2010: The Year of the Tablet, How Publishers Shape It

The following Sports Illustrated concept piece by The Wonderfactory for Time Inc shows some of the key themes that will shape tablet-based consumption of information:

  • customize the layout to suit your tastes or keep the editor’s view;
  • verticalize the content to suit your interest areas;
  • easily curate ‘finds’ to your networks
  • inclusion of social gaming, but absent were meta game mechanics.

Sports Illustrated – Tablet Demo 1.5 from The Wonderfactory on Vimeo.

Foursquare Boosts Public Transit Use

foursquareThe location-based mobile network Foursquare has partnered with San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART to locals) to encourage use of their train service across 43 stations in the Bay area.

As regular metarand readers know, I am a big fan of game mechanics. Foursquare combines social networking elements with game mechanics, encouraging users to explore their neighborhoods and make recommendations.

For example, a user can become ‘mayor’ of a specific cafe or pub by checking in there more than anyone else. Updates are shared across services like Twitter which announce when someone takes over as mayor.

I’ve found these tweets somewhat irritating, but I think that is due to the way they are written – it’s usually a few microseconds into my scanning a tweet before I realize its a Foursquare announcement and I move on.

Foursquare

The BART partnership with Foursquare involves awarding $25 promotional tickets to riders chosen at random from those Foursquare users who log in at BART stations. Users can also duke it out to see who becomes ‘mayor’ of various stations on their regular commute routes.

All up, an innovative use of social media, mobiles and geolocation to boost public transport usage.

Social business design: Humanizing the company at every turn

Kara Swisher has done a fun interview with Ford’s social go to guy, Scott Monty, in which he does his impersonation of Bill Cosby’s cocaine skit:

Cosby: I said to a guy, “Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful,” and he said, “Because it intensifies your personality.” I said, “Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”

Scott’s message is that “social media is the cocaine of the communications industry“. If you have crappy products, if your company behaves like an ahole…people are going to find out about it way quicker through social media. The glass half full stance does point to the same holding true for great products and companies too.

It’s a memorable analogy, but the key take out for me from this interview is Scott’s comment that for Ford, “social media is absolutely key to everything we are doing“.

Take advertising, for example, Ford has moved to using 15 second spots with real people telling their stories. “Advertising is social mediaesque“.

Scott also essentially defined social business design: Its about humanizing the company at every turn, whether in HR, product development, customer service, PR or other areas.

Tribalizing Business: Steps To Changing The Game

hutsHumans are genetically predisposed to commune. When they do so within socially optimized corporate environments this results in exponential amplification across return on engagement metrics.

The results of a recent Deloitte survey of over 400 organizations, 2009 Tribalization of Business Study, provide a solid baseline for exploring where business is at with respect to providing such socially optimized environments.

First up, the survey found that over 50% of enterprises that had previously made some investment in social media were planning on maintaining this community-status quo. Over 40% planned to increase their investment in this area and only 6% were decreasing their involvement.

This tells us that business tribalization is becoming a reality. Or does it? Not so fast – there remains a lot of work to be done before we can comfortably declare enterprise engagement as being widespread.

Across 36% of companies surveyed, social media continues to be deployed out of the marketing function. While it is good to see that multiple departments are managing social media in as many as 15% of survey respondents, this can be problematic depending on the way in which management takes place. Clear decision-making processes need to be put in place that match the real time nature of social media.

Methods for monitoring and measuring success are currently predominantly based on participation-related analytics. The downside of doing so is that it can create a false view on how enterprises are benefitting from being more social.

Remember, that higher quality engagement trumps quantity and will lead to more sustainable inbound and outbound engagement. This is highly relevant as evidenced from the responses to the survey. Respondents indicated that the biggest obstacles they faced were getting people to participate regularly.

By better formulating their goals, and by aligning measurement with the achievement of these goals, companies will know how their investment into such areas as employing more staff to manage social media activities are faring.

The current staffing trend is to have 2-5 people, but interestingly almost 5% of those surveyed have more than 10 staff in such roles.

The survey concluded that “new management strategies and practices” are going to be critical for extracting “true business value” from social integration.

Tribalizing business in a game changing way requires an all-of-enterprise commitment and sustained ecosystem-wide engagement.

Next Line On The iPhone Horizon: Micropayments

Apple has a tried and tested approach of creating complete, yet simple ecosystems and the one it has developed for the iPhone is testament to this genius.

However, ecosystems need to evolve or they devolve to the lowest common denominator. Much has already been said about the “commoditisation” of apps to very basic one offs with gimmick appeal.

Allowing for a deeper level of engagement within an app is key to this “appolution”. And one of the most important steps forward in achieving this in my view is to open the spigot for micropayments.

Om Malik has also called for this:

I would be spending a lot more if Apple extended the API to allow for the ability to transact within apps.” Nothing like buying a song, an application or a ringtone with a simple click, only to be billed in a batch, later. Such buying habits are the reason why we believe Apple’s iPhone could prove to be an ideal micropayments platform.

Mapping Minds: Google Trends Meet Twitter Thoughtstream

Two of the most powerful tools for currently mapping how humanity thinks are Google Trends and Twitter Search.

I whipped up an analysis of Google versus Twitter on Google Trends and the result put Twitter far ahead in our collective consciousness. This is a really useful tool for tracking across a timeline, with clear pointers to inflection points, but it does nothing for point of origin or realtime tracking.

This is where Twitter’s Search function shines. I did an exercise last week in which I tracked a number of key words on Twitter. “jobs” not surprisingly brought up a bunch of results, mainly from job board feeds, “Sydney” alerted me to a number of interesting events taking place in the city, but the clear topic du jour was the “iPhone” – the amount of traffic on Twitter related to this device was enormous.

Imagine if we could mash up these two tools, and extend their reach beyond Twitter’s audience – this would be an extremely powerful way for marketers, politicians and many others to map our minds.

Hattip to Erick Schonfeld for getting me thinking about this.