The Micro-Sizing of Social Networks May Predict the Future

To suggest users are deserting social networks, especially Facebook, en masse is an exaggeration but the numbers and trends indicate there is a change in how people are using and viewing social networks.

In a 2013 Princeton University study (see: “Epidemiological modeling of online social network dynamics“) disease based data models predicted that by 2017 Facebook would lose 80% of the users it had in 2013. Some cite ‘Facebook Fatigue’ others just think it is the natural progression of the medium.

Bubonic Plague Bacteria courtesy of The Guardian

The Princeton Study has been criticized (see: Facebook’s reply), but the model was also run against MySpace prior to its rapid decline.

It’s not about attrition of any particular social network but how users are viewing and using them. With the Edward Snowden hoopla and concerns over the NSA violating our privacy, people have become acutely aware of what they are doing online and how it impacts their personal digital identity and legacy. Conversation also includes the impact of online sharing on children.

People are moving towards private social communities, or networks. The demand for these sorts of communities has been growing rapidly over the last year, meanwhile previous incarnations of such platforms have weakened, perhaps peeking before the demand was truly there.

What does this mean for the future of social networking? We will delve into that more in upcoming posts. What would your perfect social network offer? Large communities surrounding more intimate communities? A personal niche within the ecosystem? What do you think is next for social networking? A Follr Community?

Follr Feature – Professional and Personal Tags

The ‘Follr Tag’ feature allows you to not only describe yourself personally and professional but also to search and connect with a far broader range of people using very specific criteria.

Having logged into your account simply click on ‘Connections’ and then ‘Finder’:

Follr Digital Identity

Your search results are only as good as the quality of tags entered so make sure that for your own account and profile Website you enter as much information as possible and choose your tags (professional and personal) thoughtfully; this is also how others will find you.

Have questions we didn’t answer?  Want to know more? Ask us!

Do You Know Which Social Network Works Best For You?

If someone wants information about you, where do they look first? Is it a social network, a Website, some other online location? Which social network provides the most information, the most complete picture of you?

Today, our information is all over the Web but by using Follr we can see that, in March, most people went to Twitter to research me followed by Facebook and then LinkedIn.

Follr Social Media Data

Along with this data Follr also provides me with reports on:

  • who specifically viewed my Follr account
  • how many times my Follr account was viewed
  • what specific page they looked at
  • what files they downloaded.

To see your stats simply log into your account and click the triangle icon next to your profile image in the top right of the screen:

Social Media Statistics

With so much time wasted on social media, social marketing and social networking (they are distinct and separate things) it’s vital that you focus on platforms, services and Websites that get you the most bang for your buck or RIO (return on investment) in business speak. The best place to start is Follr – start today by creating your profile at follr.com.

Privacy – Does it Really Matter?

Stephen Fells

Stephen Fells

Increasingly, especially when discussing Digital Identity and social media, the issue of privacy arises. One common objection I hear is “I don’t want everyone to know my information” and when I hear this statement I can’t help but feel that it’s an overly simplistic view of things. Is it?

I admit I get a little frustrated when people simply repeat what others say without giving it some personal thought. I suspect that in many cases this is exactly what is happening when people throw out this particular objection especially when it is combined with ever fashionable commentary trashing social networks. The real vitriolic criticism is aimed at Facebook (one gentleman I met referred to Facebook as “privacy cowboys”) and Twitter (“I just don’t get it” – same guy).

I know this won’t be popular but I think these opinions are more than overly simplistic, I think they are naive. To conversationally put privacy into a box is natural because we humans like things in boxes but the truth is privacy, like many things, is gray. Let me give you an example.

If I asked you “How much did you earn last year?” you would, quite understandably, tell me it’s none of my business. But if your financial adviser or accountant asked exactly the same question you would answer it without hesitation. Same question, different relationship. Two things matter in this instance; control (you want control over who sees your information) and value (you need to benefit from the exchange).

This particular example could be criticized, your annual salary isn’t freely available online, but I think it’s valid because we can extend it to lots of other personal ‘data’. Do you want to share all your vacation photos with everyone? Who is ‘everyone’? Just Facebook “friends” or anyone that can access Google? Do you know all of your online contacts equally? Would you share those same vacation photos, especially that morning shot of you on the beach in a swim suit drinking a Bloody Mary, via LinkedIn?

I could ask many, many more questions like this and they would all make my point. As you actually begin to think about privacy and what information you want to share you will reach the following conclusions:

  • You don’t want to share all information with all people but you do want to share some information with all people.
  • For an increasing number of people a lot of information about them is already online.
  • You are willing to give up very personal information and will waive all privacy if the return is worthwhile.
  • Privacy is gray.

Let’s take this a step further. Have you ever ‘googled’ yourself? Consider that whatever you find is also what everyone else finds. And when they see or read it they will form an opinion about you that might be good or might be bad. They will decide how ‘technical’ you are, how much you know about marketing, how professional you are. Perhaps they will even form an opinion about your very character. And it doesn’t matter if their opinion is right or wrong, it’s their opinion and they will act (or not) on it. As a result the data that is available about online you today impacts you today.

Again, at the heart of the issue is control; we all need to be able to control who gets what information, or at least feel like we control that information. And the more personal that information the more control we want over it. So privacy isn’t good vs. bad, right vs. wrong or sharable vs. private. Like many things it’s relative. In fact privacy, at that moment of an online search, is a non-issue because people will form an opinion not only on what they do see about you but what they don’t see. Just consider Sam Fiorella. He didn’t get a marketing job because he didn’t have an account with Klout.

When I hear people ‘in the know’, especially social media guru’s, speakers, trainers and coaches, talk about the importance of privacy I can’t help but think of the following quote made by Red, Morgan Freeman’s excellent character in my favorite movie Shawshank Redemption:

“I know what *you* think it means, sonny. To me it’s just a made up word. A politician’s word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job.”

And so to this video from John Seely Brown, independent co-chairman of the Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge. In the video he interviews John Henry Clippinger, CEO of ID3, on social data privacy standards that foster a social media ecosystem built on trust and value creation. The question is do you see enough value to share more information with a wider, possibly global, audience knowing that information already impacts you?

My position is that privacy does matter, sometimes, and (with apologies to Red for the misquote) you need to either get busy sharing or get busy dying.

Follr Releases Community Platform

Wappingers Falls, NY (May 22nd, 2014) Follr, Inc., a SaaS (Service as a software) company today announced the release of “Follr Communities“, a collaborative social media based platform that significantly extends the existing Follr product suite.

Follr Logo

The product enables clubs, groups or organizations to create an online community looking to engage members, students, employees or individuals around a common interest, product, brand or shared passion. As a single point of entry members of each Follr Community can organize events, market, communicate, share content and network.

Stephen Fells

Stephen Fells

“Follr Communities is a significant enhancement to our platform and a natural extension of our focus on providing a better way for people to connect,” said Stephen Fells, Follr CEO and Co-Founder adding “Networking of any type is now predominantly an online activity. As this move takes place Follr Communities serves as the solution for all forms of collaboration, something specific social silos fall short on.”

Follr Communities can be customized to match any brand or style and members have access to advanced features including:

  • Rich profiles – Members can create highly detailed Websites encouraging richer, more human connections. The profiles also help with online reputation management, pre-event networking and serve as an online resume.
  • Events – Members can create, manage and run events of all sizes within a community.
  • Automated Social Media – Social media content is distributed to multiple online marketing channels.
  • Social Wall – The Follr Social Wall ensures members see real time social media content from every marketing channel ensuring they never miss a tweet or post again.
  • Enhanced Chats and Messaging – News feed, threaded discussions and rich messaging functionality enhance community engagement.
  • Flexible Membership – Public, private or paid options are available enabling subscription communities with a revenue share for administrators.
  • Photos and Documents – Members can share photos and documents within their community.

“Follr Communities provides a feature set that will better support existing online groups especially with the rich data provided by Follr profiles,” stated Follr Founder and Product Lead Mark Wayman. He added “In doing so it appeals to a broad audience of online community members who are not served by existing simpler solutions.”

The company is seeing schools, universities and colleges build communities as a collaboration tool for students while causes, charities and not-for-profits are spreading their message and raising funds. Entertainment brands looking to build on and increase fan engagement can leverage Follr Communities as a hub for outreach while corporations looking to improve internal and external communication or more effectively administer projects will benefit. The company will be releasing additional features to Follr Communities over the remainder of the quarter.

About Follr, Inc.:

Follr, Inc. (www.follr.com) is a software company founded in 2011. With offices in California and New York Follr provides Web-based business and personal networking products.

Follr Communities provide vibrant, social groups and event management tools to engage anyone around a membership, club, group, shared passion or interest.

Follr Profile Websites enable individuals, companies and brands to tell their story using a combination of personal or corporate history, social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc.) and content. They are personally branded Websites used as an initial point of contact and represents an aggregation of all online and offline information. Accessed by an enduring, easy to remember URL they represent a more complete picture and story in an increasingly digital world.

The Follr network provides users with the ability to create and edit their Follr Profile Website and Follr Community. It additionally facilitates improved networking while providing access to millions of jobs.

The combination of Follr products uniquely provide “a better way to connect”™.

Follr is funded through Blossom Ventures. For more information see the company Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Contact:

Follr, Inc.
Stephen Fells – CEO
(888) 201-5160
steve@follr.com

Follr Releases Enhanced Business Networking Tools

New features extend open social network capabilities as company continues to improve professional networking.

Wappingers Falls, NY (August 28th, 2013) Follr, Inc. (www.follr.com) today announced the release of several new business networking tools and feature enhancements aimed at improving the companies open social network. The new features include email messaging, activity notifications and Hover Cards, a visual summary sourced from a persons Digital Identity Website.

The company also released improvements to connection suggestions, content editing and the Follr score and user interface. The news follows recent announcements about the companies universal content sharing feature, event management tools and the release of a new marketing Website at follr.com.

Follr Logo

The new messaging feature provides a way for Follr Personal users to send up to 25 messages a month to existing connections. Follr Personal Pro users can send unlimited messages to connections and up to 25 messages per month to non-contacts.

Activity notifications have been added to highlight status likes, comments, reposts and comment likes. Vouches for tags are also detailed.

The company also released Hover Cards, a visual and highly innovative feature that summarizes a Follr users profile. Throughout the platform a simple mouse-over now highlights a persons job title, Follr score, bio (in summary form) and the number of their links, tags and contacts. It also allows for direct messaging.

“We continue to work on smarter professional networking, a process that should be people and not network centric.” stated Follr CEO Stephen Fells, adding “This release is a significant step towards making that happen while simultaneously achieving one of our primary objectives; maximizing the value of Follr to our user base.”

Follr is a business network that includes networking tools for individuals and businesses. The software allows any person, company or brand to tell their story using a combination of personal or corporate history, social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc.) and content accessible via an enduring, easy to remember domain name. A personally branded Website then acts a an initial point of contact and represents an aggregation of all online and offline information. Collectively the Follr platform represents a more complete picture and story in an increasingly digital world and helps protect and promote brands.

“We have created software that is inherently scalable, an ideal platform on which we are now building feature and functional extensibility,” stated Follr Founder and Product Lead Mark Wayman. He added “We continue to develop viral mechanisms that bridge all social networks.”

Also included in the release is an improved connection suggestion mechanism. Suggestions now automatically refresh and respond to updates and activity. The Follr score and vouching methodology has also been adjusted to better weight activity.

Menu navigation has been simplified and the content editing mechanism completely replaced which, in part, improves cross browser compatibility.

Collectively the enhancements provide significant value to all Follr users.

About Follr, Inc.:

Follr, Inc. (www.follr.com) is a software company founded in 2011. With offices in California and New York Follr provides Web-based Digital Identity Websites and business networking tools to individuals and corporations. A Digital Identity Website allows an individual, company or brand to tell their story using a combination of personal or corporate history, social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare etc.) and content. It is a personally branded Website used as an initial point of contact and represents an aggregation of all online and offline information. It is accessed by an enduring, easy to remember URL and represents a more complete picture and story in an increasingly digital world. Follr is funded through Blossom Ventures. For more information see the company Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Follr Announces Release of Digital Identity Software Platform for Businesses

Follr Business Includes ‘Social Stream’ Feature, an Innovative and Highly Visual Aggregation of Social Media Content

Wappingers Falls, NY (December 31st, 2012) Follr, Inc., today announced the release of Follr Business, a Web based SaaS (Software as a Service) product aimed at helping corporations create a local and mobile-enabled, social media based Web solution that aggregates their brand and Digital Identity. The product is the third released by the company joining Follr Personal and Follr Community.

A Follr Digital Identity business Website organizes and aggregates a company’s online information making it accessible via one memorable Website address. It additionally leverages employees and staff to protect a companies brand while simultaneously driving online traffic to official marketing channels like Facebook business pages and Twitter.

Stephen Fells

Stephen Fells

“The global population, personally and professionally, is just beginning to understand the importance of Digital Identity,“ said Stephen Fells, Follr CEO and Co-Founder adding “With the release of Follr Business we now have a complete suite of products to service Digital Identity needs irrespective of market segment or location.”

The advent of improved mobile technology and Web based ‘social’ services has led to a proliferation of choices for individuals, businesses and all types of organization. With these choices and the enormous growth in online sharing new opportunities and new problems have been created, opportunities Follr looks to amplify and problems it’s products help solve.

Follr Business helps companies who are overwhelmed with the complexities of not only social media but also technology and marketing in general. It has been developed using responsive design (often referred to as RWD), an approach to Web design that ensures an optimal viewing experience. The method results in minimal re-sizing, panning and scrolling when navigating using a multitude of devices including mobile phones and tablets.

It also includes ‘Social Stream’, an innovative and highly visual aggregation and representation of a companies social media content. Through one image, a visitor to a Follr Business Website can see and access tweets, blog posts, videos and other social media content published by a company.

Follr Social Stream - Digital Identity

Follr Business also provides access to local markets as a result of a relationship the company has with UBL Interactive, Inc. (UBL), a company that provides business owners and their representatives with a cost effective one-stop location for broad distribution of complete, accurate, and detailed business information.

Mark Wayman

Mark Wayman

“We have long felt that the small and medium business space has an overwhelming number of Web choices that are too technical to implement, require marketing expertise, are too expensive or combine all of these things,” stated Follr Co-Founder, Mark Wayman adding “Follr Business helps by addressing these problems and providing companies with everything they need for today’s consumer. As we enter 2013 we continue to work on cross product functionality and the addition of new features.”

Another problem addressed by Follr Business is social media use by employees. A rise in the creation of unofficial Facebook business pages and Twitter accounts by staff and in some instance clients has resulted in confusion among consumers. Follr Business helps reduce this problem by ensuring employees identify official marketing channels via their Follr Personal Digital Identity Websites. By taking advantage of the inherently viral benefits of modern day social communication, a business also gets exposure to the extended network of those same staff resources. This additionally helps Human Resource departments looking to implement social media policy.

Follr Business allows for document uploads, a custom domain name and social sharing, a way for visitors to share a company’s content and product information. Follr Business is a subscription based service.

About Follr, Inc.:
Follr, Inc. is a software company founded in 2011. Based in New York and California Follr provides Digital Identity Websites to individuals and corporations. Follr products include Follr Business, Follr Personal and Follr Community. Follr Business is a local and mobile enabled, social media based Website solution without the need for technical or marketing expertise. Aggregating a brand’s Digital Identity, it is a suite that represents the sum of everything online about a business and brand. Follr Personal aggregates all digitally available information about an individual making it available via one, short, domain name. It simultaneously serves as a social résumé, marketing aggregator and online business card. Follr Community helps associations, professional bodies, membership groups and societies better serve their members and students while simultaneously leveraging their network to reach a broader market.

About UBL Interactive and Universal Business Listing:
UBL Interactive, Inc. (UBLI) is based in Charlotte, NC, and operates Universal Business Listing at www.UBL.org. UBL provides business identity management tools for businesses large and small, SEO providers, advertising agencies and interactive marketers to help their customers distribute their business details as a trusted source across search engines, online Yellow Pages directories, 411 directory assistance, social networks and mobile devices. The company also offers reputation monitoring tools and a variety of premium Local SEO optimization services.

Forward-Looking Statements:
This news release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words such as “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “believes” and similar expressions. Our ability to achieve the results anticipated in such forward-looking statements is subject to risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, our ability to successfully centralize and consolidate various support functions, in addition to general economic conditions, operating results, market acceptance of our solutions and other risks detailed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are made in accordance with “safe harbor” provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and no assurance can be given that the future results that are the subject of such forward-looking statements will be achieved. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Contact:

Follr, Inc.
Stephen Fells – CEO
(888) 201-5160
steve@follr.com

Follr Releases New Digital Identity Management Platform

Completely redesigned software product replaces Follr Digital Identity Websites administration system and rolls out significant feature enhancements.

Emeryville, CA (March 14th, 2012) Follr, Inc., today announced the release of a new version of their digital identity management product, a free Web based SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. The announcement follows a record increase in registrations, up 78% in February versus January and initial first quarter registrations up 51% versus the fourth quarter 2011.

The enhanced platform is available across all three company products; Follr Solo, Follr Community and Follr Business allowing the company to reach the widest possible audience. Follr’s digital identity Websites organize and aggregate an individual’s online information making it accessible via one memorable Website address.

This is third major announcement this year following the February release of Follr Community prefaced by a January announcement about the release of Follr Business. Follr Community helps associations, professional bodies, membership groups and societies better serve participants, grow member base and generate revenue. Follr Business is aimed at helping corporations leverage employees and staff to promote and protect the company brand while simultaneously driving online traffic to official marketing channels like Facebook business pages and Twitter. It also addresses human resource and compliance issues.

The new platform has been built with a focus on feature extensibility. The release includes detailed privacy controls, enhanced networking, contact grouping, improved search, tighter Facebook integration, more control over content and the ability to add documents.

Users can also add personal, professional, certification and language based tags which connections are able to endorse. Once a tag has been vouched for it increases users Follr score, a metric that makes you more visible within Follr. The Follr score is also used to prioritize internal Follr search results.

Mark Wayman

Mark Wayman

“The release of a new platform allows us to roll future features out quickly and easily,“ stated Follr Co-Founder, Mark Wayman adding “We are now working on the next set of features including enhanced designs, engagement (via social gaming mechanics), custom domain names and the integration of social influence tools Klout, PeerIndex and Kred.”

Paying subscribers have access to an expanded number of features including detailed analytics for both their external digital identity site and internal profile, the ability to add documents, add more Twitter and RSS feeds, customization options, increased reporting on profile visitors and the ability to add more tags. International addresses are also supported for the first time allowing the company to explore global growth.

Stephen Fells

Stephen Fells

“The social web is changing human communication but online silos like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do not and have will accurately represent a person’s complete digital identity. As a result there is a move towards an ever increasing number of niche social networks,” said Stephen Fells, Follr CEO and Co-Founder adding “This evolution is one reason why Follr, via our hundreds of social profiles, ensures personal digital identities are fully represented.”


About Follr, Inc.:

Follr, Inc. is a software company founded in 2011. With offices in California and New York Follr provides Digital Identity Websites to individuals and corporations. A Digital Identity Website provides a list of profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Foursquare etc.), contact information, Twitter and blog content, resume and networking to connect Follr users.

It is a personally branded Website used as an initial point of contact representing an aggregation of all personal information and is a natural extension of a physical business card. It is accessed by an enduring, easy to remember URL and represents a more complete picture of individuals and organizations.

Contact:

Stephen M. Fells – CEO/Co-Founder
(845) 223-1729
http://follr.me/steve