Archive for the ‘social networks’ category

Interact08: Two 2.Advertising companies to check out

29, September, 2008 Video advertising platform Puts ads on idle cell phone screens

LiveBlog Interact08, cont’d: Creativity

29, September, 2008

Pith load from panel on creativity

“Creativity is not being a designer or programming, it’s the ability to solve a problem.”

Joanna Champagne, National Gallery of Art, on government use of social media

In process of expanding digital programs. Why not still use the “best architects” in the digital program? We want a website that does the same thing.

Must be true to the spirit of our founding…Andrew Mellon! How do we make the digital world that’s. . .as solid and fundamental? He said: “This is a new relationship between paint and stone.” We want to give the gift again in the digital world.

Website hasn’t been touched in 10 years. How to be true to the mission in the digital environment? Ideas:

Pilot and Play. It opens doors, sounds unthreatening.

Launched a mobile tool, a cellphone tour, to learn where the audience is geographically–and to provide a remote way to tour the museum. “Endears” people to the collection.

Example two: Interactive tables–touchscreen in the midst of the exhibition hall.

Iterate until you have enough successes to win support.

Be Yourself Online. Even for government organizations.

Postal service site is “gorgeous,” partnered with John Adams and Star Wars. Department of Education also very good. “Improve morale” as image of agency is transformed via consumer-facing web.

Leave the Building. Hard to get outside the office.

Put reprints outside on walls to literally get out of building.

Use Facebook. So many museum sites on Facebook–it’s become a forum for museum insiders to connect and share good ideas.

Nick Law, Creativity in the Digital Age

Two examples of leveraging user involvement with technology to elevate the brand experience. User-generated shoes, online. Not a matter of art director and copy writer going off somewhere. It’s about creating an interface–needs to be emotional, have brand texture to it.

NikePlus: Links music [iPod], athletics [running], technology [sensor in shoe] and social community [web interface for events, personal information, real-time dialog, sharing information, post-race creativity]. 780,000 ran a 10k with NikePlus, linking this all.


LiveBlog Interact08: Marketing with Social Web

29, September, 2008

Ripe quotes from Brian Williams, Viget Labs

“Your product is your marketing campaign.” For instance: Google, iPhone

Your business, whether you like it or not, is accessible, transparent, and authentic. Even if the only presence on the web is from a disgruntled employee from two years ago–that’s your business.

How to get aboard? Unleash your inner geek: Just jump on, sign up for Twitter. It’s changing constantly. But at least you need to understand what this space is like.

For businesses, “De-specialize.” Everybody needs to participate in social engagement online.

From John Bell, Ogilvy PR, 360 degree Digital Experience

“The Attention Crash”–people fatigued by new, multiple technologies. How do you drink from the firehose without drowning? Give yourself a certain amount of time each week for experimentation.

Need for constant, fast internal training. Things move so fast it has to be regular. [Now trying “Yammer,” Twitter for the enterprise.]

Ted Leonsis, Part 2

29, September, 2008

I had a chance to ask Leonsis a couple of questions:

How can the social web help during the current economic crisis?

His new investment, Revolution Money, will reduce the “tax” consumers have paid for credit card use. Merchants will be charged .5 percent per transaction. This smaller tax will be passed along to consumers, but it’s far less.

How can the social web help folks on the ground who are scared and in economic peril?

The startup costs of new businesses have plunged–the “eBay economy.” He points to the host’s $9 cufflinks made by a jeweler in England who can find customers overseas. Millions of people can start businesses, some of which can become big businesses.

Ted Leonsis, Superstar

29, September, 2008

Liveblog from Interact08

Opening session: “Shift Happens,” by Ted Leonsis, vice-chairman emeritus AOL, sage, sports franchise co-owner–all around investor, booster and mentor to many web startups. Said to have coined the phrase “new media” [fact-check that one].

Consumer currently feels “shattered”–in New York last week, it felt to him “like the week after 9/11”

Presidential race is a “turning point” for the integration of Web 2.0

New products, etc. need to be created for 3-screens

How consumers consume: Free, on-demand, mashed up, shared, raw and authentic.

“Our children are growing up in a world where free is better than paid.” Pay-based businesses will “die.”

“People ask me, ‘Where are your people?’ I don’t have people.” Part of being “authentic,” people can smell b.s. a mile away.”

Globalization: We don’t know how to translate international uniques into currency. [Chinese will develop 300,000 math PhDs this year. We’ll graduate 20,000. Marketing is increasingly for math majors. What does this mean to U.S. business?]

What do consumers give you? Money, time, pixels. You need to think in terms of those currencies.

“Ted’s Take”: I blog every day. I don’t like it anymore when people type my name into Google and see the first thing that comes up is a bad [Washington Post] article. My content is now at the top. “It’s important you take control of” your search results.

How this is blurring work and pleasure: A worker arrives at the office and logs first into fantasy football on Monday a.m., yet handled 300 e-mails on Sunday.

Discusses “filmanthropy“–movies with messages, creating a second bottom line. Just launched, in partnership with Clearspring [in which he invests]. Cuts films into film widgets–now 61 million views. In U.S., there are 500 indie theaters; we have 12,000 virtual theaters.

The Internet is powerful because it enhances all of the following. It’s what all my businesses are designed around.

  • relationships in communities of interest
  • self-expression
  • giving back
  • pursuing a higher calling

On “Thought Leaders” and Other 2.0bservations

16, September, 2008

I admit I’ve developed fairly low expectations of web 2.0 conferences. At this point, I consider them a success if:

  • I take away three nuggets worth remembering
  • I emerge unhurt

And so I’m pleased to report that by these standards the Tech Council of Maryland’s “Growing Your Business Through Social Media” meeting was a smashing success.

As is usually the case, the crowd was teeming with fear and hope about the social web, and eager to learn more. As usual, the panelists recommended various degrees of engagement and caution. There was plenty of coffee and free wireless.

Here are my three takeaway nuggets:

Nugget No. 1: Regarding those who wish to use social media to promote themselves as thought leaders, Mark Hausman, President & CEO of Strategic Communications Group,  issued this unsettlingly insightful remark: “If you want to be a thought leader, you need to have some thoughts.” You could almost hear the deflation in the crowd.

Nugget No. 2: Regarding those paralyzed by legal ramifications of the social web, Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami of Network Solutions, offered this simple piece of wisdom: “Take your lawyer to lunch.” [Yes, Bellamkonda’s official title is Social Media Swami. I’m guessing if he gets promoted it would be to Boddhisatva, but I’m not very good with org charts.]

Nugget No. 3: None of the panelists or audience members reported having any staff devoted exclusively to social media. Usually the responsibilities for maintaining blogs and discussion boards, working Facebook and LinkedIn for intel and monitoring the social web fell to 2 or 3 people in various departments, who do it essentially on time carved from the rest of their duties. Which is to say: For now, in most of corporate America, the social web is still treated like the idiot bastard stepchild of the communications/marketing/customer service/strategy functions.

Bonus Nugget No. 4! Jeremy Epstein, who did the keynote, is really smart and funny about this stuff. Subscribe to his Igniting the Revolution blog if you don’t believe me. His idea of “tribal marketing,” and how he used it to promote a funky post-careerist-era book by Daniel Pink, is a great illustration.

Photos by the Swami himself, coverage of the event by BisnowTech.

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Crowdsourcing a Restaurant

28, July, 2008

Fascinating story in the Washington Post yesterday [I still get the Sunday “hard copy” of the newspaper] about a Washington, D.C. group that is crowdsourcing a new restaurant.

Web 2.know-it-alls may sniff at calling this project “crowdsourcing” at all. But it’s an effort to harvest the best ideas of a group of enthusiasts and build a restaurant based on all that group input. The article claims it’s the first use of the crowdsourcing technique to build a restaurant. [I did a Google search and by that undependable measure the claim appears to be true.]

Linda Welch, 49, a serial entrepreneur, had gathered 386 Elements community members who have, the article reports, “helped develop the concept (a sustainable vegetarian/raw foods restaurant), the look (a comfortable gathering space with an open kitchen), the logo (a bouquet of colorful leaves) and even the name [Elements].”

“Most businesses are started because you have a great idea, and you take it out to the public to see if they like it,” Welch is quoted in the Post story. “This is the opposite. We’re finding out what people want and doing it.”

As for the genesis: The article continues,

“The Elements project began in February 2007 when Welch [49], who owns area several businesses in the District, purchased the business and liquor licenses of nearby Sparky’s, a coffee shop that had closed. Welch has helped launch 22 startups but has no restaurant experience. She didn’t know exactly what she planned to do with the licenses, other than open a small cafe. Around that time, Neil Takemoto, 40, another local entrepreneur who had worked with Welch, stopped by to chat. When Welch told him about her plans, Takemoto suggested crowdsourcing the restaurant.

“‘I said, ‘Great!’ ” Welch remembers. ” ‘What the hell is that?’ ‘”

Takemoto runs a business, CoolTown Studios, that helps companies use crowdsourcing and other social media techniques to support community development.

Here’s a schematic illustrating the collective developement process from the site his company created to support Elements:

The Elements project is a fascinating attempt at a proof-of-concept using “wisdom of the crowds” to build a real-life, carbon-based business from the ground up.

It’ll also be interesting to see what happens now that the effort has been publicized beyond the core group of enthusiasts and supporters. Since the article has appeared, about 30 people have signed up.

What happens to the wisdom ofthe crowds–and the value of their advice–as the crowd expands? Crowdsourcing theory says things will get better, as greater collective intelligence is tapped.

We’ll see. I, for one, am looking forward to the opening, sometime next year. Process is good. Product is vital for a restaurant.

Which is to say: I sure hope the food’s good.

Deadblog: What I Actually Said at a Web 2.0 Conference

26, June, 2008

Well, I’m done paneling at the Digital Media Conference. As expected the discussion didn’t go entirely as I planned. Which is good.

This is because for the panel, titled Social Media: What’s Next? , I shared the stage with a group of guys all demonstrably smarter (and considerably more stylish) than I:

  • Nick O’Neill, proprietor of The Social Times, the top social media intel blog
  • Greg Johnson, CMO of GGL, a booming gaming social networking site
  • Michael Chin, SVP of Marketing for KickApps, which sells social media software (and just did a major partnership with widgeteer Clearspring, creating a dominant force in the commercial widget-and-social-apps world)
  • Terry Farrell, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft’s Zune, which is using social media in ambitious ways to build the brand and user base of the way-behind-the-iPod MP3 device,

Our moderator was Rohit Bhargava, SVP of Digital Strategy & Marketing for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. He’s used all sorts of social media tactics to promote Personality Not Included, his book about how companies can lose their authenticity–and can get it back.

So here is my attempt at “deadblogging,” to coin a phrase–a recap, after two cocktails and a long day, of a panel in which I participated. [I’m not sure this is a good idea. But hey, it’s a 2.0 world! We’re all about experimentation and iteration.! Run with it! And, fellow panelists: If I’ve gotten anything wrong, please let me know.]

The major points I remember:

Nobody’s really sure how social communities can make money, but all of us are convinced they have value. Terry talked about an “exchange of value”–that the Zune community gets value from participants, who in exchange get value from the others. Since his community is designed to support a brand, and not directly bring in money, that exchange is sufficient.

It’s not enough for a network to be social–the real value is the context, which is to say, what the socializing is about and for. Michael talked about how the DIY (do-it-yourself) Network uses its software–instead of people just using a social network to goof around, they actually share an interest and can benefit from the other people’s attention. Greg agreed–his network is by and for gamers, and their shared interest creates the community.

There are too many social networks tugging at limited attention. The panel seemed bearish on the social-to-be-social networks like FaceBook and MySpace, and bullish on those dedicated to a specific purpose. Nick mentioned how a lot of social media tools are used outside of social networks proper.

Even though as someone who does not own or work for a social media company I have no skin in the game, I think I was the most bullish about the magnitude of the transformation social media is bringing to the culture.

It’s true that so many 2.0 gambits and tactics and businesses are inane and shallow–“toys for teens,” as they’re often dismissed. Twitter can be pointless, Digg a fool’s errand, YouTube an arterial bleed of American energy. Mainstream media embarrass themselves regularly by lurching blind into the social space. This not only gives me plenty to blog about. It makes it hard to see the larger patterns.

The Big Fact: Millions of  people worldwide have access to tools that allow them to communicate, organize, think, share, congregate and conspire, in near real time, with whomever they want, without the permission of established media, corporations, government or civic institutions. This transformation is fundamental, accelerating, irresistible and irreversible.

The political implications alone are huge. But so are the commercial and social. Non-adopters put their livelihoods at risk.

Web 2.0 is bigger than Web 1.0, though not as big as Gutenberg. [Or fire, for that matter.]

Mike said something interesting in response to a question about how people can make money from social media. Paraphrasing here, he said companies ought to go out and hire as many anthropologists as possible to try to figure out what’s going on with this new behavior–and then figure out how to make money.

After the presentation, a woman from Motorola came up and introduced herself, said she enjoyed the panel. She handed me her card. Her title read “Anthropologist.”

For real. Not a winky-funny-hip-corporate-title. Her actual job title.

Yes, Motorola has an anthropologist on the payroll.

I’m telling you, this thing is big.

Obama Gets LinkedIn

19, June, 2008

When grazing my LinkedIn page today, I came across this “LinkedIn Answers Featured Question”:

This inventive use of social media by Obama was new to me. For those unfamiliar with this LinkedIn feature, members can ask and answer questions among themselves. As a neat social network currency feature, those deemed by the asker to provide the best answer win a little green medallion that follows them around LinkedIn.

Featured Questions are paid for, like ads. They’re used by various interests to collect a crowd and thereby (subtly, perhaps) transmit a message, form a link, etc.

When I started writing this entry, 31 answers had been posted. As I post, 44 are up there. They are mostly quite earnest and substantial.

p.s. As I hit “publish,” 48 answers are in. Wonder who will get “best answer”? I’ll bet it’s not John McCain.

p.p.s.: One day since my posting, 1,066 people have posted answers.

GSP Liveblog: Can Social Networks Be Used to, Um, Make Money?

10, June, 2008

The moderator of a panel at Graphing Social Patterns East asks social network honchos: “Does anybody actually show increased sales from social network advertising?”

He has to ask it twice because the panel just double-talks about “engagement” metrics and “getting people into a branded environment” and “very new, not about revenues yet,” “optimizing cross platform media campaigns” and “social influence marketing” and “win-win” and “blahblahblahdon’taskthatplease.”

But social networks need to be part of every advertising campaign anyway! That much they’re sure of!