What technology would PR companies, the police, and the paparazzi want to get their hands on?
It's delivery that basically sends raw images from a video camera direct to the consumer. It is a service from ShootLive, news agency for the digital age based in Nottingham, UK. The ShootLive service was used in the coverage of David Beckham's game in July.
Why does this change the game? Because of the need for speed. In journalism and in PR, or even in law enforcement, seconds make a difference. The scoop, the intervention of a criminal, the ability to relay instantaneous pictures of a tragedy such as an earthquake can impact lives.
Images from camera are streamed (as an XML feed) to a mobile phone in less than 60 seconds, the company says. What I like about all this is it doesn't make the end-user jump through hoops to receive it. Images could arrive as a multi-media text alert.
What could this do for marketing? Apart from the obvious ones that ESPNs of this world will jump onto, and be able to monetize, marketers could get users to opt-in to premium content. Think: Olympics, stage acts such a Live Earth, and even regional ones. The McDonald's and IBM's could sponsor XML feeds . Down the line when the genie is out of the bottle, cell phone carriers will use the technology too. Already, AT&T has a similar service called VideoShare where subscribers could stream video with a camera phone to another phone --while talking! These are both low-end ($29.99 and $79.99) Samsung phones not some souped-up smart varieties.
As a freelance writer I get pitched a lot. I don't hit the delete
key unless it's totally irrelevant. But I have to say there are several
people who do take the time to ask if whom they represent is relevant,
and they do their homework.
I had a pitch from a PR firm in the UK recently that really stood
out. He promised he wouldn't flood my inbox, and offered an RSS feed as
an alternative --something I opted for.
On a macro scale, how do you get to know an organization, its
priorities, its strategic goals?
On Wednesday I was asked by a local firm
to speak to a group of incoming account managers about strategic
thinking and solutions selling. I used an example of how as
'transparent' as it may seem, a company's web site is the last place
you'll find that kind of useful information. A Google search would be a
hit or miss, unless you find a corporate blogger giving the inside
scoop. Nor would a site map reveal the inner working groups, the nodes
and the unofficial networks. Taking time to get to know this
"inner-net" means putting our digital smarts aside, and falling back on
our analog skills. I use the phrase "Think digital, act analog" (first
used by Guy Kawasaki, I believe) to illustrate the point.
A good article on this also appeared in Fortune magazine
last month (titled "The hidden workplace.") "There's the organization
chart," it said. "And then there's the way things really work."
Bottom line: Take time to understand the analog networks. These power brokers, access points, nodes and human routers may not have a LinkedIn profile, but they sure make things happen!
Psst. Did you hear? Second Life is getting bad press. Ever since Businessweek magazine
did a cover story on SL last year, there has been nothing but good buzz
about the place. After all the IBM's and Coca-Colas have all
established a presence there. But the question marks are beginning to
appear. (Note I didn't say 'cracks').
Technology Review (subscription required) on the other hand has a very interesting analysis called Second earth --the possible mash-up between Google Earth and Second Life.
My take: It's way too early to pass judgment on Second Life.
Critics are quick to use ROI thinking to evaluate the impact of a 3D
experience on business. For now the shine is off the rose. But we've
seen that happen before, haven't we? Anyone remember Friendster?
Like it or not, the web will soon incorporate features of these 3D worlds. Trends such as geocoding, mobile
optimization, and our appetite for for on-demand information will create this world --with or without goofy avatars.
5. Taking story #3 to its logical conclusion, how about using a social network to get to know your dog's owners? Technology Review magazine had a story about how your dog's FaceBook-like page (called a PetWork, I kid you not!) could enhance your social life.
A story in the Arizona Republic
yesterday about a Tucson company creating graveside memory capsule may
seem a bit awkward, but the technology got me thinking. If you could
make a digital tribute downloadable at the grave, it opens up many
Indeed John Stevenson's product is more low tech than the
competition, which the article says, is a digital headstone that plays
a video. A sort of a flat screen atop one's final resting place.
Ten years ago, we would have never thought the media or digital
content would visit this fine and private place but let's get real. If
we use digi-formats to preserve everything we do while we are around
(Flickr family albums, Facebook profiles, digital photo frames, and
people who Twitter about everything they do in life) someone might as
well put these profiles to use after we have hit the final escape
button. It seems to me these are opportunities waiting to be tapped.
Some free advice:
Debbie Weil is a terrific writer and blogger. But she made one small slip a few weeks back that had some people --bloggers, mainly-- jumping all over it crying foul. Her crime: Allegedly attempting to "seed" a blog with comments.
The debate around "comment seeding" is not in the same league as, say, someone ratcheting up a company's image with fake posts, as did Whole Foods' CEO's Yahoo postings. But in the touchy blogosphere that is admirably the cheerleader for transparency, it comes off looking that way.
What Debbie did, as this accompanying post suggests, was send a few people an email asking for their reaction and/or comment. The reactions were swift and some severe --on her blog. Her email soliciting comments was posted.
As Debbie says, she was only using email as a back-channel, and didn't mean to deceive anyone.
There are two big issues here:
First the expectation of privacy. When someone contacts a professional colleague or 'friend' (itself an ambiguous term in the MySpace and FaceBook era) there is a tacit understanding that those conversations will be "off the record." But as any experienced PR person will tell you, there is no such thing as "off the record" anymore. Sadly so.
Second: Social media Netiquette. "What's that?" you ask. In this huge, rough experiment we are engaging in, netiquette (which got attention when email and forums were the biggest things) has been dispatched to the basement. Dan York, wrote a related post around the same time that Debbie Weil was being harangued. It was about the need for updating netiquette to embrace social media realities. Is it OK to email a professional colleague about your organization or client, or would that be considered a shameless pitch? Or to turn it around, is it OK to decline to participate in the back-channel? Or are all the back-channels including IM and Twitter, no longer back-channels?
Debbie's slip, which is more a poorly worded piece of communication than anything else teaches us a lot.
While I was away on vacation, taking pictures of some amazing cities, celebrating their positive side, the Economist
magazine trashed my stomping ground and I am not a happy puppy. I am
particularly annoyed, since they conveniently ignored so many good
things that are happening here.
If you haven't seen the Economist's July 26th article on Arizona ("Into the Ashes") go read it and come back.
Going by some letters in response to its editorial last Wednesday in the Republic, readers
were as critical. Two out of three letters criticized the editorial for
not facing reality. One, however was a letter from a couple who thought
the criticism was undeserved. They signed off as being "London by
birth, Arizona by choice."
Why such a paucity of positive commentary? More pertinently, where
was our PR clout when this kind of 'rubbish,' as the Brits say, was in
the works? How does someone from a magazine like this get to slant an
article so bad, when some of the points raised are actually good: less
smog than LA, new schools emerging, the opportunities that Light Rail
will bring etc. They paint us as a "crime ridden mess" apparently
because of the Light Rail system construction , snowbirds who leave
their homes unattended, and clueless visitors.
That's like saying London is the armpit of England because of the
overcrowded subway system, clueless tourists, constant terrorism
issues, and Crossrail construction --conveniently ignoring the amazing positive sides of this colorful, cosmopolitan city.
Why are positive stories hidden from view, tucked in the back of the paper --like this today, about the growing state economy? It's time we started telling telling our own stories, if no one else will.
"These busted boomers," writes Constance Lavendar, "are clinging to an argument based on authority, hierarchy, and privilege; they
despise digital democracy because it threatens their existence, challenges their
authority, and breaks down their well-preserved hierarchy."
She is commenting on a post in the Chronicle, about The Cult of the Amateurargument by Andrew Keen in his book about how "experts" are more valuable than the chattering masses, and the internet is killing culture.
She could well have been commenting on Lord Maurice Saatchi's "Google Data Vs Human Nature" in The Financial Times in May. The core of his argument is in this sentence
"It is an inconvenient and stubborn fact that outside Newton’s universe,
where physical laws govern reality, the world is conditioned by
Attacking the predictive model of marketing is not different from dismissing the hoi polloi who are suddenly on equal footing with experts. The old guard wishes it --and wikipedia, and blogs, and the ability for non-agency folk to come up with hugely popular Diet Coke/mentos uncommercials-- were not so.
In a later column, Mr. Saatchi wrote:"Sometimes I feel as though I am standing at the graveside of a well-loved friend called advertising." You know he is troubled by this algorithm thing. It must be tough watching the digital natives over-run the place.
Harry Potter is an extended tale of no, not just wizards and magic
but the wisdom of the crowds in action. But that story got buried in
the hoopla around the launch of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows last Saturday.
Very predictably, the traditional news media covered the event in
the same way they did, say, the iPhone. Too much attention to people
queuing up for the book, the parties, the ‘education’ component, but
very little about the phenomenon itself.
The fact is, the Harry Potter franchise just doesn’t belong to J.K. Rowling
anymore. The books may be in 200 countries and 63 languages, but the
Potter brand goes beyond that geographic reach. It’s been open-sourced
in more ways than you could imagine; the wisdom of the Potter crowds
has always ruled when it comes to creating their own message channels,
cranking out their own Potter-esqe stories etc. Despite the fact that
this is a book, and not a digital product, the fans are all over the
social media map. There is:
* The Mugglecast podcast run by high school students, that has some 50,000 listeners a week, and features Elton John and Bono.
* The Leaky Cauldron leaks news about the books and carries a disclosure that it is in “no way affiliated with J.K. Rowling.”
* No shortage of Potter blogs, including one that suggests a Bollywood storyline for an Indian audience.
* The Harry Potter Fiction store, that’s not managed by Scholastic, the book publisher; it’s also “unofficial.”
* The Academy of Virtual Wizardry, at “Caledon Highlands” in you guessed it, Second Life!
I could go on…
So I wanted to track how the raving fans were behaving. I had a
haunch that there would be an equal outpouring of passion on Saturday
the 20th July around midnight not in front of the bookstores where the
TV crews were waiting in hoardes, but on Wikipedia. At 11.00 pm Pacific
Time the discussion (on the “comments” page of the Harry Potter Wikipedia showed
signs that things were heating up. The Wikipedians had been discussing
the value of locking down the Wiki, since everyone knew the book had
leaked and the plot was being discussed elsewhere.
“Just wait until the official release time. Then we can put
everything up in 5 minutes or so, considering the number of wikipedians
interested in this.” said one editor at 11.03 pm. This was clearly a hard core editor, but also a big Potter fan. “Most people, me included, will be too busy reading the book on Saturday to check the article.”
Others like him (or her) were unhappy that some editors had moved to
freeze the pages until a week after the launch. Fan passion was
expressed in the form of outrage that some newspapers’ reviewers had
created spoilers by discussing the plot before the launch. Reading
through their discussion gives you a glimpse of not just how these
unpaid wikipedians work, but how fans operate late at night, doing a
thankless job for what? To them this isn’t JK’s book. This is theirs.
If only other brands let their customers work their magic this way!