Google, can you hear Triangle fiber pitches? Not yet

Posted March 26, 2010

If the high-tech Triangle hopes to land one of Google’s ultrafast broadband project pilots, then the groups making pitches need to step up their efforts, says a social media tracking firm.

While groups in Asheville and Greensboro are generating a lot of buzz on the Web of sites from Facebook to Twitter, the Triangle partnerships are barely on the radar screen, according to a report by Steketee Greiner and Company.

(Read the full report.)

The firm, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is tracking what founder David Greiner calls “share of voice” and "digital syndication" based on keywords related to Google’s broadband project. Among the nearly 100 city-related groups that are making pitches to Google, Asheville ranks seventh and Greensboro ninth.

The deadline for responses to Google’s broadband proposal is March 26, and the company has said that community support would be a factor in its selection process. Just how important local backing and publicity will be isn’t known, but some communities took no chances.

Topeka, Kan., offered to change its name to Google.

And in Duluth, Minn., which tops the list, online discussions focused on naming first-born children “Google Fiber.”

The top 10 city lists with “share of voice:”

  1. Duluth, Minn., 13.5 percent
  2. Grand Rapids, Mich., 12.4 percent
  3. Topeka, Kan., 8.8 percent
  4. Fresno, Calif., 6.3 percent
  5. Sarasota, Fla., 6.2 percent
  6. Memphis, Tenn., 4.9 percent
  7. Asheville, N.C., 4.8 percent
  8. Madison, Wis., 4.8 percent
  9. Greensboro, N.C., 4.2 percent
  10. Portland, Ore., 4.2 percent

Greiner and company are tracking social media traffic based on what it calls “conversation, digital syndication, presence, involvement and activation.”

In other words, how many people have signed on as Facebook “fans” of local projects, how much news are these groups generating (such as Durham’s Google photo shoot at the Durham Athletic Park) and how much “sharing” is going on.

Plus, how much “tweeting” is going on through Twitter? And are groups using “hashtags” on their Tweets for real-time tracking?

Just having a Facebook presence, a Tweeter site and a Web presence is hardly enough to create “voice,” Greiner said. The community groups generating the most Google buzz are socializing, not just sitting. And it’s not the raw number of “fans” involved (Duluth has far fewer fans than Grand Rapids but has more “voice”).

“The more relevant number is the percentage of fan base actively contributing to the online conversations, not only on Facebook but also on all digital channels,” Greiner’s firm noted in its report. “Conversion to conversation is key.”

Triangle residents likely need to conversing more, Greiner said. He said that determining why particular communities aren't generating "voice" while others are would require staff time to track extremely complicated data.

"Having the most Facebook fans is not enough to raise a city's online share of voice," said Brian Steketee, the firm’s chief executive officer about what the report shows. "Cities need to create compelling content, drive a coordinated outreach effort across a variety of searchable communications channels, and think beyond the obvious to engage citizens, especially as Google will be looking at multiple factors in its decision making process."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Carolina MeerKat Mar 26, 2010

    If you are from Cary and want to make some noise - Join us!!

  • AARRGGH Mar 26, 2010

    dougdeep---The reason is Google is going to flip the bill for most of the project in whatever city they choose. They are going to lay the groundwork and the cities just have to tap in. In cities like Wilson--and Greenlight is not a great as you make it to be---the cities flipped the bill and trust me--citizens Wilson are paying for it. This will make greenlight look like fiber optic dinosaur!

  • pbjbeach Mar 26, 2010

    Question ?

    why isn't there any mention of any efforts to bring something to north eastern north carolina . why does everything have to be located in the area from west of I-95 for anything to be siteed in this state

  • pbjbeach Mar 26, 2010

    how much in tax incentives package will this little venture cost the taxpayers of this state for you know that the good old governor dumpling ain't goinmg to let google get away without offerinmg or giving them her own version of taxpayers funded give aways to this hugh coporate enity in the form of tax incentives an frre taxpayers money given to thme to locate here in this wonderful good old north state. google just hag tough bev is probably to busy shrewing right now but she will get around to givng you a hugh big hand full of taxpayers free money just wait it is comming your way just hang in there tough thank you

  • dougdeep Mar 26, 2010

    What amazes me is if these city leaders, all around the U.S., are so attracted to what Google is offering, why not make it happen yourself!? Wilson implemented Greenlight and it's way above and beyond what Timewarner and ATT are offering. Here's another idea, get rid of the natural monopolies. Don't sign another exclusivity agreement for a telco or cableco.

  • manofjustice Mar 26, 2010

    What in the heck are they talking about?

  • chivegas Mar 26, 2010

    Would be nice if WRAL posted a link to submit Raleigh...

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Mar 26, 2010

    Well, Cupcake has been busy shredding and hasn't found time.

  • dougdeep Mar 26, 2010

    It didn't help that the City of Raleigh created their own facebook group instead of joining efforts with the existing home-grown one. Not sure if they rectified that situation yet or not.

    I think in the end Google will make their decision based on technical and economic reasons, not this cat fashion show the country is putting on.

  • jreed1920 Mar 26, 2010

    I think part of the reason is that things are so split in this area. There is Bring Google to Raleigh, Bring Google to Durham, Bring Google to Chapel Hill. Trying Bring Google to the Triangle Metropolitan Area and combining efforts would likely generate stronger numbers.