Category Archives: social media

Not another Best Job in the World campaign, but plenty of “buzz”

The Westword Weekly News in Denver, Colorado recently had an open job position for a Medical Pot Reviewer. Many  claim that this was “The REAL Best Job in the World” (sorry Hamilton Island and Ben Southall).  Regardless of your beliefs towards legalized marijuana, the speed and quality of job application responses are both amazing and hilarious.  Especially considering this was never intended to be a campaign.

Marketing Lesson: The right incentive to the right target audience will always get a high response rate.  (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Automated Photoshopping: A New Internet Meme Is Born

Frankly, this is awesome.  The newly developed PhotoSketch allows you to create automatically generated Photoshopped compositions using random images off the interwebs.  Yes, really.  The image below is but one example of PhotoSketch’s capability:

PhotoSketch Example

If you don’t believe us, seriously, go watch the following video demonstration.  We’d suggest going to the PhotoSketch website itself, but it appears the site has imploded amidst a veritable deluge of interweb users all creating the most fantastically ridiculous possibly composition requests.

The best part?  It appears this was developed at China’s Tsinghua University!

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage from tao chen on Vimeo.

When gamers revolt in China…

Games publisher Shanda has gotten itself a barrel full of drama with its release of a “nostalgia” version of Legends of Mir.

Whilst the original game required players to put in considerable effort and time playing to increase their characters skills and equipment (like a good MMO should), the new version apparently pushes players to buy these skills  and equipment with real world money.  The players have now organized into a mass in-game protest:

legendsprotest

Literally thousands of player avatars have planted themselves in front of city gates throughout the game world, creating a blockade that stops other players from leaving the cities to play quests.

legendsprotest2

My friends in the gaming industry in China tell me this is actually quite common in the market, which, in a market that isn’t exactly real world protest friendly, sure is interesting.

Check out a few translated articles on the situation here.

Twitter: The New Travel Planner

I had a particularly good experience recently as my girlfriend and I were starting to plan an upcoming trip to Los Angeles.  She opted for the more conventional method of running a few searches on Google, hotels.com, and tripadvisor.com.  As expected she got the standard results – a few promotions, some highly rated hotels, and a good selection of price ranges.  Not bad, but nothing you could really trust and act upon without asking around a bit more.

On the other hand, I opted to throw out this tweet to see what would come back.  Within an hour, I received 8 different recommendations coming from a mix of friends and 3rd party services.  By the end of the night, I had 15 different recommendations to choose from all with personal validations or niche customer reviews to back them.

I was particularly impressed with one travel service, Resideo, who reached out to me with the following series of tweets (in order of conversation): quick consultation, staff recommendations, single recommendation, and the soft-sell.  All signs of a well-formulated customer service strategy in social media that picks up on the exact moment of consumer demand.

While it helped that my chosen destination was in a Twitter-crazy market, what I learned was that social media can be (and will be) a very serious player in the travel planning process.  The level of service I received was spectacular compared to the robotic process of searching on travel aggregators and search engines.  The human-touch of customer service has returned to digital, when we once thought it had completely abandoned the internet.

I love the concept that we no longer have to search for products and services, because they will find us.  With the communication tools we have today, we’re not too far off from making that concept a reality.

Da Apple Kid: The Apple retail experience shines through…

Here’s an outstanding example of a brand’s retail experience shining through 100%.  Nicholi, a kid from NYC, has decided to use the Apple store as his own personal studio, recording his demo reel during store hours.  The following is his creationg, one of  a series of positively excellent lip syncing videos…such as Black Eyed Peas:  Boom Boom Pow:

Or another great song off their new album – I Got A Feeling.

You can check out all of his videos at his YouTube channel.  Nicholas, you’re getting views in Hong Kong.  Keep it up!

Whilst I’m not sure Apple quite envisioned this as a potential result of setting up a try-before-you-buy retail environment, it’s absolute gold for them.  I’m having a hard time thinking of a better story for Apple than a kid creating his demo reel in the middle of their store.

All hyped up – Facebook in Asia

Recently, I have been having conversations with my counterparts in Europe about social networking, and specifically Facebook. I understand that Facebook and Twitter are the golden children of social media with huge amounts of press coverage and no doubt Facebook is the fastest growing social network in the world as well in the Asia-Pacific region; the growth was a huge 458% – but this growth tails off outside English speaking world. As far as I’m concerned in Asia, it’s all hype.

My conversations all started with some comscore data and how for Asia it presented an inaccurate picture of the region. As a general rule I don’t use comscore data from the region because it presents an incomplete picture. Comscore does not measure any data from internet cafes, or mobile devices – e.g. how the majority of Asians access the internet. And maybe this is why no Asian countries are not listed in comscore’s recent “World’s Most Engaged Social Networking Audience”  study, even though a third of the world’s Social network subscribers are in Asia Pacific. But that’s another welikey post.

Until recently, the region held scant interest for the American social networking heavyweights of Facebook and MySpace. Local sites such as Korea’s Cyworld and Japan’s Mixi dominated in the region as well as U.S. laggards Friendster and Orkut. Local sites dominate because they understand the domestic nuances of social networking behavior. Succeeding in Asia takes more than producing a translated version. This is where Facebook has failed. When they launched local language versions of their site, they did so without any major form of investment in the country – no local office and the translated version was done by volunteer members. Plus their mobile offering sucks. One more reason why Mixi and Cyworld dominate is because their mobile and PC functionality are identical, and the user interface works really well. Success in China is based on having partnerships with major portals which provide an audience base – QQ (tencent), MOP, Baidu, Sina, etc.

The main differences between Western & Asian SNS: (source: Isobar analysis of local information)

West & APAC SNS differences

And to the most popular social networking sites in key Asian markets…

South Korea: (source: Korea Click Jun 2009) Note, besides Cyworld, all popular SNS are the blogging features of Korean portals.

Korea SNS

Japan: (source: 2009 Internet White Paper by Impress)

Japan SNS

China:

For China there are all kinds of different ways of ranking social networks.  But in general, socio-political differences determine 2 different kinds of social networking sites ; one where you register your real name and the other where users can remain anonymous (mainly for the portals, blogs, & bulletin board/ forum sites).  I’ve included 2 ways of comparing SNS for China; sites requiring real name registration (the Facebook clones) and then the overall SNS market, which I feel is more accurate since there are 3 billion anonymous accounts (users have multiple accounts).

(source: iUserTracker Jun 2009) – the data below are for Facebook clones.

China SNS -Facebook clones

The overall social networking market in China: (source: Isobar analysis of Techcrunch, Neilsen and local data Mar 2009)

China SNS

I’ve included the target demographics for each site because, this pretty much boils down to what services they offer and the anonymity issue. Youth are interested in entertainment and gossip, mainly looking at celebrity news and music.  Blogging, forum posting and IM can still be published and read anonymously to the government’s ire.  University students are interested in linking with their friends as a source of entertainment and popularity contests. For white collar workers these sites are a source of killing time, and the main form of killing time is multi-player games.  Recent Chinese regulation states that users much register their real names to play games.  I believe this was all in an effort to combat internet addiction, rather than censorship issues.

And the numbers for Facebook:

Facebook APAC numbers

Twitter and Real-Time Search Contendors

Despite the fact that Twitter is first and foremost a microblogging service, its search functionality is increasingly becoming used as a barometer for trends. From the recent demonstrations in Iran to the avalanche of collective expression of loss following the death of Michael Jackson, Twitter has proven itself as an invaluable resource for real-time news and search results. However, Twitter was straining under the weight of the tributes to the star, and disabled their search and trending topics functionalities in an effort to stay afloat.   This isn’t the first time.  All this stress the news placed on Twitter’s system as well as its search function is limited to the site only, this does not bode well for Twitter’s prospects as a ‘real-time’ search engine.

So here are a couple of the best ‘real-time’ search services I’ve seen so far:

Collecta screenshotCollecta : Launched just this month,  it seems to be one of the fastest real-time search engines out there.  Collecta is effective in tracking events as they happen, gathering photos, videos, status updates, tweets, news articles, and blog entries as items are posted, continuously updating results as event happen.

Crowdeye screenshotCrowdEye : Another recently launched service.  The intention of CrowdEye is to both sort real-time information and make it more meaningful for users by giving greater context to results with graphs, categorized search terms, highlighted links, as well as displaying recent tweets.