Being at the forefront of gamification in my work at Badgeville, I’m in a – perhaps unique way – following the nexus of numerous business trends…
- Marketers are struggling with customer loyalty because of what I like to call “Digitally-Induced Exponential ADD.” Brand loyalty is dead. Options are in. What to do?
- Business Managers are struggling to motivate and retain this whole generation of entitled, disenchanted millennials. And just wait for the next generation that is currently being raised with iPads over pacifiers.
- Companies are investing billions of dollars into technology that claims to fix all of their problems but, due to not allocating proper resources to properly manage these tools, only makes things worse.
What do all of these challenges have in common? Businesses today are largely stuck in their old, “safe” ways of management. There is buzz floating around about the CMO gaining power over the CIO, or the two roles potentially merging into a Chief Digital Officer at some point. CIOs are typically responsible for corporate technology assets and knowledge management, yet most avoid the benefits of marketing strategy to reach their goals (such as technology adoption, employee retention, and corporate compliance.) CMOs without the ability to think like a CIO (i.e. truly understand their technology investments and how to properly resource teams for their success) are stuck. Yikes. Continue reading
I started this blog as a place to post reviews on new technology, and revisions by old technology in attempts to make them new again. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post here, as I’ve been busy with my day job — but the “pre-pre launch” of the
new, new, newEST MySpace has me inspired.
A long time ago, I was a huge Myspace fan. It was miles ahead of Friendster and LiveJournal, providing a place to connect with a lot of friends, share photos, and meet new people around interests. Then, as we all know, the site became riddled with animated GIFs for backgrounds, very little serious conversation (unless you count setting up your next hookup “serious conversation”) and Facebook took advantage of lowering IQ of the overall MySpace population with its introduction of a clean, simple, and less in-your-face hookup planning UI.
Airtime is, in short, a celebrity-endorsed version of Chatroulette meets Glancee. In other words, it takes the concept of anonymous video chat making it somewhat less anonymous by pairing you with someone who shares your interests, likely with hopes to cut out the number of masturbating men you see when you click next… next… and, uh… next.
While I love the concept of connecting people through contextual data — both on location and interests — the challenge remains that putting two people in front of each other, even with a shared interest, is not much of a conversation starter. I don’t love how I look on camera, and I wasn’t sure what I’d get on Airtime, so I clicked through ten live users who apparently shared things in common with me — and I cheated, I put my finger over my camera so no one actually knew there was a female on the other end. Nor would they be too excited given the current state of my hair, but I digress. Continue reading
My phone beeps at me as I’m driving down the street, and I open it to see the VP of Business Development of America Online is nearby. I don’t know exactly where he is — maybe in a house I’m driving past, or a car going the other direction. He’s not a friend of mine, in fact, I’ve never met him before. We just both happen to be on Highlight, the new mobile app that takes location-based services to new, kind of creepy, kind of cool heights.
About a year ago, I thought about how neat it would be to make Foursquare more about introducing you to people who are actually around you, versus encouraging you to check into locations. The Foursquare app itself shows other people that have recently checked into the same location, but there was no effort to connect you to that person. You just saw their face and name, and it was all the more creepy to wander around the bar/restaurant/club in dim lighting trying to figure out who your fellow nerd was, and having to actually strike up a conversation to figure out if they had anything in common with you. Continue reading
If I read another post about how Facebook’s move to turn all brand pages to “Timeline” is so wonderful for marketers, my eyes might fall out from involentary eye rolling so much.
Now, there are a few types of brands who greatly benefit from Timeline. Notice I say “who” because the brands that can benefit from this change are brands that are about people. From Musicians to Livestrong, these brands ongoing content and, most importantly, a history of engaging with fans through conversation. This is because Timeline was designed to tell the story of a person’s life, from their birth to, well, their death. I have issues with the Timeline UI to begin with for that purpose, but at least it makes sense for a person. However, not every brand wants their audience to remember who they were 50, 20, 5, or even 1 year ago. (Re)branding agencies are a big business for that reason.
Facebook (or was it Friendster?) redefined what a “friend” meant. However, it wasn’t until Twitter when suddenly following was all the rage. This one-way street of stalking / viewing content from another person who didn’t have to return the favor enabled a whole new psychology of the share.
Twitter’s primary following architecture worked very early on, when everyone playing the game of Twitter was on the same playing field. Everyone started with 0 followers, and 0 following. Then, naturally, prominent figures such as celebrities, journalists and politicians garnered thousands of followers quickly, while the rest of us minons were left with a dilemma, thanks both to a 2,000 subscriber limit and how poorly it reflected on us to follow thousands of people without having a reasonable ratio of that follow count in return. Continue reading
After the social networking sand settled with Facebook on top over the last half decade, the social behemoth seemed untouchable. Twitter, far behind in second place, wasn’t a direct competitor for a while, since it focused on public conversation and Facebook mostly targeted private, friends-only conversations. Google+ entered the picture and managed to shake things up a bit, making both networks question their own identities, adding new features left and right to try to be everything to everyone. Here we are, at the Social Network Identity Crisis of 2012, and it isn’t pretty.
While users are heavily invested in Facebook, the reasons people flocked to the site to begin with (simple social networking) to get away from the mess that was MySpace are starting to get overshadowed by an increasingly cluttered user experience. Meanwhile, Twitter is out in left field swinging like a blindfolded kid hoping to hit a home run, redesigning the experience to make it more mainstream-acceptable, but they’re still handicapped by 140 characters. And Google+ brags about its millions of users (90 million as of 5 days ago), but the numbers aren’t as impressive if you dig into how many people are actually using the network on a daily basis. Continue reading
When Timeline was first announced at F8 this year, it turned out to be a reporter’s wet dream. “Timeline, the new profile design that the site turned on last week, is really, truly beautiful,” writes Farhad Manjoo of Slate. ”This is the single greatest change that Facebook’s ever pushed on us,” says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. “From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a solid update,” says Don Reisinger at CNET. I wonder if these reporters are smoking crack. Or if they just got tired of staring at Facebook’s white and blue simplicity, and, though they’d never admit it, deep down longed for the freedom to customize their profiles ala MySpace.
There are elements of Facebook’s Timeline that I like a lot, and I’ll get to those in a minute. But calling the profile redesign “the greatest change Facebook has ever created” is going too far. Timeline is a cool way to see your life as an online scrapbook (if you’re willing to take the time to curate your life for Facebook’s advertisers and servers), but where it fails is in its utility. Removing the old wall and replacing it with Timeline makes it harder to use Facebook. (Unless I’ve been using Facebook wrong all these years.)
Facebook’s challenge is to display a ton of data, while also encouraging its users to constantly submit new content. The old profile page (the “wall”) provided a very simple way to view what your friend has been up to, and to share content publicly. Continue reading
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, ones that haven’t included a lot of time to engage with social media, but given it’s one habit I can’t break, I’m still on Facebook and Google+ at least once a day. As the novelty of their latest changes and launches have worn off, I’m stuck on the pain points in each user experience. Both are trying to be the public social network of choice, attempting to balance out private sharing vs public sharing, and the levels of privacy that exist in between. Meanwhile, Twitter is a public beast, but struggles to gain further traction because it doesn’t understand private networks. It still shocks me that the fundamental architecture built to achieve these business goals is fundamentally broken.
Take Facebook Subscribe, for instance. I’ve been blogging about it a lot because I’m pained when I see good product ideas slaughtered by poor implementation. Facebook has the most users of any social network in the world. Why shouldn’t it be a place where we can connect to everyone from our best friends and parents to celebrities and reporters? Because, unfortunately, Facebook offers privacy options only when they seem to hurt the product most. Case in point — you can “opt in” to turning on “subscribers” and you can also “opt out” of allowing them to comment on your posts. Both cases of this offer broken user experiences. Opt in, really, isn’t broken, it’s just annoying for the owner of the Facebook profile. Opt out ruins the entire subscribe experience for the user. Continue reading
My last posts have largely covered the subscribe feature that was announced earlier this week, but I haven’t yet dug into all the changes that have taken place since F8 (at least, not on my blog.) My comment which was quoted by Nick Belton of The New York Times sums up my thoughts best: “In short, [Facebook] is now a social consumption site, not a social network.”
But I wanted to do a deep dive of my personal experience with the changes thus far. There are many additional changes which won’t be experienced for a while, because they require developers to build apps on top of their new open graph protocol, so I’ll leave detailed commentary on that for a later time. This series of posts covers the rest of the changes:
1. Entertainment Media Partnerships: Spotify, Netflix, and Hulu: B+
2. The New Profile Design “Timeline”: C+
3. Real-Time Ticker: B-
4. Updated Photo Display in Stream: A+
5. Commenting and Privacy: D
6. News Reading within Facebook: C
7. Subscribe, X# of Subscribers & 1 Week Later: TBD