Posts Tagged ‘apps’

Its Prime Time, are We Ready?

October 26, 2010

This blog is really just some thoughts and observations from the last few days-as I’ve had some unexpected free-time and a chance to “field test” some apps that I have messed with in controlled settings.

Within the sphere of social media there are a ton of emerging products and platforms–and a ton that should be by now well-tested (three years is my rough cut off) for the sake of argument a “mature” product.

In the category of mature products are Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Yelp, WordPress.  On the fringe are the likes of FourSquare, Gowalla, BrightKite.

As has been discussed here (and elsewhere) there is no shortage of established brands building on the API’s that some of these “mature” products offer.  Powered by Twitter, Facebook fan pages, WordPress powered sites etc.  Want to build check in to your site? FourSquare, Gowalla, Bright Kite all offer that capability.

But what happens when those sites are down–as can happen in the world of technology from time to time.  As one of my past bosses used to say, “Things go bump in the night sometimes.”

So yes, when Twitter has a fail whale showing or Facebook is in accessible, or GMail is down–there is a raining down of people checking to see if its them, or if its a site issue.

But when this happens on a branded site–and the use case that comes to mind is a radio commercial in the NYC area for White Castle that encourages people to go to Facebook, become a fan and leave a comment.  But what happens when Facebook is down, and you can’t reach that page?

Yeah Facebook has a problem–but the brand exposure is huge.

So these sites that sometimes we play on, sometimes we connect on and sometimes we bemoan now have an impact–but are they ready for prime time?

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Out and About, But in All the Wrong Places

July 13, 2010

It’s no secret that each day we are deluged with data and information-all vying for at least 5 seconds of our attention.  Email tumbles in day and night.  Twitter clicks away.  Things are posted and commented on via Facebook.  Blogs are updated.  RSS readers gather information.  And to top it all off–we are so connected to it all from computers to smartphones to connected TV.  There is no off switch.

That is not the issue though.

The issue from a content guy is that with all those ways of putting my brand in front of you I take best guesses in how to reach the masses–and its very likely there is a good number of people I will miss.

Take this very blog for instance: people subscribe to its RSS; I auto share links via Twitter and Facebook; usually I will manually add a link to Twitter and Facebook as well; I share it to Posterous and MySpace.

You know what I don’t do though? I don’t email.  I don’t SMS. I don’t Yawa it.  Because my Twitter goes to Google Buzz, it gets Buzzed, but not directly.

In the case of this blog-since its more of a hobby and less of a vocation that’s OK with me.  But what would happen if disseminating my musings was my full-time gig?

Case Study 1:  Over the weekend, my beloved New York Islanders held its annual prospect scrimmage game Blue v. Orange at the Nassau Coliseum.  I knew because I follow the Islanders on Twitter the game would be available via streaming on the New York Islanders website.  I stopped by the game for a bit and then watched the skills competition at home on-line.

While reading a recap of the game on a blog not affiliated with the Islanders Islanders Point Blank I found out not all fans knew that the game was available on-line.  Perhaps these folks don’t follow Twitter?  Perhaps there was no email from the Isles announcing the game stream?  I really don’t know.  But clearly there was some swath of Isles Nation missed by publicity for the game.  To these people the term “fail” became part of the post-game lexicon.

Case Study 2: This one seems kind of quaint frankly, but its real.  As long time readers know, I work for CBS Mobile and part of my job is to bring apps for smart-phones to market.  The beauty of smart phones is that its like carrying a small computer in your pocket–and its capabilities are overwhelming.  Social media apps, sharing, SMS and even old-school (for new media) email.  Know what the one sharing mechanism that when it’s not there people want? Email.

It’s now standard in all the apps that my group brings to market-the ability to share the app and share content via email but this was not always the case.  Lesson learned.

Yesterday I spent some time reading some post-release notes from a highly successful app launch by a company called “tap, tap, tap.”  In it, the CEO of the company referred to email sharing as “of course.”  He too has learned an important lesson.

Be where your audience is.

Here are some non-scientific guidelines:

  1. Be accessible.  Don’t make a social strategy the beginning, middle and end of product–but make it ingrained and make it easy to scale so you can quickly react to the Flickr or Yawa audience you may be surprised by.
  2. Remember is social media–make sure its sociable from the product out.
  3. Beat the bushes and engage.

Tone Down the Chatter

April 23, 2010

There’s a guy on Twitter (at least I think he’s a guy) who goes by Cheap Suits who is pretty insightful, shares good information and is always open to real conversation.  One day, and we went back and forth some on it, Cheap Suits likened FourSquare location tweets to white noise–and I don’t disagree with Cheap Suits about that.

We disagree on the utility of sites like FourSquare and Gowalla, we don’t disagree on the utility of sharing my location with all on Twitter.  I’ve blogged on this subject as well.

But to me, the bigger problem with Twitter is all of the “tricky” ways companies are trying to use Twitter, and somehow they think its like its not even noticeable.

Now, I have a friend who I introduced to Twitter more than two years ago who now has a thriving consulting business based on telling people who to fill in 140 characters and hit Tweet–and that’s fine.

This morning, I was in a deli near the LIRR train station where I get the train in the morning picking up a cup of coffee and two people were having a pretty heated discussion over the companies that manufacture tow trucks.  I have to admit, I have never even given this a second thought, but here these two people were deep into it–hemi vs. tranny, payload vs. horsepower.

I was taken with the passion of the conversation (and honestly had a few minutes to kill) so I pulled out my BlackBerry and Tweeted this.

Now I am being followed by the likes of TruckYellow, OpenRoadTruckers, Route66 and UglyMudGuards.

Clearly based on that one Tweet I am the right target for these companies and organizations, right?

No, instead, in a very sly way these guys use search terms and I supposed my tweeting the word truck, or Chevy got me noticed.

Well guys, I have a ton of respect for truckers-I really do.  But I am not following back–because honestly, I don’t need the extra chatter in my Twit stream.

Maybe I am a throwback, but as Twitter founder Biz Stone told CBS News’ Katie Couric this week, Twitter is still about conversation.  And since I am shameless about self promotion, if you like Katie Couric, and have an iPhone please get the @KatieCouric iPhone app.  But please stop listening to Twitter (ie searching) without context.  It’s just plain annoying.

And the Gold Medal Goes-to the Olympic Spoiler

February 22, 2010

Let me say right at the start, this is not an essay that will complain about tape delays and channel selection on NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.  I won’t be that guy.  I work in the industry and I get the decisions that are made and why.  I would also say that columnists and commentators who work in or comment on the media industry should know and understand the reasons–and to feign they don’t is more than slightly disingenuous.

This is about all the folks who do all they can to avoid Olympic results during the day because they want to watch the biathlon, or the Nordic combined or the half-pipe, and how difficult it is to do that if you are even slightly connected to your social networks (and realistically who is not?)

I was on some PTO last week, home with the girls-and kind of dipping into things at work etc.  But I was never too far from clicking into Facebook on my iPhone or checking out the latest on Twitter on my BlackBerry.

And right there-out in the public with no tape delay were the results.  I knew in real-time that Lindsey Vonn not only overcame her ankle injury-but went on to win.  No waiting until 7pm on NBC Shopping to find out that Johnny Spillane is just a fraction of a second off the lead in the Nordic combined.  No waiting for Curling After Dark (and that is just plain weird) to get my fill of what seems like bocce on ice.

And you know what, it’s a good thing.  I don’t feel cheated.

It’s the argument/discussion I have from time to time at CBS News about the quaint old philosophy of holding a story for broadcast.  For those my age or older call it, “Film at 11” syndrome.  When the local newscaster (I can remember Chuck Scarborough and Ernie Anastos in NYC) promised to have the day’s story in film (although I tend to think it was video) at 11.

The world does not work on a broadcast schedule anymore.  For me, these spoiler updates let me set my TiVo, or check the listings to see which channel it’s on, or if I need an immediate fix go check one of the Olympics video sites or apps.

The spoiler here is the chatter about tape delays–who cares.  This is an on-demand world and its all there.  So keep the updates coming.  Helps me avoid ice dancing and pairs figure skating.

Tools of the Socialization Trade

February 18, 2009

I was talking with a friend who carries a BlackBerry about upgrade options the other day. She is adamant about wanting an iPhone.  When I asked her why, I am pretty sure the answer came down to the apps (hell, Apple has an app for woman to track their menstruation).  So, being the semi-geek that I am, I started talking about the other options in the market–from the BlackBerry Bold or Storm, to the Android to the soon to be release Palm Pre.

Fast forward to this week–as the Mobile World Congress convenes in Barcelona, there is some exciting product news about Android, Pre, Nokia and more — that will make being in touch easier, and should make the social media experience (from Twitter, to Facebook, to My Space to new platforms) easier.  Already these devices have LBS/GPS and plenty of location based apps.

Check out the latest from Palm on the Pre:

Not to be outdone, Google announced new handsets for its open source Android:

And Nokia will enter the app business. Check out this live blog of the announcement.

So now the question is, what will Apple do to keep the place its cut out by being first in market:


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