The Social Media

The Twitterfication of Facebook and The Facebookification of Twitter Tuesday April 22, 2014

So it’s been a while since I’ve written or talked about the state of the Social Media sphere on the old c.t.overdrive. Frankly, in regards to the world of Social Media there really hasn’t been a change big enough to warrant a post and plus there are thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of Social Media Experts writing about the latest social media gaff or trend.

But today I received my updated Twitter profile, which although incredibly snazzy looks eerily similar to something… but I can’t put my finger on it.

Oh yes, it looks incredibly similar to my Facebook profile.

The Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook

Yes, it’s official the Twitterfication of Facebook and the Facebookification of Twitter are finally complete.

Now, to be honest the change in both Twitter and Facebook isn’t really that ground breaking. Both Twitter and Facebook have been working to incorporate the UX/UI benefits of their two successful offspring networks for quite sometime. For Twitter it’s been working to adopt ideas from Medium and Facebook with it’s ever popular Instagram. While these sorts of changes are technically dramatic given the scale of both networks, these alone are really just cosmetic and minor functionality changes to adapt to the changing design aesthetic and functionality demands of our internet usage. I wouldn’t say they’re ground breaking changes that warrant a blog post.

But in my opinion, this change really does signal something else. To me this solidifies the end of Social Media phase of the Internet’s evolution. Similar to how the explosion and dominance of Social Media killed the Web 2.0 phase, we have officially reached peak Social Media.

Let me put it this way, with the two largest Social Media golden childs (Twitter and Facebook) working to mimic their network’s UI and interactions after their competitor’s and spending more time focusing on becoming a key communication channels and personal data resources rather than on social innovation, where is the future of Social Media heading?

Think about it, when was the last time a new social network really disrupted the online social space? I would say we haven’t seen any real innovation in the realm of Social Media since Instagram and that is at least five years old. Does anyone think that there is a Social Media network like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or even Foursquare that will revolutionize the way we use the internet in the same way?

Maybe, but I’m not seeing it right now.

Now don’t get me wrong, Humans and Society will always Innovate. It’s in our nature. And for me to say otherwise would make me sound like the guy who proclaimed that we should shut down the patent office because nothing will surpass the Fax machine. But right now with the way in which Start-ups, Entrepreneurs and Innovators are focusing their attention it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever see a time period of crazy innovation and evolution in the Social Media atmosphere like we did towards the end of the 2000s, when everything changed.

I guess what I’m getting at is a question that is asked of me a lot nowadays and that is What is the next big Facebook, Twitter, etc? To me I don’t think there is anything on the horizon. To me we’ve come to the end of the golden age of the Social Media phase.

Will there be something new in the future. I can almost guarantee it, but it won’t be a social network like we’re used to. That phase of the internet is over.

Categories: the-social-media, The-Soapbox,

The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens? Tuesday August 30, 2011

I know a few of you are curious as to why we’re living in DC/Arlington.

I’ve touched upon it in a few posts older post and I’ve hinted at it through my interaction on various Social Media networks. But the main impetus is that, my wife is doing her finishing up her Masters through the SCAR program at George Mason University.

Her work is really focusing on the effect (or is affect) of Social Media in Conflict Areas. It touches upon Cyber-activism, Cyber-slacktivism and what it all really means for the new global society. It’s a really new and fast pacing topic and one that is going to be incredibly important in the near future. Because of which, she’s been able to quietly make a name for herself in the area and is doing some incredible work with a few organizations. It also means that we have quietly become a bit of tech super duo, as some people have dubbed us. She’s the academic with the brains and I’m the guy who builds the shitty blog to help spread the word.

Anywho… I swear there is a post in here somewhere. One of the most difficult things about my wife’s chosen field of study is explaining it to academics and most casual observers. But this little YouTube video, from RSA’s depiction of Evgeny Morozov’s 2009 talk on the Cyber-Utopia is a great introduction for anyone interested in the topic. It also helps that it’s a fantastic little animation piece.

So if you’re ever interested in why we’re down here. Now you know.

Categories: the-social-media, The-Personnal,

Another Complicated Relationship with Klout Saturday August 13, 2011

Well, it would seam that I’m starting to have some mixed feelings with the latest batch of social media wunder networks. First it was instagram, now this week, it appears to be klout.

For those unfamiliar, klout is an emerging social media application, which essentially quantifies your online network influence. Through an elaborate algorithm, klout’s services assign you a klout score based on your engagement and influence on sites such as twitter, facebook, linkedin, foursquare, youTube, instagram and now tumblr. It uses some sort of mathematical medieval sorcery to create a rating, which is suppose to measure your range of online influence.

And while the data and information that klout is able to produce is quite impressive, it’s also a bit … well … it’s a load of rubbish.

Why Klout Rubs Me The Wrong Way

I am definitely not the first and I won’t be the last person to bring this up, but attempting to attach a numeric value on a person’s influence in a variety of social circles is a bit ridiculous. Yes, Gladwell talked about influence in Turning Point and others like Julien Smith, Chris Brogan and Charlene Li have done likewise. But neither one attempted to attach a hardened numeric value to this concept. Because frankly, there are far just too many tangibles to factor in.

As an example, over the first week in July my klout score, yes and I say that with sarcasm, went on a roller coaster ride plummeting 6 points in two days and then slowly creeping back up a couple of points a week ago. Now, I don’t think much changed in my daily routine or my supposed range of topics of influence. Sure, it is the hockey off-season and Vince Vaughn (another point of contention) isn’t making fun of Luongo as much, so I can say my strongest two spheres of influence could have taken a hit – but what else changed? Have people started ignoring me? (which I wouldn’t hold against them) Am I less trust worthy as a source of information of good taste? Have people already tired of my infatuation with Cobra Commander and Andrew W.K.‘s twitter accounts?

The real answer is – why should I care.

As someone who uses social media for professional and personal benefits, the last thing I should be doing is worrying about the influx of an arbitrary number. In the grand scheme of things, this number means nothing in regards to business and personal success. In actuality, one’s klout score is really only a massive benefit to the plague of social media experts, who have been yearning for a yardstick to quantify their existence for quite sometime. For those of us who value building solid online relationships with a variety of circles, klout’s scoring system really doesn’t bring anything to that table.

So with all that, you’d think I would hate klout and I truly do… But then there is this whole klout perks concept.

Why I love Klout Perks

Klout Perks is essentially the profit arm of the company.

Businesses broker deals with klout to offer up free access, samples or invitations to their various products through the perks program. Klout then divvies out these products out to a variety of users to test and hopefully encourage a positive word of mouth campaign. The catch being that only users with a certain klout score can receive these freebies. Which from a business perspective is genius.

Klout Perks - Subway Sandwiches

Yes, the klout perks concept essentially goes against everything I just said in the past few paragraphs and makes me a walking contradiction, but I’m okay with that. I told you this was a complicated relationship.

But for businesses, klout’s perks program is a perfect win-win. As a business whenever you allow potential customers to try out a product for free, you always want to maximize your exposure from this loss of revenue. You want to target people of strong influence or with a passionate following, who will hopefully return your kindness by becoming champions of your product. So with the klout perks system, businesses get a swatch of exposure from a verified group of power users that are going to have a guaranteed level of online influence. Thereby increasing the chance that these freebies will generate a positive return on investment and therefore minimize their risk.

And over the past couple of months the klout perks program has already flexed it’s social muscle. It broken on to the scene with a major coup, by offering up free Spotify invites to high ranking American users. (As a side note: Spotify is the much anticipated online radio platform that has dominated Europe and is just breaking into the the North American market). Since then klout has followed-up with product offers from Subway, Mint Beverages and sneak peaks of major studio releases.

I was lucky enough to partake in both the Spotify and Subway ‘BBQ Pulled Pork’ Sandwich programs. I’m now hooked on Spotify and I can’t wait to send invites to others. The Subway program worked so well, it was able to convince a gluten-free ex-sandwich artist to be excited about a sandwich – which in itself is no small feet. Either way by partaking in both programs, each company has earned a tonne of goodwill in my eyes and the likely hood I will reciprocate this goodwill to my peers is incredibly high. (Well maybe not the sandwich, but damn do I love Subway cookies)

From a user perspective the attractie elements of the klout program is two-fold. First and this is the obvious one, but people love to get free things. Second, people also love to feel like they are a part of a elite group. Participating in the klout perks program banks on this element of human nature. It’s cool to get free things, but if you’re told you’re getting a free sandwich because you’re included in the cool group, most people are inherently going to become instant champions. It plays off everyone’s ego, whether we like to admit or not.

Again, It’s complicated

In a roundabout way, I’ve tried to explain my feelings towards klout. The idea of ranking people’s social influence irks me. It’s human nature to be inherently competitive and a numeric value tied to an intangible such as social influence, is in my opinion a bit dangerous. But from a business perspective, using everyone’s love of free stuff and our desire to be apart of a secret society, is pure genius. It minimizes the risk in giving away products for free and works to provide goodwill to a group of influential customers.

Update: So just to clarify my comments on the klout rankings. I’m not a fan of the precise ranking of social influence. Truly, what is the difference between a 54, 58 and a 56? But in regards to the klout perks program, I understand that the math and algorithms are fundamentaly solid enough to tell the difference, between a user in the low 30s and a guru in the high 70s.

Categories: the-social-media, The-Soapbox, The Blogosphere, The Personnal, The Pop-Culture

My Complicated Relationship With Instagram Thursday July 21, 2011

True confessions. I have this odd love/hate/adore relationship with everyone’s favourite iPhone photograph app – Instagram.

There are somedays, where I marvel at this little photo tool and contemplate how it’s growth is making it one of the most important Social Networks out there (especially for unique businesses). Then on other days, I despise everything about it and want to punish it… in an emo-centric sort of ‘write in my journal’ way. Then there are the days, where I just want to make sweet love to it and thank it for being there all the time. To thank instagram for letting me capture the elements of my daily life.

Love

There’s a great article from an old SXSW college, Colleen Lin, on the whole instagram phenominea. So I won’t rehash that, but read it if you’re unfamiliar with Instagram.

But from a social perspective there is incredible amount of business potential with Instagram. If Hipstamatic can figure out unique ways to further monetize their services, then Instagram can do the same thing. Thousands of users sharing hundreds of photos each day – the potential is limitless.

For a simple and effective example, The Deftones, held an incredibly successful instagram contest on their last tour. The idea was simple, ask concert goers to take the photos of their experience and then post them to instagram with the hashtags ‘deftonesband’ and ‘thecityoftheconcert’. The band garnished thousands of followers and made the main Instagram page a dozen times.

In a way, the promotion was a unique success, because it transended the typical contest. It wasn’t a simple ‘like’ contest through a stale Facebook page or a spam-induced retweet contest. Instead, it was a simple and creative way for fans to showcase their artistic talents and to allow them to be apart of the overall Deftones experience. Essentially a win-win for the band and the concert goers.

Another, more local example of a unique Instagram business use, is the popular design magazine Uppercase Magazine. Known throughout the design industry for their beautiful magazine, Uppercase is easily one of the most intriguing accounts to follow on Instagram. Not only do you get a sneak peak into the design and development process of this much loved magazine, but you also get to get an intimate look into the personal side of the creative process.

These are just two simple examples, but really the sky is the limits. For example a Food Truck could easily use instagram to not only advertise their latest specials, but also their location (thanks to the Geo-locational API). And I’m sure someone will come up a few more unique instances.

Hate

Again, I’m a bit of a Luddite.

I’m not a gadget person and definitely not a tech fan-boi. And while I treasured my first Sony Digital camera, until I placed my thumb through the display screen, I don’t lust for Digital Camera toys.

In an odd way, the emergence of the Digital Camera has made me want to spend more time with analog cameras. I currently own a Polaroid and a Diana Mini and I enjoy the basic level of discovery and the excitement of both cameras. Especially, in comparison to the routiness of a Digital Camera.

But with Instagram and an iPhone/iPod Touch, you get the best of both the digital and analog worlds. Which makes it almost impossible to justify lugging around one of these clunky cameras. Who wants to bother with the inconvenience of finding room for a bag of film or dealing with the uncertainty of how the film will turn out, when you can just Instagram it straight from a smartphone.

So in that instance, Instagram steals the fun and excitement of exploring the world of analog film. It also feels foolish to spend a few hours playing with an old Lomo camera and scanning the five or six quality photos to Flickr, when you can just snap a photo with your iPod, add a filter, and upload it to your favorite social networks. It kinda takes the excitement away from experimenting with Polaroid film and some old 35mm film.

Adore

But in the same breath, Instagram is a powerful, powerful app.

With the brisk pace of Digital Camera development, everyone pretty much has a high quality camera at their disposal at all time. Instagram allows users to kick that up a notch and more.

For me, I adore this little app, because it allows me to capture the unique elements of my daily life and add a artistic flare. Instagram allows me to instantly share with my friends, family, facebook friends and twitter followers my daily experience and the images which inspire me. The elements of my new home and the elements of discovery that I come across. And I can also watch my friends and see what is going on in their lives.

So in the same breath that I hate this app, I also love it. It’s why this is such a complicated relationship.

As I watch and continue to use Instagram, I’m starting to believe that it will become one of the most powerful and influential social networks out there. Sure all the buzz is on the Google+/Facebook stand off, but to ignore the untapped potential of Instagram, would be a big mistake.

Even if it means allowing my Polaroid and Diana Mini to gather a bit more dust.

Categories: The-Soapbox, the-social-media, The ArtWorld, The Blogosphere

DC United and How I Sold My Allegiance Thursday April 21, 2011

Last week, we had the privilege of attending the DC United vs. L.A. Glaxay MLS battle at RFK Stadium. And as typical, with posts of this nature I was really planning to use it to describe what a great time we had and post some pictures… as I usually do when we get a chance to experience something new in our adopted second home town.

But this time something a little different happened and of course I’ll get into it after a few pictures.

Anyways, I’ll get back on topic.

This was our first MLS experience. For my wife it was her first real exposure to professional soccer and for me it was a chance to finally see Beckham play.

From a soccer fan perspective, it was a great time. RFK, while decrepit and old, was chalk full of rambunctious United faithful and an infectious atmosphere. The game itself was fantastic with DC pressing for most of the game, but trailing on a early converted Beckham cross.

(For those curious, watching Beckham live is a sight behold… Besides his obvious good looks, the guy has a very Mario Lemieux-esque aura)

My wife, for her first time at a live soccer match, really enjoyed herself. She loved the atmosphere and the speed of the game, which is completely different than what appears on live TV. It also helped that DC United crawled back to tie the game in the dying minutes with an incredible game winning penalty kick, which threw the fans in to utter chaos and euphoria.

Overall it was an amazing time and it’s something that we plan on doing again… But as mentioned the story doesn’t end there.

Last week after raving about the game to our friends, one of close friends Mr. English, decided to try and convert us away from becoming DC United supporters and to instead invest our energy in the Portland Timbers. He pointed to their incredible crowds, addictive iPhone app and of course Timber Joey.

He made a very, very solid case.

So like I always do I thought out loud on twitter. Debating which team I should pledge my supporters allegiance. It was an innocent tweet and a one I did to maybe get a laugh out of someone.

All of a sudden, I received numerous tweets from different supporter groups, from Vancouver, Portland and of course DC. But the one tweet I didn’t expect was from the head of digital marketing at DC United. Who had caught wind of my dilemma on the dcunited hashtag and proceeded to ask for my home address.

A couple days later, low and behold I received an entire box of DC United goodies.

It was an unexpected and amazing gesture, but one that took my relationship with DC United to a whole new level. Pushing me from a casual supporter to a life long fan. (It also helped solidify my decision… and yes I can be that easily bought).

Now as someone who is invested in the power of social media for businesses, this was a fascinating mini case study.

DC United clearly understands the fan experience – from tailoring their games to the ravenous DC United fans to integrating QR Codes, Foursquare and Twitter into their match day activities – DC United is active in engaging and fostering a solid relationship with their fans. (and obviously going the extra mile to add new ones)

I also have to commend them for taking the extra step in their pursuit of new ways to engage and taking risks with new media technologies. All of their advertising is embedded with QR codes and on their match day print outs, they openly encourage people to check in using Foursquare and to discuss the game via Twitter. I also love that the team is open and active on Twitter. Not just using it as a one street to broadcast their message (as evident with my conversation).

Social media provides an incredible opportunity to help professional teams engage with fans and potential fans, it is just unfortunate that not many teams take that risk. Choosing to instead spend their time and energy on old fashioned marketing methods. In a city this large and with so many options, it’s great to see a team take a chance and become actively involved with the community.

So a big thank you to Ben for the great gift and a big congratulations goes out to your team.

- Signed a new life long DC United fan

Categories: the-dc-united, the-social-media,

« Older