Filed under: Digital culture, Future of Media, geek, Geek stuff, Innovative stimulus, Social media
Remember the good old days when an online company didn’t need a revenue model because simply being an entrepreneurial innovative online business was enough? I remember those days well because very early in my advertising career we wrote strategies for many of those businesses who never ever got it together thanks to the dot com crash and a swift return to reason. As the market re-settles and new revenue models emerge, one thing remains true: like any business, you have to find a way to charge for what you do. Yes content is still super important and many sites still rely on advertising or lead generation rather than content to fund their models but as categories become more sophisticated, so too do their revenue models.
Anyhoo i found this site which offers an overview of top tech companies and their revenue models across ads, subscriptions, affiliates, data, freemium, and royalties. For those of you looking for an little innovation stimulation or just to feed your inner geek, have a gander – it’s a fun way to get a quick sense of how the bigger brands are tackling the market.
Filed under: content communities, creativity, Digital culture, Emergent media, geek, Research Methods, Social media, steal or borrow info, unbusiness | Tags: Content curation, curation, matt langer, Neil Perkin, noah brier, Only the dead fish, Percolate
I was trawling through my usual channels of content this morning and came across these posts on curation. Certainly a lot of conversation in the bloggersphere has been stimulated by the posting of the curator’s code. The code states that we should “keep the rabbit hole of the Internet open by honouring discovery”.
Not only should we be honouring original sources, but we should be honouring the people who find interesting stuff and re-tweet or re-post it. We should celebrate not only the creators and authors, but those that distribute, magnify and amplify their work. The connectors, so to speak.
This concept of curation is being bandied about a lot lately. We talk about websites and brands curating content; using third party content as a jump point for new conversation. We talk about brands and retailers curating product, filtering out the rubbish and selectively choosing niche or narrow channel products that are centred around a particular interest or cultural space.
In my other life at Eco Outdoor we talk about curation being one of our key focuses and we’re in the stone business. When we say that we’re talking about curation in the most traditional definition of the word – we select the most interesting and unique product (sometimes you don’t know why its interesting or unique unless you’re in the stone game), and we organise it in a way that inspires people to use it differently or create really unique design form or pairings. We tell the story of the product, how it fits into the world from whence it came and why we think its important or significant or special. The focus here is that we travel the world looking for and selectively choosing what we present and how we put it together.
I guess you could say that Innovation Feeder curates content, although really it’s just sharing what takes my fancy. I started it when I was working in the social trends / innovation space as a way of collating data, organising other people’s thoughts that I would want to refer back to and even organising my own. It was like an online memory and imagination bank.
So when is a blog not curating? When it writes all its own content I guess. There are some that believe it better to write original content than re-post, and there are scales and a spectrum in re-posting itself that differentiate between gathering tidbits like a bountiful bowerbird and scattering them amongst the pages, versus your classic “Look what I found mamma” straight re-post of content. Is there a hierarchy of one over the other? I think in this age, conversation flows on many different levels and if the content is relevant and engaging, who cares on what level of the spectrum it falls? And as Matt Langer points out, is it curation or simply sharing our thoughts and discoveries online? Is curation merely the act of sharing and distributing (albeit selectively)? or must it have some ontology or semantic continuity?
Traditionally curation has been used in the realm of ‘art curation’ where art is selected by an art historian who selects significant pieces and places them in context to identify why they are significant and to what extent. Who ‘places’ the art in context and helps us understand the story and content surrounding it. The term curation has long (well long in online terms) been used outside of the realm of art, but the question remains > What do we define as curation in the online space? By identifying our act of sharing as selective, by filtering (with our own self supposed good taste) the good from the bad – is that curation?
Some other links to check out:
Anyway, as usual online, I digress. Here’s a great collation of opinions on the topic by Neil Perkin. Regardless of whether you agree with the definition or not, I love Percolate‘s idea of stock and flow of content. The flow of ideas and conversation being the currency by which we remind people that we exist versus the stock we create from the realms of our own minds and imaginations. It gives credence to these different modes of conversation and the ways in which they operate uniquely for different purposes. Following here is Neil’s collection of opinions and ideas, re-posted.
Filed under: Digital culture, Future of Work, Gen Y, Get another life, Innovative stimulus, Lifestyle trends, Looking for insights, Research Methods, Social media | Tags: innovative recruitment methods, online identity & persona
Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst. Instead of asking for résumés, the New York venture-capital firm—which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies—asked applicants to send links representing their “Web presence,” such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position. Union Square says its process nets better-quality candidates —especially for a venture-capital operation that invests heavily in the Internet and social-media—and the firm plans to use it going forward to fill analyst positions and other jobs.
Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates’ suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether.
We all know about the dangers of posting too much about yourself online but how many candidates have considered what a positive, active and engaged persona online can do for their future job prospects? If you’ve ever had the task of hiring new staff you’d know that a resume tells you surprisingly little about a person. Yes it details their experience and at what level they’ve worked, it can tell you whether they’ve committed to education or jobs for any significant period of time, but it can’t tell you much beyond that.
After many mishaps at our end we’ve taken to Googling all prospective staff members prior to the second interview. It doesn’t necessarily tell us any more than we already know unless they have a significant web presence, but it does go some way to colouring in the picture of the person.
A résumé doesn’t provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate at Union Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company’s website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled.
John Fischer, founder and owner of StickerGiant.com, a Hygiene, Colo., company that makes bumper and marketing stickers, says a résumé isn’t the best way to determine whether a potential employee will be a good social fit for the company. Instead, his firm uses an online survey to help screen applicants. “We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think,” she says.
Questions are tailored to the position. A current opening for an Adobe Illustrator expert asks applicants about their skills, but also asks questions such as “What is your ideal dream job?” and “What is the best job you’ve ever had?” Applicants have the option to attach a résumé, but it isn’t required. Mr. Fischer says he started using online questionnaires several years ago, after receiving too many résumés from candidates who had no qualifications or interest. Having applicants fill out surveys is a “self-filter,” he says.
IGN Entertainment Inc., a gaming and media firm, launched a program dubbed Code Foo, in which it taught programming skills to passionate gamers with little experience, paying participants while they learned. Instead of asking for résumés, the firm posted a series of challenges on its website aimed at gauging candidates’ thought processes. (One challenge: Estimate how many pennies lined side by side would span the Golden Gate Bridge.)
It also asked candidates to submit a video demonstrating their love of gaming and the firm’s products.
Nearly 30 people out of about 100 applicants were picked for the six-week Code Foo program, and six were eventually hired full-time. Several of the hires were nontraditional applicants who didn’t attend college or who had thin work experience.
At most companies, résumés are still the first step of the recruiting process, even at supposedly nontraditional places like Google Inc., which hired about 7,000 people in 2011, after receiving some two million résumés. Google has an army of “hundreds” of recruiters who actually read every one, says Todd Carlisle, the technology firm’s director of staffing.
But Dr. Carlisle says he reads résumés in an unusual way: from the bottom up.
Candidates’ early work experience, hobbies, extracurricular activities or nonprofit involvement—such as painting houses to pay for college or touring with a punk rock band through Europe—often provide insight into how well an applicant would fit into the company culture, Dr. Carlisle says.
Plus, “It’s the first sample of work we have of yours,” he says.
Ok so I was just reminded by our friends over at Design Milk to have another peek at the social media propaganda posters that Aaron Wood did a while ago. Delightfully cute and great stimulus for a workshop when you want to push around social media. Here they are. Enjoy.
I see the blogarati are up in arms about the above video. You can read some posts here and here. Surprise surprise there’s a lot of truth stretching and many of the facts in this video are misrepresented. Like so much of the social media hyperbole that floats around the blogasphere this is fairly sensationalist and actually reminds me of a lot of the Second Life propaganda that flooded the Internet a few years back. It’s a bit of entertaining advertising that’s been created to sell a book is it not?
Second what? you might ask now. My point exactly.
Filed under: Advertising, Social media | Tags: My RB Opportunity, Reckitt Benckiser
Quite some time ago I received an email from a lovely account executive over at Shiny Red in London about a new social media campaign they’re developing for Reckitt Benckiser.
As a part of said new campaign they have developed an integrated social media strategy to raise awareness of the global opportunities that exist at the company. At the centre of the campaign is a new blog, ‘My RB Opportunity’ which aims to offer a window into the world of work at the company. The blog is written by nine graduate trainees from Reckitt Benckiser’s offices around the world, who are sharing their thoughts and experiences to offer prospective employees a real understanding of the diverse environment and reflect what it’s like to succeed in the company.
If you don’t know Reckitt Benckiser, they make all kinds of products like Detol, Veet, Strepsils etc. I understand from the email I received that “this campaign has been created in order to demonstrate Reckitt Benckiser’s commitment to engaging with social media and that the blog is one part of an integrated campaign that encompasses everything from Linked In, to Facebook and Twitter”. I also assume that the email was sent to me so that I could review the blog and perhaps post on it. So I went to the blog and I checked it out.
My first question is: Why?. My second question is: Who?. Why does it exist and who do you think is going to read it? I know that there are countless reality shows on cable at the moment which chronicle the lives of interns at Vogue or Marie Claire, young guns attempting to crawl up the Master Chef ladder or become the next apprentice. I guess the factor that makes those shows work is entertainment. Great script writing or strong polarising characters or great filming [and editing].
We do want to watch the interns at Vogue scratch eachother’s eyes out over who gets to go to the latest fashion show because they’re bitchy New Yorkers and that’s funny. We love Master Chef because it has some moderately big names and who doesn’t love cooking? And just maybe, we imagine that it could be us one day. We love to watch the Apprentice and others like it. But who would want to read the musings of a real intern at a large multinational corporate?
They’re not going to write anything too interesting or be doing much except towing the line because they have jobs they want to keep. If they had hired a comedian or a particularly articulate journalist to write the copy, maybe I would read it. But as it is now, it’s a big black hole of corporate commentary about nothing much in particular. I appreciate that they’re trying to do something different and commend them for that. I’m just not sure what the point of it is.
Filed under: Digital culture, Innovative stimulus, Social media, Thinking | Tags: Digital culture, Google, lynete webb, online
“The idea for this slide came from a recent article in the NYT about how the internet is impacting literacy:
“Clearly, reading in print and on the Internet are different. On paper, text has a predetermined beginning, middle and end, where readers focus for a sustained period on one author’s vision. On the Internet, readers skate through cyberspace at will and, in effect, compose their own beginnings, middles and ends. Young people “aren’t as troubled as some of us older folks are by reading that doesn’t go in a line,” said Rand J. Spiro, a professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University who is studying reading practices on the Internet. “That’s a good thing because the world doesn’t go in a line, and the world isn’t organized into separate compartments or chapters.”
It’s a nice thought. When you think about how you read, surf, scan, think and communicate online . . it’s anything but linear. In fact, there’s a sense in which much of the activity that happens online is about joining the dots and redrawing them, than it is reaching some tangible end or defined goal. I like Lynette’s pics because they also pick a poignant point and sum it up perfectly with a great quote and an emotive image. She’s a great resource for inspiration stimulus if you want to get people thinking differently, especially about the impact of the net.
Check out the live link here
Filed under: Digital culture, geek, Social media | Tags: bud caddell, mika arauz, undercurrent
Ok I’ve discovered more mind candy, this time in the form of a couple of strategists who work at digital think tank Undercurrent in the US. The first one is Mike Arauz and he blogs about anything and everything digital. This is an RSS cracker so get on to it, take a peek and whack it in your reader. He also posts a lot of diagrams. Diagrams look smart and are nice to read. I love a good diagram. Here’s a snippet of some of his posts :
I’ve been thinking a lot about fans. Not just the average viewer, reader, or customer; but, the devoted people who on some level see their affection for something someone else has created as part of their own identity. When we think about how the internet has changed the communications landscape, it seems that fans have taken on an increasingly important and central role in the making or breaking of brands and entertainment properties.
Fandom has a long and storied history (and there are plenty of people who are much more qualified than I am to talk about it), and in the past couple years I think we’ve started a new chapter. The most obvious example of this change is Comic-Con, the huge conference for sci-fi disciples and super hero devotees of every persuasion that has turned into the must-attend super-showcase for every aspiring new movie, TV show, or video game. I’ve also seen fan culture creep into the marketing world. In my own work I often use the word fan in place of consumer, when I talk about reaching a core audience of people who care most about a product or service.
I think that the reason why we’re seeing this interest in fans, is that we’re recognizing how powerful a mobilized fan community can be. If they love you, they will make you a hit. If they hate you, they will prevent you from ever having a chance.
But, relationships between fans and the creators of the work that has earned the fans’ devotion are complex, and the diverse roles represent varying degrees of active participation.
There is another reason why I love this blog. On it I have just found a fabulous link to geeky data heaven. Check out this puppy. For those of you who love a good statistic, this will be the time sucker for 2009.
Another fella from Undercurrent who also writes is Bud Caddell and he blogs at what consumes me. Anyway these two are worth taking a peek at if you’re looking for a little geek buzz uptop.
Filed under: Emergent media, Geek stuff, Social media, Work Futures | Tags: P&G digital hack, Social media, Tide t-shirt
It seems that the peeps at P&G realised that this whole ‘social media’ thing was something they needed to get their heads across. What better way to do it than invite 40 of the best geeks from the Valley and stage a 4 hour social-media hack-a-thon exercise for charity.
40 executives from the Valley were invited down to meet with a hundred P&G marketers to help them get their heads around social media. They played in teams and competed to see which group could sell the most Tide t-shirts using only a thousand bucks and any social media tool they could get their hands on. All proceeds went to charity.
For those of you who haven’t yet read the story on P&G’s Digital Hack Night here’s a couple of links:
I was putting together a little movie clip the other day showcasing some of advertising campaigns that well, haven’t exactly gone to plan. One of the ones I came across was Motrin, a US pain killer who created this ad [ see below] and then well . . watch it first . . .
So they ran the ad. Two things happened.
1. It caused a flurry of activity on Twitter amongst angry Motrin moms:
2. Someone responded with another ad on YouTube. Take a look.
Whether you think it’s a big stink over nothing, whether you agree with the Motrin mums or not. I have to say I was impressed with Motrin’s response. Simple. To the point. No bullshit. Game over.
I think what people took great pleasure in with the NAB fiasco what the way they handled the whole thing. People make mistakes, everybody does.
I think the way Motrin handled it was spot on. When you own up to it and make amends, there’s really nothing to gossip about now is there?