Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In Social Media: Earn, then Own

Repost from the Tahzoo Blog:

In the past few months, some subtle and some not-so-subtle changes have happened in the social media landscape.  Together, I think they teach us a lesson on dependencies that could—or should—influence your Marketing Technology choices.
social media by Sean MacEntee 


On November 20thTwitter disabled the Tweet count feature. As explanation, Twitter provided a dominantly technical and partly functional response, but left the community guessing as to the business reasons. Access to Tweet count remains possible only through a paid API. It’s not a dramatic change, but if Tweet count was part of your KPIs, I hope you reserved some budget for a fix.
Of course you should keep using your social media channels for your Content Marketing efforts, but business-critical data should be housed in your own analytics platform, not on rented land.


With the launch of YouTube Red on October 28th, YouTube offered partner creators a new revenue-share deal. All of the major content creators have been given the choice: accept the new deal or have your content made private.
This could very well be a sweet deal for the content creators, but it is still unclear what cut the creators will get and what the results for paid and ad-supported channels will be, but I do not think the content creators were altogether happy with this unilateral change. ESPN had to remove a large part of its content, not being able to meet the new conditions.
There’s a big chance you won’t be affected by this change, but it leaves us questioning what YouTube/Google’s next change will be. Will that effect you?
YouTube remains an attractive channel to stream video, but if videos are becoming a growing part of your Content Strategy, consider hosting your own videos and be liberated from conflicting ads and other restrictions on YouTube.


Google+ has been pushed by Google since 2011, but this year Google+ was abandoned as the Google Identity framework and updated last month to the revamped Google social network. Whether it will take off now is anybody’s guess as it is not part of the Google package deal anymore.
Change is unavoidable, but we must be in control of how we interpret change. And we should be able to react to change fast to seize new opportunities. Perhaps building a Google+ Community or Collection now is your next big thing. Or, perhaps, it isn’t.


In the last two years there has been much upheaval about the algorithms Facebook uses to filter your feed. Just search for “Organic Facebook Reach” and you will understand. Facebook offered explanations, but left lots of users baffled or angry, seeing organic reach drop by 50% or more.
So what can you do besides pay for the reach you once got for free? Unlike SEO, FTO (Facebook Timeline Optimization) seems to be the new science. The best overall advice is to do your own multivariant testing, and discover what works for you and your fans.


The best advice is to keep earning your audience. Keep distributing your story through your favorite social channels, and engaging potential customers in the process. Get new people into your CRM system so you can reach out to them in a personalized way should be your main objective. And, last, make sure you own all your important content, and distribute it over channels you control. Don’t build your house on rented land!
And, finally, build in the flexibility to change – you will need it!
If you are interested in finding out how Tahzoo can help you adapt to these and other change of the age of digital transformation—perhaps with a free evaluation of your present situation—let us know. We would love to help.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Serial season 2

I am thrilled to see that Serial season 2 has kicked off.
Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and tells one true story over the course of a season.

I loved Serial season 1 (review in Dutch). I loved the intriguing plot, the art of storytelling, the great soundtrack, the podcast format and the innovative business model supporting it.

I hope season 2 will thrill me (and you) as much as season 1 did.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Getting started with Semantic Technologies

Recently Ontotext launched a Self-Service Semantic Suite – shorted to S4. S4 provides a set of services for low-cost (currently free) on-demand text analytics and metadata management on the cloud. This provides a great way to get acquainted with Semantic Technologies.

Available S4 services

S4 currently offers the following services:

  1. Text analytics for News content, Biomedical content or Twitter content
  2. Linked Data server with reliable access to the DBpedia, FactForge, GeoNames, WordNet, MusicBrainz, and New York Times datasets 
  3. Self-managed RDF database (GraphDB) on the cloud

Trying out Text analytics

Text analytics – in this context – is about finding out what is important in texts (natural language), and using this information.

To try this out, copy some text containing some Persons and Places, biomedical terms and/or Twitter content. Preferably in English for best results, but other languages will produce results as well.
Go to the S4 homepage and click on “Demo S4 today for free”. Paste your text in the Text Analytics box; choose whether your text is more News, Biomedical or Twitter oriented, and hit Execute.

Your result will show the provided text with different types of terms highlighted in different colours. See the below example.

Figure 1. Example of an annotated text

If you hover over an annotated term, it will show extra information. For instance for an organisation it will show the location in DBpedia (the semantic version of Wikipedia). In my example this makes clear that this article is not about some IMF, it is about the IMF, and more info is available on

So what’s in it for you? 

This service can provide all kinds of structure and information on topics that can help you to classify, understand, link and enrich information.

Trying out Semantic queries

S4 also lets you try out semantic queries using SPARQL, the query language for semantically stored information such as the DBpedia.
Go to the S4 homepage and click on “Demo S4 today for free”. Go to the LOD Access Tab. Select a query from the Pulldown. Let’s try “Find airports near London”.
The SPARQL query is:

PREFIX geo-pos: <>
PREFIX omgeo: <>
PREFIX dbpedia: <>
PREFIX dbp-ont: <>
PREFIX ff: <>
PREFIX om: <>

SELECT distinct ?airport ?label ?RR
        dbpedia:London geo-pos:lat ?latBase ;
                       geo-pos:long ?longBase .
        ?airport omgeo:nearby(?latBase ?longBase "50mi");
                 a dbp-ont:Airport ;
                 ff:preferredLabel ?label ;
                 om:hasRDFRank ?RR .
      } ORDER BY DESC(?RR)

Even without a SPARQL crash-course, this is quite easy to read:

  • First some definitions are introduced
  • The query will return the airport ID, name and some rank (RR)
  • From DBpedia the latitude and longitude of London are retrieved
  • Only results that have the DBpedia Ontology type “Airport” are selected, 
  • They must be nearer than 50 miles to London, according to the Owlim Geospatial function “Nearby”

Click on “Execute” and have a look at the results. Try out some of the other queries as well.

So what’s in it for you? 

An enormous wealth of structured information is available for you to use. Were you aware that you could ask Wikipedia such detailed questions? Be aware: extensive knowledge is needed to write such concise statements and really use the results.

Next step

Now that you know that Text analysis and Semantic queries are available, what is your next step in using Semantic technologies?