Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The New Facebook

Over the past few weeks I've found myself using my new Facebook account much more than I thought I would. With the new addition of Facebook Applications, it has become possible to twitter from within Facebook.

The new FB Twitter application is not perfect by any means. It could do with an 'older' button (like the main Twitter interface) to be able to look back on missed tweets from friends. It could also do with a character counter, as it's so easy to go over the 140 limit.

I do like being able to switch between the Twitter app, my FB profile, and friends' profiles without having to open a new window. To me, the combining of these two applications alone has instantly made Facebook seem like a much more powerful (and addictive) social networking tool.

Quite a few other applications have been added too, including Digg, Widgets, Video and Audio. No doubt there will be many others to follow. On my Facebook Wall today, Chris Brogan wrote "It looks like Facebook is trying to swallow up all the other apps". Perhaps this is indeed the case. Facebook is offering the opportunity for any company, internet service, or software maker to build services for its members. FB founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently stated that "We want to make Facebook into something of an operating system so you can run full applications,"

Have you been using any of the new FB applications? If you have, let me know what you think. Do you use Facebook at all? If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps now is the time to give it a go. It does seem to be exploding in popularity at the moment, so you're bound to find people you know. It claims 24 million registered users, and is reportedly adding new users at the rate of 150,000 a day.

You can find me on Facebook under John Johnston, Australia network.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Hilary Clinton Campaigning On YouTube 2

This is Hilary Clinton's first follow-up to her Pick my Campaign Song YouTube video. So far the YouTube experiment seems to be working out quite well for her. I'm sure other politicians are watching closely. It's still very early days for this kind of political campaigning.

As I've said before, I'm sure we'll start to see a lot more of this kind of campaigning as the election draws nearer, and not just on YouTube. I see that Barack Obama also has YouTube, MySpace and Facebook profiles. At present, Obama has nearly 79,000 Facebook supporters.

On a side note, I was also quite impressed that when the Vote Different viral took off, there was no overreaction or negative reaction from the Clinton camp (as far as I know). They let it run its course without intervention, and now they are doing something positive to try and engage with the YouTube community in their own way.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Google What's Hot List

Google has just launched a new service called Hot Trends. The feature displays what people are searching for in large numbers on any particular day.

This follows on the heels of Google Trends, which displays the popularity of search terms in relation to each other over time, and the relative interest in different locations.

As Problogger points out, Hot Trends "could be a useful tool for those writing blogs on current hot topics". At the time I looked, I was surprised to see that fellini film was the second hottest search.

via Googleblog

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Hilary Clinton Campaigning On YouTube

Hilary Clinton has enlisted the help of the YouTube community to help choose her campaign song. The video directs people to hilaryclinton.com to cast a vote for 1 of 9 songs.

Not surprisingly, it seems that politicians are starting to embrace online social media more and more in order to engage with voters. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming months. It was not long ago that I noticed Barack Obama and John Edwards twittering.

via Diablogue

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Breaking Up Is Easy To Do

This is a refreshing (and somewhat surprising) approach from Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, which focuses on the relationship between the traditional advertiser and the consumer. There's also a blog that goes with it, Bring the love back.

"We don't talk anymore. You do all the talking...It's not exactly a dialogue."

"You're saying you love me, but you're not behaving like you love me, it's not genuine."

"I've changed, and you haven't. We don't hang out in the same places anymore. You're not even listening are you?"

All great stuff and great to see a brand like Microsoft saying it at last.

What do you think of this ad? Like it?

via Logic + Emotion

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Flickrvision (Beta)

Flickrvision, another mesmerising application from David Troy.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Bruce Willis Connects On iChat

After writing about the possibility of people in the public eye using Twitter in the future to connect with their audiences, I found this interesting. A couple of day ago, apparently Bruce Willis wanted to prove that it was actually him posting on a message board under the name of Walter B. He offered to connect to a disbelieving fan using iChat.

It makes you wonder how many other celebrities are interacting with their fans and detractors anonymously on the web. I'm sure it's a lot more than you might think. It's really a good way for them to move around and engage with people about their latest work without being noticed.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Kodak Winds Of Change

This could well be a hoax because it seems way too good to be true. If it is, it's a good one. I came across this entertaining Kodak commercial the other day when Jason Calacanis posted some of the funniest videos submitted by his 1700 Twitter friends.

According to the spot's YouTube description, it was produced for internal use and released to the public because it was so popular with staff. I think it's significant because the video acknowledges some past failures, and as the description also says, it shows Kodak has a sense of humor. This is why it would be a shame if it turns out to be a hoax.

It's also great to see that it's way beyond the 30 second mark, coming in at well over 3 minutes. Judging by the comments people have left on YouTube, they don't seem to mind one bit.

What do you think of this video? If someone has info about it being a hoax or otherwise, please post a comment. Please let me down easily, now that I've got my hopes up.

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 4: Campaigns

Part 3: The Public Eye
Part 2: Events
Part 1: Intro

Okay, I'm going to wrap up this series with this post. I think I've said more than enough about Twitter for the time being. There's no doubt in my mind that services such as Twitter can be used successfully for marketing purposes in a number of different ways. There's also no doubt in my mind that Twitter can be highly addictive!

I think Twitter could be used in campaigns to add a new level of engagement. I'm not talking about just sending out one way tweets (many followers but no friends) trying to spruik products. I'm talking about integrating it with other content to form a closer connection between audience and brand. Such a campaign could involve working with Twitter and Second Life, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, a blog, a microsite, an event, long form content, an existing reality tv program, you name it.

This kind of approach is already beginning to be used, but not with Twitter yet (as far as I'm aware). Coca-Cola and new marketing company Crayon a have recently launched the Virtual Thirst promotion within Second Life. They are taking entries for a competition involving ideas for a virtual vending machine. Entries can be submitted via Second Life, Youtube, MySpace or email. I've noticed that Coca-Cola (no doubt on the advice of Crayon), have responded well to some initial criticism about the competition prize with a YouTube video from one of the Coca-Cola marketers, and in turn, a video response has been submitted back. My point here is that Twitter could just as easily be a part of the marketing mix in this kind of new marketing campaign, as it offers another avenue for engagement, and a new means of interaction and communication.

On another note, I've seen numerous mentions of brands on Twitter. Even as I write this I can see a Tweet from one of my Twitter friends that simply states "Crimes against humanity part 5: Sony Ericsson Phones" and the next tweet, "care to elaborate?". I've seen mentions of everything from iPods to pizza odered on the web. People seem to like talking about the products and services they use (and don't like to use), especially mobile phones and related services. It seems to me that there is an opportunity for certain brands to engage and respond in an unintrusive way by Twittering.

I'm not talking about having a brand presence that screams "we're here so love us", and I'm not suggesting that brands go chasing down potential followers in order to attract as much attention as possible. Some brands (and their agencies) seem to have taken this approach to both MySpace and Second Life and at best it can be annoying, at worst it can seriously backfire. What I'm talking about is having a presence, but listening, learning, responding and engaging with each community in an appropriate way.

If you have any other ideas for how twitter could be used for marketing, or would just like to comment on what has been said, please do leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you about Twitter.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 3: The Public Eye

Continued from Part 2: Events

I think twitter could be used by people in the public eye to interact and engage with their audiences in meaningful ways.

To an extent, the use of Twitter by people in the public eye has already begun. As my Twitter friend Cheryl commented in Part 2, Henry Rollins has been twittering. It may seem strange to some that Henry Rollins is one of the first celebrities to experiment with Twitter, but it's not really that surprising considering he's a spoken word artist and singer/songwriter. His tweets seem to range from plugging tour dates to one liners such as "Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on", to linking to his Letter to Laura Bush video on YouTube.

I think Twitter and other services like it hold a number of possibilities for musicians, actors, directors, authors. comedians and other people in the arts and entertainment. For instance, they could Twitter during promotional and concert tours, or during the making of albums and films. This could of course be achieved without giving away too much personal information. It would be up to them how much they revealed about themselves and their lives.

Twittering would allow these people to connect directly with their fans on a daily basis. This already happens to a certain extent with websites and blogs published by celebrities, but this could be a much more immediate, intimate and direct engagement. Can you imagine how many followers some pop and film stars would get if they began to twitter from their mobile phones? Do you think people would be interested in following their favourite Idol contestants during the show? It would add a whole new level of engagement to a reality show such as this.

For the premiere of its new tv show Drive in the U.S., Fox recently offered a live Twitter by Greg Yaitanes, the show's director. I see that the director's commentary had close to 900 followers. While not huge in relation to the show's audience numbers, this is still significant given that it was an experimental first attempt and Twitter hasn't gone mainstream.

On the political front, I've also noticed that both Barack Obama and John Edwards are twittering. It's doubtful that Obama's tweets are from him personally, but rather from staff. I don't think there is anything wrong with this, but Edwards makes it clear by stating whether the tweet is "from staff" or from him. I think you have to give full disclosure in a medium like this, or you run the risk of people feeling cheated if they get the wrong impression.

I do think there is a good case for politicians using Twitter. Again, it's a good way for them to communicate directly with voters, and for their followers to ask them questions and keep up with the issues. When I 'added' both these politicians, I was impressed at the speed at which they befriended me. One of my American Twitter friends (can't remember who sorry) said they sent a direct message asking a question and received an immediate answer from the politician's staff. This level of attention and engagement should be commended.

In these days of increasing media fragmentation, I think politicians need to have all bases covered, and that includes honest and open social media engagement. This is going to become increasingly important if they want to reach those people who spend much more time online than they do consuming tv, print and radio. That's already a lot of people, and If you are reading this, you are most probably one of them.

4th and final part to follow...

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Working It With New Linkedin Answers

I've been meaning to write a few words about new Linkedin Answers (and Questions). I discovered this new feature of the Linkedin network a while ago and recently decided to try it out. I wasn't sure what to expect really, but I've found it to be excellent so far.

You are able to ask any question you like and direct it to only your contacts, or to a much wider netowrk. You can categorise your question so that it's only directed to people who are interested in the topic. The quality of the answers I've received has been excellent. There are some seriously intelligent, qualified and helpful people out there. You are able to rate the answers if you choose to do so, which helps the person who has answered your question.

It's also a great way to find people who are interested in similar subjects to you. After someone has answered a question you've submitted, if you like the answer, you do of course have the option of asking them if they would like to connect to you.

All in all, I think it's a fantastic addition to Linkedin, and it really has made me realise how powerful and useful Linkedin is as a professional networking tool.

I've also been quite surprised at the number of people who have contacted me out of the blue, either with possible work opportunities, or to ask if I might know someone who might fit the bill. If you don't already use linkedin, or if you have an account but don't keep it updated, I encourage you to start 'working it'. You never know what opportunities may emerge through the network.

Here's my Linkedin profile. If you'd like to connect to me via Linkedin, just send me a Linkedin invite. I'd be happy to check you out and connect if we seem to have professional interests in common (and you don't seem to be a stalker, or a potential stalker of my existing connections).

Some people don't like to connect to people they haven't met face to face yet, but I believe in gaining new connections through social media, it's a beautiful thing. Having said that, I tend not to connect to recruitment agents unless I know them, as I don't want them going through my contacts and 'cold calling' for business. I'm always happy for agents to ask me if I know someone who might be looking for a particular position though.

Do you use Linkedin? If you do, how much do you use it, and what do you think of it?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Using Twitter For Marketing Part 2: Events

Continued from Part 1: Intro

I think Twitter offers some excellent opportunities for use during live events, during both short and long term fixtures. The longer the event, the more the Twitter conversation for the event could develop and evolve.

This idea of using Twitter for events is not a new one. At the South by Southwest conference earlier in the year, two 60 inch screens were placed in conference hallways, streaming tweets to the participants. Reportedly, many conference-goers started to keep tabs on each other, and helped each other keep up with the best things going on at the conference. Panelists and speakers also mentioned the service. This helped create the buzz that has now spread far and wide, all the way to Australia and New Zealand in fact.

It strikes me that this kind of process could be repeated at other events around the world. Twitter, and other services like it, could be used to engage a group of people in conversations at specific events. It could also be used by people who can't be at the event but want to get an impression of what's going on there. Incidently, I've noticed that MIX07 in Las Vegas has a Twitter profile with around 300 'friends' and 'followers'. It'll be interesting to get people's impressions from that event.

At twittered events, organisers could notify participants of particular features, promotions and important announcements. This could certainly apply for many different kinds of events, not just conferences. Being from sydney, I can imagine what it might have been like during the huge, multi-venue, multi-day phenomenon that is the Olympic Games. Will we see twittering at Beijing in 2008? It could also be fun and useful at events such as cricket and football matches, or at any other significant sporting events for that matter. A Twitter timeline, or animated Twitter map could also be displayed on screens at events, although that might just be asking for trouble at some sporting events.

Here in Oz, Australian Fashion week is in full swing at the moment. I've noticed that News.com.au (News Limited) has started twittering for this event. The Fashion and Style editor is the twitterer. The ozFashionWeek profile doesn't actually have much of a following at present, but it's not being significantly promoted as far as I can ascertain (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). It might have been a last minute inclusion. I did find one feed and a link on the site here, under the title Hot Goss.

At this early stage, I'd say they might want to give a bit of an explanation of what Twitter does, if they really want people to join-up and follow the action. It's unlikely that many people visiting that page would already know what it's all about. I think we have to remember that there has been a tipping point for Twitter amongst bloggers and some social networkers, but it hasn't gone mainstream quite yet, not by a long shot. That's being pretty critical though, at least someone at News has had to foresight to give it a go at this stage - huge points for that. It's the first experiment of its kind here as far as I know (again, please correct me if I'm wrong), and experimentation should be encouraged and commended as far as I'm concerned.

Twitter could also be used at large music festivals such as The Big Day Out and Good Vibrations, or at any other festival for that matter. The possibilities for using this kind of service in locations where reasonable numbers of people gather are numerous. I'm sure we'll start to see much more of it. If Twittter doesn't survive, no doubt there will be a service with similar features that does emerge, survive and thrive.

If anyone knows of any current or past examples of Twitter being used during an event, please leave a comment, I'd love to know about it.

Part 3 to follow..