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Crowdfunding via Twitter – Startups win!

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

During these tough economic times, new imaginative and contagious ideas are born. In Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times, the students were taught to never wonder. They were never rewarded for using their imagination and it led to their downfall.

Today, the UK is allowing all kinds of imaginative endeavors to flourish. Ireland’s hard times are serving as the inspiration for a very unusual way to raise money for new startup companies.

It is called ‘Outvesting’ and defined like this: “The act of committing money to a business while expecting to get nothing in return, other than the satisfaction of giving a leg up to Irish entrepreneurs.”

So, who is crazy enough to let go of their precious savings? Well, enough to raise the total goal for two crowdfunded campaigns.

For instance, the recent iQ Prize, whereby Dublin internet consultancy iQ Content awarded EUR 10,000 (US$14,700) to a promising young Irish startup as a way to help kick-start the country’s recovery. Outvesting has now launched a similar effort; only this time it’s a grassroots one that’s using a crowdfunding approach via Twitter.

Outvesting aims to give EUR 5,000 (US$7,300) with no strings attached to an Irish startup. To make that possible, it has used Twitter to invite interested participants to contribute EUR 50 each towards the effort. And now, that they’ve reached their goal, Outvesting will announce how startups can apply to win the collected funds. Those who donated to the fund will get more than just good karma in return—they’ll also get the chance to vote on which startup wins the money. Pretty cool, eh?

So, even in these hard times, when you combine the power of crowds with the reach of Twitter, the possibilities are limitless.

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WordPress makes a great website, too!

October 26, 2009 1 comment

I’ve just learned that some very large organizations are changing over their website formats to WordPress. But, wait …isn’t that a Blogging platform? Yes, precisely and that’s one reason folks are switching over.

Here’s a screen grab of an e-marketing site called ICONDOCK

An e-Marketing site built with WordPress!

An e-Marketing site built with WordPress!

This wonderfully clean and easy-to-navigate site sure doesn’t look like a blog, does it? Well, it’s not, it’s a fully functional site for selling stock icons and it’s built using WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform!

So, what’s the big deal? Let’s look at four reasons that sound good to me:

1.) It’s FREE! Yes that’s right, the WordPress site building software is open source and is free to download and use to build your own website.

2.) Don’t know HTML? No problem, it’s easy to update content on your website without knowing HTML. Do you hate the idea of having to learn to use a complex HTML editor tool like Dreamweaver? Once WordPress is set up for you, you can easily create new pages or edit existing pages using a simple rich text editor. If you can use Microsoft Word then WordPress will be easy!

3.) Content –Extensions – There is a thriving ecosystem of developers creating themes and plug-ins – imagine free design themes, or the ability to extend your website with polls, contact forms, ratings or hundreds of other cool features without having to hire a web developer.

4.) SEO & RSS– Not only are RSS feeds built into the software for easy promotion of your site, search engines, especially Google, love WordPress making it a better platform choice than other options for great optimization.

So, that’s why so many folks are switching over to WordPress for site building and content management. It’s easy to build and easy to edit and manage, saving time and money!

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Most Companies not aware of Groundswell

October 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Are most American businesses using Twitter and the new social media to add vitality to their focus and mission? No. Most are definitely not.

Almost unanimously, when asked if their company needed a “micro-blogging platform that connected them in real time to thousands of users around the planet” they answered, well– “Not really.” Of course, had Ma Bell taken a poll before launching the telephone, the answer would probably have been the same.

Forrester, the research consultancy that wrote the book on the ‘groundswell‘, has released the results of a new research report. The study shows that real-time collaboration has stalled in the business community due in most part to the lack of adoption in technologies such as web conferencing and instant messaging. That may be true with existing technologies but it is important to note the new generation of applications that extend real-time collaboration tools.

The State Of Workforce Technology Adoption by Forrester is definitely comprehensive in its examination of how people use technology in the workforce. It’s a mass-market report, meaning this is how people use technology today. They surveyed 2,001 “information workers” at organizations with 100 or more employees. It is Forrester’s first report in this realm. It covers devices, productivity, mobility, collaboration, and intranet portals

Forrester analyst Ted Schadler wrote the report. He makes the point that the purpose of the study is to walk a mile in the shoes of the information worker.

These are information workers who:

  • Predominantly use desktop computers: 76%
  • Have a pent up demand for smart phones: Just 11% use them at work
  • Rely on email for most everything
  • Do not really use traditional collaboration tools such as web conferencing and instant messaging

Just look at how dominating email has become and you see the challenges to real-time collaboration.

forrester.emailworkforce

This niche opportunity should be encouraging to i-Media students who understand the power of the groundswell. To know that most companies don’t even have current access to the latest social media tools opens up all kinds of job opportunities for the savvy new media specialist.

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Interactive Noise – Yes? It’s off the wall!

October 4, 2009 Leave a comment
Could we see a different room please?

Could we see a different room please?

Wow! Isn’t this new media technology just great? These giant, multi-color neon light balls fall down from the ceiling and bounce off the headboard. All of them reacting to the movements in the room. Just what you need after that long day, on your feet, at the convention smiling to everyone coming to your company’s booth. Wha?

It took 20 centuries for modern man to reach this achievement…interactive hotel walls..awesome! We move and the neon light balls react. Are they waiting to move when I’m sleeping?

This is a lot better than those boring old [interactive] cave drawings. Pre-historic man didn’t have a clue. Who needs sheep? We can finally get a good nights sleep.

O, ladies and gentlemen with your new tech toys, please help me. I think this installation might make a great wall in a nightclub. Could we have some empathy for the audience. Do all of us want to interact with all of the world all of the time?

Here’s the great test for social media addicts. When you sign off of twitter or facebook, do you feel relieved from the quiet or anxious about what you might be missing? Are we forgetting what silence can mean to our sanity?

Quiet please. Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze just came on. Nighty Night.

Do you always buy the latest innovation?

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Do you accept all the latest & greatest innovative technology? Do you pay the high prices for the latest phone? Do you really need the fastest laptop? If you do, you may be what is referred to as an ‘innovator’.

As we ‘live the future’ with our advanced technology toys and tools, we are constantly faced with deciding what our threshold is for adopting new innovation. Of course, the theory of adopting new technology is not new. In fact, in 1964, Everett M. Rogers, a sociologist and communications scholar, pioneered this field of study with his famous diffusion of innovations theory.

Rogers details a spectrum of adoption categories from laggards to late majority to early majority, early adopters and the most active of all the innovators. This theory of social tendencies still holds up quite nicely today even though the innovations of today are far more advanced than those available in the mid-sixties.

In addition, and more relevant to today’s lecture by Professor Janna Anderson, I was interested in another aspect of Rogers’ original theory. I refer here to the theme of thresholds of adoption, a topic covered in today’s lecture.

Rogers addresses the following values as to whether an innovation will be adopted or rejected:

  • The relative advantage – ie., how much improved over the previous generation?
  • Compatibility is the second characteristic, the level of compatibility that an innovation has to be assimilated into an individual’s life.
  • The Complexity of an innovation is a significant factor in whether it is adopted by an individual. If the innovation is too difficult to use an individual will not likely adopt it.
  • Trial-ability –determines how easily an innovation may be experimented with as it is being adopted. If a user has a hard time using and trying an innovation this individual will be less likely to adopt it.
  • Observability is the extent that an innovation is visible to others. An innovation that is more visible will drive communication among the individual’s peers and personal networks and will in turn create more positive or negative reactions.

These values still work today and are a good way to judge and predict the acceptance of innovations.

Can this ‘test’ also apply to innovative advertisements? What about innovative marketing campaigns?

I think so.

Categories: COM540

Wanna job in i-Media? Meet your new boss!

September 27, 2009 1 comment

Meet Jeff Benjamin (above); he hires i-Media ‘digital talent’. He’s the Interactive Executive Creative Director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. CP+B has an impressive list of clients, companies like Burger King, Microsoft, Dominoes, Old Navy, etc.

Note that Jeff talks about how his favorite interview question is “What have you invented lately? This may very well be the kind of person who will be your new boss. How would you do in one of his interviews?

Note also that Jeff’s boss is Alex Bogusky (the ‘B’ of CP +B). Alex was selected as Fast Company Magazine’s #1 pick of the 10 Most Creative People in Marketing and Advertising! Why? He’s the creative behind some famous campaigns that resemble multi-media hijinks, rather than commercials. Nice!

If you’re going into the Ad biz, check out Bogusky’s blog baked-in, it’s an insightful read on the new media in advertising. In fact, he has just released a new book under the same title that has this endorsement from the Long Tail‘s Chris Anderson:

“If you want to understand the future of marketing, advertising and product design, start here. Baked In provides essential insights from two of the hottest minds in marketing today.”

Categories: COM540

It’s all about Me…don’t you know?

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Today, let’s talk about those guys who build complex diagrams to explain things. (They seem to always be guys, don’t they?)

You know what I mean. They’re well-intentioned and usually have arrows and boxes and somebody has spent a long time on them and really, really thought about them. But, it seems the more they think about them and tweak them and get them all ready to show they’re way too complicated to communicate the message on their own.

By the time these guys are done with their model-diagram, they need to write an operating manual to navigate the thing. It kind of makes you wonder what the point was in making the model to begin with? Why don’t they just write a research paper and be done with it?

For example, there’s the famous food pyramid. Well, it used to be famous. But now they aren’t satisfied with it so we have all these new pyramids being drawn up. It’s kind of a food fight.

If you google ‘food pyramid’, look out, you’re going to see a whole smorgasbord of models trying to explain what we should eat. I was just getting to understand the old one and now they’re off changing it again. I guess the old one didn’t account for tacos or smoothies. Smoothies are real popular now, you know.

Today we were assigned the project of coming up with a new model for interactive communication. You see, kind of like smoothies that weren’t even invented until recently, these days the communications business is all a twitter about interactivity.

In other words, we want you to answer your e-mails.

Go ahead, interact a little bit. The Internet makes it virtually free.

Anyway, our class broke up into teams and our team decided that we don’t like diagrams that are models of the communication process. To be kind and because of all the work those fellows put into them, let’s just say we don’t understand those diagrams. More to the point, we couldn’t find ourselves in any of those models. At least when you look at the old food pyramid, they had pictures of food like bananas that you could recognize.

Oh sure, these communication models had “sender” and “receiver” and so forth but we didn’t like being put in a box that was on one side of the diagram and then imagining that you had to jump out of that box into another one. (We assumed that’s what you have to do as there was no operating manual with the diagram provided to us.)

So, we decided to devise a diagram that wasn’t a box. Our diagram didn’t have anything to do with other people out there trying to jump from “sender” boxes into “receiver” boxes. We drew a circle and called it the “me” model of communication.

In other words, let’s just worry about “me” and how “I” interact with the world. Then, anyone can act like they are a “me” and they are welcome to use our model. Our professor kind of liked the “me” model because I think it was easy for her to imagine herself in our circle going out answering e-mails, listening, chatting, responding and so forth. Well, that was swell. We could see right away that our model was easy to use.

Right at the end of class though, kind of to challenge us, our professor said, “wait a minute, this model only accounts for people. There’s other kinds of communicators.” But, our group was fast on our feet and defended the “me” model pronto by responding, “if a chair squeaks it’s communicating something, right? Well, a chair is allowed to be a ‘me’, also!” Silence. Confirmation. Approval.

Someday, we’ll make a real colorful and professional looking ‘me’ model and post it. Trust ‘me’.

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