Monthly Archives: May 2009

Crazy Times Call For a Unique Approach

John Stewart reminds all PR professionals and companies one simple truth:

beafinper

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The Magic Behind Human2.0

magicianOver the weekend I got some wild notion the era of social media was over. I opined we were embarking on a new time period I dubbed, Human2.0.  My thought-process for such a random, if not selfishly promotional, statement was that technology is at a place where people are more easily able to connect to each other in ways that weren’t imaginable.  Now, I realize anyone could have stepped out to a busy street corner and introduced themselves to passersby, but it’s the ability to connect to a broad group of people in a relatively easy fashion that makes this Human2.0 concept fresh for me.

Because of technology and social media, people can now engage with people they would have never come in contact with in their regular daily lives.  My wife connecting to an old high school friend she hadn’t spoken to in over 10 years and then us having dinner with him in the matter of two days is astonishing.  Businesses are being asked by their customers to engage with them on Twitter and Facebook.  This goes beyond personal or corporate brand and reputation issues.  This goes to the heart of human interaction.  Human interaction that’s accelerated due to the immediate connection technology brings.

So, I take all that thinking and then read Steven Levy’s column in this month’s Wired magazine about how the Magic of Gadgets is gone.  Levy writes how as gadgets have become more simple the wonderment as been lost.  He starts off with this great quote from Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” He ends with the notion that maybe the way you get the magic back is by shutting it all down, which I almost agree with.

As I’ve noted on my About page, there was a great deal of magic happening when my dad and I unveiled our pizza-box Mac 7200 with 1GB hard drive.  We stared at it like a bunny had popped out of no where.  The same magical moment happened with our first CD player, our first iMac, the first big screen TV and all the other electronic toys.  All were magical and life-changing occurrences.

What’s magical about technology today?  Magic is watching my sons eyes light up when he watches a video of him doing TaeKwon-Do on the Flip cam. The magic is reconnecting to old friends and catching up digitally, so time spent in person is about moving forward, not on updating eachother.  The magic is being able to talk to bloggers, companies, friends, and agencies, old coworkers on Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis.

Now, the magic isn’t what technology humans can make, but what technology allows humans to do.  This new medium for relationship building, dialogue and engagement will all lead to where we started: building community to make sense of the crazy, unknown world.

Human2.0 won’t be defined as what website you use to connect with or what platform you choose to build community on.  Human2.0 will be all about reconnecting with people in an honest and open and immediate and unencumbered way.

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“Missing Link” Google Image

google-lemurfossilGoogle celebrates the debut of the “missing link” fossil.  However, it’s not so much the link to homo sapiens, but rather ancient primates to modern primates.  Google links to this National Geographic article, but I read CNN’s take. Both very interesting. Here’s CNN’s break down.

  • A 47-million-year-old fossil is being heralded as an early human ancestor
  • Scientist says the find is the “most complete primate fossil before human burial”
  • The fossil was discovered in the 80s, but was split between collections until now

Either way you take it, it’s a very intersting find. With all that’s going in space and now underground, it’s a cool time for science and understanding the human race’s relation to our God-given world.

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Nielsen Reports Online Video Stats

kidwatchingtvNielsen released its online video stats yesterday and not surprisingly, YouTube still remains the most viewed video site online.  But my boy, Hulu, continued its onslaught on people’s brain and increased 490 percent in total streams year-over-year, from 63.2 million in April 2008 to 373.3 million in April 2009, making it the fastest growing brand among the top 10.

Some might say it’s because of advertising, but I say, because it has a clean interface and quality of shows. In fact, it’s so popular the time users spent on the service increased by 119% since last November, mostly driven by the impressive growth that Hulu saw among users between 35 and 49. These users now make up 30% of Hulu’s viewership and they spend far more time on Hulu than most other demographics – 10% more than any other group. (Via ReadWriteWeb)

The NY Times also ran its analysis on the stats in which Hulu questioned Nielsen’s numbers and provided comscore numbers – oh snap! 1, 2, 3, 4 I declare an analysts war!!!  Comscore sees it like this: 42 million. That’s more.  And, it’s just not from me watching “I’m On a Boat” a 30 million times a day.

Highly recommend you read the NY Times piece because it also discusses the advertising spend on these video channel.  I personally will use whatever brands advertise on Hulu because I wants my Hulu!

My love affair continues as you can clearly see.

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People Love a Good List

BrandRepublic.com issued its top 100 brands on Twitter list. Pretty fascinating list I think. The list and all the discussion is here.

topbrands

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Social Media Cold War

coldwarThis is an idea that’s been brewing in my head for sometime now. The idea that we’re in the middle of a social media cold war of sorts. The Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was fueled by anxiety, speculation and resulted in espionage, and a massive arms race. The Cold War began after World War II, possibly World War I (Wikipedia education here, I admit). Either way, it followed after a major war that changed the way the world lived forever.

From when the first shot from the blogworld was heard to now, the world of media has been entrenched in a battle of information. Now versus later, new media versus traditional media, digital versus print, content versus substance, pr versus marketing, consumers versus companies, real-time versus structured thought and so on. The result is nothing short of an informational Cold War.

What do I mean?
As previously noted above, the Wikipedia entry for the Cold War says in its introduction, “The Cold War was the continuing state of conflict, tension and competition that existed primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union and those countries’ respective allies from the mid-1940s to the early 1990s. Throughout this period, the conflict was expressed through military coalitions, espionage, weapons development, invasions, propaganda, and competitive technological development, which included the space race. The conflict included costly defense spending, a massive conventional and nuclear arms race, and numerous proxy wars; the two superpowers never fought one another directly.

As I read my Twitter feed, Digg, Mashable and the other social media news sites, I start to see the tension building, I see the technological race and I see the massive spend being done by business, VCs and startups. I also see the fact that all this is being done for an enemy we never want to face in battle. Who exactly is the enemy here?  

The tension that social media has brought has caused companies big and small to be worried about what they’re aren’t doing, rather than thinking of what they could be doing.  Internal and external benchmarking, attending conferences to hear the “other” guys speak and rolling out programs just because they don’t want to fall behind.  In all honesty, I’ve made calls/tweets to other companies to understand what they’re doing and I’ve taken plenty of calls from companies looking at what I’m involved in.  All of it is just one big missile counting exercise.  

What does all this mean? 
It means that all of the broadcast and monitoring tools are being acquired because people don’t know what they don’t know. The FDR quote comes to mind here, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  The reality is like the Cold War, the social media cold war is being fought because our foundation is being threatened.  Capitalism vs Communism ; the Defined vs. Segmented marketplace.

It almost seems this race, a race to be in all places, is just like the arms race. The perceived need to develop lots of arms quickly with the hope to never use them.  Because if you had to use them, what would happen?  And, after using them, will it have been worth it?  

To the Victors Go the Spoils 
There have been some wins in the space by companies who stuck their neck out.For them, they and others following them will write the history. To the rest, they’ll read and be empowered. They’ll look back at their own missteps and say “only if” and then start a benchmark activity all over again.

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Hulu Wins, Who Loses – UPDATE

5/5/09 More goodness today from The Silicon Insider on Hulu.  Another possible loser: Comcast. The story leads with a powerful statistic:More than 40% of U.S. households under age 35 watch Internet video on their TVs at least once a month, according to research firm In-Stat.

If more and more programming is available online, then why the need for cable and dish services.   My only concern is will the momentum of Hulu intensify the Net Neutrality issue.  The web should be free and equal, however if it’s costing media companies money, this won’t be the case for long.

I think I’m turning into a Hulu fan boy.  I’m on Hulu, I’m on Hulu. Take a good hard look, because I’m on *bleep* Hulu.

5/4/09 Very cool look at the Hulu|ABC deal from BusinessWeek’s Cliff Edwards.  Looks like a potential winner and loser could be Apple.  The Hulu deal could threaten Apple’s pay-as-you-go iTunes service. Edwards continues:

For Hulu, partnerships with cable companies would be key. Comcast (CMCSA) and other major companies are worried that the trickle of subscribers dropping cable in favor of online programming may become a flood. The cable industry could speed its own efforts to distribute programming online by paying Hulu to create specialized Web sites that would let their cable subscribers view Hulu content and other premium video as an added benefit to monthly service, says James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research (FORR).

Jobs is Disney’s largest shareholder. Pressure might be on to show how this will all work out.  Apple is just as much a media company as it is a computer company.  I’m sure the Mac Pirates have it all figured out.  We just get to sit back and wait…possibly this summer.

Either way, this Hulu thing could change media viewing for the foreseeable future.  Now this is something worth tuning in for.

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May 3 #BlogChat Recap

conversationThere was another cool #blogchat last night.  Blogchat is a crazy hour of flash-discussion on Twitter that has a set topic defined by @mackcollier.  Users engage the discussion by adding #blogchat at the end of their tweets.  Using Tweetdeck, TweetChat or basic tweet search, you can track the conversation in real-time.  Not only can you learn a bunch, but you meet different people you wouldn’t normally run into.  I had 25 followers last night alone and I started following at least 30 more.  So, here’s my recap, please add anything else I missed or bares repeating.

Topic: How do you get your boss to commit to using Social Media? What’s the best way to get buy-in from ‘the man’?

  • Selling SM to the man requires, metrics, ROI, human approach and explain concept in simple terms while tying SM to business strategy.
  • Showing value up the chain of command is important. Value could be sales, increase in conference attendees.  Cool idea of ROI emerged, Return on Ideas.
  • Another way of showing importance is to show how your brand and competitors are being talked about in SM
  • Next the conversation evolved to growing community.  Past: Content is King. Present: Community is King.  Best way to grow your community is to leave your blog and comment and post on other blogs and drive interest and traffic back to yours.  (@mackcollier)
  • The importance of listening was brought up as a way to lead and expand community.  Good listeners can adapt, understand what users want and then respond accordingly
  • Finally the discussion turned to SM  strategy versus tactics and which comes first.  There wasn’t really a clear winner here and shows there is some work to be done on defining strategy, objectives and goals.  They seemed to be getting mixed up and confused.  Further discipline and due diligence needed on this important topic.
  • Sites and tools discussed: freemind, tweechat,@Techrigy, Clicktale, de.mon.itor.us, icerocket, socialmention

Summary

commmodelIf I review this correctly, it seems social media shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.  The three main messages from last night were communicate, with substance and listen.  Umm..sounds familiar.  It’s basic communication.  As social media evangelists and consultants, we need to demystify this topic.  It’s easy to sell this as a revolution and a necessary evil in today’s marketplace, but at the heart of it, it’s still communication and it’s still about people.

Social media is “de-sandboxing” corporate America. Meaning it’s less about sales, PR, marketing and more about communicating to the constituents of an organization.  As I’ve written in the past, it’s about responsibility and less about ownership.  A company or organization has a responsibility to communicate.  It also has the responsibility to choose the correct channel for the message.  Social media strategy should begin with your overall strategy. Social media then becomes another channel, tactic to execute that defined strategy. Simple.

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Dragon Fort Completed

img_8109I’ve been quiet for the past three weeks because I’ve busy building the first ever Dragon Pirate Fort. I built it myself and didn’t go to the store and buy something in a box. And, the best part about the fort, my lil pirate helped me the whole way.

Truly a wonderful experience for me and I hope he remembers building something with dad.

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Hulu Wins – Who Loses?

Mashable reporting that Disney has signed on to put its shows on huluhulu.com by buying a stake in the online video site. That means all networks except for CBS are now on Hulu, and really who cares, except for How I Met Your Mother and the Charlie Sheen show.

But even more interesting is what Hulu is doing to TV.  It use to be only people with Tivo had the power of not being confined to a TV schedule.  Now when I miss The Office, I don’t blink.  I don’t get angry, I don’t even get shaky.  I just catch it on Hulu the next evening.  Easy.

Prediction: Hulu will get stronger, start making DVR services obsolete – especially once it goes mobile.

The second loser as Ostrow points out is YouTube.  Even with its effort to sign content deals it still can’t muster a significant threat to hulu.  In fact, in a “if you can’t beat them, join them” mindset YouTube actually links videos from Hulu inside its search results – taking you away from YouTube and on to hulu.com

I always had the opinion that YouTube’s audience was only indicative of the content found on the site.  So you want dogs riding skateboards or skaters falling on the ground, then you’ll have people who care about that on the site.  The problem, the mind-numbing content out weighs the entertainment/intellectual content.  Now, I’m not saying Family Guy or SNL skits are intellectual, but it’s a different demographic. A demographic that will click on another show laced with advertising, not just another video of a dog dancing, with no advertising.  And, it’s a well known fact that Hulu has some pretty cool commercials.

He who has the most eyeballs wins. He who has the most money wins.  They are both true.  Although, YouTube is losing lots of money each day.

Maybe this is how traditional media makes it’s stand against the new media push. This supports my idea that the social networks, social media are just additional channels, not anything mystical.  Place the shows people like on another channel and increase the value of the program through eyeballs, not commercials or timeslots.

Hulu is taking away the power of timeslots.  NBC owned Thursday night for years. Cosby, Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld.  Now, it doesn’t matter.  I watch all my favorite shows on Friday and Saturday night.  Sweeps? Who cares. I’ll watch your show on my time, not primetime.

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