There are no goodbyes…

October 26, 2009

A few days ago, I received an invite to a party for friends who are moving to New York next week.  They said there are “no goodbyes” in the age of Facebook, email, Skype etc.  We can keep in constant contact with our friends and family. 

That is how I feel about this blog.  While my 9 weeks of blogging for class has drawn to a close,  I may return to share thoughts or stories now and then.  I will keep in touch with the BuzzingMediaBee… but for now I am off to buzz about in a different land that is perhaps less emerging!

Hands free or hands off…

October 26, 2009

Today, October 26th marked an important day in Ontario.  Today a new cell phone driving ban came into effect.  According to Canadian press, starting Monday, Ontario drivers will be the latest Canadians prohibited from using cellphones or BlackBerrys while behind the wheel. Millions of motorists in the country’s most populous province are banned from using any hand-held electronic devices to text, email or talk while driving, except for 911 calls.

While this law has been in effect in other jurisdictions for years and comes as no surprise to all of us, it’s still more difficult than you may think.   The law bans drivers from dialing or emailing. Heck you’re not even allowed to look at your phone.  It makes sense but I wouldn’t be lying if I said that it’s going to be hard to 100% compliant.

iLane is about to get millions of new customers.  What’s an  “>iLane you ask?  Ken Truffen, vice-president of marketing for Waterloo-based Intelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc. (IMS), said the company’s new iLane is proving very popular with drivers. The iLane is a portable device that lets you control your smartphone with your voice. You can open emails, listen to them and reply by simply speaking. When you get a new email, the device notifies you. Truffen said the iLane lets you do everything you would do with your hands “by using simple voice commands.”

Truffen said since the new law was announced his sales have almost tripled. The product costs $399.

Check out the promotional video for this cool new contraption! http://www.ilane.com/demo1.shtml

Web 2.0 welcomes Mobile Social Networking

October 26, 2009

I am getting fairly comfortable with emerging media terminology including social networking and mobile marketing and other variations of these ideas.    At the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker gave her annual overview of internet trends.   One area that is expected to grow significantly are  platforms that combine social networking with mobile and they will drive “unprecedented change in communications ecommerce.”  

This news is incredibly timely.  Retailers who have yet to jump in,  should get on the band wagon now in time for the holidays in order to be competitive.  They should get people talking and wanting more of their product so they are on people’s minds, in their newsfeed and on their handhelds when they are thinking about what gifts to buy for their family and friends this Christmas.  It’s probably the easiest way to interact with customers.

According to eMarkter’s report, 56.8% of online retailers maintain a Facebook presence, 41.4% are on YouTube and 28.6% use MySpace. Twitter comes in at #4, as only 20.4% of all online merchants actively maintain a Twitter account. As eMarkteter points out, Twitter is a ‘hotbed for experimentation,’ where companies can promote deals and interact directly with their customers.     It’s almost too easy with social networking to find your customers and learn about their preferences, wants and needs.

emarketer_shopping_stats_oct09

The same principle applies to mobile social networking.  People who are using these sites at home are also checking their smartphones all the time, I bet you even when they are shopping!

Source:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/emerging_internet_trends_meeker_2009.php#

Changes in Twitterdom are user-generated…

October 26, 2009

In an article in today’s NY times, Claire Cain Miller, discusses how Twitter decides to make improvements to better the ever-popular site.

“The company watches how people use the service and which ideas catch on. Then its engineers turn the ideas into new features.  In the next several weeks, Twitter users will discover two new features, Lists and Retweets, that had the same user-generated beginnings. “Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and author of the book “Democratizing Innovation.”

On the outside, many of us, including myself think that great ideas in technology come from the creative genius that lives inside the company, from the people who are getting paid to think and to improve the site.   It’s actually not really the case. Given that the wired world is emerging and evolving on a consistent basis, insiders may not be the only experts.  In fact, it’s often the outsiders who come up with the fantastic ideas.  I think it’s a great idea that Twitter takes cues from its fans in attempts to improve the site or make it more user friendly.

We, civilians are pretty smart too and it’s great to get our voice heard, even if it only may be 140 characters long!!

Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/technology/internet/26twitter.html?_r=1&hpw

Kids in the online world

October 25, 2009

While I don’t yet have children (but will become a first time mom next Spring!), I have heard from family and friends about a number of web games created specially for children.  Club Penguin and Webkinz are virtual worlds where for a membership fee, kids take “responsibility” for their a pet with accessories, set up rooms and even cook for them.   While these sites are incredibly sensitive to child safety online and ensure that all online activity is age appropriate, are these games in fact appropriate?

I have a mixed opinion on the subject. The games offer children a sense of responsibility, teach them how to act and react in the digital world and offer new elements of entertainment each time they log on.  It’s almost better than  physical toy because it’s constantly evolving and kids get bored less easily.  However once parents initially agree to the monthly membership fee,  it becomes too easy for kids to contiually want and request more and more.  It’s different than having to go to the store to buy new toys, this toy is always available and extremely easily obtained, from a child’s perspective.

While virtual worlds like Club Penguin and Webkinz have a lot to offer, they can be  limiting as well.  It’s important that children interact with other children and see and touch real toys instead of just virtual ones.  I suppose the challenge for parents is how to balance their child’s foray in the digital world through educational gaming but do so without causing too many issues for their children.

Exploring Farmville

October 25, 2009

A Facebook friend recently invited me to be her “Farmville” neighbor.  I ignored the request initially as I really had no clue what this new application was  and didn’t think I had the  patience for it.  But, after reading up on the success of this new application, I decided it was time to check it out. 

FarmVille, created by Zynga, an online gaming company based in San Francisco, has become a web phenomenon, played by more than 56 million people within three months of its launch, making it the fastest-growing social game on the internet. After the United States, Britain has the most FarmVille farmers (Harvey, 2009).

The cash spent by Zynga’s players on micropayments within FarmVille is one reason why Zynga is generating revenues of more than $150 million this year.  

According to a new report, the American virtual goods market is set to surge past $1 billion this year, more than double the total for 2008. The Inside Virtual Goods report found that revenues could hit $1.6 billion next year as users become more comfortable making micropayments in web applications. Analysts say that the virtual goods market will be worth up to $6 billion worldwide this year, with gaming accounting for about 75 per cent (Harvey, 2009).

While I couldn’t imagine actually shelling out real money for this game,  I see why people like it.  It offers users incredibly cute graphics, the opportunity to “own” something and make decisions and to share with friends and engage in healthy competition.  While the  game is played on Facebook, Zynga’s website offers discussion forum, videos and a link to the game Twitter page where tweets on what’s new in Farmville are posted often  (Zynga, 2009). 

Harvey, Mike (24 October 2009). Online FarmVille game ploughs new fields of revenue. Times  Online. Retrieved on October 25, 2009 from http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article6888156.ece

Zynga.com. Retrieved on October 24,  2009 from Zynga.com.

 

We’re tweeting but are they making $$$?

October 25, 2009

Twitter is enormously successful in the world of social media and seems to be the talk of the town these days.  Earlier this year, Twitter saw an incredible increase in traffic.

“Twitter has certainly become an Internet phenomenon over the past few months, but March represented an especially big gain for the site as it added more than 5 million visitors versus the previous month,” commented Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “With numerous celebrities and media personalities – including Oprah – recently jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, the site shows no signs of slowing.”  After several preceding months of strong double-digit growth, traffic to Twitter.com accelerated in March, growing 131 percent to 9.3 million visitors. Fueled in part by celebrity “tweeters” and substantial mainstream media attention, the site ranked as the top-gaining property for the month

 One discussion, I have heard creeping up in my social circle is whether Twitter is making any money.  The answer is probably not, but they could if they tried.

At the recent Web 2.0 Summit 2009 that took place this week, Twitter CEO Evan Williams broached the subject about Twitter’s financial success. We think there will be plenty of ways for Twitter to make money, ranging from advertising to pro services for corporate users. But it’s focusing “97%” of its efforts today on improving the product, which he thinks will make it a much stronger revenue generator in the future.

It seems that for Twitter to gain momentum, they should focus more than 3% of their efforts on making money.  Twitter has boomed and dnow Marketers would no doubt be more than willing to allocate some of their media budget to online advertising or paid search within Twitter. What are the folks at Twitter waiting for… the bust?

Watching webisodes

October 25, 2009

I have a heard a bit of buzz about webisodes but really didn’t know much about them. I decided to take a moment to learn more about the world of webisodes. 

According to Developer Shed, Webisodes can add another dimension and a great feature to your site, and they should be considered even if you feel that your content is already rich in streaming video,  Streaming video is highly popular and often used online because Internet users like interaction and entertainment that’s graphically pleasing. Replete with audio, visuals and user control, streaming video is a great addition to any Web site. In today’s entertainment-driven society, Webisodes are a great way to start roping in the traffic. This serialized streaming video can be a fantastic draw to keep them coming back for more. Webisodes are often debuted one at a time, the same as a program on television. New episodes may be offered once a week or once a month, a regular content addition which will give traffic a reason to continue to check the site.

I came across a site for Breyer’s Smooth and Dreamy ice cream where they feature actress Jane Krakowski eating Breyer’s ice cream at home and then she begins to dream and is a character in old classic films such as Gone with the Windand King Kong.  Acording to Wendy Franks, Senior Brand Manager at Unilver, Breyer’s is a classic ice cream brand and they wanted to a take a twist on the old classic from a cinematic point of view.  They wanted to show how today’s modern woman would react to situations from old classic movies. 

Check it out!

 The Breyer’s webisodes are well-done and entertaining. I am quite certain they will attract significant traffic to the Breyer’s website but only if they are marketed effectively!

www.smoothanddreamy.com/#/webisodes/gwtw/

www.developershed.com

Pinkberry is not afraid of consumer generated content

October 22, 2009

For this past week’s writing assignment, I chose to profile Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt company, Pinkberry.  Pinkberry is heavily involved in social media including Facebook, Twitter,  Myspace and has a blog on the company website (Pinkberry.com, 2009).     What I found most interesting is that the official company blog combines official postings as well as user-generated content.  This is a great idea because the blog offers readers company information but also experiences from fans of the company and product.

Pinkberry blog

There is no doubt of course that Pinkberry controls all the editorial content that appears on their site.  As a result, when choosing which blogs to link to, they scan to ensure that only the most positive correct information about their product is being expressed by their fans.

The question that I feel needs to be asked is whether this is truly marketing or could it quickly become mayhem?  While the idea to have a combined blog is in theory, a good one,  the fact that Pinkberry “borrows” posts from their fans blog is a bit tacky.  Upon reflection, there should be specific spaces for user-generated content and specific spaces/places for official corporate content.  Merging the two could cause potential issues.  For example, what if one of Pinkberry’s fans whose blog is linked to the company site,  by chance got ill from the Pinkberry and decided to boycott and seek revenge.  The revenge could take shape of posting very negative things about the company and this information would be linked to Pinkberry’s site.  All of of this could happen and be out there in the public domanin before Pinkberry had a chance to intervene.

Kleenex’s ‘Get Mommed’ campaign

October 13, 2009

I stumbled upon this great campaign from Kleenex that I just had to share

The Get Mommed Campaign is new program from Kleenex designed to build buzz around the brand as cold and flu season approaches.  Cold and flu season can take a lot out of you. Get mommed and treat yourself to some extra mothering.  The idea is that people can go on the website, facebook or choose a  their perfect mom – can try as many as you want until you find the right fit –and she’ll help you with mobile reminders, wake-up and rescue calls, advice, wisdom and even meal ideas.   The website is beautifully designed and interactive.   People can review all the “mom” profiles, take a quiz to help them find out their best mom match (Getmommed, 2009).

The Facebook profile has webisodes and images and generates hype about this campaign for Kleenex.  There are numerous videos on You Tube featuring different moms. 

While I think this is an interesting campaign (but admittedly haven’t signed up!),  there are bloggers out that that think this is a terrible campaign for Kleenex full of racial stereotypes and downright embarassing for Kleenex.   Perhaps I wasn’t thinking about this aspect of the campaign when I noted in was interesting.  I was simply impressed with Kleenex’s foray into into emerging media and digital engagement.

Works cited

Get mommed.com. Retrieved on October 13, 2009 from www.getmommed.com

You Tube. Retrieved on October 13, 2009 from www.youtube.com

Facebook.com. Retrieved on October 13, 2009 from www.facebook.com

Deb on the Rocks. Retrieved on October 13, 2009 from http://www.debontherocks.com/2009/10/when-kleenex-cries-how-will-we-see.html