Mark Zuckerberg has promoted the idea of the Social Graph for sometime. And it is true that Social Networking has changed the way we use the web. The only problem for me is that sometimes the people in my social life are there not by choice:
people I work with
Neighbours in my my street
People who drink coffee where I do
People I went to school with
Friends of friends
You get the picture. These people are in my life by geographic default. Whether or not we are interested in the same things is another question. In fact our values and interests may be entirely juxtaposed. This is starting to make me think much more about finding people who are interested in the same things as me. The social space is such a deluge of opinions and data, it is hard to sift through the noise to find what I care about. I am not necessarily interested in people just because they are in my close geographic space. It needs to be much more. We must share an an interest as well - we must intersect on the ‘Interests Graph‘, not just the social or geographic one.
In fact, my circle of acquaintances has never changed as quickly in my entire life as it has in the past 3 years. People are coming and going at a rapid pace. Sure, close friends and family are bonded by forces much deeper than digital technology, but we need another layer added to the social graph to make more meaningful connections.
It’s already happened on a business and career level already – coders, entrepreneurs, advertisers, bloggers, lawyers, artists, photographers etc all have connection potential in existing digital forums. But what about the marathon runners, surfers, cyclists, and basket weavers? (Insert personal passion here) They need to be able to find each other too.
I really feel like this is a massive opportunity space for startup entrepreneurs. Connecting interests, socially and geographically to using temporal mobile devices to create deeper meaning. The question for all of us, is how can we do it in the things we are involved in which don’t yet have a commercial context?
The web has changed a lot since the early 1990′s. if we think back to the dominant behaviour in 10 year blocks it tells us a clear story about how the web is being ‘organised around the people’. Which means that the people are certainly not organising themselves around the technology. It sounds obvious, but it’s worth remembering as we embark on any business project.
the 1990′s – the web was all about browsing. Finding places to go. Websites – the WWW era.
the 2000′s – the web was all about search. The Google god, SEO and ensuring we had page 1.
the 2010′s – the web (so far) is becoming more human. Social interaction & guidance. It is segmenting, grouping & geolocating.
And we can see this in the evidence we find in how the web is being trafficked. According Hitwise web traffic to portals is down -21%, traffic for web search is flat and traffic to social forums is 52% up. Just like life, people don’t want to leave their stream if they can help it. We’d rather stay with the ‘life juice’ that our human relationships provide. Another simple example is what is happening to brands in social forums. Most brands have 10 times the the Facebook fans than they have in monthly visits to the home portal. The best example is Coke, which currently has 33.8 million fans versus 270k visits to its home page per month.
I guess one thing has never changed in business, and that is the best place to take our brand, is where the people already are.
This start up is 84 years in the making….
Ok – So I’ve happened upon this half way through – but it is still worth sharing here. Angelo an Italian immigrant who is 84 is telling his life story just like the title of this post. It’s just another reason our connected world is making stuff, well better.
A couple of the videos they are posting on Youtube are hilarious. Especially the one Angelo and his wife erupt into a classic italian style argument – below.
If you want to follow it – the twitter stream is here: @angeloin140
A great piece from the Cannes Advertising Festival which is a great summary of key trends in business, more than advertising or marketing. Enjoy!
The world moves fast. When we we’re unconnected the speed of change went unnoticed. Now that we all have digital footprints, we can track all that happens. This amazing and statistically rich infographic is solid reminder of the world we live in. It’s also very cool that most of these business are startups that aren’t even teenagers yet. I’ve pulled out the numbers and got the pic below.
60 seconds on the web:
- 12,000+ new ads posted on Craigslist
- 370,000+ minutes of voice calls on Skype
- 98,000+ tweets
- 320+ new twitter accounts
- 100+ new Linkedin accounts
- 6,600+ photos uploaded to Flickr
- 50+ wordpress CMS downloads & 125+ plugins
- 695,000 facebook status updates, 80,000 wall posts and 510,040 comments
- 1,700 firefox downloads
- 694,445 google searches
- 168 million emails sent (of which 92% is spam)
- 60+ new blogs & 1500+ new blog posts
- 70+ new domains are registered
- 600+ new Youtube videos are uploaded. 25+ hours in duration
- 150+ questions are asked in Question forums
- 13,000+ iPhone apps are downloaded
- 20,000 new posts on Tumblr.
- I new definition added to Urban Dictionary
- 1,600+ reads on Scribd.
And here is what it looks like:
Yesterday I went to a well known cafe in Melbourne for breakfast. Yes, it had a amazing the decor of a restored warehouse and exotic free range egg combinations, but that wasn’t what impressed me. It was the way they served their ‘non-customers’.
By the time we where half way through our second java a line had started to build for people waiting for a table, which is pretty rare in a cafe centric city like Melbourne. Up until that time the thriving restaurant still had amazingly quick service. But the service I was most impressed with was the service they gave those who weren’t even customers. People waiting patiently outside were treated to complimentary cafe lattes and flat whites. I’m sure they were surprised and delighted at the good will gesture. The tone of the staff there also told me that they gave them coffee because they were genuinely sorry they couldn’t seat them immediately. They meant it, and it wasn’t a promotional ploy. Something we’d never see from a chains store or large corporate. They’d be more concerned with wooing ‘non-customers’ that rewarding their ‘sure bets’. I say they’ve got it back to front.
The reality of the complimentary coffee is that it sent out a good vibe, and cost very little to do. And the benefits? Well I’m already blogging about it and put it on my twitter stream which goes to many thousands. I’d also say that rewarding those you’ve already got, is a far better investment than investing in those who’ve never helped your business. Something all startups should take note of.
It is interesting how anything has a chance in a zero cost media world. Sure, not everything will cut through, but in 1991 Rebecca didn’t stand a chance. She had no where to put her song (Youtube), nowhere to sell it (iTunes) and no one to spread it (Twitter / Facebook ). The invention of all this infrastructure made it possible. The thing that is different about the infrastructure versus 20 years ago is that cost of entry has been removed. Extremely good and bad start in the same place. And occasionally something unusual makes it through – so long as it is extreme in nature. No-one has placed multi-million dollar media bets on selling Rebecca’s song, so the cost of promotion has been reduced to taking 3.48 minutes from our day, or typing 140 characters. It’s like a car smash, we can’t help but slow down and take a look.
The question it makes me wonder, is if there is a valid strategy in being the ‘worst’? And if there is, how do we make sure we qualify? And if we qualify, how do we then transform?
Love or or hate her, right now Rebecca has 100% share of voice.What that turns into is entirely up to her.
I’ve been a big advocate for the web changing communications and advertising forever. I’ve been heard to say that TV is in irreversible decline in terms of broadcasting. I believe it’s future is one of narrow casting. But before we close on the Super Bowl for another year, I wanted to share this interview with Tor Myhren, Grey NY explaining what the hype is really all about:
The Best $3 Million You Ever Spent
One commercial, 2.9 million bucks. Who buys this stuff? Crazy, outdated advertisers who haven’t been told that TV is dead? Or the smartest marketers on the planet, taking advantage of the biggest bargain in today’s scattered media environment? I say the latter. And here are three reasons why;
1. Pregame buzz – You’re not buying 30 seconds; you’re buying two weeks of pregame hype as well. And amid all this media madness, the advertisers get as much attention as the football players. The PR and buzz is unparalleled. Late night and morning show hosts, news anchors, magazine and newspaper writers, bloggers, and tweeters are all talking about who’s on the game and what to expect. Most importantly, this is all free media, consumed by people as editorial content rather than paid advertising. This is the kind of brand exposure that’s nearly impossible to buy. Last year the E*Trade baby was being talked about by Jon Stewart, ESPN, Good Morning America, The Colbert Show and The O’Reilly Factor—all before the Super Bowl even started.
2. Game time – 110 million viewers, all experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time. The Super Bowl is America’s last campfire. It’s the only event left that we as a nation sit down and watch together. All those emotions you feel watching the game, and watching the ads, are being shared by 110 million other people at the same time. And shared experiences make for better stories. Period. More than one-third of all Americans watched the game last year, and more will watch this year. In this way, the Super Bowl is an anomaly in today’s fractured media landscape, which is why the actual 30 seconds you’re buying is worth its weight in gold. TV isn’t dead, but must-see TV is—with one exception: the Super Bowl.
3. Postgame echo – You’ve got a day or two of conventional media buzz to extend the life of the idea, but that dies pretty quickly after the USA Today poll and other news flurries. Postgame is where digital and viral take over, exponentially increasing the value of a Super Bowl ad with each additional view, comment, blog posting and Twitter comment. The firestorm a great Super Bowl ad can start is pretty awesome. Pop culture sites pick up the content, and news sites feature it. YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, Hulu and thousands of other popular sites all heave their Super Bowl ad contests that get not only massive viewership but also great two-way dialogue going on about the brand. And all of this doesn’t cost a dime. It’s part of the package—the nearly $3 million value package that we like to call a Super Bowl ad.
The Super Bowl is America’s last campfire. It’s when we all sit around and watch. And talk. And pass along our shared stories for days and weeks to come. It takes courage (and a boatload of coin) to play, but I, for one, believe the rewards outweigh the risks.
It all sounds like a pretty valid viewpoint to me – so long as the product and brand is already established, and it’s not a 30 second gamble on the company like it was in the late 90′s for many web startups.
It’s easy to believe that owned and earned media (aka social media) is superior to the older paid media. We’ve been trained over the past 15 years of the GUI web to think this way. Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows my thoughts on traditional media, in that it is dying, or at the very least changing.
So what is the right media? The media that achieves the objective, within the budget constraints, and lastly fits the risk profile of the media investor.
Sure, it may be cheaper to vlog, blog and tweet ourselves to functional levels of brand awareness – especially in startup land. But it may be a smarter option to invest 1 million dollars advertising on TV if it results in 3 million dollars in revenue. I say this because I think entrepreneurs are being blinded by the zero cost nature of digital media. What we are better off embracing is an objective driven, performance based approach. This is especially true now that the lines between old and new media are blurring.
The best advice I can give is this: ‘don’t discriminate’ – don’t even think of digital as a channel. Instead think of making connections with audiences. Sometimes this may involve traditional media, sometimes exclusively digital, and sometimes only one or the other. Instead, think in terms of ‘Human Movement’. That is, what they do, where they are and how the communicate with them. Essentially we need to integrate our thinking into how ‘they’ (the people we want to have a conversation with) move. The important caveat is that we need need to be nimble enough to develop an understanding of new media channels as they emerge.
The internet has been a boon for entrepreneurs. The commerce said entrepreneurs have created has been one of connection, more than revenue with social media networks being the greatest love child of the internet age. The overwhelming majority of them are free to use, which has resulted in a dramatic power shift in the industrial media landscape. More succinctly social media is very quickly stealing eyeballs from traditional media.
While startups are busy creating the new forums which people connect and entertain themselves on, advertising and media agencies are scrambling to stake their claim on new media. It’s shaping up to be the demarcation dispute of the decade. Both parties believe that social media is rightfully theirs:
Media Agencies claim it is ‘Media’ and so their clients should engage them strategically.
Advertising Agencies claim it is ‘content driven’ and so their cleints should engage them straetgically.
What’s clear is that is isn’t about to go away and it will continue attract larger percentages of the marketing budget as time progresses. And just in case your wondering what I think about social media and who rightfully owns it, my viewpoint is very clear and is given below:
Just like any emerging technology or industry, no one rightfully owns it. It’s up for grabs. The companies (new or existing) who move into the space the quickest and add the most value will take home the trophy.