Archive for “June, 2007”

Inaugural Toronto Girl Geek Dinner a success!

I don’t have any pictures, because of course I forgot my camera, but the inaugural Toronto Girl Geek Dinner, held last night, was a resounding success! With just two weeks of pre-promotion, we managed to get 35 women out to hear Sandy Kemsley speak about her experiences as a woman in tech. Full details have been posted on the TGGD blog, and if you happened to attend and plan to post your pictures to Flickr, please tag them “TGGD” so we can all share.

In the interests of sustaining our momentum, we’ve booked the date and speaker for our next event, though not the location as yet (we’ll be looking for a spot that has a better layout for mingling and amplification as well as a buffet or something that will eliminate the food-related delays we experienced last night).

2nd Toronto Girl Geek Dinner
Wednesday September 19th

Speaker: Leila Boujnane, CEO of Idee Inc.
Toronto-based image search software company

Location TBA

If you’re interested in attending, please register on the TGGD event wiki and subscribe to the TGGD blog feed to get updates!

Social Media Today Podcast – Mathew Ingram

(REPEAT) Welcome to the third edition of Social Media Today, the official podcast of the Social Media Collective. In this episode, I interview Mathew Ingram, Tech columnist for The Globe and Mail, blogger, Mesh Conference organizer and fellow Collective member.

Do subscribe to our feed – we’ll be interviewing a new member of the Social Media Collective each week, the podcast is published fresh every Wednesday. You can even leave us audio comments right here using the handy tool below.

Click to listen:
podcasticon.gif

Show Notes:
Mathew tells us all about the critically acclaimed Mesh Conference, scheduled for May 30 & 31st, 2007, in Toronto. We also talk about how social media is transforming bloggers into journalists and journalists into bloggers, how The Globe and Mail feels about Mathew blogging, how The Globe brings the intelligence it gets from the blogosphere back into the editorial process, how that immediate feedback can transform the way MSM does business, the notion of semi-moderated comments, projected ad spending decrease for newspapers (-9%, source: TNS Media Intelligence ), the future of newspapers as we know them, maintaining civil discourse in social media, the dangers of the echo chamber, the social distance hypothesis, Michael Keren’s Blogosphere: the new Political Arena (again), how social media really is social and Mathew claims there’s 15 feet of snow in Canada.

To leave an audio comment, use the “my voicemail” tool to record direct from your computer’s microphone, or leave a text comment (which we will read aloud on the show in a voice that we imagine to be like yours) simply leave a comment on this blog.

SMC Podcast Alley feed {pca-98374b14f8d1d5121d18320e6d8ee4fb}
My Odeo Channel (odeo/c5980d54f89f57b8)

Using podcasts to snare seniors

Two things came together for me this morning in a way that sometimes happens. You might choose to call this serendipity, but I have always found that word to be terribly twee. In my (perhaps) overly practical mind, I prefer to imagine a jigsaw puzzle coming together as intended.

The first was the comScore profile of the iTunes podcast audience. Most interesting among the findings: more men than women use iTunes (63% vs. 37%) and the 35 to 65+ 54 demo represents the largest and most active segment.

The second was a request from a colleague for a Web 2.0 strategy piece for a proposal she’s putting together for a website geared to seniors. Three things immediately popped up for me:

1. Seniors don’t use the Internet very much.
2. Their kids do – and they like podcasts.
3. Podcasts are really no different than radio, except that they’re much more convenient.

I also know how people behave in my family. My mom navigates much of the world for my 82 year old grandmother. Not because she’s an invalid (she’s actually incredibly robust – shockingly so), but because it’s hard for old eyes to read the tiny sentences on most letters and her Ukrainian vocabulary was frozen in 1944, leaving blanks where there should be words for important new things like “email” and “website”. So my mom finds the info my grandmother needs and explains it to her. I imagine that many people have the same routine, regardless of which language they speak natively.

Enter podcasts. I am a big fan of the Whirlpool American Family Podcast because it’s such a delicious revival of something old – the sponsored radio program. The content is broadly useful, but the bringing of it to you is sponsored by a company that wants you to think kindly of it and it’s washing machines. The ‘cast wildly successful, and has allowed Whirlpool to engage deeply with their consumers by delivering meaningful and useful content.

I believe we can get to the great grey wave of people who don’t use the web much in the same way – by giving them access to something old that’s new again (a radio program) that they can listen to at their leisure. In addition, the delivery mechanism we can use will be quite novel. We’ll reach out to their ‘Boomer kids (who love podcasts and download them like mad) and get them to connect the dots, downloading to a PC or even an iPod and picking up useful information on the site along the way. Did Mom miss that bit? Simply turn up the hearing aid and “rewind”.

It’s something I’ve often thought about (and a problem that will be gone in 10 years or so, sadly); the fact that seniors are not wired, they don’t use the ‘net and they’re often incredibly isolated. Perhaps by employing their kids to help deliver a new technology that uses an old paradigm, we can change that a little.

Social Media Today Podcast – Nathan Gilliatt

Welcome to the 17th edition of Social Media Today, the official podcast of the Social Media Collective. In this episode we talk to Nathan Gilliatt, author of The Guide to Social Media Analysis, a reference document that profiles 31 different social media monitoring firms.

Click to listen:
podcasticon.gif

Do subscribe to our feed – we’ll be interviewing a new member of the Social Media Collective each week, the podcast is published fresh every Wednesday. You can even leave us audio comments right here using the handy tool below.

Show Notes:
Nathan explains what’s in the Guide, who could find it of use (marketers, communications professionals, HR departments and business intelligence units) and his criteria for including companies. We talk about monitoring vs. research, human vs. software search, issues of scale, price ranges for these services and some of the things Nathan discovered as he worked on the Guide, including the emerging (and interesting) theory that customer service should be under the marketing umbrella.

To leave an audio comment, use the “my voicemail” tool to record direct from your computer’s microphone, or leave a text comment (which we will read aloud on the show in a voice that we imagine to be like yours) simply leave a comment on this blog.

SMC Podcast Alley feed {pca-98374b14f8d1d5121d18320e6d8ee4fb}

My Odeo Channel (odeo/c5980d54f89f57b8)

An end to the Age of Propaganda

I did an interview on Wednesday with Sook Yin Lee for CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera (which aired this past Saturday), and in it I made the analogy that social media is as significant a development as the washing machine. That may sound terribly utilitarian, and not particularly revolutionary. However, the washing machine has been credited with being the technology that dramatically changed the political and social fortunes of women in industrialized western nations, and therefore those western nations themselves. Instead of spending literally days each week washing incredibly complicated clothing by hand, women were freed from this drudgery, and had time to do other things. Like think about how much washing clothes by hand sucks and form the Women’s Liberation Movement.*

In my estimation, the washing machine was a revolutionary piece of technology. Likewise is social media, specifically when it comes to distribution and control of information. Just think about that for a second – unless the Internet breaks or censors vigorously block your access, no one can control the message in a meaningful way any more. There are too many voices.

Could this be the end of the Age of Propaganda?

*This timeline not exactly to scale.

Social Media Today Podcast – Paul Gillin

Welcome to the 16th edition of Social Media Today, the official podcast of the Social Media Collective. In this episode we talk to Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media.

Click to listen:
podcasticon.gif

Do subscribe to our feed – we’ll be interviewing a new member of the Social Media Collective each week, the podcast is published fresh every Wednesday. You can even leave us audio comments right here using the handy tool below.

Show Notes:
Paul and I talk about his background, how a link from Dan Bricklin showed him the power of social media and influencers, why he thinks the much-mocked Chevy Tahoe UGC campaign (as an aside – the previous link was in the top 3 Google results for “Chevy Tahoe”) was, if not a win, also not a loss for GM, what he tells his clients the risks are in this space. We also discuss whether most marketers can really make the shift from mass to minute, and how they’ll have to adapt to accommodate the shifts in the way we consume media.

To leave an audio comment, use the “my voicemail” tool to record direct from your computer’s microphone, or leave a text comment (which we will read aloud on the show in a voice that we imagine to be like yours) simply leave a comment on this blog.

SMC Podcast Alley feed {pca-98374b14f8d1d5121d18320e6d8ee4fb}

My Odeo Channel (odeo/c5980d54f89f57b8)

Sony USA launches corporate blog

There’s a wrong way and a right way – and now Sony’s done both. It would appear that on June 4th they launched the Playstation Blog, “first official Sony Computer Entertainment America company blog”, and a marked difference from the embarrassing flog created to support the PSP game console late last year.

It’s hard to say exactly when the blog officially “launched” (there are posts dated as far back as June 4th, but the one dated the 11th appears to be the official “welcome to our new blog” announcement). And while there are already a couple of cynical comments about the fact that the blog seems to be driven by Sony’s PR department, hopefully Sony will learn from their mistakes and fully embrace the “transparency requirement” as well as keeping the spin to a minimum.

18-34's pay greater attention to ads on social media sites

According to this data from comScore, 18-34′s pay more attention to advertising messages on UGC sites than they do traditional websites when it comes to products in “high fun” categories, i.e. “Apparel, Music/ Movies/ Entertainment, Food & Beverage, and Consumer Electronics”. Less so for stuff like banking and medical info (known as “high trust” categories). Here’s the requisite chart, lifted from the comScore blog:

ugc_blog_chart2.gif
Frankly, I also suspect that part of the reason there’s a difference between trust factors based on product category is the nature of the product category, rather than just the delivery agent for the messaging. 18-34′s spend way more time and money thinking about and spending money on “high fun” products than they do “high trust”, so their knowledge, comfort and interest level is different. If 35-55′s were as well-versed in new media, I bet their graph would trend in the exact opposite direction.

Serious Business: Web 2.0 Goes Corporate

First, I’d like to apologize for posting about this so after-the-fact. This white paper, from the Economist Intelligence Unit, actually came out in April. I’ve been sharing some of the content with clients since then, but have just not had a moment to post about it.

  • Nearly 60% of big companies surveyed (avg revenue $2.5b) say they already are, or are planning to in the next two years, allowing consumers to contribute content that (they hope) explains, supports, promotes or enhances their products
  • 47% are planning to include customers in product testing and co-development
  • 58% recognize that using the web to partner with their customers will have a pretty big impact on their business
  • 30% expect that social media tools will help them trim customer service costs
  • Here’s a look at what social media tools early adopters are using/planning to use:

    smg_eiu_earlyadopters.jpg(Definition of a mash up)

    And here’s a look at where everyone else is planning to apply these tools and platforms in the next couple of years:

    smg_eiu_applying.jpg
    .

    I would have really like to see an apples-to-apples comparison of either of these two charts, just to see if (roughly) the late adopters were on the same track across the various types of Web 2.0 tools. The study did find that 71% of those surveyed were planning to invest in community building in the next two years, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s where it’s at.

    Here’s the money quote from Tim O’Reilly:

    Corporate winners and losers will be designated by “who figures out how to use the network.”