At one point I was going to write about Twitter with a debate if Twitter is"Crossing the Chasm" or "Jumping the Shark"given the fact that Oprah started to use it, John McCain tweets while he's in the Senate and almost every content owner now uses it in some way. I've been on twitter for 2+ years (under my name) but I didn't real see any relevance with the lifecasting. I just didn't seem to concerned with people commenting on their daily lives in less than 140 characters..."Just got up"..."Taking a look at puppies"..."Getting out of bathroom"...again...not interested. I wondered if Twitter would ever really provide any value given this void of content and the fact that 60% of new people to Twitter quit w/in a month due to user's short attention span. Then, I read a Mark Cuban post noted that he's getting more traffic from facebook and Twitter than Google and there was an article in New York Magazine In Defense of Distraction. I came to the conclusion that Twitter will succeed not "in spite" of people's short attention span, but it will succeed "because" we have short attention spans 140 characters appears to fit our attention span just right and feed our need for instant gratification. The factors below also help Twitter feed our collective attention deficit syndrome: -> Content is gaining relevance. There has been a move away from lifecasting. It's more quick commentary and to a certain extent link management. Now I can ween myself off of RSS feeds and social bookmark sites like digg. They took too much time to find and manage anyway. Now all my pop-culture news, marketing articles and innovation examples find me. -> The creation of social network slot machines. Apps like TweetDeck and ubervu can aggregate your social networks (graph) in one location. With Tweetdeck you can see the people you follow simultaneously on twitter and facebook. Ubervu plans to include your social bookmark sites like digg, friendfeed & blogs as well. Ubervu positions itself as a "conversation graph aggregator." That's a bit too techy-insider language for me. I see these apps as social graph (network) slot machines. You can actually see your conversation moving...you can easily pick out interesting topics and conversations with a quick view and simple click...no need to search. It's just like hitting the button (or for old timers - inserting a coin) on a slot machine. Your jackpot is not great riches after you get 7-7-7 but the social 'jackpot' is that you can't quickly access relevant content within one's short attention span. Again, instant gratification is realized and twitter must hope that this aggregation can start building a twitter economy in which the company can participate. ->Instant Virtual Creativity. You can now get instant feedback are your thoughts from both friends and non-friends alike. Most recently, there was a tweet (from someone I follow) in regards to the fact that 2% of marriages originated with eHarmony. I sarcastically asked what about other dating sites like Match.com and the fact there should be an online dating stat - People in relationships/# of people met online dating...you could then have some type of expectation on how many people you'll have to meet before you find 'the one.' The funny thing is that I got tweets from match.com and 2-3 other dating sites. An entire conversation was started about online dating stats and I expect to see the recommended stat in press used by dating sites soon. This type of instaneous virtual creativity both plays on the collective conscience and short attention spans. It will be interesting to see how Twitter takes off in Europe since attention spans are much greater here than in the US generally. How will it work here in Prague where facebook started to really take off in the last 6 months? And then there's that little thing about no revenue model... But still it looks like we're entering a two-tiered world in terms of online content: Social short attention span content and immersive sticky content.
I've been on vacation so no postings for a bit. I'm seeing if the Sports Guy can be worked into the Conversation Bow. More on this later. For now, Frog Design has put together an excellent presentation re the move from "marketing to meaning." I especially like their views on the atomization of brand (somewhat like the conversation bow) and marketing hardware/software. Enjoy.
And in case you've missed it on twitter. Here are some good article links:
Many of my recent posts have been influenced by seeing President Obama speak. None more so than my wife's fashion conversation with Michelle Obama about bow selection... Many of my friends and colleagues asked why did I make that post??? What did it have to do with marketing or social media??? So, I wanted to, pardon the expression, tie it up with some visual representation of how content drives viral marketing via a "conversation bow". A "conversation bow" shows the link between online sharing tools, content and the generated conversation. It's a bulldogmi spin on social media and conversational marketing promoted by forward thinking bloggers like David Armano's Logic + Emotion. It also highlights the fact that content becomes the center for conversations and connections. The three components of the 'conversation bow' are: content: Your content is the central component in which ties together the tools and conversation. Content drives the community. I realized the Michelle Obama fashion discussion on the size of bows was something worth posting. It reflected on her character & fashion decisions ....and let's face it, getting a rock star location, shaking the POTUS and FLOTUS hands and having a chat that actually engaged Michelle Obama is pretty cool. The discussion wasn't specifically about marketing or innovation, but it was still relevant for my bullBLOGmi posting since I've I'm still finding the right voice for the blog (since I've been writing this blog for only about 6 weeks) and I'm always trying to integrate (pop) culture within everything I do. Additionally, it also was much more likely to get pick up than previous posts. tools: Your tools enable your content to be discovered. Your tools can include search engine optimization and social network sites. Tools consist of your RSS feed, email,...then you have your social network tools like facebook, twitter, flickr, stumble upon, digg, etc... you can go direct or use sharing widgets (like Share This). SEO is a tool...and your strategic use of AdWords can be a tool as well. Your tools are your starting point to get noticed. conversation: The conversation is where people go to consume, comment and share content. The conversation can be within your own site or an external site. It will likely be a combination. The more content you can develop the more relevant you become part of a larger conversation...The more you can aggregate content the larger the conversation...The more fans/feeds you have (that actually read and react to your content) the larger your contribution to the conversation. The diagram above graphically displays the conversation bow. First, I wrote the post about our encounter and chat with Michelle Obama....then I sent out an email to fans, posted on facebook and twitter page...the RSS feed and 'share this' functionality were in place. Now, if ended here then the posting would not have entered any significant conversation and generated little traffic. However, via the tools, the posting got some pick up on some political pages like Huffington Post, some blogging networks on LiveJournal and oddly enough a closed social knitting network called Ravelry. The largest conversation online about Michelle Obama's fashion and style is on Mrs. O. When my posting got a front page headline on Mrs. O then I made significant in-roads in the conversation and bulldogmi site traffic grew. And it lead to more and more links to a variety of other sites since the bulldogmi post integrates with Mrs. O's conversation bow (I'll show that graphically at a later date). I was also able to find out that Mrs. O is part of a branded content intitiative for bbh/zag that I talked about in an earlier post. The conversation bow got larger and larger as it connected to more conversation bows. As Michelle Obama says, "If you're going to go with a bow, go with a BIG bow." This goes for fashion as well as digital marketing.
Through the Michelle Obama fashion and style site, Mrs O., I've learned about ZAG. ZAG is the 'brand invention' branch of bbh ad agency. bulldogmi sees it as an IP based branded content business that will take brands to market on their own rather than waiting or pitching to a client.
It's clearly the direction agencies will be going in the future and it's good to see in Mrs. O an example of their risk taking achieving some success. I'll be bullblogging about Mrs. O in a subsequent post re the "conversation" bow.
Since I've been connecting my most recent blog entries to Barack Obama, I figure there is no reason to stop now. Yesterday, I explained to a colleague how Barack Obama found his calling card "Yes We Can!" from kids brand Bob-the-Builder. She did not believe, so I went on YouTube and found the video linked to this post. Over the 3 minute video you find out Question: "Can we build it?"; Answer "Yes We Can." Most innovation thought leaders explain how important it is for us to discover on 'inner child' to inspire & cultivate creativity. Somewhere between Bob-the-Builder and Adulthood , we go from "Yes We Can" to "I don't think so" in our approach to new ideas. I find it interesting that Obama found his inspiring words from going back and thinking like a kid (or possibly just watching one of his kids program). A great example of how thinking like a kid can provide adult's inspiration.
My wife and I were able to see President Obama speak in Prague on Sunday...and by showing up right at 7am we were able to get a very lucky spot on the rail with no one in front of us...so we were within 5-10 meters (that's 15-30 feet) of Barack Obama when he gave his speech...the proverbial "rock star parking" for locations...Some very unique things occurred. 1. Rahm Emanuel came over to speak with us for five minutes before the speech....2. We shook President Obama's hand and 3. Michelle Obama came by us as well shook our hand and my wife started the following conversation: Kathleen (that's my wife): "I loved the Vogue cover" First Lady: "Thank you so much" Kathleen (and woman over my shoulder): "Love the bow too" First Lady: "It's a big bow" Leaddog/bulldogmi: "That's funny. All the women down here said the same thing." Michelle Obama: "If you're going to do a bow, I think it should be a BIG bow." Leaddog/bulldogmi: "I agree...I always do the same when I wear a bow" First Lady: Laugh And then she was off....In our 1 minute conversation, we were able to find out Michelle Obama's opinion on fashion and bows. So, now remember when bows are all the big fashion starting on Monday....take the First Lady's advice... If you're gonna go with a bow, go with a BIG bow.
To view more Big Bows by Michelle O and other photos from President Obama's speech in Prague click here.
Last week I attended a morning seminar titled "New Creativity for Challenging Times" in which a variety of agencies (one from media, one from advertising and one from 'viral') made 'creative' pitches to a series of brand managers...I thought this could be cool...There may be some insights into 'design thinking' or 'serious play.'
However, instead of a "bitchin' session" on creativity it became a bitch session on creative agencies...After the media agency presented there was a 30 minute bitch session on how brand managers didn't trust their media agency...After the ad agency presented it was another 30 minute diatribe on how ad agencies weren't able to directly drive profits via .... the viral agency (that gave a great presentation adopting some ideas from Jones Soda) got off easy since everyone was exhausted.
Given time to reflect, the discussion was quite amazing...Instead of creative discovery...we got a first hand view on why creativity and innovation is so difficult to attain. As one attendee stated, there were a lot of "Creative Enemies." The creative enemies included Confrontation, Judging, Intimidation, etc.
It was interesting to see a seminar that was suppose to be about driving creativity naturally transform itself into a lab experiment on why creativity is so hard to achieve in an organization.
Marva Collins said, "If you can't make mistakes, you can't make anything." Most people believe this but organizations don't live it. They want creativity, but they also want guarantees that there will not be failure...but the two are difficult to mix. Organizations want to innovate, but they won't give the green light when the situation presented itself. A way to overcome this conservative nature is to build a series of small trial & error projects in which mistakes can be learning experiences and not critical failures. Each small project iteration can build on one another and resolving mistakes becomes contagious leading to new better ideas. Another Collins quote, "The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." The same essence goes for creativity in a company...you just have to be willing to deal with mistakes along the way.
In chess, a player will often sacrifice his/her pawn to gain a superior position in a game. Wikipedia defines the pawn (♙♟) as the weakest and most numerous piece in the game of chess representing infantry or more particularly armed peasants.
Some people may have been the victim of "pawn management." This is the case where your manager sacrifices their employee for his/her own gain. This could be for a project or for personal gain.
Naturally, this is a lousy situation to be in and a great deterrent for creativity. Why promote a new idea or product if you think you'll be sacrificed?
But there's a bigger idea in place...The concept of pawns by definition establishes a hierarchy. Hierarchy becomes the hurdle to creativity since there is judgment occurring within the ranks. This is why 'flat' organizations are considered to be more innovative. No hierarchy, no pawns, no pawn management....ergo more creativity.
Just remember there are no pawns in brainstorming...