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This post original appeared on Social Studies. Please leave comments on the original post there.

I’ve been totally geeking out over Marco Tempest’s blend of technology and magic lately, and I keep thinking I need to make it to a Twin Cities Maker event.

The idea of partnering physical and digital (phygital, as my friends at Momentum would say) is truly inspiring.

I keep thinking if I get a breath at work I’m going to order an Arduino and figure out how to make a website ring a doorbell. Perhaps in 2012.

Here are two of Marco’s TED presentations that you absolutely must see…

Of the handful of MIMA Summit sessions I attended, I made certain to sit in on The Digital-Physical Connection: From Nike Chalkbot to Prius Roller Coaster with Eamae Mirkin from Deeplocal.

Deeplocal is known for employing creative engineers who use science and technology to build experiences, stunts and engagement opportunities to help a brand reach their audiences.

These guys cut up cars and make roller coasters and solar powered bio-tents out of the parts. They built the famous chalk-bot, which has now spun off its own company. They mounted millions of LED lights on a skyscraper in Africa and let the Internet write headlines. They built an entire miniature city and let users on the web pilot a camera-mounted train through the cityscapes seeking hidden artifacts.

Unfortunately the iOS 5 update on my iPad 2 completely wiped the notes I took on his session, but luckily Eamae let Deeplocal’s video case studies do most of the talking. And thus, so will I…

What do you think? How would you blend technology and the everyday if time, knowledge and budget weren’t an issue?


My new post on Social Studies:

This was my third year at BlogWorld New Media Expo, and it just gets better and better.

Sure, there are plenty of cewebrities, blogerati and scenesters, but BlogWorld continues to bring out some of the best in social media and social marketing thought leadership.

Congrats to the show promoters, the speakers and attendees who got my brain running and thinking about new and exciting possibilities in social marketing.

My biggest takewaways from the conference (via notes I took in 140 characters or less):

  • Even the best businesses have negative customer comments. Don’t be the boy who cried “FAIL”
  • Humans don’t scale. We only have so much bandwidth. Humility and honesty go a long way in biz/personal
  • “By the end of the year, we’re going to talk about Twitter lists, not follower numbers.” -@scobleizer
  • Social isn’t just about marketing/PR. This is a cultural shift. It’s about people and relationships.
  • Twitter lists has mega-implications for PR/journalist relationships. @scobleizer already on 211 lists.
  • Kids are creating multiple MySpace profiles for friends and other ones for their “real” friends
  • Google Profiles, Sidewiki, Wave are part of a stealth social network. It’s not a destination. It’s a zen attack.
  • Corporate sites should be the hub of a robust Web strategy that goes to where the conversations are outside .com.
  • Develop active listening program AND THEN empower a customer advocacy program to tell your story, defend you, etc
  • PR is curating disparate SM monitoring databases that should be connected to corporate CRM for customer support
  • Five years from now URLs won’t matter. Information will come together in a new way we can’t yet fathom. -@jowyang
  • Entire crowd is focused/stuck on SM ROI, and you can sense the aggregate frustration at the implicit vagaries.

I want to touch on that last tweet. In Jeremiah Owyang‘s “The Future of Social Media and Business” presentation (great breakdown here), the audience asked many questions about legal, ROI, lead-generation and the culture of fear that surrounds investing in new technologies and strategies without a guaranteed pay-off. Mr. Owyang didn’t have answers beyond his analysis, partly because the answers people were seeking aren’t easily answered in a large forum. The future of social media, by its very nature, will not and does not mirror traditional advertising strategies nor the metrics that fuel them.

Companies who today are seen as innovators in the social media space — whether it’s micro-media customer support, humanistic corporate blogs or social network engagement — didn’t get where they are by betting on a sure thing. Social media has changed the game. Even if Nielsen says X millions watched a primetime show last night, we know a key percentage had a laptop open at the same time. And although I can back up that assertion by pointing to the top Twitter trends on any given evening, most companies cannot quantify that “buzz” directly into sales to the point they can justify a spend with guaranteed results.

Rather, an online conversation is just as valuable — possibly more valuable — than a point of sale impulse display or a print and broadcast advertising buy with guaranteed impressions. The reason Mr. Owyang couldn’t give us the 1-2-punch for selling in social media is that 1) it doesn’t exist, and 2) even if it did, it would change tomorrow.

What can we do in the interim?

  1. Innovate
  2. Set measurable objectives
  3. Benchmark
  4. Evaluate and adjust
We must change this perception of fear into a lens of opportunity. The control isn’t coming back, and neither is the sure thing.
BlogWorld has me pumped and even more passionate about the possibilities. I’m not waiting around for the sure thing; are you?

Comments locked. Please leave comments over at Social Studies.

As posted on Social Studies on August 18:

Michael Jackson’s funeral notice may have generated a CNN Breaking News Alert today, but the big news for us Minnesotans captured four of the top 10 trending spots on Twitter:

Brett Favre, Farve, Vikings and WCCO.

But why was local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV trending right along with the news of Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings?

Because they broke the story — via Twitter.

Via David Brauer at MinnPost:

Reporter Mark Rosen, preparing for a Hawaiian vacation set to begin Wednesday, got a call around 8:30 a.m. from a team poohbah. Fifty minutes later, the tweet heard round the world — well, at least the sports world — went out via @wccobreaking:

“A high-level source with the Minnesota Vikings tells WCCO’s Mark Rosen that QB Brett Favre is expected to sign with the team Tuesday.”

The station’s willingness to sit on a story that would quadruple its web traffic — producing a spike only exceeded by the 35W bridge collapse — reflects oft-derided mainstream newsroom values.

While the concept of news breaking online is nothing new, it’s exciting — and indicative of the changing landscape — to watch legacy journalists embrace new media channels, such as Twitter, for their breaking news reports.

The content mainstream news institutions gather, confirm and report is just as valuable today as ever before, but the distribution model must change to keep pace with technology, generational habits and the ever-quickening pace of the news cycle.

For example, although I don’t often watch local television news, I do subscribe to all available local TV station Twitter feeds, frequent their Web sites and read reporter blogs. I learned of Favre’s new Vikings deal via Twitter, sent it to a friend via e-mail, who posted it to his Facebook page.

News is news, in spite of the delivery format.

Now bring on the Super Bowl tweets!

Leave your comments on the Social Studies blog.

New marketing blog posts today:

Social Studies: I Want My Obama Headlines (to hoard in the basement)

Perfect Porridge: Perfect Porridge Indy Band Marketing Tips: SXSW

Cross-posted from Social Studies:

The days of watching a Presidential or Vice Presidential Debate without a scroll on the bottom of the television screen is long gone. This year, CNN showed real-time results from dial testing focus groups, Bloomberg and CNBC scrolled stock tickers and Fox News featured SMS text polling and results (e.g., Text VOTE to 36288).

But that’s old news and still a one-way information flow (yawn!).

The year 2008 will be remembered as the year social media enabled anyone with an Internet connection to help add their perspective to the debates.

During the Presidential Debate last week, Libertarian Candidate Bob Barr — uninvited to the formal Obama/McCain debate — answered moderator questions and provided McBama counter-points in realtime through Mogulus. Comments were enabled on the online streaming portal, so viewers could participate and help shape the discussion.

During both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates, Current TV featured a bleeding-edge offering called “Hack the Debate.” With the aid of Twitter, Current integrated real-time Twitter messages (a.k.a. “tweets”) from users along the bottom of the broadcast window on Current TV. Anyone who included the word “#current” in their tweets had the chance to see their micromedia commentary aired worldwide.

Here are some video highlights from the Presidential Debate last week.

Sometimes the comments added value — “You know who I feel bad for? The “lower” class. The poor. Who is going to fight for them? It’s a shame. No one mentions them.” (@davidbadash)

And sometimes the comments provided comic relief when things were getting too serious — “The moderator might as well just say “BOOPITY DOOPITY WAKAWOOWOO” because they’re just talking about what they want, anyway” (@rightasrayne)

But with my laptop on my lap, phone at my side and television remote nearby, social media allowed me the opportunity to glean what people across the country thought of the debate question-by-question and afforded an opportunity to voice my perspective (and snarky comments) to the masses.

Social media spiced up the age-old, one-way debate format this year, and it will never be the same.

In the words of @mikethomas84, “the only winner in this debate is the internet.”

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