Sunday, February 14, 2010

TED brings it home - augmented mapping from Bing

If you have heard of "hyper-local" or "augmented reality" meet them combined in Bing's mapping discussed this week at TED:

This is an important video to watch all the way through (it's only 8 minutes) if you want to see what is possible RIGHT NOW. Just another example of how we are truly in the midst of seeing change take place in the world as we know it -- and not just HOW we see it, but how we CAN see it -- right in front of our eyes, and right in the palm of our hands.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Staying the Course is Key

MSNBC had a great article last week about Tech Fatigue. I think one of the most astute lines was:
"We have reached a tech bump in the road, augmented by news-at-the-speed-of Internet, which leads to immediate inflation and deflation of new products even before, or just as, they're released."
Here's what I wrote in response to the some of the other comments on that good article:

"Most commenters are really missing the big picture of the story. It's not just about your iPad or iPod or whatever. It's about those and ALL the gadgets, sites, platforms and tools being thrown at us. This is the best takeaway quote from the story: "we have reached a tech bump in the road, augmented by news-at-the-speed-of Internet, which leads to immediate inflation and deflation of new products even before, or just as, they're released."

The author did a great job in summing up the challenge companies are facing if they don't take advantage of 2.0 customer input and build a trusted brand in this era of information overload and consumer fatigue. Personally, I'm exhausted, not just from trying to figure out my new Droid or now Google Buzz or next Mobile TV (MDTV?), but as a social media marketer, I can't shut down or I'll get shut out."

That's why it's essential for companies to get in and stay in the game. Think of the shelf life of a Tweet. If you catch people reading their newsflow at the time you tweet, they might catch your comment...then it's gone from the top of the newsflow pile. Unless you repost it there, and elsewhere, and catch more attention, but it's like collecting water in a coffee filter. And that's why there's a twofold challenge to keeping your brand present and relevant: being present at right time... and grappling with consumers' information overload.

Hence the point of the MSNBC story: We're ALL on overload. We are drilling down as fast as we can, or trying to learn the latest gadget or gizmo when all of a sudden, WHAM!, the next one comes along. So where do we turn, what do we do?
Some may throw up their hands in frustration and catch a boat to the closest desert island.
(Sounds good to me.) But lots of us will just pray for a single easy platform (which is what FriendFeed tried to be, and now GoogleBuzz, or GoogleWave or whatever, hopes to deliver) to come along and just make life and info easier to manage.

But who do we trust? Everyone is promising to be THE panacea.

And THAT's what brings me back the importance of staying the course.

Now more than ever companies have to be present and maintain. Be the rock. The redeemer. Suck up the negative and course correct as possible. Show gratitude and leverage the positive. But stay in the newsflow. Show us you're not going away like a flash drive in the pan. Help me find you wherever I am hanging out so I don't have to do a big search to find that solution or tool I read about on some platform that I meant to bookmark that was going to make my life so easy.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adjust your Set

I was skimming - an interesting media platform for social responsiblity content - and came across a post by their CEO, Joe Sibilia, in their terrific TalkBack blog section. Only Joe was writing not about social responsibility but about social media. He wonders if Boomers will adjust to it. He shares examples of those who have adapted and prevailed personally and in business, and others who question the value of sharing...yeah, yeah...the old "what I had for breakfast" content, and dismiss social media with those kinds of digs about it. (I'm so done with that, by the way. See my "Facebook Off" post. Reminds me of that old "Jennifer Anniston's sweater" line.)

Anyway, it was thoughtful post, but with one mistep, I think. He quoted a Social Media Examiner article that suggested a Twitter plan with "up to 20 tweets a day" to grow your business. And those still harping on breakfast commentary content could easily use that as more fuel to justify throwing their hands in the air and stepping away from the keyboard. "I barely have time to email..!" It's not like I have to DEFEND the pervasiveness and benefit of social media (though, that's sort of what I do when I coach executives in it), but I do feel like we are in the middle of a huge sociological shift that we should enjoy observing and being a part of, and not fight the phenomenon.

Here's my comment to Joe's post:
As a boomer who is a social media professional, I can tell you that it IS hard to embrace this world as nimbly and naturally as, say, my teenage nephew or 20-something niece. But as a marketer I see the imperative to keep up with the way the world is going. Debating the very question of "whether we'll adjust" is sort of moot as I think we'll have little choice within the next couple of years. We ARE adjusting, in our own ways. Why, I actually know some boomers with touch-tone telephones! Ha. (or LOL, if you prefer.) There will always be Luddites among us - as there have been for every advancement - but there will always be those like my 80-year old aunt who sends me daily jokes via her WebTV. FYI, the latest research from Comscore shows use of Facebook by boomers up 106% year to year 10/08 to 10/09. And it's sort of a trite research point already that next to teenage boys, moms are the second biggest demographic playing mobile games.

The one thing that I take exception to in your post is that the "be prepared to tweet 20 x a day" was taken a bit out of context from the Social Media Examiners article. They end that article with the reminder that:
"...Although a tweet plan [to schedule and auto-release up to 20 tweets/day] is useful when your schedule gets busy, it’s not a way to avoid real-time tweeting. ...But there are different opinions about scheduling posts. Many people feel scheduling tools take away from the value of real-time interaction on Twitter. And they are right.

You must find a balance to make this work for your business. And you can only find this balance by jumping in, listening to your audience and tweaking the content you share on Twitter to get the best results."

Twitter is just one tactic. But don't forget that you received 20 comments and counting on this blog -- which is another tactic of 2-ways communication. We just each will find the platforms and ways to reach out and find and engage in communities in our own ways. We are a tad starved for human contact, and sadly a lot of us will rely on digital versions of it...boomer or GenXer. The good news is that we are ALSO finding ways, like Tweet-ups and Meet-ups to take our interactions OFFline, too. But we arrange those in-person meetings got it: social media.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Social Media on my Mind

I should be sleeping. It's after midnight and I've been running all around the city for a few days now, participating in every free panel discussion and conversation I can fit in during Social Media Week - the international "convo-bration" of digital word of mouth.

The problem is that I'm kind of wired, partly because of Wired. The magazine hosted a panel discussion this morning that included some brainiac speakers, including Denis Crowley, the founder of FourSquare (don't worry, if you haven't heard of it yet...YOU WILL. Remember when you'd never heard of Twitter?), as well as Tony Jebara, the
Chief Scientist at Sense Networks. Tony described the fact that we're basically evolving around our devices. See, the more you rely on Google Maps, for example, which I'm quickly getting addicted to, the smaller your hippocampus gets along with your ability to navigate without your map crack.

I have been having a great time meeting people in person who I only touch-typed before... discovering one of my favorite bloggers and another friend I "met" on Twitter and I all share the same hand therapist for our poor, overworked typing hands, and so on.

I'm thinking I maybe should have majored in philosophy...or anthropology. This is a fascinating time. And while I'm pretty sure we won't all grow extra thumbs as we evolve around our PDAs, I do think we're facing an amazingly fast paced social morph into a vastly different species in most of the planet. Or at least those places where a Social Media Week is filled to capacity.

Stay tuned...