What will be heir to the Twitter throne?

What will be heir to the Twitter throne? (iStock/Twitter)(Originally published in iMedia Connection)

There is no easy answer to the question, What will be the next Twitter? Yesterday, it was Friendster and then MySpace; today we are hooked on YouTube, Facebook, and, undeniably, Twitter — our friendly neighborhood microblogging buzz juggernaut. So who has staying power and what is next on the horizon for big digital breakthroughs?

In the past, there was an apparent distinction between one-way media and collaborative media. Today, the lines have been blurred. Imagine complete communication with your social circle, no matter what website you are visiting, what project you are working on, what game you are playing, or which TV show you are watching. This is the true promise of social media.

There is a lot of innovation that will take place over the coming years, and we will see new tools enter the market that have the power to make individual viewing experiences social. In the meantime, no marketing campaign or engagement these days can be created and sustained without considering the potential of making a social connection.

At the IPG Emerging Media Lab, we have identified five players that we feel will truly carry the promise of social media forward. But first, a look at the platforms that are bringing social functionality into their core reason for being. Read more.

Netflix’s crowdsourced victory

Netflix's crowdsourced victory (Netflix)Three years and one million dollers later, Netflix has an improved ratings and recommendation system, and months of free advertising in the lead up to a jubuilent conclusion for the BellKore Pragmatic Chaos team. Thousands of teams from across the world submitted their ideas, ultimately leading to a final round of mergings which brought team BellKore across the finish line 20 minutes before their primary competitor, Ensemble.

The experiment is a three-fold triumph: For Netflix (the company’s stock has been steadily climbing over this year and was up .30 on Monday when the results were announced); For the wider technology community who will get to benefit from the winning team’s algorithms–publishing methods was one of the stated requirements of the competition; and for the infinite possibilities of crowdsourcing–both as a problem solving and a marketing tool. Continue reading “Netflix’s crowdsourced victory”

Is it the age of the free lunch?

Is this the age of the free lunch? (Sonya Rosas)One of the challenges of working in digital media is feeling like a blind man. You can hear, smell, taste the changes happening around you–but it always feels like you’re missing part of the equation; where is this going, what is happening next, what is at the horizon line? That’s how most of us who are honest about it feel anyway. It took a visit from Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired magazine to the Lab to discuss his latest book to provide some comfort.

In the same way that his first book, “The Long Tail” helped many business people as well as digerati marketers grasp the power of the niche market that developed as a result of the incredible thing we call the Internet, his second book, “Free” aims to help us all understand evolving economic models, since many of the items in our bag of tricks don’t seem to be working the way they used to. Continue reading “Is it the age of the free lunch?”

8 strategies for reaching eco-minded customers

Reaching eco-savvy customers online (iStock)The green marketing space is exploding with new opportunities for brands to make their mark. And it’s no surprise why: According to a study released by Strategic Oxygen, GCI Group and Cohn & Wolfe more than 70 percent of global respondents said they “probably” or “definitely” would increase their preference for a brand’s green products if they were convinced of the positive impact on the environment and business. Almost 60% said they would expect to pay a premium for green products.

Brands that ignore the move towards greener practices (or exaggerate their sustainability efforts) do so at their own peril. Increasing numbers of watch dog sites such as the “Green Washing Index” evaluate brands’ environmental marketing campaigns for their authenticity.

But how exactly can brands participate in the “green” conversation online, showcase their sustainable efforts and products, and drive traffic to their online sites and physical stores in this space? Continue reading “8 strategies for reaching eco-minded customers”

Still think social media is a fad?

Still think social media is a fad? (Socialnomics)When clients visit the Lab, they always want to know:  But what does social media mean to me? And ultimately, they want what Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character asks of Jerry Maguire.

Brands want to know they can prove their investment on social media platforms is a worthy one. They want to know it will reach wide and far–and will be as effective as television and print campaigns used to be. They want ROI, which means somehow, social media will have to prove it can not only connect people, but draw the dotted line to the cash register. They want to know it won’t backfire (we do our best to show how social media can save the day in a PR nightmare, but we also tell them that all content is viral content, for better or worse).

As new media advocates, it’s hard to know that brands MUST play in this space without being able to give them a pile of case studies and years of hard data to go on that show a direct connection to the purchase funnel. Continue reading “Still think social media is a fad?”

Facebook’s creepy friend suggestions

Facebook Friend Suggestions Getting Creepy Recently, I began to notice that Facebook’s friend suggestions were increasingly accurate, and increasingly far-fetched.

At first, it seemed innocent enough. My husband’s aunt appeared on my “Suggestions/Add as a Friend” sidebar. While I like Patty and was happy to friend her, I thought it was strange given 1) I’ve never uploaded my email list to Facebook, or given it permission to do so, 2) I’m not connected to any of my husband’s family or friends on any social network, and my husband has refused to join any social network except for one, and there he uses a fake identity and is not connected to anyone remotely connected to his aunt 3) My privacy settings are tight and in theory, I can’t be found if you’re not my friend.

At first I thought, well, we do share the same last name, so I figured perhaps Facebook was suggesting her for that reason. Over the next few days though, I began to mull this logic. Facebook had never suggested a friend based on last name before, and how would Facebook know which person with that last name to suggest? And what about people with the last name “Smith” – that wouldn’t be very effective.

Then, it happened again. This time, Facebook suggested my mother’s former boss. Continue reading “Facebook’s creepy friend suggestions”

The nature of editorial is to evolve

processAs new media marketers, we know what our clients should be doing, what spaces they should be playing in; we have a whole laundry list of items we’d like them to implement. But too often, we don’t apply the same standards and strategies to our own online spaces and digital publishing faces.

Maybe it’s lack of dedicated resources, maybe it’s tightened budgets. Whatever the reason, we too must hold ourselves accountable to our digital content strategy. Continue reading “The nature of editorial is to evolve”

New era of digital publishing

Changes happening fast in digital publishing (iStock)The personal digital publishing revolution has been happening for awhile. But a few announcements today make it clear that the wheels of progress are turning faster than ever before. And, that we’re getting closer to the plug-and-play-don’t-make-me-think-open-standards era.

First, at Google’s developer conference, the search and Web giant presented its “intentions” with HTML 5. Continue reading “New era of digital publishing”

Leveraging interns in the new media space

intern1“Your tech savvy intern.” These were the words on the email subject line in response to a Craigslist ad we’d posted to fill an intern position. Needless to say, she got the job. As we come to the end of another semester, it seems fitting to reexamine the role of the intern in the new media marketing space. Because interns are not just a cheap way to fill labor needs.

Interns, who typically fall into the 18-30 range, are a key demographic for many of our agencies clients. Moreover, they are comfortable with new media and are exploiting it for their purposes—we’d all be crazy not to tap into this group given how quickly the space is changing and how the behaviors around the technology are being defined in large part by this age group. Having these talented young men and women contributing to the research, ideation, and content we are tapped to do brings us fresh ideas and new thinking. Not to mention a little hungry blood, for which I’m always grateful (as one of our interns is fond of saying, “I’m on it! I’m on it!” or “I would LOVE to do that research, I am REALLY interested in that topic!” Continue reading “Leveraging interns in the new media space”

Faxes will change the world

faxedApril 1, 2009–It’s time to get real: the future of new media is not happening. We at the Lab have finally decided that our forays into online and social media, and even our digital library are not viable. We have experimented, we have played, we have tinkered. We have begged, pleaded and tweeted. And after much hand wringing, we feel our purpose at the Lab comes down to a single, highly effective solution: fax machines. Continue reading “Faxes will change the world”