Author Archives: asgall

More bad news for Snapchat!

Uh-oh, it is Snapchat making the news again! To dilute our discussion of social media analytics a tiny bit, here is an interesting development that was recently highlighted in a legal blog I follow. It turns out that Snapchat’s images were not as ephemeral as promised!

And what do you know? As I was typing this post with CNBC talking heads droning in the background, I heard them saying that Facebook just announced that it was working on a Snapchat-like image sharing feature – Slingshot. Surely enough, it is today’s big Facebook news:

Oops. Is this going to be the end of Snapchat? Or does it signal a beginning of lengthy legal battle?



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Washington State is the home of two great public institutions of higher education: University of Washington and Washington State University. Naturally, a friendly (?) rivalry exists between these two great schools. Fans of the universities can argue for hours about which one is better than the other, using football, NIH funded research, number of grads among Fortune 500 execs, ranks of their MBA programs, and other similar metrics. Trying to be free from any bias towards my alma mater, I am going to compare the two schools using the social media tools. First, let’s look at Social Mention. Although both schools can be mentioned under multiple names, I used “University of Washington” and “Washington State University” as the key words for simplicity, and here is the result:
UW vs WSU 1
UW definitely has higher social media reach and more mentionings than WSU, but WSU wins when it comes to the sentiment. Could it be possible that the negative sentiment is coming from the rivals, such as fans of the opposite football team, and high negative sentiment actually reflects negatively on the other school? To figure this out, more research, such as detailed review of the negative mentions, needs to be done.
Let’s now shift gears a bit and take a look at what Moz has to say, using the Followerwonk tool, and here is the result:
UW vs WSU 2
Both schools have similar social authority, but UW clearly has an edge when it comes to the number of followers. However, it has fewer retweets, with only 21.5% of all tweets being retweeted by the followers vs 26.5% for WSU, which tells me that the followers are somewhat less engaged. Certainly enough, the following bar graph shows that the user engagement for UW (yellow) is lower than that for WSU (green). UW has fewer tweets per week and overall number of tweets, but certainly outranks WSU 4:1 in the average daily number of followers, which led me to explore Topsy. And here are the interesting findings, shown in the two graphs that follow. WSU’s Twitter activity has been somewhat sporadic in the past month compared to the steady number of tweets for UW:
UW vs WSU 3
UW vs WSU 4
This is somewhat surprising, given the Followerwonk’s numbers for the two schools’ tweets. To decipher where the differences come from (e.g., a significant drop in activity by WSU in the past month due to some event), one needs to dig deeper into that issue.
Bottom line: the web and social media presence analytical tools give an interesting, fresh look at the two universities from a new perspective, and a short exercise in applying these tools generates a lot of questions that call for more detailed research.
Almost forgot, but here it is:
Happy Monday! 

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We have come a long way, but orcas still need our help!


(Photo credit: North Shore News)

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the first capture of a live killer whale for the purpose of displaying it to entertain the public.

The following article tells the fascinating story of Moby Doll, the first killer whale that lived in captivity after being harpooned off the British Columbia coast. The hunters did not intend to capture a live orca, but they ended up with a wounded whale in their hands. Read what happened next:

Moby Doll of the Salish Sea

And please, do not forget – Orcas need our help now more than ever. Please visit Save The Orcas and sign the petition on further tightening of the underwater noise regulations!

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Snapchat – not a useless app after all?


                                           (photo credit: Yahoo! Tech)

We have spent multiple minutes of our class time discussing Snapchat’s value. How can a company with a business that relies on sending quickly disappearing messages create value for its investors? There are two major ways an app can make money: via ads or via subscription fees. Will you pay $2/month to use Snapchat? Well, I thought so… But wait, here is a semi-spam message that landed in my inbox yesterday. I usually ignore 99.999% of such emails, but the title caught my attention:

“How to Use Snapchat’s New Instant Messaging and Video Features”

Video? IM? Delivered in a seamless fashion? Read on:

“This is great news for power users. Anyone who spends enough time communicating with friends on the app knows that switching to another avenue for some good, old-fashioned texting is a chore. Say you send a snap to an old college roommate, and it sparks some nostalgic image-swapping. There’s no need to switch to iMessage to continue that conversation or to schedule a Skype date. The app allows for the kind of spontaneous conversation that feels natural, a point that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel drove home in an interview with The New York Times. “If I’m walking around and want to show you something, why do I have to switch apps?” he said. “It stops the conversation and makes it a transaction, rather than free-flowing.”

Snapchat suddenly becomes more interesting…


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Clever use of Twitter and Instagram for product promotion @Boston Marathon

Since the main purpose of this blog to learn more about how social media can be used for marketing purposes, I would like to share one ad campaign that caught my attention at this year’s Boson Marathon because of its clever use of Instagram and Twitter’s new picture feature.

KT Tape makes exactly what their name says – adhesive tape which is used by athletes for muscle injury prevention and rehabilitation. Tape is boring, un-sexy, and quite often it is hidden from sight. How can one raise awareness of such a product among the potential customers? One possible way is to make the current users proudly display the tape on their bodies, snap “selfies”, and share their photos with their friends and relatives. Easier said than done! However, KT Tape found a clever way of convincing many Boston Marathon runners to do exactly that by giving out free, colorful samples of their tape that sported a Boston Strong slogan and a sticker with the following message, “Support One Fund Boston. (1) KT Tape your body in a visible place. (2) Post a race picture on Twitter or Instagram showing this KT tape with the hashtag #kttapehonors A donation will be made to One Fund for every image posted.”

KT Boston Marathon Enlarged

Support a charity while promoting our product. Pretty clever! I spotted many runners proudly sporting the blue and yellow tape on their legs and arms while running the race and wished I had stopped by the KT Tape booth at the Expo.


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MSC logo

Does it look like they follow a content calendar?

The Marine Conservation Society is a UK charity for the protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, and for the protection of the shorelines and wildlife, which was founded under the name of Underwater Conservation Society in 1977. In 1983, the name was changed to the Marine Conservation Society when it was officially registered as a charity.
The Society’s website ( is well organized, with regular news updates and a calendar showing the events planned for any given month. It does not look like the post adhere to a regular calendar schedule but rather they highlight events as they happen or approach. The links to the social channels are clearly visible at the bottom of the MSC’s main web page. MCS maintains a YouTube channel with 227 subscribers, which is not a huge number, but clearly it demonstrates that there is some interest from the public. The YouTube channel does not get maintained often, with the most recent uploads being posted almost a year ago. MSC utilization of Twitter is much higher, with daily updates and re-tweets of major environmental developments and news from mainstream media and other channels. MSC’s Facebook account is quite active as well, with 26,087 likes and regular updates (again, there is no pattern indicative of a calendar since the updates happen almost daily).

How many people contribute to the social channels?

It looks like MSC’s Facebook page, with 26,087 likes, is a popular place for environmentally concerned people. Its Twitter account has almost 14 thousand followers and follows 1,434 others. It sounds like the Marine Conservation Society has been utilizing the web and the social media very efficiently to promote their noble cause. It is not clear from the organization’s site how many people it employs to maintain its web presence and contribute to the social channels, but I assume that it has several dedicated employees and volunteers.

What is the message they are getting across?

The Society’s main goal is protection of the seas around the United Kingdom and the world. Their social campaigning revolves around creation of marine protection areas in the UK, preservation of the shoreline, diverse sea wildlife, and coral reefs, and promotes the multiple conservation projects, both in the UK and abroad, in which the Society is involved.

Who are they trying to reach?

MSC targets the widest audience possible, with the especial emphasis on the younger, environmentally minded people who can help to carry their message forward and also pitch in with the conservation projects.




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