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People's Insights Quarterly Magazine



Earlier this year, we launched the People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach to help our clients crowdsource insights and innovation. People’s Lab forms the core of our distinctive insights ...

Earlier this year, we launched the People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach to help our clients crowdsource insights and innovation. People’s Lab forms the core of our distinctive insights and foresight approach, which consists of four elements: organic conversation analysis, MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-specific insights communities, and ethnographic deep dives into these communities. This four-part approach helps us distill a deep understanding of societal values, consumption behaviors and attitudes towards brands, not only in terms of insights that help explain our world today, but also foresights that give us a glimpse of future worlds.

As an example, 100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects on citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling on the MSLGROUP Insights Network. Every week, we pick up one project and do a deep dive into conversations around it — on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself but also on the broader social web — to distill insights and foresights. We have been sharing these insights and foresights with you on our People’s Insights blog. Now, we have compiled the best insights from the network and the blog in the iPad-friendly People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine, as a showcase of our capabilities.

For more, see http://peopleslab.mslgroup.com.



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People's Insights Quarterly Magazine People's Insights Quarterly Magazine Document Transcript

  • Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • blicis Groupe’s MSLGROUP is Pu ment group, ications and engage strategic commun tion strategy: cts of communica advisors in all aspe unications, to financial comm from consumer PR ement and from reputation manag fro m public affairs to d events. ntial marketing an crisis commun ications to experie rldwide, e to 100 offices wo 500 people across closWith more than 3, ork in the largest PR netw M SLGROUP is also offers strategic d India. The group fa st-growing China an king and big, insight-guided thin plan ning and counsel, ough execution. – followed by thor compelling ideas Learn more about us at: www.mslgroup.com | http://blog.mslgroup.com twitter.com/#!/msl_group youtube.com/mslgroupofficial Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • Inside 06 rowdsourcin g05 b: C People’s La Innovation od Forewleurrot Insights andGaurav Mishra r and eucle by Olivier F by Pascal B 08 ts Peo ple’s Insigh zine aga Quarterly Md Rooshabh Doshi n gineer an by Ashraf E 10 dala: lling Story telling Mand Transmedia Storyte spire Purpose-In ishra by Gaurav M 82 dle Fire 18 Amazon Kin Mahindra 52 Rise Spark The Pinterest 86 26 Byliner ators 58 Intel Innov Path 94 34 Facebook Curators 67 timeline ap ps ters of Sweden Little Mons 100 meline Facebook ti 42 74 for pages #kony 2012 Meter MT V Music 109 ou YouKu-Tud merger 3
  • Olivier Fleurot, Chief Executive Officer, MSLGROUPVolume 1, Issue 1,Jan-Mar 2012
  • ForewordBig ideas that are rooted in strong insights and projects on citizenship, crowdsourcing andforesights have never been as important, and storytelling.conversations and communities have becomethe most important sources of insights. We hope that these insights will not only inspire you to think about how you can distill insightsI am delighted to present to you our People’s from conversations and communities, but alsoInsights Quarterly Magazine, which pulls inspire you to create your own citizenship,together the best insights from our Insights crowdsourcing and storytelling projects thatNetwork, in which 100+ thinkers and planners inspire others.within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring 5
  • People’s Lab:Crowdsourcing Insights and Innovation Gaurav Mishra, Asia Director of Social Media, MSLGROUP Pascal Beucler, SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUPThe Power of Crowdsourcing to crowdsource insights and innovationInsights and Innovation across business functions. However, we saw a gap in the market for comprehensiveAccording to the recent PwC CEO Survey solution to crowdsource insights andof 1200+ business leaders across 69 innovation and launched our People’s Labcountries, business leaders believe that crowdsourcing platform and approach.crowdsourcing people’s insights are one ofthe main drivers for leading innovation and People’s Lab Crowdsourcingchange. Platform and ApproachWe have a significant body of knowledge The People’s Lab platform helpson crowdsourcing now, including business organizations build and nurture public orrationale, application areas, best practices private, web or mobile, hosted or whiteand case studies. We have seen dedicated label communities around four pre-third-party crowdsourcing platforms in configured application areas: Expertiseaction for almost a decade and learned Request Network, Innovation Challengefrom their successes and failures. We have Network, Research & Insights Networkseen diverse Fortune 500 corporations and Contest & Activation Network. Ourdesign dedicated large-scale platforms community and game thinking features Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • encourage people to share rich multimediacontent and vote/ comment on other people’scontent, while our social intelligence algorithmhelps us identify the most influential people,themes and content.Crowdsourcing Insights fromConversations and CommunitiesThe People’s Lab crowdsourcing platformand approach forms the core of our distinctiveinsights and foresight approach, which consistsof four elements: organic conversation analysis,MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-specific insights communities, and ethnographicdeep dives into these communities. Thisfour-part approach helps us distill a deepunderstanding of societal values, consumptionbehaviors and attitudes towards brands, not onlyin terms of insights that help explain our worldtoday, but also foresights that give us a glimpseof future worlds.Introducing People’s InsightsQuarterly MagazineAs an example, 100+ thinkers and plannerswithin MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiringprojects on citizenship, crowdsourcing andstorytelling on the MSLGROUP InsightsNetwork. Every week, we pick up one projectand do a deep dive into conversations aroundit — on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itselfbut also on the broader social web — to distillinsights and foresights. We have been sharingthese insights and foresights with you on ourPeople’s Insights blog. Now, we have compiledthe best insights from the network and the blogin the iPad-friendly People’s Insights QuarterlyMagazine, as a showcase of our capabilities.We hope that you will enjoy the magazine andsubscribe to receive subsequent issues. We alsohope that our magazine and blog will inspireyou to start a conversation on how you candistill actionable insights and foresights fromconversations and communities. 7
  • People’s InsightsQuarterly Magazine Ashraf Engineer, Editor, People’s Insights Quarterly MagazineThe People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine Rooshabh Doshi,pulls together the best insights from our Researcher, People’s InsightsInsights Network, in which 100+ thinkers Quarterly Magazineand planners within MSLGROUP share anddiscuss inspiring projects on citizenship,crowdsourcing and storytelling. feel validated that our intuition was right.Every week, we pick up one project and do In the first issue of the People’s Insightsa deep dive into conversations around it — Quarterly Magazine, we start off withon the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself a framework for purpose-inspiredbut also on the broader social web — to transmedia storytelling, which weavesdistill insights and foresights. together elements from all the three drivers of citizenship, crowdsourcing andWe started with the belief that some of the storytelling.most inspiring projects that are shapingmarketing and communications are at the Then we look at thirteen inspiring projectsintersection of citizenship, crowdsourcing at the intersection of these three drivers.and storytelling. Three months and Many of these projects build upon at leastthirteen weekly insights reports later, we two of the three pillars of citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling and some like Mahindra Spark the Rise leverage all three. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • Citizenship:• How Mahindra Spark the Rise in India and Intel Innovators in the US created collaborative social innovation challenges to tap into the insights of changemakers.• How the Swedish government handed over the country’s official Twitter account @Sweden to a new citizen every week to showcase its democracy and diversity• How #kony2012 became the most viral video ever, by designing for virality, and reached 100 million views in a week.Crowdsourcing:• How Pinterest and Path are creating new types of social graphs, around curating visual content on pinboards and sharing private journals in closed groups.• How Lady Gaga and MTV are connecting music fans in innovative ways, with Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters social network and the MTV Music Meter discovery engine.Storytelling:• How tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire and social networks like Byliner are leading the re-emergence of long-form content, including books, magazines and long-form narrative non-fiction as Kindle Singles.• How Facebook and Youku-Tudou are changing branded content with Facebook’s timeline apps and timeline for pages and YouKu- Tudou’s original branded content.In the coming weeks, we will continue totrack inspiring projects at the intersection ofcitizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. Dosubscribe to receive our weekly insights reportsand do share your tips and comments with us at@PeoplesLab on Twitter. 9
  • Storytelling Mandala:Purpose-Inspired Transmedia Storytelling Let’s start by recapturing the six important trends that are reshaping how people create, consume and share brand stories: • Short attention spans: People are consuming news and entertainment in byte-sized pieces, increasingly on smartphones and tablets, often on-the-go. • Narrow interest graphs: People are selectively paying attention to the Gaurav Mishra, topics and sources they are most Asia Director of Social Media, interested in, and filtering out the rest. MSLGROUP • Social serendipity: People are discovering new content based on what is shared by their networks, or by otherMarketers have always used stories to people like them, via sophisticatedshare information, change opinions and algorithms.influence decisions. Now, as peoplecreate, consume and share brand stories • Community curation: People arein new ways, marketers need to go beyond forming on-the-fly communities aroundthe 30-sec product ad or the 300-word a shared passion or purpose by curatingpress release, and tell purpose-inspired content around hashtags and trendingtransmedia stories that inspire, organize topics.and energize people. • Remix in context: People are remixingSix Trends in Storytelling photos, videos, art and music and sharing their creative work in the context of a time, place or event. • Emergent storylines: People are curating their own Facebook or Twitter timelines as work-in-progress stories, with emergent narratives. These six trends play an important role in the narrative arc we will draw next: from Hero’s Journey to Heroes to Everyday Heroes. Photo from goincase on Flickr Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • From Hero’s Journey to Heroes to According to Joseph Campbell, all stories followEveryday Heroes the same three-part narrative structure of the Hero’s Journey. In “departure”, the hero listensHero’s Journey: Storytelling to the call of adventure and leaves the “known Source: Joseph Campbell FoundationThe Hero’s Journey is a good example of a world” for the “unknown world”. In “initiation”, hemonomyth, or a universal story, that cuts across meets guides and allies, falls in love, undergoesall types of stories, including myths, movies, a series of tests and trials, discovers the answernovels, and ads. and receives the gift. In “return”, he reluctantly returns home, survives a near-death experience, and shares his wisdom and power with the rest of the world. The Hero’s Journey has been used by filmmakers to create franchises like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Matrix, and by marketers to tell compelling stories about brands, most often through 30-second ad films. 11
  • However, the six trends that are reshaping convert them first into passionate fanshow people create, consume and share and then into paying customers, muchbrands stories are also reshaping both the like movie trailers with entertainmentnature of the universal stories themselves franchises. P&G’s Old Spice Man isand the art of how these stories are told. not only one of the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent times, butHeroes: Transmedia Storytelling also an entertainment franchise in the making. Everyday Heroes: Purpose- Inspired Storytelling Source: NBC Heroes EvolutionsFirst, let’s look at the art of storytelling. Source: CNN HeroesNBC’s hit TV series Heroes is a goodexample of transmedia storytelling, where Now, let’s look at the nature of universalTV shows, graphic novels, video games, stories itself.mobile applications, offline experiencesand online communities explore different CNN Heroes in the US and CNN-IBNaspects of the same “story world”. Real Heroes in India are good examples of purpose-inspired storytelling aboutWhile many transmedia “story worlds” everyday heroes acting as change agents,exhibit elements of the three-part with a clear call for participation andnarrative structure of the Hero’s Journey, action. The phenomenal popularity of thethey expand it, by incorporating multi- TED conference is another example of ourlayered intertwining narratives, complex innate need to celebrate everyday heroessocial networks of characters, and with “ideas that matter”.storylines that unfold over hundreds ofhours. These stories about everyday heroes who are changing the world share someIn fact, we don’t really consume popular elements with the Hero’s Journey, butculture anymore, certainly not as a linear diverge from it in important ways. First,narrative. Instead, we co-create it, by each one of us is a hero with a differentdeconstructing plot twists in elaborate call for adventure, a different journey, andblog posts, contributing to extensive a different reward, which means that thefan wikis that delve into the motivations idea of the monomyth itself is problematic.of each character, and creating our own Second, the most important journey is theparallel narrative in virtual worlds and journey within, into the “unknown world” ofalternative reality games built around films our own hidden potential, to search for ourand TV shows. own best self. Third, our biggest battles are the ones we fight with ourselves and theAs popular culture becomes more layered, only way we can win is by helping everyonebrands have had to rethink marketing. else win too.Increasingly, ads attract audiences tobranded “story worlds”, which try to retaintheir interest over the long term, and Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • As people have become better at filtering out The Storytelling Mandala is designed to helpthe 30-sec tell-and-sell product ad, brands have brands tell stories that inspire, organize andhad to rediscover their reason for being and energize people to participate and act aroundtell stories that inspire, organize and energize a shared purpose. The inner circle consists of apeople around a shared passion or purpose. GE’s new three-part universal story that articulatesEcomagination and Healthymagination initiatives the purpose of the brand, the change it wantsare powerful examples of a brand telling to catalyze and the quest it has undertaken. Thepurpose-driven stories that inspire participation outer circle focuses on the art of transmediaand action. storytelling, including the role of content, the sources of content, the role of channels and theThe Storytelling Mandala role of paid, owned and earned media. 1. Content tent poles (pull) 2. Content pegs (push) 3. Conversations (two-way) 1. Create original content 2. Crowdsource content 3. Curate conversations 1. Paid media (for strangers) 2. Owned media (for familiars) 1. Content repository 3. Earned media 2. Content aggregation (for promoters) 3. Content distribution 13
  • Question 1: The Universal Story Question 2: Role of Content Photo from h-k-d on Flickr Photo from alicepopcorn on FlickrTo inspire, organize and energize people To tell their story in a compelling manner,around a shared purpose, brands need to brands need to create three types oftell their story in three parts, in sequence: content, each with a different role: longwhy (purpose), what (change) and how form tent pole content to pull in people,(quest). short-form content pegs to push out stories to people, and ongoing two-way• Why (Purpose): Who are we and what conversations. is our reason for being? What is our shared purpose, our Social Heartbeat, • Tent pole content: Long-form content that can inspire people? like minisites, apps, reports, games or films to showcase the full story in one• What (Change): What is the change place and pull in people. we are trying to bring about? What does change mean for individuals, • Content pegs: Short-form content pegs communities and the world? like blog posts, infographics and video clips to highlight and push out different• How (Quest): What is the journey we aspects of the story. must go through to catalyze positive change in the world? What if the only • Conversations: Ongoing two-way way we can win is if everyone wins? conversations to push out the content pegs to pull in people to the tent poleEven when brands want to tell purpose- content.inspired stories, they inevitably find itdifficult to abandon their tried-and-tested Think of a tent. The content tent polebenefit-driven tell-and-sell claims. holds up the tent and attracts people toTherefore, it’s critical to build a bridge it. The content pegs hold down the tentbetween the benefit-driven claims that and support the content tent pole. Themove units and the purpose-inspired tent needs both the content tent pole andstories that move hearts. content pegs. Now, think of a movie. The movie itself is the content tent pole, while the trailers, interviews, announcements and reviews are content pegs, leading to different types of conversations like buzz, gossip and rumors. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • Question 3: Sources of Content Marketers and agencies are increasingly hiring journalists and filmmakers to create original branded content. Marketers are also creating contests to crowdsource everything from personal stories to Super Bowl ads. Finally, most media companies, and many marketers, are curating conversations and using them as content pegs. Question 4: Role of Channels Once brands have created, crowdsourced or curated content, they need to organize them Photo from aussiegall on FlickrBrands need to recognize that creating contentrequires time and resources and tap into threesources of content: create original content,crowdsource content, and curate conversations.• Create original content: Brands need to create a critical mass of compelling original content, including almost all the tent pole content like minisites, films, games, apps and reports and at least some of the content pegs like blog posts, video clips and infographics. Photo from aussiegall on Flickr• Crowdsource content: If brands are able to create compelling original content, they can across channels, knowing that some channels use it as a provocation to crowdsource content work best for content repository, some for pegs from influencers and community content aggregation, and some for content members, often by running crowdsourcing distribution. contests. • Content repository: Channels like YouTube,• Curate conversations: Finally, brands can SlideShare and Flickr are used for storing curate conversations around their content videos, documents and photos respectively. tent poles and content pegs into timelines • Content aggregation: Websites, blogs and (Storify) or collections (Pinterest), and use Tumblr (and increasingly social and mobile them and content pegs, and even content apps) are used for aggregating content and tent poles. conversations. • Content distribution: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are used for distributing content to community members and influencers. 15
  • The purpose of the content repository • Owned Media (for familiars): Private orchannels is to pull in people deep into public online community platforms,the content archive, while the purpose social networking groups, or eventsof the content distribution channels to organize people who have givenis to push out the latest content and permission to the brand to sharecreate conversations. The purpose of the regular content with them.content aggregation channel is to linkpull and push, stock and flow, content and • Earned Media (for promoters): Ongoingconversations. conversations with community members and influencers to triggerQuestion 5: Role of Media participation and action and energize them to become promoters. However, even as brands are investing to build permission-based owned media assets, they are realizing that familiars and even promoters sometime lapse into strangers and even community members sometimes need to be reactivated with the help of paid and earned media. In Summary In summary, brands need to tell new types Photo by ripton on Flickr of stories, purpose-inspired stories, and tell them in new ways, via transmediaFinally, brands need to intentionally use storytelling.paid, owned and earned media in syncto attract strangers, convert them into If brands do this, they will inspire, organizefamiliars and then into promoters. and energize people to participate and act around a shared purpose; build• Paid Media (for strangers): Targeted permission based owned media assets that display, search or social ads to attract will increasingly look like entertainment people who don’t know anything about franchises; and thrive in a world in which the brand, and seek their permission to media is fragmented, content is cheap, join an owned media platform. attention is the biggest constraint, but storytelling can still win over hearts and minds. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  • 17
  • Mahindra Spark The RiseSpark the Rise is a digital platform for Anybody with an idea can submitmotivated people to join forces and tackle project plans or ‘Sparks’. Mahindra willthe critical issues India faces. The platform provide grants to the eight best plansis about creating and sharing innovative every month that fall under one ofideas. five categories – technology, energy, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure and transportation, and social entrepreneurship. The platform hopes to ‘spark’ a positive change. Volume 1, Issue 1, Mahindra Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 ‘Spark The Rise’
  • Participants must be at least 18 years old and legal residents of India. They need to create their profiles on www.sparktherise.com, after which they must submit details of their projects. They can ask others for guidance and donations. A press release on the Mahindra website said: Each entry must clearly state a project name, category, description and clearly explain who the project will help to ‘Rise’ and how it will achieve its goal. Participants can also note down resources already at their disposal and ask others for help related to funding, equipment, volunteers and expertise. Every month, each of the eight projects will receive grants of Rs 4,00,000. Six of these eight will be selected by a jury comprising the finest business minds, such as Nadir Godrej, managing director of Godrej Industries. Two will be selected by the public through a vote.Mahindra wants to give a voice to individuals,groups, institutions, organisations, NGOs After six months and six rounds, the top twoand businesses through the ‘Sparks’ or by monthly Sparks chosen by a public vote (12 inparticipating in conversations, voting and funding all) will compete for additional funding in theprojects. ‘Grand Finale’. Another six will be nominated by the jury. These six don’t have to be winners of earlier rounds. The finale winner gets a grant of Rs 40,00,000 and three runners-up get grants of Rs 20,00,000 each. As the Spark the Rise page suggests, entries will be judged on impact, feasibility and innovativeness: 19
  • Impact: How much will it affect the target Rise was identified as a movement forgroup’s lives? How many people will it people to stand up to the challenges facedhelp? Is it a one-time improvement or a every day. ‘Rise’ was considered an end,continuous/long-term change? while ‘Spark The Rise’ was the means to it.Feasibility: Does the project plan look Managing Director Anand Mahindra saidachievable? If this Spark receives a grant, is this about the campaign:it likely to succeed? Rise is a simple call to action. We wantInnovation: Is this Spark creative or original? to encourage people to be part of thisDoes it demonstrate alternative thinking movement and to engage with the idea ofthat we can learn something new from? Rise - to think outside the box, to be inspired and ultimately to take action. A big idea often begins with a tiny spark of inspiration– a spark that can sometimes even ignite a revolution. Through Spark the Rise we seek to not only create a platform for ‘Sparks’ across the country to connect, collaborate and drive positive change but also lend financial support to the best ideaThe concept is an extension of ‘Rise’ - thecompany’s positioning since January 2011.Mahindra elevated the communicationplatform through ‘Spark The Rise’. Thecampaign introduced in August 2011 wasa multimedia movement pegged at Rs 18crore over four to six months, across mediachannels and touchpoints.What makes this campaign even moreimpressive is that digital and social mediaare still nascent in India. Most Indianbrands use the digital medium to supporttraditional media, but Mahindra has donethe opposite. The insight was that Indians took great interest in nation-building because of Volume 1, Issue 1, Mahindra Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 ‘Spark The Rise’
  • the challenges they faced every day – lack ofinfrastructure, pollution, etc.As mentioned on the site:We’re all talking about What India needs to leapforward. Better infrastructure. Education for all.Sustainable energy. Support for entrepreneurs.But who will make it happen?This is where Spark The Rise steps in. It providesa platform where Indians can make their voicesheard and make a difference.The platform also stresses the importance ofworking together to transform India throughcommunication and collaboration. The website’s news section states that winning the vote is just the icing on the cake; bringing about a positive change through connections is paramount. In fact, in just over a month, thousands of connections have been made between Project Champions, volunteers, and experts. It’s an exciting community. Even after the voting ends, the microsite can be used to enhance, discuss, fund and support projects. It also features a discussion board for people to share ideas and participate in conversations. As stated by Anand Mahindra: Spark the Rise is a platform where ‘Sparks’ canThe community enables connections between start projects and ‘Volunteers’ can get involvedlikeminded people. Whether it is finding in them to help people to Rise. By fundingvolunteers, receiving and giving advice, or outstanding projects, Mahindra seeks to empowersecuring donations of equipment and funds, Indians to take charge of the future.connections can be built in various ways. 21
  • Anand Mahindra said: When you say you’re a purpose-driven company, it’s still a one way communication. What we’re trying to do is move from talking to people to creating a conversation with stakeholders, and spark the ‘rise’ in consumers. Two years ago, Mahindra decided to delve into its history and culture to discover what the group had become. The four core qualities that came across after consulting employees, customers and communities were integrity, compassion, diversity andSpark the Rise promotes initiative and empowerment.innovation by bringing stakeholderstogether to work for change. The platform Rise is a value system that is about hardis meant for all ‘Sparks’, not just those who work, ambition, creativity and initiative.receive grants. These qualities are something that stakeholders share and believe in.As mentioned on the website: Rise defines what it is like to be part ofSpark The Rise is a platform to drive positive Mahindra for all the 120,000+ employeeschange in the lives of stakeholders and across 100 countries and through thecommunities around the world to enable diverse products and services.them to Rise. It will enable people to drivepositive change by bringing them together As mentioned in the blog ‘The story ofbehind innovative ideas and awarding the Rise’ :grant money needed to put them into action. We live Rise through our internal culture ofMahindra considers all Indians as accepting no limits and alternative thinking,stakeholders and aims to involve everyone and we live Rise through our products andfrom a grassroots level. services that enable people to build a better future. Whether you’re a small businessmanStakeholders are called upon to make a insuring your growing company, a familychange for other stakeholders. Customers, looking for a comfier car, or a Fortune 500communities can suggest ideas that can company navigating information security inmake a difference to other stakeholders the electronic age, we provide the tools yousuch as the government, employees need to succeed.enhancing the corporate reputation ofMahindra and internal stakeholders likeinvestors and the management. Volume 1, Issue 1, Mahindra Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 ‘Spark The Rise’
  • conversations around project plans. It also builds a relationship between the brand and potential customers. While crowdsourcing is not new, social media has taken it to another level by turning consumers into brand advocates. Mahindra chose social media as a platform as it has sparked several discussions around projects, created connections between volunteers, supporters, followers and project champions and provided a platform for people to showcase their skill sets through projects, increasing their visibility.Crowdsourcing creates a sense of belonging andownership, enhancing the relationship betweenstakeholders.Crowdsourcing works for Mahindra because itaims to build connections by sparking While several brands, such as Kit-Kat and Starbucks, are turning to customers to help them develop products, Mahindra used crowdsourcing keeping the bigger picture in mind. 23
  • Mahindra empowers people by allowingthem to shape their future through SparkThe Rise sourcing business ideas.A report published on Celsias, NewZealand’s guide to sustainable businessand corporate citizenship analysed whycrowdsourcing was important for corporatesocial responsibility (CSR):When asked why crowdsourcing isvaluable for CSR programs, 36 percentof respondents said it highlights newperspectives and diverse options; 25percent said it helps build engagementand relationships with key audiences; 22 The ripple effect on the web led topercent said it invites clients and customers thousands of conversations across socialfrom non- traditional sources to contribute media platforms such as Facebook andideas and opinions; and 16 percent said it Twitter, with participants asking for voteshelps bring new energy into the process of and supporters asking friends to fundgenerating ideas and content. projects.Other brands crowdsourcing for corporate Six rounds have been completed so far.citizenship include Ecomagination – GE’scommitment to imagining and building With Spark The Rise making waves, otherinnovative solutions to environmental brands are likely to follow suit. If they canchallenges while driving economic growth. create solutions that impact thousands just like Mahindra has, they will profit from it asThe Intel Innovators Contest looked at well.funding the most innovative ideas intechnology through crowdsourcing.Spark The Rise is a massive hit, becomingthe first initiative of its kind conducted onsuch a massive scale in India.The first month saw more than 300,000visitors and 2,000 entries. Volume 1, Issue 1, Mahindra Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 ‘Spark The Rise’
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  • Intel InnovatorsIntel Innovators was launched as a contest The programme’s initial run is foron December 1, 2011, on the firm’s three months. It’s possible that, if theFacebook page. It gives young people contest does well, it would be rolled outin the US a chance to change the world internationally later this year.through technology by coming up withground-breaking business ideas. Everymonth, Intel awards up to $100,000 tothe best ideas based on support frommembers of the Facebook community anda live pitch where the top five innovatorsface off. Volume 1, Issue 1, Intel Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 Innovators
  • are approved, a selection committee comprising professors, executives and entrepreneurs select the 20 best that go into the ‘Pitching Room’. Fans and entrepreneurs are given social capital (points) to invest in their favourite ideas there. The five ideas with the most social capital go into the final round, dubbed ‘The Battleground.’ Participants such as Pascal Wagner (founder of Wordio) promoted their ideas across social media to accumulate as much social capital as possible: After being selected as one of the top 20 ideas, our objective was to get as many people as we could to accept the Intel Innovations Application and invest “social capital” points they were given into our idea - something requiring a lot more work than just clicking the “Like” button. I found that most of the people who you stay in close contact with are willing to help you out on these types of occasions but to get your extended network to help you out requires an action I don’t enjoy at all - nagging. We found that other groups in previous rounds made a video explaining the process on how to help our team and decided to make something similar.Participants register for the competition byfilling a form, answering a few questions relatedto Intel and uploading a 30-second video thatexplains their business ideas. Once the ideas The finalists make a live pitch to a panel of four, which awards the winner $50,000. The 27
  • judges are influential personalities in thefields of technology and innovation andinclude venture capitalists, executives andentrepreneurs. The ‘Top Fan’, who earnsand invests the most social capital, gets togive another $50,000 to his/her favouritefinalist. Intel positions itself as the pioneer in technology and innovations. Even thoughThe Battleground is streamed live on the it has undertaken similar initiatives offline,Facebook community and is later posted it decided to go a step further and useon Intel’s YouTube channel. the online medium to project itself as a technologically-savvy brand. The community was created to source the best ideas from young people. Intel focuses on this age group because it believes that investing time, effort and money in the youth will create a more fruitful future. As Techcrunch writer Rip Emspon puts it : According to Intel, it’s illegal to award financial prizes to people under 18, so there’s that, and, really, they want to tap intoThe winning ideas so far have been social- college-aged entrepreneurs — to help themedia-centric. December’s fan’s choice young Mark Zuckerbergs of the world take awas Alex Adelman, a 22-year-old from step forward.North Carolina who came up with CosmicCart, a product tagging system that allows The idea also fits perfectly with Intel’susers to buy merchandise from any video previous communication taglinesonline. The judges’ choice was Virgil Hare ‘Sponsors of The Future’ and ‘Leap Ahead’.(24) from Detroit for LoginWill, a social Here’s what Deborah Conrad, Intel’s chiefnetworking website where people can marketing officer, said:designate beneficiaries to receive all theironline login information when they pass At Intel, we are on a constant quest to fuelaway. innovation of all kinds. We never fail to be impressed by the power of the human Volume 1, Issue 1, Intel Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 Innovators
  • imagination or the millions of people who are innovations and entrepreneurship. It has alwaysfueling the future with their amazing ideas. We claimed it is all about fuelling innovation withare especially excited and motivated by this programmes like the Global Challenge at UCnew generation of entrepreneurs. Through the Berkeley and the AppUp Fund show. Intel wantsnew Intel Innovators program, we can show our to put its money where its mouth is. Intel’scommitment to these entrepreneurs by providing official web-page on Technology Innovation says:tools and resources to help them pursue theirvisions. We think we will see some very cool ideas. Innovation is fundamental to economic growth. To encourage innovation and prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, the Intel Higher Education program offers entrepreneurship programs designed to help move technology out of research labs and into local communities – where it can do the most good.This isn’t the first time Intel has focused on The Innovators campaign allows participants,corporate citizenship through technology, fans and panellists to take part and make a difference. The competition is useful for entrepreneurs as it gives them a platform to showcase their ability. It also gives them the opportunity to win $100,000 to invest in their own businesses. Winners also get invited to participate in NCIIA’s immersive training programme, VentureLab, where they will learn to identify potential markets and create valuable connections with industry 29
  • professionals. The winners will take away Brands are increasingly turning to fansaction plans and get visibility across the to help them develop products. Samuelweb. Adams followed in the steps of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola by turning to FacebookPanellists, on the other hand, get to fans and crowdsourcing a new beer. Nestlécontribute to a better future by deciding asked fans to help it pick the next flavourwhich idea is most worthy of the prize. in their KitKat Chunky range to increase its uptake amongst young men.Fans help judges decide which ideasgo into the final round. Social capital is Facebook is the ideal social mediaearned by fans by taking part in various channel to source insights. From simpleactivities on the app, such as watching a competitions to complex apps, users arevideo or posting a comment. Fans invest able to engage with their favourite brandsthis social capital in ideas that they like. in a fun way in a familiar environment.The one who invests the most social It’s a win-win situation – brands invest incapital becomes the Top Fan. Allowing the something their target audience will buyTop Fan to participate in The Battleground and give insights on and users feel they areand rewarding his/her choice with $50,000 part of the creation of something tangible.helps him/her feel a sense of belongingand ownership of the idea, which is As blogger Toni explains on his blog,essential in this age of relationship The Bluedoor:marketing. The theoretical win-win is that companies are able to not only engage customers and help nourish brand loyalty, but also get some great ideas which can be put into practice. Leading organizations which have executed this successfully include Starbucks withMyStarbucksIdea.com and Dell with IdeaStorm. Intel differs from most crowdsourcing efforts as it doesn’t use the ideas for itself but for the development of society, making it a form of corporate social responsibility. Intel Innovators worked on Facebook for the following reasons, as described by blogger Frank Gruber on Tech Cocktail: • Ideas are game-changing businesses or concepts powered by technology. • Seeds are spontaneous thoughts or inspirations about innovation for the community to share, shape and potentially evolve into Ideas.Crowdsourcing is a good way of bringinga sense of belonging and ownership to • Fans can interact with Ideas and Seedsenhance a relationship between customers using standard Facebook engagementand brands. While crowdsourcing is not tools (share, like, comment, answer polls,new, social media has taken it to another etc.). As they do, Fans earn badges andlevel by turning consumers into brand Social Capital, the program’s virtualadvocates by getting them more involved currency.and engaged. Volume 1, Issue 1, Intel Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 Innovators
  • Other initiatives that successfully used crowdsourcing and gamification are freerice.com, a UN sponsored program where correct answers in a geography quiz amount to certain quantities of rice being donated to the poor, and Fold.it, an interactive computer game that enables participants to contribute to important scientific research – users are provided rules and parameters that they have to follow while correctly arranging an on-screen protein model into small shapes. Intel Innovators isn’t the regular kind ofSocial media also offers other benefits such as gamification for crowdsourcing, but isdynamism, ability to provide tangible results, gamification for crowdsourcing for corporateaggregation of public opinion, push-button citizenship, which makes it unique.curation, etc.The campaign benefits by combiningcrowdsourcing with gamification to attain theobjectives of corporate citizenship.Gamification comes into play when fansaccumulate social capital every time theyengage with the app and when users usethese points to slug it out for Top Fan honours.Gamification works for crowdsourcing becauseit adds fun to what is a monotonous task. Aneditorial on crowdsourcing.com said:By presenting a simple task in a playful manneryou motivate the user through the introduction of acompetitive dynamic. Tried and tested approachesare being adopted that are straight out of the worldof electronic games, where settings are createdwhere tasks are incorporated as actions withingames, often in surreal environments, sometimesincorporated as part of a story, a journey throughthe game. However, the idea still received flak, most notably for restricting the contest to 18 to 24 year olds in the US. The campaign has these restrictions partly for legal reasons – brands cannot award cash to those younger than 18. The upper cap, 24 years, was introduced so that Intel could focus on college-aged students. Twitter user @stagester said: 31
  • Got to ask. Why is there an age limit? Does There has been a recent spurt ofthis play in the false assumption that older crowdsourcing initiatives that has saturatedpeople cannot innovate or have good ideas? the market; several brands have used itIf you look at most patents the average age as a method of engagement without anyis over 35. Also Founders Institute has found real purpose. Without a clear objective, thethat startups founded by older founders idea won’t be taken seriously.have a much higher average of success Intel, though, has thought it through.Other criticism centred around the natureof the ideas being mostly social and basic. This sturdy combination of crowdsourcing,Many questioned whether the innovations gamification and corporate citizenship haswould actually impact society. Youngsters made it a benchmark for brands aspiring toaren’t venturing outside the comfort zone use novel crowdsourcing techniques.of social media, others said.Even if it has its drawbacks, the concept isquite a marvel as it has aggregated morethan 1,000 ideas and 100,000 visits in alittle over two months. Volume 1, Issue 1, Intel Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 Innovators
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  • Curators of SwedenSweden was the first country to hand The project is christened ‘Curators ofover its official twitter account to citizens. Sweden’. By means of the various curators’Each week a different Swede gets to run narrations, not one Sweden is conveyed,@Sweden, the ‘world’s most democratic but several.Twitter account’, showcasing the skills,opinions, lifestyles and experiences thatmake the country what it is. The initiativekicked off on December 10, 2011, with thefirst ‘curator’ being Jack Werner, a writer-editor. Since then, there have been fiveother faces of Sweden, ranging from anadvertising executive and an organic sheepfarmer to a coffee-loving lesbian trucker. Volume 1, Issue 1, Curators Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 of Sweden
  • country in a light not usually seen in traditional media. Maddy Savage agreed in a piece for the BBC : The Swedish Institute and VisitSweden launched the experiment in December as part of an attempt to give a more diverse insight into a nation perhaps best known for its meatballs, flat-pack furniture and crime novels. They argue that Sweden’s future prosperity depends on creating a more active exchange with other countries.The objective: arouse interest and raise curiosityto drive tourism by highlighting Sweden’squalities through the curators.Sweden understood the importance of strongrelations with the outside world. It hoped thatits curators, through Twitter, will showcase the “No one owns the brand of Sweden more than its people. With this initiative we let them show their Sweden to the world,” says Thomas Brühl, CEO of VisitSweden This insight comes from a study that said that, when it comes to travel decisions, the people of a country are as important a factor as everything else – weather, site-seeing, etc. Language is an important factor, too, which is 35
  • why English speakers prefer visitingcountries that speak the language. Swedenunderstood that communication is vital,which is why it chose a platform that wouldget people from other nations familiar withthe country through its people. Visit Sweden carefully chose its curators, making sure they represented the country’s values and skills, such as gay rights, fashion and innovation. The process was lengthy as it was essential to select the right curators. The conversations created by them would have a huge bearing on the perception of Sweden itself. Curators are nominated by the public. The nominator must send an e-mail to curatorapplication@visitsweden.com, answering a set of questions about the nominee. If the answers and evidence justify the nomination, chances are thatPeople seem to identify better with he/she will be selected as a curator.brand Sweden after it tried to create arelationship with its followers by adding ahuman touch to its Twitter feed. Excerptsfrom a blog :The project, an initiative of the Board forthe Promotion of Sweden is definitelylooking to market travel with the humanelement. Ask anyone who specializes insocial media niche jackets– they will tellyou that the more personal and human-likeyou can make your company’s social mediaaccounts, the better. Sweden hopes that bygiving people the chance to see the countrythrough vastly different sets of eyes, they willinspire curiosity.Having a different Swede tweet each weekoffers more room for creating relationshipsby catering to different kinds of people. Volume 1, Issue 1, Curators Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 of Sweden
  • censorship and don’t shy away from criticising the country. Former curator, beekeeper Hasan Ramic, tweeted: @sweden The current Swedish welfare system is a bad joke compared to what it once was Hanna, a truck driver, criticised an archaic medical practice still alive in Sweden: @sweden I do. I think it’s a disgrace that a civilized country is still doing that. #myownopinion Almost all governments would be skeptical about allowing such criticism on their own platforms. That’s where the Swedish government comes across as truly open. Allowing curators to freely express their thoughts is what makes people believe that @Sweden is the world’s most democratic Twitter account. Take for example Ramic’s tweets on what it was like to grow up in Sweden as a Bosnian refugee from the Balkan wars of the 1990s: @Sweden: When the war started in Bosnia, a part of the conflict was based on religion. We were Muslim, and forced to flee to Sweden. @Sweden: In our fight to preserve our Bosnian Muslim identity we didn’t celebrate Christmas. It was a Christian tradition and not to be observed. @Sweden: We still observe our traditional Muslim holidays, but it’s not about religion for us. It’sThe content posted is personal and bold. The about the spirit.Swedes who run the account face little Blogger Jeremy Stahl said this truly demonstrated Sweden’s democratic nature: Thousands of immigrants from Bosnia fled to Sweden for its open asylum policies during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, but the nation continues to wrestle with immigration and assimilation. Yet in 2010, an anti-immigrant party gained a foothold in the country’s 37
  • parliament for the first time. When theSwedish Tourism board says on its Curatorsof Sweden website that “Hasan Ramic is @Sweden” and gives him the opportunity tospeak for his nation they are telling us a lotmore about the countrySweden could not have chosen a bettertime. Several governments are discussingthe possibility of moderating contenton social networks, which has receivedtremendous flak.Curators of Sweden, on the other hand,mostly received rave reviews for beinguncensored, innovative, daring, personaland different. Observers applaudedSweden for taking a route that mostcountries would shun. The very factthat Sweden aimed to connect with itsfollowers through its citizens made it anovel concept.Blogger Chris Armstrong is a fan:I tip my hat to Visit Sweden for being daringenough to go all the way and encourage However, there is a section that didn’ta conversation between its citizens and like the idea. Detractors felt that the lackthe rest of the world. Whether it’s called a of moderation deterred Sweden fromsocial experiment or a publicity stunt, I’m creating a positive image for itself. Nopretty sure it’ll do its job well in increasing censorship meant that there was a barrageawareness about Sweden and lead to more of abusive/offensive tweets and somecurious tourists. promoting the curators’ personal ventures. Sweden Listen up, folks! I’m @kwasbeb, a regular swedish dude, and I’m taking over this goddamned account for a week! Expect bad sex and slapstick. Well, ok, I’ll swede the LOT of you: meat balls äre guud, änd naked girls make me sæy “jaa!” Volume 1, Issue 1, Curators Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 of Sweden
  • Expat Swede Anna Dahlström launched a Media Culpa, a Swedish media and publicscathing attack on her blog , calling the initiative relations blog agreed:a ‘publicity stunt’ as there were many tweets notremotely concerning to Sweden. Now, what a brilliant idea to turn to the crowd and let ordinary Swedes share their views on Sweden.For all the wonderful things Sweden has to offer I The only problem with letting go of control is that,highly recommend visiting www.visitsweden.com, well, you have little control. You see, there is onejust not the twitter account, for now. thing I’m not particulary impressed with in this campaign so far, and that is the actual tweeting.An insight picked up across the web was thatthere were several disgruntled followers who The whole purpose of this activity is that the tweetsseemed to dislike the curators, and not the should be linked to Sweden and create interest incampaign itself. This was brought up by Tommy Sweden. But I have a hard time seeing that tweetsSollen (Social Media Manager, VisitSweden) on containing foul language, mentions of dreamsthe same blog in response to Anna’s attack: of racist jokes or jokes about planning terrorist attacks on Twitter are what the Swedish InstituteHi Anna! had in mind.Let me begin by saying that I’m very glad you’rerecommending visitsweden.com and that you havebeen happy in the past with our Twitter account :)Now about our new approach on @sweden onTwitter it seems to me that you like the idea butyou don’t like our first curator, Jack.Granted, he is an outspoken person and his wayof writing is certainly very different from ourprevious more official tone of voice. But if we areto be transparent and genuine in our presence onTwitter and truly show the wide range of what weas a country and as a people have to offer then wehave to let go of some measure of control and havesome faith in our people.In 2012 you’ll probably have 50+ new curators toget acquainted with and I’m sure you’ll like some ofthem, if not most :) The jury is still out on whether this is a social experiment or a mere publicity stunt. What is not in doubt, however, is that @Sweden worked brilliantly to increase its follower count to almost 23,000 from about 8,000 in early December. The UK-Based Huffington Post summarised it in a sentence: 39
  • Of course it’s all a stunt to boost tourism,but as stunts to boost tourism go, you’ve gotto admit it’s a pretty ingenious one. If countries aren’t jumping on the bandwagon, its citizens are urging them to start something similar, like in England. marcsettle marc blank-settle Good point by @jackschofield: @sweden account being used really nicely. @england is all butTourism boards around the world have dormant. @twitter - please free up dormantfound social media an effective way of acctscommunicating with their audiences. AsTwitter matures as an information and Canada has also done somethingsharing platform, people are becoming innovative with its most recent campaignaccustomed to seeing governments and that had the Calgary Philharmonic singingtourism boards on it. tweets submitted by the public. The Calgary board called on Calgarians onSweden’s campaign stood out, which Twitter, asking how they stay warm in theled to other countries trying something winter. The tweets were curated and turneddifferent on social media. Australia and the into a song.US are already copying the idea, and it hasbeen well received. There is little doubt that other countries will also soon use social media to drive innovative marketing campaigns. For now, Curators of Sweden sits atop the heap. Volume 1, Issue 1, Curators Citizenship Jan-Mar 2012 of Sweden
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  • # Kony 2012‘Kony 2012’ is an online campaign by the Secondly, we want Kony to be famous sonon-profit Invisible Children that aims to that when he is stopped, he will be a visible,make one of the world’s most sought after concrete example of international justice.war criminals, Joseph Kony of Uganda, then other war criminals will know that theirfamous. The campaign is meant to raise mass atrocities will not go unnoticed orawareness about him and his crimes, unpunished.eventually leading to his arrest. The campaign kicked off with a 30-minuteThe official Kony 2012 website said: documentary by Invisible Children co- founder Jason Russell on YouTube andInvisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign Vevo showing Kony’s killings and Uganda’saims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to struggle against his terrort.celebrate him, but to raise support for hisarrest and set a precedent for internationaljustice. In this case, notoriety translates topublic support. If people know about thecrimes that Kony has been committing for26 years, they will unite to stop him. Volume 1, Issue 1, Citizenship #Kony 2012 Jan-Mar 2012
  • Invisible Children has been working for nineyears to end Africa’s longest running armedconflict. It has two broad objectives:1. Make Kony famous as the world’s worst war criminal.2. Push lawmakers in the US and elsewhere to deploy more forces in Uganda to stop Kony, and draw up a comprehensive strategy for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration. Kony took over leadership of a rebel group in 1987 and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which earned notoriety for abducting children to be soldiers or wives of his officers. Over the years, the LRA committed numerous crimes such as rape, torture and murder, often with blunt weapons. The LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people.Even though Kony has been named by theInternational Criminal Court as one of the world’smost wanted men, not many know about him. 43
  • Russell said that he would have been happy if the video got half a million views on YouTube by the end of the year, but it had more than 79 million views within 10 days. The result was #StopKony and #Kony2012 trending on Twitter within hours. Initially, the response was positive. Mashable reader Stephwight said: I think the amount of awareness this campaign has drawn to Kony and the problems in Uganda is a huge accomplishment and shows the positive power social media can have on the worldInvisible Children’s documentary waswatched by millions within hours of itsrelease.With over 100 million views in the first sixdays across platforms, it became the mostviral video ever. The video featuring SusanBoyle on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 hit 70million views in six days while Old Spice’s‘Responses’ campaign didn’t hit 70 millionuntil five months after launch. Kony 2012 is not a typical viral success. It is different from videos that went viral earlier; they usually had slapstick humour or entertainment value. Kony 2012 has created a new genre. Volume 1, Issue 1, Citizenship #Kony 2012 Jan-Mar 2012
  • It showed that a slick, controversial video playing • There has also been critics who are shoutingon human emotion has immense potential that the facts are wrong, this sort of debate andfor virality. It portrayed happiness, sadness, emotive reactions are simply more fuel to theshock and hope in the space of minutes. It also fire for this social media blazesimplified the issue for the target audience –the youth. Almost everyone who watched itunderstood it and related to it.The calls-to-action also urged users to share thevideo.Social Media expert Calum Brannan explainedon his blog why the video went viral :• Viewers are shown ‘Share’ buttons in the first few seconds almost subliminally now i’m not a psychologist, but one could hazard a guess this helps plant that seed Russell said in the video:• This video is emotive, its a roller-coaster of happy to sad to shock Celebrities, athletes and billionaires have a loud voice and what they talk about spreads instantly.• Film maker Russell invites the viewer to participate in an experiment, and the use of the Invisible Children targeted celebrities who could word ‘We’ and ‘Us’ instantly builds a sense of amplify the message. It also turned to lawmakers community and is very personal to act on the campaign.• Another point to note is a younger Russell from The celebrities and politicians were selected a clip a few years ago makes a ‘promise’ to a keeping their credibility, reach and influence on child, and I personally was amazed he could social media in mind. They included the likes of make such a promise, you feel that you almost Justin Bieber, Bono, George Clooney, Angelina want to help Jolie, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg and 14 other household names.• The end of the video provides clear instructions on how you can help, leading with financial The organisers made these celebrities tweet on ones first, then powerfully suggests that the #StopKony and retweet other #StopKony tweets, least you can do is ‘Share’ the video flooding timelines. Oprah for example referenced Kony’s the LRA, saying: Thanks tweeps for sending me info about ending #LRAviolence. I am aware. Have supported with $’s and voice and will not stop. #KONY2012. 45
  • Bieber retweeted an Invisible Childrenmessage and looped the link to the video,saying:it is time to make him known. Im calling onALL MY FANS, FRIENDS, and FAMILY tocome together and #STOPKONY.”The list of politicians included GeorgeBush, Condoleezza Rice and Bill Clinton.The public can message these influencersdirectly from the Kony 2012 website. The campaign had its detractors. Political and social affairs experts questioned its legitimacy and many charities and non- profits picked holes in the strategy and accountability of Invisible Children. Within hours, conspiracy theories were floated and many questioned the objectives of Kony 2012. One of the criticisms was that the video misrepresented the situation in Uganda. As stated by Mark Kersten in his blog ‘Taking Kony 2012 down a notch’ The campaign reflects neither the realities of northern Ugandan nor the attitudes of its people. In this context, this post examines the explicit and implicit claims made byThe campaign wants to make everyone the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign and tests themfeel like they are part of the movement. against the empirical record on the ground.The video repeatedly uses the words ‘we’and ‘us’ to create a sense of togetherness The truth is that Kony has been inactiveand belonging to the movement. for more than six years, and is said to have fled to Congo. Much like the speculationBy asking people to get more involved behind Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts,by visiting the website, signing a pledge, some reports said that Kony is dead.getting the Kony bracelet and action kit for$30, and donating for the cause, Invisible Many Ugandans say that the country is nowChildren makes people feel like they are safe and the video wrongly portrays it asplaying a vital role in bringing Kony to a war zone. The other criticism is relatedjustice to Invisible Children’s donations to the Ugandan army as brought up by Mario Shapiro : Volume 1, Issue 1, Citizenship #Kony 2012 Jan-Mar 2012
  • Detractors feel that Invisible Children’s priorities destroyed to mitigate the guilty consciences ofand motivation are completely out of whack Europeans? Is this the true atrocity occurring inwith the nature of their cause (Invisible Children Uganda? Why would we ignore one story andis accused of providing funds to the Ugandan promote the other?government’s army and other military forces whichallegedly committed rape and looting, though thecharity has denied the allegations).Reports also alleged misappropriation of fundsby Invisible Children; they said it sent only 30%of the money collected previously to the anti-wareffort in Uganda.Another conspiracy theory was that the USdeployed its troops in Uganda with an eye on theoil found in nearby Congo.Jlkinsella sums up a lot of doubters’ thoughts ona blog by Fred Friske :There is no question that Kony is a bad guy. But,it is also true that he and his couple hundredfollowers are unlikely still in Uganda. So whatis this video really about? Why do we have 100troops there? What are they doing? Money raisedby this campaign certain goes to the organizationthat created the video. Does it do anything else?unclear.Meanwhile, there is a story from Uganda thatis largely ignored by our media. Over 20,000Ugandans (a few killed) have been thrown offtheir land by their government so that European The controversy certainly contributed to thecompanies can plant trees for carbon offsets. video’s virality. As the controversies intensify, theWhy is the land and livelihood of Africans being campaign will attract more eyeballs. But will they be the eyeballs Invisible Children wants? One example of this was the screening in the northern Ugandan town of Lira, which didn’t go down too well. The angry audience threw rocks at the screen and shouted abuse as thousands fled for their lives. The audience felt that the documentary was factually incorrect and insensitive, that Invisible Children was commercialising their suffering through fund- raising merchandise. 47
  • This incident led to more people viewing to be riled about crime. Invisible Childrenthe video online. hoped to capitalise on this emotional drive.Stung by the criticism, Invisible Children Sceptics said Invisible Children targetedhit back on its website as mentioned in the the youth because they are easierNational Post : to manipulate. Dalhousie University International Development professor DrAfter a brief period of near-silence in which Robert Huish told the Peninsula News :it says its website repeatedly crashed fromthe volume of hits, has tried to fight back. Its Huish says that the big issue with the usechief executive posted a long video on the of social media in the Kony 2012 campaignwebsite in which he attempted to answer is that “truncated (history) into sound bitesmany of the questions posed by critics and and into tweets,” causing individuals withoutthe charity also says it will try to answer expertise on the subject to chime in withas many as possible of the thousands of opinions which causes false information toquestions lodged via Twitter. circulate around the web.This fuelled the conversation further. The youth, though, heard both sides and were as quick to question the campaign as they were to support it.The video was meant for the masses, butspecifically for the youth. According toYouTube statistics, the Kony video wasmost popular with girls aged 13 to 17 andmen aged 18 to 24. Viewers were able to question the campaign quickly, thanks to the amountSome experts felt that the video was of information available on the internetaimed at the youth because many of them through blogs, articles and socialare oblivious of world affairs. They are also networks.the activists of tomorrow. As the youth arematuring emotionally, they are more likely Mario Shapiro mentions the impact the movement had on her son in a blog : Volume 1, Issue 1, Citizenship #Kony 2012 Jan-Mar 2012
  • So, how are teens reacting? Well, I only knowwhat’s happening in my house. My own son,after doing a bit of research, has become a bitsoured on Invisible Children. He stopped asking topurchase a bracelet, and other than a Facebookpost denouncing the video, I haven’t heard anotherword about it.Even though Roxanne Anderson’s views aredifferent, she agreed that social media getsimportant information out faster :I am also very impressed with how social mediacampaign has raised awareness so quickly, andwould like to see that happen more. There areso many areas of the world where people aresuffering for various reasons of injustice, and if wecan use our media networking to motivate peopleto do something about it, that is noteworthy. Some However the movement is perceived, Kony 2012of our greatest battles are to get people who aren’t certainly raised awareness about an issue thatsuffering to care about people in another part of not too many people knew of. By becoming thethe world who are and to take action. Invisible biggest viral movement ever, Invisible childrenChildren has done that. Cheers. met its first objective of making Kony famous. Timelines are filled with Kony-related content. Thousands of content pegs, including spoofs, video blogs and celebrity opinions, were created on Kony. YouTube has over 50 pages of content on Kony. As mentioned in the National Post: The video was produced by the non-profit group Invisible Children with the goal of making Joseph Kony a household name among the populace and eventually congressmen and senators with the power to take military action. They’re certainly on track. Not only is the video being viewed like crazy, but people are posting their own clips and commentary. In this new age of interactive media, viewers are investing their own time to record and upload their own thoughts. As I write, 278 video clips have been uploaded to the KONY 2012 YouTube video campaign. As of the 200th video, their average length was six minutes. 49
  • Most successful viral movements weremore or less local or national in nature.However, Kony 2012 transcended theseboundaries.People across the world are talking aboutit. The movement didn’t gather pace inAfrica, but that was probably because ofthe low levels of internet connectivitythere.There will be more twists to this story.The kind of information – and the amount– a person consumes impacts his/her Hence, good research is important beforedecisions. voicing an opinion. As the Darkest_Omega said on a forum called 6-sided world : It’s your choice and I should have no say, do your own research make your own decisions, I’m all for helping other people. I personally think that Mr. President doesn’t make the best decisions so by you saying that he trusts that matters almost nothing to me. (He called the Egyptian president his friend until the Egyptian people started rebelling.) Make your own decisions. Research topics. Live, Learn, Love. Don’t be deceived by greedy people. Volume 1, Issue 1, Citizenship #Kony 2012 Jan-Mar 2012
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  • PinterestFew people expected Pinterest to be the Our Missionsmash-hit social network of 2011. It had Our goal is to connect everyone in the worldstrong competition in the form of Tumblr, through the ‘things’ they find interesting. WeTwitter and the more recent Google +, but think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe canthe image-based social curation tool was reveal a common link between two people.on fire, making it to the Top 10 most visited With millions of new pins added every week,social networks of the year. Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interestsPinterest’s mission statement summed itup well: Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Pinterest Jan-Mar 2012
  • Pinterest allows users to organise and sharethings of interest found across the web in theform of ‘Pinboards’. People use them to planweddings, decorate homes and concoct recipes,amongst other things. David Lee, a tech addict,spoke his mind on this:People use Pinterest to bookmark things theylike and share them with friends and followers.It’s also fun to browse through things other Even though there are plenty of social curationPinterest users have discovered. I’ve found lots tools around, Pinterest focuses on ‘images’of things that I otherwise never would have. It’s rather than conversations. When user Karyalso plain fun to browse pins. Delaria was asked what she thought made Pinterest different, this is what she had to say:What really works for it, though, is the fact thatit uses social bookmarking to aid ‘discovery’ There’s no talking. Well, very little. Pinterest is athrough a collection of visuals. Blogger Joe social bookmarking of visual items. It focuses onMurphy cites this aspect as an important reason visual sharing.for using the platform : User Mariam Shahab likes that she can follow I also use Pinterest for discovery: things that are of her interest by following specific ‘boards’: I browse what others pin in common areas such as books, travel, or products, for For me, it’s much easier to filter my many interests ideas to inspire my activities, books to on Pinterest than on Facebook or Twitter. Sure read, places to visit. Twitter has lists, but people are dynamic and tweet about things other than what I categorize them Christmas shopping: I watched people’s under (i.e. fashion, PR etc). However, on Pinterest, pinboards of products they love or want I can only follow a user’s boards I’m actually very carefully for ideas to add to my interested in. shopping list or wish lists. 53
  • Pinterest is different from Facebook, witter Pinterest holds immense potential foror Google+ because it doesn’t focus on brands to interact with their audiences andstarting a conversation through posts. In to visually entice current and potentialfact, people post images of things hat they customers. Using the power of image,love, which eventually gets the conversation companies can create buzz aroundgoing. Blogger Deb Ng thinks that products, display more in-depth aspectsPinterest makes for a refreshing change: of their businesses, and ultimately create more personal and visually pleasing socialIt’s also giving me an opportunity to see experiences for their audiences.another side of my social media friends.I can tell you who is renovating, who are On the other hand, detractors believe thatmoonlighting as foodies, who are expecting marketers are trying to attain first-moverkids, and what kinds of books everyone is advantage on Pinterest without assessingreading its relevance for their respective brands. Critic and social media enthusiast April Jones agrees: Not every “social” site needs to be a “social media” site and a source for self-promotion. I’m already seeing bloggers using Pinterest as a place to promote their latest article or ebook or webinar. Pinterest is more visual and using the stock photo from your blog post (pinning the orange RSS feed graphic? really?) doesn’t count. I go there to look, not read. Anything new leads to discussions and contrasting opinions; Pinterest is noWith users finding new ways to use exception. The user experience for mostPinterest, the challenge before brands is pleasant, but there were a considerablewas how to use its burgeoning success to number who had qualms about it.their advantage. Pinterest scores in termsof visual enticement, which plays a huge The positives are that the network is arole in conversions for an oft-neglected visual treat and it makes sharing easy. This,segment – women in the 25- to 44-year in turn, makes its core purpose – contentage bracket who love cause marketing. curation – seamless. It is also addictive and organises content well.Pinterest is effective in creating awareness,driving conversations online and boosting No wonder many like Ky Kow swear by it :consumer engagement through novelmethods. Social media strategist Pinterest is fantastic. Makes you wonderConstance Aguilar feels Pinterest holds where all these visually appealing imagesimmense potential for brands: have been hiding Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Pinterest Jan-Mar 2012
  • all these years. The only downside is that it’sprobably setting some very unrealistic expectations Once upon a time, back when we didn’t have the“for the home” and wedding planning :) Internet, I remember folks spending an afternoon cleaning up their Rolodex files; pulling out old,Its biggest drawback is that beyond a point there unneeded contacts, updating others.is not much you can do on Pinterest. It lacks invariety of utilities. Human nature doesn’t change. Human needs don’t change. All that’s changed is the technology. As social media evolved over the last decade, long-form content, which can be a barrier to participation, changed to suit users’ requirements and the way they participate in conversations. Pinterest has understood that most users want to consume content in a structured manner than create it themselves, which is why experts predict 2012 to be the year of social curation. Other social networks understand this, which is Pinterest is such a hit partly due to its why they are racing to incorporate push-button developers’ understanding of the need features on their platforms. Whether it’s the for structured social curation, which Facebook ‘share’, Twitter ‘retweet’ or Tumblr has been around for a while. It can be ‘re-blog’, social networks don’t want to miss the compared to networking in the sense curation bus. that it always existed offline. Whilst there are many social bookmarking/ There was always a need for curation, curation websites like Tumblr, Instagram, Digg, as Erica Friedman explains : Quora, etc, Pinterest scores over them for a reason best described by Social Media specialist, David King: 55
  • By constructing content in a structured setversus a stream, sites such as Pinterestand Snip.It have prevented stream-basedsites such as Facebook from becoming acompelling place to consume the Pinterestor Snip.It content (which contrasts with e.g.Instagram or other stream based sites). The buzz suggests that Pinterest will become the next big thing in social media. This could be because 2012 is expected to be the year of social curation, and that no other network or tool provides content curation in a more simple, structured and engaging manner. People think it may be the next big thing also because the network has carved out a niche market for itself. Blogger Tilak Joshi explains how he thinks targeting a niche market will work for Pinterest:Pinterest should not be taken lightly byother social networks. Its traffic has grown As the market for social networks begins toby 4,000% over the last six months. Its get saturated, niche networks like Pinterestgrowth is different from other social will begin to prevail. Social networks addingnetworks as its early adopters were women value to a niche are perfect candidates for– as of December 2011, 58% of Pinterest word-of-mouth marketing. Pinterest is oneusers were female. of the first niche social network successes, and as the market matures, and the demandBlogger Joe Waters recognised this for niche social networks rises, it will bedifferentiator in his post ‘Why and how considered a pioneer in its industry.causes should use Pinterest : Pinterest’s character will be truly testedThe heavy presence of women 25-44 on only once it moves beyond its invite-onlyPinterest is what distinguishes it from other phase to a public avatar. That’s when itnew social media platforms, which are will face increased pressure not only fromgenerally populated by men 18-24. Here’s a users, but also from rival networks andsite that already has the audience everyone new entrants.wants: women and moms who make mostof the household buying decisions. One thing’s for certain – its growth and user engagement suggests that Pinterest users aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Pinterest Jan-Mar 2012
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  • PathPath started off as a social-networking- Users can have up to 150 friends becauseenabled photo-sharing and messaging David Morin, co-founder and CEO, wantedservice for mobile devices, much like to create a community with more personalInstagram, in November 2010. and high-quality interactions.Later, Path changed its purpose from Our long-term grand vision here is to buildsharing only images, to videos, places, a network that is very high quality and thatthoughts, etc, to become a ‘smart journal’ people feel comfortable contributing to atthrough which people could share their any time.experiences with their closest friends andfamily, on the go. Path started off as an iPhone application, releasing an Android version later. It can be downloaded from App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android users. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Path Jan-Mar 2012
  • The buzz suggests that Pinterest will become the next big thing in social media. This could be because 2012 is expected to be the year of social curation, and that no other network orVersion 1.0 was all about sharing photos, and like Facebook Timeline apps. For example,with an even smaller network of 50 people. Path can track where a user is vacationing through GPS and update his/her friends aboutUsers could tag each photo to people, a place it. This feature can be disabled if users areand with a ‘thing’ in it. Path called it a ‘moment’. uncomfortable with it.While this picked up initially, the hype subsided Stephen Robinson said on Social Steak :as there were few activities and the number ofpeople users could share their experiences with Path 2 is a brilliant way to keep track of yourwere restricted. favourite people and what they are doing in a sexy, slick and additive to use app. I’ve used PathVersion 2.0 made up for this by allowing up to 2 more in the last week than I did with version 1 in150 friends. Users can now share a number of a whole year, that is how much an improvementactivities – friends can stream a song you’re this is.listening to, where you are or even how muchyou’ve slept! Over a million people have shared Path hopes that since friend groups arewhen they woke up or slept. smaller and more curated, users will feel more comfortable sharing these details on it ratherPath’s new ‘Automatic’ mode updates friends than on Twitter or Facebook.about users’ activities without permission, a little 59
  • This probably explains why the number was raised from 50 to 150. Users can add friends directly from their phone address books. They can also add friends via Facebook and invite them through e-mail or SMS. Additionally, the ‘Suggestions’ menu displays people who users may know on Path. If users see someone they want to share their Paths with, they simply have to tap ‘Add’.Simply put, Path allows people to bethemselves without thinking what others A new way of adding friends is through anfeel about their preferences and what they algorithm called FriendRank. Thanks toshare. integration with Facebook, Path scours through users’ Facebook friends, photoAnother insight was that social networkers tags and other interactions to figure outwere craving more intimate interactions five friends that are Path-worthy. If the userwith closer connections. There are only so agrees, he/she can add those friends tomany people you can stay in touch with. Path.While this number differs from personto person, Morin felt that most people As described by social media enthusiast,interacted with only 20 to 30 others at any Andrew in an article:given time on social networks and in reallife. Meh.We thought there was a genuinely Twitter and Path do not compete andinteresting opportunity to build … a very will probably never compete. If you knowpersonal, very private network. anything about graph theory, this becomes obvious.Ben Parr explained the reasoning behindthe number in his post ‘With a 50 Friends Twitter is a directed graph. Connections areLimit, Path Is the Opposite of Twitter’ : *not* mutual.Path calls itself “The Personal Network” Facebook is an undirected graph.because it’s determined to go against the Connections are mutual.example set by Twitter‘s follower model;you are limited to just 50 friends on Path. Path is an undirected graph. ConnectionsIt chose the 50 number based on the are mutual.theories of Oxford professor of evolutionarypsychology Robin Dunbar, who claims that You should compare Path to Facebook and150 is the maximum number of social not Twitter.relationships any human can handle. Here’s another way of putting it: Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Path Jan-Mar 2012
  • Facebook are the people you went to highschoolwith. Twitter are the people who you went tohighschool with. Path are the people who you stillhang out with from highschool.(of course, they aren’t limited to highschool, insert“people you work with” or “college” if you want) more so with the shift to Timeline and mobile. Facebook’s Timeline apps have been devised for the mobile, to make people share stories with friends through ‘actions’ automatically reflected on their pages. The only difference is that Facebook lets users share activities with all friends and acquaintances, while Path lets users share information with a select few.With Path’s initial focus on photo-sharingthrough mobile platforms, it was compared This has left certain social media blogger, Jen Oto networks such as Instagram and PicPlz. As on blog Mama Pop disappointed:mentioned by Cnet writer, Caroline Mccarthy The premise is basically the same as FacebookAll in all, it’s like a more tightly restricted – you log on to share pictures and thoughts withInstagram, minus the artsy camera. your friends. Oh, wait. That’s not “basically the same”, that’s exactly the same. No! It’s differentWhen Path allowed users to share more than just because you’re only allowed to have 50 friends!photos, it drew comparisons to Facebook, So, it’s exactly the same, but smaller? Okaaay… couldn’t we just do that with Facebook, but limit the friend requests we accept to just those to whom we’re closest? 61
  • Frommer stated in his article – ‘Path Launches to Save You From Facebook’ This is sort of the opposite of sharing things on Facebook. That’s because Facebook is constantly pushing you to expand your friend circle and publish more stuff publicly. Most social networks constantly push users to expand their circle through increased interactions. Path, however, asks users to do the exact opposite. ItPath identifies itself as a companion, not encourages users to restrict their friendsa competitor to the Facebooks of the list, stressing on ‘quality circles’ ratherworld – an approach that most social than ‘quantity circles’.networking start-ups are taking now. Itwould be arrogant for start-ups to not add “If you look at how these networks area Facebook connect or an integration of grown, they start out really high-quality,”some sorts. said Morin, “and as more and more people join, it becomes hard to find people youPath allowed users to add Facebook care about. With Path, you have to befriends through ‘FriendRank’, and in friends with them in the real world in orderversion 1.5 it added sharing with Facebook for them to pop up on your screen.”to the experience. This strategy has received a mixed response. Copywriter Eric Anderson explained why he liked this logic taken on his blog post, ‘Path, The Anti Social Network’ : People are much more likely share personal information with 150 of their closest friends on Path than, say, 500 friends and acquaintances (many of whom may be people they barely know or probably haven’tThrough ‘Automatic’, users could post seen in years) on Facebook.photos and videos to their Facebook wall,either publicly or for a select group. Users He also said why he thought it would becan also share and check in on other difficult for people to accept a privatenetworks such as Foursquare and Twitter. social network:At the same time, Path was termed as an Let’s face it: You’ll let anyone follow you on‘anti-social network’ by some marketing Twitter or Google+. You don’t care if 100 orexperts. As Business Insider writer Dan Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Path Jan-Mar 2012
  • 100,000 people know what you ate for breakfast. This touches on a fascinating trend in our socialAnd while Facebook is inherently a permission- relationships. Facebook has transformed the waybased network, you found that girl you dated in 5th we live and think about friendships. 873 friends?grade and haven’t spoken to in 20 years and you Really? It’s absolutely ludicrous to think that havefriended her, right? It’s okay, though, because the enough time, energy and brainpower to managesocial paradigm has shifted. 10 years ago a phone relationships with this many people. I think this 50call to your neighbour who moved away when you friends limit is an interesting twist on this socialwere kids would be no less than creepy, but it’s networking site.common practice now. Most Path users tend to be families, especially new mothers who want to share baby pictures with close relatives. While you can have up to 150 members, most users have only 10 to 15.This strategy, however, worked as Path wasdownloaded more than 1.5 million times in itsfirst year.Experts said that Path was exactly like FacebookTimeline – “sharing your personal journey in ajournal with the help of actions through Timelineapps and by sharing images, videos, milestones,status updates”. The only difference is that itcan boast of a more advanced and user-friendly Downloads dropped drastically when Path wasdesign on the mobile, and is far more private in rocked by a privacy controversy. A developernature. from Singapore, Arun Thampi, detailed on hisSocial media enthusiasts have mostly loved blog how the app for iOS accessed users’ contactFacebook, but have always pointed to privacy as information when it added contacts from thea major concern. Path made sure it tapped into address book, and uploaded that data to Path’sthis segment. As mentioned by a social media servers – all without the user’s permission.enthusiast Vilder on a Mashable article : This created a firestorm as privacy was the reason users signed up in the first place. User and Mashable reader Nicolas Hayek expressed his displeasure: It’s a disappointment to adopt a sneaky approach by a social platform that promised its niche a good amount of privacy. Guess we’ll always have to be vigilant when it comes to online sharing. 63
  • Morin apologised, announcing that Path The most notable criticism is of the socialhad deleted all the personal data on its media space getting saturated. Critics saidservers. that for a new social network to emerge, it needed a niche audience and a differentIn trying to connect new users to their purpose, like Pinterest. Mashable readerfamily and close friends, Morin said that Shop HDE agreed :pulling in address book and Facebookdata, as a way to “recommend people to Agreed, there isn’t much room for yetyou when you joined”, seemed like a good another social network. I get that there mayidea. “The way we did that turned out to be be a smaller group of friends that you wantnot the way users liked,” he acknowledged. to easily share photos and other media with, but who really wants to open up ANOTHERAdding friends from your address book account just to do that? Especially withis now optional and users are asked for Facebook’s new group feature. Don’t forget,permission. Google tried it too with Google Wave, but now that’s being discontinuedThis immediate response received amixed response too, but many like Bob Another scathing attack on Path wasFerrin appreciated Morin owning up to his about it not being ‘social’ enough as itmistake and correcting it right away: encouraged users to share less with fewer people, contrary to what other networksI don’t use Path, although now I’m interested do.to check it out. Based on what you reported,I can appreciate most of the conversation As described by writer Dan Frommer in anwith CEO David Morin. I think at least half article on SFGate :of app developers (if not most) don’t wantto step into the wrong side of privacy issues, Facebook and Twitter are making peoplesince inevitably their apps land in the hands more promiscuous with what they share.of many savvy users and their missteps Sure, there will always be some stuff yougenerate more presence and opinion on the don’t share publicly. But the trend is towardweb than the corrections the companies sharing more, not less, so this may workmake in the end. against Path.The best thing Morin can do is keep the Path was typecast as yet another networkconversation going, and stay candid aiming to displace Facebook, but beingwith folks. If he’s deflecting, a better too similar to it to make users shiftresponse might be, “we kept to the letter platforms. Critics said that Path lacks aof the guidelines, and we could be more USP that has made networks like Twitter,conservative when it comes to privacy Facebook and YouTube so popular.issues.” The small user base was also cited as aWhilst Path has plenty of fans, it has concern. Even though there were earlydetractors too. adopters, not too many of their close friends made the switch. This defeated the purpose of sharing your path with your loved ones. Founder and Managing Director of UltraLinx, Oliur Rahman said : It’s great to be part of those “early adopters” and I’m sure everyone here is in that group too. Shame we’re too far ahead from the rest of the world aye ;). Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Path Jan-Mar 2012
  • Another challenge is creating a sustainable,scalable revenue stream.Morin said that he wanted a revenue strategy ofpremium features and brand partnerships.Path began its revenue stream by creating apremium feature called ‘Lenses’. It takes photosand videos that users shoot through their phonesand run them through Photoshop-like filters inreal time. Several lenses are free, but a few likethe ambiance of Tron cost 99 cents each.Path announced Nike as its first API Partner tobuild Nike+ GPS to share runs in real time withfriends.Even though Path has not started advertising,‘the inner circle’ social graph is potentiallylucrative through advertising. As Frommer said:The “inner circle” social graph could eventually-- if enough people buy in -- be worth a lot as aplatform. Advertisers and other developers wouldLOVE to get into your inner circle, because itmeans the recommendations you make will betrusted more, and the connections you have areworth more. 65
  • In an age of 12-hour work days, personal What can get users to sign up is a networkcommitments and a plethora of networks that helps you deal with time and placeand apps, it is very difficult for new constraints by accessing it anytime and anywhere. Path’s bet on the mobile did just that. What makes it better is that Path makes sharing simple, seamless and fast. It also makes viewing simpler because of the friend restrictions, minimising the content on the news feed. Facebook recognised the importance of mobile as well, which is why it is gradually changing its focus. Facebook Timeline and Timeline apps encourage frictionlesssocial ventures to get attention. People sharing through ‘actions’ via mobile.are already finding it difficult to jugglebetween Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Path is certainly on the correct path on thisGoogle+. front. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Path Jan-Mar 2012
  • Litt le MonstersLady Gaga’s stupendous success on social media firm. Matt Michelsen, CEO and co-founder ofprompted her to plunge into a bigger project Backplane, told Mashable:that would do justice to her digital clout. www.littlemonsters.com is the pop princess’ attempt Backplane is about bringing together communitiesto create a network built around her fans, which and Gaga’s community just so happens to beshe dubbed as ‘Little Monsters’. Fans now the community we’re using to learn about properhave an outlet to create or share Gaga-related functionality. We think we can really change thecontent, interact with fellow Little Monsters and world.vote on each other’s posts.The network was built by Backplane, a socialmedia start-up that helps celebrities interactdirectly with fans. Lady Gaga is an investor in the 67
  • Little Monsters makes the most of onlinetrends by offering users a chance to voteon content and post video, images and texton a public board. As described on TheWeb/Tech/ Gadgets blog : The website features an image of theWith a look like Pinterest and an popularity- singer, created with pictures of her fansvote feel like Reddit, the Little Monsters and a registration form. The openingwebsite appears to be latching on to what’s message says:hot on the web right now: sharing visualsand rating content Register now to be among the first to experience a new community only for littleMost social media user interface designers monsters. Because you were born this way!nowadays want to make networks look likePinterest. Facebook Timeline, other social After filling in the name and e-mailbookmarking websites and now Little fields, visitors can request an invite. AMonsters have joined in. The site has been confirmation is mailed to the user with ancompared to Pinterest (a fast-emerging assurance that he/she will be welcomed tomobile app that lets users ‘pin’ locations Little Monsters soon.and items they like), because of its heavyfocus on aesthetics, imagery and similarityin design. The design is reminiscent ofPinterest also because of the grid-like,image-based content architecture. Clickingon an image enlarges it and, in somecases, links to an article or video.The site resembles Reddit and Diggbecause it emphasises sharing andcreating photos and videos, as well asletting users promote content from othersthat they like.The resemblance is clear in the slideabove. It will take users a while toexperience it as the network is in the beta So, why does Lady Gaga, who already rulesand invite-only phase. the social media roost, want to create her own network? She boasts of more than 19 million followers on Twitter and has more than 47 million likes on Facebook. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Little Monsters Jan-Mar 2012
  • Lady Gaga is a real guru when it comes to engaging fans with every available resource. Google executive Marissa Mayer said: At Google, we’ve seen Gaga build her career by embracing technology … as well as constantly innovating for her fans.Between the two, more than 66 million accountsinteract with all things Gaga. To top it all, she hasmore than one billion views on YouTube. Thisconsolidated fan base seems like just the start ofthings to come.What does a pop star do when she masters mostmedia platforms? Create her own! That alsoensures that other companies and networksdon’t cash in on her popularity and social media Lady Gaga wants a more personalised andsavviness. interactive fan experience through LittleLady Gaga has always been a step ahead of all Monsters. She wants the quality of engagementher competition on the web. As user Robyn and interaction to improve between fans andSmart said on Mashable: between fans and herself.I like the design of the new site! I think Lady Gagaand the marketing team do a great job of creatinga digital brand. They use all digital channelseffectively – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ andeven Foursquare. Last year they teamed up withStarbucks to do a QR code game. 69
  • As a range of interest groups explore and find new ways to be part of the community, Backplane’s ambitions for Little Monsters are growing: It aims to help power community sites for a wide range of interest groups, covering everything from celebrities to niche topics. One of the mainstays of the community could be people sharing and discovering talent in fine arts, music and stand-up comedy through images and videos, popularising talented artistes by voting up their content pegs. The network could also be used as a social movement forum, as a user suggested on Hypable: I guess its cool if its going to be used a social movement forum like for organising protests, political campaigns, etc like withFor example, one Little Monsters usertattooed her wrist with the site’s name.Lady Gaga herself ‘liked’ the post, whichmade the comments section go ballistic.Aggregating a variety of interest groupsalso helps Gaga reach out to a wider her Born This Way Foundation but if it’s just facebook for little monsters I think it could get weird… and not in a good way. Lady Gaga set up the network with clear business objectives in mind: greater control over fans by leveraging her popularity through exclusive content, advertising and merchandising deals, which would in turn propel the sale of her albums. As described by blogger Carlton Jordanvariety of fans through images, videos, text in his article ‘Lady Gaga Breaks Twitterand exclusive content. The network aims History and Launches Little Monsters’ :to unite people around interests, affinitiesand causes. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Little Monsters Jan-Mar 2012
  • Forget her fan base, can you imagine Lady Gaga’s While celebrities have had official websitesserver costs? I am sure her advertisement ship has for a while, they haven’t had a dedicatedsailed already, soon ladies & gents you, me and the space to interact and engage with fans in funlovely ‘Little Monsters’ will have Gaga pop ups to and meaningful ways. A lot of these websiteslook forward too not as if I haven’t seen thousands integrated social tools such as Facebookalready! #ImJustSaying! comments and Twitter shares, but still the websites weren’t deemed social enough. EnterCongratulations to Lady Gaga, she is setting her social websites such as Nike+, which tracks runs,mark in Pop history not to mention the World and sets running challenges and challenges friends.now the WorldWideWeb! The social network isanother revenue stream for Lady Gaga, which is With artists themselves reaching out to theirdifficult to control and measure on Facebook and fans with videos, posts and comments, thereTwitter. are bigger things in store for this type of web marketing. The sky is the limit for such portals.At least, she can now control her online messageand provide a safe place for Little Monsters tohang out.Social microsites are a new form of digitalmarketing for brands and celebrities. Marketingon the web has evolved from brands hostingofficial websites to having a presence on socialnetworks to creating personal social networks,taking the idea of the ‘fan’ to a new level. The major advantage is that personal social networks don’t live in fear of content being moderated or a page being taken off Facebook or tweets being removed by a government or a new feature acting as a deterrent for users. 71
  • Popular social networks, however, are There is little doubt that the switch willunlikely to be affected any time soon by happen. When it does, these socialthis new form of social media marketing. networks will compete with each otherBrands and celebrities will engage with instead of with Facebook and Twitter.followers on these networks as long asthere is traction. It’s only when niche Even with Lady Gaga’s massive socialnetworks lead to a drop in traffic will media presence, there were doubts overnetworks like Facebook and Twitter feel whether a social site devoted to her wouldthe heat. drive fan views. All doubts have been put to rest – in less than four weeks, it doledAn excerpt taken from popular social out about 10,000 codes.media blog The Next Web explained : If Little Monsters is successful, otherTwitter and Facebook are a great place to celebrities and brands with massivecultivate a fanbase, and without question fan bases and evangelists like Cristianothe virality of shared content won’t have Ronaldo, Apple, Coca-Cola, etc, willartists jumping ship just yet, but I imagine certainly follow suit.that in a few years, these artists will behosting platforms of their own, like LittleMonsters, and pushing content to these bigsocial networks. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing Little Monsters Jan-Mar 2012
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  • MTV Music MeterMTV Music Meter started off as a website The Music Meter wants to help surfacein December 2010 that helped users emerging artists, you won’t see Kanye Westdiscover music composed by upcoming and Adele — rather, a look at the top 5 todayartistes. shows Gotye, Greyson Chance, Casper, Graffiti6, and Chelsea Grin.The objective was to help users find theartistes of tomorrow by letting themperuse an extensive database, listeningto song samples, reading articles andbiographies, and watching music videos.As Mashable writer, Todd Olmstead wrote: Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing MTV Music Meter Jan-Mar 2012
  • The website listed the top 100 emerging artistesacross the genres ‘Up and Coming’, ’Rock’,‘Indie’, ‘Electronic’, ‘Hip Hop’ and ‘Mainstream’based on the online buzz around them.MTV worked with music intelligence companyThe Echo Nest to develop an algorithm that Three months after Music Meter’s launch,tracked the popularity of over a million artistes MTV decided to launch a free app for the iPad,across the web across the six categories. iPhone and Android in March 2011. After moreAfter combing through the database, the tool than a million downloads in less than a year,ranked the top 100 artistes as per their genre. MTV decided to launch the second version ofIt ignored the popular ones signed on by major Music Meter with additional features such asrecord labels. classification by genres and a concert-tracking tool that helped users find concerts playing in their city on a given day. You could also buy tickets for the concerts through the app. MTV felt that the app would be useful as music aficionados could track trends and discover artistes ‘on the go’. The app is also handy when you’re chatting with friends about music. Blogger Nicole James said on the MTV Buzzworthy Blog: 75
  • Ugh, people are so busy these days. With The objective: create an ‘artiste snackingthings like “work,” “being debilitatingly experience’ that offers just enoughsingle” and “’Real Housewives’ reruns,” it’s information to fan users’ curiosity andlike, jeez, how do we even find any time to do make them find out more about the artisteanything ever? elsewhere. Users can, however, jump to iTunes from the app to purchase the song.Especially when it comes to keeping up withall the new bands you’re supposed to knowabout every three seconds. We obviouslyhave no problem with that, but for thosewho might not run a music blog, we’ve got asolution for you: MTV Music Meter 2.0 app.MTV focused on app development assenior director of product development,Mark Mezrich, felt the need for a solidmobile strategy.MTV is entertainment-focused, which iswhy it centred mobile strategy aroundhelping consumers find entertainmentthey might be interested in consuming.Dermot McCormack, executive vice-president at MTV Music and Logo Digital,explained the insight that led to the app:With today’s music fan having immediateaccess to millions of artists and songs,there’s a strong need for curation, The meter Of late, MTV has positioned itself as ahelps solve this problem by cutting through platform for the youth, which is wherethe clutter and providing fans a easy-to-use finding the artistes of tomorrow fits in.discovery tool to connect artists and fans. Music enthusiasts take great pride in finding these artistes.The app delivers 30-second songpreviews from music partner Rhapsody,as well as biographical information, news(aggregated from sources like RollingStone, Pitchfork, MTV itself or blogs), andphotos. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing MTV Music Meter Jan-Mar 2012
  • This discovery can be aided through audio Through that feature, artistes can ensure thatsamples, photos, tweets, news articles and bios their music is reaching the right ears. Thus,or by searching through the database. Another artistes can connect with listeners and increaseway of discovering artistes is through the their fan base. As the 977 Music Blog explained:Pandora-like ‘similar artiste’ feature. With Music Meter, fans can easily see the latest acts that bring something new to offer. if the huge names in the music industry were included on the rank, they would probably steal the scene away from the newcomers. MTV wants to provide a platform to these fresh acts and to open up the stage for them. Emerging artistes need more financial support than mainstream bigwigs. That’s why Music Meter created a revenue stream for them by selling their MP3s. MTV drew flak as it changed from being the pioneer of the music video to focusing on entertainment, reality TV and lifestyle 77
  • programming. MTV played a pivotal role Some critics said that Music Meterin providing a platform to many artistes competes with the likes of Google Musicover the years, like Madonna, but slowly and streaming players like Last.fm andchanged. Spotify, but it may actually be indirect competition. These players focus onThe advent of YouTube, Vevo and the web consumption of content, while Musiceventually killed the music video on TV. Meter focuses on its discovery.This led to MTV dropping the words ‘MusicTelevision’ from its logo in early 2010, ‘We Are Hunted’ and Billboard’s ‘Socialmarking its change of focus. 50 Chart’ can be considered direct competition.Social media, meanwhile, gave newartistes several new opportunities. MTV We Are Hunted tracks social mentions,spotted these opportunities and decided showcasing the most talked about artistesto continue playing an integral role in the online. It was developed before Musicdiscovery of new artistes, using the digital Meter, so it is the real innovator in themedium. music discovery space. However, it failed to make as much of an impact as Music MeterThrough this, MTV showed that even because of the influence and reach ofthough it has changed its offerings it will MTV. A Mashable reader said:always have music deep-seeded in itspersonality. Well, think of the Music Meter’s audience— it’s a bit wider than werearehunted’s base.Music Meter also provides revenue It could be an interesting way for MTVopportunities for MTV through audiences to be exposed to some lesssponsorships and ad deals. For instance, mainstream content.Wrigleys 5 Gum signed up as the firstsponsor of Music Meter’s application and The Social 50 Chart gauges the popularityweb properties. of bands and artistes based on fan activity on social networking sites, but doesn’t focus on upcoming artistes, which works against it, said Mashable reader Steven Moore : Klout for Popstars- I am more interested in the new artists on the rise..so I can find them and then promote the heck out of them.. I go back a long way.. When Boy from U2 came out had friend send me an UK copy and then I taped it on a cassette and made copies for my buddies about 10 or so..and that is how I launched U2 in America (;-) Now it is unreal how really great music can just rip across the world… So the heck with the top folks we know them- it the unknown… Anyone have a site or tool for that??? Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing MTV Music Meter Jan-Mar 2012
  • This is where Music Meter comes in. Sadly, one can only listen to 30-second previews of tracks, courtesy of Rhapsody. This seems to be the case even if one is a Rhapsody subscriber, which seems a little silly — especially since MTV and the subscription services are currently offering a 60- day free trial. This seems like a missed opportunity In its current state, Music Meter is somewhat limited. There is limited social integration, which means that there is no sharing and that users aren’t up-to-date with what their friends are listening to. A Facebook Timeline app would solve the problem.Music Meter was also criticised for not beingengaging enough as it did not keep people onit for too long. After discovering artistes thatusers like, the next step should be engagementthrough conversations online or throughconsumption of content pegs like full-lengthsongs, live events and behind the scenesfootage. Music Meter is working on these limitations.However, the engagement levels aren’tanywhere near where they could be, leavingthe discovery process incomplete and forcingusers to go to other platforms like YouTube andSpotify.If Music Meter were less rigid about focusingonly on discovery, it could open new avenues foritself. Mashable writer Brenna Ehrlich wrote in‘MTV Music Meter comes to iPhone & iPad’ : 79
  • A recent BBC study showed that 53% of The trend on social media seems to be thesurfers actively looked for music on social ‘Discover, Consume and Engage’. Musicnetworking sites. A further 30% said they lovers will use We Are Hunted, Musicwent on to buy or download music that Meter and the Social 50 Chart to stay up tothey had discovered on a social networking speed with trends to discover new music.site. The next step of the cycle will beThe MTVs and Billboards of this world consumption of content and engagementknow of this trend change and how people through YouTube, Last.fm, Spotify anddon’t rely on album sales or plays on TV Rdio by streaming music and creatingchannels or radio stations to discover conversations through push-buttonmusic. As Brenna Ehlrich said in her post curation.on Mashable: Once the cycle for an artiste is complete,The fact that such established music it will be repeated for a new one. This trendinformation sources as MTV and Billboard promises to last for a while.are now gauging artists’ popularity by theirsocial media cache really highlights howimportant a strong online presence hasbecome for an artist’s success. Volume 1, Issue 1, Crowdsourcing MTV Music Meter Jan-Mar 2012
  • 81
  • Amazon Kindle FireIt has been less than two months since Even though the response to Kindle FireAmazon released the Kindle Fire, but it is mostly positive, the device has foundhas already sparked a huge debate. Priced its share of critics pointing out its flaws.at a low $199, it has re-kindled the curiosity Several consumers felt that the Kindleand excitement surrounding the tablet Fire falls somewhere between tablets andmarket, thanks to the sleek 7-inch multi- ebook readers. While it works for some,touch display, a plethora of apps on the it fails miserably for others, as an excerptAmazon Appstore, the option to stream from Nathan Major’s ‘The Useless Blog’the latest movies and TV shows via the shows:Amazon Prime membership and deepintegration with Amazon’s Kindle Store “The Kindle Fire fits somewhere in betweenand MP3 Store for downloading books and these two products, and suffers for it. Yes, it’smusic. a super-cheap tablet, but it’s sub-par on too many levels to recommend.” Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Amazon Kindle Fire Jan-Mar 2012
  • However, there are many, like The Daily Pandorablog, who loved that the Kindle Fire wasn’tanything like the iPad.At this stage, tech aficionados are clearly Comparisons between Kindle Fire and iPad2divided between fan-boys and detractors of aren’t really fair, given the difference in priceKindle Fire. Positive conversations about the points, but there was little doubt that as soon asbenefits typically focus on the price, the size, the Kindle Fire hit stores, comparisons with thethe user interface, the reading experience and iPad2 would begin. While most agree that thethe deep Amazon integration with books, music iPad is a superior product, many are unwilling toand movies. These outnumber the negative shell out an additional $300 for it. Even thoughconversations, which focus on drawbacks many iPad loyalists are ready to ignore the pricelike hardware specs and the absence of tag in return for the ultimate tablet experience,typical features found on costlier tablets: 3G even some Apple fans are thinking of optingconnectivity, GPS, gyroscope, camera and larger for the Kindle Fire, mainly for its price. Thisstorage capacity. Several reviewers are also comment on technology blog Mashable sumsunhappy about the unavailability of apps outside up the sentiment:the US. The editors at CNet have done a goodroundup of the positives and negatives of Kindle I’d be very surprised if a significant portion ofFire. the millions of new Fire owners decided to go out and buy an iPad now. The burning question for them is: “Sure it looks pretty, but for another $600, what else can an iPad offer that a Fire can’t already manage?” And the answer at this point, for most people, is: not an extra $600-worth. For 200 dollars, the Kindle Fire is a great value for what it does. But for 500 dollars you can get a compromise free device like the iPad 2 with a much better app economy 83
  • Using a tablet for productivity does simply not work for many users (including me). It is a media consumption and online surfing device and that’s what Amazon created at a compelling price point! While the comparisons and speculations go on, most agree that, in all likelihood, the Kindle Fire will emerge as the leading Android tablet and the only viable alternative to the iPad. This has further fueled rumours about Google’s own upcoming Android tablet, which is speculated to be called Nexus, like Google’s Android phone.Kindle sales during the holiday seasonhave been strong and there’s a lotof speculation that Kindle Fire drewconsumers away from iPad. Mashablespeculates that Apple might have lostmore than a million units in iPad2 sales toKindle Fire. There is also speculation that Apple is going to slash iPad2 prices when it launches iPad3 and prices in the $299- $399 range are being talked about. If these speculations turn true, many consumers who are opting for Kindle Fire now will probably prefer to buy the iPad3. Here’s a comment from one such discussion on the Macrumours forum: Dropping it to 399 or even lower would put it in line to compete with the kindle fire and other low end android devices. It’ll put the squeeze on the more expensive tablets asIn any case, it’s obvious that Amazon’s well.strategy of ‘premium products fornon-premium prices’ has capturedconsumers’ imaginations. While the iPadrevolutionized the touchscreen mediaconsumption experience, Kindle Firehas democratized it. This is reflected ina comment on ‘The Verge’ blog by JayUdhinger – Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Amazon Kindle Fire Jan-Mar 2012
  • devices with software and content with iPod/ iPhone/ iPad and Kindle, something that others haven’t been able to do. Here’s a quote from MSLGROUP’s Asia Director of Social Media, Gaurav Mishra on our private People’s Lab Insights Network:In the end, Kindle Fire is another example ofApple and Amazon successfully integrating 85
  • BylinerByliner.com is a discovery engine that are similar to those on Facebook,guides you to great long-form content. displaying a feed listing their latest activity,It has an extensive database of snippets recommendations, stats, followers, storiesfrom magazines, newspapers and the web, and reads. Readers can follow theirhelping you access content on a variety of favourite writers after signing up.subjects such as the arts, business, crime,technology amongst other topics. Byliner CEO John Tayman told Poynter.org:The site focuses on writers with pages The effort is the latest attempt to highlightdesigned to highlight various journalists’ and organize the world of ambitiouswork through writer profiles. The profiles reporting, excellent essays, and other impressive works of journalism. The “discovery engine” is “designed to help readers discover and discuss great stories, and become fans of great writers Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Byliner Jan-Mar 2012
  • Readers such as Jeremiah think that this could erase the line that differentiates books and magazines:The archive is impressive, but the USP of thewebsite is ‘Byliner Originals’. Personally, I’m looking at the site differently. My first thought is that I don’t really care about “long-Byliner.com was conceived and created as a form narrative nonfiction.” You don’t need to be asubsidiary to the publishing platform Byliner lover of journalism to use Byliner, just a lover ofOriginals, which produces and sells non-fiction, “long tail” nonfiction. I think that is a significanttablet-friendly narrative non-fiction. This new market.format for e-readers is intended to be a two-hour,single-sitting read of 10,000 to 30,000 words. In any case, I also see the line between “articles”This makes it neither a magazine, nor a book, and “books” as becoming significantly blurred inbut places it somewhere in between. Crucially, the very near future, and I think Byliner is goingreaders can read stories by their favourite writers to help that along.without having to purchase a magazine or anewspaper. This thinking was put into motion previously with audio and video, so maybe now it’s time for text to follow. iTunes brought back single tracks, separating them from the album, while YouTube unleashed short-form videos – snack-able versions that were previously several minutes long. Readers can search for Byliner Originals written by their favourite authors on Byliner. com and new authors and Originals through the discovery engine. 87
  • The Original then moved to the Amazon Kindle Singles store, and it went to No 1 within six hours. Byliner.com has sold over 100,000 different Originals in its first six months, which is encouraging. The site is in beta but the signs of a good business model are all there, especially the $2.99 price tag of the average Original. Blogger Duncan Davidson wrote: if you’ll pay $0.99 for an iPhone app that makes fart noises, and $5.99 for a magazine, why wouldn’t you pay $2.99 for a really in-depth, engaging piece on something you’re actually interested in. Don’t like the topic? You don’t have to pay. The odds of finding something that you like are high, considering that the website uses a smart metric to recommend Singles to users based on their activity. This can only boost Byliner’s chances of satisfying the needs of readers and cashing in.The signs so far have been positive, mostnotably the critical acclaim it has receivedfrom the world-wide web. Users such asSharada Annamaraju and Ishay Govender-Ypma have had good things to say aboutByliner on micro-blog, Twitter –Sharada AnnamarajuJust discovered byliner.com; terrific socialsite linking to hundreds of works online bytop rung authors across the internet.Ishay Govender-YpmaOn the subject of Byliner, I highlyrecommend their originals, single sittingreads byliner.com/originals < Read a few onplane homeThe first work released by Byliner was What differentiates Byliner is itsThree Cups of Deceit – a scathing piece ‘recommendation’ functionality. Byliner.written by Jon Krakauer investigating the com wants to be the Pandora offabrication and fraud surrounding Nobel narrative non-fiction as it offers usersPeace Prize nominee Greg Mortenson, recommendations on new authors theyauthor of Three Cups of Tea. It was might like, just like Pandora suggestsavailable free as a PDF for 72 hours and music based on listeners’ preferences. Itthe results were extraordinary ¬– more also gives automatic Facebook updatesthan 72,000 readers downloaded it during whenever a favourite writer publishes athat period. story. Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Byliner Jan-Mar 2012
  • There is meticulously edited metadata attached CEO John Tayman wants to make sure thatto each article preview. Each article and author is Byliner helps talented emerging writerslabelled in many ways, from the topics covered consolidate a fan base. It is designed to guideto where the author hails from. This metadata readers from well-known authors to younger,is what powers Byliner’s recommendations to less-discovered ones. For instance, one of thereaders. site’s previously highlighted emerging writers, Graeme Wood, an editor of The Atlantic who alsoYou could think of Byliner.com as an online freelances for other publications, listed Thomasconsultant for non-fiction stories. Friedman and Fareed Zakaria as similar writers. He thus established a connection for visitors. Here’s how Lois Beckett described it on Nieman Journalism Lab : The point of the Byliner system is to accelerate a reader’s path from being someone who doesn’t recognize an author’s byline, to someone who might buy his or her book.Byliner looks at things from a larger perspectivewith regard to all its stakeholders, whether itis creating new forms of content, a revenuestream for accomplished writers throughSingles, setting a precedent for competitorsby revolutionising the way long-form content isconsumed online or providing a launchpad forupcoming writers. Longreads uses Twitter hashtags to aggregate the best long-form non-fiction on the web, not creating any content, but merely sharing it. Longform.org posts great new non-fiction articles, curated from across the web sans the Twitter hashtags while Give Me Something To Read describes itself as: A hand-picked selection of the finest articles and essays saved with Instapaper. 89
  • Atavist, on the other hand, is a boutique While most digital versions of print bookspublishing house that produces original retail for around $10 in stores like Amazonnon-fiction stories for digital, mobile or iBooks, Byliner’s ($0.99 to $5.99) andreading devices. Byliner takes the best The Atavist’s ($1.99 or $2.99) pieces arefrom its competitors to share existing much cheaper.content and create content throughOriginals, carving a niche for itself in long- Originals can also be the preferred optionform journalism. to activities such as watching a film in a theatre, visiting a night club or a restaurantAs stated by blogger Sara Williams : with friends as these are more expensive.In June my dad told me about a new sitecalled Byliner. Like Longreads, Byliner pullstogether links to long form articles, but likeThe Atavist it also publishes somethingnew: Byliner Originals. The site describesthese as ‘Original narratives by some ofthe most accomplished writers workingtoday, at lengths that allow them to be readin a single sitting. [They] typically rangebetween 10,000 and 35,000 words and areavailable in digital form, with select titlesalso available as audio or print-on-demandbooks.With regard to publishing, Atavist andKindle Singles can be considered BylinerOriginal’s competition, but Byliner scoresbecause it offers more by sharing contentand suggesting authors. In today’s Facebook age of short-form content and micro-blogs such as Twitter,Currently, Byliner Original’s strongest long-form content has managed to staycompetition is any other leisurely popular. Amazon has played a vital role inactivity or interest that can substitute, ensuring that, by building a new market ofor be substituted by, reading non-fiction active readers comfortable with contentnarratives in two hours. Think films, a sport in a digital format. Secondly, it madeor music. publishing painless by taking the content, compiling it and shipping it as an e-book inThe originals are cheaper than e-books, as a matter of days.an excerpt from a blog written by HernánIglesias Illa stated : It is estimated that e-readers will grow from 45 million this year to more than 80 million in two years. Several start-ups Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Byliner Jan-Mar 2012
  • are hoping to cash in on this boom. Many ofthese start-ups include curation websites thataggregate long-form journalism from around theweb. Hernan Iglesias Illa explained:Byliner and Atavist are part of a recent trendthat has seen a renewed interest in long-formjournalism. As newspaper articles got shorter andblog posts became the genre du jour, more thana few writers and editors, especially in the US,have started to feel that the 5,000-word articlehad become an endangered species. This is whatprompted the emergence of projects like Longformand Longreads, two websites that curate andrecommend new and classic long-form journalismpieces.Long-form content is expected to return to itsroots in the digital medium as bloggerAlex Wilhelm explained :Long-form content is headed back to the businessmodel of the pamphlet, with short works sellingat low price points and in large quantity. I’ve hada suspicion that this would happen ever since theKindle first explode. I’m no longer suspicious, I’mconvinced. This is the future. Kindle and other e-readers made marketers believe that these were ideal platforms for great stories that are ‘perishable’, and could be put into the hands of readers quickly. This created a new business model. Amazon recognised that content could now be consumed in a better, faster, cheaper and more convenient manner through Kindle Singles. The Singles are quick, cheap e-reads that are 91
  • longer than a magazine article but shorter sorta a simpler model — this took me aboutthan a book and priced between $0.99 and six weeks from start to finish as opposed to$4.99. the year-and-half for my book.Kindle Singles revolutionised the waycontent is consumed, leading to therise of digital publishers such as Bylinerand Atavist, attracting the attention ofpublishers, writers and readers.Amazon invented the category, calling theSingle the ‘perfect, natural length to layout a single killer idea’.Alton Gansky, author and director ofBlue Ridge Mountains Christian WritersConferences explains why Kindle Singlesare useful: (Video)CEO Tayman explained:Two hours later you feel like you’ve beenentertained, you’ve been moved, you’vebeen exposed to something you normallywouldn’t have been and you have that sense Byliner snapped up contracts withof completion. renowned journalists and is constantly negotiating with new writers as it wants toJournalist Andy Lewis explained how release Originals every 10 to 14 days.this innovation also benefited newsorganisations that have used Singles and Journalists understand the opportunity.Originals to generate more revenue from The return on investment for them isthese stories: potentially more with Originals, as they can churn out a 10,000-word story in sixThe Guardian mixed old articles and new weeks and make a considerable amountmaterial for a single on News Corp.’s phone- of money on it compared to the offlinehacking scandal while Vanity Fair wrapped segment, where it can take them morea new introduction by editor Graydon Carter than a year to complete a book.around 20 old articles for Rupert Murdoch:The Master Mogul of Fleet Street. Authors So far, not a single writer has declinedare attracted to the speed at which a single an offer by Byliner to release an Originalcan reach the market. Says comedian with them. It helps that publishers shareand TV writer Rob Kutner, “I wanted to 50% of the revenue with the writers andexperiment with having an idea and taking it sell thousands of Originals within days offrom conception to execution a lot faster. It’s release. Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Byliner Jan-Mar 2012
  • Journalists also find digital publishers more with publishers. Other authors have not left thetrustworthy and creditable than traditional fold, and have reasons why self-publishing ispublishers. Duncan Davidson explained why he inadequate.thinks writers are taking to self-publishing in hisblog: There is no doubt that magazines and newspapers will eventually be replaced byWhen you look behind the stories, the authors were this wave of non-fiction, long-form journalismdriven to self-publishing due to being scammed consumed digitally.by small fly-by-night publishers or blocked bythe majors, but have used their success to sign 93
  • Facebook timeline appsFacebook recently launched around 60 place with a comment, the comment andapps meant for its new timeline; they the check-in will instantly be displayedcater to varied people and their interests. on your Facebook Timeline. FacebookFacebook Timeline apps are third–party intends to make sure nobody is left out.add-ons that integrate with users’ profiles, It plans to roll out several more apps foradding real-time interactivity between various utilities, interests and hobbies. In afriends. The idea is to display your activity blog about the new apps, Facebook’s Carlthrough the apps directly on the new Sjogreen said:Facebook timeline for your friends tosee. Some of these apps are primarily There will be apps for all types of interests,on Facebook, but others interact with as more apps will launch over time. Whethermobile apps from the same publisher. For you love snowboarding, gardening, hiking, orexample, if you download Foursquare to knitting, or something else, there will be anyour smartphone and check in to a certain app for you. Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Facebook Timeline Apps Jan-Mar 2012
  • Within days of turning on the feature, my reading habits changed. Instead of clicking through a bunch of headlines to get at the story, I begin to question whether or not I wanted anyone on Facebook to see what I was reading. If it’s a story aboutWarren Buffett then I look informed, conversely if it’s about Snooki, I look like a ditz.Facebook introduced new Timeline apps,using its updated Open Graph applicationprogramming interface, which analysts lauded asa “positive move” that will entice app discovery.By giving access to the Open Graph, Facebookgave developers the opportunity to createcompelling apps that encourage users to share Facebook’s Open Graph page says: Actions areexperiences straight to the timeline. verbs that users perform in your app. Objects define nouns that the actions apply to. WeThe Open Graph has evolved from merely created sets of actions and objects for commonallowing people to ‘like’ certain pages/apps to use cases and a tool for you to create your ownallowing them to perform ‘actions’. It allows custom actions and objects. As users engageyou to add an application to your Timeline that with your app, social activities are published toupdates your ticker every time you undertake an Facebook which connects the user with your‘action’ related to the application. The change to objects, via the action. In a nutshell, users canthe Open Graph has also altered the way users now share more information more easily throughengage with the apps. A blog on Komverse said: actions that go beyond just hitting the ‘like’ button. As Alexa Tsotsis said on Techcrunch : It is infact a conceptual expansion of actions posted by apps like Spotify and the Washington Post, and use verbs and nouns that go beyond the non custom actions like “listen” “watch” and “read” to “bought,””spot,””pose,””want,””love” and “become an expert.” 95
  • casting and are open to sharing their every move, Timeline apps are a great fit. Carl Sjogreen, director of product management for Facebook, recently said:Facebook recognised that it mustensure that users spend as much timeas possible on it, sharing everythingthey do. Otherwise, the users might justshare things on other portals. Facebookunderstood that nothing works morefor social networkers than playing on‘curiosity’ and ‘ego’. Curiosity, becauseusers constantly want to stay in touchwith the latest in their friends’ lives;ego, because users feel a sense of Our vision for Timeline and our vision for theaccomplishment by projecting a positive application platform is whatever you loveself-image. and whatever story you want to tell, you can add that to your TimelineThe apps’ integration is a mixed blessingfor absorbers of content as it allows them Allowing users to tell their stories enablesto pick up things that other people post, them to paint a more accurate picturebut also makes them consume a lot of of their personalities and lifestyles.information on their feeds. The apps Whether runners share the time taken towill work, however, for people who like run a certain track through Runkeepersharing on social networks as they can or food connoisseurs update their feednow do it in a simpler convenient manner. with the latest food boards on Pinterest,As Komverse’s blog on Timeline apps Facebook ensures there is something forexplained: everyone. These activities allow friends to get a greater insight into the user’s lifeThey make social sharing dead simple. Just compared to the old profile page thatgive the app permission to track your activity merely listed a person’s basic information.and your Facebook friends will get a play byplay account of your exotic travels, favorite While the apps could increase some typessongs, movies, foods etc. For anyone into life of online participation, critics said they Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Facebook Timeline Apps Jan-Mar 2012
  • travel, for example. However, many social media experts predicted that brands will play wait-and- watch with respect to the apps. Michael Kauh, a Singapore-based research analyst at Canalys said: Until Facebook and its users develop some semblance of moderation, curation and social common sense, marketers will likely wait out to access the actual impact on the brave few early adopters. So far, every brand has been trying to achieve more ‘likes’ on its page. The new apps willmight be more successful in awareness-building make them realise that they should be lookingthan deepening engagement. Brands now have a for quality through brand loyalty rather thanbetter chance of appearing in news feeds as the quantity through fans who might not be activelyapps will encourage users to share even more participating on the page. Authorising an appexperiences as they happen. These apps move shows more brand loyalty than passively ‘liking’beyond just where users are to what they are a page or joining a conversation on a Facebookdoing, who they are with, what they are interested feed. The Technorati blog on the apps agreed:in and which brands they are interacting with.There is little doubt that brands with more scope Before too long, current approaches to chasefor personal interaction and social utilities will ‘Likes’ and comments will soon appear dated andprovide more value to customers. out-of-touch with the direction Facebook and its users are heading.Music and news have already been successes,and have paved the way for more markets – Brands can use these apps to drive traffic to their websites and monetise them through increased views and purchases. Facebook’s aggregations of consumer activities will provide a great platform for engagement as users will see how multiple friends have interacted with brands. The downside is that an information overload may end up becoming spammy, intrusive and vexing for users. 97
  • The Timeline and the apps have been The biggest drawbacks are that the appscreated with the youth in mind. Users intrude into your privacy by sharing allwill be able to go down memory lane any your information once authorised. Thistime by referring to the timeline to view sets a precedent of allowing too muchkey milestones, important days, interests information to flood the timeline and forces users to authenticate apps if theyand activities that can also give a sense of want to view friends’ information. Privacyperspective to the changes the user and is a major concern as almost every userhis/her friends have experienced over the activity, from the movie being watched andyears. The Facebook Timeline is somewhat the places the user visits to the food he/like an online scrapbook. The apps will she eats and the articles he/she reads,enhance the workings of this mechanism are placed across newsfeeds. Over-by recording and displaying user data information can put off users, especiallywithout the user having to share this data those who have hundreds of friends. Usersmanually. Ben Silbermann, cofounder of like ‘Indieone’ voiced their concerns on aPinterest (read more about Pinterest here Mashable article:->People’s Insights Volume 1, Issue 2 : How does it benefit me to have my internetPinterest), thought this tool was overdue - activity automatically shared? I cannot think of one good reason. Meanwhile, I canPinterest’s Timeline app can show which think of myriad reasons why I wouldn’tof a person’s online pinboards has been want this feature enabled. Aside frommost active. Many people use them to the obvious privacy concerns, I find theorganize ideas and inspiration for upcoming idea narcissistic, invasive, spam-like, andplans, such as a wedding or vacation. Now potentially inaccurate. Just because I clickFacebook will make it possible to look on something doesn’t mean I like it, muchback at a significant event and see the less want to share it. In essence, it lowers the quality of shared content. Plus, asbrainstorming leading up to it. mentioned in the article, my friends don’t get an automatic click through on the shared link. They have to first take the steps to enable the app. I’ve already experienced that annoyance, and no, I did not enable the app. I just googled the article instead. So, maybe google wins? Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Facebook Timeline Apps Jan-Mar 2012
  • Another flaw is that you have to authenticate that users don’t leave the page to see where elseapps to view information, which makes the their friends are active. Facebook is reachingcontent more inaccessible. Apps from The out to top content providers to integrate theirWall Street Journal and Yahoo! News are prime sites into its ecosystem. The objective is to buildexamples. If a friend reads an article that posts an app ecosystem that is as engaging, usefulautomatically via the app and the user clicks it, and relevant as that of Apple’s, Android’s orhe/she can’t simply read the article. Instead, he/ Windows’. Lance Ulanoff explains in his articleshe must authenticate the app first. on Mashable : Facebook’s Timeline-ageddon : The real reason Facebook is pressing so hard on Timeline now is that it really needs to prove to app partners like Slacker, Payvment, TripAdvisor, TicketFly, Wall Street Journal, Airbnb, and others that this is a real platform. Another smart move by Facebook was to shift the focus to mobile platforms. It created the apps keeping in mind that the mobile market will overtake the web soon (if it hasn’t already). It is essential that brands keep their apps/sites optimised for this platform as well. And that includes the Timeline. Frictionless sharing will encourage use of the apps via mobile devices through actions such as ‘read’, ‘cooked’, ‘pinned’, ‘completed’, ‘slurped’. These small actions areFacebook has a clear vision for the future – keep ideal for thumb-friendly mobile devices that willtraffic on Facebook. Integrating app activity onto eradicate the need to comment or enter data intimelines is a way of making sure fields – something that isn’t mobile-friendly at all. 99
  • Facebook timeline for pagesFollowing the launch of Timeline for Just like with Timeline Profiles, the newprofiles and Timeline apps and actions, format will allow pages to present contentFacebook recently announced that by date, month and year in a more user-Timeline would become mandatory for friendly manner, dating back to 1000 ADpages from March 31, 2012, ensuring that it for brands that have been around sinceis implemented across the network. then. This will allow both, brands and customers, to look back at importantThe announcement made social media events in the brand’s history by browsingmarketers and brands go into a frenzy. through page history, chronologically.Kirsty Shaw summed up the anticipationlevels in her blog ‘Facebook Timeline – A Brands have the option of making theGreat Brand Initiative or a Social Media switch before March 31 to play around withNightmare?’ : the new features.There have been many social mediaagencies and PR firms waiting with baitedbreath for this announcement, but it canmean both positives and negative outcomesfor brands. Volume 1, Issue 1, Facebook Timeline Storytelling Jan-Mar 2012 for Pages
  • line but side by side, making them easier on the eye. This also allows videos and images to be previewed directly on the page. ‘Pins’ allow users to bookmark posts, Pinterest-style; ‘Highlight’ expands a post to the entire width of the page; ‘Friend Activity’ is a box on top that allows users to see their friends’ engagement with the page; ‘Messages’ allows disgruntled users to send private messages to the page; and ‘Admin Panel’ summarises user activity for administrators.The changes focus on visual storytelling. Thenew features guarantee greater interaction withfans and more controlled branding.The most notable change is the absence of asidebar profile image and the incorporation of alarger and wider ‘Cover Photo’, allowing brandsto upload a ‘hero image’ that describes the brandvisually. The profile photo is now just a smallsquare on the upper left hand side.The user interface has also been updated,focusing more on aesthetics and visualpresentation. Posts no longer appear in avertical Facebook’s obsession with visual content is emphasised through EdgeRank, an algorithm that gives preference to video and image content over standard posts in the newsfeed, 101
  • providing visibility to pages that usemore multimedia.Another new feature is ‘Milestones’.Along with posting regular statuses,images, videos, links and questions,brands can now share ‘milestones’ –stories that detail accomplishments,such as the launch of a new product, anaward win, etc. Milestones appear full-width on the page with a flag icon.A milestone is another content peggiven prominence by EdgeRank,encouraging brands to tell their stories.As explained by RM Sorg in an articleon Wall Street Branding:Milestones you share will give yourcustomer behind-the-scene access The Timeline allows brands to developto your brand’s activities, exclusive unique identities and personalities. Byupdates or promotions. By sharing this easily being able to scroll from activity undertaken by a brand on a particular datecontent on Timeline, you encourage years ago to current activity, users can seeuser interactions and promote higher its evolution.engagement rates. Milestones providesbrands with self-expression and they are Features like a giant 851 x 315 pixelable to visually paint a picture and tell a Timeline Cover, Milestones and posts canstory of their brand. build a brand through creative storytelling. As Facebook designer Sam Lessin said:There are several data fields that canbe specified on these milestones. Organizations have identities, that aNot all of them are mandatory to fill nonprofit, a sports team, all have identitiesthough. : that they want to express… It’s a phase shift for the company overall and how we think about identity. A lot of brands aren’t great• Event - display name of the storytellers, but the best ones are. milestone Brands can thus humanise themselves,• When – the year, month, and day educate their audience and share content.• Location – where did this happen?• Story – a story about this milestone• Video or photo – a visual to go along with the milestoneThese are opportunities for brands thatwant to tell engaging stories. Volume 1, Issue 1, Facebook Timeline Storytelling Jan-Mar 2012 for Pages
  • • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or other Facebook site features • Calls to action, such as ‘Get it now’ or ‘Tell your friends’ This changes the game as many brands used their profile pictures to perform one of the above tasks. As mentioned by Facebook’s product director of ads Gokul Rajaram, though: Its goal is to symbolize what an organization is all about. For a restaurant it could be a popular menu item, a band could display album cover art, and aThe focus is on building the brand rather than business could show a picture of their customerspromotion. using their product.Facebook doesn’t like that brands use it as a The move away from static landing pagesplatform to directly sell their offerings and for towards stories in the newsfeed will helppromotions. This is why Facebook Promotions marketers focus on listening and responding towere introduced, to make sure that brands would their audience.not leverage Facebook’s growing popularity.The two major changes to reiterate the focus onquality engagement rather than promotion arethe Cover Photo and the exclusion of defaultlanding pages.As per the new rules, Cover Photos can’t have:• Price or purchase information, such as ‘40% off’ or ‘Download it at our website’• Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s ‘About’ section The biggest bone of contention is that brands can no longer set an app or a tab as their landing page. This means that community managers can no longer control what a user sees first when 103
  • he/she lands on a brand page, whichworries social media experts. However, thisis unlikely to affect traffic to apps of thepage, as mentioned by Josh Constine onTech Crunch:This feature sunset isn’t so bad after all.I’ve just learned from a source that defaultlanding tabs only drive 10% of the totalPage app traffic. 90% comes from publishedlinks and ads, which still function the samewithout the default landing tab capability.And when does Facebook make a changethat doesn’t cause some people to grumble?‘Like-gating’ becomes more difficult nowthat the wall is the default landing page,as marketers cannot tell a customer to likea page to avail of a benefit or to view moreinformation first up. However, like-gating Facebook has also killed the defaultis still possible through apps/tabs, only landing tab to entice brand managers todifference being that users will need to use Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads is thefirst land on the wall and then go to the only way brands can directly lead traffic toapp from the wall, for like-gating to take a specific app on Facebook without viewingplace. the wall. Some sceptics like Alex Agguire feel that Facebook made this change toCustomers will no longer like a page just profit from it:for one activity, such as an app, but will likea page to follow the brand’s story, to get The Timeline for Fan Pages is not for theupdates and information, and to avail of benefit of the user or businesses. It is forofferings. the benefit of Facebook. You see, before you could create events, video, promotions, viralThis reaffirms that brands should games to drive people to your Fan Gate. Thisconcentrate more on quality than quantity gave businesses a FREE SOURCE of trafficby engaging with the right people, rather and likes to their page. By removing thethan a lot of people, as stated by Headliner. Default landing tab, you can still build yourfm CEO Mike More : Fan Base, but now you have to PAY FOR IT. You can run Facebook Ads and lead them toMarketers have been conditioned to believe any Tab on your Fan Page. Basically if youthat the number of likes on a page was want to lead people to your Fan Gate, youmore important than the conversation. But will need to buy adsthe truth is that accumulating a massiveamount of likes does not always translate If brands don’t want to use Facebook Ads,to sales. Even an artist like Lady Gaga who there are other ways to drive traffic andhas millions of fans and followers has a very determine what a user sees first.low engagement rate on a daily basis. It’s thenature of the platform. Users are sure to see the ‘About’ blurb at the top of the page when they land. ThisWith the exclusion of default landing will link to the ‘About’ page with morepages, there are other techniques that information. The blurb should contain abrands can use to control what message a quick overview of the brand in not moreuser first sees. than two lines for visitors to capture the essence of the brand. Volume 1, Issue 1, Facebook Timeline Storytelling Jan-Mar 2012 for Pages
  • ‘Pinning’ a post to the top left of the Timelinefeed for seven days at a time can give significantcontrol to what visitors see first. Pinning can beused to direct users to a like-gate app, show offa photo or display an update.‘Highlighting’ a post to the full width of the pagecan also attract users’ attention.With the new design, brands can only have threecustom applications/tabs prominently featuredon their pages. Additional apps/tabs are hiddenuntil a visitor clicks on the down arrow. Hence, it This also makes Facebook a great, cost-friendlyis important to highlight the right tabs. customer service channel as interacting on it is cheaper and easier than on the phone orWhile it is difficult for brands to control friend through e-mailactivity, it is one of the main features that willdecide the brand’s fate for a visitor. Friends As mentioned on the One1One blog:and peer groups are the biggest influencers,hence even a few negative posts by them could This is something I could see evolving into adisenchant visitors. great customer service channel, since interacting through messages is much cheaper than voice calls or email. I always encourage clients to fully maximise the potential of free social media services – this change could create additional ROI if you can encourage users to message instead of traditional channels. It is vital that people respond to these messages,Brand timelines allow users to send private otherwise ignoring a private message could leadmessages to brands to air concerns or pose to a greater backlash on the wall. This is why aqueries. This works well for brands that face a few brands have disabled this feature.barrage of complaints and negatives on the wall,as brands can set up guidelines that grievanceswill only be addressed through privatemessages, reducing the number of negatives onthe wall. Like any change that Facebook introduces, this one has also created hordes of contrasting opinions on the web. 105
  • Most marketers are disillusioned with the At the end of the day, the new pages werechanges, mostly because they exclude meant for users more than marketers.landing pages. As Alan Masarky said on Take, for example, the friend activity thatMashable: shows faces of friends who like a page, followed by an update from a friendThe Facebook Timeline raises a big concern mentioning the page, which EdgeRankfor many brands, organizations, and considers engaging. Such a feature willmarketers that would like to keep specific play a crucial role in determining a user’scontent behind a Like-Gate. Without landing participation if he/she is ambivalent aboutpages and/or tabs, brands will no longer the brand.be able to create unique campaigns thatprompt users to “like” or engage with the app Facebook’s goal was to make pagesprior to viewing content. more about storytelling than product selling. Pages look good and don’t feelA few marketers, like Cory Williamson on like billboards or marketing communities.TechCrunch, have a different take: Users won’t be tricked into thinking they need to like a page to post on the wall orIf you’re using social media, but your most view content. This makes it good for users“crucial marketing feature” is a splash page... and it is more likely to keep Facebookyou’re doing it wrong. If you can’t convert a place where people want to spendfans to buyers by quality content alone, you time. Ryan Dymek emphasised this on ahave no business being on Facebook. comment on Mashable article, ‘Facebook Timeline Brands Guide’ :Users are by and large happy, mostlybecause of the aesthetics and the no- The marketing world is changing – itsnonsense approach towards filtering out more about ENGAGEMENT and lessspam-like messages by brands. MARKETING these days. A company that engages will get far less clicks, far less readers, etc – but what they will do is gain more actual engaging, spending customers. # of clicks is irrelevant to me if it generates no conversions to sales because it was a “trick” or a way to superficially increase likes. I believe the new paradigm happening here will generate far less clicks, far less likes, but will in effect INCREASE the real customers willing to spend money. Volume 1, Issue 1, Facebook Timeline Storytelling Jan-Mar 2012 for Pages
  • Brands such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Ford have already made the switch to Timeline and started fiddling with its features. Ford shows off images of vintage models through milestones, to share its rich history. Red Bull has a scavenger hunt game, encouraging fans to search for clues through the Timeline. There will be more creative ways of using the Timeline, once brand managers deep-dive into Facebook’s latest tweak. The Facebook Timeline will most definitely give brands new opportunities to deliver unique and innovative content to enhance the connection between the brand and the customer. It’s this content that is sure to take centre stage in this new format. A well thought out content strategy is sure to reap rewards for brands, as CEO of Wildfire Interactive, Victoria Ransom would testify:- Timeline for brands will certainly shake things up for social media marketers who seek to make an impact on Facebook. One thing is for sure though: The way content is shared and viewed within aThe new format is similar to that of Pinterest. Timeline Page is incredibly important. Brands thatThis comes as no surprise seeing what a success constantly create engaging updates and sharePinterest has been, paving the way for other important milestones will stay at the forefront ofnetworks like Lady Gaga’s ‘Little Monsters’ to be users’ attention. Create and rotate new apps fordesigned in a similar format. engagement, pin relevant and timely content, and update the feed with user-friendly dialogues to stayWhile the new Timeline for Pages received flak, relevant in this new space.there is little question that people will eventuallyget used to it, just like they did when profiles Josh Constine of TechCrunch fame drew upmigrated to the Timeline format. a checklist for brands to make the change eamless: • Choose a beautiful cover • Provide a punchy description • Feature your most important apps 107
  • • Pin the post you want to drive the most • Hide or delete embarrassing, out of traffic to date, or negative posts by you and your fans• Highlight great historical posts by you and your fans Volume 1, Issue 1, Facebook Timeline Storytelling Jan-Mar 2012 for Pages
  • YouKu-Tudou mergerYouku and Tudou are China’s leading online Tudou, China’s first UGC video sharing website,video firms, the country’s YouTube equivalents. was founded in 2005. The annual Tudou VideoBoth provide premium licensed content, Festival has become the online video industry’suser-generated content and original in-house signature event. Tudou follows Youku in marketproductions. share with 13.7%.Youku is the leader, with 21.8% market share. Itsinternet TV platform lets users search, view andshare high-quality videos easily across multipledevices. Youku stands for ‘what’s best and what’scool’ in Chinese. 109
  • Despite the tensions, the two firmsThe two companies have been fiercely realised that desperate times call forcompeting for market share. Last year, they desperate measures.traded charges of copyright infringement,accusing each other of copying content Youku acquired Tudou in a stock-for-stockand posting it on their respective websites. transaction worth more than $1 billion. Youku shareholders will own about 71.5%Eventually, Youku sued Tudou for of Youku Tudou Inc, while Tudou will own$762,000. the rest. Tudou’s shares will be cancelled on the New York Stock Exchange.With the rivalry reaching fever pitch, itwas a surprise to many when they joinedhands. Blogger Sarah Lacy expressed herastonishment on the Pando Daily blog:This much is for sure: Merging was neverplan A for either company. Both Tudou andYouku are very different companies, builtfrom very different management teams withvery different cultures. While they’ve playedmostly nice with one another, I’ve heardthe founders of both make plenty of cattycomments about the other one. China’s online streaming video category is very competitive. In the US or Europe, most consumers only use YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe or some niche network. Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Youku-Tudou merger Jan-Mar 2012
  • Clendenin continued: Because Tudou is (the) only independent, so- called video company in the space, whoever snaps up Tudou is going to give the rest of the industry a very hard time. So I think the premium is justified on this front. Blogger Jiang Zhang commented on the acquisition : • China’s online video industry is undergoing consolidation amid rising bandwidth and content costs, and companies are trying to establish economies of scale through M&A • Youku-Tudou will become the leading onlineChina, on the other hand, has 10 large networks and mobile video platform in China with novying for users’ attentions. clear number 2 in sightMichael Clendenin, managing director of • Smaller players, such as Ku6 Media (KUTV),Shanghai-based RedTech Advisors, said: could become attractive acquisition targets as other large players, such as Sohu (SOHU) andWe know online video is way too competitive. There Baidu decide to consolidate them to competeare 10 players, where there should be only one to against Youku-Tudoutwo.Experts predicted industry consolidation forseveral reasons.Competitors Baidu, Sina and Youku were allrumoured to purchase Tudou. Baidu was themost likely acquirer due to its high cash reserves,followed by Sina, which already owned 10% ofTudou. Youku was believed to be the least likelyacquirer due to lack of capital. The prize: Marketdominance for the firm acquiring Tudou. Youkugot past the finishing line first. With the rivals coming under pressure from more established and better funded portals like Baidu and Tencent, and with profits proving elusive, consolidation was always on the cards Consolidation is the next step for the industry in general because, while many firms are showing 111
  • robust top-line growth, none of them areprofitable. Blame it on rising bandwidthand content costs.The large number of players are biddingup content prices. Rising bandwidth costsare due to the increasing use of resource-intensive websites and applications suchas games and social networking apps/websites.With online advertising still nascent inChina, video companies find it difficult torecover the money spent on content andbandwidth. Consolidation will help cut and share costs. As Clendenin said:As Sarah Lacy continued on her blog: The cost of purchasing copyrights in theWhen I heard about the Youku-Tudou market will be more effectively controlledmerger last night I immediately thought it with fewer - online video companies.could represent one of two things. Eitherit was another sign that China’s cultural Along with cutting costs, Youku Tudou Incpreference against mergers and acquisitions will establish a clear dominant leadershipwas starting to shift, or it was the Chinese position in China.equivalent of Excite@Home. In other words,two much-hyped, money-losing Web giants As mentioned by Youku chairman and CEOshoving themselves together in hopes that Victor Koo :size will somehow solve their pressingbalance sheet challenges. The transaction will produce an industry leader and also lead to improvement inThe reality may be somewhere in the the industry structure and the underlyingmiddle. economics of the online video sector in China.Last year, Tudou reported a net loss of$81.2 million, while Youku lost $27.2 Each company will bring its strengths tomillion. Something had to give. the table, including technology, catalogues, mobile partnerships, original programming and management talent. Youku will be able to enter the fast-growing mobile video market that Tudou has been tremendously successful in. Tudou will benefit from a larger scale and reach. Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Youku-Tudou merger Jan-Mar 2012
  • According to Victor, Youku Tudou Inc plans to realized how difficult the future will be if bothlead China’s next level of video design and companies went its own ways.development, with the country’s biggest internetuser base, most elaborate content library, the China’s internet and social media industry ismost advanced bandwidth platform and the booming, so it made sense to tighten their holdmost powerful monetisation capacity. on the market. As Clendenin recently told China Wealth: Larger trend in China’s internet space is the adjustment to slower growth. If you look at the Internet in general, you see the maturation of the Chinese Internet. The ban on the world’s biggest social networks – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – in China throws open opportunities for local social networks. Social Media has taken China by storm, with over 235 million users in 2011 on the back of affordable net access, mistrust of government- controlled media and an internet generation resulting from China’s one-child policy. The infographic below taken from Mashable shows that the average Chinese internet user spends a lot more time online than users from around the world, clocking 2.7 hours a day. This proves that the Chinese are more likely to consume video content (which takes up moreAnalysts said the merger would be good for the time and bandwidth).highly competitive industry, with several playersfighting over more than 500 million Internetusers.Beijing-based Independent online expert BillBishop said:The contract is “a sign of how tough the onlineindustry has become” and both firms must have 113
  • So you two really did get married. Alright, I once again believe in love. The next to merge will be McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi and Coca- Cola.By and large, consumers haven’texpressed concern at the merger, though I believe in love now! When will Colonelsome wondered how the user experience Sanders and Ronald McDonald become awould change. family?As mentioned by Derek Dong, digital Some critics claimed that the merger wasexpert of MSLGroup China: coordinated by the government to increase control over video sites.For consumers, they do not particularly careabout the merger. Most users feel that the Around 20% were concerned over thetwo sites are one in the same already, just video browsing experience, increasedwith different names, logos and copyright advertising and shorter buffer time.libraries. Consumers primarily care aboutthe user experience changes for the merger, Monopolies around the world havesuch as if the website will charge fees to play a reputation of taking advantage ofmovies. customers. This was a fear voiced by the blog entry ‘Does Combination of YoukuMost of the discussions have been light- and Tudou breach China Anti-monopolyhearted. Take for example, this comic strip law?’that went viral. In the perspective of economics of scale, surely the combination is beneficial to the shareholders of Youku and Tudou, however, isn’t actually good for consumers. For example, when there is competitive relationship between Youku and Tudou, they would restrict the time and length of advertisements that are inserted in videos to maintain the users. However, through combination, the previous competition disappears, therefore to the consumers, there may be longer loading time, much more advertisements or even subtitles advertising.The cartoon depicts the CEO of Youkuwanting potatoes for dinner. He asks hisPA to buy some (Tudou means ‘potato’in Chinese). Fifteen minutes later, his PAtells him she has bought ‘potatoes’. Whenasked how many kg, she is shocked. The merger could be detrimental to the interests of TV channels and advertisersTake the comments on the website too. Initially, TV stations and producersBeijing Shots : Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Youku-Tudou merger Jan-Mar 2012
  • could sell content to both websites, but nowtheir revenues could take a hit.As mentioned on Beijing Shots:Television stations now have headaches. Originallythey could sell to two websites and get moneytwice but now they’ve f***ing merged.While brands won’t have to advertise on bothportals any more, they will need to pay a lotmore to advertise on Youku Tudou Inc becauseof a rate hike.Eric Qiu, Analyst at Guosen Securities, toldCNBC:It’s not a bad move for these two but I think thesynergy effect could be very limited becauseadvertisers may not want to spend two times themoney on both platforms. The first challenge for Youku Tudou is to minimise costs and losses. While experts don’t 115
  • expect the merger to make online video A lot of the copyrights for films have beenin China instantly profitable, it will create bought up by these two, and now thata single, powerful operator that has a they’ve merged… it’s the beginning of a newfighting chance to do so. monopoly… If we look at it positively, this helps the development of original/genuineThe first steps that the entity could take to work. Negatively it means new and smallerminimisaaaaaae losses could be: video websites won’t have any room to grow, that the prospects are dim for some• Finding a new income channel outside entrepreneurs and workers in this industry, of traditional advertising and the bad ones will close down and have to find new jobs.• Reducing copyright purchase expenses Smaller players have a glimmer of hope• Reducing operation costs through consolidation. Players, such as Ku6 Media (KUTV) could becomeYouku Tudou is expected to command attractive acquisition targets for large35%-40% of the market share, leaving the players such as Sohu (SOHU) and Baiduother nine players to battle it out for the once they decide to consolidate andrest. As described by a poster on Beijing compete against Youku Tudou Inc.Shots: Volume 1, Issue 1, Storytelling Youku-Tudou merger Jan-Mar 2012
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  • Write to us to start a conversation onhow we can help you distill actionable insights Designed by MSLGROUP CREATIVE+and foresights from conversations and communities:Pascal Beucler,SVP & Chief Strategy Officer(pascal.beucler@mslgroup.com)Janelle Dixon,Americas Head of Insights(janelle.dixon@mslgroup.com)Dominic Payling,Europe Head of Insights(dominic.payling@mslgroup.com)Gaurav Mishra,Asia Head of Insights(gaurav.mishra@mslgroup.com)mslgroup.com | peopleslab.mslgroup.compeopleslab.mslgroup.com/peoplesinsights/magazine