Automation is one of those things that makes life a little bit easier.
I’m certainly someone who likes to automate wherever I can, and nowhere more so in my digital notifications.
As a Rise.global regular I look out for updates to my score on Twitter Followers Club and Twitter Activity Club. I am actively trying to improve my use of Twitter at the moment so I find both boards provide helpful analytics for me to optimise with.
However, the updates come via email and I’m also someone who gets a deluge of email so the updates are sometimes missed.
This is where Zapier comes in for me – Zapier is a kind of bridge between different software systems. If something happens on one system, it can then trigger activity on another.
“Wonderful” I thought, “perhaps Zapier can help me get notifications direct to my mobile phone?”
Adn Indeed it does, Zapier supports “Pushover” a dedicated notifications service for my mobile.
So all I needed to do was to get Zapier to look out for releases of the boards I’m interested in and then get Pushover to notify me of my latest score directly onto my phone.
Here’s the result:
Now you can see, alongside my other phone notifications I get my latest Twitter Followers Club score.
Because this is Zapier, I could have done this for a whole host of others services too such as adding a new to do item to Asana or a new card on Trello. I can even configure it to post out to Twitter on my behalf, letting my followers know my awesome new score.
An excellent URL for doing exactly this is your Rise profile.
Your Rise profile shows the fields you are influential in, and your current score or ranking within those fields. Because your score is regularly being updated, the team at Twitter can be assured that it is an accurate and up to date reflection of your influential status across one or more fields.
Copy the URL from your profile and include it on your twitter verification form, as I’ve done below:
Here’s my current Rise profile that will be seen by the team at Twitter.
For each Rise Board you are participating in, you can configure how your score / rank is displayed to the world at large using the Settings for each board:
If you haven’t got a Rise profile yet then it’s easy to get one. Simply sign up to Rise and connect your social media accounts. Then, if you haven’t been added to any boards yet, search the Public Boards to find relevant communities, then use the Join button to request inclusion on the board.
If you’re looking for inspiration, why not visit the profiles of some other senior influencers who’ve also set up their Rise profiles e.g. Justin Matthew:
Please note that Twitter alone is responsible for grading whether your account is suitable for verification. Your use of a Rise profile as a submission URL should accompany other materials showing you to be a figure of public interest.
A new social utility like Rise can be confusing, particularly when it comes to understanding the business model. The following post explains our thinking when it comes to offering the Rise service.
Social Networks broadly break down into three different types of business model:
“Free” – the network acts like a freesheet newspaper often giving you the service and content for free but charging advertisers to include their commercial messages. This is how Facebook, Twitter and Google make their money.
SaaS (software as a service) – the network acts like an app where you pay an or ongoing fee to use the service – this is the Slack, Yammer, What’s App model where each user pays a set fee. This subscription avoids the need to run advertising.
Hybrid – different users get different services either on a Free or SaaS basis. For example Meetup.com charges organisers a quarterly fee (SaaS) but participants are generally Free. Here, the organiser can charge sponsors to advertise to the participants.
Rise is a social utility that uses a hybrid business model very similar to meetup.com. Different participants in the network are monetised differently.
In Rise, the manager of a board is charged a monthly fee, based on the volume of data, frequency of publishing updates and number of players (SaaS) but for players and followers the service is Free.
Rise expects managers to monetise their own boards in order to recoup their investment (we think the sky is the limit on what they can make). Rise offers managers the opportunity to monetise their players as follows:
selling advertising/sponsorship on the boards and email communications
restricting access to the board and scores
charging players to be on the board
charging followers to receive board updates
reusing Rise data for themselves (for example publishing the leaderboard as a widget on their site)
In the case of private internal boards, the company is paying for the service on behalf of the players on the board, making it akin to an internal HR tool, albeit an unusual one with the ability of an opt-out for employees, and the ability of non-employees to be part of the board.
Throughout this process, Rise protects the privacy of player data by:
providing players an opt-out from any or all boards
transparently showing what data is being shared
restricting the use of email and twitter notifications to releases only (a manager cannot use the email address for a non-Rise release related message).
restricting the use of any social network permissions granted to transparent score collection only
providing opt-outs to various notifications
The role of ‘Boards’ in our business model
In Rise, each board is the atomic unit for subscriptions, much like a Meetup Group. A company can have multiple boards but since each board can be different, in terms of data, players and usage, each board is paid for separately. Each board has a sliding scale in terms of cost – the more players on the board, the lower cost per player.
Our future together
Our intention is to provide a transparent, multi-stakeholder environment for publishing scores and leaderboards which is self sustaining long into the future.
In this post I explain how media publishers are saving time producing a familiar content staple – the top 100 influencer list – by using Rise and at the same time, making that content more engaging, viral and evergreen.
For any online publisher, getting audience attention is hard. And every day our target audience continues to fragment over different channels, social networks, apps and devices.
So as good publishers, we follow the audience to their preferred channels. We keep them sweet by formatting our content in many different ways. We know it’s no longer enough to produce a blog post, we now have to tweet about it to get those influential Twitterati from among our audience to read it and hopefully share on.
The trouble is, a single piece of content, perhaps a news article, looks very different on Twitter from how it appears on a blog. The 140 character limit is a tricky condensing act for even the greatest wordsmiths.
If we then try to support Pinterest and Youtube by providing the story as an image or as a video – the challenge grows.
Add to the time reformatting takes, and combine it with declining (or zero!) online advertising revenues – the business case for all this work frays at the seams.
Yet media fragmentation doesn’t give us an option. Either we spend the time to reformat for every channel where our audience hangs out or we leave a vacuum for others to step in: stealing our audience and our revenue.
It’s technology that has caused this problem. I wonder if technology can see a way out.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a robot assistant who could reformat our content into all the different formats for us?
The idea would be, we produce it once and the robot reformats it, sends it out on the various channels, engaging our audience, unaware that we’ve outsourced some of the heavy lifting to a mechanical friend.
This is one of the promises of “robojournalism” – the technique of using robots to write the news for us. Robot journalists, once pointed at the story, can do much of the work of a junior hack:
research the story – find the people and the facts
compile the story – highlight what’s important by applying rules
present the story – output the story in multiple formats including social media
Not only that, but robot journalists can handle the repetition that comes with covering the same story week in week out.
As you might be expecting this isn’t all far flung futurism – robojournalism is already with us.
Some of the top media companies in the world are already using robojournalists behind the scenes:
In 2012 – Forbes created its own robots to write stock market articles charting the ups and downs of various shares
Associated Press followed suit in 2014 by hiring robojournalism firm Automated Insights to do the same
2015 – Le Monde hires Syllabs to write stock market news, this time in French.
2015 – City AM used Rise Power 100 leaderboards to compile and report fortnightly “top influencers” in niche sectors.
So what’s stopping the rise of the robots?
I see three key issues today:
cost – the “universal” tools provided by market leaders Automated Insights, Narrative Science and Syllabs tend to be prohibitively expensive for online publishers who are working on a sharp budget.
time – busy news rooms tend to adopt news apps slowly. There is even a tendency to “build in-house” which slows innovation over time as legacy apps need maintaining.
quality – automated content tends to be fairly “flat” – it’s difficult for robots to make content sparkle.
Here’s one solution that addresses these issues to a lesser or greater extent.
Rise Power 100 Leaderboards offers a robot journalist focused entirely on one type of article – influencer lists.
Influencer lists have been a staple of publishers since Who’s Who started over 150 years ago. Who hasn’t enjoyed a surreptitious look at Forbes most powerful people in the world?
Influencer lists serve a secondary purpose too – they are great for audience development. By creating an authoritative list of the top people within a community, you bring the rest of that community in to your site to find out who they are. Whether they agree or not is all part of the ongoing discussion and engagement.
That’s why City AM knew what they were doing when they ran the Fintech Powerlist on their site. By producing the definitive influencer list they brought fintech influencers (and their followers) to the City AM digital edition, so expanding their audience in a critical, growth sector.
Rather than their usual twenty shares, the Fintech powerlist has now been shared over 6,000 times. It has been far and away their most viral content of 2015.
By using a robojournalist, City AM have managed to keep the story evergreen. Each fortnight new photos and people are added to the list, volatility in ranks keeps the story fresh (who has gone up and down this week) and the robojournalist keeps up the work of production and reformatting the news.
Leveraging twitter has been very effective. The main story “top 100 influencers” is automatically broken up on twitter into 100 smaller stories – “so and so is number 23 on the Fintech powerlist today…”. These twitter stories are personalized to each member of the list, retweeted copiously by the players themselves, so spreading word about the original content far and wide.
So what has the Rise robojournalist been doing in the background:
registering new players and their social media channels
collecting influence scores on each player from Klout
collecting latest profile photos and bios for each player from Twitter
compiling the power list and storing the rankings
providing each player with a dashboard tracking their changes in score and rank over time
presenting the leaderboard formatted in the livery of City AM
generating a list of risers, fallers and newcomers – sending this out via email to players and “followers” of the board
generating and sending personalized tweets to each player
robo-writing a “release article” describing the key changes in the past release
And what have the human journalists been up to:
compiling the initial list and designing the story (in this case the Fintech powerlist)
moderating who qualifies to be in and who’s out
checking the updated list before sending out to everyone
So what are the benefits?
I see three key benefits for online publishers with the Rise robojournalist:
Audience Development – influencer lists already work, by producing them weekly, they act as an ongoing audience development tool bringing in new audience members all the time;
Email Channel – while it may seem crazy to create a separate email segment around a single piece of content – there’s nothing to complain about when you have a direct excuse to message the top influencers in your target sector once a week;
Brand Authority – by creating the definitive influencer list for your target sector, you become the authority media brand for that audience.
Rise has many other customers who are using the robojournalist to create evergreen influencer lists for their media properties. From eventopedia who are rocking it in the events sector to Mclelland Media who have 8 different leaderboards on the movers and shakers in the sustainability industry – it seems no sector is immune to being flattered, cajoled, provoked and engaged by an interesting influencer list.
If you’d like to learn more about using robojournalists then sign up to Rise with your Email address and follow the Robojournalism influencer board. Each month you’ll get an email update that gets you early warning of the latest movers and shakers as #robojournalism takes off.