Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ category

Interact08: Two 2.Advertising companies to check out

29, September, 2008

http://www.zadby.com: Video advertising platform

http://www.mobileposse.com: 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.

NikeID.com: 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.

Free Social Web Presentation: A $495 value!

24, September, 2008

I’m about to go do a presentation on social media. The topic this time: How to use various search-and-discover tools to monitor what’s being said in the socialwebosphere about you, your company, your partners or competitors, your spouse, your enemies, etc.

The audience is a group of people who do PR, marketing and communications for non-profit groups in the healthcare field. The people in attendance paid $495 to hear my presentation–though, to be fair, a lunch, dinner and a bunch of other, far more interesting speakers are part of the deal too.

But I thought I’d share the useful stuff right here in my blog, where everything is free. And–this is a guarantee–worth every penny.

The presentation lists a bunch of tools you can use to monitor what’s being said out in the social web. I know there are many others, but the ones I’m listing are both user-friendly for late adopters and likely, at least as a group, to produce a good scan of what’s being said in blogs, on Twitter, on discussion forums and hyperlocal news sites.

If any readers of this blog know good tools to supplement or replace the ones I’ve listed here, please leave a comment below. I’ll update the list and republish the full list in a later post.

Anyway, it’s about 12:30 p.m. and I’m on at 1 p.m. Better run.

Here’s the handout I’ll give out.

Learning to Listen In

The following tools help you monitor the many conversations happening all around the Internet. Some comments may involve your business, institution or key people. You may not want or need to respond. But knowing what people are saying is vital.

Listening is also an easy way to familiarize yourself with the baffling world of social media. Later on you may want to use these same techniques in marketing, branding, communication and customer service efforts. Talk like a marketer, though, and they’ll hate you.


Hints:

Most of these tools let you save your searches. Some send results to your e-mail, your iGoogle page or any RSS reader [Yahoo360, Netvibes, Bloglines, etc.]


Be sure to “listen” not only for your institution or firm’s full name, but for its nickname, short name, common misspellings, etc. Don’t forget about the names of key people.

The following tools are listed in approximate order of value. Start with Google Alerts, and see which others turn up content you’d otherwise miss.

  • Google Alerts The most basic way to monitor what’s being published on important topics and events. If nothing else, set Google Alerts for keywords and have results delivered to your e-mail box. http://www.google.com/alerts
  • Filtrbox Can dig deeper and help analyze content that turns up. Monthly fee for high-level use. For some, it may be worth it. http://www.filtrbox.com/
  • BlogPulse A Nielsen service, it monitors blog content http://www.blogpulse.com/
  • Omgili or Twing Both of these monitor the “deep web”—message boards where most search engines don’t prowl http://www.omgili.com or http://www.twing.com
  • Twitter Search To listen in on what’s being said on this annoying, oddly compelling platform http://search.twitter.com/. For alerts: http://tweetbeep.com/
  • Topix Aggregates local news better than most. A good way to see what your local press is reporting without having to visit their sites http://www.topix.com/

D.C. Social Media: 2.0ut in Front?

23, September, 2008

The Washington, D.C. area is boiling with action, but it’s not all about the upcoming quadrennial episode of mass hysteria. The region has become of all things, a national center–maybe the national center–for innovation in the social web.

I say this with some reluctance. I’m a lousy cheerleader and innately skeptical of any claims that carry the whiff of a chamber of commerce luncheon centerpiece.

Having said that, I believe there is something big and unexpectedly important going on in my home region, one not known for its forward thinking or brassy innovation. But D.C. 2.0 seems to be real.

Last week Twin Tech II, a party designed to bring together the Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland tech community, drew 1,200 people, and a bunch of people were turned away. I’m not sure recent McCain rallies have had that many people. [To be fair, McCain rallies are not held in massive nightclubs with an open bar, so that may explain some of it. That may also be a good idea for the McCain campaign, but that’s another story.]

Anyway, the Twin Tech meetup was really more about bringing two different tech cultures together: The Suits and the T-shirts, the Stalwarts and the Schemers, the Arrivistes and the Artistes, the Gold and the Geeks.

The people representing the Northern Virginia Technology Council, land of defense contractors and enterprise network firms, were actually wearing suits and ties, as if they’d just come from a sales presentation [they probably had]. One of the women looked like she could easily be a great grandmother. She looked like she was having a blast. I didn’t see her dance, but then I didn’t stay until the end.

Meanwhile the t-shirts–indie 2.0 entrepreneurs, programmers, designers, marketers and even some extremely talented, reasonably priced social media consultants heroically devoted to their clients–showed up in stylish eyewear, interesting hair on their face and heads, tiny tattoos and a sort of thriftshop-Urban Outfitters-Nordstrom Rack chic. The women looked great. The open bar was well patronized.

This dual-social-group thing helps explain, I think, why the Washington area can make a plausible claim as 2.0 Central. It’s an amazing mix of grown-ups, young people, and business conditions. Among the assets:

  • The rich talent pool left in the wake of the AOL diaspora
  • The 2.0 enterprise network builders and sellers in Northern Virginia and the many consultants, lawyers and financiers who follow in their wake
  • Legions of print journalists making the migration to digital
  • Political and non-profit social mediacrats–those eye-poppingly forward-leaning 2.Obamacists ™ are among us
  • Academics, think-tankers and policy-heads who are leading the way on issues of web privacy, piracy, legalities and social impacts of all this stuff
  • Established Washington PR and lobbying firms, scrambling to leverage social media at risk of falling terminally behind the new social marketing firms that “get it”
  • Increasingly social-media-savvy publishers and broadcasters like The Washington Post, USA Today, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS and NPR
  • Government agencies which, god help us, are beginning to use social media to reach their citizen clients
  • The Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art and other world-class museums that have committed to the 2.0 thing
  • And hundreds of 2.0 companies, from up-and-coming national names like Clearspring, Mixx, Vidget Labs, R2i, Freewebs and Hungry Machine to scrappy startups chasing money and a clue. Some of the latter are getting a boost from a D.C. based mini-2.Incubator, LaunchBox Digital.

It’s quite a confluence of people and factors–perhaps more than you’ll find elsewhere, even in Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley–and there’s plenty of energy and, I think, even money to go around. I have every reason to believe I’ll be able to stand behind that statement five years from now.

Which brings me to the next D.C. mega-event, Interact08, a conference that will put on stage many of the luminaries representing the groups described above. Ted Leonsis, paterfamilias of many tech startups in the area and the nation, will keynote. And none other than Marissa Mayer of Google will appear on a panel.

When Google sends Mayer across the country to appear on a panel, you know something is going on.

I don’t know if the crowd will surpass 1,200, but I’m told only 35 tickets ramain at $395. I’ll be blogging from Interact, and will dutifully report on developments.

Oh, I forgot [warning: metaphor incoming] Interact08 will be held in the Ronald Reagan Building. I’m telling you, this Washington 2.0 thing is getting serious.

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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Rick Sanchez Direct: CNN ADD!

8, September, 2008

Well, Rick Sanchez Direct was unloosed this afternoon onto an unsuspecting world. The CNN program appears to be the first head-on, full-frontal attempt by a mainstream media organization to harness the social web, live and on the air, to report the news.

Promoted on Sanchez’s own Twitter feed as a “Twitter show,” the production turned out to be more like a FriendFeed Gone Wild.

While Sanchez presented the news of the day, he harvested real-time viewer comments streaming in via Twitter, Facebook and MySpace [what, dude, you’re like 15?]. Raw news came in via cell phone images, mobile phone calls and user-generated video. There was even a multi-culti touch, with a flamboyantly Spanish speaking correspondent from CNN Espanol.

Sanchez is full of himself as a broadcaster and 2.0h geek–a brunette Anderson Cooper with ADD and thousands of online friends. His patter was peppered with references to the whiz-bangery by which he was presenting things: “…here’s something from Twitter coming in now, just seconds ago…this is an interactive news broadcast, it’s your show…and this, from Facebook…tell us what you think, we want to hear from you….”

Sanchez clearly relished his role as info-hero, manfully maintaining control of the real-time news battlefield while taking incoming data from all sides. At the end of the broadcast he thanked people for their “openness to Twitter, Facebook”–and indeed, one suspects, to human interaction itself. It was that kind of performance.

It’s easy to ridicule Rick Sanchez Direct as hyperspeed slapdash news-spatter. But truth told I found myself sort of liking it–the hour went fast, I got quick licks of the headlines-of-the-day, and heard the [alas, predictable] voices of my fellow Americans chattering about it all. There are worse news shows, and many that are more boring.

Which is not to say RSD is substantial or of great public value. But let’s consider the context before we bemoan the shameful intellectual decay of cable news–the domain of Wolf Blitzer, Sean Hannity and those blonde women on Fox–wrought by Twitter and Facebook.

Network TV news as it is widely practiced is highly mannered, with carefully staged standups, scripted stories, well-spoken talking heads and press conference snippets, all presented with assertive declamations by people who, as they say outside major media markets, clean up real good.

The thought that this somehow constitutes “news” in its pure form is ridiculous.

The thought that adding social media to the mix could wreck it is fatuous.

News is stuff that happens that someone finds interesting. There are infinite ways to present it. As the culture changes, so does the way it’s delivered.

My biggest complaint with RSD is that the need to generate a constant stream of real-time apoplexy to fill that Twitter screen, Sanchez & Co. will have to keep baiting the hook with red meat.

In today’s Episode One, the topics included “hard to watch” cell phone video of dead civilians in Afghanistan, a bunch of loony pastors who plan to take “all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary” their God-given right to endorse Republic–er, various candidates for public office, user videos of ginormous waves crushing the coastline of Cuba, the Government Bailout of Freddie and Fannie with Your Tax Dollars, etc.

And through Twitter and Facebook and god help us MySpace the people expressed their shock and disgust and dismay!

Sure, this is phony populism–“the issues that America really cares about,” overheated for the purposes of sensation. But welcome to our century. Later in the day, World News Tonight, Fox News and even NPR covered the very same stories, but without the public feedback.

As they say in the eye doctor’s office: Worse? Or better?

Is Rick Sanchez Direct a smart move for CNN? The 3 p.m. weekday time slot isn’t particularly valuable broadcast real estate. Why not turn it into a faddish, hyperkinetic, multi-screen, multi-media playground and see what happens?

Besides, think of the sponsorship opportunities.

For CNN sales reps, I have just two words: Red Bull.

* * * *

For more, see my previous entry previewing the program.


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The Web 2.D’0h! Roundup

5, September, 2008

Another look at the menace, mediocrity and occasional magnificence around the world of social media.

Architects of the Doomed User Experience

Navigation Arts–a Washington, D.C.-area design firm best known for its work for defense contractors, trade associations and government agencies–has helped relaunch the Charlotte Observer’s website. A leader in usability and enterprise websites, Navigations Arts has produced. . .

. . .a site nearly indistinguishable from its peers that have stuck stubbornly with the newspaper-with-multimedia-and-nervously-managed-user-interaction model that has proven so incapable of producing sufficient revenues for newspaper publishers across the country.

To paraphrase the sounds of the season: Is this the change we need?

  • For community features the Observer it has deployed Pluck, the popular off-the-shelf 2.0-in-a-box application suite.
  • It uses the two-layer drop-down navigation you can find on any custom WordPress template worth $75.
  • It makes the misstep of labeling video as video [“hey, lookit, Marge, they got movin’ pictures on this website!] instead of according to the underlying content.

Worst of all, the site also ubiquitously highlights the sad, sweet, desperate “subscribe and get miles” link that demonstrates a profound, perhaps fatal misunderstanding of how news companies need to operate in a digital world.

Note to the Observer’s Dept. of Clue Procurement: It’s not about selling newspapers any more.

Imagine Henry Ford selling the Model T with an ad that says, “Buy the car and we’ll give you discount on a horse too!”

A Look Behind the Curtain of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is supposedly all about “transparency,” allowing users to see who’s been authoring and reauthoring Wikipedia pages. In practice, exploring this information is like reading source code for a mortgage disclosure document.

The Palo Alto Research Center has debuted WikiDashboard, the beta version of a tool designed to help you visualize who’s been up to what on the back end of those Wikipedia entries. It’s the newest of several tools that take up this task.

Here’s an image identifying the most prolific authors of the Wikipedia entry of John McCain.

Click on their names and see what they contributed to the entry, how much they contributed and what they’ve added to other content around Pediaville.

n.b.: Would all Wikipediasts stop using that term “disambiguation”? It’s a smug, exclusive word that says to the world: We’re wonky digitalinfogeeks. Join our club or stay the hell out. Makes you wonder just how committed the architects of this project are to creating an encyclopedia “by and for” the people.

And finally, Our Regular Sighting of the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse ™:

www.buyyourfriendadrink.com

Have you spotted other middling, memorable or malignant examples of social media webbery? Please share the wealth and leave links in the comment section below.


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Exclusive Photo: Sarah Palin as a Goldwater Girl!

4, September, 2008

Let’s imagine the presumptuous VP nominee Sarah Palin was a teenage Goldwater Girl, an earnest young Republican back in the day when Sen. Barry Goldwater rocked the house at the 1964 RNC.

Here’s what she might have looked like as a candy striper at the 1964 Convention:

This wonderful bit of trickery comes to you thanks to www.yearbookyourself.com. It’s a tweaky tool that lets you upload a photo of yourself, mess around just a bit, and produce an image of what you might have looked like had your yearbook photo been snapped during various years from 1950 through 2000.

But: Here we go again, we eliteliberaleastcoastmediaestablishmentrunningdogs having sport with Palin rather than taking her seriously. Palin, 44, was born in 1964.

So to set the record straight, here is what she may indeed have looked like around the time she really graduated, 1981:

[A tip o’ the fez to the always-ahead-of-the-pack Very Short List Web e-mail newsletter for the pointer to yearbookyourself.com.]

p.s. By popular demand, the author at his 1952 graduation.


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