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The most common words and tags on this blog

Just came across a brilliant little tool called Wordle (thanks to Now In Colour). Punch in a URL or a piece of text and it will create a word cloud using the words appearing most often in the text. From the looks of things, we’re not where I originally thought this blog was going to go, but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.

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No experts allowed!My esteemed and learned friend Julian Cole just put me on to a fantastic blog, Talent Imitates, Genius Steals. Written by Faris Yakob who heads up planning for Naked Communications’ New York office. I’ve just read a post from Faris talking about a new t-shirt service a friend of his has started, in the same post he references a campaign going on for Orange in the UK called Balloonacy, which I seriously heart (and would be playing if my platform of choice was more customisable – look for a move to be made shortly in this space).

This is a great idea for one of the same reasons I love the Orange Balloon Race that’s running at the moment…it understands that the web is the platform and that from here on in, identity is distributed.

The web is the platform! I’ve been thinking this for a while, but for some reason it only just made sense. In the ye olde days people created work based on the limitations of the hardware, we’re now creating work based on the limitations of the software. In addition, while Moore’s Law may be running out of steam in the sense he was talking about traditional computing, it did not allow for the rise of mobile computing, and I’m more interested about the evolution of the handset than I am about a slightly faster laptop.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I’m excited!

Image courtesy of macwagen, with thanks to compfight.

Barrier to entryLong-time listeners-first time callers would be aware I was included in a top 50 list of marketing blogs in Australia recently, put together by Adspace-Pioneers and Marketing Magazine (#17, thanks very much). Eschewing “It’s an honour just to be nominated” dribble, it was a great chance to check out some of the other writers and marketers that exist in this space. There’s a tremendous amount of value out there and it’s well worth everyone’s time to take a look at the other sites comprising the list.

One key aspect which had been over-looked on a lot of these sites though was the choice of technology employed. There are three main blog platforms – WordPress (which is what this site is), TypePad and Blogger, all of which have their own pros and cons, but perform the same base functions.

Contrast this with Vox, a site I hadn’t heard of before until I visited Lexy Klain’s blog (#29 on the list). Lexy does a good job of providing thought-provoking content, I actually went quite far back into her archives to get a sense of her thought process. Satisfied, I went to comment on a post, and to congratulate her on making the list, and that is when the fun stopped.

Vox requires you to register if you wish to comment, something I abhor. Having spent yesterday afternoon at the Melbourne PubCamp event being bored to tears by folk who do not yet understand for some God-forsaken reason that open beats closed, I was surprised to see a blog site pursuing this tack.

By choosing this platform, Lexy opts out of a raft of conversation provided by comments. Fred Wilson often says the comments on his site far outweigh the value created in his blog posts. This is a participatory medium, and we need to make the barriers to entry for everyone as low as possible.

Lex, five stars for the wealth of thought you’re providing, but I can get it elsewhere. And if I can’t interact or am put off by the barriers placed in front of me, I won’t return. Those who haven’t read it should brush up on Forrester’s POST methodology for more on this.

Image courtesy of moniker, with thanks to compfight.

This hilarious short comes courtesy of Slate. The race for the Democratic nomination in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee.

With thanks to the recently discovered and completely brilliant Now In Colour.

Happy weekend everyone

P.S. Yes we can.

When people talk about campaigns being exposed, what they’re seeing is the revelation of the intent behind the activity. Julian Cole talked about a Ford ad last week which summarised this perfectly. Ford had made it reasonably clear their ad was fake and they were just having some fun, prompting Julian to write.

people enjoy…content for what it is…This is a great example of why full disclosure works in the social media space.

The intent here was to entertain, not to fool. The result is engaging and hats off to Ford for having the stones to do this, and not have an intent to deceive at the core of what they were doing. The added bonus here is they get blogged about for All The Right Reasons(TM), and what could be better than that?

So, we’ll refer to it as intent, but what is at the core of the campaigns you’re building for the brands you work with?

A while back I took Facebook to task for constantly displaying ads telling me how I could meet women.

Just break up?

So I engaged in a bit of profile altering in order to see how Facebook changed the kinds of ads it displayed. Now that my profile shows I am in a relationship, Facebook has gone from showing me how I can meet women to displaying ads on leasing cars and hangover cures.

Because obviously now that I am in a relationship I have turned to hard living in an effort to self-destruct (as this is easier than actually going through a break-up). Switching to married gives me…go-karting. And an offer to complete market research surveys. Microsoft paid how much to be able to serve Facebook’s ads?

Now I’m on It’s complicated, seems to be serving me ads for a swinger’s club. Trouble in your relationship? Why not restore the trust and dedication you so sorely need by…hooking up with complete strangers.

I’m back to being single now, which feels about right. Of course the rawest example I’ve seen of Facebook’s ad serving hitting the nail on the head is this example from Charlie O’Donnell’s blog earlier this year. Fresh out of a relationship, wound still gaping wide, Facebook delivered this gem:

Hunter S. ThompsonOne of the joys of now being a columnist is having the editor of the magazine call up and berate you for over-due pieces. Picture any actor who has played a journalist (I’m thinking Clooney personally) called by his very attractive but somewhat neurotic editor who has told he has until the end of the day to get his story in or he is fired. Note how cool he plays it, how he has arranged to discuss his column over dinner with her (and probably breakfast too). Got that image in your head?

Right. My life is nothing like that.

Still, I was called today because my latest piece was over-due. I said I had nothing to say, she said not to worry, that I could write about butter and it would be interesting.

So that’s what I did. Spurred on by the recent hoopla surrounding their blocking Google’s Friend Connect, I explain why butter is a crock, why Facebook is butter, and why, for me, it starts to spell the end of this media darling.

…trying to control what people do with (their own information) is the digital equivalent of telling rain which way to fall in a thunderstorm. Facebook eschewed a bunch of good stuff to get to where it is, using ingredients that were good for a whole lot of other, better, products and services. Now they’re desperately trying to maintain hold on user data, under the daft assumption it was somehow theirs to play with in the first place.

It’s already been suggested I’m wrong on this, I’m not so sure…

Image courtesy of bezmyaso, with thanks to Flickr Storm.

I am guilty of opening far more tabs in Firefox than is perhaps advised, I just got to one opened earlier this week. The page loaded is a post from Laurel Papworth taking to task a piece penned by Douglas A. McIntyre titled “Web 2.0 is a bust“. By that, he means his ill-informed view of how it should operate.

Laurel makes a few good points in her piece, it is definitely worth checking out. It also echoes my own thoughts from back in February, where I said the following:

Ever see teenagers at a shopping centre, hanging out and not buying anything? Look for this behaviour to continue (funnily enough). Marketers looking to capture that intention are going about it in the wrong capacity. Yes, a person is a fan of the TV show Lost. Yes, you have that on DVD and you can sell it to them. No, they do not want to buy that now. They want to buy it when they want to watch it, so you had better make sure you know enough about your audience to be in the right place at the right time.

No sooner am I cracking jokes about not following Scoble than I clock an interesting breakdown of rumours swirling regarding Microsoft taking search off of Yahoo!’s hands and buying Facebook at the same time for somewhere between $15 & $20 billion. Robert is running around saying the sky will fall if this happens, I say you’ll see first an uproar and then an exodus from Facebook, the kind of thing that will make the hassles with the news feed and Beacon look like the good ol’ days.

I’ll be leading the charge.

*Update* David J Hinson hit me up on Twitter suggesting I may be over-reacting a touch. Me? Noooooo…*ahem* I seriously value the ability of the web to keep moving towards a completely open future, and my instinct says a deal between MS and Facebook would not take is closer. I have nothing against Microsoft (hi to Tom and Adam at Redmond, we miss you guys), but as Andy Grove once said, only the paranoid survive.

Scoble? FTW?Turned onto a cute little Twitter visualisation via Iain Tait called Tweetwheel which lays out up to 100 of your followers then shows you who among the people you know are also connected.

I was just about to close the window when I noticed Robert Scoble sitting on the page with no connections. You may say odd that Scoble showed up with no connections (surely a first..har), but the mystery for me lies in the fact that I don’t follow Robert.

Perhaps the creators got so used to loading up his name he just defaults? Who knows =]