Category Archives: Blog


Get Your Master’s Degree In Social Media (No Joke)

Apparently, I’m lacking a degree in social media.

Over the past week, the University of Florida has been targeting me on Facebook as part of a lead-generation campaign to drive enrollment for its journalism and communications school’s Master’s in Social Media. The copy reads, “UF is now offering the first of its kind Master’s in Social Media – 100% Online.” I didn’t believe it was real, at first. But I clicked through and, sure enough, it was. If people will buy it, why not sell it?

But seriously! As one colleague commented, everything you learn in the first semester will be obsolete by the time you graduate, if not sooner. How can you get a degree on a moving target?

While social media is a very real, disruptive force in business, I’m skeptical of turning it into a degree, particularly an advanced degree. Social media is a broad subject, highly dynamic and just moving out of the early, experimental stages. It continues to evolve into something even bigger, as we’re only in the second inning. Social media — if you can even refer to it as a singular entity — is more like a layer of connective tissue that permeates lots of other things, including relationships, media and commerce.

Instead of majoring in social media, I would recommend specializing in classical disciplines like writing, math and statistics, computer science, and physics — even specialized business subjects like marketing, finance, accounting and strategy. You then apply that to the world of social media — just as the most successful professionals having anything to do with social media have already done.

Similar to the journalism trade (which is also a moving target these days), I’m sure there will be ongoing debates about the merits of higher education for social media.

Would you consider an advanced degree in social media?

This article was written by Syncapse VP Marketing, Max Kalehoff, for MediaPost. Read the full article online at


Platform Release 4.11 is Live

The Syncapse Platform 4.11 release includes one new feature to our moderation tool that will benefit community managers by making it easier to find new fan comments that may require a brand response. New enhancements include improved stability and performance for moderation and an improved UI that is consistent across all of the Syncapse products.


What is in 4.11?

The ability to filter the Respond->Facebook stream on 'recently commented' to allow community managers to easily find posts that have new fan comments. This is especially useful to find a historical post that continues to get new fan comments, like a Sponsored Story or promoted post.

By default, the 'respond' stream is filtered by the publish date of the post:



When the user filters the stream by 'recently commented', the posts that have the latest fan comments will be at the top of the stream, regardless of the publish date of the post.


New UI enhancements to the global navigation header to provide the same look and feel for all Syncapse products. Additionally, we now support a wider logo, so that brands can include their logo inside the platform for their users to see when they log in.



Please let us know if you have any questions or if you want to learn more about how Syncapse can help you and your brand.


Marketers: Don’t Let Automation Dull Your Senses

Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crew. The flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris involved an Airbus 330, one of the most advanced airplanes.

The plane’s speed sensors iced over, igniting a chain reaction of signal overload and pilot confusion. If the pilots had followed standard operating procedures, they most certainly would have recovered. The plane’s black box, recovered two years later, surfaced how technology and automation — relied on for safety and productivity — may have had the unfortunate outcome of preventing pilots from gaining the experience and sensitivity required to take command during abnormal situations.

According to Popular Mechanics: “While the airplane’s avionics track crucial parameters such as location, speed, and heading, the human beings can pay attention to something else. But when trouble suddenly springs up and the computer decides that it can no longer cope on a dark night, perhaps, in turbulence, far from land the humans might find themselves with a very incomplete notion of what’s going on. They’ll wonder: What instruments are reliable, and which can’t be trusted? What’s the most pressing threat? What’s going on? Unfortunately, the vast majority of pilots will have little experience in finding the answers.”

This problem is not limited to aviation. It is not uncommon for boaters (especially powerboaters) to set their electronic chart plotters and automated self-steering systems to aim for navigational buoys — only to take their mind off navigating and subsequently collide into those very buoys. It is not uncommon for drivers to drive off roads or collide with other cars, because their GPS systems told them to stay on course. I even know of people with poor eyesight who still drive because their GPS tells them where to go, when to turn, and when to slow down (and this makes me furious).

I work in marketing at a technology services company, so I often think about how the automation revolution impacts marketing companies. Automation touches many tactical and operational areas of large companies, but data and intelligence are most strategic.

Over the past few months, I’ve had multiple conversations with senior marketing and systems leaders from Fortune 100 companies. A theme has surfaced: While marketing automation is powerful and getting more sophisticated, one of the downsides is the deployment of executive-level performance dashboards that are simplistic, overly static and passive.

After two or three decades in business, many executives want to apply their experience and instincts to connecting the dots among disparate data points. The challenge is, many executive dashboards have evolved with limited ability for senior leaders to directly and easily manipulate and compare data. This may prevent serendipitous insights from surfacing, and creates more distance between senior leaders and the operational front lines, especially where customer experience happens.

What’s next? Senior business leaders will continue to demand executive-level dashboards with holistic views, typically curated by specialized business analysts. However, expect a growing demand for executive-level dashboards and platforms that also enable them to easily drill into details, to integrate and compare seemingly unrelated data, and to quickly perform ad-hoc analyses that facilitate discovery. Smart, seasoned executives want to get their hands dirty, surface important questions for further study, and become more connected through their own immersion.

Automation can be powerful. It should drive efficiency, scale and control, but it also should empower senior leadership to become more astute and do what machines cannot always do on their own: sense and respond to the abnormal.

This article was written by Syncapse VP Marketing, Max Kalehoff, for MediaPost. Read the full article online at

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 4.06.43 PM

Twitter:The New CNN

“Twitter is a frenemy,” said Jeff Zucker, CNN’s new president, as reported by MediaShift. Jeff Zucker was describing the cable news network’s relationship with social media and added, “the network uses, relies on — and is scared by — social media.”

Twitter had a marquee moment last week, particularly late Friday afternoon and evening, that should scare most television news outlets in the business of reporting breaking news.

That’s when Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was cornered by police, trapped and almost bleeding to death inside a covered boat in a backyard in Watertown, Mass.

I was riding home on the commuter train and wanted an update on the manhunt. I tried checking the news sites, but there were no fluid updates. Moreover, the sites refreshed painstakingly slowly on a moving train.

So I checked my regular Twitter stream, and updates poured in persistently. I kept refreshing the stream every few seconds to import new updates and perspectives. This event resembled the OJ Simpson’s slow-motion car chase, and it was Twitter’s moment.

Twitter seized the moment with:

  • Immediacy. Without following any special sources, my standard Twitter connections reported and retweeted major developments seconds after they happened — either by being on the ground, scanning police airwaves, or passing along updates from trusted sources. The discussion on Twitter typically was ahead of the major news sources.

  • Context. News outlets will argue that they provide editing, filtering and fact-checking value. That may be true, but so does the crowd and the public as it scrutinizes developments and facts. In fact, the conventional news sources become one of many participants in the ongoing analysis, not the referee of it.

  • Pragmatism. I underscore pragmatism because my Twitter experience was more information-based than TV, with raw, intelligent commentary from real, diverse people. Facts tended to be facts, and perspectives were to the point — unlike the mindless banter and filler commentary that accompanies most live television coverage of unfolding news events.

  • Sophistication. Unlike television, Twitter is less susceptible to repeat playback of violent imagery. Do we need to see the explosions and blood spraying across the sidewalks over and over again? Similarly, Twitter is less susceptible to replays of b-roll and stock footage that don’t add any value when there is no news at that second. You have to actively select video you want to watch, so you can avoid being held hostage to it.

  • Community. Television is a powerful medium because it can hold your attention and captivate your imagination, and make you feel part of a shared experience — something we all yearn for in times of crisis. But Twitter does an equally good job of this, in my opinion.

  • Accessibility. Twitter is not always more accessible than television, but the signals are more digestible and require less bandwidth. In my case, riding home on a train last Friday evening, without a terrestrial radio, it was the only practical way to pick the news in real time. It was also more accessible once back at my home, where I wanted to keep up with the events but shield my five- and six-year-old kids from serious drama and sensationalism.

    But there is one area where Twitter failed drastically: There were no citizen hecklers standing behind broadcast reporters, waving into the camera with funny faces and obnoxious signs. I really love that aspect of television news. It cracks me up.

    This article was written by Syncapse VP Marketing, Max Kalehoff, for MediaPost. Read the full article online at

  • Value Of Fan Report Cover

    Rising Value of Facebook Brand Fans Validates Social Marketing Investment

    The past few years have been characterized by hype and a competitive race to acquire the most Fan connections, but brand marketers are sobering up and asking hard questions around the ROI of social marketing. And perhaps no question is asked more often than “What is the value of a Facebook brand Fan?”

    According to new Syncapse empirical research, the average value of brand Fans in key consumer categories has increased 28% to $174.17. This effect is amplified considering the number of Fan memberships for most brands in our study has doubled, tripled or more. Top brands in the 2013 study have well over 15 million Fans, with some like McDonalds and Coca-Cola with 25 million and 60 million, respectively.

    The latest installment of this report, The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013, examined 20 top global consumer brands in terms of their Facebook Fan performance. It replicates and enhances the seminal research Syncapse conducted in late 2010 that first measured Facebook Fans value as drivers of shareholder value.

    The increase in average Fan value is driven by Fans’ tendencies to be Super Consumers. Not only do they tend to be brand users first, they spend more, engage more, advocate more, and are more loyal. The significant and increasing value of a Facebook brand Fan affirms past social marketing investment and mandates deeper commitment and accountability in the future.

    Value of Fan Report 2013 - Main Chart

    The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013 report includes prescriptive advice and insights:

    • Fan Value of 20 Top Global Consumer Brands
    • Factors that Determine the Value of a Fan
    • Fan Behaviors and Attitudes
    • Reasons for Becoming a Fan
    • Outlook for Facebook Marketing

    We welcome feedback (publicly via Twitter or directly via our website contact-us form) to advance our collective understanding.