Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

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.car Evolution

(Disclaimer: I am personally involved in the development of Fiat’s digital presence with my work at AKQA)

BMW and Crysler DO NOT GET IT! (read the comments).
Gearing up for the .car Era | Autopia from
Ford sounds like it’s right behind them

It’s interesting to see how Fiat are describing and marketing their Blue&Me technology.
blue_me_fiat_500.jpg (JPEG Image, 475�316 pixels)
They seem concerned about the detail, which is always a good sign. They offer Blue&Me EcoDrive as standard and have Nav and Map add-on features.

Fiat EcoDrive is described in greater detail here, but essentially it measures your driving style irrespective of the car you drive. It puts everyone on a level playing field and gives them tips and suggestions on how to improve their driving style, saving them money by lowering their fuel consumption.

It’s a niche, but interesting, concept and importantly it’s engaging whilst not being disruptive. EcoDrive promises to ‘teach drivers how to go greener’. Drivers can fit whichever navigation system they choose to the car, rather than being tied down to a locked-in version, suceptable to bugs and poorly executed updates.

I’ll be interested to find out how drivers communicate between their car and their desktop computers to make intelligent use of all the data that’s captured and (possibly sharing that information within a community???), but it strikes me as a far stronger proposition than attempting to steal a march on the SatNav’s out there like TomTom and in the US, who only last week announced that they were opening up their API to developers.

What do you think? Do you want to watch YouTube in the car? Is being online important?? Is this running before you can walk or a bold move?

Micro-blogging & the power of Ambient Intimacy

Something happened on Twitter over the last week.

Twitter, the micro-blogging platform used by a niche user-base of very vocal early adopters and internet marketers, took a giant leap in its user-base as the most immediate communication channel of choice again at last week’s SWSX conference.

Twitter really took off at last year’s SWSX, so it’s no surprise that it took the headlines again.

It showed its potential to great effect during the US Super Bowl last November and I would ove to see how it could be used during the European Football Cup this summer.

“The fabric becomes stronger as the threads connect”

The more like-minded people connect with one another, the richer the conversation becomes.

Twitter can take comments made during a TV commentary and extend it online.

The beauty of Twitter is that it’s limited to 140 characters per post so either you make your point succintly or you link through to further, more in-depth conversation and opinion.

There’s no spam and your peers and audience are individually picked by you – that’s a powerful, if not so sexy, channel to get in on from a brand perspective.

For more read these:
Conversations are moving onto Twitter
Ambient Intimacy, Collective Musing & intellectual Musings

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detailed notes from VLAB

Lawrence Coburn wrote some detailed notes when he went to VLAB the other day. You can find them here.

More info on the panelists and the discusion in general can be found here.

The difference between a widget and an application

The previous post got me thinking of another outcome due to the differing functionalities of the two platforms. The concept of what a widget is and what an application is becomes clearer:

  1. 2nd generation widgety microsites in widgety-sized living spaces
  2. engaging and useful applications which make use of your digital web of friends.

    This second type of application can be split into another couple of sub categories:

  1. Utility apps – Training regimes (Nike+) and or niche digital organisers, a bit like ‘calender’ on Steriods which benefit aspects of your real life.
  2. Games – Engaging multiplayer, multi-platform, geo-positioned, haptics-enabled bundles of fun to be shared with friends and family. Where you can put the age old disciplines of human competitiveness, cooperation and comparison to the test. And before you ask, yes, “Compare”, “Crush” and “Growing Gifts” are all games.

The most successful of these will create an experience which offers both usefulness and enjoyment. Nike+ is sure to fare well, but who says there won’t be other Nike applications in the future? How difficult would it be to imagine an entire suite of specialist applications all created by Nike and sitting on your desktop…

As Nokia demonstrated at the Games Developers Conference this week, along with rumours of a partnership between Apple and games company Gameloft, we shouldn’t think that the internet is the only place, or the best suited, to socially interact.

facebook vs. opensocial

Shuzak’s presentation is very interesting.

One slide particularly got me thinking about some of Facebook’s recent moves. In the last couple of weeks Facebook has begun to put the kosh on invites in order to create more thoughful and considered applications and drive the spammers away.

I thought OpenSocial’s achilles heel was this lack of ‘virality’. It’s possible to create generic applications, but OpenSocial cannot take advantage of Facebook’s social graph. It is however scalable. And that’s the irony, because if you build something on Facebook that works through the social graph, it will be impossible (at the moment) to get it working across OpenSocial – All those viral invitations useless…

By pushing back so heavily on the invites, Facebook is helping developers not to think about how to game viral goodness out of the platform, but instead how to build really engaging applications. It also let’s any particularly successful applications that work on OpenSocial to benefit from additional engagement with the social graph rather than being spammed with it.

Despite Facebook’s very clean and well documented platform, the numbers still matter, and although the experience and audience will be more engaging and valuable on Facebook, it’s dwarfed by the 250+ million accessible users available on OpenSocial. I’d hate to be an OpenSocial developer right now though…it looks painful!

Undoubtedly there’ll be experiences created for both platforms, but I doubt very much whether there’ll be one killer branded application that’ll work just as well on either…unless it’s a mobile one…who could forget Tetris :)

clusters & connectors

Tightly knitted online communities are “clusters” and manifestations of social media such as blogs and widgets are “connectors”.

Some people emphasize clusters over connectors; others connectors over clusters…

It’s all about clusters & connectors and getting them to work together to create the kind of momentum that’s difficult to slow down.

‘customer service is the new marketing’

This was the title of a conference held in San Francisco a couple of days ago which Jeremiah Owyang spoke at. With Social Media and digital WOM marketing, friends will tell friends about their experience with a company, thereby impacting the way in which traditional marketing works.

They handed out this ‘pact’ to all attendees.

Among the many findings during the discussions were the following:

Different ways with Dealing with Detractors

# Varies in every situation.
# 1 to Many communications.
# Make them feel heard.
# Compensate them (depending on severity).
# Create a place for direct feedback, rather than having it in community forums.
# Develop a process for the different types of detractors.
# Having a good tone, being consistent with all members.

General Best Practices

# Trust is the foundation of every community
# Great relationships with members that want to share
# Make sure every question that is asked gets an appropriate answer
# Create a year long plan, so it’s effective across the business, thinking strategic
# Create valuable content
# Recognize valuable contributors
# Have knowledgeable moderators
# Incorporate it into your products
# Being Human: Make sure that people know that the community manager is a real person
# Acknowledge people
# Loyalty programs
# Focus on experience
# Quality Content
# Ask permission: Ask the members if we can reach out and talk to them first
# Start threads with questions to get the conversations going
# Help users connect with other users, identify ‘super users’
# You can never give too much information
# Encouraging feedback from the community
# Always have a direct email so it can encourage rapid response
# Rewarding and recognizing members that have done good work
# Embrace what the community is actually doing
# Acknowledge when people are right –even if they are hostile
# Bubbling up information, turning things into FAQs
# Internal encouragement for employees (points)
# Every question that someone else can answer, have it answered by the right person
# Track Google Alerts, if someone tracks outside the community pull them in.
# Be transparent, let the community monitor and police itself (rather than the company taking too much control)
# Reward and thank users that participate
# Plan and integrate internal knowledge bases

More here

The difference between forums, blogs and social networks

Forums should be like social mixers. Everyone is at equal level, milling about and discussing various topics with others. Forums allow anyone to start a topic and anyone to respond to one. Members are often at equal level, and content is usually segmented by topic. (rather than by people).

Blogs are like a keynote speech where the speaker (blogger) is in control of the discussion, but the comments area allows questions and comments from the audience. Kind of like a Q&A session after said keynote.

Blogs are journals often authored by one individual, and sometimes teams. In the context of business communication, these are often used to highlight exclusive content and talk with the marketplace, joining the conversations that existing external bloggers are having.

Social Networks are like topic tables at a school lunch. Imagine a fresher’s fair with big white signs above big long tables inviting people to sit down and join up with others of a like-minded interest? It’s like that.

Social networks allow people to focus on a person’s relationships or interests, rather that just their focused on topic. People that know each other (or want to meet each other) can connect via a variety of common interests. These are great tools to get people of like interest to connect to each other and share information.

In this way, it’s possible to concentrate on the selling points of each and hopefully bridge people’s expectations when using them.

Presidential Candidature, part deux

Back in February 2007 I wrote a post on the launch of the US Presidential candidates and how important digital would be in deciding the outcome of the next president of the United States.

Today, Super Tuesday will bring to an end to what started in February 2006. And it’s astonishing to me what difference digital has made to the experience.

Back then micro-blogging was barely a whisper. Twitter launched at SWMX in March of that year and John Edwards was the first to use it followed in quick succession by the other candidates.

At the time, I was very impressed with Barack’s choice of Brightcove to virally spread his ‘message’ and a little dumbstruck by Hilary’s choice of high quality Quicktime interviews (focusing primarily on news broadcasters and not bloggers picking up her sound bites). One truely seemed to understand the difference between digital and broadcast media whilst the other was pretending at the time that it didn’t matter. How times have changed.

All candidates not only twitter, but Google has teamed with Twitter to provide a Twitter/ Google mashup for Super Tuesday.

The very nature of how the candidates have been monitored has had to change.

Politics has moved on from sound-bites and newspaper spin. Discussion and debate online has fueled the need for openness, transparency and a new dialogue between the next president of the US and its people.

I wish them all a great deal of luck…and I hope brands have been paying attention :)

Insight into a Social Media campaign

How has generated traffic to its site. A nice case study.

Off the back of that post there’s another Soccer blog illustrating how soft the competition is in this area.

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