For the Love of Gmail

Showing the Gmail love Russian style, and according to the official Gmail blog the magic happened using nothin but:

- 162 meters of gray tape
- 45 lego pieces
- 32 sticks of plasticine
- 18 brushes
- 18 square meters of batten
- 12 cans of spray paint
- 10 liters of white paint
- 4 reams of paper
- 2 kilograms of millet porridge
- 1 printer
- 1 hair dryer
- 1 mop
- 1 saw
....and of course the totally awesome soundtrack


Microsite: I Am an Island

The microsite is dead. There. I said it. Really, it boggles my mind how companies can continue to churn out microsites--the gloryhorse of all digital marketing campaigns (it seems)-- to waste away in solitude amidst the sea of hyper-connectivity that is the condition of today's aggregated social web.

In a culture of crowd aggregation, microsites seem lonely, disconnected...floating islands of Flash desperately crossing its fingers for visitors. Silly microsite, I don't have time for you! What with my social networks and blogs and feeds and media utilities, my attention online is spent. Spent I tell you!

And tell me, when is the last time you purused or spent time on a branded microsite...and do you ever repeatedly visit one for that matter? And why would you?

The microsite brings up two catch-phrase points for me:

Build vs. Join

Viral vs. Vital

Join: In an age of infotainment portability (online and off), aggregated crowds around niche pyschographic preferences, and scarce attention-- what utility does a microsite serve in my online life? And more importantly, how does it enhance my offline life?

Vital: Its cool you could make the chicken dance or make cats rap, but really...does it make me a more engaged or simply more entertained consumer? Again, its not about episodic hype & push messaging...its about the slow boil of useful, vital information that integrates into my online and offline life for sustained brand engagement.

Measuring Social Influence

Measuring social influence is going to be increasingly more important as we begin to quantify & measure social media campaigns (can you hear those whispers..."ROI, ROI..."). The other day in my office I scribbled all over the whiteboard a terrible looking graph which I labeled "Network Influence Potential," which, in theory, would be a predictive value for determining best targets within a social network. Two of the most obvious markers of NIP were Direct Influence (#of "friends"), Connectivity (number of friends to number of networks). An obvious lacking piece is exponential value of the direct influence and connectivity (the whole beauty of the marketing multiplicity effect that makes social technologies so appealing to marketers). While I've been hammering at some of these pieces from a marketing perspective, I came across 20bits Graph Theory Part III (Facebook) and just about died. First and foremost 20bits is for computer science and mathematics folks, but I love that in this particular post they say at the beginning "lets look at the graph and think like a marketer would" (yes!). So, being that these guys are total quants and much smarter than I--I'll let these guys take over from here. Below is a an excerpt from the Graph Theory III post:

What Can Be Done With a Social Graph

Let's step back and think like a marketer for a second. Facebook, thanks to the newsfeed, is essentially a word-of-mouth engine. Everything I do, from installing applications to commenting on photos, is broadcast to all my friends via the newsfeed. Intuitively, however, we know that some people are just more influential than others.

If my cool friend writes a note about an awesome new shop he found in the Lower Haight I'm probably going to pay more attention. People like this, who are influential and highly connected, are a marketers dream. If I can identify and target these people, "infecting" them with my marketing, I'll get ten times my return than I would going after random people in my target demographic.

Facebook is almost certainly doing something like this already with respect to the newsfeed. They process billions of newsfeed items per day. How do they know which messages are most important to me? Well, it stands to reason that the messages that are most important to me are the ones from the people who are most important to me. So, as Facebook, I want to be able to calculate the relative level of importance of a person's friends and use that measurement to weight whether their newsfeed items get displayed for their friends.

There are several problems. Can we come up with a good measure of social importance or influence? Are there multiple measures, and if so, what are their relative merits?

Measurements of Social Influence
Let's start simple. One way to measure influence is connectivity. People who have lots of friends tend to have more influence (indeed, it's possible they have more friends precisely because they are influential). Recall from the first part that the degree of a node in a graph is the number of other nodes to which it is connected. For a graph where "is friends with" is the edge relationship then the degree corresponds to the number of friends.

Degree Centrality
Let's call this influence function Id ("d" for degree). Thus, if p is a person then Id(p) is the measure of their influence. Mathematically we get:

The main advantage of this is that it's dead-simple to calculate. If you represent your graph as an adjacency matrix, as in the second part of this series, then the influence of a node is just the row-sum of the corresponding row — an operation which is very fast and easily paralleizable.

The downside of this is that its naive. Consider the following graphs.

Single person with high degree

Single person low degree but high connectivity

Using Id as a measure of influence the first person, p1, has a higher measure of influence because they are directly connected to eight people. The second person, p2, however, has the potential to influence up to 9 people. This happens in the real world, too. Consider a corporate hierarchy in a large company. The CEO only has direct relationships with his board, the VPs, and maybe a few other employees. He is undeniably more influential than an administrative assistant to the deputy regional director of sales for Southern Montana and yet might have fewer direct connections.

and there's more...


Always love David Armano's graphics on Logic + Emotion, and this one is a great visualization of what should be the foundational elements of any social media "advertising" strategy.


notes to self: because i'm lazy & i ramble

sometimes i ramble...the following is the word-vomit result of walking from the office to the subway and getting agitated that i no longer carry my moleskine with me (damned technology age!) so in lieu of writing notes i v-noted myself. so if you have some desire to watch me ramble for 10 minutes (YES I KNOW!) go ahead. but at some point some of this will be put down neatly into some posts.




I Wanna Get My Hands On...

Social graph data. Not just keyword & demographic data...I want to see behavioral and networked/relational data of users within specific platforms and the cross-platform relational data of users to themselves and each other. Yes!


The Only Banner Ad I've Clicked

ever on Facebook was this:

shiney shiney


Plucked from Noise

another gem of useless noise from Twitter. But dammit, I like this kind of consumption.


Forrester: Agencies Need to Reboot

The new Forrester report profiling the current structure and status of the agency world delivers findings that perhaps many of us in the social media space have known for a long time: "agencies need to reboot."

"I can't say there's an agency now that's the agency of the future," said Peter Kim, a Forrester Research analyst and co-author of the report.

Basically, they have discovered that indeed, consumers are increasingly tuning out messaging, thus marketing will become a practice of community/conversation integration:

In Forrester's view, a simple fact is driving the need for wrenching change in how advertising agencies are structured: consumers increasingly do not trust marketing messages. Instead, they rely on advice from friends and others in their various communities to make product decisions, while using tech tools to tune out ad messages they deem irrelevant. On top of that, consumer media choice has made the notion of a "captive audience," other than during some sporting events, a thing of the past. [via]

Key findings by Forrester:

Agencies need digial integration

Shift the focus from mass to niche

Agencies must be organized around communities, not disciplines

Agencies will begin to integrate community members into their companies

Advertising agencies will "get geekier"

Read the report synopsis here via AdWeek


lol: "How to Negotiate- Tips for Yahoo!"

lol...this is hilarious...

"98 billion dollars...not including Flickr"

next thing:

integrated: Socical graph data + CRM apps...


I love my Twitter community of Marketing 2.0/Conversatlionists...not only do I often find help and support and GREAT ideas there-- but for the most part, people are sharing and operating in spirit of collaboration. Just this morning, I noticed a tweet by Joseph Jaffe, of top marketing & ad blog, JaffeJuice and new marketing company, Crayon about one of his clients, ooVoo. The tweet directed me to one of his recent blog posts.

What I found so interesting about the post, is not so much the strategy for involving ooVoo in the conversation itself, but that he so openly posted what their strategy is (at least partially).

Besides the usual getting-the-product-in-the-influencers-hands, I love that they're donating $1500 in the name of each host to the charity of their choice! See his full post here, and sign up for My ooVoo Day With...

Checkin the Archives, 2003: The Original EPIC 2014

...and the updated follow-up: EPIC 2015

Created by Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan while at the Poynter Institute together in 2003.

Googlezon! Newsbotster! Google Grid! (=OpenSocial?)...the Evolving Personalized Information Construct. Lovin' this archival dig.


Checkin the Archives, 2005: Tim Berners-Lee on the Semantic Web

Old podcast of an interview with Sr. Berners-Lee on semantic web and the future of the web.

The Funny Thing about "Drama"

The funny thing to me, about all this Drama Blogga stuff, is that look at me, I'm just a little 'ol blogger simply cataloguing things I find interesting for my own enjoyment. Just like Drama likes to point out, my ranking is somewhere close to the 600,000 range, and I'm just a self-proclaimed "social media junkie." Exactly! I make no inflated claims of "spiking the Web 2.0 kool aid by providing a critical analysis of Web 2.0 startups and the impact of Web 2.0 on the media industry." as Drama does, nor do I claim to be a "marketing visionary" (as Drama, again, claims to be). I'm just a chic with an inexplicable penchant for social technologies and semi-geeky things. The only thing I claim, in fact, is being just what the tag line says-- a "social media junkie." So, I suppose it makes some people feel good to take on those obviously far less superior, and doing semi-creepy things like scraping my photo and photoshopping it-- I mean, its cool I guess, if you're into that sort of thing. But dude, chill-- seriously. Most of my posts, if you read them, are merely observations or short little musings for my own sake. I'm not positioning myself as the "Keyser Söze" of Web 2.0-- and yes I get that Drama is being tongue and cheek about it all...but seriously? Taking on the little guys is um, so weirdly aggressive. Its cool, you know, to make fun of someone's interests-- right? Totally!

So, I will continue to blog about the things that interest me: like, the Nextcity digital art exhibit at the New Museum; new developments around the DP Wokrgroup and the Social Graph API; and probably the new microformats being established around relationship and attention data....why? Because I just want to, thats why.


Brad Fitzpatrick Explains Goog's New "Social Graph" API, In Plain English

Before you get yourself in a privacy tizzy-- the API can only access public data:

"The API returns web addresses of public pages and publicly declared connections between them. The API cannot access non-public information, such as private profile pages or websites accessible to a limited group of friends."

Play with demo applications here and catch a glimpse of what can be done with the API.


Social Media Debates: Round 2

One Night Stand or Repeat Business?
Relationship Marketing through Social Media

On a macro level, Drama’s premise of his “are we going to talk or fuck?” approach to marketing is that he doesn’t buy the value of relationship marketing.

the situation:

Drama thinks building a relationship by engaging in dialogue with consumers online is a waste of time, and that if your target isn’t ready to hop in the sack after two drinks, then its time to move the hell on. But we’re into repeat business-- not one night stands.

Ad agency, 22squared conducted research on over 25,000 brand relationship evaluations:

And it looks like being “friends” has its benefits. Strong relationships mean higher purchase intent: (click image to view larger)

So how do we build these strong relationships that ultimately impact our ROI?

Social media is the ideal platform for building strong relationships to influence purchasing decisions. Its the largest open database and focus group, with millions of consumers offering up their psychographics like it was their job. (And again, speaking of the bottom line, think of all the money you spend on focus groups, demographic research and targeting...).

But again, when speaking about social media, and integrating a brand strategy, it is important to understand the culture and influence of your target communities. Knowing how to engage in conversation, (read: not piss off the community with gimmacky, salesy shilling) is paramount.

Social media turns marketing into a practice of multiplicity instead of subtraction as you engage with core customers, converting them into advocates and tapping into the long tail of consumers online-- its selling through “conversation.”

And while Drama rather not waste his time with all this feel-good conversing & relationship-building, thinking that the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am approach is better than the slow boil when it comes down to the sales department (and also displaying a gross lack of understanding not only of social media culture, but consumer culture at large), lets take a look at a real-life client’s ROI.

Recently a leading global beauty brand divulged that last quarter they saw a

60% INCREASE IN SALES...and guess what, the only thing they changed in their marketing program was the addition of a comprehensive social media marketing/word-of-mouth strategy focused on engaging consumers in authentic one-to-one conversation.

Now, dearest Drama, that’s money you take to the bank. Fill up the Learjet, boys.

images courtesy of 22squared