I know, I know… “Social Web”. If that term isn’t enough to put you off reading the rest of this post, you’ve passed the first test and are ready for the brave new future.
Just over a year after the launch of the “Like” button, Facebook has announced it’s new “Send” button. “Finally!”, I hear you say. Liking, sharing, buzzing, digging, tweeting and stumbling just isn’t enough these days. Sarcasm aside, the new “Send” functionality may actually be a step in the right direction. Basically, “Send” allows you to share a page/link/whatever with the right group of people instead of all your contacts. (Funnily enough, Google’s Buzz, widely derided as a giant social-networking flop, has had this functionality built in from the start.)
The more interconnected our online behaviours get with our offline lives, the harder it is to do anything online without it potentially being seen by the wrong people. We naturally have separate personas and behaviours in how we interact offline with different groups (for e.g. think how you are with your family, your work colleagues, your gun club), so it’s hardly surprising the model of a single group of contacts or “friends” isn’t a natural fit for all of our online activities.
Likewise, Facebook commenting has tried to tie us all to one online profile that means we lose the freedom to have different personas on different sites.
In its rush to create one social graph to rule them all, Facebook has missed the point of the interest graph. Sure, I’m connected to all these people, but I’m not connected to them in the same way. Hopefully, “Send” marks a return to Facebook getting why 700 million users use their site.
The “Social” aspect of web design isn’t a fad – on the contrary, it’s going to become more and more pervasive in the future – but we need to make sure we add it in the right way. Adding social features to your site has great potential… as long as we bear in mind that the user is connecting your service to their profile for the value they gain from it. There’s no point in gaining a “Like” if it ends up a dislike.
PS: If you have the time, check out this slideshow from a few months back on “The Real Life Social Network” by Paul Adams, it’s excellent.
As Russell pointed out, we spend a huge amount of time at Show & Tell talking about Facebook. The truth is though, with a user-base of 500 million and some of the most aggressively pursued ambitions in the sector, it’s impossible to ignore the moves they make.
Last week Google announced they were cutting off Facebook’s ability to import Gmail contacts, calling Facebook’s system a one-way street of data – Facebook encourage users to pull contact lists from all the major email providers to find your contacts, yet they don’t allow you to do the reverse and export a list of your Facebook contacts. And Google have a valid point about Facebook’s hypocrisy; we’ve seen the exact same move when Facebook shut down Twitter’s ability to find contacts through your Facebook profile. Not only that, they do allow certain partners to access this data – just not their users.
All of this was precursor to Facebook’s big announcement at … that they’re rolling out @facebook.com addresses to their users. However, this isn’t just email – the new Facebook messaging combines email, IM & SMS communication into one conversation. The idea is that we shouldn’t have to try to figure out what communication method to use when there are so many available. Send a message through Facebook and the recipient can set their preferred mode and your message gets automatically routed to mobile phone or inbox for you.
Sound good to you? Me neither. This really feels to me like Facebook are solving a problem that doesn’t exist – except for them. More data = better advertising revenue for Facebook and they know that any communication out of their ecosystem is lost to them.
The blogosphere has been full of the same ‘Gmail killer’ narrative that fits so conveniently with all of the recent clashes between Google & Facebook. Gmail is the most rapidly growing email services, mainly because it’s excellent. Google were the first to set virtually unlimited storage limits and threaded email conversations have spread from Gmail to other email systems the way tabs did to browsers. My problem with the notion that Facebook mail will damage Gmail is that they’re different user-bases – the average Gmail user is the more tech-savvy email user while Facebook’s demographic trends toward students, teens and “soccer moms”. Facebook does infringe on Google’s data monopoly but realistically I expect to see more of an impact on Hotmail and Yahoo!’s numbers than Gmail’s.
It remains to be seen whether Facebook can attract people to their system as their primary email provider but I’d predict the real market is the under-20s. If you haven’t left school or university yet, odds are that most of your communication will fit quite easily to the channels of your existing social graph through Facebook. But the real obstacle is the corporate perception of Facebook as a time-waster, not a productivity tool. Huge numbers of workplaces block Facebook and realistically that will make an @facebook.com email address unworkable for millions of people.
Personally, it’ll be a cold day in hell before I’d have any sensitive information dependent on Facebook. How long will it be until Zuckerberg decides that email privacy is something only old people and squares worry about and exposes everyone’s inboxes to 3rd-party marketing?
Another regular topic for us is Apple’s iOS platform. This week we had a look at the Apple’s iAds system that allows full-screen, interactive, HTML5 ads right inside an app.
Launched with iOS4, the iAd platform is Apple’s first foray into the advertising market and yet another front in their ongoing war with Google (spotting a trend?). Check out this video to see what they can do…
Essentially you can build an app inside an app. iAds give huge scope to advertisers to do create interesting engaging content, capture data, play video and more, without having to kick the user out of the app to the browser.
So, where’s the catch? Well, first off there’s the 60:40 split with Apple. That’s right, 40% of all advertising revenue through their platform goes to Apple and the remaining 60% to the app developer. And as ever, Apple retain final control over the ads served on their platform and that’s ruffled a few feathers.
Last month Adidas cancelled their $10m campaign, with sources quoted as saying “Apple CEO Steve Jobs was being too much of a control freak.” Earlier in the year, Chanel also pulled a similar sized campaign from the network for similar reasons. Apple claim to have signed up over half of the top 25 of the top advertisers but it remains to be seen whether this the Adidases and Chanels they lose are worth losing to maintain that high-quality ‘Apple experience’.
“Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
That was the tweet that (five days later by the way) was picked up by the authorities and led to the eventual arrest and trial of Paul Chambers in what’s become known as the ‘twitter joke trial’. The judge however, didn’t see the funny side and viewing it as “clearly menacing” has resulted in Chambers losing his job, a criminal conviction and fines and legal costs of over £3,000.
The twitterverse, predictably, has erupted in outrage over the ruling. 1,000s have retweeted and made their own similarly ridiculous threats using the hash-tag #IAmSpartacus in Kubrickian solidarity. Stephen Fry has offered to pay Chambers’ fine and numerous fund-raising efforts.
On a similar note, a Chinese woman who retweeted a satirical call to attack the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo was summarily snatched up by the Chinese authorities. She’s been sentenced to a year of ‘Re-education Through Labour’ by the Chinese authorities, which I’m sure is every bit as scary as it sounds. As if being sentenced to a year’s hard-labour without trial wasn’t bad enough, she was arrested on what was supposed to be her wedding day and no-one knew what had happened to her until this week. Let’s see how many tweets this story gets.
And finally, we watched this TED talk about Mr Splashy Pants the whale.
It’s a great story about the importance of realising you can’t control the Internet. The web is by its very nature distributed, anarchic and organic. Putting your message out online requires a certain amount of faith that your message will survive, no matter what social networks do with it. This is a scary prospect to any brand but it’s a core part of any viral success.
Editor’s note: It was an epic Show & Tell this week. The first part was Marine’s presentation on the use of animation in advertising. Stay tuned for part 2 with all the rest of the headlines and discussion.
I have a certain passion for animation and whilst doing some research on the use of animation in advertising, Here are a few great ads that I thought I would share with you. I was really struck by the fact that animation is actually a very efficient element/tool for brands that wish to communicate. In fact, animation develops consumers’ imagination, it can be adaptable and become top of mind in consumers’ mind and has also a strong capacity to touch an audience by approaching serious matters in a sympathetic way…
Enough about the theory, here are three ads I have chosen to share:
Amnesty International: Signatures
The first one is an ad done by TBWA for Amnesty International called “Signatures” which speaks from itself, which I found stunning and moving just by using a nice stylish illustration. When interviewing the artistic director Stéphane Gaubert he explained that their choice went towards black and white animation because they thought a simple but fresh illustration would have a great impact on people’s mind, reaching their sympathy. In terms of results the charity got great reviews with 600,000 views on YouTube and €1.8 millions of free diffusions and press articles.
AIDS: Zizi graffitis
The next ad is also one from TBWA for AIDS this time called “Zizi graffitis” which is really sweet and funny. When I interviewed Ingrid Varetz, the creative director who worked on the ad, she explained that animation was the base of their concept, she said “it seemed to me appropriate to use sexual graffiti which is usually found in schools in order to talk to the youth and encourage them to wear condoms. The results for this ad were amazing with 1 million views in a week, 8.5 millions in September so for those who will tell me, this ad is so French, I say, ‘well it worked!’”
Now another way of approaching the same subject but in a very different direction and I personally didn’t like it at all but I will let you judge from yourselves. I just thought it’s a bit wrong to associate mass murderers with people who are HIV-positive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnQLClo9sME&feature=fvw
Facebook: Unfriend Coal
The last one I would like to share is an ad from Greenpeace which came out strategically a few weeks before the film “The Social Network”. Light, funny and entertaining it shows you how Facebook’s creator is not doing the right choice by using coal instead of wind farms.
As mentioned in our last post, we’ve been hard at work on a game for Microsoft Hardware for the last little while. Well, today it’s live.
Get on over to http://www.blueysmouserun.com/ and get involved! We’ve implemented some nice Facebook stylee social-goodness to get your friends involved and it’s just addictive enough to ensure you’ll be back for more.
As Social Media becomes more prevalent within our personal, everyday life, so companies are realizing the potential to utilize this data / information to their advantage.
Businesses are using numerous techniques and programs in order to harness the power of Social Media to help them understand their user base better and how their users interact with their website / service / products.
From collating comments from individual Tweets to data-mining Tweet traffic & usage ( helpful in identifying power users and determining how they use the website / service ) companies are now able to use what was previously seen as “something cool” and “I don’t know what it does but seeing as everyone is using Twitter & Facebook we should too” in order to make serious strategic decisions that can help them to unlock new business potential.
OneForty have compiled a nice list of Social Media Toolkits that may be of use to companies looking to turn that “i’m gonna Poke your FaceWall” into serious strategic advantage and more importantly cold-hard cash!