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Monkeys with Typewriters – Myths and realities of social media at work – A Review

Posted by John Horniblow on Mar 24, 2010 in General, marketing 2.0, Social Media Marketing


Monkeys with Typewriters – Myths and realities of social media at work.

There seems to be a lot of books that are be published about social media, the new digital marketing paradigm, and they are propagating as fast that the exponential growth of social media and networking. Most are, unfortunately, the non-descript how to do, or dummies guide to social media or how to use particular tool or a book rushed to print on hype. For the most part these serve their purpose but will be outdated by the time they publish or contain nothing more that are dry set of repetitive studies presented as a mind numbing, blunt string of wide eyed testimonies that say the “times are a changing”. I must say, save the print and spare me the drudgery please. Then I also must concede, I am not the target audience or buyer of such books.

Jemima Gibbons recently published book, Monkeys with Typewriters is quite different to those aforementioned book types. Its a new and refreshing read, a sparkling gem in a field of proliferating drudgery of “read this now and it will change your life” books. It also poignantly marks the period we are experiencing. Read more…

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Ours, yours or mine – Facebook and the ownership of social communities and the social web

Posted by John Horniblow on Apr 27, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

 

image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Image borrowed from BBC.CO.UK

Who owns the social web isn’t really a big question. In the many communities the ownership or even the behaviors in that social community are often dictated by the community itself. The community owns the community , the community polices  itself and protects itself, and everybody in the community shares a democratic principle of ownership and inclusion. My observation of inter-communications on many fan and strong communities  is that there can be a point of self  regulation , where the community members dictate what sorts of behaviour are acceptable , what tone  of discussion is acceptable and will pull other members in the community into line or reject them if they feel they are being antisocial or unfair in the context of that community’s voice.  In the community or social media world its the community that has the power  or the onwership by virtue of being involved and sharing their voice and ideas. What it does  is  really raise the question “who owns the community’s brand”?  In the Social media world its definatly the consumer who owns the brand. Even real world  (non virtual brands) are often owned  in the mind of the  consumer, despite what their manufacturers, FMCG brand managers might mistakenly believe, and the consumers non acceptance of product changes or variations often causes dramatic failures for brands. A brand is more than just a product. Coca Cola’s release of New Coke  in 1985 floundered as a failure as Coca Cola forgot what its core brand stood for and thought that taste was the was only factor consumers cared about. Its research failed to highlight that Coke consumers had a deep and abiding  emotional bond to the “Real Thing” and launched a new formulated Coke. The public basically boycotted the new product and the company had ceased production of the old product causing a huge and costly problem for the company. The company had to revert back to the old formula.

 

Facebook has become the greatest facilitators of human conversations, its building itself as a  brand  based on emotional bonds and trust  in a shell of social , web 2.0 services. Friday’s announcement that Facebook users have voted to back changes which give them control over data and content they post on the site  dosen’t surprise me.   The community has spoken , the company had actually listened or risked failure.  Following Facebook’s meteoric rise  to its recent press announcements that it has reached a point of 200 million users I stopped to think about that number and a pending crisis on the ownership of personal data that had emerged in recent months. I for one and many of my friends expressed great concern and a potential swap of services at Facebook’s  assertion that they owned the rights to any and everything published in their services, from photos, to widgets , videos , comments and conversations. It even went to  the point where they could exploit any IP or copyright of anything posted on the site.  Where it almost went wrong was to not listen to the true voice of its consumer base  and continue to pursue a path of proprietary ownership of all and everybody’s personal content, thoughts and conversations when many complained or threatened to leave the service. In this case Facebook the brand, not the service,  is wholly owned by the consumer base it serves. 

What is interesting, and if not co incidental ,  is that it was  the same day  that Yahoo announced that Geo Cities was being closed down. Yahoo paid $3.5 bn for the free hosting service  back in the early days of the dotcom boom.  Where it failed to compete with the likes of Facebook and MySpace is that while they offered a  similar concept of hosting free personal pages on the web  there was no evolution in providing services  that allowed a community to grow or for people to communicate or commune with one another or share it with other friends ubiquitously. Yahoo failed to wrap all it social and communication technologies that it had at its disposal  in different business units( IM , email , even content ) into one set of social communications  services and make the transition to a more Open Web. The brand never really made a leap to having an real emotional attachment to the consumer by failing to provide the emotional conduits or  communications channels. Was this because Yahoo saw Geo Cities only as a media advertising opportunity? Another missed opportunity. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8016532.stm

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Web 2.0 : The basics of the Open and social web

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 14, 2009 in General, User experience

“An emerging network- centric platform to support distributed,  collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.” 

- John Hagel 

Web 2.0  is such an amorphous terms that defies a hard definition. In the many years that  have been talking about and working in in web development and interactive marketing I would often describe the evolution of the web as  generational,  heralding each leap in concept  from media, content,  browsers, systems and platforms  as contributing generational stepping stones to where we are today. The hyperbolic change that occurred in the early internet years seemed to have generational change each successive year with competing technologies, media companies and battling it out for a controlling position. When the dot com bubble finally burt in 2001  there was a  turning point in the web. The point where after a shakeout the ascendent technologies began to differentiate themselves from the raft of “frothy flotsam ” washed up in wake of the the crash. Perhaps the corporate agendas of owning  or controlling the web , the antithesis of its organic and free form, had failed. What was apparent at this time was that new sites and technologies kept on revitalizing the digital space in an open and collaborative way. 

While the boom was definitively over the web just kept evolving in open way and the  transition to  Web 2.0 was enabled by the emergence of platforms such as blogging, social networks, and free image and video uploading, that collectively  allowed extremely easy content creation, access and sharing by anyone who had a computer and a connection. The barrier to entry of web publishing or content creation was over and the social voice of the digital consumer  had begun its transformative ride over traditional media. 

 If you think Web 2.0  as simply social networking or just about the technical or geek jargon…. you really need to think again. Every aspect of Web 2.0 is driven by consumer participation, from content, its voice, browser development, technology platforms, and an ever evolving digital life.  The most definitive trend and primary direction of Web 2.0 is for users to control  the content they create, the data captured about their web activities and their identity and their willingness to participate and socialize collectively. The gradual opening or advances in  digital standards  have allowed for a common interfaces and integration across content and applications allowing a less constrained environment then had previously existed before.  Decentralized in its architecture, participation, and usage, Web 2.0′s  real  power and flexibility emerges  from distributing applications and content over many points rather than having them locked down on centralized or controlled systems. Its is truly becoming a  plugin and play open environment for digital interplay between content and devices where the consumer experience  of  media or content mobility is quintessential. 

What is very clear is that the Web 2.0  is not a trend or fad, it is not going way or will disappear, its here to stay. What is even more interesting is that the internet development chatter is about the next evolution , Web 3.0 or the semantic web, an intelligent web based on  behavioural understanding of the consumers digital actions.  What’s going to be  interesting about Web 3.0  and will define just how far it can go will be the consumer privacy laws. There’s potentially an imminent consumer back lash looming in the near future concerning the use of known and personal data points surrounding behaviours.  web-20-framework

There are a small number main characteristics that help define web 2. 0 In the marketers world there are a few we should be aware of as these have become  part of the mainstream  marketing language: 

New Media Marketing: a term to describe the building and managing of social networks and online or virtual communities, and extend the reach of marketing to the low-frequency, low-intensity consumer in a cost effective way.

Buzz Marketing: The strategic use of word of mouth, the transmission of commercial information from person to person in an online or real-world environment.

Viral Marketing: The intentional spreading of marketing messages using social networks, with an emphasis of the casual, non-intentional and low cost.

Collective Intelligence or Collaborative Filtering : Essentially what this means is that “users” contributions greatly help build and make the foundation stronger and more popular by adding their content, such as links, comments, forum posts, reviews, rating others, an aggregation of the best work of thousands, then millions of web users (example: YouTube – more comments, more “thumbs-up” the more popularity), and any content contribution really. Without the end “user” the sites popularity goes down – if there is no interactivity for the end user, it’s not collective “anything.” So in short – the site grows organically in response to user activity.

Users Add Value: The architecture of your software development relies on “public” users to add their own data thus adding more value to your application. FireFox, Mozilla , Red Hat Linux WordPress ,(possibly the most used blogging software in the world ) grow in functionality through a network of contributing developers.  

“Some” Rights Reserved: Expanding the range of creative works accessible for others to legally build upon and share. The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to just that. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses, depending on the one selected, restrict only particular rights (or none) of the work instead of customary copyright, which is more restraining.

The constant Beta: Sites like, Frappr, CafePress, Flickr, FeedBurner…etc. rely on a services evolution or constant improvements and enhancements , New features  are  packaged up into massive releases, but instead added them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience. 

Rich User Experience:  Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services. 

web-apps

When it comes to the driving  Web 2.0  technologies  we should also aware of: 

Aggregation: Bringing multiple content sources together into one interface or application. 

AJAX : (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) A combination of technologies that  enables highly interactive web applications. 

API : (Application Programming Interface) A defined interface to a computer  application or database that allows access by other applications. 

Embedding: Integrating content or an application into a web page, while the original format is maintained. 

Folksonomy: Rich categorization of information that is collectively created  by users, through tagging and other actions. (cf. taxonomy) 

Mashups: Combination of different types of content or data, usually  from different sources, to create something new.

Remixing: Extracting and combining samples of content to create a  new output. The term was originally used in music but is  now also applied to video and other content. 

RSS : (Really Simple Syndication) A group of formats to publish  (syndicate) content on the internet so that users or  applications automatically receive any updates.

Ruby on Rails: An open source web application framework that  is frequently used in Web 2.0 website development. 

Tag cloud: A visual depiction of tags that have been used to describe a  piece of content, with higher frequency tags emphasized to assist  content comprehension and navigation. 

Tagging: Attaching descriptions to information or content. 

Virtual architecture :The creation of avatars (alternative representations of people), buildings, objects, and other artefacts inside virtual spaces. 

Widget: Small, portable web application that can be embedded into any web page. 

XML : (eXtensible Markup Language) An open standard for describing data, which  enables easy exchange of information between applications and organizations. 

Open web: The entire space of the World Wide Web open to anyone to access and participate. This has been the initial domain in which Web 2.0 technologies, applications, and attitudes have developed. 

 

 

  Suggested reading Future Exploration network

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Digital Marketing ?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 6, 2009 in General

The many faces of  Digital Marketing

Is it a website,  a media campaign, a banner ad or pay per click?, rich media ?  Is it  an email campaign,  mobile campaign or maybe a microsite, SMS or Intelligent Voice Messaging (IVM)? consumer generated content ? 

What  about blogs, Twitter, Social Media Networks , Bebo,  Hi-5,   Linked-in, e-acadamy and Facebook, or Web2.0 dynamic, distributive content-driven websites. Does it include optimized keyword searches (SEO), SEM SSM, Digital PR or buzz? Is it e commerce , widgets, or mobile location-based marketing?

Digital marketing is all of the above – born out of the information age  at the end of the 20th century  it’s simply marketing in the digital age.  Consumers’ lives have becoming increasingly connected. Convergence and “always on” connectivity is becoming  increasingly mainstream, and new important channels of communication and opportunities are opening to marketers.

Social Media Marketing is emerging as one of the most important, if not the most important, source of information for the consumer but also for the marketer in listening too, responding and measuring consumer sentiments. 

Marketers have now gained the ability to enhance, empower, interact, converse and otherwise live within ever deeper segments of consumers’ lives, well beyond the reach of traditional media.  In the 21st century, the database is the marketplace and the way in which a consumer interacts or engages with a brand and vice versa may well be a new form of marketing . And one thing is clear – data is and  will be at the centre of it all. 

Digital marketing is  not digital for the sake of digital but an application of established marketing practices  re-thought or re engineered in the digital world. It is  all about permissioned based , persuasive and at times pervasive consumer engagement.

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Bladedigital

Posted by John Horniblow on Dec 21, 2008 in

About Bladedigital

Bladedigital is a strategic digital communications , digital marketing and development company, trading under Bladedigital LLC and Bladedigital Ltd and has been operating since 2001.  Bladedigital works across territories in Australia, USA, Europe and North Africa providing strategic consultancy and digital service to companies, NGO’s and government agencies. Bladedigital has provided consultancies and services to Nissan Global Interactive Marketing, Nike Digital, Qantas’ NA CRM program, The Museum of Contemporary Art;San Diego, The Phoenix Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Geffen Playhouse, Activision, Nestle, US Mission to UN, Nestle Maghreb, P&G,  Institute of Media and Global Governance , and Richemont amongst others.

Bladedigital , DBA Bladepictures is the developer and publisher of Photojournale : Photo documentary stories from around the world

 

The Daily Slice

Digital Marketing? Convergence and Convergence Culture? Transmedia

This blog seeks to inform on ideas , trends and best practices but  it also seeks to provide a contextual framework for digital convergence , the behaviours , trends in consumer uptake of technology and their effect on communications and marketing.

So what is Digital Marketing?

Is it a website,  a media campaign, a banner ad or pay per click?, rich media ?  Is it  an email campaign,  mobile campaign or maybe a microsite, SMS or Intelligent Voice Messaging (IVM)? consumer generated content ? What  about blogs, Twitter, Social Media Networks such as  Bebo,  Linked-in, e-acadamy, myspace  and Facebook, or Web2.0 dynamic, distributive content-driven websites. Does it include optimized keyword searches (SEO),  SEM , SSM , Digital PR or tacking buzz ? Is it e commerce, widgets, or mobile location-based marketing?

Digital marketing is all of the above – born out of the information age  at the end of the 20th century  it’s simply marketing in the digital age; a hyper connected world  where technology provides no barriers  for entry for instant communication, publishing and expression of ideas and needs and platforms whereby brands can interact in the daily lives of their consumers. Consumers have  become increasingly connected, as convergence and “always on” connectivity become increasingly mainstream and part of daily life , new important channels of communication are opening to marketers.

Communicators and Marketers have now gained the ability to enhance, empower, interact, converse and otherwise live within ever deeper segments of consumers’ lives. These are relationships that the go far beyond the reach of traditional media, the age of take it , ignore it or leave it marketing.

In the 21st century, the relationship database, the social eco system in which a consumer navigates and the inherent behaviours of convergence culture are the marketplace. The key to deeper consumer engagement and  understanding lies in the sophisticated use of key consumer data points and intelligent use of these data points.

Digital marketing is not digital for the sake of digital but an application of established marketing practices  re-thought or re engineered in the digital world. Then applied as performance based marketing , real time marketing and these day in the social relationship. It is all about permissioned based, personalized, persuasive and at times pervasive consumer engagement.

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge
Copyright Bladedigital LLC, Bladedigital Ltd

 

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