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The Reality Platform

Today, we do not have a financial problem as much as we have a value problem.  The challenges that face our civilization are far too great to be solved on an “Advertising” platform.  Whatever happens next, it must start with a Reality Platform.

2012: A Space Odyssey

Back in the railroad days, a platform referred to the surface upon which passengers stepped in order to enter or exit the train.  Later, the platform became a computer operating system.

In 2012,  the “platform” refers to one of the big four space stations on the Internet; Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.  On the backend, they each sort products and people into their appropriated categories.  On the front end, they deliver the consumer to the product and vice versa.  Everything is done electronically; wherever possible, even the product is electronic.

A Platform for Reality

Compared to the Big Four – which collect data behind secure walls, analyze with proprietary algorithms, then serve up  content that is most beneficial to the platform (not necessarily the user) –  The Value Game is revolutionary. In one application of the Value Game, a company called Social Flights collects four separate streams of data, converts the data to a single usable form, then shares the data back to the separate streams.

For example; an airplane operator submits data regarding the inventory of their aircraft.  The hospitality industry submits data relative to their inventory of support services,  Travelers submit data relative to their likely destinations, and event organizers submit data regarding their events.

Music is a combination of rhythm, sound frequency, and timbre

Social Flights captures all of these streams, organizes the data and feeds it back to the market in a more usable form.  Aircraft operators learn the optimum use of their aircraft resources.  Hospitality and tourism learn how to best allocate their inventory.  Event planners  learn to access their markets for attendees. Finally, Travelers learn the exact door-to-door cost AND TIME to achieve their objectives.  All the connections are made WITHOUT advertising.

Social Value is literally “manufactured” because it is in the best interest of each player that the other Players are successful.  Communities become vested in each other – not unlike an ensemble.

Advertising extorts passion

Today, nearly all social organization is now funded – and influenced – by advertising. People do not wake up in the morning aspiring to follow the Kardashians. If left alone, people aspire to follow their friends, to pursue their natural interests, and develop their natural talents.  The sole objective of the advertiser is to convince people to do something other than what they aspire to do naturally.

Manufacturing Social Value

The Value Game is a real and valid social value manufacturing engine. The same system deployed to aviation can also be used for any shared asset or experience; cars, roads, infrastructure, corporations, education, and even government, all with the New Value data platforms that are under development.

The problem can never be the solution – we need a new platform.

***

*2001: A Space Odyssey is a story that deals with a series of encounters between humans and mysterious black monoliths that are apparently affecting human evolution,

OWN Your Travel Game

Social Flight is unique in its purpose of organizing communities of people into powerful collectives who can influence markets, vendors, and especially prices. This opportunity arises because of extraordinary inefficiencies in the airlines, but also in advertising, communications, marketing and every industry where a broker stands between your intentions and a market for goods and services.

Why Google Plus?

It may take a while for most people to catch on to what Google already knows: nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something.

Suppose you set up Google Circles by Geographic location.  Essentially, collect your home town friends, your college friends, your family branches, your company headquarters, etc., by geographic location.

Of course, each place where you have been has it’s own set of circles for things to do, places to go, and events to attend.  Each place that you go is a market of goods and services that is willing to accept your patronage as well as the patronage of people in your circles.

Now suppose you overlay your data on your personal “interests” data: 

This data set can include National Parks, affinity conferences, your Alma Mater “away” games, and seasonal recreation, for example.  This affinity data may also include concert tours of your favorite bands, speaker tours of your favorite authors, sibling birthdays, or promotional campaigns for your company, etc.

These form your intentions:

By far the most powerful business intelligence data is for the product that you will buy next, the person who you will talk to next, the place you will go next, and the impression that you will receive next.  This data belongs to you – like physical property – and YOU should be able to determine who sees.

YOU OWN your intentions data. 

Now overlay your intentions over a map of services and vendors such as hotels, or NASCAR races any other Goods and services that someone may want to sell to you.  Today, these vendors are paying a great deal of money to advertise their message to people who may never buy the product or create an unnecessary, and possibly negative, impression on those  who would not use the product in the first place.

$400 Billion dollar yearly advertising spend

These vendors pay and extraordinary amount of money on business intelligence, Groupons, and social media campaigns trying to discover YOUR intentions data.

They want to know where you are, but NOW, you know who THEY are.  You have every bit of information that you need about them to sell them YOUR product: your intentions.

Now you can simply ask them to bid for your intentions data and bid for your business – this is exactly what a print ad or TV commercial hopes to accomplish. 

Who is ready to build these applications with us?

The Mashup of Gamification and Collaborative Consumption

I found an interesting article by Kim Gaskins at Sharable.net titled: Where the Game Layer Really Counts: Sharing & Peer Communities.

I sensed some resigned frustration from her as she reflected upon a somewhat trivial nature of current innovation in this new social genre called “gamification”. Predictably, in the end, Gamification amounts to little more than feeding the advertiser’s insatiable addiction to that extra dose of personal data coursing through the veins of unbridled consumption capitalism.

She is not alone.

In reading her article, I was, however, stuck with a particular stroke of clarity. Kim provided the following diagram showing the intersection of Social, Economic, and Environmental reality that she calls the best gaming opportunity for business and societal benefit.

This is a very important observation. Kim identifies the intersection of three “communities” and suggests that a game opportunity may exist.  Even though the article appeared in Sharable.net community blog, she stopped short of saying “This is where you put the shared asset”.  So I’ll say it for her:

This is where you put a shared asset.

At the Ingenesist Project, we developed something called The Value Game that we are testing in several different business models. The value game is very simple: Three communities are brought together to interact around a shared asset.  Each community interacting with each other, while also acting in their own best interest, would be acting in the best interest of the asset.  The result, we expect, will be the preservation for optimum utilization rather than forest-to-dump consumption.

Meanwhile, the fact of interaction between these communities creates “social currency” that articulates the true social value of the asset. Where social currency is readily convertible to financial currency, the paradox of market capitalism is broken.

Kim’s observation is important – she is talking about a marriage between collaborative consumption and gamefication.  People need to watch this mash-up very closely and we must innovate in this domain very rapidly.  We will need millions of value games playing out in communities across the world if we are to hedge the inevitable implosion of financial currency while also preserving our most valuable shared asset for future generations.

Thanks Kim – you are on to something very important.

Can Advertisers Curate Themselves?

 

Get Real by Playing for Real

At the end of the day, any ad campaign needs to get real people to take real and tangible action.  Ideally, the advertiser wants to see the real effectiveness of a campaign in real numbers.

The Value Game is applied to a new jet charter start-up called Social Flights and offers an opportunity for advertisers to become part of the experience of the traveller, rather than a distraction to everybody. Instead of paying a website for click throughs, the vendor can pay the traveler directly to “click through” a catalog of products.  As long as your product is relevant to the travel experience, the traveller will be interested and engaged.

The Game is to be relevant and this is where Social Flights helps create the playing field.

Social Flights will collect data about a travelers intentions in a fully open agreement.   Travelers submit this data to the game with the explicit understanding that vendors will compensate them with relevant discount coupons.  Data are normalized so that the traveller is anonymous in every respect while still providing very rich intentions to the vendor.  Vendors can now target their value proposition with great precision.

What’s a Travel Trader Game?

This sets up a game where the traveler, when presented with many options, will plan their trip and influence their friends based on the perceived value of the options presented to them – it’s like holding properties on a Monopoly(TM) Board.   As the travelers play the game, the vendor is being discussed, researched, and propagated all across the web in real time and in real context with a tangible experience as the travelers decide what activities to pursue.

Win twice: Let People Game the Game

When someone “clicks” on the vendor proposition from their “experience environment” of travel, their intention to be interested, informed, entertained, and fulfilled by your product is much higher than in a off-experience “forced” impression.  When they compare, and even trade, coupons with their friends, a negotiation happens which influences a group of people.  These negotiations lead to discussions all across the Internet.  These discussions mean different things to different people so a fresh pool of customers is always on tap for the next round of play.

Why let Facebook own YOUR game when you can own it yourself?

Social Flights allows travelers to sell their data to vendors who, in effect, compensate the traveler with discount “option” that can only be exercised if the traveller (and their friends) makes a purchase.  Advertising is essentially FREE until the traveler exercises their discount option.  Even then, the advertiser has all the information that they need to determine the quality of the effectiveness their campaign and the effectiveness of a competitor’s campaign.  No matter whether you are the traveler or the vendor, how you play the game becomes YOUR intellectual property.  Patent that Facebook!

Social Value: The Aerobics Game

The Social Value Game is a not a social currency exchange, it is a social value exchange. The objective of the game is to convert financial value into social value, then create new value, tax-free and frictionless in any number of social currencies, then convert it back to financial currency + social value. The strategy is to identify and leverage an existing high value social resource and organize a community of people and other vendors around that resource.

Consider the following example:

The Aerobics Instructor Game

Suppose that a popular aerobics instructor has 20 students and charges 40 dollars for an 8 week class. The local health food store will place 10% coupon on store purchases against the 40 dollar tuition for the duration of the class. If the student bought 400 dollars worth of food from the health food store in 8 weeks, their tuition for the aerobics course would be free.  If they spend more, then the aerobics instructor is paid more.  The health food store already spends 10% of sales on advertising so they are largely agnostic to the source of the impression.

It is in the instructor’s best interest to enroll people who are likely to spend the most at the store.  Given this arrangement, a sporting goods store may offer a similar coupon against tuition as would an Indian Restaurant, or even a health insurer.

The health food store gains loyal repeat customers without advertising

The aerobics instructor may maximize her profits by enrolling a health food chef or a caterer, a wedding planner, or people with large families.  She may negotiate a services with a hotel enrolling guests while extending food discounts to the restaurant. If she’s successful, event pictures pop-up on Facebook and deals appear on Twitter.  The aerobics instructor becomes knowledgeable about the products and the community and talks about them with her friends.

The Social Value Index

The Social Value Index compares the cost/benefit of the non-integrated advertising model with the cost/benefit of the socially integrated model of community benefit.  The Social Value Index rewards this store for enabling entrepreneurs in exchange for loyal repeat customers.  The Social Value Index favors this instructor for being knowledgeable and supportive of her community and available health resources. The Social Value Index rewards the network of secondary vendors who align with the aerobics instructor and who may likewise offer electronic coupons.

The coupon constitutes full disclosure therefore, it is clearly not in the best social interest of the aerobics instructor to accept coupons for, say, cigarettes. It is not in her best interest to cheat since her social value would be punished if her actions were found to be fraudulent.  The Social Value Index rewards Aerobics students for participating in socially redeeming activities. The alternative is for the Health Food store to drop a lot of money on TV commercials, Google Ad Sense, and Social Media Spam.

The Social Value Theory: 80% of the economy is social value, 20% is financial value

Conversational Cannibalism

hypocriteI don’t often run a full repost from other people on this blog, but this post by Seth Godin was just too rich to leave alone.

I have been posting a lot lately on the irony of social media devolving to spammers spamming spammers, especially the recent Twitter plan to charge advertisers for jumping to the front of the line by exploiting data provided voluntarily by the users (Twitter Me Elmo).

All of this tells us that Social Media is up against the ropes on the monetization plan. As a result it is starting to consume itself. This may be the first indication that the Dollar is NOT the currency of trade in the social media space, it’s a yet unnamed Social Currency. This definitely tells us that something new must happen soon.

Of course, The Ingenesist Project specifies an alternate financial system that can accommodate a social currency, but the lure of the almighty dollar remains strong enough to blind the choir itself and out-pitch the humble whisper new economic paradigm evangelists.

Anyway, here is Seth’s post in it’s entirety. Buy his books and read his blog, get his feed for daily email enlightenment. Seth, I apologize in advance for posting without your explicit permission…etc…just trying to “keep the convo rolling….”

*****

Cannibalism and spam

By Seth Godin:

So, these two cannibals are eating a clown, and one says to the other, “does this taste funny to you?”

We don’t often have conversations about cannibalism. We don’t trade recipes or talk about health issues. That’s because it’s off the table, not permitted, inconceivable.

Marketers should feel the same way about spamming people. Spamming them by email, by text or yes, by calling their cell phones with a robot, repeatedly, just because it’s cheap and because they can.

Tweetswomma

Womma

If anyone should know better, it’s the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. And yet, not only did they spam thousands of people by phone, they want us to “keep the convo rolling”. And when I spoke to their Executive Director, she had a hard time understanding that what they were doing was spam.

Spam is unanticipated, impersonal, irrelevant junk I don’t want to get. Not only that, it costs them less to send it than it takes me to figure out what it is and deal with it. That doesn’t scale. In fact, it destroys the medium.

Why would anyone join, pay their dues, go to their meetings or want to engage with an organization that’s willing to cross a line like this? Even once? (and then brag about it!) Maybe I’m getting cranky, but the relentless march of marketers into our lives is really getting to me.

In case you missed the first part of our show, the future of marketing is based on permission. It’s based on sending messages to people who want to get them, who choose to get them, who would miss you if you didn’t send them. It’s not easy and it’s not cheap to earn permission, but so what? This is my attention, not yours, and if you want to use it for a while, please earn the privilege.

PS If I ran Twitter, I’d build my new ad service about a socially acceptable way for corporate users to build large lists of followers, people who would give permission to get news and discounts and insights from advertisers. Twitter knows who likes what and they have permission from users to be a bridge between the user and those that might want to talk to them. That’s a powerful place to be.

Using cheap technology to spam people is not.

Social Media: Power By The Hour

Making human knowledge and intentions tangible in a market place opens up the possibility of a whole new class of business plans. We call this Social Power by the Hour.

A Social Trifecta

1. Obviously, Social Media is powerful.

2. Fractional ownership or rental of assets is an emerging trend in our environmentally, geographically, and monetarily constrained economy.

3.Vendor Relationship Management (Doc Searles) promises to change the shape of traditional advertising in the future.

What if we combined all three?

ZipCar is an excellent example of the fractional membership for automobile transportation. There are many advantages but also huge drawbacks. $7.00 per hour is a lot to add to a casual lunch at a sidewalk café or any social experience. Then there are all the lost options like the one-way-trip, guaranteed availability, all those rules and regulations. So, it’s pay now or pay later.

Social memberships

What if your friends in the social network also had ZipCar memberships and the scheduling were interchangeable? Suppose you could find a ZipCar anywhere and park one anywhere?

Now, enter the Vendor of goods and service. What if the Vendor were to subsidize the cost of the ZipCar to bring 4 people into the restaurant, club, or event? What if amusement parks, zoos and art exhibitions helped pay for full car-loads of friends to drive themselves to events?

The Vetting Mechanism:

What if the real social value of the ZipCar could be compared to car ownership for each intended trip? How would this influence your decision to drive, plan, or combine events into your user experience? What if Vendors could influence that cost to drive incentives?

Power By The Hour Game

The Above schematic is What I’ll Call the Social Media Power by the Hour Game. Everyone is part of the same social network and can talk to each other. Each Box represents a player that can influence the cost of the power by the hour. The True Value Calculator keeps score by comparing each transaction value to the equivalent car-ownership or public transportation value.

Set your filters and wait for the proposition…

Instead of scheduling, everyone (including passengers, vendors, social network) start by setting a bunch of filters that represent their approximate intentions. The system compares the intentions with ZipCar locations and compares it to the True Value Calculator. When a suitable transaction is in play, all the players are notified.

Once the game starts and enough people play, statistically, there should be ZipCars distributed proportionally around the city and all vendors will be managing their marketing campaign with 100% ROI on their impressions. The system will become a self optimizing money game.

A fully convertible currency

At first, this may seem like an application to sell ZipCar memberships, but actually, it is selling odds and entrepreneurs are placing bets. The ZipCar is simply a mechanical device that converts social currency into money.

A few Scenarios:

Scenario 1: When a vendor notices a group of friends going to the mall, they can pay for part of the ZipCar with a lunch coupon.

Scenario 2: Amusement park or event promoter can see when a family has no plans and can offer a free ZipCar to them

Scenario 3: The bigger your social network, the cheaper it becomes for you to drive a car

Scenario 4: Vendors can bid for the ZipCar audience with Packages of discounts, coupons and also earn impressions and trust.

Scenario 5: Friends can see what other friends are doing and can jump in the same ZipCar

Scenario 6: ZipCars can be parked densely at events since you will not necessarily leave in the same car that you came in.

Scenario 7: As soon as you park, the zip car becomes available for someone else. As soon as you need one, there is a high probability one is parked close by.

Scenario 6: ZipCar options can be traded like currency to buy things on, say, Craigslist

And many many many more……..

End result: The bigger your social network, the cheaper your Power By the Hour. The bigger the social network, the more effective WOM marketing becomes. The bigger the social network, the more options are available to users. The greater the social network, the more SOCIAL VALUE a ZipCar membership will have in comparison to independent car ownership. The bigger the social network, the more social currency can trade hands as the Dollar fails.

Pssst … Wanna Get Wasted?

dont_worry_get-stoned

Many Social Media Gurus are espousing a new culture that their clients should forget about blogging (adding meaningful content) in favor of the ubiquitous widespread “updates”.

Using automated apps, you no longer need to waste time creating content that teaches or expresses, you can populate across social media space carefully wedged in between someone else’s creative content. I find this appalling.

The new marketing mantras go something like these:

  • “Go where your customers congregate”.
  • “Gain their trust by sharing your stuff”
  • “Soon, you can start to influence their behavior”
  • “Once hooked, they will do your deed for freeeee!!”

This is starting to sound more like the neighborhood drug dealer than any sustainable economic paradigm.

Slavery on Steroids

Slavery is a term characterized in part by the coercion of another person to perform or act without compensation. The effects of slavery are not only physical, but mental as well.  The effects of oppression manifest themselves in addictive behaviors.

Social acceptance is an extremely powerful psychotic that can be cleverly turned against any person. The techniques of social media are getting increasingly sophisticated in hijacking and consuming the social capital of others.

Green Marketing

It does not take long to see that the marketing professions are defining the social media space regardless of what anyone says about user-generated content.  The danger is that social media will become just as unsustainable as the economy that it replaces.  People will soon lose the ability to produce the currency that the media demands to support itself.

Ban advertising

t would be high temple sacrilege for any social media monetization strategist to suggest that advertising of any kind must be banned.  Well, not exactly, but the objective of advertising can be redefined if there were a means to do so.

The only sustainable monetization strategy (of which there are terribly few current examples) are the deployment of social media applications that empower people to discover their own individual talents, to pursue what they are naturally best at and enjoy doing most – while also eliminating the clutter and irrelevant messages that distracts them from their personal life goals.

This means that brands should communicate more and not less.  They should identify, educate, and promote the talents and abilities of a million customers instead of 1 superstar athlete or celebrity.

The proverbial sports analogy:

Advertisers should sit in the bleachers and cheer on their favorite customer, but they should not be in the game, blowing the whistle, or running the scoreboard.  Let them pay admission, see my logo, and buy my overpriced beer.  Let them sell to each other on their own dime – but under no circumstances should they be allowed on the field, in the schools, or in the home without explicit and expressed permission of the customer.

Is it Social Media or Corporate Media?

corporate news

Visionaries Ho!

There are no shortage of intelligent and visionary social media celebrities.  They write great books about markets, social media tools, strategies, and on-line reputation for the benefit of the millions of people stuck on any part of the slippery social media learning curve.  They are infinitely generous with their knowledge and share it freely at countless conferences, blog posts, and syndicated articles.

There is, however, one thing that most of these Guru’s have in common – they consult to and are paid by large corporations. I could be considered part of this crowd for whatever my influence is worth.  So the question about causation is due – will social media develop as a function of corporate interaction with it?

If so, then it is not social media – it is corporate media.

This is no surprise, nor should there be any apparent concern, after all, everyone has to make a living and it is better that the corporations pay people to create content that benefits me.   The practice is conducted quite ethically too -most readily disclose where their financial support comes from and we all benefit from free information that helps us keep the playing field as level as it can be.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about eye-balls and bullhorns.  In order to produce eyeballs and bullhorns, people must be sitting at a computer or, at least, staring at a handset.  The longer you can keep people interacting with the brand instead of interacting with each other, the better off everyone is, right?

Social Media Consumer Advocate

A consumer advocate is someone who helps look after the best interest of the consumer for product safety and false advertising.  Social media is pushing the envelope of the corporate interaction with consumers.  “Advertising” no longer lends itself to the objective review of a billboard, commercial, or public statement.  Social Media Marketing is increasingly sophisticated and manipulative.  The vulnerable people; children and elders are no less vulnerable on social media, and may be more.

Social anomalies?

Some of the emerging research related to social media is surprising with increased instances of what can be considered social anomalies:

Infantilism; adults doing childish things like playing silly games in ‘public’
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; constantly checking for updates and new photos,
Depression and loneliness; preference of social media over real live interaction
Narcissism; The excessive love or admiration of one’s image of their self.

Is it social because it is media or is it media because it is social?

We need to ask ourselves what is the difference between computer enabled reality and computer simulated reality.   If we lose “causation” the entire body of analysis can be called into the question: is social media or is it corporate media?

Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Nothing is Sacred

transparentIt looks like everyone is buffing up their predictions for another year of astonishing growth by social media. The last several years have brought so many surprises that the next several are promising to yield a bumper crop of “I told you so” fodder from the “pithier than thou” crowd.

My prediction for 2010 is that nothing is sacred, including the onslaught 2010 predictions. Therefore, I’ll will go way out on a limb and make my 2011 predictions in 2009.

In General:

The interest coming due on our national debt will consume increasingly more of the money that institutions need to provide basic services. As these institutions weaken, they will increasingly be replaced by social media enterprise. These structurally weakened institutions will drive social media innovation more than any other factor.

Specifically:

  1. Social vetting will catch everyone by surprise. Google buying Yelp is the game changer that will shake markets to the core. A market can only be as efficient as its vetting mechanism. To control vetting is to control a market – ask any despot. Where the vetting institutions of the old paradigm break down, they will be replaces by social media vetting. Nothing is sacred – the SEC, AMA, Federal Reserve – everything is vulnerable. Google knows this and will usher in an era of social media applications that will completely disrupt the gatekeepers.
  2. Everyone says that social media will monetize. It will, but not like anyone expects. 2011 is the year of the Deep Web; the deep web is the vast universe of unprocessed data that exists like dark matter in the Google-verse. Social media will monetize around data because data is the only thing that corporation, governments, and other people are willing to pay for. Google created economic initiatives for legions of entrepreneurs to create information content. The new Deep Web Search engines will create economic incentives for legions of entrepreneurs to create databases.
  3. The convergence of data will create the “new monetized innovation economy” defined by the way people interact with data. Highly localized data that will reflect the knowledge inventory of a community and will be represented by a virtual currency.
  4. It will become increasingly apparent that many of the functions of a corporation can be duplicated outside a corporation by new vetted social media applications. Networks of people will become “corporations” and trade knowledge assets through the trade of virtual currency contracts.
  5. Corporations will become technology centric rather than industry centric with open source architecture liberated to armies of diverse entrepreneurs. For example, breakthoughs in one industry will shoot across all industries like iphone apps – especially effective in environmental and “community organization” innovations. Nothing is sacred.

So there it is and be assured that 2012 will not disappoint even the hardiest eschatologist!

Sorry for not repeating the “real-time is king” mantra or singing the “people will finally pay for content” tune, or reciting the “every department is the marketing department” manifesto. Something much bigger is about to happen. The evolution away from the current financial system will drive social media more than any other factor.

Conversational Perjury

As brands get social, they enter the new media performing their best interpretation of a conversation. Face it, they are still going for the kill – like a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the dance of the pitch is just getting more sophisticated. Social media is powerful followed closely by the of abuse .

The danger is that the more it resembles buddy talk, the more likely it will be mistaken for buddy talk. The sales pitch is being elevated to an art form. Now social media can be as much as a social cure as a social anomaly.

The 4 Big Lies of Marketing:

The integration lie; Ingratiation efforts are manipulative and calculating but serve as a very subtle way of obtaining increased power over another person. Appearing to be similar to the target the ingratiator appraises the target person’s attitudes, opinions, and interests and modifies his/her statements to match the perceived beliefs of the other conforming to the target’s wishes.

Major Brand: The key principles underlying [company] decisions and actions in social media are: Listening, Learning and Engaging in conversations with our customers where they are…while hiding where we are.

The foot-in the door lie: To increase the likelihood of a prospect saying yes to a moderate request, a person may ask for a smaller request first. By saying yes to the first, small request, the person may agree to the second request to maintain consistency with self perception.

Major brand: we recently launched an on-line quiz with a widget component exclusively through social media and it has been a great success just in terms of the number of people taking the quiz and then word of mouth as a result. This goes back to us showing people can engage with [company name] not yet buying the product.

The ‘Istanbul bazaar’ Lie: The initial request is very large – large enough that no one could be expected to comply with it. It is then followed by a smaller, more reasonable request. This technique relies on the norm of reciprocity. The norm of reciprocity states if a person does something for you, you should do something in return for that person.

From a famous social media marketing evangelist: Extrapolate the potential points of touch between your customers and your organization, by showing them what full engagement looks like but then asking for a smaller subscription, enables participation in some of your processes, in some way.

Even a penny will help Lie: This technique is based on the tendency for people to want to make themselves “look good.” Since everyone has a penny, one would look foolish to say no to the request. The target cannot simply give a penny without looking foolish. The target tends to give whatever is appropriate for the situation.

From a Social Media Marketing Guru: FB Friending, Twitter, and even Linkedin are brilliant in delivering mutual follow mentality to marketing – people want to feel good for having followers and will often put up with constant, yet fleeting marketing messages. Tweet meme is another way for people to feel good about thier self for a tiny investment of a single click.

Inherent in all 4 techniques is the attempt by an influencer to manipulate another by engaging in subtle subterfuge. The only way to undo the lie is with a simple truth: knowledge and understanding that the influencer is always lying.

Fallout: FTC and Blogger Payola

 

The FTC recently issued guidelines for payola to bloggers.  The impact and opinions are now emerging over what this means for social media. As with any game played on a new field, rules need to apply.  The questions emerge regarding who the rules hurt, who they help, and how the game will develop in the future due to those rules.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers.

Extrapolate into the future:

The Social Media Paradox

Starbucks paradox (Bernie Hou)The very nature of the traditional corporation is called to question by the Social Media Paradox:

Definition (by me):

Social Media Paradox: The degree to which the act of engaging in the social media paradigm reduces one’s ability to engage in the pre-social media paradigm; and vice versa.

Success in social media requires humility, authenticity and commitment to the medium.  Like a tattoo, that impression defines the person and is not easily removed – after all, everyone’s got to have some skin in the game.

Social media rewards people for doing what they are best at and saying what they feel to be most true. Furthermore, brands need to trust their employees to represent them – this means that they need to give up control of the message.  The more they try to control the message, the less effective they are in a social medium.

Sounds like a great idea, but is it practical?

Many people still need to work for a living often find ourselves at the mercy of corporations for an actual paycheck.  Social Media provides a free source of reference material on a new candidate.  If a person is seen as edgy, ‘counter culture’, or defiant by any number of risk averse HR gatekeepers, one’s “old-paradigm” employability can be affected.  The subtle irony that the those who best understand the medium can make themselves unemployable as a result.

The opposite is also true:

USocial = SUPER SPAM

moneyhappiness_vl-vertical-223x300USocial is now going after YouTube. These clever guy and gals have figured out a way to bypass the democracy of social media to bring is a new form of merchant class capitalism…SUPER SPAM.  For a small fee, you can get your message to the head of the line – in effect pushing the rest backwards.  Presumably for a bigger fee, you can get ahead of those who paid a smaller fee, and so forth.

Once the bastion of lobbyists and special interest groups, anyone with a few bucks can now pull themselves up the ladder by pushing other people down the ladder.  Once the domain of high powered PR firms and Marketing agents; just a few dollars cast among the USocial Gods delivers those long elusive eyeballs of the old radio/TV marketing paradigm.

Watch this one carefully kids.  Social Media has long proven uncontainable.  Saying that you can beat  social media at its own game is like saying you can repair a credit score.  Like a credit score, you can do more damage than good trying to steal what does not belong to you in an effort to boost your income.

Those eyeballs, those followers, and those “friends” do not belong to USocial and are therefore not theirs to sell.    They belong to you and I and we control them – or we don’t play.  If USocial keeps their client list secret, this would be the capital offense in social media space.

The American Civil War 2

I am deeply concerned with the Liberal / Conservative flame wars. Countless Facebook discussions start with a casual reference to one position or the other, then quickly devolve into deeply divisive language. I see it in forums, chats, comments on blogs, news articles and YouTube Videos.

It’s getting worse – people can no longer agree to disagree.

I do not believe in big government. On the other hand, I do not believe that corporations should be the sole protectors for safeguarding the social charter. Call me an idealist, but I truly believe that given the right incentives, people can govern themselves to a very large degree.

Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

We have at our disposal the most powerful tool ever created for the potential benefit of humanity. Societies since the beginning of our time would have envied us beyond words – as their villages were pillaged, as the plague spread, or as the hurricane hit shore – if they had a system that could unify and organize people as we can do today with social media.

My fear, is that we will use this tool to divide instead of unify.  Traditional media and the advertising industry are in deep trouble as people go online to self-select their news and content. This is no fault of Mr. O’Reilly, Mr. Beck or Mr. Limbaugh – they are entitled to their jobs.  Nor is it the fault of emerging Liberal opportunists looking for pick up a used G4 for the Holidays.

Trust me, I’m your friend

Unfortunately, traditional media (TV, print, and Radio) are under extraordinary pressure not just to maintain ratings, but to increase ratings to subsidize less successful areas of the enterprise. As a result, the content must become more and more sensational in order to keep people watching commercials.  If I earned one dollar for every minute of YOUR time that I could waste, would you trust me?  Yet people do.

The Terrorist Within

I am terrorized by the notion that Americans will turn against Americans.  The problems facing this nation are so complex, so controversial, and so far reaching into the past and the future that it is unlikely that any intelligent person is more qualified than any other intelligent person to hold the highest office. Barrack, Hillary, John, would all have the same pressures pushing back on every move leading them down 95% similar paths. None could be better and none could be worse – we’re officially in this together.

So until the super-star with extra-human discernment rides out of the clouds, People should really really be looking for a third way through this. Pure Communism is a Failure, Pure Socialism is a failure, and we are quickly learning that Pure Capitalism will also runs out of track.

The Next Great American Civil War will be a battle against ourselves – all of the artifacts of past generations that pull at our subconsciousness; the reactionary fight or flight instinct of our ancestors. We are being called to something new. Let’s get on with business and find out where this road leads – together.

I am released the draft copy of Part I from my book; The Next Economic Paradigm. It can be downloaded here. Please let me know if you have any comments. I will publish the remaining 2 parts shortly.

Social Isolation Funnel

You don’t stand a chance.

Social Influence Marketing (SIM) is becoming more sophisticated at finding you in your social space than you are in avoiding Social Influence Marketing (Advertising).   A new set of theories and systems have been deployed on how to engage you in conversation, grab your response data, funnel you into the pitch, induce credit card labor, and draw out your social broadcast.  Guess what, your social media sites are helping them….

Flirting with the enemy

The greatest problem that social media created for advertisers was to disperse the crowd from the once treasured “captive audience” of the radio/TV days to millions of individual affinity outlets.  Blasting the message home is no longer a function of Ad spend.    However, marketers are smart and social media sites are corporations too – now these forces are converging with unimaginable voracity.

They have you figured out.

In a quest for monetization, popular sites now provide “data services” to the brands. Such data empowers, once again, the advertiser over the viewer.  Why not provide “data service” to the users about what the brands pay for and what information they are mining about users?  If Brands are not comfortable with disclosing such information – should we be comfortable about teaching our “human nature” to them?

As social sites increasingly develop stickiness applications to retain the audience, new innovations are directed to that old business TV/Radio model rather than reinforcing the reason why social media emerged in the first place.    At some point, it becomes the best interest of the social site to meet the Wall Street expectation of “tangible output” over the user expectation of increased productivity. In other words, keep people glued to the LCD and don’t empower them to enter their communities to innovate social change.

Once users lose the ability to reject a brand message, we’re all right back where we started from.

People need to meet each other in real life to do real things. The best way to retain the original power of social media is to disperse once again.  Micro-social networks reflecting communities of interest need to form in proximity to each member.  Each community of interest must combine with other highly local social networks to share ideas, create local innovation, and enforce social priorities.

Hide your data in your own data:

Each time a different affinity group meets with another affinity group, the demographic data changes – it becomes renewed, refreshed and remains in the possession of the community.  This is where the value is, people can own it of they knew it’s theirs – and Brands can access far more value by supporting communities rather than by isolating communities.

Making A Mess on Madison Ave

Wall Street talks about a Basket of Goods. The UN talks about a basket of Currencies.  What would Madison Avenue say when Main Street coverts your baskets of goods with their basket of social currencies?

Here is a simple business plan that will screw everything up.

Suppose that a pool of advertisers in a single industry (yup, competitors) all throw 10% of their advertising budget into a basket.  Now, suppose that money is distributed among a basket of the top 10% most active social media mavens (bloggers) based on their rankings related to the affinity segment.

For example, all teen fashion designers and outlets would toss 10% of their ad budget into a basket.  The money would be distributed to the top 10% of teen fashion bloggers for doing exactly what they are going to do anyway – communicate their lifestyle experiences in their galaxy of communities.

What does this achieve?

1. If your product sucks, you’ll know why.

2. If your competitor rocks, you’ll know why.

3. Your brand is disseminated more efficiently than advertising

4. You are supporting the community that serves you.

5. People who are good at community organizing can earn a living doing it – that’s good for communities and your brand image.

6. Beats the Payola Laws because the payer can only pull their money from the basket – not any single payee.  Pulling out would not send a good message oh, no, no, no

7. Bogus Bloggers can’t beat the rankings

8. a 300 Billion dollar per year advertising industry with a 95% failure rate can be bypassed by GOOD products – profit center anyone?

9. Designers create products in response to Social Priorities not Wall Street priorities.

10. You’ll create a Millions of young, proactive, innovative entrepreneurs too busy to watch traditional media anyway.

Oh sure, you’ll hear a desperate whine from Madison Avenue – That’s all free advertising – as a bulldozer moves the wrong way down a ONE WAY street.

Counting Eyeballs

The Advertising Industry has some serious problems. Ad agencies are having a difficult time understanding the modern advertising space with the limited, if not worthless, paradigm carried over from the days of radio; the CPM.

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille

CPM means: how much does it cost to penetrate 1000 heads?… or 2000 eyeballs, I suppose. They count the penetrated heads, like an act of war – the body count, the bullet shells, the napalm canisters…and that is the basis of their decisions. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

The CPM is however, a great way to kill off creativity, highlighting the flashy crap while burying the good stuff. Maybe it works well in the counter insurgency of Afghanistan, but it does not work in social media space. What happens after the mommy blogger gets a look at that Spiderman drinking cup that melts in the dishwasher?  Imagine the blog post about that cool new GM retro rod that smells like formaldehyde to the undertaker enduring their midlife crisis.

What’s the CPM for the blogger?: zero.  Can advertisers compete?: no.  Should they stop?: yes.

People are not stupid and they do not work for free. Yet, the entire web advertising model tries to get them to walk through a rat maze of links and pages just to hit more banner ads (impressions).  Advertisers keep doing it, ad after ad, page after page, year after year.  They wonder why the rat don’t hunt.  The most important thing to a rat is food, family, and friends.  There must be a tangible economic incentive for people to do what you want them to do.  Even after that, not all impressions are equal, or favorable, or lead to sales – but every one is valuable to your product and your brand if you know who I am.

Foresight is 20/20

It is always very expensive to change people’s behavior and the best management policy is to accommodate what people are going to do anyway.  If  I want to drive a retro rod, help me do enjoy my friends with it – don’t pull the emergency brake.  If I want to spend time with my family, don’t interrupt me.  If I want to walk in the park, don’t whack me on the head with a billboard.  That’s not a great way to start a conversation.

Open letter to Pitchmeisters

Dear CPM mongers, I have learned to ignore you. Like the paint blots on a Monet, I have learned to see the image despite your distortions.  Your “fear” pitch is comical to me.  The buy-me-love pitch is goofy.  The lifestyle-threat angle sounds as ridiculous as an old like Archie Bunker re-run.  The most fun I can have is using my ability to walk away leaving you talking to yourself like a deranged chimpanzee at the zoo.

Measure what I measure

Help me do what I’m going to do anyway even if I still ignore you – all data is data.  If you want to understand me, measure what I measure; health, happiness, productivity, laughter, family, friends, hope, vision, safety, music art, quality of life.  Help me make friends, empower my community, and care for my family. Don’t try to take these away from me – you will lose.

Coupon Search Engine – Are You Worthy?

 

Are you worthy ?

What if many companies dropped their advertising spend into a several different buckets of cash representing various lifestyle segments?  Now, suppose that the cash was distributed  to social media mavens corresponding to their social media reach in the lifestyle segments.  The advertisers and the amounts contributed to the buckets are fully disclosed.  The Social Media mavens are compensated by their Alexa rankings – again, fully disclosed and objective. The Social Mavens are simply paid to blog their lifestyle experiences with no contract or commitment to any brand, nor retribution for any assessment – just like always.

A new Financial Instrument

The debit card serves as a financial instrument modeled after the insurance industry that replaces traditional advertising with managed ROI risk. Of course, we are not the only ones trying to find a way to make the 300 Billion dollar per year advertising spend more efficient….

Sticky Coupons

The following Rueters article demonstrates that the coupon is not dead – nor is it paper anymore.  ASK.com will compile coupons and help people to find savings.  This is good for advertisers since more can be given away on the coupon because less is spent on production and traditional media.  This is also good for the consumer as more valuable coupons is more money in one’s pocket.

Feed the Entrepreneurs, feed the economy

Now we need to ASK – as the coupon value increases and the redemption time decreases and If the minimum wage is 8 dollars per hour – at what point can a person earn 8 dollars per hour cutting coupons?   Can a Social Maven, in fact, earn a decent living doing other people’s shopping all on coupons?  Why not?

***original article here********

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ask, the search engine owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, unveiled a new service on Tuesday to help consumers seek out coupons for saving money when shopping online.

 

The new service, Ask Deals, helps users search the Web for deals available by aggregating the best offers to a proprietary database of more than 1 million offers from national and local merchants.

 

Ask’s management hopes by having a dedicated “deals” tab on its search engine page the feature will become a natural destination for consumers looking to save money with discounts on goods and services.

 

Ask has added features such as helping consumers share coupons and deals through email and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Users can also sign up for “Deal of the Day” emails.

 

The majority of Ask’s revenue comes through a search advertising partnership with market leader Google Inc, which brings up links of relevant advertisers in response to a user’s search query.

 

The Ask network was the fourth most-used search engine in the United States with a 3.9 percent share of all search queries in August, according to Web measurement firm comScore. Google had 64.6 percent market share, Yahoo had 19.3 percent share and Microsoft’s new Bing search engine had 9.3 percent share.

 

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Marketing in the Age of Social Capitalism

Family Recipe?

The recipe for selling great products to great customers in the age of Social Media resides first in helping people find their highest talent and passion.  Advertisers need to offer something to the community that they target.  The best place to start is in understanding the challenges and opportunities that a modern community faces.

The great innovations of our time were created by people doing what they enjoyed most by using their talents to the highest potential.  Disney, Boeing, Apple, Mattel, and nearly every other ground breaking venture had the secret sauce of people doing what they were best at and most passionate about – and it was not about collecting “stuff”

The passion play

Computer Enabled Society is in the midst of a struggle to reorganize itself outside of the construct of the traditional corporation. It seeks to develop methods and systems that allow for the reallocation of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to match a person’s natural talents, passions, and abilities with those complementary to other people. This is as true for communities as it is for corporations.  The result will be a profound new paradigm of Social Capitalism reflecting social priorities and community values.

Do no evil:

If marketers have the foresight and talent to “get ‘em while they’re young” or to “sell ‘em what they fear”, they certainly also have the foresight and methods to “develop ‘em to their highest potential”. Advertising agencies are full of real smart people who know how to deliver a hidden message – why not use that talent to empower people?

Instead, mass marketing pays mass money for mass audience from which to draw mass revenues – the message gets debased to play on mass fears, anxieties, and insecurities because this is the least common denominator.  As a result, actual products are designed to be marketed, sold, and thrown away; not to be particularly useful, productive, or even healthy.  Unnecessary innovation wastes human effort and natural resources while mass marketing of unnecessary innovation wastes the time and bandwidth of those for whom the product is irrelevant.  Yes, the majority of advertising is just Spam.

Advertisers as community organizers?

Few realize that advertising can become a highly useful component of the Innovation Economy.  In many professional practitioners look forward to hearing from vendors, educators, and fellow practitioners for trends, news, and developments that can strengthen their community.  Bad products are rejected quickly and good ones are elevated quickly. This is how the great innovations are found. This is where the early adopters congregate. This is where brand loyalty is unyielding. This is where wealth is created.  This is efficiency that society wants and needs. Social Media can deliver this audience but advertisers need to adapt by losing the CPM (cost per mille) model (more on that later).

Marketing to communities is fluid, dynamic, specific, and it takes some work.  The dynamics of communities will replace the statics of demography and CPM.  Fulfill those needs of a community and your products will win forever.  It is not difficult to see the future, only to act on it.  That is innovation.

Unspoken Communication and the Bottom Line

As a community developer for several websites, I go through lots of different information sources.  I am looking for stories and nuance that demonstrate how conversation behaves like a currency.  The more I look, the more I see.  The strength of the analogy is quite remarkable.

Unspoken Values

I can also see how the unspoken communication stores as much value as the spoken communication.  In the U.S. , there are race troubles, financial troubles, trust troubles, and confidence troubles. Many fears and anxieties can be accelerated by Social Media in unpredictable ways.  First, information riles people up quicker than facts can follow, and second, the shelf life is much shorter as issues are dissipated by new ones.  Much is left unprocessed.

The Micro-Trauma

What happens when important issues in life go unresolved?  The life of a soldier may offer some clues where events can happen faster than the mind can process them.  Perhaps the life of a child offers some clues where every day brings so much new information that all new events  are processed in terms of basic necessity.   Perhaps any traumatic event such as a divorce, loss of a family member, or victimization places us in the realm of the unspoken communication.  This is a protection mechanism, not a delivery system.

As the World Churns

Billions of people hustle off to work and spend their day producing stuff in order to earn imaginary money so they can spend imaginary money.  This helps things move from the forests to the dumps. They have no idea the sophistication of the micro-trauma delivery system that acts on how they process information.

The unspeakable drives our fears, interests and concern and influences how we process future information.  I am amazed at how two people will arrive at opposite conclusions from the same data and the inability for those two people to speak to each other rationally.  Advertisers, politicians. PR firms, and traditional media can deliver bits of information and dissipate them quickly leaving an unprocessed data-packets behind.

Opting Out:

I just closed my land line, canceled cable TV and purchase a subscription to on-line music radio that I play constantly.   I “hide” the fringe mongers on my FaceBook, and get my news from Google alerts, feeds, and sources that align with what I am able to process mentally and emotionally.  What I cannot process, I have a network of trusted friends who can process the information and guide me through the issues.  I am quite happy, in fact, as many areas of my life are improving; health, friends, family, productivity, and finances…etc.

There is a tremendous opportunity available in delivering the right information to the right people with the intent of helping them to successfully and completely process information.  This is more work up front, but the loyalty in the long-run is exactly what politicians, marketers, and news sources are competing for.  Instead they are killing the patient to cure the disease.

In order to monetize in the new economic paradigm, help the unspoken communication become speakable and then listen to your friends.

Do the Laws of Persuation Hold in Social Media?

 

Anyone who has ever shopped for a car is familiar with the tried and true negotiation methods.  With the advent of social media, negotiations are happening more and more in social space and in combination with in-person events.

Time pressures, price pressures, asymmetric information, location, vetting, and abundance of alternate solutions are breaking the rules of negotiating.  Meanwhile, retribution for deals gone wrong has swung in favor of the consumer.  Here is a list of methods sourced from Robert Cialdini for negotiating and a few point about how things have changed.

1. Law of Advocacy; Introduce a third party: a salesperson can tell a prospect he “needs to talk to the manager” From that point forward, the prospect views the salesperson as an advocate.

People don’t need an advocate. Social media provides a written record of a past transaction as well as a snapshot of supply and demand in a market. People check FB while salesperson is off checking with manager. Customers have checked prices elsewhere and are only calculating the cost of time to scroll down the street for the deal they want.

2. Law of Urgency: Top negotiators create a sense of urgency by specifying which terms they’re willing to agree to, then setting a firm deadline, after which the deal is off the table.

Twitter sets a new standard for urgency.  Cause and effect are reversed as people respond to social media news to initiate the process.  “Off the table” means off the screen and on to the next vendor.  Next prospect is warned not to fall for the urgency trick.

3. Law of Authority: Using statistics to establish why you offer the best value on the market. It’s a way of saying, “You have more to lose here than I do.

Facts are increasingly easy to check. Undisclosed facts are easy to discover. Statistics can be read many ways in social media. Is the negotiator ready to be accused of warming the planet more than the next guy?

4. Law of Social Proof: Credibility is king in negotiations. Presenting testimonials from best-in-class companies lets prospects know the best in the business choose to do business with you.

Some references may in fact be liabilities.  Best in class companies (such as Whole Foods Market) can get in trouble real quick.  Is the negotiator ready to keep this list “twitter ready”?  Testimonials come from the bloggers, not the PR department. Ouch.

5. Law of Reciprocity: Shrewd negotiators establish a quid-pro-quo early on, so prospects understand it works both ways.

What can a negotiator offer in an environment where the customer has the same information they do? The customer is more able to put a fair market value on the “quid” thereby eliminating any arbitrage advantage.

6. Law of Commitment and Consistency: By getting the other party to agree to the “no brainer” terms gets them in the habit of saying “yes” and they are less likely to say “No” to a deal that is 99% done.

Customer is more empowered to say “no” to the terms that matter.  They have studied the case studies of others who have gone down the same path. Social interaction is desensitized especially of the negotiator does not appear to be tech savvy – commitment and consistency is easily lost.

Traditionally the negotiation process starts in the advertising campaign.  Get it?

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Why Are Leaders Failing?

bad-leadership-causes-failed-itPeople look for leaders that inspire them to achieve innovative breakthroughs. People trust, or so we think, CEO’s to effectively lead their organizations so that employees can continue to get paid.

The confidence in leadership is waning and a new “leadership” is emerging. The new leadership is from and by the people. The reason for a shift in leadership is as follows:

1. Politicians have failed us with self interest and politics as usual. Usual no longer works for the people

2. CEO’s and management have failed to listen to the markets of conversations

3. Greed is out, efficiency is in and the old market is not adapt at “lean, mean and fast”

4. The people has lost trust in media, politicians and old management schemes

5. Advertising and marketing methods of the past are dead. 96% of the online ads get no responses. A rate of 3% at best is the return on direct mail, coupons and broadcast ads.

6. The market is no longer listening to the old market rather the market is listening to the people

7. People have been empowered and engaged to create their own markets and they follow a new kind of market leader. A leader who enables them to learn, grow and share with others whom have an affinity to their interest and beliefs.

8. New leaders are now  conversing with their own audience and there are many of them.  There are also a few leaders who are enabling many to engage, converse and build our own audience.

9. Conversations have never been so fluid, so reaching and so powerful.  The irony is that the power of speech has always been and will always be disruptive. History proves it so but we are in an era of making history that reinvents itself daily from the conversations.

10. Old leaders either adapt very quickly or die. The old game is over and the longer you try and play it the more it will cost the market, your investors and the people whom supply the market with commerce, the people.

Admit It, You are Out of Touch And Blinded By The Past

For politicians and corporate leaders the downfall of your empires is directly related to markets changing and you denying the change. If you haven’t noticed markets are now transparent. There is nothing you do that the market won’t notice and freely comment on, good, bad and indifferent. When you do good the market with follow you. When you do bad or do the same thing the market will leave you. Unless you recognize this shift your dead in the water.

Time is your enemy and denial is your your deathbed.  Being dead in the water means the next wave will topple your boat because its force is too big, too large and you can’t move fast enough to navigate around or over it.

Then again you may simply not have time or attention to even recognize that it just may be true and real.  In that case, move over for the new leader to replace you sooner than later.  Leaders are failing because they fail to change and fail to listen. Sorry for being so frank but I don’t have time to be politically correct. Get it?

Gnomedex 9.0 Seattle

I attended the Gnomedex 9.0 Social Media Conference in Seattle.  While it was wonderfully informative and every single person that I met was engaged, interesting, and accomplished in some productive way related to social media, I was left with some troubling observations as well as some very inspiring moments.

Observation:

1. Trillions upon trillions of dollars are being transferred to Social Media with the persistent extinction of old media dinosaurs – does anyone care?

2. Advertising concerns, print media, corporate HR, were strikingly absent from the corporate vendors on site and in among the sponsors – they should have been hovering over in helicopters.

3. There were ONLY a few hundred people in attendance – there should have been a few hundred thousand (6619 Tweets sent).

4. This event should have been gold plated – it was not, which leads me to some of the inspiring moments.

Inspiring Moments:

1. Many of the presentations reflected social priorities like the environment, using social media to empower yourself and the people around you,  and empowering less developed nations.

2. Relative absence of commercialization

3. Gnomedex 9.0, means that 9 have occurred and this is what it has “evolved to”.  As a worthy social experiment in itself, this shows us what social media WILL evolve to

4. Building trust was a predominant theme

Read Between the lines:

Social media reflects social priorities, not Wall Street Priorities – in fact, the table has turned.  For example: Twitter will be charging Corporations to view social media – after corporations failed to get people to pay them to view social media.

Every single business transaction is subject to a similar “reversal” relative to social media space.  The World has no idea what’s coming down the tracks.

Listening For What People are Listening For

Communities organize themselves:

Most people do not listen completely in conversations because they are too busy planning their response to what they think the other person is going to say.   Often what seems like astute response is a template that may fit a moment but can kill a conversation.  The successful conversation occurs when all participants speak to what the others are listening for. Not an easy trick.

I Heard the Ocean

When I first got into this social media stuff, I had a lot to say.  Then I figured out that nobody was listening; I learned a lot since then. As soon as I started to listen, people started listening back.   Today these people are my heroes, I hang on their every word, their generosity is roughly 70% of my social media world – where did they come from and where can I find more people like them?

Well, that’s all I have to say about that, so let’s listen to Janet Fouts. Part of her quote is a product pitch, but that illustrates an important point in Innovation Economics; conversation is currency and this currency has value:

“Before you dive into social media for any reason, listening should be your first step. What are people talking about and where are they doing it? Is there buzz out there about you or your product that you didn’t know about? Who should you be connecting to? Has there been a recent event you want to find out more about?

Setting up listening tools from free to paid versions can give you a tremendous amount of information and help you find even more things to talk about. I’ll give working examples of listening tools, outline a strategy for effective listening and give you some ideas to use this information in a real world setting.

This short 30 minute session will include links to both free and paid listening tools and creative scenarios for use.

You will learn how to:

  • Set up a set of listening tools to cover multiple platforms
  • Identify the right listening tools for your own needs
  • Identify the best networks for you to participate on
  • Evaluate what you find
  • Creative ways to engage and communicate your message
  • Find new topics to populate your blog and online discussions
  • Evaluate how effective your social media campaign is

Thanks Janet, Now here is a hint at the product pitch at Conversational Currency:

“In a few months, events such as Janet’s may need not  be funded by the participant.  Rather, our sponsors will support events for those most worthy of  participating.  Why would sponsors do such a thing?  Maybe they too are learning to listen, after all, roughly 70% of the US economy is consumer spending.  Will roughly 70% of ad budget be allocated on listening?”

What does all this mean?  keep listening!

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