Tagged: #back2blog

Social commerce only works when it goes native

Fred Wilson shares a powerful insight about social media and e-commerce – or social commerce, as its often known:

When users start in a social system that is divorced from the e-commerce platform, I believe the conversion rates are significantly lower, often by an order of magnitude or more. This, to me, suggests that the overhead of multiple systems reduces the effectiveness of the experience for users and is suboptimal.

Fred’s perspective is born from his experience of working with lots of ecommerce and social start ups. Continue reading

Lazy narratives and how to be wrong

Apple-bashing is a game a lot of people these days.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball is challenging the emerging narrative of the company’s inevitable decline after the death of Steve Jobs. 

Apple was far from perfect under Steve Jobs. But in hindsight, critics and skeptics of the company now see fit to deem his reign flawless or nearly so. Here’s a guy on Yahoo Finance telling Henry Blodget that “Steve Jobs wasn’t wrong about anything ever.”

What you want is to be (1) right more often than wrong; (2) willing to recognize when you are wrong; and (3) able and willing to correct whatever is wrong. If you expect perfection, to be right all the time, you’re going to fail on all three of those — you will be wrong sometimes, that’s just human nature; you’ll be less willing or unwilling to recognize when you’re wrong because you’ve talked yourself into expecting perfection; and you won’t fix what’s wrong because you’ll have convinced yourself you weren’t wrong in the first place. The only way to come close to being right all the time is to be willing to change your mind and recognize mistakes — it’s never going to happen that you’re right all the time in the first place.

There’s some wisdom for us all in that…

Hoax-busting: Self-correcting Twitter streams

Is crap-detection, as Howard Rheingold calls it, something Twitter’s crowd is increasing doing for itself? 

Mike Orcutt, writing on MIT Technology Review thinks it may be:

Around 9 PM Eastern last night, my Twitter feed lit up with messages from respected journalists and bloggers declaring that NBC News had projected Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren the winner of the closely-watched Senate race in Massachusetts, in which she was running against Republican Scott Brown. That’s funny, I thought. I had been watching NBC News, and I couldn’t recall the anchors announcing Warren as the winner.

During Hurricane Sandy, one user was the source of several potentially dangerous false rumors. A message claiming the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange was flooded by three feet of water fooled even CNN and the Weather Channel.
However, that night, like last night, skeptical Twitter users helped the network self-correct fairly quickly.

The social screen

Image: just an act of florid self-expression…

Musing on Instagram, Adrian Chan has a great insight about the nature of “the social screen”:

The image, as an act of expression, inherits from the medium. The social screen has three modes: mirror, surface, and window. In its mirror mode, we see our image. In its surface mode, we can “consume” content rendered onscreen. In its window mode, what’s onscreen disappears and we see others and communicate with or to them. Continue reading

Team GB Cycling and the magic of marginal gains

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Over the summer I developed a bit of an obsession with Team GB Cycling, like a lot of people.

How did they become so successful? So successful that the game for a lot of the other athletes became how to stop Team GB winning, the spiteful whelps

Dave Brailsford cuts an interesting figure as a leader and is a good place to start trying to answer that question. Look at his obsession with detail, but resistance to becoming a micromanager.  His philosophy was – and is –  ask: “how do we get people to be the best that they can be?”, and then apply the answer to cycling. Continue reading

Myth-busting brand communications

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McDonald’s Canada is being transparent. That is to say it is going out and answering even seemingly awkward questions as directly as it can. 

The results are disarming, even charming at times.

Whether it is explaining how French Fries are made or how photos of Big Macs in ads differ from the actual product

According to Fast Co-Create

Since the campaign began, McDonald’s Canada has fielded more than 14,000 questions and responded with text on the website, photos, and the YouTube videos, which have earned millions of views. There are currently 7,100 questions and answers live on the site.

When there are lots of myths around a big brand, it’s a very good idea to go and bust as many of them as you can… 

 

Reckitt’s strategic approach to Facebook marketing

Reckitt Benckheiser is taking social media seriously enough to start joint business planning with Facebook, according to AdAge:

Reckitt Benckiser, like other packaged-goods players, has long done business planning with major retailers such as Walmart and Target, where it maps out long-term promotional products and marketing programs. Now, RB is applying the concept to Facebook. Continue reading

Distant reading and listening

Data, we have no shortage of in digital communications – meaning can be harder come by much of the time. In listening to online conversations, very often sentiment analysis is the stand-in for meaning, even though it is flawed and hard to verify without human intervention. 

Reading about Stanford Literary Lab‘s distant reading method today got me thinking about that problem. Distant reading is data analysis of literature – computers can learn to spot genres for instance:

People recognize, say, Gothic literature based on castles, revenants, brooding atmospheres, and the greater frequency of words like “tremble” and “ruin.” Computers recognize Gothic literature based on the greater frequency of words like . . . “the.” Now, that’s interesting. It suggests that genres “possess distinctive features at every possible scale of analysis.” More important for the Lit Lab, it suggests that there are formal aspects of literature that people, unaided, cannot detect.

Naturally they look at networks and relationships between words – the method… 

…turns characters into nodes (“vertices” in network theory) and their verbal exchanges into connections (“edges”). A lot goes by the wayside in this transformation, including the content of those exchanges and all of Hamlet’s soliloquies (i.e., all interior experience); the plot, so to speak, thins. But Moretti claims his networks “make visible specific ‘regions’ within the plot” and enable experimentation. (What happens to Hamlet if you remove Horatio?)

It looks like CrisisVu, a Twitter monitoring service  may also be thinking along these lines. 

: : Also worth reading is the Los Angeles Review of Books article Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities (hat tip to Andrew Sullivan). 

New ad models for indie content?

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After a comprehensive analysis of the state of display advertising (worth a read in itself), John Battelle is agitiating for a new advertising model for individual bits of content can be monetised, which…

…attaches value to an individual piece of content, such that the piece of content is monetized as it travels around the web, getting reposted, tweeted, shared on Facebook, pinned on Pinterest, and so forth. Such a model is incredibly difficult to create, but not impossible. I promised a follow up post. Continue reading