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Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3



The Social Technology Quarterly is a research publication focused on helping brands leverage the latest research and trends in social media and social technologies.

The Social Technology Quarterly is a research publication focused on helping brands leverage the latest research and trends in social media and social technologies.



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    Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3 Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3 Document Transcript

    • SocialTechnologyQuarterly Volume 1 Issue 3 October-December 2011
    • SocialTechnologyQuarterlyOverviewWelcome to the third issue of Social Technology Quarterly. The Social Technology Quarterly is aresearch publication focused on helping brands leverage the latest research and trends in socialmedia and social technologies.With demand for high quality research and analysis in this fast moving space we have introduceda new category of articles on the social consumer. Our focus here is to help brands and marketingmanagers understand the changing perspective of the consumer in the era where social, mobile andlocation are emerging as a lifestyle.Along with contributions from Kuliza, Manu Prasad, who blogs at manuprasad.com, and Payal Shah,a psychologist who builds storybook apps for children, this issue also features a photo essay of the‘evolution of social spaces’ by Anindya Kundu.We hope you like the latest issue and look forward to hearing your views.Team Kuliza
    • ContentsContributors Achintya Gupta | @achintya85 Marketing enthusiast and Brand Manager at Kuliza. Writes on social media marketing. Anindya Kundu| @anindya_kundu Visual Designer at Kuliza. Aspiring drummer, food enthusiast and animator. Illustrates Kuliza’s stories. Diarmaid Byrne | @diarmaidb Psychologist and interested in behaviour change and gamification. Chief People Officer at Kuliza. Writes on communities and collaboration. Kaushal Sarda | @ksarda Technology evangelist, serial entrepreneur, Chief Evangelist at Kuliza, and an advisor to HashCube. Writes on commerce and CRM. Kshitiz Anand | @kshitiz UI designer, photographer and Design Strategist at Kuliza. Writes on design and interaction. Manu Prasad | @manuscrypts Head of Social Media at Myntra. Writes on technology, startups and restaurants for the Bangalore Mirror. Payal Shah | @pobroin Psychologist and child development enthusiast. Writes about children’s media, baby sign language and education. Nitin Saboo Solutions Specialist at Kuliza. Writes on campaigns and commerce.
    • ContentsCampaignsWhy Automobile Marketers Love Social Media? 6Achintya GuptaThe True Nature Of Flash Mobs 11Kaushal SardaRetailing To The SoLoMo 15Achintya GuptaSocial CommerceBrowsers To Buyers: Converting Online Windowshoppers to Buyers 19Diarmaid ByrneSocial + Ecommerce ≠ Social Commerce 25Manu PrasadBreaking The Banks 29Diarmaid ByrneSocial ConsumerBabies On A Digital Media Diet 34Payal ShahThe Power Of A Story 37Kaushal SardaSocial Media Fatigue 42Kshitiz AnandWhat Is So Smart About An Energy Grid? 46Nitin Saboo
    • Social SpacesColiseum, Rome The Colosseum in Rome is the largest and most famous surviving amphitheatre from the Roman world built by Emperor Vespasian and later by his son Titius. It was used to stage large-scale public events, festivals and celebrations, such as gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology were held in the arena. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 5
    • CampaignsWhy Automobile Marketers Love Social Media? How some of the best social media marketing campaigns have come from automobile brands Written by Achintya GuptaFor many of us, our car or our bike is more of a and engage them.passion than a product. We spend months re-searching which brand and model we should buy. Instrumental in research, recommendationsThey are our prized possession, conversation and advocacystarters and status symbol. We connect easily What sells a car? The three most prominentwith other people who own the same car or mod- factors are research, recommendations andel as us, and whenever we meet the conversation loyalty. Since a car is a considerable investment,is often centred around our shared passion. we spend a lot of time researching on the best models, understanding the specifications, andAll these characteristics make automobiles a comparing brands and their various models.great product to be marketed with social media, Here we use a lot of recommendations from ourand it is not surprising to see that some of the friends, talk to the experts among them, searchbest social media marketing campaigns have for reviews online, or research the specifica-come out of the boardrooms of automobile com- tions to understand whether we need them orpanies. Not only that, each and every sizeable not. Sometimes our loyalty for a particular brandplayer in the automobile market is dirtying his makes us advocate certain models to others.hands in the social media marketing space. Interestingly, when it comes to cars, traditionalSo what is it that makes automobile market- media helps you in none of the above factorsers love social media and how are they using affecting the sale. A 20 second ad spot, half pagethis space to come up with the finest of the emailer or full page banner are just not enough tocampaigns? This article will discuss the reason satisfy a consumer’s needs. Social media, how-behind their love, some examples of the best ever, is a great tool in that it generates conver-automobile marketing campaigns, and what the sations for recommendations, supports thoughtsocial media marketing community can learn leadership for research, and gives a platformfrom automobile marketers. to brand advocates to promote their favourite brandsWhy Social Media Marketing For Cars? Time bandwidth for engagementA car is more than just a car Another thing about cars that makes social mediaSocial media marketing works best when you are an attractive tool for marketing is that cars are notmarketing a passion and not a product. A passion purchased on impulse. Customers take their timemakes people bond and directs conversation. in deciding which cars they need to buy. InboundThese conversations around passions are the marketing techniques like social media marketingheartbeat of social media marketing and a cam- might not be best at generating mass awarenesspaign runs as long as these conversations run. quickly (like advertisements), but they are great when it comes to engaging consumers acrossThe best thing about marketing automobiles is every stage of the sales funnel. And hence,that they are larger than the product. For many considering the prolonged time period consum-of us, they are a passion and talking points for ers take in assessing which car to purchse, socialconversations. Hence, no other media suits sell- media marketers get enough time to engage theing an automobile better than social media for its consumer in conversations, develop a relation-abilities to connect people, connect with people, ship with him, and convince him for their product. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 6
    • Auto Industry Use Of Social Media? and increase its recall in consumer’s mind. From a technology point of view, such campaigns areThere are no fixed set of strategies for marketing often applications running on platforms like Face-anything through social media. How you market book rather than run on an independent platform.yourself depends upon what you are selling and A few examples of such campaigns are:whom you are selling to. So if you are selling In 2008, BMW launched an online graffiti contest,cars and automobiles, your strategies will be built where participants could paint BMW cars witharound the fact that you are selling a passion, a graffiti tools – a simple but effective campaign tosubject around which people talk a lot, around engage audience around the brandwhich people have lots of stories to share, and • Volkswagen Nederland launched an apppeople react badly if anything goes wrong with it. called the Fanwagen. They asked people toBased on this, brands are using 7 different strate- vote for the all time VW classic – the Beetlegies to sell automobiles: and the T1 – with the possibility of winning the vehicle as a reward. The classics were,Listen and respond however, armed with social media featuresThis is an old school way of using social media like print your newsfeed, relationship statusand is often the first step of a brand’s entry into near the number plate, and many moresocial media marketing. This strategy has been • Harley Davidson launched the H-D Fansuccessful for brands, and helped Dell generate Machine contest where they asked fans tomillions of revenue. Moreover when it comes to submit ideas for H-D web videos about howcars, people are very verbose on social chan- life is better on a Harleynels and love to talk about them. This is why all • In 100 cars for good, Toyota decided toauto majors like Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, GM are donate 100 cars to organizations that needon Twitter responding to consumers, listening to them for doing good. Many non profits partici-their conversations, and finding opportunities. pated while others voted for the non profits they thought needed the cars mostThe interesting thing here is that most of the • Honda Civic launched a quest called theautomobile majors have their senior staff (and not Honda Super Civic Quest, that gave partici-external hired agencies) talking on these social pants various clues and challenges acrossplatforms, like Scott Monty for Ford and Adam different Honda channels to win a HondaDenison for GM. CivicToyota used the same strategy during the mas-sive 2.3 million vehicle recall in January 2010,but with a difference. They got Digg to let peopleask Toyota questions and others to ‘digg’ themost popular questions. Then Toyota got theirPresident for North American sales operation,Jim Lentz, to answer these questions in a videointerview.Conversations with customersOnce a brand knows that consumers are talk-ing and researching about their cars online it isa good idea to give them a place to access thebest content. This is where blogs are successfulin building meaningful conversations with con-sumers.Volkswagen and GM understand this fact and runa number of blogs to engage, inform, and con-nect with their audience. While VW has individualblogs for its different models like Jetta, Passatand Beetle, GM runs other popular blogs like User generated word-of-mouth campaignsFastlane and Drivingtheheartland. This strategy truly uses the social potential be- hind marketing cars. Major automobile makersMicrocampaigns created campaigns that ask people to share theirThese are small campaigns, often for a month or stories and experiences with their cars. Althoughtwo, which aim to excite the audience about a car the idea is simple, it results in tremendous word
    • of mouth. People today are less likely to believe examples are:brands, but they will believe stories from other • Ford launched the Fiesta Movement cam-customers. Some examples of such social media paign, which is considered the benchmarkcampaigns are: for social media campaigns. In order to• The Road We Are On campaign by Chevrolet generate buzz about the launch of the new focussed on celebrating 100 years of Chevy Fiesta model, Ford gave the car to 100 social and asked customers to share their wonder- agents, who drove it across US and complet- ful memories with Chevrolet. Interestingly, ed various missions while promoting the vehi- they also filmed a series of documentary cle on various social networks like Facebook, style webisodes for Bridgeville and the role Twitter, YouTube, etc. The success of Fiesta Chevy has played in the history and culture Movement led Ford to launch a second chap- of the city. Another campaign by Toyota – ter where participating teams engaged with The Camry Effect – focuses on Camry users local talent to find creative ways to promote sharing their journeys and memories the Fiesta• Jeep launched Have Fun Out There cam- • Chevrolet also launched a reality contest on paign, where it asked customers to share similar lines called the Chevrolet’s SXSW fun moments they have had with their Jeep. road trip challenge. However, the challenges They got some exciting submissions, like and missions in the reality contest were the fan who converted his jeep into a music crowdsourced machine, or others who shared their photos • In India, Mitsubishi launched a similar contest of coast camping with their Jeep for Cedia in 2009 where they used social• Such user generated social campaigns might media to find a participant to tour across not always be about cars. The campaign can India along various routes and share their also express a particular value that the car experiences brand holds. For e.g., Volkswagen launched a brilliant campaign some time back called The Fun Theory where they asked people to post ideas about exciting and fun ways to change people’s behaviour. In the teaser campaign, they converted a subway stair- case into a large piano with each step as musical keys, to encourage people to use stairs more than escalators. Communities Building a community of car lovers is definitely a great idea. Not only does it create an active pull- based marketing platform that your consumers will visit often, it also helps you understand your fans and exposes you to large amounts of valu- able data from conversations in the community. I have not seen many online community initiatives by automobile companies (although there are many independent fan communities), however there is a specific example by BMW Mini calledSocial reality shows creative use of space – a community of art-Some of the biggest car brands have used social ists and designers – that is worth talking about.media to create mega campaigns on the scale This community engages people in projects andof reality shows. These social reality shows are initiatives to make ‘creative use of space’, a coredifferent from user generated contests: in user value behind the BMW mini brand.generated contests the focus is the contentgenerated by people, whereas social reality Experience appsshows are less about the content and more about These apps are more sales focused and aim atexcitement and participation. Some of the best bringing the in-car experience to a potential cus- tomer. Although currently most of these apps are Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 8
    • are at a catalogue level, such as the Audi A1eCatalogue, Audi A8 experience app, RollsRoyce Ghost iPad app, BMW X3 iPad app, thereis great potential. Additionally, adding social com-ponents to these apps - user generated reviewsfor various features, related blog links for moreresearch, the ability to share experiences withyour network of friends and followers – will takethem to the next level.Automobile companies have very aggessivelyadopted new marketing models and made theirmarketing more social and engaging. They havesucceeded in creating interesting social mediamarketing campaigns, and also have proved theability to market successfully with this media. Wewould look forward to more fascinating cam-paigns from car makers in the near future.
    • Social SpacesYe Olde Trip To Jerusalem, Nottingham This pub claims to be one of the oldest in Britain, dating to 1189. Pubs were both drinking establishments and social focal points for their community for centuries in Europe. They provided space for public debates, and before the spread of theatres, they staged per- formances by travelling musicians and theatre groups. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 10
    • CampaignsThe True Nature Of Flash Mobs The true potential of a flash mob lies in triggering instantaneous social movements Written by Kaushal SardaThe Genesis examples for each of these objectives, dwell into its mechanics, the influence of communicationPranks may be one of the most elusive forms of technology, and finally probe if there is potentialcomic behavior. Even dictionaries don’t seem for greater social impact using flash mobs.to have a precise definition. They define pranksas “by turns, a malicious trick, a conjuring act The Origins Of Flash Mobsperformed to deceive or surprise, a mischievousfrolic, and more”. This reason could be that the A flash mob is a group of people who assemblebest of pranks have always blurred the lines be- suddenly in a public place to perform an unusualtween appropriate and inappropriate conduct. and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time and then disperse. Bill Wasik senior edi-Abbie Hoffman, a serial prankster from the 1960s tor of Harper’s Magazine created one of the firsthad classified pranks into 3 types: flash mobs in Manhattan. The mob occurred on1. Good Pranks – these are amusingly satirical June 3, 2003, at Macy’s department store. More2. Bad Pranks – these are gratuitously vindictive than 130 people converged at the ninth floor3. Neutral one – these are surreal and soft on the rug department of the store, gathering aroundvictim an expensive rug. All the participants had been advised to say that they lived together in a ware- house on the outskirts of New York, and that they were shopping for a “love rug” as that they made all their purchase decisions as a group. Organizing A Flash Mob Since flash mobs involve a large group of people who have to meet and behave in a predefined manner, such events require adequate planning. The success of any flash mobs really depends on the coordination between the participants and the clarity of tasks. Some key things to keep in mind when planning a flash mob are:One of the famous pranks that Abbie and his • Clear sense of purpose for conducting thegroup performed involved showering the floor of flash mobthe New York Stock Exchange with dollar bills, • Deciding the tasks and their sequence for thebringing the ticker tape to a halt for six minutes. occasionIt’s hard to say if this prank would purely fall into • Sharing clear instructions to participants onthe good pranks category. the objective, location, timing, and tasks • Arranging for any props needed as part ofIn this article we are going to explore a particular the eventtype of prank called flash mobs. Flash mobs are • Know the limitations of the locationsocial in nature and since their inception have • Ensuring that there is someone capturing abeen used for amusement, branding, social im- great video of the event (essential to watch itpact, opportunistic crime, etc. We will look at later or to share online) Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 11
    • • Finishing the event in a way that it appears aware of the flash mob having been texted by nothing ever happened T-Mobile. A human orchestra of 20 singers using their voices to mimic instruments supported theThe Role Of Social Tools performance.Advances in social media and mobile technolo-gies have certainly made it easier to organizemobs quickly and with better coordination. Thesetools make it possible to create real time locationspecific social networks. These networks make iteasy for the mobs to coordinate on location andin real-time, hence making it that much harder topredict behavior and also ensure they can adapttheir behavior in real-time. Two such applicationsare BuzzMob and Yobongo. Flash Buy Tuangou is a fun way to combine group buying and flash mobs. The way it works is that if you want to buy something from a local store – a car, a luxury fashion item, gadget or gizmo - you tap your social and local networks online for oth- ers wanting the same item and you organize a flash mob. You then agree to turn up at the poor unsuspecting store en-masse at a particular timeBuzzMob and demand a group discount.In this application users create “rings” aroundgeographical areas, from a single building to athree-mile wide area. That place gets a virtualwall that includes a live stream of posts, tips andpictures from users who are in the location (asvalidated by GPS) and join the ring. Rings can bepublic or password-protected.YobongoThis application was also an earlier entrant in thespace. They provide a way for users to connectand communicate with other like-minded peoplenearby. The logic is that the store manager would tradeFoursquare is also moving towards real-time con- margin for volume and make the sale, allowingversation and has launched an events check-in the mob to buy the product with a discount. Thisfeature. is a fast growing social commerce trend of team- buying in China that fuses online collaborationFlash Marketing with high street retail.T-Mobile organized a flash mob at Terminal 5 in Tuangou provides an opportunity to inject someHeathrow Airport. Thousands of travelers flying in fun back into the Western style of group buying.were unexpectedly greeted by hundreds of sing- There could be an interesting opportunity to adders and dancers as part of a flash mob. the immediacy of a real-world Tuangou to group buying tools to increase the location-based socialThe greeting were performed by a crowd of more fun.than 500 people - a mixture of waiting public, taxidrivers, cabin crew and baggage handlers - spon-taneously bursting into synchronized song anddance. Some of the flash mob participants were Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 12
    • Cause Mobs steal merchandise. A group of 30 teens flooded a Maryland 7-Eleven in August 2011, helpingDancers and drummers wearing bright orange t- themselves to chips and other snacks. Police ini-shirts with the words “Ending Hunger” entertained tially labeled the group a flash mob organized viashoppers at the St. Paul’s Farmer’s Market in cellphones, but it turned out that the group hadSt. Paul, Minnesota. They performed a choreo- designed the plot while riding a city bus. Whatgraphed rendition of Glee’s “Halo”/“Walking on scares most authorities is that social tools haveSunshine” mash-up. now made it possible to introduce pre-meditation in mob behaviors in real time which previouslyThe mob was produced by Bremer Bank, a US have only been thought of as sporadic gathering.Midwestern bank chain, as part of the company’ssixth annual “Taking Action to End Hunger” cam- Flash Mobs As Social Change Agentspaign that raises awareness and donations forFeeding America and local food banks. Bremer An interesting and possibly the most valuableposted the video on YouTube and promised to utility of flash mobs was discovered through thedonate $1 for every view up to $10,000 — in actions of the occupy squads. These squadsaddition to matching donations made through are groups of people willing and committed tothe bank’s website. The final haul? More than respond to injustice created by the system, wher-$84,000. ever they should arise. For example if someone is harassed by a bank, an employer, government red tape, etc., they no longer have to face it all alone – now they have a group, a squad, a move- ment to back them up. With the availability of social tools like BuzzMobs it could be possible for people to signup for certain causes and help create occupy squads in real time at any location where there is a form of injustice happening. If this works it may transform flash mobs into a real powerful social change agent, surely something to explore further.Flash Robs ReferencesAs we know all good pranks can lead to badconduct. It is very easy for a flash mob that has • Bremer Bank, Flash Mob to End Hunger,malicious intent to cause serious damage. Flash Nonprofit Resource Center, June 6 2011robs are essentially a criminal incarnation of the • Flash Mob, Wikipediaflash mobs. • How to Organise a Flash Mob, Wikihow • Katie Kindelan, Flash Mob Raids 7-11 Store in Silver Spring, Maryland, ABC News, November 22 2011 • Sheila Shayon, Flash Mob Trend Spawns a New Social Media Industry, Brand Channel, August 23 2011 • Shirley Brady, T-Mobile Flash Mob Takes Over London Heathrow, Brand Channel, November 1 2010 • Special Report, From Hermes to Bonsai Kit- tens, The Economist, December 20 2005 • Tuangou, WikipediaA common version of a flash rob involves a groupof unwanted visitors: typically swarms of teenag-ers or young adults who plot via Twitter, phonetexts and Facebook to descend on stores and
    • Social SpacesThe Globe Theatre, London Deriving its basis from ancient Greek drama, theatre is a collaborative performance art depicting events and narratives to a live audience. The Globe Theatre, built by William Shakespeare’s acting troupe in 1599, was the stage for many of his most famous plays. During the Elizabethan and Jacobean period in Britain, theatre was the cinema of our time, and the major social activity for the rich and poor. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 14
    • CampaignsRetailing To The SoLoMo How are the world’s top retail brands selling to a consumer who is social, local and mobile Written by Achintya GuptaWith the growing numbers of smart phones, con- and Android to improve the in-store and out-storesumer brands today are preparing themselves for shopping experience for consumers. Their mobilea new breed of consumers – the SoLoMo. These apps help customers get detailed product infor-consumers are: mation, see reviews, and order from their phone• Social they are connected to their friends, to get items delivered to their doorstep. The app interest groups and are having online conver- makes the shopping experience even simpler as sations it adds items on bar-code scanning, finds stores• Local they use a location layer on mobile using maps, checks what is in stock in a particu- phone to find things lar store, finds in-store items using the aisle loca-• Mobile tor, ticks off items with using a smart shopping list, and integrates with coupons.This group is very attractive to sellers since it issmall but very rapidly growing and it will soon Another interesting initiative by Walmart is the in-encompass a large number of brand’s target novative fusion of Social + Mobile + Retail withaudience. However it comes with challenges, @Walmartlabs. The idea is to use millions ofsuch as its shift from a traditional to newer media, pieces of data generated in the open social webtechnology savviness, a lack of time, and a huge through forums, tweets, and blogs to create inter-affinity to word of mouth. esting analytic insights and use them to facilitate smarter purchases.Brands have realized that such a SoLoMo con-sumer would like this mix of social, location andmobile available on their smartphone to maketheir life and shopping as easy as possible, andwould give preference to brands that enable this.This triggers a race between the brands to tapthe SoLoMo customer.So, how do you sell to the SoLoMo? At Kuliza,we realized that among all the industry verticals,the retail industry has come a long way in cater-ing to their need and has launched interestinginitiatives to make their shopping quicker, simplerand more reliable. Hence we deep dived into thisspace to research into what the world’s top retailbrands are doing to attract the SoLoMo con- Tescosumer. Tesco has also developed mobile apps for Android and iOS to help consumers make smartHow Are World’s Leading Retailers Selling To purchases. Consumers can use these apps toThe SoLoMo? browse through products, scan products to order them, and add products to a shopping list.WalmartThe world’s largest retailer has come up with On the top of these mobile apps, Tesco has alsointeresting applications on the iPhone, iPad and initiated some very interesting campaigns to Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 15
    • attract to the SoLoMo consumers. One such eBaycampaign was launched at Korea where they put If we have to pick one retailer that is doing aup billboard of grocery products with QR codes in commendable job to attract the SoLoMo consum-the subway stations. The users could simply scan er, I will pick eBay for the amazing thought theythe QR codes to add products to the list. have put behind their smartphone apps. They also offer their apps across Android, Blackverry,Tesco is also using Augmented Reality (AR) apps iOS and Windows phones and mobile web.to provide their customers a 3D image of theproduct they want to buy and improve online pur- The Ebay app helps users on the move to easilychase satisfaction. Their AR app allows them to sell and buy their items on Ebay with their smartplace markers in front of their computer cameras phones. Sellers can research pricing trends andto see 3D images of the product they want to buy. know the best price they can get for their product. They can scan the product barcode with their phone to put it on auction or enter details by tak- ing pictures with their phone camera. Sellers too can get the full ebay experience: alerts for auc- tion updates, minute by minute information about what is happening in their account, and quick search and purchase features. The eBay Fashion app allows users to build their wardrobe and get personal styling accessories, shop exclusive flash sales and share interests and purchases with Facebook friends. The app also has an augmented reality feature that lets users try sunglasses virtually.Amazon Similarly, eBay Stubhub brings users to theWith traditional retailers like Tesco and Walmart world’s largest ticket marketplace. Users can findproviding options to SoLoMo consumers, it is not tickets for the shows they like, select ticket pricessurprising that an online retailer like Amazon is and choose seats with the app. eBay Classifiedsalso developing a number of apps. Some of them app helps users to post, search and browseare: items easily and get the full classifieds’ experi-• Amazon mobile (iTunes and Android): Helps ence from their phone. user to get the full Amazon.com experience from mobile phones from selection to re- To add to this, eBay has number of other apps views, product comparison to purchase that help users find deals and buy & sell products• Amazon Fresh (iTunes and Android): Aids from half.com. grocery delivery. The app allows users to choose delivery slots, pick past purchased items, scan barcode to order etc• Amazon Student (iTunes): To help student buy and sell books• Amazon Habit (iTunes): Daily sales of hand- picked selection of designer brands• Endless (iPhone): For premier accessories from designers• Kindle (iTunes and Android): For the Kindle experience on your non Kindle devices and for purchasing books and magazines• Window shopping (iTunes): A rich media ex- perience to browse interesting products and learn more about them TargetAlthough the range of apps is exciting, such a The world’s second largest retailer is not behindwide range requires customers to download and the competition when it comes to wooing theinstall multiple apps. A practical move from Ama- SoLoMo consumer. Although they have shoppingzon would be to release an umbrella app from apps for almost every device, their mobile appsAmazon that contains all the various apps. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 16
    • are not very different from others. Their key world of Social, Local and Mobile consumers.features include shopping from within the app,bar code scanning, store location with maps, deal Returning to the original question: how do youand coupon offers, reviews, and in-store search. sell to the SoLomo? Researching how retailers are solving this problem, here are a few ques-Ikea tions companies need to ask themselves beforeThe Sweden-based home products company has planning their app:been printing its catalogues for the last 60 years. • What are the problems your customers areNow it has brought its catalogue to the mobile facing? A SoLoMo app is not just a marketingphone with its catalogue app for a rich and tool to create buzz, but should target specificinteractive experience. They also have launched problems your customer’s face. The Homean augmented reality app to help users see how Depot’s app helps consumers measure screwspecific furniture products would look at their sizes before they make purchases, Tesco’shome. app helped the busy Korean commuters shop faster, Walmart’s app help consumers locateIkea also has a text based mobile loyalty program products inside the store.that sends messages on deal, games and alerts • Is your app blurring the wall between onlineto subscribers. Also, to facilitate purchases with and offline shopping? Your customer mightmobile phones, Ikea has a mobile shopping site like to get an in-store experience sitting atwhere customers can browse through products home or get an online social experienceand find offers. while inside your store (see the Facebook fitting room by Diesel). Is your app helping inHome Depot that?This is another brand that is launching interest- • How are you leveraging the location layer?ing initiatives keeping the SoLoMo consumer in Can your customers find your stores, seemind. While most of the shopping apps of other what products are available in their nearestbrands have more or less the same operating stores and check collections? Certain mo-mechanism, Home Depot’s shopping app is in- bile CRM apps like Place Pop send locationnovative and targets some very critical needs of sensitive messages such as personalizedconsumers. deals and offers from brands to customers in the vicinity • How social is your shopping experience? People want to take advice from their net- work or see reviews from other buyers before they buy stuff. Is your app enabling that? • What happens behind the app? Is it provid- ing the kind of analytics you want, like data on purchase behaviour, customer’s priorities, kinds of questions customers are asking to their network, influencers among the cus- tomers, etc.? With such an app, this kind of essential data and insights are possible.The home improvement and construction prod-ucts retailer has built a mobile shopping app thathas an interactive calliper to measure the lengthsof objects so that you don’t go wrong with yourpurchase. It also allows you to measure the sizeof nuts and screws, calculate the amount of ma-terial required for painting, insulations and otherhome repairs, and watch do-it-yourself tutorialvideos. The app helps consumer find stores andlocate items inside the stores.This is definitely not the end of the list as youwill see many other retail majors like Best Buy,Macy’s and Kohl’s fighting their way into the Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 17
    • Social SpacesCafe Central, Vienna Coffee houses in Vienna have been an integral social institution in Viennese culture dating back to 1685, and are listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO. Providing food and drinks, they allow guests to sit for hours social- izing, writing, playing cards, receiving post, reading or contemplating. Poets and writers have regularly met, exchanged ideas and even written here, contributing to what is commonly referred as ‘coffee house literature’. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 18
    • Social CommerceBrowsers To Buyers Tactics for e-retailers to convert online windowshoppers to customers Written by Diarmaid ByrneThe combination of lower disposable incomes, that lavender-scented restaurants increase thecheaper prices and technology advances has amount of money and time diners spent in themade online shopping more attractive and easy restaurant.for people. However, ecommerce sites convertjust between 1-3% of their visitors and shopping For online retailers it is very difficult to competecarts are abandoned by 75% of shoppers on av- on emotions and desires with real-world retailers.erage. With just a laptop, tablet or mobile screen As Jonah Lehrer argues, online retailers are stillto convert browsers to buyers, online retailers trying to sell to us with information even thoughneed to evolve their websites to take advantage emotions drive purchase decisions. Until the dayof human psychology and consumer behaviour. comes when we develop an emotive internet, on- line retailers must continue to focus on the insulaResearch described by Jonah Lehrer in his Wired and take advantage of their ability to offer betterarticle The Neuroscience of Groupon that there savings on the same products. However, over-are two ways to influence consumer behaviour: indulging the insula by offering lower prices is not• Increase desire for an item enough to convince people to move from brows-• Convince people that they are getting a good ing, comparing and reviewing products to actually deal purchasing them. Retailers need to design an online experience that makes it easy for peopleIn an experiment researchers from Carnegie to make purchase decisions.Mellon and Stanford found that as people decidewhether or not to buy products their nucleus ac- High-street retailers have the advantage of al-cumbens, insula and frontal cortex are activated. lowing customers to feel an item, try it on, lookThese measure how much a person desires an at it from every angle, and read any informationobject (nucleus accumbens) and whether they on the packaging or labels. E-commerce retailersfind the price good value (frontal cortex and don’t have this opportunity so they have to focusinsula). If retailers can measure and design shop- extra hard on ensuring that the experience andping experiences that increase the activity in the design of their online store converts browsers toperson’s nucleus accumbens, and so increasing shoppers.the desire for a product, while inhibiting the insulaby making sure the customer feels like they are Web Stressgetting value for money, there is a greater likeli-hood that browsers will convert to customers. No business wants to increase the stress level of their customers. However, spending money is anWhen it comes to encouraging people to spend, inherently stressful experience for many people,real-world retailers have a tremendous advan- and convincing them to part with their cash is atage over online retailers. They can determine hard task irrespective of the price. It is importanthow much we desire a product. In an Apple store that retailers look at their site’s user experiencevisitors can feel the quality of their products by to make life as easy as possible for their custom-holding them, in clothes stores shoppers can feel ers to encourage them to purchase products.the quality of the materials and try items on, andin a food store senses can be excited with smells User experience starts from the moment the web-that increase the temptation to buy in a way that site opens. People typically take 50 millisecondsa photo can not compete. In fact, a study showed to make a judgment about the website based on Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 19
    • the speed at which the site opens and the im- Product detailsmediate impression of the design of the website. Provide customers with as many details and op-Research by Computer Associates on neurologi- tions as possible to review before they completecal reactions of consumers to shopping online the purchase: specify product details, provide afound that poorly performing websites require photo of the product, and a link to view the prod-more concentration and result in increased stress uct pagefor users. This is not good for business. Makingan online store fast and easy to use ultimately Breadcrumbsdetermines if a person converts from a visitor into Unlike the product detail page where people wanta buyer. to spend time, the checkout process should have each step of the process clearly defined withPricing Psychology breadcrumbs and involve as few steps as pos- sible.Another aspect that significantly affects customerstress and sales is how retailers display the price Disruptionof a product. A study by Sybil S. Yang , Sheryl E. Customers should not be taken out of the check-Kimes, and Mauro M. Sessarego of Cornell Uni- out process in case they do not return. Theyversity called $ or Dollars: Effects of Menu-price should have all the information available to them,Formats on Restaurant Checks looked at differ- such as FAQ, customer service numbers, andent restaurant price display techniques: delivery times, so they do not need to look for it• Number with a dollar sign ($10.00) elsewhere on the site.• Number without a dollar sign or decimals (10)• Written price (ten dollars)The researchers found that the written price (10)resulted in customers spending significantly moremoney. This is because they minimized the painof buying by eliminating dollar signs and centsfrom the prices. Essentially, people suffered less Shipping Coststhan in a transaction that involved $ signs and sopurchased more. In a 2010 study by the Foresee Institute across 30 online stores, the lack of shipping costs wasCheckout Process the most important feature that significantly improved sales. Unfortunately many stores hideSpending money is an experience we often dis- shipping costs to generate extra revenue. Hid-like, as seen by the behaviour of the insula in den shipping costs will make shoppers feel thatthe research above, and online retailers don’t the store is taking advantage of them. Airlineshave lavender to heighten the experience of are well-known practitioners of this: Ryanair andfacing prices on our tablets or laptops. Therefore AirAsia don’t display the final cost of the ticketonline retailers need to reduce the stress of the until the final step of their purchase process. Socheckout process in any way they can to encour- even if the ticket looks like unbeatable value, theage people to stay and complete the purchase additional charges added on make it less so.process. The process should be simple, withoutdistractions, and with all the necessary informa- When looking to convert a browser to shopper,tion available to them. Some elements of an there are two benefits for not listing shippingexcellent checkout process are: charges at the end of the purchase process: • It makes the purchase decision easier be-Registration cause there is no uncertainty about what theAny registration form is a barrier to shopping final price will bebecause they imply commitment that the person • It is easier to compare prices across stores,may be still unwilling to make and they take up especially against brick-and-mortar stores.unnecessary time. It is best to incorporate this Online stores typically have a cost advan-during the checkout process tage, so providing a clear price during the browsing phase make it more likely peopleModify order will convertAs the aim is not to stress the customer, make iteasy for people to modify their order during the If shipping costs are unavoidable, they shouldcheckout process be presented in an easy to understand way that does not exhaust people. This will reduce the Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 20
    • pain of buying and make the decision to continue information, and here where retailers need topurchasing the product simple. move them from browsing various products to adding them into their shopping cart and pur- chasing them. Ensuring that all of this information is present in an appealing and organized man- ner means that the design of this page is crucial. There are a number of things that retailers need to focus on: UX Design It seems that many e-commerce sites spend too much time on the design and usability of the homepage and ignore the importance of the product detail page. This is the page that users spend most time on, looking at the product in detail, checking specs, reading reviews, compar- ing products and, hopefully, deciding to buy. ItShopping Cart Design is important that all the information a customer needs or expects is present and structured in anE-commerce sites do not want to encourage intelligent way.shoppers to purchase just 1 item at a time. Thismakes the design of the shopping cart essen- It is also important that retailers provide as muchtial in keeping people on the site and browsing product information as possible: sizes, materials,products. Ideally, the shopping cart should allow weight, dimensions, colours, instructions, etc.people to add multiple products, edit the quanti- The customer should not have any questions leftties, see what other people bought to help with unanswered about the product. If they do theyupselling, and display the total cost without ever are likely to go elsewhere, reducing the likelihoodleaving the product page they are on. of a sale. North Face do this well, giving shop- pers all the information they are likely to need.One of the better examples of this soft-cart styleshopping cart is at Pottery Barn. It displaysproducts that other customers bought and givesshoppers the option to go straight to checkout orto continue shopping. This meets two importantcriteria: keep shoppers interested in other prod-ucts based on intelligent suggestions and make iteasy to quickly purchase their product. However,it does not display the final price (shipping andtaxes included) nor does it allow customers toincrease the quantity of products to purchase.Product Detail PageThe product detail page is the most importantpage for shoppers. It is here that people want tolook in depth at the product and product Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 21
    • Photography are buying fits their needs. This can be doneProduct photographs are the most important by showing them how the product works,design element of an e-commerce site. Without showing zoomable details, or highlightingthe ability to excite shoppers’ kinesthetic, olfac- exciting features or innovationstory and gustatory senses that brick-and-mortarstores have, online retailers only have product Typographyphotos to excite and convince shoppers to pur-chase. However, displaying a great product photo Along with focusing on the design of the site,is not enough. As with typography, the photos especially the product page, and ensuring thereneed to match the sites style, colour scheme and are high quality photos of the products that informbranding, as with Threadless. and educate the shoppers, typography is another crucial element when trying to convert peoplePhotos play a crucial role in converting browsers to shoppers. Rather than typography that hasto shoppers in a number of ways: been selected for its beauty and artistic merit, the• Influence most effective typography is simple and direct so Photos help users imagine using the prod- shoppers don’t have to expend too much effort uct, how it fits into their life, and convinces reading and understanding it. As outlined above, them that it matches their needs. Photos are tiring shoppers out with unnecessary effort re- a more immediate and effective method of sults in tense rather than relaxed shoppers who doing this than marketing blurbs and product spend less time and money. This is why Helvetica reviews and can sell the product on their own is so popular. It doesn’t distract attention from the without the need for content product photo and allows the content to be read quickly and easily.• Upselling Photos of product accessories can excite Emotional Connect shoppers and help them imagine what else they can add on to enhance their product or Shopping is typically a social experience heavily experience influenced by friends, family and peers. This is because people look for social proof and valida- tion that their purchase decisions have been cor- rect. Technology has not yet accurately replicated the social experience of shopping in a group, but online retailers are leveraging social features on their websites to satisfy the human need for• Reassure social validation. Photos can reassure shoppers that what they This is seen in the ‘Amazon effect’, a term coined by Joshua Porter to explain why people start searching on Amazon before other retailers. Am- azon is not necessarily better than other stores, nor does not have the best user experience, but people choose Amazon because they provide trustworthy reviews, personal stories, and infor- mative comments about products and how they work in the real world. Providing user-generated feedback and ratings on Amazon increases trust in a product, provides social validation, and Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 22
    • makes the purchasing decision easier for people.In fact, if Amazon personalized their feedbackmore by including a photo of the reviewer, thefeedback would become more impactful andconvincing.Spending money is a stressful experience forpeople and online retailers have a limited abilityto manage this. Therefore it is essential that theylook at every aspect of the user experience toconvert hesitant browsers to relaxed buyers.References• Rooger Dooley, Neuromarketing, Available at http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/• Jonah Lehrer, The Neuroscience of Groupon, Wired, September 8 2011• Smashing Magazine, Best of Smashing Magazine, 2011• Smashing Magazine, How to Create Selling E-Commerce Websites, 2011• Smashing Magazine, Typography: Getting the hang of web typography, 2011 Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 23
    • Social SpacesGraffiti, Buenos Aires Although often considered an act of vandalism and a visual blight, graffiti has emerged as self-expression in the form of street art in public spaces. Its history goes back to scribbled, scratched and chalked writing or drawings on monuments from Ancient Greece and Roman Empire, and most famously in Pompeii, Italy. Collaboration has played a vital role in the development of graffiti art in Buenos Aires. This is due to the collaborative nature of artists who value each others’ art and their visual representations of society. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 24
    • Social CommerceSocial + e-Commerce ≠ Social Commerce Nothing beats sales as an ROI metric, but social platforms can also play a key role Written by Manu PrasadPardon Social Commerce for being 2011’s buzz- nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but itword, but someone had to apply social platforms quite belies the potential that social media offersto actual business before it died a fad’s prema- e-commerce. For when the consumer movesture death. After all, few would remember the from read/listen to discover/create/share/connect/early history of social and e-commerce. If I asked curate, then, virtual or real, across the organisa-you who originated a patent titled ‘Social Net- tion’s functions, new competencies and process-working System’ in 2004, filed for it in 2008 and es need to be evolved to factor in this transition inreceived it in 2010, wouldn’t you just say Face- consumption patterns.book? Wouldn’t you also stare at the one poornerd who said ‘Amazon’? But indeed, Amazonowns it, thanks to PlanetAll, probably the inter-net’s first social network, acquired by Amazon in1998 (the same year it acquired IMDb), and shutdown in 2000 after Amazon ‘integrated the keye-commerce features of PlanetAll’. Indeed, a fewyears later, Amazon would pioneer user reviews,a feature that has endured despite controversies,and is probably the forgotten proof of commerceliking social even before the latter even got itselfa name. At a fundamental level, all activities of the e-com-However, this was before Zuckerberg made a merce venture can be clubbed into either acqui-mark in our lives and in an age when going be- sition or retention. If we expand this further, weyond 140 characters did not automatically mean would get a typical marketing funnel (above, fromreframing the communication. Thanks to the Booz & Co.’s report ‘Turning “Like” To “Buy”’) andubiquity achieved by these and other networks, the various activities therein. It is easy to seethe corporation became interested and decided how social media can play a part at each levelto use it for its prime directive – sales. of the consumption process. From establishing the brand as a thought leader in its domain usingIt became even more of a mantra for the ever multiple social publishing and distribution tools,increasing tribe of e-commerce sites because to using consumers’ social graphs to create morein terms of proximity to social media, they had engagement contexts, to involving the user in ex-trumped their brick and mortar counterparts perience design as well as advocacy on variouson the original fourth P – Place. From ensur- platforms, the possibilities can only grow as moreing that each product display had a ‘Like/Share/ social platforms arrive and the consumer usageTweet’ broadcast button to using plug and play increases. The only thing that’s missing in thatf-commerce solutions and taking Dell’s name in chart is culture, which, as Zappos has showed,vain in the context of sales on Twitter, sales was can become a strategic difference maker. So,deemed only a click away from social media. here are a few examples of how social has found use beyond sales.A Gartner report suggests that by 2015, compa-nies will generate 50% of their web sales via so-cial presence and mobile applications, so there’s Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 25
    • Brand Twitter Practically every brand is now on Twitter, soIn terms of brand building and content creation, rather than give examples I’d like to draw yoursome of the best examples belong to the fash- attention to this excellent use by ASOS where ition industry. Though guilty of being a little slow showcases stakeholders in the fashion industry.on the uptake when it came to utilising socialplatforms, they wasted no time in redeeming Facebookthemselves, when they got the hang of it. Aided Similarly, it’d be difficult to find a brand that’s notby their online sales capabilities, they created/ex- active on Facebook, so I’ll point you to Burberry’stended their brand story across platforms, to the Facebook exclusive for the launch of Burberryextent that now, fashion magazines are getting Body. It’s to be noted that fashion brands are nowinto commerce. understanding the nuances of communication with regards to gender and are promoting content accordingly. Instagram A lot of fashion brands use the Instagram plat- form but Rebecca Minkoff (which also sells on- line) actually used photos by fans in a print ad.TumblrTumblr, already popular as a quick’n’easy blog-ging service with a sense of aesthetics, had itsfashion quotient increased by the likes of OscarPR Girl, TopShop, DKNY PR Girl and many manymore. Others like ASOS, Mr.Porter, and Macy’schose to build their own blog homes. Burberry’sArt of the Trench is a success worth mentioning Foursquaretoo. Even a (real) location based service can be use- ful. If Jimmy Choo’s Catch-A-Choo trainer huntYouTube on Foursquare or Topshop’s SCVNGR play can’tWith bucket loads of video content – photo be taken as e-commerce examples, we can stepshoots, ramp walks, behind the scenes and so outside fashion for a minute and take a look aton, it wasn’t difficult to see that YouTube would what it did for the online sales of Domino’s lastbe a destination too. H&M, FCUK are a couple year.of examples, and Ikea has done a wonderful jobof integrating an interactive experience with its Google+brand story and sales channel. The official announcement of Google+ pages for brands mentioned H&M, Burberry and Macy’s, and Amazon and eBay are already among the top brands there. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard style social photo sharing site, has been used to great effect by Shop It To Me, a ‘personal online shopper’, to post curated styles and announce flash sales. Mobile Another major and now common platform that has been used by fashion e-commerce brands is the mobile. eBay’s Fashion App, Harrod’s iPhone app, DACE, StylishGirl, SheShops are all Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 26
    • examples, as is Louis Vuitton’s HTML5 optimised affiliate e-commerce platform which allows usersonline magazine – Nowness. to build catalogs and share it on their social net- works. Swedish interior design retailer LagerhausTablets has created a distributed pop up shop (usuallyAnd while smartphones do drive traffic to e-com- seen on Facebook brand pages) widget for blogs.merce sites, the iPad and tablets are on their way ASOS has used gamification – allowing users toto trump them. An eMarketer study indicates that jump the queue – for its Sale Preview. But in UK,41% of users have bought an iPad for shopping. there is an entire game platform named FantasyThe Gilt Groupe, GAP, Gucci have already made Shopper in which users can make spend fantasysuccessful forays. currency in real world shops, and convert it into a real buy with one click. Gamification also finds itsProduct uses in retention, something that Bluefly is test- ing, in partnership with Badgeville.Remember Levi’s friends store? Building socialplugins into the products for shares and recom-mendations is nothing new, and every e-com-merce player from Amazon downwards has doneit. Nor are virtual dressing rooms a new phenom-enon, but when the two are combined, as jcpen-ney’s augmented reality dressing room did lastyear, it can be quite a cool tool. The Community Formerly Known As Customers Zappos is legendary for utilising social tools to advance its core customer centric culture. Dell, on the other hand has, for several years now, been involving the consumers in shaping their brand with the Direct2Dell blog, twitter accounts, Ideastorm. Best Buy’s Twelpforce is one of theSimilarly personalisation is another area where many other brands that use Twitter to addressa lot of brands have made advances. But there customer concerns. But it goes beyond that andare those like Wet Seal, which have combined opens itself up to consumers with their CMO’sthat with social media to good effect. Far away blog, partnering with MOFilm for user generatedfrom fashion, Domino’s does personalisation with advertising last year, and launching BBYOpengreat pizzazz on an iPad app. It allows users to (earlier Remix) that allows developers to createmake a pizza onscreen, makes a game out of it, applications based on its data. Platforms likeand then lets them share their score on social GetSatisfaction and BazaarVoice cite manynetworks. ModCloth pioneered the use of crowds examples of e-commerce brands using socialin inventory planning back in 2009 with its Be media to address concerns, amplify positiveThe Buyer program and then amped it with social reviews, help create customer champions, andmedia tools. increase sales and brand equity.When social is considered outside of known me- Conclusiondia platforms, there are several communities likeKaboodle that make great use of social shopping. Going forward, social will become ubiquitous,It is not really social media, but eBay has been and thus e-commerce sites would need to buildusing physical stores and QR codes to promote mechanisms that weave in social externally -online sales for a while now. Tesco has been across consumer touch points, both real andexperimenting in South Korea on this front too. virtual - and internally across functions. Social is creating disruptions across domains, but consid-Sales ering their relative age, e-commerce sites have the best chance of transcending it, simply byIn addition to vanilla social commerce, there are utlising their natural advantage.other options being explored too. Shopcade is an
    • Social SpacesBurning Man, Nevada Burning Man is an experimental community that assembles every year at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week. It floudishes for one week and leaves without a trace. The community, which has expanded to more than 50,000 in the last 25 years, is dedicated to art, self-expression and self-reliance. Music, guerrilla street theatre and performances are a common sight at Burning Man. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 28
    • Social CommerceBreaking The Banks The evolving definition of currencies from cash, credit, and virtual to identity and reputaion Written by Diarmaid ByrneTypically people associate currencies with of which 35% have no previous social gaming ex-money. However, the rise of the social web and perience. The average social gamer is a 43 yearsocial rewards means that people and companies old woman. In fact, the biggest competitor for theare thinking more inclusively about what money attention of social gamers is TV and soap operas.is and how people will pay for products and Research by Mashable found that:services. Since the introduction of the credit card • $2.2 billion was spent on virtual goods inin the 1950s society has become more credit 2009 and this is expected to rise to $6 billiondependent. Advancements in technology and in 2013payment processes point towards the increasing • 58% of virtual currency purchases are in thedigitization of money and probably a cashless range of $10-50; and 9% are more than $50.future. Similarly, virtual currencies may evolve • 53% of players in the UK and US havebeyond the online world and be viewed as a vi- earned and/or spent virtual currency in aable currency in the real world for purchasing real social gameworld products. Money will no longer be the only • 83% of social gamers in the UK and US havekind of currency we use. purchased a virtual gift • 28% of social gamers have purchased virtualVirtual Currencies currency with real world moneyMMORPGsOnline gaming has been a key driver for virtualcurrencies. The purchase of virtual goods startedwith massively multiplayer online role playinggames (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft.These have a large fanbase of millions of playersper day that readily buy in-game virtual moneyand goods, such as armour, weapons or in-gamefireworks. Over the years transactions involvinggame-specific currencies in MMORPGs havegrown to hundreds of millions of dollars.Social gamesAlthough virtual worlds like Second Life andMMORPGs have historically driven the growth Facebook Creditsin virtual goods, today the fastest growing seg- As most social games are played on socialment is social games, such as Zynga’s Farmville, networks they represent a lucrative new revenueparticularly on Facebook. This growth has been channel for social networks. In the case of Face-achieved by leveraging social features in games book, rather than relying on advertising revenuethat encourage players to share, collaborate and they have begun to monetize their users via vir-communicate their progress and achievements tual goods and virtual currency in social games.with friends and fellow players. This has been Until recently in-game payments had been madehugely successful: according to research by the by using a credit card or PayPal account, but inNDP Group, 1 out of every 5 Americans over the early 2011 Facebook announced that all Face-age of 6 has played a social game at least once, book game developers will be required to Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 29
    • process payments only through Credits from Digitization Of MoneyJuly 1, 2011 with Facebook retaining 30% of allrevenue earned through Credits. The credit card was introduced in the 1950s, and since then banks and credit card companies haveCredits are a simplified system to pay for ser- built proprietary systems that handled over $3 tril-vices and goods inside Facebook. They can be lion in transactions in 2010. Credit cards funda-purchased in numerous currencies and work mentally changed the way people used money,across different apps rather than being tied to a making it easier to buy products, but with a highspecific one. The major benefit for users is con- cost for retailers. Along with a monthly fee for thevenience of not needing to enter credit card or credit card reader that registers purchases, retail-PayPal details every time they make a payment ers also have to pay transaction fees to the creditfor in-game goods. card companies. MasterCard, for example, have 243 types of fees with the highest rate at 3% andCredits are typically used for purchase of in- a process time of 1-3 days.game goods on social games on Facebook, butbrands are experimenting with them for other pur- Entrepreneurs have viewed this payment processchases; in March 2011 Warner Brothers accepted as inefficient and saw an opportunity to innovatepayments for movie streaming in Credits on their a quicker and more user-friendly way to completeFacebook page. This type of initiative works as payments. The internet and online retail present-there is a fast-growing number of people comfort- ed them with this opportunity.able with and excited about making payments invirtual currencies. PayPal The first major innovation in improving the flowJust as Facebook rolled-out ‘Like’ and Open of money was PayPal. It started out as a tool toGraph to other sites, there is no reason to think complete credit card payments online withoutthat they won’t introduce Credit payments also. customers having to provide credit card informa-The commerce experience has been personal- tion to different retailers. Essentially they wereized with Open Graph up to the point of transac- an online credit card company charging retail-tion, so what is to stop retailers from allowing ers a percentage of every transaction from theFacebook to complete the transaction also? customer’s bank account to the retailer’s bankCurrently gamehouse are testing purchases with account. PayPal used communication systemsCredits along with the usual options of PayPal for digital transactions, by-passing contact withand credit and debit cards. If this is successful, banks or credit cards. Users could also keepFacebook will surely look to expand Credits to their funds within their PayPal accounts, andother sites, especially online retailers, and estab- make purchases with other PayPal users withoutlish partnerships with brick-and-mortar brands involving banks or paying their fees. As a resultfor people to spend and earn Credits in the real PayPal were able to charge lower transactionworld. An interesting hint of where this could go fees and transfer money more quickly than banksis the partnership between American Express and credit card companies.and Zynga established in November 2010 toallow cardholders to redeem their card-based PayPal were able to undercut the traditional bankreward points to buy limited edition virtual goods middlemen and innovate by streamlining thein Zynga’s games. As the line between the virtual transaction process. More recently they openedworld and the real world increasingly blurs, so the up their platform and gave the ability to moveline between virtual and traditional transactions money to engineers and entrepreneurs who arewill also blur. attacking the ecosystem that banks and credit card companies built. This has allowed peopleThe first sign of this virtual-real world crossover to build payment applications like Twitpay andwas Facebook’s partnership with MOL Global in ShopSavvy and leave regulatory and risk-man-July 2010 to allow people to buy Credits at MOL- agement issues to PayaPal.connected stores. This was significant in that it al-lowed people can spend real cash to buy Credits Squarethat they can spend on virtual goods and services As PayPal became a common method of pay-on Facebook. This allows Facebook to expand ment for online purchases, and more people buyCredits to users who do not use credit cards or intangible goods and services, the more comfort-who prefer pre-paid plans. Facebook also started able they have become paying with digital moneyselling Credits gift cards in Target, Walmart and and virtual currencies. Similarly, as people haveBestBuy stores from October 2010. evolved the way they buy items, they also evolve how they pay for them. Even though services like Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 30
    • Square require users to be authenticated and What services like PayPal, Wallet and Squarelinked to a bank or credit card company like Pay- are pointing towards is a future of digital moneyPal, they promise next day payment for retailers with people and retailers less reliant on cash,with a cheaper transaction fee than credit card banks and credit card companies for processingcompanies. Eventually they want to create an transactions. Both Google Wallet and Squareopen system that allows users to exchange mon- reduce the cost of business for retailers andey instantly without middlemen charging fees. make payment easier for customers. They are also reducing the interaction between people andSquare have designed the payment process to banks. It is not difficult to imagine that paymentsbe far more simple and user-friendly. The most will move away from credit card companies torecent update - Card Case - introduced a virtual prepaid cards that re-fill a customer’s Wallet orcard case that users fill with ‘cards’ of retailers Square account, or payments that are added tothey purchase from who use Square. The cards a monthly phone bill, or possibly even real worldprovide users with store location and contact payments with Facebook Credits. In Novemberinformation, menu or services, and purchase 2011 Fast Company charted the likelihood ofhistory and receipts. Most interestingly they give who will succeed in the battle to control mobileusers the ability to pay by telling the cashier their payments, predicting that tech titans like Googlename at the check-out without swiping a card or and Apple will be the most likely successors, withusing the phone. banks losing out early.Google WalletGoogle have also been pushing virtual paymentswith Google Wallet. An alternative to Square,Google Wallet is a prepaid virtual card that ties Future Currenciesin to the near field communication (NFC) sys-tem built into Android phones. It allows users to In the future Facebook Credits could be just onepay for products by tapping their phone against form of currency that avoids transactions througha compatible card reader in stores. Users can banks and credit card companies. As the larg-either link their credit card to the Wallet app, est social network Facebook has a tremendouswhich will then directly transfer money from their opportunity to expand Credits to other sites. ‘Like’account to the retailer, or they can top-up funds is already embedded on websites, Open Graph ison a prepaid card with funds from credit or debit common across many brand sites, large retailerscards. Like with Square’s Card Case, Wallet us- have already built sites on Facebook, and theyers can also connect loyalty cards to the app. have a currency already in use. The major advan- tage for Facebook is that they have hundreds of millions of potential users; they would need 12% of their current 800 million users to use Credits to equal the number of PayPal account holders. Credits also look like a crucial tool to increase revenue: with more users accessing Facebook from tablets and smartphones there will be lim- ited growth in ad revenues. Looking further ahead, another potential form of currency that could emerge in the future is iden- tity currency. A recent article in BetaBeat detailed the efforts of banks to analyze social media
    • profiles to build a better understanding of aperson and determine their credit risk. JeremiahOwyang has written about ‘social insurancerates’ based on a person’s online profile andbehaviours. In the current environment the majorconcern is that banks and insurance companiesmay gather information that may be illegal forthem to ask. However, it is only a matter of timebefore banks and insurance companies offer opt-in programs to encourage and reward behavioursthat are displayed online, and the crossover ofvirtual currencies into the real world will begin inearnest.References• Benjamin Wallace, The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin, Wired, November 23 2011• Daniel Roth, The Future of Money: It’s Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free, Wired, February 22, 2010• Danny Vincent, China Used Prisoners in Lucrative Internet Gaming Work, The Guard- ian, May 25 2011• David Zax, Should Facebook Pay You? Or: How to Monetize Friends and Charge People, Fast Company, May 20 2011• Duncan Geere, How to Run a Magazine Using Virtual Money, Wired, March 29 2011• Eliot Van Buskirk, Facebook Makes a Play for Virtual Currency Dominance, Wired, September 20 2011• Greg Lindsay, The First Bank of Blizzard: Are Virtual Currencies the Next Safe Havens?, Fast Company, August 9 2011• J.P., Bits and Bobs, The Economist, June 13 2011• Jake Perry, The Cost of Virtual Currency, World Policy Blog, September 26 2011• Kit Eaton, Facebook-MOL Partnership Brings Virtual Credits to Real Stores, Fast Company, July 8 2010• Kris Hansen, The New Reality of Virtual Cur- rencies, Core Banking Blog, August 22 2011• The Future of Facebook Project, The Bank of Facebook: Currency, Identity, Reputation, Emergent by Design, April 4 2011 Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 32
    • Social SpacesHeidelberg Project, Detroit Created by artist Tyree Guyton and Sam Mackey in 1986, this is an outdoor community art environment where the elements of each canvas contain recycled materials and objects from the streets. Every part of art is meant to tell a story about current issues plaguing society. It started as a political pro- tect against a deteriorating neighbourhood and evolved into its present form. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 33
    • Social ConsumerBabies On A Digital Media Diet The influence of TV and other digital screens in the lives of babies today Written by Payal ShahMy husband and I don’t own a TV. And we don’t there was not enough research done to have aplan to own one anytime in the future. We both stand on interactive digital media. After twelvegrew up with TVs in the house but had relatively years of research, one would think they wouldlow-tech active childhoods revolving around have had a chance to consider all the alternateplaying in streets and backyards, sports teams, screens that exist. It is somewhat understandablereading, and general playing with friends. In the that tablets were not included, but unaccept-last four years that we haven’t had a TV, the able that the research doesn’t include computeronly thing we miss it for is watching sports but screens! Truth is not much research has beenare still very happy with our decision because of done to find out the benefits or disadvantages ofthe extra time we get to do a lot of other things, using digital media on under-2s.especially reading. However, it is worth considering that the AAP isOur childhoods were not that dissimilar to our right about using electronic media of any sort,parents’, but thanks to technology, our children’s TVs, DVD players, computers, video games,childhoods will be very different from our own. It’s tablets, smartphones, etc as digital baby sit-almost as if a huge digital wave has transformed ters. While it can be completely understandablechildhood in the span of one generation. Even to leave a baby unsupervised in front of anythough we don’t have a TV, our children (when of these for 30 minutes so that a busy parentwe have them), will have a childhood drastically can catch up on work emails or make dinner,influenced by technology of other kinds - comput- it is something that should be avoided entirely.ers, tablets, smartphones - things we ourselves Leaving babies with digital pacifiers means thatrely upon heavily for our work and access to en- interaction with these devices is reduced andtertainment and news. This is also classified as static viewing increases. Static viewing is whatscreen time and there has been a lot of debate becomes a barrier to learning and increases thearound exposure to screens for children, espe- risk of ADD, Autism, aggression and violence, de-cially babies. pression, etc., according to Dr. Jenn Berman who has dedicated a whole chapter to zero toleranceAll my research on this issue points towards the to TV in her fantastic book Superbaby.policy statement from the American Associationof Pediatrics that strongly frowns upon all screen Digital babysitting happens under the guise oftime in general. This is especially for babies education. The Baby Einstein series claimed allunder two because their cognitive development kinds of development for babies but ended updiffers from babies over the age of two, though having to recall all their DVDs because the claimschildren over two should not be exposed to were ill founded. “When children view videos,more than an hour or two of screen time either. they are passive recipients of information andThe AAP’s original policy statement from 1999 are not truly engaged. TV’s quick scene changesstrongly recommended against exposure to (every four seconds), disconnected images andscreens originally based around television, which incoherent subject matter are confusing to youngis still the primary way children are exposed to children who can’t follow the content and don’tscreens. The updated policy that was released have the cognitive skills to create a narrative foron 18th October 2011 uses the word media even the images” writes Berman in her book Superb-though most of the references are to Television aby. The non-interactive screen (TV and video)and video. Dr. Ari Brown of the AAP admits that undermines the development of the very claims Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 34
    • that “edutainment” offers. Interactive screens Backgroundhowever, like tablets and smartphones offer the Hi! This is an article.possibility of interaction which has the potential tohelp with actual learning.Lets take for example a children’s picture bookapp like The Going to Bed Book by SandraBoynton - it is basically a picture book, with someinteractive elements. The interaction makes sureit is not static, introduces a fun element, andsounds like popping bubbles that babies wouldlike. The experience itself is not very differentfrom reading a traditional picture book. The babydoesn’t have the finger dexterity to swipe or flippages on the iPad, but doesn’t have the finger As for whether or not babies should be exposeddexterity to turn pages on a traditional book ei- to digital media, like all things in life, moderationther, so both have to be read with a parent. Even is key. Digital media should be limited and haveif a toddler read the same book everyday, as a designated time allotted to it. Rules set aroundthey often do, it would amount to about 5 min- digital media from the very beginning help evenutes of screen time. Children’s app developers exposure to other forms of play and learning.have even created an App Manifesto where they And while there’s nothing like playing outdoorspledge towards the contribution of overall de- and reading traditional books at bedtime, it doesvelopment, not encouraging an exclusive digital make sense to carry an iPad while traveling, asmedia diet. a mobile all-in-one coloring book - story book - game - activity book as long as interacting withStorybook apps are a great way to engage ba- devices doesn’t replace one-on-one, face-to-facebies and get them to experience more, but finding interaction with people. In any case, reading,a balance between apps that are educational and even on an iPad is a million times better thanrecreational at the same time, traditional books watching TV.and play is key. It is important not to limit othertypes of learning and development that hap-pens through social interaction. Introducing andinstilling a love of books, irrespective of the size,shape or medium will help the babies enjoy learn-ing in any form. You can’t compare the pop-upversion of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpil-lar with The Going to Bed Book on the iPad - bothare fantastic and why should a baby be deprivedof one over the other? They should be exposedto different books, irrespective of the medium. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 35
    • Social SpacesSpeaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London As expression of free speech became more acceptable, debates could move from restricted spaces in pubs and homes to public spaces. Hyde Park, one of the Royal Parks of London, is famous for its Speaker’s Corner where open air public speaking, debate and discussions are conducted. Speakers can talk on any subject as long as it’s considered lawful by the police. Speaker’s Corner has hosted famous figures like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell, C. L. R. James, Ben Tillett, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and William Morris. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 36
    • Social ConsumerThe Power Of A Story Effective storytelling helps brands create campaigns that strengthen their customer communities Written by Kaushal SardaThe Origins insights into what makes a story great, and why it is a very important skill for any brand, especiallyA fundamental human trait is that we need pat- in the era of social. We will also look at examplesterns to understand and relate to the new. That is of some interesting campaigns that have usedwhy most people find it very easy to relate to sto- smart storytelling to gain momentum and createries intellectually and emotionally. Stories provide an impact.great ways to reach people and create an instantsense of connect. What Makes A Great Story?With the invention of stories, we bought the con- Before you start leveraging storytelling to createcept of heros, villains, gods, etc and established impactful campaigns, its important to understandstrong cultural and social bonds. The earliest the constructs of a good story. There are somerecorded evidence of storytelling dates back to important questions that need to be answered35,000 year old paintings on the walls of Lascaux before you start. Who is the audience? What iscaves. your goal in telling your story? Are you persuad- ing someone to invest in your company? Are you trying to gain buy-in for an idea/product among your co-workers/customers? Are you trying to in- spire people to support a cause or an individual? Answering these kind of questions will help you create a crisp and hard- hitting story. Some other things you should remember when creating a story are: • Stories are about people: People always con- nect with other people. So ensure your story revolves around characters which are like real-life people • Make your characters speak: Make use ofTo the primitive man of that time, these paintings direct quotes and let your characters speakwere a great way to describe the experience of in a tone that provides an emotional connecta great hunt to those who did not participate and and purpose to the storyand ensure a common sense of connectedness. • People easily get bored: Always keep yourThese story art paintings are also our first forms audience engaged and interested in what’sof visual art and narrated slideshows. going to happen next. You can achieve this via elements like goals, obstacles, and sur-Hence what this proves that even though com- prises in the story.munication techniques and mediums evolve, but • Trigger emotions: A good story has the abilitythe fundamentals of good storytelling are ancient to stir the audience’s emotions. The objec-and one of the best way of communicating a tive is not to add an element of drama but tomessage that is clear and relatable. ensure that message stands out and is long remembered.The objective of this article is to provide some • Deliver a clear meaning: When your story Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 37
    • is over the audience should know what the story was about and have a reason for taking the journey with you. Without this you have just wasted a lot of their precious time.The Role Of Storytelling In The Era Of SocialThe glue that binds a community - whether onlineor in the real world - is a strong emotional con-nection with a purpose or social object. In orderfor a brand to market itself effectively and toconnect deeply with its community, it must havea message that clearly articulates its core values,captures the attention of that community, andmakes them emotionally invested. One of thebest ways to achieve this is for a brand to defineits own narrative that is clear, hard hitting, andaligned to their values and vision.Brands should try to augment their ability to tella great and consistent story with technology ad-vancements in real-time communication, locationbased services, and augmented reality to create more referrals.” The strategy was to use socialan impact at the right moment. They should then media as a channel to establish a dialogue anduse social media to provide customers with tools build relationships via powerful stories aboutto share stories, and contribute their own relevant children in the program.experiences. Urgent EvokeOne key advantage of the social era is that Urgent Evoke is an “alternate reality” genre gamebrands now have the ability to aggregate user- that was created to help empower young peoplestories that reiterate their message and add all over the world, and especially in Africa, tocredibility. However, this also means that busi- learn about and devise creative solutions to somenesses must constantly monitor any conversation of their biggest problems, such as hunger, pov-about the brand as consumers co-author their erty, disease, war and oppression, water access,own stories, augment any positive exchanges, education, and climate change.and publicly acknowledge and learn from nega-tive ones. This World Bank funded project involved par- ticipants going through a comic book storylineSocial Campaigns That Leverage Storytelling in which the main character would send out an “urgent evoke” message about a disaster takingTo make all of this more relevant, let’s look at place (e.g. clean water shortage, famine, etc).some campaigns that used smart storytelling to The players had10 weeks, in the real world, to docreate value for the brand and achieve great suc- something that meaningfully addressed this kindcess. of crisis through investigation, volunteering, or coming-up with solutions. They had to catalogueMake A Wish Facebook campaign their work and were awarded points on this postThe Make A Wish created a Season of Wishes review. Each player needed to complete andFacebook application. The app shared a stream document their contribution to get access to thethe stories of children who participated in the next “evoke”. Players who completed the wholefoundation’s program. There were videos and game and won were awarded mentorships,photos associated with most stories. Users had internships, scholarships and start-up money byprovisions to like, share, and make donations the World Bank.towards stories. The fact that each “evoke” was representedThe organizers mentioned that the approach of through a comic story meant that it becamethe campaign was not simply asking for dona- more fun to learn about the problem and createtions but to create “stronger relationships and a sense of urgency to contribute amongst partici-engagement that we believe, ultimately, will lead pants. This is an excellent example of a cam-to more donations, more volunteer support, to paign that used creative storytelling and game Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 38
    • design to great effect. The initial film created a strong message that helped Tiffany excite couples to share their own stories and connect as a community around the theme of romance. The Story Of Stuff The Story of Stuff is a short animated documen- tary on the lifecycle of material goods. The docu- mentary is critical of excessive consumerism and strongly promotes sustainability. Though a much shorter documentary than Al Gore’s An inconve- nient Truth, it managed to be entertaining and still drive a strong and clear message to viewers.Tiffany & Co. - Love is EverywhereTiffany & Co. created a microsite and iPhone appthat allowed real-life couples to share their ro-mantic stories through a film or series of photos.All of these stories were compiled and placed ona map to create a unique collection of user-gen-erated romantic stories. Visitors also had accessto a compendium of love tips and, in addition,information on Manhattan as the “ultimate city forfalling ecstatically in love.”The campaign was kickstarted with filmmaker Ed-ward Burns’ story “Will You Marry Me?,” a shortfilm created exclusively for Tiffany & Co. Thefilm presented a variety of couples that sharedheartfelt, humorous and surprising tales of theirromantic journeys. These couples were photo- The duration of the film allowed it easier to begraphed in New York and showcased jewelry, used during one class and still have time forphotographs or love letters that symbolized their a discussion. This helped to quickly spread itlife together. amongst teachers, who recommended it to one another as a brief, provocative way of drawing students’ attention and subsequent dialogue on the subject. Another reason why many educators say the film was a boon to them is because it helped address the gap between what textbooks said about the environment and what science has revealed in recent years. The project has been a great success, and ac- cording to the Los Angeles Times in July 2010 it had been translated into 15 languages and been viewed by over 12 million people. The film still gets actively shared and watched on social
    • platforms like YouTube and has resulted in a lotof variants on related topics.This project is a great example of how smart andeffective storytelling can not only create rapidawareness but also potentially trigger a move-ment in the era of social.TakeawayI hope this article will get brands excited aboutthe power of storytelling and how they can use itto create campaigns that strengthen connectionswith and within their customer communities.Reference Links• About the Evoke Game, Evoke• Andy Smith, The Power of Storytelling, The Dragonfly Effect, October 6 2010• David Cohen, Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Facebook Campaign Tells Stories, All Facebook, December 21 2011• Lascaux, Wikipedia• Lauren Fisher, Social Media has Evolved into the Art of Storytelling, and we Must all Become Masters of it, Simplyzesty, Novem- ber 20 2011• Lauren Indvik, Tiffany & Co. Releases User- Generated Map of World’s Romantic Mo- ments, Mashable, June 1 2011• Leslie Kaufman, A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’, New York Times, May 10 2009 Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 40
    • Social SpacesHigh Line Park, New York The High Line was a disbanded freight line above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side in New York. It was re-opened in stages from 2009 as a park and social space for public events. It also includes four venues that can be rent- ed. The enchanting beauty of High Line is how it brings together the tranquil- lity of nature amidst the busy city, and merges history with new architecture. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 July - September 2011 | 41
    • Social ConsumerSocial Media Fatigue Life in the times of the information economy Written by Kshitiz AnandWe live in interesting times. Did you know that Understanding The Whymany people now access their Facebook profilefirst thing in the morning? And some people find it Information as the building block for socialdifficult to communicate with others because they media platformsare not social media savvy. In my opinion one of the key influencers of the social media phenomenon centers on the wordAn interesting infographic titled “How Social ‘information’. An article first published in 1995Media is Ruining Our Minds” highlighted that highlighted advances in computers and dataover the course of the last ten years the average networks that will create a future “informationattention span has dropped from 12 minutes to economy’’ in which everyone will have access toa staggeringly short 5 seconds. People around gigabytes of information anywhere and anytime.the world spend close to 700 billion minutes on Ten years from now we may find the economicFacebook every month, make over 1.6 billion institutions of the information economy a similarlysearch queries per day on Twitter, and post 250 unremarkable part of our day-to-day life.million tweets per day (Oct 2011). These arehuge numbers! I would like to believe that social media is a direct consequence of this information economy, and its main drivers are the terms ‘informational activity’ and the ‘information industry’. Information can be of different kinds. It can be functional, instruc- tional / actionable, recreational, motivational, confidential, philosophical, knowledgeable, etc. Each type of information created can be either short-lived or for a certain period of time. It can be valuable or useless. It can be global or local. It can be created bit by bit or it can be shared. In the era of social media and social networks, this information is created at a rate faster than ever before. People are now the champions of creating information. Amateurs to professionals across all age groups are creating information. Practically anyone with an access to technology has the power to create information that can be shared and consumed. Emails, tweets, and social network updates are best when they are con- sumed fresh, and with the rise of technology plat-In such times, there ought to be better strategies forms that ensure a 24x7, seamless experience,for social media engagement for individuals as we end up consuming more than we can handle.well as business. Almost as prevalent as blind Social networks and social media platforms aresocial media evangelism is the level of fatigue the facilitators of this information disseminationand ennui around it. and promoters for information exchange. How- ever, we should understand that consuming Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 42
    • information takes energy. It is this excessive con- People have become adept at multi-taskingsumption of energy that causes fatigue. across platforms. The impact is seen on our social status, on our personal self, our positionThe Nobel laureate economist Herbert A. Simon in the society, and also on our productivity. Ourputs it nicely: “What information consumes is conversations are in 140 characters or less, andrather obvious: it consumes the attention of its videos that are under 10 minutes are used as arecipients. Hence a wealth of information creates tool to make judgments easily. We have becomea poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that more opinionated and have developed a knackattention efficiently among the overabundance of for raising our voices over anything we feel is notinformation sources that might consume it. Tech- right. We wait for acknowledgement of any infor-nology for producing and distributing informa- mation we create. All this leads to a fundamentaltion is useless without some way to locate, filter, change in the way we view and consume infor-organize and summarize it.” On one side there is mation. It has to be processed at a faster rate soexcessive information being created, and on the it is natural that fatigue sets in early.other side there is only a certain amount that thebrain can process and consume. This results insocial media fatigue.What Is The Impact?You are being watched: from whom you followon social networks, to what you read, to whatmovie you saw, to who you spend time with. Ithas taken over our lives. This takeover of life bysocial media networks is something that needsconsideration. The times we live in often remindsme of the note in George Orwell’s classic 1984:Big Brother is watching you. social media andnetworks are the new Big Brother. Addressing Social Media FatigueResearch conducted by Retrevo in March 2010 With the overload of information it is easy tofound that close to 42% of respondents accessed be disillusioned, frustrated, and to feel lost. ItFacebook the first thing in the morning. The Re- becomes necessary to identify a way address it.trevo Gadgetology study also found that 48% of Brian Solis noted that:respondents say they update Facebook or Twitterduring the night or as soon as they wake up, “We all know very well that activity within socialand 19% of people under the age of 25 say they networking can lead to distractions. With oneupdate Facebook or Twitter anytime they happen click, we can find ourselves hopelessly lost in ato wake up during the night; 11% over the age of labyrinth of fascinating experiences that have25 say they do the same thing. nothing to do with our initial focus. Serendipity is part of the splendor of social media, but it isSocial media and social network sites appear to something that necessitates discipline to learn,be a new set of cool tools for people to consume entertain and be entertained, while also stayinginformation, but the impact is greater than that. the course. In the end, we exchange time andFor example, young people use social network privacy for exposure and attention.sites for:• Keeping in touch with friends and acquain- The reality is that the cost of social networking is tances great and without checks and balances, engage-• Developing new contacts, often with friends ment can cost us more capital than we have to of friends, or people with shared interests spend. The net result is then social and emo-• Sharing content, engaging in self-expression tional bankruptcy. And, the most difficult part of and exploring their identity this unfortunate state is that it is at first difficult to• Hanging out and consuming content includ- recognize and far more exacting to overcome. ing commercial and user-generated content• Accessing information and informal learning It is important for both businesses and individuals• Participating in informal groups and formal to understand this. Here are a few tips on how youth engagement opportunities this can be addressed:
    • 1. The veracity of information peer pressure we often give in to the tempta- At times we feel overloaded with information. tion of being omnipresent across social medias. Not everything we see and read is trustwor- This is not only bad for privacy issues, but is also thy, reliable, or even true. The key is to filter tiring. Choose the platforms and tools that really out of information based on what is needed benefit who you are and who you are connected versus what is just useless. This would allow with. Do not just sign up for the latest network people to get information that matters most. without understanding of why you are signing up. It would also result in building trust with the consumer and the creator of the information, increasing the chances of better long-term engagement.2. Rethink sharing An overdose of anything is bad. For busi- nesses and individuals this means that they need to view social media technologies as a tool that enables them to relate more to the user but not overdoing it. The novelty of social media can wear off soon, evident by the numerous networks and initiatives that did not take off, leaving all those fans and fol- lowers wondering about the unexpected dip Social networks and social media technology is in activity. not going anywhere. While a lot of us will agree that social media has added much to our lives, it3. SMART engagement is important to remember that it does not replace Fight social media fatigue by putting a life. Our online behaviors have changed and so S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achiev- has our notion of relationships and commitments. able, Realistic and Timed) plan in place. This means that we know the reasons why we Platforms will come and go, and the impact that are on a social network, understand what we these social media platforms will increase. A few want to get out of it, be realistic in our as- platforms are already finding ways to have a sumptions, and devote only a certain amount more lasting impact on their users. The need of of time to it. Scheduling the time for social the hour is to understand the human potential in media engagement also works wonders. being able to cope up with this. This is important for both the businesses and individual.4. Understand the value add Every social network or social media tech- nology is created to add value. We need to understand what that value is. Can Twitter can be an avenue for our daily news, or is References Facebook a better place for getting ac- colades on photographs than Flickr? The • Brian Solis, The Human Cost of Social Con- answer lies in understanding what value each nectivity, Brian Solis, September 9 2011 social network provides. It is important to • Hal R. Varian, The Information Economy: remember what each social media platform How much will two bits be worth in the is for. Do not start out to do things that are digital marketplace?, Scientific American, potentially beyond the intended usage of the September 1995, pages 200-201 social media platform. • Retrevo Gadgeteology Survey, Retrevo, March 15 20105. Understand users’ online behavior Understand the key profiles of influencers, motivators, consumers, creators, etc. in your network. Tools like Klout measure the online influence of users and content. This measure of influence is primarily seen as the ability to drive others to action.6. Do not be a master of all With the constant rise of social networks and Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 44
    • Social SpacesArt Museum, Graz This globular building, called a ‘friendly alien’ by its creators Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, houses an exhibition space of contempo- rary art in Graz Austria. Architecture, design, new media, internet art, film and photography find their expression in this avant-garde exhibition space. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 45
    • Collaboration Social ConsumerWhat Is So Smart About An Energy Grid? Social media and technology will enable the smart energy grid to become more efficient Written by Nitin SabooWhat Is The Smart Grid? consumers and educate them about concerns and benefits, including those that upgrade utilityThe smart grid refers to the overlay of digital operations and improve reliability. There is acommunications technology on our existing elec- tremendous potential opportunity for utility com-trical infrastructure. Smart meters are installed at panies to motivate curious people and empowerthe premises of the buildings to keep track of the them to become energy champions.electrical, water and gas consumption of the site.This allows houses and utilities to “talk” to each Unlocking The Potential Of Social Networksother through web-enabled energy meters andappliances. Connected devices such as refrigera- Because social networking is built upon interac-tors, air conditioners or TVs broadcast data about tion and communication, there could be a naturaltheir energy consumption over a secure network fit between home energy management and socialand, when necessary, electrical utilities can media. What would a social smart grid look like?remotely shut themselves off to avoid overloading Studying OPower, which is the industry leaderthe grid and causing rolling blackouts. The smart in the efforts to combine social media communi-grid promises to deliver cost savings, environ- cations with smart grid technology, can help usmental benefits and transform the way customers predict the answer to the question. Its energyinteract with electrical utilities. monitoring services run on desktop comput- ers and smart phones, and help customers toChallenges In Energy Management collaboratively save money on their energy bill each month. OPower also creates a demographicResearch shows that consumers do not under- profile based on energy consumption data fromstand energy bills, leaving tremendous opportu- its smart meters, and groups similar householdsnity for companies and entrepreneurs to innovate into communities. OPower then enables engage-in this space. A survey by IBM of over 10,000 ment and education by allowing these groups topeople led to the following discovery: “30 per- compare their energy usage against each othercent didn’t understand the basics of their energy and compete head-to-head to see who can re-bill” leading to decision-making processes that duce energy consumption the most.depended on the evaluations of trusted advisers,rather than on understanding the clear choices A German company - Greenpocket - has devel-being made available to them by the smart grid oped a smartphone application that connectsand smart meters. Younger consumers, however, smart energy metering with social networkingwere much more inclined to just depend on the sites to create friendly competition among usersconsensual decisions of their social networks that reduces their energy consumption. The apprather than on the traditional financial motivations keeps track of a user’s carbon footprint, broad-being hawked by energy providers. casts it to Facebook, and pushes notifications in a way that informs customers on how well theyWith concerns over climate change, energy are doing compared to their friends. The appsecurity and global competitiveness, consumers also creates weekly energy efficiency contests,are receptive to learning about energy costs and allowing players to compete regularly while keep-usage. Here, the integration of social media and ing the real issue front-of-mind. A Silicon Valleysmart meters makes it possible to reach out to based startup called Valence Energy developed a Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 46
    • similar application. The application is equipped being used to pay for enhancements and arewith an intelligence tool that makes recommen- likely to expect visibility as to how they woulddations to users on how to manage their energy share in or benefit from significant operationalneeds. savings.No Single Killer Application As the industry matures, there also seems to be an evolving opportunity for product manufactur-It is clearly evident that a combination of price ers who can start targeting consumers for smartsignals, communication and feedback devices grid enabled technologies after smart meters arewill result in significant behavioral shifts. Interac- established in the home, promoting the benefitstive experiences and personal exchanges among of a washing machine that can be programmedconsumers and trusted sources will be central to to run on only an off-peak tariff or through yourdeveloping greater energy literacy and adoption smartphone applications.to applications, products and advance technolo-gies. The need is for a portfolio of programs and Future Social Smart Gridspricing options to meet the needs and priorities In the future we can certainly expect smart gridsof the consumer. While some maybe motivated to become more social, with startups and innova-by competing with their neighbors, price nudges tions figuring out ways to use social networkingmatched with the right technology will be the platforms. We will have smart grids and socialcompelling motivators for others. applications designed with capabilities that will fa- cilitate users to control appliances through Face-Solution Strategies For Successful Applications book applications and smart phones. Some ofAnd Technologies the world’s largest tech companies have already started investing heavily in the home energyThere is currently no generic solution, and as the monitoring space, like Microsoft led the Hohmindustry grows it will need to invent and discover initiative in 2009 and Google initiated The Energywhat makes sense for their solutions. However Detective 5000. As the smart grid continues towe can safely bet that a solution that enables reach more homes, it will form a social networkconsumers to achieve social importance, pro- unlike anything ever seen.vides social validation, and saves cost will besuccessful. The application will provide benefitsin two categories:1. Recognition models: An effective way for a technology to be useful in the context of so- cial networks is to provide users recognition. References Recognition by peers is a powerful motivator, and applications that allow users to gain it • Chikodi Chima, How Social Media Will deliver real value. When users publicize that Make the Smart Energy Grid More Efficient, recognition, it translates into word of mouth. Mashable, February 9 2011 Utilities and product companies can reward • Michael Zeisser, Understanding the Elusive this recognition through the use of game Potential of Social Networks, McKinsey mechanics Quarterly, June 20102. Translating virtual profit to real life gains: It will be important to communicate a house- hold’s gains - environmental or cost - from the virtual world to the real world. This can be in the form of benefits, such as discounts from utility companies to encourage contin- ued efficient energy use, or discounted public transport fares to encourage further energy reduction, or rebates for installing solar en- ergy panelsConsumers see value in operational benefits andincreased reliability. Utility companies should notbe afraid to talk about these benefits with con-sumers. Consumers recognize their money is Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 47
    • Image ReferencesPranks, Marketing And Crime: The true natureof flash mobsImages courtesy of: Buzzmob Chinese Business Culture Everyday Health The Columbian The Inspiration Room The MarkThe Power Of A StoryImages courtesy of: Allfacebook.com Evoke Blog National Toxics Network Prof saxx Tiffany & Co.Social Media FatigueImage courtesy of: Assisted Living Today JapemonsterSocial SpacesImages courtesy of: Coliseum Stefano Rome Tours Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Ru Lochlea The Globe Theater mckaysavage Magnus D Cafe Central Andreas Praefcke Graffiti Art Graffiti Mundo Burning Man Bird Bones WKHarmon Hidelberg Project jbcurio Kirk Bravender plastic spatula Speakers Corner Roberto Trm High Line Park David Berkowitz Brandon Baunach Kunsthaus Graz Marion Schneider & Christoph AistleitnerServicesImages courtesy of: Kevin Dooley Vikhoa Vi.sualize.us Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 48
    • Kuliza is a social technology firmfocused in helping companiesleverage social software, communityplatforms, mobile and cloudcomputing for improving businessperformance, communication andcustomer engagement. ZaSocial ZaMobile ZaCloudKuliza offers solutions for Kuliza offers solutions to Kuliza offers cloud servicesdesigning and building so- design, build and distribute to ensure a hassle freecial software and commu- mobile apps for iOS, infrastructure to sustainnity platforms. Our focus Android and Blackberry. your changing needs. Ourareas are: Our focus areas are: focus areas are:• Online communities • Mobile CRM • Cloud consulting• Facebook apps • Mobile loyalty programs • Cloud migration and• Social commerce • Mobile transition management• Social CRM