User Generated Content

social media and political insensitivity

(Disclaimer: I have never read the Quran. I enjoyed having Mein Kamph in the bathroom for some light reading in college.  The views expressed in the videos embedded below are not my own.)

Fitna How do you tolerate intolerance?  Should you?

A member of the Dutch Parliament is being called out by the Dutch courts for insulting Islam, comparing the Quran to Mein Kamph. 

My Question
Is the democratization of media always a good thing?  Is it a good thing that one man has the right to stand up and reach hundreds of thousands via YouTube to share this non politically correct perspective?

Does the web celebrate the niche because the mainstream media doesn't serve their needs?
Is this a good thing for democracy?  For humanity?

Original Fitna Interview (part one) video below

Dutch Commentator on the Political Retribution over Fitna video below

My 2 Cents
I'm not sure that humanity is bettered by voices that call out one another's religious beliefs.  Nor am I convinced that assimilation is the answer to multi-culturalism.  But I can say I am proud of a culture that allows even the most un-PC people to voice their un-PC opinions.

With this in mind, is it acceptable for a PC country like Indonesia to block this content?

EA : when getting it wrong = getting it right

Image representing Electronic Arts as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Anyone who has ever played a video game is familiar with the art of the glitch. It's as much a part of the gaming culture as mustachioed plumbers with an intense hatred of turtles.

Gamers practically expect to occasionally walk through walls, see through corners of buildings or walk on air.  These glitches aren't created on purpose, but with all the depth in today's games, it's understandable when something occasionally slip through the cracks.

Such was the case in Electronic Arts' Tiger Woods game.  A "glitch" known as "The Jesus Shot" was "discovered", allowing players to walk on water.  In a game that prided itself on realism, this glitch seemed both entertaining and a bit out of place.  A "fan" posted a video to this effect on You Tube, generating quite a bit of buzz.

So what does EA do about this buzz?  They used the buzz momentum for some great free publicity, creating the spot below (video below/after the jump).  Well Done.

Here's to hoping that this was an honest play, and not a seeded campaign.  For more conversation on the EA Jesus Shot campaign, check out the discussions linked here.  Really check them out.  I would estimate that nearly all the buzz was positive (with the only concern being the corporate usage of a religious icon in marketing).  Well Done!

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Comcast's Carpe Diem Moment

Comcast Corporation

Image via Wikipedia

Comcast had some service issues.  They did the right thing.  They reached out.  The became responsible digital social citizens. 

They are resolving issues. 

Sure, they may be more that they could be doing, there is always room for growth and optimization.

But perhaps the most notable component of this effort (of late) is the amazing New York Times writeup on the Comcast Cares initiative.  This mainstream recognition of Comcast efforts has driven massive spikes in buzz across the interwebs.  Comcast is on fire.

But what are they doing with this spike in conversation?  How are they fueling and enabling brand advocacy?

Ian Schafer suggests, "I would find more 'Franks', and let each of their subscribers know that it's an option."  Great idea.  But I think the immediate opportunity here transcends customer service.

Consider the conversation captured (on Twitter) below:

Comcast Cares Conversations
Comcast looks to be missing out on a tremendous social PR opportunity.

It's one thing to build a social customer service capability. It's another to internalize digital social media across an organization. 

Comcast Cares is a great program.  Here's to hoping that Comcast integrates this dynamic across the rest of their organization.

when insight becomes influence

Note: for more on this thread check out my article in tomorrow's issue of Personal Branding Mag.  Get a free sample here!


InfluenceInsightful people are not influentials.    Knowledgeable people are not influentials.    Smart people are not influentials.

Key Takeaway: Influence is not defined by one's credentials, but by the depth of the avenue of influence a given party places in this subject's hands.

In Plain English: the level of influence a "thought leader" has on his/her audience is not defined by his/her credentials or even the quality of his/her perspective, but by the level of credence and attention this "thought leader" has garnered against this audience.

Example: Joe Blogger may be brilliant.  But the level of influence he has on me is directly proportionate to the amount of attention and credence I put in his perspective. 

Food For Thought: With all the talk about the role of influentials in community, isn't it time we reconsidered the role of individual-defined influence filtering?  Just because I read TechCrunch or may be a member of the Mashable or NewTeeVee communities, does that inherently imply that my personal influence filter is similar or even related to others in the community?

where's all the GOOD online video?

Static There is not too much new on TV these days.  There will be even less worth watching on TV in a couple of weeks (once the networks run out of all of their scripted programming).

This is online video's time to shine. This is the time for semi-pro generated content to rise to the mainstream.

But I haven't seen anyone step up and fill in the traditional scripted media gap.  Where's all the GOOD online video?

As much as I support the writers rights to dividends, could it be that WE NEED THE NETWORKS as purveyors of quality content, as necessary money-heavy middlemen? Sure, 80% of the scripted programming on network TV may not be great, but I have yet to see an online video offering deliver anything approaching the quality of The Office on a regular basis. 

Anyone out there watching anything worth sharing?  Please share in the comments below.

innovation in an ROI driven world

Innovation_connection Over the past year I've encountered dozens of solutions, technologies, sales vendors, advertisers, marketers and futurists, all claiming to embody a single phrase - innovative. Yet to be totally honest, I haven't seen all that much that really blew my mind.  Is this because innovation has been stifled by realism, near term ROI concerns, a lack of vision, or is this a symptom of something greater?

Everyone claims to be pushing ahead, innovating, bringing forth new solutions that are "groundbreaking".

But most of what I've seen looks like everything I've been seeing for the past 5 years, just ported into a new channel.

As I see it, there are two types of innovation:
A) Incremental Innovation
B) Disruptive Innovation

Incremental Innovation is where much of the business world feels most comfortable.  This type of innovation is often referred to as, "the lowest hanging fruit".  This is innovation that takes a process or a concept that is already established and familiar, and builds on it.  It's not about reinventing the wheel, but adding a new feature to the wheel, making them somehow incrementally better.  Think of mobile OLA: it's nearly identical to regular OLA, just on a phone.  It's innovative,  but not yet a game changer.  Nearly all of the innovation I have seen over the past year falls into this bucket.

Disruptive Innovation is far more difficult that incremental innovation, yet the payout is far greater.  Disruptive Innovators are game changers.  They reinvent the wheel.  They are visionaries and big thinkers.  Disruptive Innovation is both risky and difficult, yet the end game payout is tremendous.  Think Facebook and social connections, the iPhone and user experience design and pervasive digital connectivity, Gigya and the widget, YouTube and UGC, Twitter and instant messaging, or BitTorrent and content distribution.  Without these innovators, 2008 would be a markedly different.

Key Takeaway: Most of us are putting the finishing touches on our '07 business and beginning to plan for '08.  If you don't have an innovation strategy or an innovation roadmap already in the books, it's time to do  so.   You won't be successful tomorrow if you don't have a plan for preparing for tomorrow, today. 

Dedicating all of your efforts to incremental innovation may satisfy the bottom line, but won't make you into a category leader.  This is true no matter regardless of the business you're in.  The time to begin planning for the future is now. 

If you've got any questions around innovation planning, PLEASE feel free to reach out to me via email or by commenting on this blog.  Karl Long just posted a great piece around the challenges and costs of getting innovation in-market.  If you'd like to learn more about innovation in business, check out any of the many fantastic blogs in reading list to the left of this post. 

Thanks for reading and as always, looking forward to your comments!

social marketing - as envisioned 30 years ago

Check out this quote:

"... talk about giving power to the people. Yonno, anybody knows that the people have the power.  All we have to do is awaken the power in the people.  The people are unaware. It's like their not educated to realize that they have power.  ... But we must try to make them aware of this."

This isn't from Seth Godin, this isn't Scoble, this isn't Arrington.  This was John Lennon, nearly 30 years ago.  This was a man who understood citizen activism and citizen marketing.  This was a visionary, a social genius.  While Lennon may have left this world 27 years ago today, his message is as true as ever.

Check it out the video below (feed readers, it's after the jump)I cannot recommend strongly enough that you watch this video in it's entirety.

Kudos to BL Ochman for sharing this fantastic piece.

ad agency futures in a white spaceless world

Digital media eliminated much of the white space once known as ad inventory. Some have tried to generate additional "artificial" white space by creating interstitials and spill-over ad units, but at the end of the day even the most compelling message running in these spots is an unwanted obtrusion in the digital media user experience.

Ad_man_2 So what's an ad man to do?

We evolve, we grow, we build out newer and better capabilities.  We become marketers, we become promoters, we become biz dev specialists, we become experience designers, we become public relations-esque community oriented social engineers.  We become everything beyond ad men and advertising.  As for the advertising - we'll do that too!

In this world of cross-capability mastery, what does the agency of the future look like?  Will it be a dynamic mesh of disparate capabilities or a series of departments and silos with cross-silo communications?  I would like to think that successful agencies will operate as a series of capability and specialty hubs with a strong focus on inter hub communications both within the agency and with the client marketing and communications teams.  There is no room for walls and lines in a digital world.  Future agency success won't be measured in units displayed or gross impressions, but the quality and cross-channel consistency of interactions.

This may seem like idle chatter, but if you think about the changing dynamic of the linear and digital ad worlds, we need to lend some serious thought to building a successful scalable structure.

Ad Agencies will no longer be creative shops or buying shops, rather they will be Consumer Communications Marketers.  As we shift away from white space or interruptive advertising and into a content and user experience centric model, we need to rethink everything we know about media operations and agency structure.  The future does not herald the death of the ad agency, rather it will see an evolution bringing new dynamics and capabilities to brands, publishers, platforms and users.  And ALL of us, be it as marketers, agency people, technologists or media consumers will be along for the ride.