Video blogging and iMovie

flip camcorder

flip camcorder

Last Weekend:

I recently bought a new flip camcorder from PC World, Crawley. I’ve taken it to work every day this week and finding the more I use it the more I’m enjoying it. The real bonus is its size. Literally fits into your hand. So, after leaving PC World I went round to my Mom’s house to show her. She grabbed it and said: “come on lets record you introducing it”. So my Mom picks up the camera and starts aiming it at me then hits record (a great big red button in the middle of the camera). Next thing you know she’s shooting away at me and soon finds herself a little shocked that it’s so easy. (Looking at the video clip you’ll notice it’s not half bad for a first attempt)

This weekend:

Anyway, I got home tonight after a long and exciting week at the office. I decided to record me logging into my Mac – whilst chatting – on blip of course. I plan was to record a small amount of video then import it into iMovie which comes pre-installed on all modern Mac’s. I’d then fiddle with background sound (Violent Femmes, Fall out the window) and cut some of the unwanted material into a neatly packaged movie clip. Just an experiment at this stage. After I figured out how to export the finished product I uploaded it to my blip video site and see the final outcome. I’m so impressed with myself that I’ve decided to add it to my blog.

My first-ever video blog experimental post

Future of Social Media Conference

Future of Social Media

Future of Social Media

On the 28th October I’ll be attending the Future of Social Media conference at the Hilton Tower Bridge Hotel.

I’ll be live-blogging from the event so return to this page on the 28th October…

The program outline:

  • Social Media – Determining the future in times of relentless change
  • 7 Counterintuitive new truths of marketing
  • Assessing the knowledge, attribute and expertise required for future web 2.0 marketers to dominate
  • Understanding and leveraging future on line communities
  • Assessing social marketing tactics in the years to come
  • Guerilla marketing for big business: The liberalisation of online marketing
  • The future of search engines – exploring how the future of social media will be incorporated into search
  • Marketing, PR and Branding – how to internally operate these functions to effectively seize the future opportunity
  • Inspiring insights: unveiling excellence in social media marketing – ensuring businesses recognize and can adopt winning strategies!
  • The future winners and losers – debating the good, bad and ugly of Social Media in the next 5 years

Web 2.0 Expo: learn from the experts

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on how to develop a social media strategy for an B2B exhibition. Once I’ve learnt how to create a strategy and its been defined I’ll look to integrate it and build it into the existing digital marketing plan. [It hasn't been easy]

Research research research

I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic – observing what experts are doing and saying. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time scouring the web, reading books like ‘Web 2.0: a strategy guide‘, talking to folk, reading related tweets (from Twitter) and following the #w2e discussions. It’s been extremely helpful, but I still don’t fully understand a total integratiion path (to creating a strategy). My situation is slightly unique, I think, as I’m not building a social media website – I’m ‘plugging’ social media into an exhibition website. I’m wanted to use social media to build new audiences, communities etc.. to support an existing face-to-face traditional exhibition website. Folk at these exhibitions have been meeting in-person for years – to do business, showcasing their products, be seen to being there, networking, etc.

Look at likeness

So while all my research was taking place I missed one most obvious place – an exhibition/conference website that does social media extremely well (in my opinion) and organised solely for this intent – Web 2.0 Expo New York. The only difference between the two is that Web 2.0 Expo is principally a B2C conference/exhibition whereas my project deals with B2B. I might need to adapt the strategy (perhaps not?), but I think the principle stays much the same (I hope).

Hidden treasures

So, I started looking around the Web 2.0 Expo website and soon found myself discovering ‘little gems’ splattered everywhere. (Doh – why didn’t I think about this sooner?) The most obvious revelation was the ‘Stay Connected‘ table displaying the various ways visitors to the expo can stay in touch and share their experiences. What better way to communicate with your customers (delegates/visitors) than through a multitude of social media communctaion channels. The principle: use the website’s social channels to communicate (and market the event).

The ‘Stay Connected’ table of channels include: Backchannel, Social Network: CrowdVine, Twitter, Facebook Group  Attending? Add to Dopplr, Web 2.0 Expo RSS Feed, Tag with del.icio.us and Sign Up for the Newsletter.

Reversing roles?

So who’s doing the marketing now?

Looking at what some folk are saying about Web 2.0 Expo seems that most of the commentary is positive (Dion Hinchcliffe on twitter for example is just one comment). Even if they’re not directly praising the event they’re giving a tangable and non-commercial feel about the expo. As I’ve mentioned most commentators are raving about the event… essentially doing the marketing the job for Web 2.0 Expo. Simple social media principles – communicate on a local level and ‘trust’ is earned. Take a look at the Web 2.0 Expo hashtag tweets. Even the organiser (w2e_NY08) has helped set a non-corporate tone that resonates with the audience (albeit mostly informative tweets).

This sort of social media integration doesn’t work within all sectors of business (B2B) exhibitions. In the agricultural sector, for example IOG Saltex, customers are not so digital connected or astute (It’s a huge assumption I know). Even so, by tayloring our social platforms to accommodate our customers, it could work. Perhaps we should be looking at de-commissioning traditional marketing techniques as we know it.

What should WE do (or try and do)?

1. Mashup of ideas (social media)
2. Really understand our visitors/customers and their needs
3. Create the social media entities
4. Develop their personalitites
5. Bring these personalities to life
6. Keep listening and talking to your visitors (repeat repeat…)
7. Reward your visitors (incentivise)

Madgex’s Twitter/Social Graph api mashup

Recently I attended dConstruct where I met Nick Morley, CTO of Madgex. As part of their ‘Ideas and Learning’ time the staff use 15% of their working time to play with code and come up with ideas. So their recent idea project was their dconstruct bubbler (Twitter/dContruct Network Visual Projection).

I found this fascinating for 2 reasons:

1. The collaborative use of many different social media platforms (including API’s) across: TwitterdConstruct back network, Google Social Graph API and a Madgex mashup API.
2. I see a potential business opportunity here – with some creative thought I think their idea can be monetised in the industry I work in.

So, how does it work?

Registrants to the dConstruct conference register themselves on the dConstruct backnetwork where registrant provide their twitter usernames (not passwords) blog urls.

This blog URL is then pulled from the Backnetwork API by the bubbler and passed through the Google Social API to try and find the delegates Twitter account, if found any tweets are included in the Bubbler’s display.

Using the Google Social Graph and Twitter API’s, Madgex creates a mashup of data, which is then mashed and fed onto a 52″ screen as vector-based graphics.

Madgex has created an open source area found at lab.madgex.com

Clever marketing or silly idea?

The opportunity to fill up with petrol for free caused gridlock yesterday after hundreds of drivers queued for up to an hour to get £40 of free fuel.

Computer games publisher Electronic Arts took over a petrol station in Finsbury Park, north London, intending to give away £20,000 of petrol on a first come, first served basis during a stunt to promote Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, a game in which Venezuelan mercenaries fight for control of oil supplies.
the Guardian

Even though Electronic Arts‘s actual advertising stunt ‘failed’ – give £20k of free petrol away – the real/clever marketing has only just begun.

Think about it; they probably only pumped a fraction of the £20k petrol away – they had to abandon the idea; And, their stunt got them onto vitually every UK-based news website – driving a viral marketing effect across the digital ways plus boosting awareness and promoting traffic to their website. I bet the computer games publisher Electronic Arts‘s website traffic spiked with all the interest – searches for the publishers website

I wonder whether Seth Godin might label this a Purple Cow tactic or simply a silly idea?

dConstruct 2008: live

Opening remarks

(10.00)
Richard Rutter

Richard opened the conference briefly introducing the format and speakers.

The Urban Web

(10.15)
Steven Johnson

Steve introduced the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London. How information modellers traced the source of the outbreak using clues and working through people networks. He introduced the Miasma theory of disease – its “bad air” smell and how it spreads. Steve talked about the spread of disease on context of ‘Social Systems’ and following the patterns.

John Snow investigated the outbreak and detailed an information model on social systems. He aimed at getting to the heart of the problem. His map plotted the clusters of diseased people through concentrations of deaths

Rev Henry Whitehead was the social connector who discovered the original person – an elevn-year old girl – through his personal inter-connectedness.

Eventually, one of the first open-source data feed was made publicly available. The data feed was very detailed for its time. The idea was that other people might be able to use it and develop their own information models.

This map – the Broad street outbreak – ‘changed the world’ now used throughout the world when designing waste disposal systems = using social connections to develop information systems.

The GEO-Web: standardised addresses for information – caused the quick changes seen on the web. Here local folk are the experts – more accurate!

Outside.in (only available in the US): Local information based on proximity. Uses the GeoToolkit (think of it like Geo-SEO) is still in alpha. Radar (Tell us your exact location to see what’s happening nearby) is the Geo search tool.

One of the problems noted Steve, is the emphasis on business-related location based services – not enough random commentary that has local importance. The ‘eyes on the street’ has been noted as an important giving ‘power’ to the users.

Playing the Web: how gaming makes the internet (and the world) a better place

(11.30)
Aleks Krotoski

Aleks argued that the most compelling thing about gaming is its inherent ‘stickiness’. Gaming is a great platform for advertising – makes money. (seen in wordle)

Engagement/Stickiness through:

  • Outcomes: games get community engagement through outcomes – users are motivated by outcomes.
  • Space: gamers and Game Designers love the concept of space.
  • Relationships: the psychology of of roll-playing and avatar relations is strong binder and motivates community building.
  • Personalisation: gaming offers personalisation with explicit elements.
  • Incentives: gamers collect ‘things’ through incentive offerings.
  • Feedback: there are great feedback systems which stregnthens engagement.

The problem to solve: Bring web developers and game developers together – close the gap and reduce polarities.

Leveraging Cognitive Bias in Social Design

(12.15)
Joshua Porter

It’s all about human psychology
There are biases about design:
Joshua showed showed the audience two photos of restaurants. One restaurant seemed cold, had boundaries and no people eating at it. The second photo showed a busy restaurant (with people queuing) as well as a visual understanding of what type of restaurant it was. Joshua asked the audience which restaurant they’d prefer to eat at? Most people chose the correct one terming it the ‘Bandwagon Effect’.

Heurestics:

Follow the behavior of others – showed us the video of the human behaviour effect in a lift (folk turning around during a staged test). The results were revealing (and funny).
Humans take short cuts to follow what others are doing
There are predictable outcomes.

Representation Bias:

The more specific it is the less likely it is.
Examples include: Freshbooks.com and yelp.com

Other Biases:

Loss Aversion – people are more likely to feel strongly about loosing ‘stuff’ than gaining (e.g. Which you’d prefer? Gain $100 vs. loose $300?)
So, frame it as a loss – during signup start gaining immediately, but if you don’t register you’ll loose all the work you’ve just done – geni.com
Ownership bias – coffee cup example – What has more value? $1 coffee cup you bought or $1 coffee cup that was given to you by someone?

There’s a signup problem – the 9x effect. If you make something you own it. The feeling of owning something is strong.

By understanding the academic models helps get the message across.

Designing for Interaction

(14.30)
Daniel Burka

Daniel used the people at an american baseball match – a lot of people – you get the real atmosphere. We rely on the stadium and support around the game showing us how important infrastructure is (the platform).

Rule 1: Encourage people to participate

  • Increase benefit – go beyond the altruistic motivations
  • Reduce the barrier to entry
  • Dip your toe in the water – try it out e.g. geni.com

Rule 2: Encourage position participation

  • Have personal profiles – encourages truc
  • Focus on tension points – your copy and design can go a long way
  • Avoid negative competition

Rule 3: Allow flexible participation

  • Adapt for different data
  • Follow trials – don’t be afraid to follow your users or competition for ideas

Summing up

  • Increase benefit – lower barriers to entry
  • Give users a taste
  • Expression = trust and connections
  • Focus on tension points
  • Adapt to volume and frequency
  • Pave the cowpaths

Daniel’s presentation can be found on Slideshare.com

Answer to question: Digg/Pownce do do usability testing before major releases (field testing)

Social Network Portability

(15.15)
Tantek Çelik

Tantek’s presentation was awesome. I wanted to learn from his presentation – Microformats – that I decided not to write notes, but concentrate instead.

Tantek started by explaining the basic concepts of Microformats and how easily it is to implement on your website. He concentrated on the hCard and xfn Microformats as they’re the most commonly used.

He suggested that if there’s one application a Firefox user should have on machines it should be Firefox Operator.

Why does every social networking website make you:

  • Re-enter your personal information?
  • Re-add all your friends?
  • Turn off notifications?
  • Re-specify privacy preferences?
  • Re-block negative people?

He spoke about “Social Network Fatigue Syndrome” coined by Brian Oberkirch.

Keeping multiple sources of info (social networks etc.) up-to-date is a maintenance problem.

The goal should be giving users complete control over their data. Portable data + consistent URL = data syndicatability.

Designing for the Coral Reef

(16.30)
Matt Biddulph & Matt Jones

NeoReader is a new iPhone app that could revolutionize data capture. We can make models of everything to optimise and tweak our social models.

Placing data on the edge of your reach so (like Google Maps) that it’s there but only as you need it – instantly.

Dan Saffer’s tweet: ‘ideas are easy to think of and write down but so hard to get them right’

The Dopplr team are adding new functionality: Groups.

Whilst the guys were laid-back in their approach Matt Jones was concerned that we don’t confuse the real-life relationships with our relationships online.

The System of the World

(17.15)
Jeremy Keith

Incredible. I need to time to digest Jeremy’s talk in my head. A brilliantly clever talk / speech.

Words: Science fiction, Bill Gates, Curves with fat / short heads and thin/long tails…

Google Chrome released

Google's Chrome interfaceGoogleGoogle announced that it would be releasing their new browser Google Chrome. The web community is buzzing with excitement. My email inbox went crazy (and still continues to be so) as people on my mailing lists started posting about Chrome. Some of the email subjects read:

[BNM] Chrome: it’s not a browser… (Brighton New Media list)
[IxDA Discuss] A New Browser: Google Chrome (Interaction Design Association list)
[WSG] Google chrome… Coming very soon… (Web Standards Group list)

Browser market impact

Many industry bloggers are asking whether Google Chrome will impact on Mozilla’s Firefox? Sushil Jha writes on his blog, OuterJoin Blog: Google Chrome Firefox Impact

Google pays to be the default search engine in the Firefox search box on the top of the browser. They also have Amazon in the search box, and other services which provides affiliates fee as well but few do. As a result, Google accounts for 85 percent of Mozilla’s 2006 revenue of $66.8 million.

No doubt Microsoft’s IE team will be scratching their heads. Remember Microsoft only recently released their new upgraded IE8 browser. Is this good timing by the Google marketers?

Google Chrome release – the hype

The way Google released Chrome is quite interesting. Scott McCloud put together a comic strip depicting the story of it’s development. Google have even converted the comic into a book.

Google have posted an interesting video from the team where they reveal their strategy and some lighthearted commentary.

The downside (for Mac users anyway)

Unfortunately, Google have not released a Mac version yet. Come on Google, when will you learn to be fair?

Google signup for Mac version

Google signup for Mac version

So there’s lots to talk about as the hype unfolds. Soon we’ll start to read about users experiences which should make some interesting reading. Until I get a Mac version I’ll have to wait…while I watch and read.

The CEO’s office

How cool is this? I was recently given 30mins to meet with our CEO to discuss the rollout of the corporate wiki. I immediately noticed the unusual office decor and asked “Where?” The decor was old wall-paper from an previous exhibition that was going to be thrown away. The throw-away pieces were brought back to the office and put up on the walls. Neat huh? (and resourceful too)

The office wall

The office wall

Jumping on the social media bandwagon

Social media is everywhere… not more so than in the enterprise environment. Lets face it senior marketers and digital managers need to be involved (or seen to be involved). If you’re thinking about it it’s already too late.

While there’s nothing wrong with engaging your business in a social media soup (Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed, Ning, Upcoming, YouTube, Del.icio.us, etc..), I can’t help wonder how these managers are forgetting that social media integration must form part of a structured content strategy. Successful social media efforts cannot simply be added on to existing products and expect to work perfectly.

Evan Gerber recently wrote and article, Is your brand at social media’s ground zero? where he expresses his concern over brand neglect through badly planned project goals:

Like many other business ventures, a successful social networking campaign revolves around using good information to drive smart decisions. Gather qualitative and quantitative information and then use it to define project goals. An ill-defined project is substantially less likely to succeed.

Ever heard “It looks cool, just put it in the website“, “find somewhere to put it!” or “Just plug it in!“? A common knee-jerk response by many digital managers is to jump on the bandwagon and simply plug these easily-malleable platforms into their websites. Enterprise has been left behind and now needs to catch up. More and more senior stakeholders feel left behind. So, their immediate reactive response is add add add. Everyone’s talking about it so it should be good, shouldn’t it?

Carefully integrated social media efforts can hugely benefit a brand and generate a buzz.