I’m going to the DMA2011 conference in Boston next week, and this year the focus is on Real-Time marketing. What could be more relevant than that?
Learning about the different marketing methods that are leveraging mobile, social, and real-time data will be one goal of this event and networking is yet another (not a side effect).
VivaStream is a startup that is building a real-time mobile app and web-site that aims to take networking during business events like DMA11 to the next level.
Before the event starts: you setup your profile, select the conference, browse the schedule, and press the Attend button for the sessions that you plan to go to. Any of your actions is broadcasted to the VivaStream stream telling others about you. VivaStream also offers a reach lists of relevant topics and you can select from one of the two following options: I’m Interested or I Can Help. VivaStream uses this information among other factors to suggest people that you should connect with. There are more useful features and details, but this is the basic.
During the event: Since this is my first event using VivaStream, I’m yet to see the real-time capabilities in action. As you can see in the picture above, VivaStream plans to share some of the statistics based on the information gathered from users’ activities, and to let us know about interesting presentations and spontaneously organized after parties – IN REAL-TIME.
After the event ends: there is a strong possibility to see VivaStream building a new professional social network for networking with a purpose, based on interest and need, and fairly quick.
VivaStream is a very busy start-up, but here are few suggestions for additional features that I would like to see:
- Show me my agenda (calendar view) built based on presentations that I planed to attend to.
- Allow users to enter topics
- Create multiple streams based on different activities (it could get too noisy in a single feed stream)
- Allow users to shout-out (for example: book signing now next to room ###)
- Check-in to a session (and maybe check-out, or leave a comment)
- Number of people interested in a certain topic (next to the topic)
- Number of people attending a presentation (next to the presentation)
VivaStream has the potential to become an important component of any business event. It is fairly easy to see the value to the event organizers that can learn in real-time about activities within the conference rooms as well as outside, the presenting vendors looking for leads, and for the consumers that are looking for relevant help and experience.
Now, I’m looking forward to see how it all plays out in real-time. Go Viva!
Here we go again – the full adoption cycle – just a little quicker this time.
Instagram has now a new self registration directory – not ran by Instagram.
And here is mine: @kerendg
Update: 12/30/2010 Instagram asked the Followgram team “to remove the access to the users photos and refrain from using their API”. Now we need to wait till the Instagram team will officially release a public API before we could see more cool services like Followgram. I hope that we don’t have to wait long.
Instagram – if you haven’t heard this name before then you are in a similar situation as most people were 3 or 4 years ago when only few of us heard the name Twitter. Yet, Instagram marked the one million users milestone today! A fairly amazing accomplishment, showing a massive growth in record time, consider that the app debut date was October 6th this year.
This social network may not become the next Facebook killer, but it is definitely as viral as Twitter and may even threaten the later.
So what is Instagram? It is an iPhone app for sharing photos. The application consists of 5 tabs. Share, Popular, Feed, News and yours.
Share – you can choose either to take a new photo or to pick one from your photo library. The kick is that you can select from several built-in filters to process your photo giving it a little more color, ambient, anachronism touch, and more. You can also add short text to go along with the picture.
Popular – people can Like your picture (vote for it) or add comments. If enough people likes it your picture can appear in the popular tab. This is also a way to find people to follow and to vote on more pictures.
Feed – this is a feed stream of pictures from the people that you chose to follow.
Yours – your picture stream along with the likes and comments.
News – a trace of recent information about who liked or commented on your picture
Sounds simple? Well yes, very, exactly as simple as Twitter. If on Twitter people with interesting feed stream (links, celeb, insights – thought leader) attract lots of followers, Instagram users attract lost of followers in similar ways.
Means of communication on Instagram:
- Like and comments – Like is both a signal of appreciation to one of the the pictures and a call for attention to your newly posted picture.
- Screen shot – see here how to take a screenshot using your Iphone. People write a short message in Notes, the built-in iPhone app for writing text, take a screen-shot of the note, and post it as a picture.
- @instagram-user-name - you can reference other users using the @ symbol in the same way as you do on Twitter. Doing so will generate a small pop-up message on his/her phone and will add an entry to the News tab.
So how Instagram users lure new followers?
Method #1 – after few hours using the application you’ll notice that beautiful girls has a lot of followers. Some, significantly more than others. I will allow you to come up with your own explanation for this phenomenon.
Method #2 – artistic creativity. In Instagram I found many users with great picture streams. Some due to the places that they travel to, other due to great digital photography skills, and others thanks to the numerous iPhone photography applications that comes with photo enhancing techniques and creative filters. Some due to all of these elements.
Method #3 – teaching. There are few highly skilled photographers out there that are willing to share from their knowledge explaining about different techniques and tips to their avid followers.
Method #4 – challenges. People declares different challenges like the “Sexy Photo Challenge” (check @markpalmer)challenge that resulted with more than 500 pictures of men and women in different erotic poses (no porn). People then are encouraged to vote for their favorite picture and those are reposted on the challenge organizer stream. Can you see the business opportunity here? “Nike challenge – picture your most creative shot of your most worn-down Nike pare and win a …”.
Method #5 – increasing web presence – my friend Kathryn Jones (@unsaidtv) who is producing live streamed video plays on Better Left Unsaid TV is using Instagram to share pictures from the back scene or “the making of” the play.
Side note – one of the direct impact of Instagram is the growing demands for new photography iPhone applications. People are increasingly looking for more and more interesting filters and digital enhancement features to create new stunning images. I found myself buying more and more of those. Some of the users I follow on Instagram were willing to share (via screen-shot) about their most frequently used applications. Some has lots of them. I guess that this is very good for the mobile applications development market (and Apple).
Summary – it is too early to tell what direction the Instagram team will choose to take the application at, but it is already apparent that there is a new and exiting platform that brings people to participate and communicate. It is also one of the few communities that exist outside the web and only in the mobile world (I know that implicitly there is a heavy use of the the web and data but there is no Instagram website – yet?!). Whenever there is a new communication platform (in this case Mobile social network) and avid participation, there is a room for influence, branding, and promotion. Bottom line, there is another marketing channel. However, above all, the Instagram team has provided us with a great new way to create, share, and interact with other people, i.e. to have fun!! If you decide to give it a try please stop by my Inst-stream @kerendg (same as my Twitter user name).
- One buys a domain and somebody creates a short link
- One builds a website and somebody adds a dashboard
- One wants to be found and many creates search engines plus ads
- One starts a blog and somebody creates an ad network
- One builds a mobile app and somebody creates an app ad network
- One wants to be presence and connected and many build social networks
The fight over content has many fronts: java script tags, shot links databases, smart devices, apps, search engines, your “friends”. I’m sure that there are some other fronts that we are yet to see, maybe because we are still inside the onion.
Picture credit: Darwin Bell
This may sound trivial to the people who are very close to mobile marketing world, but it is not that obvious to others who are still trying to adjust to the rapid mobile market development.
First, mobile is not just your cell phone, and it is not just the new smart phones like iPhone or Droid. It is also eReaders like Nook and Kindle, tablet devices like the iPad and its mini version, the iPod Touch. Even Nintendo DS could connect to the web. And it is also your old and suddenly cumbersomely looking laptop. If it receives data and could be carried then it is another mobile channel.
Yet, even all these mobile devices does not sum to the entire multichannel marketing story. A brand can communicate its messages in more than one way using smart phones.
- SMS – short messages
- Mobile web site
- Mobile search
- With or without LBS (location based services)
- Apps that uses the camera for capturing and scanning objects
- Context specific apps like Drync
Why is it so important to be aware of all these interaction points? Read about the results of Microsoft’s experiment using multichannel mobile marketing here. Quoting Alison Engel, senior marketing director at Microsoft Advertising (from the same blog post)
The advertising effectiveness results demonstrated that advertiser value increases incrementally with the addition of digital media channels.
Some examples for running mobile campaigns using different communication channels:
- Bottom up – start-ups like Foursquare and Gowalla that started as mobile apps – Foursquare encourages people to visit different locations many times. FS uses game like campaigns to drive traffic, loyalty, and revenue for customers like Starbucks.
- Top down
- Companies like Yelp and Facebook that adds mobile app to their web site – Social networks where people share about what they like or not. Knowing where they are in addition to what they like would help to build even more powerful campaigns.
- The big brands that are using mobile apps to run location based campaigns like: Pepsi, Rolls-Royce, and others.
- Companies such as McDonald that uses LBS services like Navteq to run mobile location based campaigns and seeing higher CTR.
- News and content web-site like NYT, and The Weather Channel.
- Finding the right balance of resources and budget allocation per channel
- Executing different communication strategies via each channel
- Measuring the effectiveness for a multichannel play
I’m sure that all these new mobile channels in addition to the already growing number of web channels, like Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are raising some tough questions in the Marketing department:
- Your thoughts,
Pictures credit: Keith Williamson
I recently discovered that Google shows Life Expectancy graphs for many countries around the globe.
I assumed a big gap between the developed and the third world countries in their average life expectancy, the data did confirm my assumption, but it become way more apparent when I actually saw it using Google graph.
In Japan, the country with the highest average longevity in the world, based on the World Bank, World Development Indicators data, people lives up to 83 years old.
On the other end of the world, in Afghanistan, the average life expectancy is only 44 years.
It is also very interesting to see the growth rate. In Japan LE grew from 68 to 83 during the years 1960-2008 (~22%) whereas in Afghanistan, LE grew from 31 to 44(~41%) during the same period. Yet, I as you can see from the graph above it is harder to add more years as the average grows.
It is important to monitor the growth rate for each country, as an indicator for improving health condition in each region.
Here is another picture showing more countries and their corresponding Life Expectancy graphs:
Here you can see a huge growth for China during the 60th, and sadly, a huge drop for some troubled areas in Africa mainly due to HIV/AIDS infections. – some hope here.
Finally, average life expectancy does not seem to be totally correlated with financial success as you can see in the next picture for Iceland and Greece two recently troubled economies.
Probably beyond initial crucial conditions, other factors like work life balance, health care system, crime rate, dining habit, and others contribute to the health of the entire population increasing the average life expectancy.
Other source of Life Expectancy data is Wikipedia – List of countries by life expectancy. This page shows data for the years 2005-2010 and the country with the lowest LE average is Swaziland with 39.6 years.
The world is getting more flat over time, but there are still huge gaps between different regions in the world due to lack of basic human needs.
Elery is a good friend and I’m very happy for him and his team.
Here is the press release.
I had the pleasure of participating in #140conf Boston Meetup this evening.
Jeff Pulver was very inspiring showing enthusiasm, about the “state of now”, twitter, and how the real-time web empowers each and every one of us to make a real change in our world.
I listened to Adam Wallace (@adwal) and Brian Simpson (@Bsimi) from the Roger Smith Hotel telling other businesses that “it is ok not to be perfect”. The brand is not measured by not making any mistake, but by how it reacts to shortfalls. The key takeaway here is that don’t let the fear of bad criticisms to stop you from building your brand’s web presence. The real-time web is the best new tool for listening and responding in timely manner to customers’ incidents as they develop. This tool provides a human voice to the company.
I heard from Kerry Israel (@kerryisrael) about how her re-tweets become the bridge between fans, having similar entertaining experiences, provided by the American Repertory Theater (americanrep). The real-time web people are becoming the glue, the hyper-channels, and the connectors for the rest of the community members.
I listened to a very moving presentation by Alicia Staley (@stales), 3 times cancer survivor, about her experience comparing the pre-internet and twitter era to nowadays. The real-time web helps you not to feel a lone. Not because you have a lot of friends, or followers but because you’ll find support from others in similar situation. It is helpful and rewarding to share both the good and bad experiences with other people. Twitter is also the best place to post a question when no one in your local network has any idea how to solve it, including your physician.
Finally, I had a very interesting conversation with Will Eisner (willboston) from awareness a B2B SAAS offering for building online communities. The real-time web sure plays a big role in this task. I hope to learn more about this field and product in the near future.
It was an interesting evening (at some point more interesting than anyone expected) and I hope to attend the 2 days big event in NYC around April time. Go real!
I wish us many focused hours, days, weeks, and months.
For me, at work, there is nothing that feels better than leaving the office after having a focused day or week. I enjoy having this sense of accomplishment seeing the tasks lists dwindling down or after solving a tough problem that was risking the current project schedule or customer success. The opposite, having an unfocused day, takes away so much energy thinking about what that is still left hanging.
As soon as we login to the laptop or any other smart device we are at beginning of a constant struggle. An endless cross roads expends from that point on. Even while waiting, watching the task bar expends from left to right while the OS loads application after application to memory, already new communication channels opens up and start streaming bytes charged with high potential energy for driving your next few minutes, or hours away from the original purpose that motivated you to turn the device on in the first place. Outlook, IM, Twitter desktop client, Firefox with open Gmail, Google Wave, Facebook and WordPress tabs to name a few. There is a race for your attention and every program pushes itself in front of the other.
It is so easy to notice, and so hard to resist not to react to, the recent Facebook notification, new Google wave, email from SlideShare or YouTube channel with a bunch of links, follow the current Trending Topic, @reply or IM @friend, reply immediately to that email you were just CCed on with a question that you so know the answer to, but others can handled that as well (and maybe this is their job).
Multi-tasking, enabled by the operating system, along with social media, enabled by the digital multi-media, can create this constant notion of not being on the right thread at any time. And that’s not even includes doing your work. Sometimes participating in the real-time search race feels more like “what am I’m missing now?” instead of “what is happening right now?”. The truth is that “now” happens all the time.
We sometimes have this tendency to follow the Shortest job next scheduling algorithm at work. Although this algorithm is great at “minimizing the average amount of time each task has to wait until its execution is complete” it could also lead to tasks starvation (i.e. never getting to address it). It could also lead to developing the habit of replacing short with easy or fun.
Focused does not mean a single goal
When I say that I’m wishing all of you to have a focused year I don’t mean to focus necessarily on one goal only . It could be ideal to be laser focused on a single goal but it could almost be too ambitious of an objective or even an out of balance way of living, it could kill your health and relationships. You may choose to focus on multiple goals this year, and it is a big miss not to participate in the social media party, the key is to be focused at the current task at hand. So, when you work on that paper, problem, long email, and etc, it is OK to be fully present with your eyes, ears, mind and mouse cursor on the current thread. It is OK to tune out for a bit.
Some ideas for keeping your focus on a single task at the time
- Go to Services in Windows and set any application’s with disruption potential “Start-up Type” option to disable.
- Define priority policy attribute and categorize emails by it – immediate response, can wait, to do, follow-up. Keep it simple so it will not take a lot of your time implementing it. There are lots of email handling tips out there just Google “email management tips” and you’ll find a ton of info – just don’t spend too much time reading about it:)
- Break large tasks to manageable goals – this helps with both motivation and focus.
- Treat yourself to some social media action after the task is completed.
- More suggestions here via Delicious
Before leaving this blog post
And before leaving, I would like to share with you this very insightful phrase that I heard somewhere and it stuck deeply in my mind:
“What you focus on expands”
Happy Holidays and have a great focused year.
Picture credit emmaphotos
I like lazyfeed! I’ve been using it for few months now and I find it far better than any other real-time content streaming tool. I read a lot of blogs and I like to discover new blogs and bloggers, lazyfeed delivers diversify content fast, and with less effort than the rest. Recently, lazyfeed made some significant improvements to the interface. Now it is even easier and faster to read new blog posts.
From the user stand point lazyfeed delivers new blog posts about pre-selected topics, as they publish. The user adds new topics (filters) and lazyfeed does the rest, finding relevant blog posts . Done! There is a lot going on behind the scene but from the user point of view, new and relevant content gets refreshed continuously, effortlessly!
This is lazyfeed’s second attempt for coming up with the user interface that aims at bringing more laziness (ease) to fresh blogs’ content deliverability. I think that the mosaic metaphor works well in this case. The UI is very intuitive, requires far less scrolling and the Treadmill feature does it job propagating the more active topics to the top. Other than that the site is quite minimalistic. I’m not sure if going forward it will stay this way, but for now, the simple focused look and feel make it very easy for newcomers.
Minimalistic or not there are few things that I’d like to see in following releases:
- The feedback button on the side – so I can submit my suggestion there:)
- The option to pause the flow for a single topic (square) and turn the Treadmill off (maybe to pin a square and doc it to the top). Sometimes it is working too fast.
- More control over the topic filters:
- Combining tags operations – and, or, hierarchical (like book and review)
- Exclusion of tags – not
- Favorites or a button for saving on delicious
- Engagement indicators (hints) – hot trending topic, comments, reactions
- Some blog posts are timeless others may be only relevant in the next couple of hours or days. These two types of content requires two different laziness methods. It is the way that the users handles this content that hint on the difference. If a user share it on twitter or facebook the content is mostly transient but if the reader bookmarks the link (saving it as a reference for later) there is a chance that it has longer lasting value.
- The short term relevant content should be served as soon as possible and be rotated quickly. I see it, I read some or all of it and I move on to the next one.
- The long lasting content should be served as soon as possible too but it should be also possible to schedule reading it for later. I know it is great content, I don’t want to loose it but I can’t read it at this very moment. It is the kind of content that I will visit again more than once. I will probably check to see if others left comments and added to the discussion. For example think about very technical blog post – maybe about software. To be very lazy – I like lazyfeed to tell me that there are new comments/reactions on this great blog post that I marked somehow.
- I think that lazyfeed feels a little lonely and is missing some social features. What that make Google Reader great (work) is the content sharing feature. I see some places where crowd-sourcing can contribute to the way lazyfeed filters and delivers new blog posts. Maybe via sharing tags (playlists), sharing blog post within the lazyfeed community.
I like the disciplined way that lazyfeed choose for adding new features so far. Prioritizing simplicity, ease of use and quality over functionality. So, if any one of the suggestion above break this practice please ignore it.
There are growing number of products that aim at delivering real-time content. lazyfeed focused on ease and simplicity. Pick some topics of interest, sit back and let lazyfeed to do the hard work for you, finding and presenting the most up to date and relevant content. Maybe just like conveyor belt sushi
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