Archive for May, 2009

Creativing :: Facebook, the accelerating mediascape, and some fantastic short short films

Posted by Doug Schumacher on May 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

About: "Creativing" is my weekly summary of the latest industry developments affecting new media creatives, strategists, and producers. It covers issues like the latest technologies, new campaigns, and industry trends. The content is primarily culled from Creativing.com, a social bookmarking site covering new media marketing.
With the holiday, it was a short week, although the people creating industry news apparently didn't get the word, as it seems this week had more interesting developments than usual.
Surprise. Facebook is in the news.
Facebook is roaring back from the backlash earlier this year. The cover story of BusinessWeek is not to be missed. There are some good figures about the tightness of friend networks. As expected, there's quite a gap between our Facebook friends and our "real-life" friends. While we may have a lot of Facebook friends, we really on stay in close communication with less than 5% of them.
But I think the article over-emphasizes the closeness of communication among friends. The broader network of people you stay in little touch with reminds me of Malcom Gladwell's Outliers, in which he states its often the people in the farthest reaches of your network that lead to impacting connections. And that's the big... Read more

Hey Twitterers. Join my spy ring before I hunt you down and put a bullet in your skull.

Posted by Adam Kleinberg on May 30th, 2009 at 12:00 am

That's right, boys and girls. I'm playing Spymaster.   
What's Spymaster? A major sensation in the twitterverse, apparently. Massively addictive. Ominously dangerous. Mysteriously sophisticated.  
Oh, and it's a game.   Here's the basic outline of how it works:

Your followers are spies. Ones playing Spymaster are Spymasters and you get points for that. And more points when for spies with lots of followers.
You earn money for successfully completing tasks like assassinating ambassadors and coercing mafia bosses
You can buy weapons like a Yargin PYa Grach Pistol on the black market. I have 11 of these in my arsenal.
You can try to assassinate other players (IMPORTANT:  it's tempting to kill your friends, but this only makes you weaker so do NOT try to assassinate people in your own spy ring)
As you advance in the game you can buy a safehouse in Berlin or stash some of your money in a Swiss Bank account.

The success of your various missions are impacted by your multipliers. Here's a great description of how they work from the game that gives you a sense of how it works:

How multipliers are calculated

Multipliers are calculated based upon the strength of your spy ring. Both spies (ordinary followers... Read more

Your cell phone is your ticket to savings

Posted by Jodi Harris on May 29th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Unilever is using some new technology to test consumers' willingness to use their mobile phones as a coupon book, according to a Wall Street Journal article.  
In a trial run of the company's new mobile marketing strategy, ShopRite shoppers in Hillsborough, NJ, will be able to redeem digital coupons for products like Breyers ice cream, Dove soap and Lipton tea by having a supermarket cashier scan their cellphones.    
To get the coupons, customers must visit Samplesaint, from which they can transmit the Unilever discount offers to an internet-enabled cellphone. At checkout, the cashier scans the bar code on the phone's screen, redeeming the coupon and deleting it from the phone.      
While the effort is described as a "test-and-learn phase" of an area of growing interest for marketers, there is already skepticism about the viability of this technology. For example, coupons that do not scan correctly would have to be manually entered by cashiers -- a process that could slow down the checkout process in a tight, high-volume retail segment, and add to consumer frustration with long grocery store lines. Experts, such as Andy Murray, chief executive of in-store-marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi X, also wonder if shoppers will... Read more

Can Microsoft really grab some of the search pie?

Posted by Matt Kapko on May 29th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Microsoft's new search product, Bing, sure has a catchy name -- a refreshing change from the typically middle-of-the-road company -- but will that cleverness translate into actual success?
Years ago, Microsoft admittedly failed to see search for the incredible opportunity that it's become and let the world pass it by in the process. Rushed jobs in search since have left much to be desired. I can't think of anyone who uses Live Search as their default search engine. Can you?
What's even worse for Microsoft is that Google has reined supreme for so long it may take a decade or longer to make serious inroads against the crew in Mountain View, even with a vastly superior offering.
I Google, you Google, we all Google. Google is so synonymous with online search that it's tough to see anything coming along to change that. That's what's so exciting about technology and innovation though. Google seemingly came out of nowhere and someone else could come along and do exactly the same.
Will that monumental shift come from one of the incumbents in the industry or will it take a couple of clever college students with nothing to lose. I'd put my money on the unknown up-and-comers.... Read more

Who had a better conference? D7 vs. Google's I/O

Posted by Rich Cherecwich on May 29th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Two huge digital conferences churned out a lot of news this week, but which was more important, All Things Digital's D7, or Google's I/O? Let's look at the tale of the tape.
Ba-da-Bing!D7 had one thing going for it -- names. The big news was Steve Balmer of Microsoft, who unveiled Bing, the software giant's latest attempt to dethrone Google. Bing isn't live yet, but it certainly looks great visually, and Microsoft is taking a hard angle that it's not a search engine, but a "decision engine."
D7 was also graced with the Twitter guys, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who said they aren't interested in selling banner ads, which we already knew (yawn). Yahoo's Carol Bartz stopped by to put a definitive dollar amount on what it will cost to buy Yahoo's search business: "boatloads of money." Mark Cuban complained about something (online video), which is par for the course. Arianna Huffington, NBC's Jeff Zucker, and new MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta all swung by as well.
Making WavesWhere D7 had the all-stars of the digital world, Google's I/O conference had developers. Yes, those same people that create the programs that help Google take over the world finally got their due, perhaps... Read more