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Posts from February 2009

Retail Advertising Conference / Vegas [Baby]

Retail Ad Conf

For the rest of this week I'm going to be in Vegas [Baby] at the Retail Advertising Conference.

I'm speaking tomorrow about social media and that - I'll put the deck up once it's all over.

While I was writing the deck someone twittered in an exasperated gasp - "I don't think we need any more social media presentations!" - which made me feel like I was wasting my time.

But then I remembered that 'we' is a very specific term on twitter, for the moment.

And that most people - the vast majority of all people, including people who work in marketing, the larger we, still aren't on or probably aware of twitter. [Although it feels like that is changing fast].

And that people find technoglorious stuff mostly quite alien and other and scary.

And that it isn't really.

So maybe I wouldn't talk about social media at all really - at least not specifically.

Maybe I'd get rid of that term [which I fear may be unhelpful as long as the word media means "something I buy space in to put my ads" for marketers] and talk about how people and brands behave in spaces where they are equal and being nice and that.

Hopefully the audience will find that interesting or useful.

We shall see.

If you are going to be there come and say hi and we can be social and make media together.

[I'll start using the hashtag #racvegas for the event if people want to say hi that way.]

Favicads or The Disarming Nature of Novelty

I like favicons.

I like when people do clever things with them.

It always seems a waste to me when a brand website has a
generic favicon.

So I liked this very very small idea that Markus sent me.

I think that novelty is a powerful thing.

When people haven't seen a brand using a space in just that way before, it disarms the standard interruption annoyance.

So this massively obstructive flash overlay becomes charming.

The problem with novelty as a strategy is that you have to keep doing different, never before done things all the time.

Maybe that isn't a problem exactly.

It's just what makes it hard.



I did this roundtable thing for Boards Magazine with David Pescovitz from Boing Boing and Rishad Tobaccowala of Denuo, discussing some the interesting things we thought would be happening in 2009. [They were both awesome...but I was way excited to talk to David from Boing Boing - geeked out!]

I riffed off some of the things I've been thinking about recently: geotility, the socialisation of media, spreadable media; David had really interesting things to say about how he likes to work with brands and Rishad discussed the crumbing division between on and offline, among lots of other things.

You can read the rest here - this is a content sample:

With a recession at hand, spending for digital threatening to overtake TV, and new media and technology platforms changing consumer interactions with brands, Yakob's explanation of his role neatly sums up the task that the industry's thought-leaders are currently faced with:

 "I'm trying to work out what the role for an advertising agency is in a digital world and how to best help clients embrace emerging platforms in a way that makes sense for them."

Wrestling with The Beast

Social media week
Tomorrow I'm moderating a panel for Social Media Week looking at the launch of a media brand - The Daily Beast:

Launching a media brand from scratch: A short history of The Daily Beast

Management from the Daily Beast (Caroline Marks, Bryan Keefer and Debbie Fink) and Colin Nagy (Attention), join moderator Faris Yakob from McCann NY to talk about the site's conception, the process of building a media brand from scratch, and also the role of social media in building awareness and driving traffic.

Unfortunately it looks like all the places have gone, so you'll have to take my word for it being awesome [or watch the live stream], unless you have already signed up, in which case come and say hi - that's very social.

[Disclaimer: There will be no wrestling.]

The Natural Selection of Interesting

Natural selection of interesting

The Internet is like these binocular things at the top of tall buildings [the ascent of which remains the favourite tourist past time] - it brings distant point of interest within close range.

As Anthony points out in this lovely ebook, the Internet functions as a live attention market - it dynamically reallocates attention in real time, because the machine makes bringing things close easy and immediate, and finding things a function of fragments of behaviour.

Ants in colonies don't require any conscious top down organisation - local rules exist and individual behaviours leave pheremone trails that get reinforced if the behaviour is imitated, which leads to directional changes of the whole.

We leave links and tags, tweets and posts, instead of pheremones - and these guide the allocation of attention.

As Duncan Watts has pointed out, the structure of the network is as important as that which seeks attention, and the same thing that becomes an attention grabbing hit one day, may not the next.

So, rather than collapse the wave function of this dialectic on one side, let's remember rather it is the dynamic interplay of the two that makes things spread, that moves attention around the market.

And my brother, who knows about these things, has a great expression for how this happens: 

the natural selection of interesting

This is awesome because it contains both parts of the idea: natural selection of the interesting favours traits which make something interesting to the environment.

And, if you wanted, you could even think about ideas as evolving, being remixed [sexual reproduction is a recombinant process] and copied and so on, incorporating other elements, becoming more interesting, or dying out.

If you wanted.

Best not to get too wed to the mechanics of a metaphor but as the viral / spreadable discussion continues, it is important to remember that how you think about something does matter, because the metaphors we use can change how we approach things.

Words are where we live.

Water is Essential

Twestival New York is shaping up nicely, despite my best efforts, and all the $20 tickets have now been sold.

So you get to donate twice as much [that's $40] to charity: water to come!

What's that I hear you cry, you get to drink for free [for a bit], whilst the money goes to charity?

I know, it's totally awesome.

Go and buy your tickets here now and you'll feel great for the rest of the day.

If you'd like to get involved as a sponsor, in anyway at all, there's plenty of time, so do get in touch.