Category Archives: #RLTM Blog

Updates about The Realtime Report, Conferences and other #RLTM products.

Social Media News Ticker: Facebook Tests ‘Buy’ Button, Twitter Acquires CardSpring

Check out all the latest social media news from the last two weeks, including changes and new features for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, YouTube and Vine:

Facebook Mentions app






Any social media updates that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Bubblews: The Social Network That Pays Users To Post

Today marks the official launch of Bubblews (the combination of “bubbles” and “news”), a new social media website that pays its users for each view, like and comment. With a minimum of 400 characters per post, social media users are encouraged to use the new “global community” to share their interests, feelings and passions — all while being paid to do so.

Anyone can use Bubblews by following three steps:

  •    Register for free in under 60 seconds
  •    Customize your profile and check out your “bank”
  •    Write and submit your first post
Bubblews news feed

The main newsfeed on Bubblews

Once a post contains a minimum of 400 characters (though many choose to continue writing), users then have the option to add a photo either by uploading their own, or by taking one from the picture-sharing website, Pixabay (which is partnering with Bubblews). Post topics have ranged from the World Cup to personal adventures to posting about one’s feelings on world peace.

As users browse other posts, they have the ability to “follow” other users, “star” a post or leave a comment. Users are then alerted with a notification and earn compensation (1 cent ) for every star, comment and view of their own posts.

Users collect their compensation in a “Bubblews bank,” and once a user reaches $50, he/she can cash out using PayPal.

Like Twitter and Facebook, Bubblews has developed its own language. Each post is called a bubble, hashtags are substituted with a plus sign (+), and users can tag others using an ampersand (&). Bubblews claims to be currently serving more than 20 million visitors per month in over 240 countries.

The real question is, are social network users looking for a new type of social networking site? According to a new study (also released today by Bubblews*), out of the 76% of Americans who use social media, 83% said they are more likely to discover meaningful news on social media than any other resource. And nearly 7 in 10 Americans (68%) have dislikes when it comes to the most popular social media websites, including too many advertisements, non-relevant content and more.

The study also found that 62% of Americans are willing to try a new social media platform. According to Arvind Dixit, CEO and co-founder of Bubblews: “Our research shows that American appetites for social media is still more than healthy: It’s also clear that the need for relevant content by online users is not yet truly being met in the social platforms available to them today.”

The concept is unique and interesting; but will the platform take off? In an age where shorter messaging services are growing rapidly, especially among millennials, can a social network focused on longer posts find success? What do you think – and can you see your brand using Bubblews?

*Bubblew’s study was conducted online in the United States using Harris Poll, from June 30-July 2, 2014 with 2,047 participants ages 18 and over.

Most-Tweeted Sports Event In History: Germany vs. Brazil

Though the 2014 World Cup action has begun to die down, now with only two teams remaining, the social media frenzy surrounding the tournament has not.

During Tuesday’s semi-final match, where Germany dominated host nation Brazil with a 7-1 victory, tweets reached a peak volume of 530,166 tweets per minute – making it the most talked about sporting event in Twitter history. The match itself generated 35.6 millions tweets total.

The Germany vs. Brazil match easily broke the previous record (from Super Bowl 2014) of 24.9 million tweets, with a maximum volume of 381,605 tweets per minute. Germany vs. Brazil also beat out the next-most tweeted World Cup game, the Brazil vs. Chile match, which earned 16.4 million tweets (TechCrunch).

Germany’s fifth goal, scored by Sami Khedria in the 29th minute, was the most talked about moment of the game: it provoked 580,166 tweets per minute (yet another new record). Toni Kroos’ pair of goals were not far behind with 497,425 and 508,601 tweets per minute.


Germany’s Miroslav Klose was the match’s most mentioned player, after becoming the all-time record goal scorer in World Cup history, with 16.

Though much of the game’s tweets were directed at the action, many saw the embarrassing loss for Brazil as an opportunity to poke fun at the country.

Social media chatter extends far beyond the matches: on Saturday night, Rio’s famous statue of Christ the Redeemer will be lit up in the colors of each of the finalist’s flags (Germany and Argentina) from 7-9 PM. To encourage even more participation, Twitter has created a campaign in which users can vote using #ArmsWideOpen followed by #GER or #ARG. Whichever team receives the most amount of tweets will see their colors will be lit the longest; the results will change in realtime as more fans vote.

For the past month, the World Cup has created quite a buzz around social media, sparking over 300 million tweets and over a billion Facebook interactions. By the end of Sunday’s championship match between Germany and Argentina, signifying the conclusion of the tournament, the 2014 World Cup is expected to be the biggest social media event ever.

#Winning at #RLTM Realtime Marketing Lab

Monday’s Realtime Marketing Lab was filled with tons of insight, debate and takeaways around realtime marketing, and lots of new ideas from the latest realtime technologies.  Each realtime tool had just 10 minutes to present their case, plus 5 minutes to answer questions from a panel of big brand CMO judges — and from the audience.

Here are the winners:

Best Analytics Technology — Dachis Group

Best Engagement Technology —

Best Realtime Content Tool — Mass Relevance

Best Overall Bottom-line Business Value (out of all categories) — Wayin



and finally, the Audience Choice AwardInternet Media Labs


Congratulations to all the winners, and a big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors and to our amazing and engaged audience.

Stay tuned for more to come, including slideshares, tweet highlights, pics and more from the event.

Social Networking Stats: Instagram Tops 100 Million Active Users, #RLTM Scoreboard

The #RLTM Scoreboard:  Social Networking Stats for the Week

Facebook: 1 billion active users via Facebook
Twitter: over 500 million users via Twopcharts
Qzone: 599 million monthly active users via TechCrunch
Sina Weibo: over 400 million users via Yahoo
Renren: over 170 million users via iResearch iUser Tracker
VK: over 190 million users via VK
LinkedIn: 200 million active users via LinkedIn
Google Plus: 135 million monthly active users via Google
Tumblr: 96 million blogs via Tumblr
Instagram: 100 million users via Instagram
Tagged: 20 million unique monthly users via Tagged
Foursquare: nearly 30 million users via Adweek
Pinterest: over 25 million users via AdWeek
Reddit: 56 million monthly unique visitors via Reddit

Please email if you have additional updates, or a social network that you feel should be on the list.

Instagram Tops 100 Million Active Users

Instagram Tops 100 Million Active UsersFollowing recent controversy over changing terms of service, Instagram began releasing active user counts to combat rumors that users were abandoning the platform.  In a blog post on Tuesday, Instagram revealed that over 100 million people now use the photo-sharing social network every month.

Co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote: “Now, more than ever, people are capturing the world in real-time using Instagram—sharing images from the farthest corners of the globe. What we see as a result is a world more connected and understood through photographs.”

How does this measure up to other social platforms?  All Things D labels Twitter as Instagram’s closest competitor — and while it took Twitter six years to reach 200 million users, Instagram has gained 100 million at a much faster rate.

And according to a recent study by Simply Measured, brands are taking note: 59% of top brands are now using Instagram.

Hey, Twitter: I Want My Realtime Search. (And I Want It Now.)

Twitter bird in a bird cageTwitter’s been making all kinds of announcements about enhancements to Twitter mobile.

“Now with a new and improved Discover!”

“Now with Twitter Cards, so you can see the story from an official news organization right in your Twitter stream!”

But none of these announcements bring back the one feature that I really miss, and which should be a core part of the Twitter experience: realtime search.

Why Realtime Search Matters

When I first learned about Twitter, I was smitten.  I started tweeting like a madwoman. I launched TWTRCON, a conference entirely focused on the business use of Twitter.  “Twitter is revolutionary!” I told everyone who would listen.

There were two very specific ways in which Twitter completely changed the media landscape. The first was asymmetrical following: it was the first broadly-used service that allowed you to follow anyone you wanted (provided their tweets were public), without them having to follow you back. Celebrities love this feature.

The second killer feature? Realtime search. The ability to see what anybody, anywhere was saying, about anything.

I have spent countless hours using Twitter’s realtime search. It has put me in the middle of Tahrir Square. It let me follow what my fellow Americans were saying about the recent elections. It lets me check on the chatter from Brooklyn hipsters planning their weekend visits to Montauk, the summer resort town where I live, to see if I wanted to go into hiding for the weekend, or maybe join them at some cool event I hadn’t yet heard about.

I can do all that — but I can’t do it using Twitter’s official app on my mobile phone. And my phone is my number one access point to Twitter.

Without Realtime Search, Twitter is Just Another Media Site.

What Twitter doesn’t seem to understand is that realtime search is the one thing that makes Twitter superior to a news aggregator like, say, Google News.  If I want to know what Al Jazeera is saying about the current conflict in the Gaza strip, I can go to Al Jazeera or any number of other sites.  But if I want to see what everyday people are saying — the ones on the receiving end of those rockets, say — that’s what Twitter is for.

Or should be.  Used to be, anyway.

Here’s what I currently get if I search for #Gaza on my iPhone 4S, running the latest version of  Twitter mobile version 5.1:

The #Gaza search on Twitter's mobile app: showing "top tweets," not realtime search results

It shows pretty much the same results as if you do the same search on, which defaults to “Top Tweets.” What is Top Tweets?

“We’ve built an algorithm that finds the Tweets that have caught the attention of other users. Top Tweets will refresh automatically and are surfaced for popularly-retweeted subjects based on this algorithm,” chirps the Twitter FAQ.

Notice anything?  The top Top Tweet Twitter is showing me is from 4 hours ago.  The next two are from almost an hour ago.  This for a hashtag that is getting new tweets literally every few seconds.

Here’s what the same search looks like if you go to, enter the search term, and then click on All to display the realtime search results:


A #Gaza search on Twitter showing All Tweets - new tweets are streaming in every minute, in realtime

Realtime Search: Raw, Fresh and Unfiltered 

Look at the difference between the two feeds.  One is stale, and tells me what a lot of other people have been interested in over the last few hours.

The other — with the realtime search results — is raw, fresh and unfiltered. It tells me what is being said right now, in some cases by people who are right there.  It lets me drill down into what I want to know, not just what other people wanted to know.

But Twitter wants to be a media company. It wants to deliver pre-packaged content, with lots of spiffy top images and places to put ads.

It doesn’t understand that realtime search is probably the single-most important thing it does; it’s the thing that makes it better than a traditional media company.

Realtime search is what lets me connect with other people for no reason other than we are interested in the same topic or sharing the same experience.

When Twitter launched, it was the only platform offering realtime search.  Today, I can get a realtime search experience via any number of other platforms (Instagram, Tumblr, Google Plus and more) anytime, anywhere, on my mobile device.

But not from Twitter.


Want to read more on this topic? Check out Dave Larson’s post on tweetsmarter, Is Twitter Censoring Search Results? Will They Fix It?.

Social Media at the United Nations: Engagement, Crowdsourcing and Cause Marketing…in 6 Languages

It’s difficult to move quickly in social media when every post must first be vetted by an international bureaucracy and then translated into six languages. But that hasn’t fazed the United Nations, which maintains a very active presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and YouTube.

The UN is committed to social media as a way of engaging its diverse constituencies and raising awareness and gaining support for a variety of causes.  Here we outline a number of ways in which the organization is using social media to drive its business goals.

193 Countries. One Social Media Strategy.

Leading the charge is Nancy Groves, social media manager at the UN’s headquarters in New York. Groves, who previously worked as a librarian at the UN, recently outlined her efforts in an interview with Mashable.

Groves is part of the UN Secretariat, the body charged with carrying out the day-to-day work of the organization. But there often are a vast number of differing opinions and points of view among the UN’s 193 member countries. Thus, it can take a significant amount of time to get permission to make her posts.

In December, four social media experts, @adamhirsch, @alecjross, @rachelsterne and @sree, trooped over to the UN headquarters in New York to offer their advice to some 300 United Nations staffers as well as students and journalists on how the UN can best harness social media tools to reach their global objectives. You can view a video of the entire session here.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Answers Questions via Social Media 

But it’s not just the social media team that reaches out to the public. Last September, for the first time in its history, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon answered questions submitted from Twitter, Facebook, LiveStream and other social media networks. The conversation was moderated by Juju Chang of the ABC television network.

According to an article in Social Times,  upwards of 5,500 questions were received from around the world. More than half came from China, including one that asked why so many people die from hunger in Africa when there’s enough food in the world to feed everyone.

Crowdsourcing the United Nations Strategy on Youth and HIV/AIDS

For the two months before Christmas last year, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS  invited people aged 15 to 29 to help create and shape a new United Nations strategy on youth and HIV/AIDS through an online collaborative project using several social media platforms to facilitate the development of new policies to combat the pandemic.

Called, the initiative’s name alludes to the popular concept of crowdsourcing, which consists of letting large undefined groups of people collaborate and come up with innovative solutions for tasks traditionally performed by individuals (see the press release from the UN News Centre).

The Social Media Campaign for Human Rights 

Also last December, the UN launched a social media campaign to encourage people to get involved in the global human rights movement, inspired by the role played by tools such as Facebook and Twitter in the awakening that transformed parts of the Arab world this year.

“Our social media human rights campaign focuses on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and aims to help more people know, demand and defend human rights,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement.

The campaign launched by the High Commissioner’s Office followed an online discussion on Facebook and Twitter called “30 Days and 30 Rights,” which counted down to the UN’s annual December 10 celebration of Human Rights Day with a daily post about one specific article of the Declaration.

Education and Awareness–in Six Languages

Turning back to the UN Secretariat: its primary goal is to get out educational messages from the world body–information about the UN’s mission and its various efforts around the world. That includes “warts and all,” not just its vaunted humanitarian work saving and improving lives. The social media messages often include details about famines, wars, genocide and other disturbing news.

It’s neither easy nor quick, as all social media posts have to go through the UN’s political review process. Groves and her team have to be careful with language and wording. To avoid offending anyone or causing an international incident, she relies on a peer editing process.

Once approved, the posts must be translated into ALL of the UN’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).

To speed up the process, the team often will re-use content that has already been approved for use in a press release or video, for example.  But the social media specialists can move quickly when needed, as they did during the earthquake and tsunami in Japan when they used Twitter to connect victims and relief centers.

Working for diplomats, Groves and her team learned quickly to deal diplomatically with people who post questions and comments that are less than flattering about the UN. Although there are many of these, the social media staff tries to respond to every question and criticism, often with links to statistics pages or other information.

Does the UN’s mandate to tweet in 6 languages and meet the needs of 193 members make your social media strategy look simple?  Or do you deal with a similar level of complexity? 

A Hack for Hire: How Tweeting for a Taxi Pays Off

Chicago Taxi Driver Who TweetsHave you ever taken a ride in a taxi and liked the cabbie so much you wish he could be at your beck and call? If you live in Chicago, your wish can come true — thanks to the magic of social media.

Cabbie Rashid Temuri gets most of his customers through Twitter. Customers can follow him on the social media network and check his location on Google Latitude or find My Friends so that when they need a cab, they can tell if he’s nearby and then tweet for a ride.

According to a recent story on ars technica, Temuri has built a loyal customer base because of his social media habits as well as because of his customer service.

A typical cabbie would put his hack up for availability through his company’s dispatch service, responding to calls from customers that are relayed to him. But Temuri – whose Twitter handle is @ChicagoCabbie  – posts his availability on Twitter and often will offer a special deal, like the time he tweeted an offer of $5 off the meter until 2pm on a trip to either of Chicago’s airports. He also offers free Wi-Fi in his cab.

It’s paying off. Temuri thinks that his social media clients represent about 90-95% of his repeat business. That enables him to pick up conversations begun on the last ride and the clients welcome getting back into his cab, knowing it’s a driver they can trust from prior experience.

Surprisingly, that wasn’t his goal when he launched his Twitter account. Originally, he just wanted to use it as a tool to help customers understand the nature of the taxi business and avoid common misunderstandings between cabbies and clients.

Temuri prefers Twitter to some of the other ways to book cabs and rides. Taxi Magic and Uber both enable folks to call a cab via a text message, for example, but charge fees to the drivers.

How likely are you to tweet for a taxi? And are you surprised by the success of using Twitter for small-scale business or customer service?  Let us know in the comments below.

(Also see our post about the Twitter-using ballgame beer vendor: Take Me Out To The Ballgame….and Tweet for Beer!)


How to Use Realtime Marketing To Deliver Value to the Right Customer at the Right Time.

It's Time to Go Realtime: our article from the Social Media Monthly September issue

===== This article originally appeared in the September issue of The Social Media Monthly, the first print magazine focused on social media.  We are sharing it here with permission from Bob Fine. Look for more articles and extended case studies from The Realtime Report in future editions! =====

It’s Time to Go Realtime.

If you think social media is about being friends with your customers or winning more followers, you’re missing the point.  The social graph is the conduit that allows brands to create real business value, rather than the value itself.

With the rise of social, mobile, geolocation and realtime services, brands have a massive opportunity to solve the two age-old problems of advertising:

  1. How do you get a customer’s attention when they don’t really want to be interrupted?
  2. How do you get the right message in front of the right customer at the right time?

Traditional advertising strategies involve bullhorns, 30-second spots, pop-ups and pre-rolls—all designed to interrupt consumers and force them to pay attention to your message.  Demographic profiles are ineffective when consumer needs, behaviors and interests change. Context and timing are even trickier: I may be a gadget geek, but that doesn’t mean I will pay attention to your ad for a new cell phone while waiting for my movie to start if I’m distracted or just not interested at that particular time.

Realtime marketing solves these problems.

Social consumers can be targeted based on an expression of interest in realtime.

Today’s social consumers publicly and willingly share information about themselves.  Through status updates, comments, video uploads, check-ins and “Likes,” social consumers provide actionable information about their location, preferences, mood and specific interests.

These fleeting, time-and context-specific expressions of interest provide the opportunity for brands to get attention by creating value.  Social consumers are engaging in behavior that is unstructured and not necessarily directed to a specific outcome.  Brands can interject themselves into that conversation and become a part of it, influencing and redirecting the consumer’s interest or behavior.

Do this inappropriately, and it’s spam.  But if you do this correctly, the customer will welcome the interruption, thank you and possibly even share their enthusiasm with their friends.

The Realtime Marketing Formula: 

Value = Time + Location + Shared Interest

Realtime marketers are not interrupting when they reply to a Twitter message with a solution or an offer for help, reward a Foursquare check-in with a special offer, or add a customer-produced video to a branded Facebook page. They are offering something of value, in a way that consumers are likely to find interesting, relevant and worth paying attention to.

That’s saying, “Thank you for telling us something about yourself. Because we know what your problem is, we can help solve it.  Because you’ve shared your location, we can serve you better. Because you’ve shared something that we think our other customers will like, we’re going to promote you and make you feel good about being part of our brand.”

In each case, the marketer has identified a shared interest—a need, desire, customer service issue, geographical proximity, useful or entertaining content—and found a way to create value for that specific customer, in realtime.  And because the marketer’s message is personal, immediate and relevant, it is going to earn the customer’s attention.

Realtime marketing solves the traditional advertiser’s dilemma because you are targeting a customer based on an expression of interest, and you are reaching out to them in a way that’s time- and context-appropriate.

Realtime marketing lets you target customers based on an expression of interest.

Let’s look at some concrete examples of how realtime marketing can create value, from the customer’s perspective:

  1. I arrive at my hotel on the first day of a trip and check in via Foursquare. I see a message saying that there’s a special nearby, and learn that the Mexican Grill on the corner is offering half-priced beer with a meal. Done!
  2. I’m on my way to the airport, and share this information in a tweet. I receive a reply message from an airline account Twitter account—not even the airline that I’ll be using—giving me a heads up that there are weather-related delays and a link to check flight status information. That’s a level of helpfulness and service that I’ll remember the next time I’m choosing my airline.
  3. I’m a sports fan, and have “liked” my team’s Facebook page in order to receive early notice on ticket sales.  I see a special on tickets for tomorrow night, but already have plans for a big date, so I share the ticket information with my Facebook friends, and one of them ends up buying two tickets.  Now he owes me!

In each case, the social expression of interest—sharing information about what I’m doing, about where I am, or about my interests—has allowed a business to create value for the customer, and to win new business in exchange.

Realtime Marketing is simple and scalable. The time to start is now.

Note that none of these examples require the marketer to deliver a personalized, individual message.  Today’s platforms and tools allow brands to create and manage realtime marketing campaigns that touch millions of potential customers.

It all boils down to three simple activities:

  • Define a potential expression of interest for your product, service or brand.
  • Listen—actively, by monitoring content, or passively, via a location-based service or mobile network—for customers to share information that will let you recognize and identify that interest.
  • Deliver an offer or a service, in a format that is easy for customers to respond to, and make it easy for them to share your offer with their social graph.

How you do each of these things for your brand is going to vary dramatically based on the type of business you’re in.  But the time for you to start becoming a Realtime Marketer is now.

Because somewhere out there, a customer is expressing interest.

In New York this Fall? Here Are Four Social Media Events to Check Out

From time to time, we’ll update you on events that might be of interested to the #RLTM community. Here are four New York-based events we are supporting as marketing partners this fall – with some discounts for #RLTM readers.  Hope to see some of you there!

Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011

Oct 12 | Tribeca Cinemas, New York

With speakers such as Peter Shankman, Citibank’s Frank Eliason, Christine Perkett, Edelman’s Brian Reich, the Location Based Marketing Association’s Asif Khan, NBC’s Dan Woolsey and more, this event will cover topics such as social commerce, social search, social media monitoring, Facebook marketing and social email marketing. Click here for more details and registration information. A full conference ticket starts at $295 — #RLTM readers get 10% off with code REAL10.


Oct 17-18 Crowne Plaza Times Square, New York

Pivot is an exclusive two-day event for top brand managers who seek to bridge the gap between their brand and the rising Social Consumer. Directed and hosted by Brian Solis—Pivot 2011 will deliver the context and understanding you need to redirect marketing dollars, create authentic interactions, and map a strategy of successful engagement with this powerful new market.  Click here for more details, speakers and registration information.

Social Media World Forum North America

Nov 1 – 2 | Javits Center, New York

Get social media marketing advice and in-depth insight into how brands and businesses are using channels like Facebook and Twitter to connect with their customers, build communities, monitor brand reputation, advertise and sell products. Discussions will feature insight on measuring ROI on B2B and B2C social media activities, integrating relevant channels into your marketing strategy, social CRM, building and managing communities, social shopping, geo-location, measuring and managing reputation, how social media is changing customer behaviour and much, much more. Speakers represent leading brands like Tumblr, Hershey’s, Twitter, NASA and more.  There’s a free exhibition area and Social Media Hub. Full registration includes access to Apps World N. America.  Conference passes start at $475.  Check out the agenda page for more details, and click here for more pricing information and to register — #RLTM readers save 15% on conference passes by entering the discount code RLTM15.

Social CRM 2011

Nov. 3 | Tribeca Cinemas, New York

A sister event to Social Media Marketing & Monitoring, this event is all about the latest tools and techniques for implementing a successful social CRM strategy.  Learn how companies are managing their social media communications, integrating social media into their sales, marketing and research processes, and how they are storing and managing data between teams.  SCRM experts, including Dr Natalie Petouhoff, Tatyana Kanzavelli (Deloitte), Richard Hughes (Broadvision), Marshall Sponder (WebMetricsGuru), and Adam Metz, author of The Social Customer, will provide a 1-day master-class in Social CRM.  Click here for tickets and registration — and get 10% off your ticket by using code REAL10.

What events will you be attending this fall?

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