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February 2008
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March 2008

the future of healthcare - microsoft (video)

Microsoft's Future Of Healthcare Video (below)

So apparently the future is all about semi-transparent screens, adaptive interfaces, more screens, self-aware technologies, more screens, oddly shaped houses, more screens, and yes, utility oriented technology (and more screens!). 

Oh yeah, and in the future... we won't want any real buttons or signs, all we'll care about is opacity in our devices.  Tactile interfaces are so last century.  Isn't that why we all gave up on cash and coins in the 80s, in favor of credit cards, and gave up credit cards 5 years ago in favor of RFID keyfobs?

But seriously, when future casting, can we please bring a little bit of realism to the table?

the emotional and rational triggers of Social Media

Passion Social Media Marketing is about harnessing relevance and building trust with an ultimate goal of creating faithful advocacy.

And as any philosophy major will tell you, there are two schools of faith - rational faith and emotional faith.

  • Rational faith is the individual's conclusion to place faith in a subject after of a period of inquiry or a faith building experience.
  • Emotional faith is the trust one invests based on an emotional connection one feels.

So where does transparency play?

Transparency will build rational faith, but it does not necessarily create emotional connectivity.  Rational faith drives one to trust, it drives understanding.  But without an emotional investment, I don't know that it leads one to believe in a brand or product.  Rationality will rarely translate into passion.

Apple locks their doors, creating their own modern day iron curtain, and yet advocates flock to the brand in a very social manner.  This non-transparent strategy however, may not work for your brand, as chances are you're brand may not have quite the loyal following of an Apple.  Because Apple users are passionate.

Key Takeaway: rational faith can be manufactured by participation and transparency.  Trust can be built.  But emotional faith, generating fiery passion that bubbles over in the social media sphere - that only comes from something truly remarkable.

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Food For Thought: So where does this leave social media marketers?  Can we manufacture passion around a dispassionate brand?  Is it time that we began focusing less on transparency, and more on authentic passion?  Could it be that authentic passion is what makes Apple a success?

face it: your shoes (content) don't fit

Glass slipper If there's one thing I learned from Cinderella, it's not to trust talking rodents. 

If I had to chose another lesson it would be this: items are best utilized for their natural context.

If the shoe doesn't fit, forcing your way into it is both painful and useless. 

Contextual relevancy (the correct foot) is essential to obtaining the desired value (the prince) out of content (the shoe). 

We would do well to remember this.

Content delivers the strongest value to both the user and the content creator (or brand) when it plays in it's intended environment. 

A 90 minute movie may be enjoyable from the couch on a big screen tv, but it would be unwatchable when viewed a cell phone.  While a 30 second YouTube clip looks great on my cellphone, it is unwatchable on my TV.  Context drives the content experience.

Or as Valeria Maltoni said  "content works best within context".  I couldn't agree more.

And the implications are many.

Marketing Implications

Car lane The Current Dynamic: Content generators (newspapers) give the nod to feed aggregator users (Google Reader regulars), by creating RSS feeds.  These feeds feature the newspaper's existent text content and do not require additional formatting or redesign.  This content works reasonably well in the aggregate environment.

However, even as an avid feed aggregate user, I still prefer to read lengthy articles in their native environments.  There is a tangibly real value in reading content together with the pictures, formatting, sidebars and color schemes it was intended to be viewed within.

The Challenge:  Many brands are trying to live in the context of an aggregate experience (widgets in social pages, Google Reader, podcasts, etc.) by creating mini-microsites in the form of widgets and long form commercials in the form of podcasts.  A magazine ad would perform poorly on television. 

New Channel > New Experience > New Marketing.

The Solution: It's time that marketers began thinking about the aggregate user and the flaws of the strip-and-syndicate model.  We need to be building distributed utility that fits the need of the user within the context of the user, rather than the models that suit the brand low hanging fruit (text).  We need to think strategically within user and platform centric models, ultimately delivering unique utility that drives brand objectives.

It's time we started designing for success.

Technology/UI Implications

The Current Dynamic: RSS strips everything.  It strips the design, the context, the subsequent conversation.  RSS Readers strip much of the richness of the content in favor of the simplicity and ubiquity of pure text.

In a social media environment, RSS often strips even the social out of social media.

The conversational aspect of blogs as I see it, lives in three places -

  1. blog to blog conversations within the blog posts themselves,
  2. conversations living within the comments sections on blogs, and
  3. conversations (many of them public) taking place on external social media channels, such as Twitter. 

Read a blog in an RSS reader and you're only getting 1/3 the social capability of the channel.

The Next Steps

We can and will learn to aggregate and syndicate well.  But a new format is needed.

  • Wouldn't it be great is Google Reader could adjust the tonality and feel of their reader based on the piece of content being viewed?
  • Wouldn't it be fantastic if an aggregator could adjust the UI to the nature of the content (text, video, audio) rather than vice versa?
  • Wouldn't it be neat if Google Reader could display a few dynamic widgets on the page?
    • one containing related posts from across the blogosphere
    • another could contain comments and discussion threads in the blog comments together with the ability to contribute within the reader interface
    • a third would contain related media from across the internet - Twitter, traditional digital media, YouTube videos, etc.

Key Takeaway: Syndicated media need not lack for context.  However, without context, media is often stripped of it's richness and ultimately, value. 

By all means, syndicate and aggregate, but do so with caution.

275 Voices - 1 Conversation

275 bloggers.  1 project.
275 voices.  1 book.

Someone's GOT to make a Where's Waldo type project out of the "social media enthusiasts/thought leaders/egomaniacs/participants.  There are just too many of us!

I'm off to write my contribution, looking forward to meeting the other 274 contributors!

PS - If you were linked here and we haven't yet met, feel free to ping me on Twitter!  Looking forward to meeting you all!

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, R.J. Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

twitter isn't chat, it's a conversation... of sorts

737112278_1649c4ae00_b Twitter is a conversation - or at least that's what I always was lead to believe.

However, rather than being a real "conversation" in the colloquial sense, Twitter is more like an extremely large panel discussion.  The topic: our lives.

Twitter is unlike any other conversation.
Twitter is different.

  • In chat environments (ex - AIM) users are open and speak fairly freely. 
  • In Twitter however, people are generally careful in terms of both what they say, and how they say it.
  • Chat users often use text shortcuts - ex - c u l8r means see you later.
  • While twitter users may not use proper grammar, they will rarely utilize text shortcuts.
  • Conversations in many YouTube comment threads are often both anonymous and infantile.
  • Conversations in Twitter are generally transparent, personal and reasonable.
  • Conversational Marketing guidelines for blogs are clearly outlined by WOMMA.
  • Conversational Marketing guidelines for Twitter are noticeably absent.

Ask 10 people how they use Twitter, and you will likely get 10 distinct but similar answers. There is no right or wrong way to leverage the channel, there is however, a fundamental necessity that one understands the channel before activating within it.  (disclaimer - interrupting and/or polluting the digital or social channel is as always, the wrong way to use it).

Key Takeaway: New platforms introduce new behaviors and new opportunities.  Marketing within these platforms is dissimilar from anything we've seen before.  Analogies will demonstrate something similar to the experience being discussed, but there's nothing like the real thing.  Twitter isn't chat and it isn't blogging.  It's something new.  If you want to understand it, then your can't just read about it, you have to get your hands wet.  Dive in. You may even have some fun along the way!

See you there!

For more on this topic, check out these posts : here, here, here, here and here.

links for 2008-03-25

next steps: Windows Media (Player and DRM)

Wmp11Windows Media Player is a mess.  It's slow, doesn't natively bundle a robust codec support base and ties into a less-than-popular DRM scheme.  It looks like a dieing product.  But I believe that Microsoft may be sitting on an untapped goldmine.

Over the past couple years Microsoft has continued to invest in their desktop media player and DRM (beyond the media suite coupled with Vista).  Microsoft has fully revamped the UI and redesigned overall experience, delivering a far better looking player. But the success of their player is going to hinder on the value it delivers, not the wrapper it presents.  A shiny nickel will always be worth less than a crumpled dollar bill.

But there is hope for Microsoft in this world.  Microsoft has one thing that Apple, iTunes and the popular VLC Media Player don't have - advertising.  Wow, that sounded evil.  Let me explain.

Microsoft has:

  • an incredibly powerful network of users and strong desktop penetration,
  • a robust network of content owners (they are a Hulu syndication partner)
  • and their key differentiation: advertisers. 

When properly and strategically leveraged, Microsoft is in the unique position to offer ad-supported downloadable video.  I'm not talking about NBC Direct's poor excuse for ad supported downloadable video.  I'm talking about a seamless experience.  I'm talking about leapfrogging iTunes in their own field.

Microsoft is the best suited company to deliver this eventual reality.

Microsoft's desktop player should become everything that Joost could have been, had Joost had access to first-run mainstream network content.  Microsoft should be providing downloadable, portable (to Windows DRM capable devices) premium ad supported content. 

This would give the Windows Media offering an amazingly unique value prop, one that nobody else could deliver.  Google, AOL and Yahoo! don't have the desktop penetrations that Microsoft has.  Apple doesn't have the advertiser relationships.  And users don't have a free and legal way to gain access to portable content.

Everyone wins.