Archive for August 2007

Lifestreams, intersections and the digital trail

Steve Rubel explained why and how he started his lifestream – i.e. one central site for gathering any part of his digital trail: any Tweets, blogposts, Facebook notes, del.icio.us links and flickr photos. There is a wide range of different streams, that sometimes intersect at certain touchpoints (like I have my flickr images and my tweets on this page), which need to be aggregated.

A good idea, you can set one up easily at tumblr (30 seconds it says!). Steve even started a “reply stream” to capture all the replies and comments to anything he published.

This is a logical continuation to bundling and remixing everything on the web using RSS. In the same way I am bundling all my favourite news sources (blogs, pictures, weather, press, etc.) on one startpage (netvibes, by the way – very recommendable), I should bundle all my output on one page for everyone to easily find. Which of course takes us to the other (still unsovled) side of the lifestream: how can I distribute content to all of these platforms and track the user traffic without having to visit all these sites all the time?

Is “lifestreams” something many people will take up anytime soon? I don’t think so. It’s still to geeky, to much hastle, and most people have too few lifestreams anyway. But in a few years time, when more people will have an increasing digital trail, this might become a habit. We’ll see.

I think I will set one up shortly, once I am through with another – much more time consuming (and completely offline) – project that will keep me busy in the next 4 weeks. I’ll let you more about this soon on this site.

A new weekly digest for social networking

Just a quick tip for everyone interested in anything happening with social networking: Jeremiah Owyang publishes a weekly digest on social networking news around the net. You can find all digests under the tag “digest” on his site. Well worth bookmarking/subscribing to.

New Diesel Fragrance Campaign Site

Martina from Adverblog writes about a new site for a new Diesel Fragrance. It’s based on a series of videos and on the omnipresent shout out “I am alive”.

Throughout the whole site you find lots of this “I am alive”, it can get anoying at some point so be ready to turn the speakers of.

diesel.jpg

Of course there is some user generated content possible, you can upload a video of yourself shouting “I’m alive” or upload a picture of yourself. There is also a “Chatroom” looking like a cinema. But it was first empty and soon entering guest1237 and guest 1218 wouldn’t answer…

dieselpicture.jpg

There is a lot more to explore, so try it out!

Markets are conversations – but not all conversations are marketing.

Dave Weinberger, one of the authors of the cluetrain manifesto (“markets are conversations”) expresses his concerns over the increasing wrong adoption of this idea by marketeers. In a comment to this post by Chris Heuer, he writes the following:

Marketing has to change. It has to recognize that market conversations are now the best source of information about companies and their products and services. It has to recognize that those conversations are not themselves marketing — you and me talking about whether we like our new digital cameras is not you and me marketing to each another. Neither is our conversation a “marketing opportunity.” But the temptation to see it as such is well nigh impossible for most marketers to resist.

Fortunately, the people leading the thinking about this generally do honor the conversation as the thing that must be preserved. How the meme gets taken up, however, should worry us. We need to help marketers resist their deeply bred urges. We need to make preserving the integrity of the conversation as central a marketing tenet as is not lying about product specs or prices.

This point is critical, some elderly agency folk still get this mixed up sometimes. Markets are conversations, but not all conversations are marketing. And marketing isn’t necessarily a conversation (even though a lot of marketing could be, in the future).

Marketing also isn’t about “letting the crowd decide everything”, in fact conversational marketing is not about “wisdom of the crowd” at all. This also gets mixed up often by elderly agency folk.

As Chris writes:

More broadly, I think what is happening is really about Market Engagement – how companies interact with the market’s they serve – how companies relate to the people within those markets through product experience, conversations and media.

This doesn’t mean that brands need to open up completely loosing their identity (because of some “wisdom of crowd” interfering with brand communication) – but it does mean that brands need to engage in 2-way conversations instead of keeping up a monologue irrespectively of whether people want to listen or not.

Video overlay ads launching on video portals

Google introduced video overlay ads for YouTube, as this article on read/writeweb says. As a user I don’t like the idea of these ads”interrupting” me, but it will infact be a good way of better monetizing the video experience. They’re offering it on a CPM basis for now, which seems odd to me, but I guess that might change once they know how well it is accepted?

Also, they don’t seem to be the first to launch this (by far not), as this Tecrunch article states.

Facebooks future targeting strategy

So who is surprised about this move, really? Wasn’t it obvious that at some point, Facebook will leverage their knowledge about their userbase? As it says in a Wall Street Journal article:

Social-networking Web site Facebook Inc. is quietly working on a new advertising system that would let marketers target users with ads based on the massive amounts of information people reveal on the site about themselves. Eventually, it hopes to refine the system to allow it to predict what products and services users might be interested in even before they have specifically mentioned an area.

Sofar, targeting was only possible in terms of age, gender and location. In the future, targeting variables can include anything that users enter, e.g. personal information, planned events, music preferences, and much more, especially if information from widgets is included…

This sounds much like the well-feared transparent consumer. But apparently, Facebook will at least not disclose any information to advertisers:

Facebook would use its technology to point the ads to the selected groups of people without exposing their personal information to the advertisers.

The only thing that strikes me is the fact, that the ads will be within the news feed area. Of course, that’s an area with lots of attention, but I doubt users will like that! But, according to that article, Facebook needs these iprovements, because people spend a lot of time on the site, but don’t click on the ads…

Bacn spreading like a mad virus

Sometimes things only need a name in order to spread around the globe like a mad virus on speed. This time, it’s bacn. Yes, like bacon, but only without the ‘O’. And again yes: it’s derived from the same thought family as spam. If in doubt, visit the site that was put up specifically for this term.

The whole notion of bacn was coined during the podcamp in Pittsburgh, and is spreading since then.

YouTube Preview Image

For anyone not wanting to watch the above video: bacn is anything in your inbox that is not personal email, but it also isn’t unsolicited jung mail, aka spam.

It’s anything inbetween that you get as a notification but don’t need to read because once it notified you by simply sitting in your inbox, it’s done its job. No need to read the contents of the email. Examples are notifications from facebook, your own blog, flickr, or any other communities.

I like the way things need a name and all of a sudden the idea behind it can spread so much easier than before. It was the same with web 2.0. Everyone knew there was something out there that needed discussion, but noone could name it. Still noone can define exactly what web 2.0 is and what it isn’t. But at least everyone can talk about ‘it’ now. And I guess that’s the same with bacn now. It won’t take long and we’ll find the first mainstream media headlines mentioning that word.

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