. Oft ist die Twitter-Tatort-Gemeinde zwiegespalten. Gerade der Tatort von Justus von Dohnanyi hat für viel Gesprächsstoff bei Twitter gesorgt. Entweder wurde der Tatort als Meisterstück gelobt, oder er wurde verrissen. Prinzipiell kann man auch sagen, dass bei manchen Tatorten der eigentlich Inhalt bei Twitter gar keine Rolle spielt. Manchmal sind gewisse Details im Tatort spannender als die Handlung selbst. Gerade wenn bestimmte Details im Film nicht logisch sind, wird gerne gemeckert.

Glaubst du, der Tatort wird immer eher eine Ausnahme bleiben, was das Social-Web-Engagement der Nutzer angeht? Oder werden künftig viele weitere Sendungen ähnlich viel Resonanz in den Social-Media-Kanälen erhalten?
Der Tatort war die erste Sendung mit so viel Resonanz bei Twitter. Mittlerweile wird alles mögliche – bespielsweise “Bauer sucht Frau” oder “The Voice of Germany” – bei Twitter diskutiert. In meinen Augen birgt Twitter bei der Analyse von TV-Formaten noch sehr viel Potential. Anbieter wie Couchfunk haben schon erkannt, dass man das klassische Fernsehen mit der Internetnutzung verknüpfen sollte.

Denkst du darüber nach, deine Analysen auf andere Sendungen auszuweiten?
Ja, da denke ich schon länger drüber nach. Allerdings habe ich noch kein Format gefunden, dass mich inhaltlich auch so interessiert. Mich würden hier generell amerikanische Serien reizen. Dort werden die verschiedenen Social-Media-Kanäle bereits jetzt schon verstärkt von den Sendern eingesetzt.

“Often, the actual plot isn’t what engages users in the online discussion”

Hier könnt ihr das Interview auf Deutsch lesen.

The German crime drama series Tatort (German for “crime scene”) is the most discussed TV show among Twitter users in Germany. A while ago Stefanie Assmann and Nicole Greiner started to analyse the Twitter feedback on a couple of episodes. In our interview, Stefanie explains how that happened, what it is that gets the tweeting audience excited as well as what the next step could look like.

Tell us a bit about you.
My name is Stefanie Assmann, @miss_assmann on Twitter. I’m working as a consultant at Vico Research, a German full-service agency for social media, dealing mainly with monitoring and social media. About two years ago I learned about social media monitoring for the first time while writing my Master thesis. Back then there wasn’t too much literature on that topic, which made me eventually launch a blog about it. It’s fascinating to see how users discuss brands and products. Analysing their comments always leads to interesting insights.

You have started to look closer at what Twitter users say about Tatort episodes and to publish the results on your blog. Why?
On Mondays at the office we usually discuss the latest episode of Tatort (which is always broadcasted on Sunday evenings), and we found it impressive how many people were doing the same on Twitter during the show. Nicole and I thought it might be fun to use those tweets by people watching Tatort to re-tell the story of the episode. Eventually, that led to a couple of blog posts where we evaluated the Tatort-buzz on Twitter. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to do that regularly.

Why is Tatort the single regular TV show in Germany getting that much attention on Twitter?
Good question and food for another analysis. Many of my friends usually watch Tatort on Sunday evenings. It’s quite a popular series. And as it is the case for many social media enthusiasts, they can’t stop using their smartphone, even while doing something else like watching TV. So they started to tweet about Tatort. Now that has become some kind of “tradition” on Twitter. I remember that Tatort was the first TV show that appeared in my Twitter timeline.

Which tools do you use for your analysis?
We started with the Twitter search, and we also used a tool from VICO, my employer, to create a tag cloud. Recently Twingly was so kind to provide us with a Liveboard that helps to get a quick overview about the amount and type of Tatort tweets.

Are there any typical patterns or reactions that you observe?
Since we don’t cover each Tatort episode it’s a bit hard to say. But my impression is that usually the feedback is rather varied, with both positive and negative comments. So some people love an episode while others hate it. Often, the actual plot isn’t what engages users in the online discussion. Instead it’s specific details that make people tweet. If the audience perceives a detail as unrealistic or absurd, that would usually lead to a lot of complaining on Twitter.

You think Tatort will be an exception regarding its Twitter buzz, or will other German TV shows become equally popular on Twitter?
Tatort was definitely the first show in Germany to create this kind of engagement among Twitter users. But nowadays there are other TV shows as well that get lots of tweets. I think there is a lot of potential in “social tv”, and specific web services are popping up to build on that and to connect traditional TV with the web.

Do you plan to extend your analysis to other shows?
I would love to, but I have yet to find a show which excites me enough to invest the time. A US show would be fun, since there the stations themselves already actively use social media.

We welcome Yves Rocher as new Twingly partner

Yves Rocher has recently started to use the Twinly Blogstream widget to show incoming links from blogs to its product pages in the four Nordic countries. We are excited to have this renowned global cosmetics and beauty brand as a partner! Curious to get to know more about the role that blogs and social media play for the company, we spoke to Maiju Romppanen, project manager for social media at Yves Rocher.

You have recently added Twingly to your online shop’s product pages. Tell us what you hope to achieve with showing which blogs have linked to your product pages.
To show links on the product pages is part of our SEO strategy. We hope to attract more links from bloggers when we link back to their blogs. We constantly strive to create interesting content to our product pages. A blog post could give some added value and it can often be the first step to try a new product. Many of the bloggers today have a strong influence on their readers.

What kind of importance does the blogosphere have for Yves Rocher?
Beauty is a hot topic in blogs. Majority of the blogosphere is touching either fashion or beauty. There is no question that being visible is important for any cosmetics brand. By being visible in blogosphere we are able to reach a target group of young females who are interested in beauty. Also, we get in contact with top influencers.

Apart from the Twingly widget – which other activities have you done in the past involving bloggers?
During the fall 2011 we launched a major campaign, The Waterproof Challenge, which involved the most prominent bloggers from each Nordic country. The campaign allowed users to test waterproof make up in a new, engaging and fun way with the help of some of the most popular bloggers in the Nordic countries. We believe that bloggers played a crucial role in this campaign. They are often role models for other girls and they give more credibility compared to traditional marketing methods. Another ongoing activity is the Yves Rocher Review project which involves selected bloggers who has a chance to test Yves Rocher products and review them in their blogs. It is important that the blogger can relate to Yves Rocher’s values and be a good ambassador of the brand.

When opening up to the blogosphere, that means becoming transparent and highlighting both positive feedback but also criticism. How do you prepare for that?
It is important for us to know what our customers think about our brand and products. That is why we are auditing, following and listening what is said and written about us in the social media. To be able to meet our customer’s questions, opinions and even criticism we have created internal processes to manage this effectively. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible towards our customers regarding information and ingredients. Transparency leads to credibility.

Which other social media channels do you use to reach your target group and which are the most important or effective ones?
The most important social media channel for us is definitely Facebook. It allows us to have a conversation with our customers in a totally new way. Today there are almost 300 000 people who are following Yves Rocher brand on Facebook globally. The Nordic Facebook pages were launched pretty recently, so we still have much more to do. However, we can already now see positive results from using social media as a media tool especially when it comes to conversion, viral effects and reaching a new target group.

The Twingly integration is available on your websites in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Do you notice any significant differences between each country’s blogosphere?
The Swedish blogosphere is definitely more developed and larger in terms of the amount of bloggers compared to the other Nordic countries. We can also find more niched blogs in Sweden which is probably the result of the variety and the popularity of blogging in Sweden. However, we can see the same trend in the other Nordic countries that blogging is gaining popularity and interesting blogs are popping up continuously. One thing that for sure is common in all countries is that young girls are dominating!

Yves Rocher is a French company. How closely to you work together with the headquarter in France?
We get a lot of support from the French headquarters and many of the actions are synchronized all over the world. We meet our international colleagues regularly to change experiences and best practices, which is very helpful even though markets often have their differences.

How municipalities use Twingly to connect with citizens

The Twingly Blogstream and Blogwatch widget is used by many leading news and e-commerce sites, but that doesn’t mean that other kind of online projects don’t benefit from it. One example are websites of local municipalities, which Twingly enables to highlight and show the discussion about local matters, issues and projects on blogs to visitors and citizens.

The Swedish municipalities Strängnäs, Borås and Tranemo have chosen to put the Blogwatch widget on their site in order to do exactly that. We asked Strängnäs and Borås a couple of questions about their thoughts on connecting their municipality’s website with the blogosphere.

Twingly integration on Strängnäs municipality's website

Sofia Lacik works with the communication team at Strängnäs municipality.

Hello Sofia. What’s the story behind the Twingly integration on Strängnäs municipality’s website?
I had used Twingly in the past at another organisation. Then at SSCW I met Twingly CEO Martin Källström and we discussed whether Twingly would be a useful solution for Strängnäs municipality.

How was the feedback when you launched the integration?
When we announced that we would show blog posts about Strängnäs, we only got positive reactions. For us it’s a great way to keep tabs on what’s being written about the municipality, and personally, I feel I’m better informed about topics, opinions and thoughts relevant for Strängnäs that are appearing on blogs.

How much time do you invest into working with social media?
It varies, but usually about 15 hours a week. That includes creating and following up on the strategy and various social media activities, answering questions, replying to comments, publishing news and monitoring the different channels. I also quite often meet with colleagues who need help or support regarding using social media. The communication department spends a couple of more hours a week mainly on monitoring as well as publishing and encouraging other colleagues to try using the social web for their work.

And what’s the next step?
Our goal is to increasingly leverage social media for our work at the municipality, and to make other offices and departments aware of the potential this has for the communication with those interested and those living in and around Strängnäs.


Twingly integration on Borås municipality's website

Marie Ingvarsson is the head of marketing and communication at Borås municipality.

Hello Marie. Tell us why Borås benefits from Twingly.
When we launched our social media activities we realized quickly the advantages of  Twingly’s tools for our monitoring. Apart from showing the Twingly widget with links to blogs mentioning Borås, we also have used Twingly Live and Liveboard, for example during conferences, to show the latest developments and comments in real time. Of course it also helps that Twingly is a Sweden-based company and that the team has always been helpful and quick to reply to our questions.

Do your social media activities require a lot of time?
That depends. We publish quite a lot on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Bambuser, but then this content has been published through other channels as well, so it doesn’t need to be created from scratch. Our monitoring feeds are updating automatically which makes it easy for us to keep an eye on everything that’s being written about Borås. The setup of the whole work flow and of the accounts has taken a while, and naturally replying to questions and participating in the discussions might require some time – let’s not forget that social media is about communicating and interacting.

Will you integrate Twingly even more on your site?
We are thinking about embedding the Twingly Blogstream widget on all of our sites to show incoming links from blogs. Since the content on some of our less regularly updated pages probably isn’t being discussed a lot on blogs, it’s possible that there wouldn’t be a lot of incoming links, so we aren’t sure yet how to do it. In the end, it simply might be a question of being as transparent as possible, which is what we strive for.

What else is on your road-map?
One of the things we are planning to launch are e-petitions, a tool which enables citizens to make suggestions about issues concerning the municipality, to discuss them and to collaborate on them.