When the Truth Hurts

1 10 2008

You know someone’s right on the money when it hurts so much you cringe from embarrassment.  That’s how I felt when I read Mark Cregar’s Ad Age piece this morning. He talks about the five biggest digital marketing clichés and I couldn’t agree more. 


I’ve been in countless meetings where any and all of these ideas are suggested.  How many times can we (that’s the royal we) say “user-generated content” in one meeting?  Or, ask the general – what can we do on Facebook with (insert name) client?  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand the value of these digital tactics – for certain clients.  Just because social networking has been wildly successful for some companies – doesn’t mean it will work for others.  And even worse than getting lackluster results is pushing a client into this space who isn’t ready, or for whom it doesn’t make sense.   


Sometimes in our excitement to play with the shiny new toy, we lose our objectivity.  After all, isn’t that why clients hire us?  The value we bring is our ability to analyze all the potential approaches and solutions, old and new, to a client’s business challenge.  As PR consultants, our role is to clarify the various options to our clients – how they work and which are the right ones to generate the best results. 



The Dawn of Mainstream Awareness

7 09 2008

I have been told by many PR professionals that if it a story makes the New York Times then it has reached critical mass.  With that said, today’s story is that of “The Age of Awareness.”

If you haven’t read it yet, the New York Times has it on their website (free registration required) or the author’s website has posted it as well.  Clive Thompson is a regular contributor to both the New York Times and Wired magazine and is well known within the technology and science sectors.

To summarize the article as briefly as possible: Social Networking makes us more peripherally aware of all our contacts (close or otherwise) without having to exert as much mental effort.  Mr. Thompson calls this “ambient awareness.”

As he notes in the article, when Facebook first came out, it still required users to visit each one of their friend’s pages individually until the Newsfeed came along and aggregated all the changes in their network on one page, thus reducing the effort to stay observationally connected to friends.  Twitter is no different, while each tweet may be meaningless, one person’s stream gives a peak into what is going on with them, what the pattern of their life is.

It is a great piece and I encourage the audience here to read it and if not participating on Facebook or Twitter, thinking about joining.  It’s always intimidating at first, but it gets better (and addictive).  And who knows, it may help you better pitch that writer you’ve been after for your client!

Twittering Summize or Summizing Twitter

16 07 2008

The big news the last couple of days for us Twitter users is that the popular microblogging platform acquired Summize.com for $15 million and Twitter stock. Summize is a Twitter search engine that is able to track topics through keywords. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Twitter was smart and bought the company that was already doing it the best. Summize has since been rebranded as search.twitter.com.

This acquisition will help the popular site establish a viable business model and certainly see an influx of marketers and researchers (social and marketing) joining the fold of users as the stream of consciousness can be more readily used to track what consumers are talking about. Until now, I believe only Radian6 had a tool capable of this sort of tracking. This move allows for ad placement on the search pages, eliminating what would be an outcry of users if Twitter placed ads in their stream or on their pages.

Big news that benefits marketers looking for a way to go where their customers are and more importantly, the users who were seeking the best experience possible. And as we know, Twitter has had its woes in the last year with platform failures made famous by the “Fail Whale”

Google’s Lively: The Beginning of the 3D Web?

9 07 2008

Yesterday, the most ubiquitous online property, Google, launched a world of its own entitled Lively. Unlike Second Life, a destination, Lively rooms will live everywhere. Anyone with a Google Account can construct their own avatar and wander the Internet, visiting rooms located at blogs, social networking sites, and if a company were to be inclined, the company website.

So what does all this mean? This foray into virtual reality can be seen as a step into the 3D web, where user names gain a face and movement, mimicking reality. It may only be in public beta now, but there is a chance for monetization as one would imagine, why else would they put two years of secret development into the project.

But it can also be seen as a bold move into the world of social networking, where the real time interactions can occur anywhere on the net. Its too early to tell, but I’m certain that it will have implications across the internet and the marketing industry. Some may like it, others may not.

If you feel like trying it out, feel free to visit me or look for username: freescribbles. (warning: My room could use some work.)

(cross-posted with freescribbles)