Archive for the ‘Social networking’ Category

Adam Goldberg shows how to do it!

Adam Goldberg shows how to do it!

A marketeers (early!) review of Vine, pondering its future, considering its uses and wondering whether to ditch Instagram in place of it!

I’ve been having fun using Vine this weekend, to produce a set of ultimately useless but fun videos. It’s undeniably fun, but not without it’s quirks in this early version (e.g. lack of ability to edit/uploads video outside of the app).

The bigger question I find myself asking is should we be advising clients to take a look and try something out? There is no doubt that a few brands will quickly capitalise on the opportunity, make some PR’able waves (for being the first), but is there long term potential with the tool?

Like Instagram, the issue of content value will quickly become evident for brands. After all, sharing video and photo’s is not exactly revolutionary and in the rise of responsive sites / social sharing tools, content is becoming easier to share every day. So why use Instagram / Vine to do so? The answer has to lay in the delivery of content of value.

A lot of brands (I’ve seen badly use these channels) interpret content value by leveraging these platforms to release discounts, announce sales, show a quirky photo of a new product etc etc – please shoot me in the head right now. Brands need to give their customers more credit than thinking they exist only to be told when and how to buy product!

With Vine, brands have a great chance to build loyalty and give their customers truly unique insights into what makes them a great brand.

The fashion/retail industry, for example, can (and will!) go down the mundane – and easy – route of sharing 6 second cuts of their TVS’s on Vine. Cheap, nasty, meaningless. But consider for a moment the opportunity of intertwining these new tools into a marketing strategy which goes beyond seeing Vine and the likes as a channel extension.

Instead though, they could be giving 6 second snippets insights into what makes them, them! How they come up with their styles, 6 word / 6 second interviews with their key designers, showing the idea to production process, taking their customers to fashion shows overseas etc.

What Vine demonstrates, is that without a content production like approach to how it will be used, it won’t add much to a brands marketing. Exclusive Vine ‘episodes’ that are produced regularly that provide insights / angles of the brand never seen before will be leveraging the platform for its true strengths.

FYI, one of the most enjoyable Viner’s has to be Adam Goldberg who has already published over 40 entertaining clips, you can find them here …

Another aspect that will be interesting is for brands to explore leveraging their loyal following to create (UGC) content of value. Imagine a car manufacturer engaging and inviting users to Vine their top <insert car brand> moments. No doubt it would range from the mundane to the wild as users try to outdo each other on their whacky brand moments.

User content is undervalued and our recent Plate of our Nation Instagram experience is an example of users desire to engage with brands in this way by sharing their moments – with ‘PlateOff’ ( generating over 15,000 Instagram food moments (without any competition or reason to do so).

I guess my summary of Vine for now is that it is an exciting platform, certainly from a snap and have some fun perspective. Whether it will have a life for brands will depend on how brands embrace it and what content they chose to use it for.


A recent blog post I wrote for Business Review Weekly “Social Media = Social Change”


[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]It seems that my first posting from down under will not be about my sunny new life, despite there being much to tell. No, unfortunately I find myself starting my new life here almost embarrassed to say I come from England in light of the recent riots, which for now seems to be top of everybodys mind.

It’s fascinating to sit by from this distance and watch everybody from the politicians to the humble (and perplexed) law abiding citizens give their assessments on what has caused the apparent breakdown in society. From political parties to austerity measure, lack of good parenting to simple yobbery. It’s even more fascinating to watch some (Hello Mr Livingstone!!) defend the position of those involved – as if everybody else is missing an obvious point trying to be made by the rioters. So I’ve decided to sit back in my new home down under and let the distance have its sobering effect.

Whilst the dime a dozen home made psychiatrists grace us with their assessments, I find my eyes drawn to those in power and the worrying stance they seem to be being taking regarding social networking. It seems to me, that those in power, Mr Cameron most recently are refraining from singling blame on any individual body, be it the police, policies or whatever. A smart move really, as this would inevitably result in a bed of their own making.

So instead it seems we’re being subjected to meaningless dribble … “we’re clamping down…”, “we’re getting tough on…”. And in an all too obvious (grasping at straws) sense, Social Networking has become an obvious victim too. It’s an easy (almost) faceless target. But given the vast amount of past discussion over human rights, privacy laws and social networking over the past decade it is clear that the government will get little out of putting social networking in the limelight – probably exactly what they want.

What it does clearly give them (and the reason they’ve probably decided to take this cheap shot) is that they themselves do not need to join the ranks of the many home made psychiatrists whilst also (and more importantly) avoiding the necessity to deal with the obvious deeper underlying issues behind the riots, whatever they might be (don’t get me started!!).

I apologise for my first blog posting from down under not being about the fantastic experiences I’m going through here, but it does sadden me when something as valuable as social networking which has added a new dimension to human interaction gets used by government as a cheap and easy way to avoid dealing with far far deeper rooted issues than the humble Like button!

[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]

Dad, what are those 2 little doors?

Dad, what are those 2 little doors?

I remember waving goodbye to my parents through teary eyes when I was 13, as they drove off leaving me standing there, in my new and completely unfamiliar home to be – boarding school (no sympathy though please, it was more Eaton than Oliver Twist!).

As I walked through the long dormitory corridors for the first time (making sure to swallow that lump in my throat), it became clear to me that there were a few fundamentals to getting along in my new environment 1) new comers stood very little chance and 2) a ghetto blaster counts – the bigger the better (to wow the crowds and drowning out the competition). Yup, it was a strange world I had been left to fend for myself in.

So no surprise then when 20+ years later, I came across a pristine fully functioning ghetto blaster at my mothers house which she had been using as a radio (not to win friends I’m pleased to report), that I became somewhat nostalgic. Wanting to share the moment, I found myself struggling to conjure up a suitable comment to associate with the photo to share on my wall, that the poignancy of Paul Adams research ‘The Real Life Social Network’ on social networking (and how it clearly needs to adapt) hit home.

The premise of Pauls presentation (which I urge anybody in the industry to read) was that we’re just at the very beginning of a very long road in the evolution of social networking. His main point being that the single bucket ‘Friends’ solution is simply inadequate to truly reflect the way we interact and socialise in the real world.

Did I want all my contacts, which includes friends, colleagues, clients and yes, my mother to know about how I felt? The answer is no – if at the very least because I didn’t want to make my age sensitive even more sensitive thinking I was poking fun at her choice of radio publicly! But more so because it was only a small handful of friends that would have appreciated it’s relevance.

Looking back, I realise that the association between ghetto blasters and popularity is as deluded as the association between number of friends and social networking success (whether personally or for business).

All this alludes to the problems that have yet to be solved. Extended to the world of business, what good is a following of 10,000 users on Facebook if as a business you fail to understand the nature of the relationship you have/are forming with them? I think it’s a great question and without answers being offered (yet) from smart people like Paul Adams, it leaves the road ahead wide open and if anything, Google+’s plans for business (as stated by Christian Oestlien from the Google+ team) or Facebook 2.0 interesting things to lookout for.

In the meantime though, have a read of Paul’s thought provoking work…

[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]Could there soon be a time when an individuals buying power will be influenced by ones social networking activity? Can social network value actually be calculated to then used by businesses to create brand ambassadors or a new level of customer segmentation?

What sparked this for me recently is a random act of generosity by Apple. For no apparent reason after telling us it would cost over £200 to fix, Apple decided to fix the smashed screen on my iPad for free (I dropped canned tomatoes on it). They made clear it’s a once off ‘gesture of good will’ and whilst I made clear I don’t plan on dropping any more cans of tomatoes on it – the question still remains – why would they do this? Especially seeing as I was never more willing to hand over £200!

The importance of securing business today cannot be underestimated and businesses are rapidly understanding the power of social networking in achieving this. Obviously it wasn’t long after I left the Apple store that I Facebook’ed about Apples generosity, immediately letting my whole social network know of the incident. So, was I subject to a random act of kindness or had Apple assumed my social network value (at greater than £200)?

It sounds a little big brother, maybe a bit Hollywood. I’ve not seen the movie The Joneses but I hear it isn’t too far off what I’m talking about.

Today I learnt that Starbucks, Mazda and Argos have recently signed up for Facebook deals, offering Facebook users who “check in” using the Facebook Places feature on their mobile app, access to special offers and other deals. Will it be long before this idea extends, so that only those with a social network value above a certain value, or of a certain type, will be able to trigger the reward?

There is a risk to all this of course. Something outlined by Seth Godin recently, “Networking is always important when it’s real, and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake. What the Internet has allowed is an enormous amount of fake networking to take place, and it’s so easy to be seduced by it… and it’s nonsense.”

Where things get scary is where social network value could become a factor not only of the number of contacts one has, but what the combined value of ones network is. Introduce into this credit ratings, demographic data and anything else which is being collected about us today and you have a pretty frightening scenario to contemplate.

[tweetmeme source= “jsnrss” only_single=false]The reality of social networking has impacted us greater than anybody could have anticipated even only a few years ago. Today, life would barely feel right without the constant stream of reassuring status updates from our connections, assuring us that our lives are all as mundane as each others!

But with the popularity of posting activity to ones social network showing no sign of diminishing, have you noticed it’s not just our connections that are feeding us with updates. Just looking through my streams today I have shoes telling me where they’ve run to, books telling me who has read them, places telling me who has checked in and articles telling me who has read them.

Whether it’s a perfect showcase for marketing effectiveness in a socially networked world, or a representation of human desire to (over) share, it leaves me wondering where will things go from here?

Now don’t get me wrong – I am as addicted to social networking (and reliant on it in a professional sense) as the next person. But, the more my network stream presents me with these automatic updates the more I wonder about these things.

It’s all well and good taking time to look through a feed to read and comment on a friends latest ‘look at my life, isn’t my life fun’ photo, but what will we do when we find ourselves spending more time filtering through automatic updates from shoes, books and soon refrigerators and televisions too, rather than what originally made social networking so purposeful (and fun!)?

autobot responding for me

autobots could be representing us in the future

In recognition of this, you can already turn updates from automated services into your facebook stream off (if finding out about your friends running habits doesn’t interest you) but what happens when this doesn’t suffice? Perhaps in the not too distant future, the Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s will allow us to automate responses to automated posting – seems fair enough no. After all, if somebody allowed their shoes to talk to me, why can’t I allow a bot to respond back!!? Is this the future?

Is it completely inconceivable that our involvement in our own social networking streams will, in the future, be as sporadic as the automated updates are today? Perhaps we’ll develop online persona’s, who will respond for us, represent us. Automated responses which are dictated and shaped by the actions we take online (think Google Adsense) and offline (think geo location data capture).

It’s an interesting concept. Either that, or I’ve just received one too many updates from my friends Nike’s today!

“Jason’s Honda has just driven Jason home.”