payday

Communities have laws; Facebook is no exception

Written by Jeff Larche on April 22, 2009 – 11:00 pm -

Do you find this as interesting as I do? Look at the box at the top of this screen capture, from Facebook:

communities_have_laws

Sometimes we forget that Facebook is more of a community than some physical neighborhoods. Folks know each other (on Facebook, most everything is only viewable by ordained “Friends”), and people care about how they are perceived by the rest of the neighborhood. As various outcries attest, this is a community whose residents truly care. Remember the brouhaha a couple of years ago over Facebook launching its News Feed, to inform every friend of a person’s activities — including the posting of relationship break-ups, social snubs, and embarrassing photographs?

For those who can’t make it out, this notice on Facebook this evening reads as follows:

Vote on Facebook’s Governing Documents

We’ve revised the two new documents we proposed to govern the site, the Facebook Principles and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, based on your feedback. Now, we want you to vote for the system of governance you think is best. Voting will close on April 23 at 11:59am PDT. Visit the Facebook Site Governance application to learn more, read the documents, and vote.

Would you expect anything less than elections and referendums within this sprawling community?

(And just how sprawling, you ask? Consider Manhattan. It has tens of millions of residents, yet its boroughs can be counted on exactly one hand. Conversely, the boroughs of Facebook are themselves in the millions — although there is much overlap*.)

*Each person’s Friends list could be considered itself a borough. Think of the overlap between people in their Friends lists as the boundaries between boroughs.


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Posted in Social Networks | 3 Comments »

Pepsico cashes in on Twitter by reporting from its birthplace

Written by Jeff Larche on March 14, 2009 – 9:02 am -

sxsw_twitter

Sample from the app's home page

Okay, so Austin isn’t really the “birthplace” of Twitter, but it was at the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) tech conference two years ago that Twitter was introduced to the technorati in a big way.

I recall reading blogger and anthropologist danah boyd’s posts about her frustration with the system (she had set her cell phone to receive every tweet from her hundreds-strong network — in real time). She later that year mused about its uses in a public conversation that first persuaded me to tinker with Twitter.

Now it’s two years later, and time again for SXSW to light up Austin. But this year Twitter, and social media in general, are far more mainstream. Pepsico is cashing in. Check out this tool for reporting on tech tweets from Texas!


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Posted in Web Marketing | No Comments »

Google Latitude brings web closer to place-based networking

Written by Jeff Larche on February 4, 2009 – 8:05 am -

Today Google has proved correct the predictions of many, including anthropologist and technology expert danah boyd. For years she has been fond of saying that the next iteration of the web — the much ballyhooed Web 3.0 — will be place-based. In a post of hers from two years ago, she writes the following:

I believe that geographic-dependent context will be the next key shift. GPS, mesh networks, articulated presence, etc.

People want to go mobile and they want to use technology to help them engage in the mobile world.

Leaping across the chasm to a robust mobile web experience won’t be easy. Especially in this country. Like the ancient city of Bable, the current state of U.S. carriers is one of everyone speaking a different language.

This suits the carriers just fine.

As long as you cannot easily share rich functionality with someone who has a different cell plan, the temptation to switch is less. In other words, as long as each carrier is as dumb as the next, we all remain tied to our current one. In a confederacy of dunces, you might as well stick with the dunce you know.

Enter Google, Stage Left

Even before 2005, when Google purchased Dodgeball, there have been indications that they see the future in place-based networking. Everyone has been watching for the big play; the one that will accelerate the steady march to this new networked experience.

In the meantime, many of us have done our own experimenting with what has been available. I, for one, have toyed with Brightkite.com — especially its “I am here” interface with Twitter (my handle in both: TheLarch).

The experience has been kludgy.

This is rarely a word used for Google applications, though. And today they officially announced Google Latitude.

Here’s a video to explain how it works. It’s about (surprise, surprise) privacy:



What Latitude will do for our progress toward rich mobile networking is not necessarily revolutionary, but it is evolution on steroids.

I am certainly not the only person predicting that the news today is big.

I am, however, the only one in this particular location. Perhaps by later this year, if you’re a close friend, and I choose to let you know, you’ll be able to know through Latitude exactly where my current “here” happens to be.


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Posted in Mobile Marketing, Social Networks | No Comments »

The decline of legible handwriting

Written by Jeff Larche on June 3, 2008 – 6:36 am -

Although it might not be a harbinger of lost social capital, it is undeniably sad that typing away all day has made most of us strangers to our once-good handwriting. One of my favorite scholars on the subject of technology and society, danah boyd, blogged about this last year. And now her lament has been put into wonderful comic form, in the Tampa Tribune’s Blogjam:

danah boyd\'s ode to good handwriting, and lament to its passing


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Posted in Database Marketing, Online Copywriting, Web Marketing | No Comments »

Unilever discovers, then embraces, the power of online social media

Written by Jeff Larche on October 10, 2007 – 12:18 pm -

As a marketer I read too many cases about companies who do one of the following:

  1. Ignore the power of online social media, in spite of their brand being ideal for its careful use
  2. Run headlong at this Web 2.0 phenomenon, throwing caution to the wind, only to do more harm than good to their brand

danah boyd [sic], the well-known anthropologist and “youth and technology” expert, gives a very personal account of the spread of Unilever’s Dove Evolution campaign. It’s a case study for how an exceptional marketing idea can gain legs through sites such as YouTube.

In the post she recounts how she was acting out of what she perceived as the public good, and not as some shill for the brand. Truly inadvertently, she says that she became “a marketer’s dream.”

I agree. But what still amazes me is that similar efforts for less savvy brands would be viewed by their stewards as unacceptable — nothing more than the unauthorized spread of their content.

These folks would look at the Danah Boyds of the world as more of a nightmare than a dream. Go figure.


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Posted in Long Tail, Social Networks, Web Marketing | No Comments »

Twitter sends flotsam and jetsam our way. Marketers: Take notice!

Written by Jeff Larche on April 28, 2007 – 4:51 pm -

It’s been called a micro-blogging platform, an electronic water cooler and a wonderful way to keep tabs on friends and family. It’s Twitter, and all I wanted to know is: Is this something marketers should be tracking? Here’s my answer.

Yes.

You should track Twitter. But do it on your own terms. Or simply keep tabs on someone who is on the Twitter network. This concept will definitely morph, but it is not going away.

As promised in the footnote to my dismissive blog entry about this technology, I will recount my 14 days in Twitterland. For those who need a grounding in what Twitter is, I suggest you click on the link above. It loads in a new browser window, so you won’t lose your place. Are you back? Okay, let’s do this thing.

The first thing I discovered was that the people who would never, ever get a blog, or comment on other people’s blogs, have willingly signed up for Twitter. They have eagerly posted their 140 characters of news, weather and sports. I joke, but these posts do often resemble what contemporary television news has devolved into: The most superficial look at important headlines, plus trivia and human interest. And in saying that, I do not mean to disparage, because, like local news, this is very addictive.

Especially when you’re a friend or relative of the fellow “newscasters.”

When you’re part of this micro-blogosphere, all other activity you’re engaged in at that moment comes to a brief halt while you check your computer screen, IM window, or cell phone text messages to learn such tidbits as: “Man, that soup was hot. It scalded my mouth!” I’m making this one up, but it’s the type of flotsam and jetsam that comes drifting your way when you dip your oar in the vast Twitter Ocean.

Below is a sample I grabbed just now from the Twitter Public Timeline, a real-time stock ticker of global “Tweets” from those willing to share their tidbits with the world.

A sample from the Twitter public timeline

Again, I must assure you that I am not dismissing this type of information exchange. Just as the real definition of flotsam and jetsam is “potentially valuable goods jettisoned from a ship,” there are many gems that are shared with the friends, family and co-workers that one lets into one’s network. These gems slide into view suddenly and quietly, along with the detritus. It’s all disposable, but at the same time riveting.

In my 14 days on a small Twitter network (less than 10 participants), I’ve learned things. Oh, yes. I’ve learned quite a bit.

I’ve been sent links to interesting sites and videos. I’ve gotten to know more about distant friends’ lives. I’ve even discovered that I’ve missed an important appointment. And none of this was in my email box, which is crammed enough as it is. This is good on a micro level. And this is potentially important on a macro level.

I suspect that when the next Twin Towers catastrophe occurs, those on a Twitter network will get important and potentially life-saving alerts (“A plane just hit the second tower!”). Remember: On 9/11/01, when the voice lines of cell phones were jammed and inaccessible, and the electricity was off, the last goodbyes were sent to loved ones via cell phone SMS text messages. Grimly, this form of communication was still available, for brief, real-time expressions of fear, resignation and undying love.

If my suggestion of Twitter having that kind of utility shocks you, I must say it shocked me too. But it is also something that follows a clear path. Anthropologist Danah Boyd stated recently that initial web sites — we’ll call them Web 1.0 — were about ideas. With web sites and simple emails, people who didn’t know each other before became acquainted around shared interests and passions. Web 2.0 is all about people. Since the web has become ubiquitous (at least with the majority of the young, and 100% of the world’s information workers), you could keep connected with nearly everyone you know, and even have them broker introductions to those you don’t know (the magic of MySpace and Facebook “friends” and LinkedIn “connections”).

So what is the coming Web 3.0 about? Place.

Or, more importantly, place and time. Who is where I am right now? Other systems like Dodgeball hinted at this promise of a real-world / virtual network. Twitter expands on that promise. It is about place in a big way.

If you want to spend some mindless computer time, check out this Google mash-up of the Twitter public timeline. That will remind you of how quickly this world is shrinking … and help to demonstrate the global, and univeral, appeal of Twitter.

Finally, I offer this challenge. I want to see if Twitter can help me get acquainted with some interesting, like-minded marketing types. So I’m going to do a little experiment: I’m posting my Twitter posts to the world for the next week, and see who might want to add me to their Twitter Friends list. Specifically, I want to know how many people I could get to know. Can I connect with individuals whose flotsam and jetsam would make for an interesting and instructive complement to the Tweets I’m receiving now? And can some real business conversations come of it?

I’ll let you know.


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Posted in Mobile Marketing, Social Networks, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »
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