I guess you’ve all heard of the YouTube celebrity Felix Kjellberg A.K.A. Pewdiepie. If not, he is the most subscribed YouTuber with an astounding 40 million subscribers, mostly playing ‘indie’ or unpopular videogames while live commentating the event. In 2015, his annual income is estimated to be 4 million dollars a year and his net worth is estimated around 16 million dollars. And he’s only 25 years old! (Net Worth 2015)
Where does all this money come from?

First, let me freshen up your memory by explaining the phenomenon called ‘Social Commerce’. “Simply defined, social commerce is the fusion of social media with e-commerce or basically the concept of word-of-mouth applied to e-commerce.” (Marsden 2010)
So, in the case of Pewdiepie’s channel there are some signs of social commerce. For example, every month Pewds gets a package containing several collector items which are all related by theme, like ‘Villains’. He unboxes the items on screen and comments on them. At the end of the video he advises people to also buy these ‘Loot Crates’. The video below is one of the examples of this word-of-mouth on his channel.

Another important way companies gain a lot of awareness is when Pewdiepie plays their game. Then, the so-called Oprah effect comes into force. The Oprah effect is the effect that an appearance on a famous show can have on a small business. (Investopedia 2015) Because Pewdiepie nearly has 10 billion views, a recommendation can have a significant influence on the game developers.

Not a lot of people know that Pewdiepie actually is signed under Maker Studios, a company owned by Walt Disney, which produces videos for channels on YouTube. (Maker Studios 2015) The funny thing is, Pewdiepie says in his videos that he never gets paid to promote the videogames he plays. (YouTube 2015)

Is he telling the truth? Or is he lying and exploiting all of his subscribers? That making money is his main motive?
What do you guys think?

– Investopedia (2015) Oprah Effect
– Maker Studios (2015) Makers
– Marsden, P. (2010) Social Commerce: Monetizing Social Media, Hamburg: Syzygy.
– Net Worth (2015) Pewdiepie
– YouTube (2015) Pewdiepie


How social is social media?

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How social is social media?  

I came across an article, which raised the question ‘how social is social media?’ It made me think and there are a few things that I noticed, but to which I do not have an answer.

Social Media can be fun, but it can be a little bit less fun when you see things you don’t want to see. Or when you get bullied, stalked, see videos about war and refugees these days… Cyber bullying is bigger then bullying at school, mostly because of the increase in social media. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to know the news and what is going on. But there is a difference between reading a newspaper – whether that is online of offline – and scrolling down your Facebook page and see images you’d rather not see. Should you have a choice in what you want to see? Should there be some kind of filter so you can avoid messages related to the topic you don’t want to see? Do you make Social Media more or less social by avoiding those things you don’t want to see? Because, what’s left without it? Should Social Media only be fun?

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For example the Dutch ‘Zwarte Piet’ discussion. In the Netherlands we have a feast similar to Christmas, only called ‘Sinterklaas’. The discussion is about racism and that Zwarte Pieten (black pete) is discrimination and that the Zwarte Pieten reminds people of slavery. People have set up a Facebook page called ‘Pietitie’ where you can sign if you want the ‘Zwarte Pieten’ to stay. The discussion is still going, but opinions differ. Of course there should be freedom of speech, but you can go to far with it.

On the other side, social media is getting more and more commercial. We are used to the advertisements, but what is so social about these advertisements? It is all about marketing, integrating advertisement into social media and calling it social commerce. Did you know that 86% of the people have used social media for customer service and 1.000.000 people view customer service related tweets every day? Social media is thought to be a better customer service platform than a call centre. And 32% of the people who used social media to get in touch with the customer service, expects a response within 30 minutes. Social media needs to be quick and useful.

There are a lot of different reasons to use social media. I came across a funny infographic about the social media use between men and women. Women are more likely to use social media to stay in touch with family and friends, to share photos, for entertainment and self-help, while men use social media more for business reasons and dating compared to women. To me social media is mostly about getting in touch with friends, interaction and entertainment. But, as it seems, social media is so much more then these things. It is about news, about advertisement and customer service. So in a way it is social. But how social? What is social media to you?

Social commerce: where social media meets e-commerce


Most of us are acquainted with the terms Social media and E-commerce, however we might not all be familiar with the growing trend of Social commerce, which has generated 30 billion US dollars sales worldwide in 2015 (Statista 2015). According to (2015), it is how engaging in Social media results into online sales transactions. But why exactly is social commerce so important and what distinguishes it from traditional e-commerce?

Nowadays, strolling through a shopping mall whilst discussing potential purchases with a friend is an increasingly uncommon phenomenon. For multiple reasons (time efficiency, lower prices etc.), people have increasingly chosen to scroll through a list of products before adding a selection to their virtual shopping basket. In the process, consulting others experiences or opinion are largely neglected. Separating itself by increasing the social aspect of shopping, social commerce emerges.

Social commerce provides customers with a great deal more than merely a list of products (also known as traditional e-commerce); it promotes social interaction and user contribution to improve products and consult potential customers. Social commerce allows one to explore products in greater depth by engaging with previous purchasers through reviews and comments. Often, companies will provide rewards such as discounts for liking and sharing their product or service, as it will increase the products range.

“Any social commerce shop should have the capability to; share, like, tweet, comment, review and buy on the platform. Because ultimately it’s about getting people talking and sharing and buying.  Anything less is just traditional e-commerce in sheeps’ social clothing.” – Joelle Musante – Payvment

An example is the recently created Coca-cola Store Facebook page. This page allows potential customers to gain information on the brand, purchase the brand and leave comments on the well-known facebook ‘wall’. The page also publishes posts to trigger people to re-visit the page, keeping them engaged and up-to-date. This differs immensely from the original Coca Cola website where one could merely look up company information and purchase a bottle of coke or the company’s merchandise.

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Snapchat of the Coca-Cola Store Facebook page (2015)

Another example is the “Make the flavor – The Battle” – campaign initiated by Lays chips. In this campaign Lays portrays how to involve customers in the creation of a new chips flavour whilst building a large Facebook community. The fact that consumers like to be involved is clear as daylight: 675.000 flavour entries were submitted resulting in additional sales of 6 million bags of chips that made it to the finals (Klein Schiphorst 2012).


Lays’ “Maak de Smaak”-campaign (2012)

Finally, social commerce increases the value of collected big data. Companies do not only know what people buy but also why they buy it and what their experiences are with the product. This increases the knowledge companies have about their customers immensely.

To summarize, social commerce stimulates social interaction among customers and allows co-creation on social media websites. This distinguishes it from traditional e-commerce. Allowing people to give their opinion on a brand stimulates them to return back to the page, which in return stimulates revenues. During this process, valuable big-data information is collected.

How do you define social commerce? Do you agree on my representation? What is your opinion on the integration of social media and e-commerce? Would you consider it alarming that social media and e-commerce integrate further?

I hope I’ve warmed you up for next weeks topic!


Klein Schiphorst, S. (2012). Superfans van Lay’s bepalen de (social media-)smaak. Available: Last accessed 4th Sep 2015.

Reekers, J. (2015). What Is Social Commerce? (And How To Take Advantage Of It). Available: Last accessed 4th Sep 2015.

Statista. (2015). Worldwide social commerce revenue from 2011 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars). Available: Last accessed 4th Sep 2015.

Homework assignment- social commerce

E-commerce provides benefits to customers and companies such as online customers could reach large amounts of products and information. Online shoppers discover new products on websites and they post recommendations in order to give an idea to other customers. On the other hand, the impact of the social media on e-commerce cannot be always positive. For example, the “keeping up with the joneses” attitude can supply higher sales and increase revenue by 5%, however seeking distinctiveness can have negative impact on sales by 14%. Also, the other trend “minimalism” has attracted many people in these years by aiming to minimize purchase as a result of economic breakdown. Thus, social media sometimes affect people not to purchase


Social media will have a wide impact on the entire retail environment. The rise of social commerce and social marketplaces will increase the online community aspect of shopping. Social media will become more integrated place and companies will provide to their customers to share with their social connections. Thus, these developments would enable companies to give their messages beyond their own website, reaching a much wider audience. Beyond the online shopping, social media will also play a role in the physical world of retail, with some companies incorporating social media into their stores. For these reasons, they would interact with their customers and their social connections effectively. Besides all these advantages and disadvantges of using social commerce, I believe that by using the right tools in the right way, companies can increase their profit with social commerce and decrease their costs. Companies should choose right strategies in order to benefit from in social commerce and shopping, because it is decision making step. Different strategies should be applied according to different products and target group of people. In the perspective of customers, people who do not have enough information about a product or service are eager to learn from other customers. Human psychology claims that people are interested to own what their friends have, whether they need it or not. Customers need to view the products and hear about them. I believe that social commerce is beneficary especially to inform other customers. Recommendations can encourage or discourage people easly to buy. Companies should be aware of this fact and encourage people to interact more for providing products and comments on the social media. Right social commerce strategies are vital for managers and future of the company.

Social Media Mistakes & Mix-Ups

During our classes, we’ve seen a lot of examples of social media fails of companies and individuals. Today I’d like to share some other examples of social media mistakes and mix-ups of celebrities and businesses, all together in a very neat Infographic (how convenient!). The last example also shows how a mix-up can be saved.

What would you have recommended the abovementioned celebrities or businesses to recover professionally and thereby minimizing the damage?

Social commerce: Itunes for journalism!

A problem that newspapers have to deal with is the fact that ‘old fashioned newspapers’ are facing competition from online competitors. Especially the younger generation uses the world wide web to read about world problems as Syria or the economic crisis. Some critics say that traditional newspapers (printed on paper) will disappear within the next ten years.

Is this true? And how can the traditional newspapers cope with this problem? Well, there might be a solution to this problem: Blendle. An app that brings the news together. One of the founders (Alexander Klöpping) was on the television show ‘De wereld draait door’ a week ago. The clip beneath will show how Blendle works (unfortunately it’s a Dutch show).

For those who don’t speak Dutch I will summarize this clip. Blendle is designed as solution to the fact that the ‘younger generation’ doesn’t want to pay for news anymore. With Blendle you can see through all (Dutch) newspapers and select items you find interesting.  The example that is used in the clip shows that with a few simple clicks you can browse through the newspapers and look for the columnists or news-genre you like. Then you can buy this news item (for between €0,10 and €0,90) and add them to your ‘personal newspaper’. You are also allowed to share this articles on Facebook or Twitter, so you can let your friends now what keeps you bussy and vice versa. When you want to read an article that one of your friends liked or shared you still have to pay the fee for that article. The difference between Blendle and free newssites, stated in the clip, is that the articles from the traditional newspapers are made by proffesional journalists and thereby are of higher quality. 

So why would the newspapers like NRC of ‘de Volkskrant’ join this concept? As stated in the clip newspapers see this ‘app’ as an adition to what they already offer. They are not afraid (yet) about the fact that the newspaper made of ink and paper will disappear. (Althought they didn’t use arguments to explain why they think they won’t). Thereby they can earn money by selling single articles and have options to offer subscriptions to users who frequently buy their articles. 

So is this the solution to all the problems traditional newspapers are facing? Or is there no problem at all? I think this app will certainly bring extra revenues to the newspaper companies. As we have experienced with, for example, Spotify and Netflix, people want to pay for services that are easily accessible although music and films are downloadable for free on the internet. And those services offer identical services as the free ones do (for example a song made by Jay-Z remains a song made by Jay-Z and thereby the exact same thing). But when it comes to the articles made by professional journalists, I think that they will have a superior quality over the articles made by free news sites.

The problem focuses on the younger generation. This generation is very familiar with internet services and I think this connects this generation with the ‘old concept’ of newspapers. As many people of this generation already use social media to express themselves and connect with others. 

What do you guys think? Is news just not meant for the younger generation? Or is this the way for newspaper companies to keep up? And why?

Summary of homework on Social Commerce

Every year the trend of social media is rising. Almost a decade after the first social media platform, a new concept was introduced. Social commerce. It is e-commerce’s backbone and was presented after the extensive use of social media, especially through Facebook and Twitter. The sources I found gave me a better overview of the social digital area, by providing me with information about the technical and social background that are needed in order for social commerce to run smoothly.  Furthermore, I was impressed by the amount and size of firms that are engaged in social commerce and by their strategies too, due to the fact that they were the first in the field and they had to develop pioneer approaches. In addition, social experience of each company is crucial to attract potential customers in order to make them continue using your website and having a good relationship quality. Social commerce is the future to our online shopping. Without that complex grid in the virtual worlds, social commerce would not be able to be functional. We should see it as the evolution of e-commerce and not as a concept that is completely new.