People's Insights Quarterly Magazine


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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.

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Published in: Technology, Business

People's Insights Quarterly Magazine

  1. 1. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012
  2. 2. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events. With more than 3,500 people across close to 100 offices worldwide, MSLGROUP is also the largest PR network in fast-growing China and India. The group offers strategic planning and counsel, insight-guided thinking and big, compelling ideas – followed by thorough execution. Learn more about us at: |!/msl_group
  3. 3. 3 08 People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine by Ashraf Engineer and Rooshabh Doshi Inside People’s Lab: Crowdsourcing Insights and Innovation by Pascal Beucler and Gaurav Mishra 06 Foreword by Olivier Fleurot 05 Storytelling Mandala: Purpose-Inspired Transmedia Storytelling by Gaurav Mishra 10 Amazon Kindle Fire82 Pinterest 52 Path 58 Little Monsters 67 MTV Music Meter 74 #kony 2012 42 Curators of Sweden 34 Intel Innovators 26 Mahindra Spark The Rise 18 Byliner 86 Facebook timeline apps 94 Facebook timeline for pages 100 YouKu-Tudou merger 109
  4. 4. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Olivier Fleurot, Chief Executive Officer, MSLGROUP
  5. 5. 5 Big ideas that are rooted in strong insights and foresights have never been as important, and conversations and communities have become the most important sources of insights. I am delighted to present to you our People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine, which pulls together the best insights from our Insights Network, in which 100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring Foreword projects on citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. We hope that these insights will not only inspire you to think about how you can distill insights from conversations and communities, but also inspire you to create your own citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling projects that inspire others.
  6. 6. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 The Power of Crowdsourcing Insights and Innovation According to the recent PwC CEO Survey of 1200+ business leaders across 69 countries, business leaders believe that crowdsourcing people’s insights are one of the main drivers for leading innovation and change. We have a significant body of knowledge on crowdsourcing now, including business rationale, application areas, best practices and case studies. We have seen dedicated third-party crowdsourcing platforms in action for almost a decade and learned from their successes and failures. We have seen diverse Fortune 500 corporations design dedicated large-scale platforms People’s Lab: Crowdsourcing Insights and Innovation to crowdsource insights and innovation across business functions. However, we saw a gap in the market for comprehensive solution to crowdsource insights and innovation and launched our People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach. People’s Lab Crowdsourcing Platform and Approach The People’s Lab platform helps organizations build and nurture public or private, web or mobile, hosted or white label communities around four pre- configured application areas: Expertise Request Network, Innovation Challenge Network, Research & Insights Network and Contest & Activation Network. Our community and game thinking features Pascal Beucler, SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP Gaurav Mishra, Asia Director of Social Media, MSLGROUP
  7. 7. 7 encourage people to share rich multimedia content and vote/ comment on other people’s content, while our social intelligence algorithm helps us identify the most influential people, themes and content. Crowdsourcing Insights from Conversations and Communities The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach 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. Introducing People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine 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. We hope that you will enjoy the magazine and subscribe to receive subsequent issues. We also hope that our magazine and blog will inspire you to start a conversation on how you can distill actionable insights and foresights from conversations and communities.
  8. 8. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 The People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine pulls together the best insights from our Insights Network, in which 100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects on citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. 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 started with the belief that some of the most inspiring projects that are shaping marketing and communications are at the intersection of citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. Three months and thirteen weekly insights reports later, we People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine feel validated that our intuition was right. In the first issue of the People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine, we start off with a framework for purpose-inspired transmedia storytelling, which weaves together elements from all the three drivers of citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. Then we look at thirteen inspiring projects at the intersection of these three drivers. Many of these projects build upon at least two of the three pillars of citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling and some like Mahindra Spark the Rise leverage all three. Ashraf Engineer, Editor, People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine Rooshabh Doshi, Researcher, People’s Insights Quarterly Magazine
  9. 9. 9 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 to track inspiring projects at the intersection of citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling. Do subscribe to receive our weekly insights reports and do share your tips and comments with us at @PeoplesLab on Twitter.
  10. 10. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Marketers have always used stories to share information, change opinions and influence decisions. Now, as people create, consume and share brand stories in new ways, marketers need to go beyond the 30-sec product ad or the 300-word press release, and tell purpose-inspired transmedia stories that inspire, organize and energize people. Six Trends in Storytelling 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 topics and sources they are most interested in, and filtering out the rest. • Social serendipity: People are discovering new content based on what is shared by their networks, or by other people like them, via sophisticated algorithms. • Community curation: People are forming on-the-fly communities around a shared passion or purpose by curating content around hashtags and trending topics. • Remix in context: People are remixing 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. Gaurav Mishra, Asia Director of Social Media, MSLGROUP Photo from goincase on Flickr
  11. 11. 11 The Hero’s Journey is a good example of a monomyth, or a universal story, that cuts across all types of stories, including myths, movies, novels, and ads. From Hero’s Journey to Heroes to Everyday Heroes Hero’s Journey: Storytelling According to Joseph Campbell, all stories follow the same three-part narrative structure of the Hero’s Journey. In “departure”, the hero listens to the call of adventure and leaves the “known world” for the “unknown world”. In “initiation”, he meets guides and allies, falls in love, undergoes a series of tests and trials, discovers the answer 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. Source: Joseph Campbell Foundation
  12. 12. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 However, the six trends that are reshaping how people create, consume and share brands stories are also reshaping both the nature of the universal stories themselves and the art of how these stories are told. First, let’s look at the art of storytelling. NBC’s hit TV series Heroes is a good example of transmedia storytelling, where TV shows, graphic novels, video games, mobile applications, offline experiences and online communities explore different aspects of the same “story world”. While many transmedia “story worlds” exhibit elements of the three-part narrative structure of the Hero’s Journey, they expand it, by incorporating multi- layered intertwining narratives, complex social networks of characters, and storylines that unfold over hundreds of hours. In fact, we don’t really consume popular culture anymore, certainly not as a linear narrative. Instead, we co-create it, by deconstructing plot twists in elaborate blog posts, contributing to extensive fan wikis that delve into the motivations of each character, and creating our own parallel narrative in virtual worlds and alternative reality games built around films and TV shows. As popular culture becomes more layered, brands have had to rethink marketing. Increasingly, ads attract audiences to branded “story worlds”, which try to retain their interest over the long term, and convert them first into passionate fans and then into paying customers, much like movie trailers with entertainment franchises. P&G’s Old Spice Man is not only one of the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent times, but also an entertainment franchise in the making. Heroes: Transmedia Storytelling Source: NBC Heroes Evolutions Everyday Heroes: Purpose- Inspired Storytelling Source: CNN Heroes Now, let’s look at the nature of universal stories itself. CNN Heroes in the US and CNN-IBN Real Heroes in India are good examples of purpose-inspired storytelling about everyday heroes acting as change agents, with a clear call for participation and action. The phenomenal popularity of the TED conference is another example of our innate need to celebrate everyday heroes with “ideas that matter”. These stories about everyday heroes who are changing the world share some elements with the Hero’s Journey, but diverge from it in important ways. First, each one of us is a hero with a different call for adventure, a different journey, and a different reward, which means that the idea of the monomyth itself is problematic. Second, the most important journey is the journey within, into the “unknown world” of our own hidden potential, to search for our own best self. Third, our biggest battles are the ones we fight with ourselves and the only way we can win is by helping everyone else win too.
  13. 13. 13 As people have become better at filtering out the 30-sec tell-and-sell product ad, brands have had to rediscover their reason for being and tell stories that inspire, organize and energize people around a shared passion or purpose. GE’s Ecomagination and Healthymagination initiatives are powerful examples of a brand telling purpose-driven stories that inspire participation and action. The Storytelling Mandala The Storytelling Mandala is designed to help brands tell stories that inspire, organize and energize people to participate and act around a shared purpose. The inner circle consists of a new three-part universal story that articulates the purpose of the brand, the change it wants to catalyze and the quest it has undertaken. The outer circle focuses on the art of transmedia storytelling, including the role of content, the sources of content, the role of channels and the role of paid, owned and earned media. 1. Create original content 2. Crowdsource content 3. Curate conversations 1. Content repository 2. Content aggregation 3. Content distribution 1. Paid media (for strangers) 2. Owned media (for familiars) 3. Earned media (for promoters) 1. Content tent poles (pull) 2. Content pegs (push) 3. Conversations (two-way)
  14. 14. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 To inspire, organize and energize people around a shared purpose, brands need to tell their story in three parts, in sequence: why (purpose), what (change) and how (quest). • Why (Purpose): Who are we and what is our reason for being? What is our shared purpose, our Social Heartbeat, that can inspire people? • What (Change): What is the change we are trying to bring about? What does change mean for individuals, communities and the world? • How (Quest): What is the journey we must go through to catalyze positive change in the world? What if the only way we can win is if everyone wins? Even when brands want to tell purpose- inspired stories, they inevitably find it difficult to abandon their tried-and-tested benefit-driven tell-and-sell claims. Therefore, it’s critical to build a bridge between the benefit-driven claims that move units and the purpose-inspired stories that move hearts. Photo from h-k-d on Flickr Photo from alicepopcorn on Flickr Question 1: The Universal Story Question 2: Role of Content To tell their story in a compelling manner, brands need to create three types of content, each with a different role: long form tent pole content to pull in people, short-form content pegs to push out stories to people, and ongoing two-way conversations. • Tent pole content: Long-form content like minisites, apps, reports, games or films to showcase the full story in one place and pull in people. • Content pegs: Short-form content pegs like blog posts, infographics and video clips to highlight and push out different aspects of the story. • Conversations: Ongoing two-way conversations to push out the content pegs to pull in people to the tent pole content. Think of a tent. The content tent pole holds up the tent and attracts people to it. The content pegs hold down the tent and support the content tent pole. The tent needs both the content tent pole and 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.
  15. 15. 15 Photo from aussiegall on Flickr Photo from aussiegall on Flickr Question 3: Sources of Content Brands need to recognize that creating content requires time and resources and tap into three sources 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. • Crowdsource content: If brands are able to create compelling original content, they can use it as a provocation to crowdsource content pegs from influencers and community members, often by running crowdsourcing contests. • Curate conversations: Finally, brands can curate conversations around their content tent poles and content pegs into timelines (Storify) or collections (Pinterest), and use them and content pegs, and even content tent poles. 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 across channels, knowing that some channels work best for content repository, some for content aggregation, and some for content distribution. • Content repository: Channels like YouTube, SlideShare and Flickr are used for storing videos, documents and photos respectively. • Content aggregation: Websites, blogs and Tumblr (and increasingly social and mobile apps) are used for aggregating content and conversations. • Content distribution: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are used for distributing content to community members and influencers.
  16. 16. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 The purpose of the content repository channels is to pull in people deep into the content archive, while the purpose of the content distribution channels is to push out the latest content and create conversations. The purpose of the content aggregation channel is to link pull and push, stock and flow, content and conversations. Question 5: Role of Media Finally, brands need to intentionally use paid, owned and earned media in sync to attract strangers, convert them into familiars and then into promoters. • Paid Media (for strangers): Targeted display, search or social ads to attract people who don’t know anything about the brand, and seek their permission to join an owned media platform. Photo by ripton on Flickr • Owned Media (for familiars): Private or public online community platforms, social networking groups, or events to organize people who have given permission to the brand to share regular content with them. • Earned Media (for promoters): Ongoing conversations with community members and influencers to trigger 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 of stories, purpose-inspired stories, and tell them in new ways, via transmedia storytelling. If brands do this, they will inspire, organize and energize people to participate and act around a shared purpose; build permission based owned media assets that will increasingly look like entertainment franchises; and thrive in a world in which media is fragmented, content is cheap, attention is the biggest constraint, but storytelling can still win over hearts and minds.
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  18. 18. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Mahindra Spark The Rise Spark the Rise is a digital platform for motivated people to join forces and tackle the critical issues India faces. The platform is about creating and sharing innovative ideas. Anybody with an idea can submit project plans or ‘Sparks’. Mahindra will provide grants to the eight best plans every month that fall under one of five categories – technology, energy, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure and transportation, and social entrepreneurship. The platform hopes to ‘spark’ a positive change. Citizenship Mahindra ‘Spark The Rise’
  19. 19. 19 Mahindra wants to give a voice to individuals, groups, institutions, organisations, NGOs and businesses through the ‘Sparks’ or by participating in conversations, voting and funding projects. Participants must be at least 18 years old and legal residents of India. They need to create their profiles on, 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. After six months and six rounds, the top two monthly Sparks chosen by a public vote (12 in all) will compete for additional funding in the ‘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:
  20. 20. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Impact: How much will it affect the target group’s lives? How many people will it help? Is it a one-time improvement or a continuous/long-term change? Feasibility: Does the project plan look achievable? If this Spark receives a grant, is it likely to succeed? Innovation: Is this Spark creative or original? Does it demonstrate alternative thinking that we can learn something new from? The concept is an extension of ‘Rise’ - the company’s positioning since January 2011. Mahindra elevated the communication platform through ‘Spark The Rise’. The campaign introduced in August 2011 was a multimedia movement pegged at Rs 18 crore over four to six months, across media channels and touchpoints. What makes this campaign even more impressive is that digital and social media are still nascent in India. Most Indian brands use the digital medium to support traditional media, but Mahindra has done the opposite. Rise was identified as a movement for people to stand up to the challenges faced every day. ‘Rise’ was considered an end, while ‘Spark The Rise’ was the means to it. Managing Director Anand Mahindra said this about the campaign: Rise is a simple call to action. We want to encourage people to be part of this movement and to engage with the idea of 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 idea The insight was that Indians took great interest in nation-building because of Citizenship Mahindra ‘Spark The Rise’
  21. 21. 21 the challenges they faced every day – lack of infrastructure, pollution, etc. As mentioned on the site: We’re all talking about What India needs to leap forward. 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 provides a platform where Indians can make their voices heard and make a difference. The platform also stresses the importance of working together to transform India through communication and collaboration. The community enables connections between likeminded people. Whether it is finding volunteers, receiving and giving advice, or securing donations of equipment and funds, connections can be built in various ways. 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’ can start projects and ‘Volunteers’ can get involved in them to help people to Rise. By funding outstanding projects, Mahindra seeks to empower Indians to take charge of the future.
  22. 22. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Spark the Rise promotes initiative and innovation by bringing stakeholders together to work for change. The platform is meant for all ‘Sparks’, not just those who receive grants. As mentioned on the website: Spark The Rise is a platform to drive positive change in the lives of stakeholders and communities around the world to enable them to Rise. It will enable people to drive positive change by bringing them together behind innovative ideas and awarding the grant money needed to put them into action. Mahindra considers all Indians as stakeholders and aims to involve everyone from a grassroots level. Stakeholders are called upon to make a change for other stakeholders. Customers, communities can suggest ideas that can make a difference to other stakeholders such as the government, employees enhancing the corporate reputation of Mahindra and internal stakeholders like investors and the management. 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 and empowerment. Rise is a value system that is about hard work, ambition, creativity and initiative. These qualities are something that stakeholders share and believe in. Rise defines what it is like to be part of Mahindra for all the 120,000+ employees across 100 countries and through the diverse products and services. As mentioned in the blog ‘The story of Rise’ : We live Rise through our internal culture of accepting no limits and alternative thinking, and we live Rise through our products and services that enable people to build a better future. Whether you’re a small businessman insuring your growing company, a family looking for a comfier car, or a Fortune 500 company navigating information security in the electronic age, we provide the tools you need to succeed. Citizenship Mahindra ‘Spark The Rise’
  23. 23. 23 Crowdsourcing creates a sense of belonging and ownership, enhancing the relationship between stakeholders. Crowdsourcing works for Mahindra because it aims to build connections by sparking 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. 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.
  24. 24. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Mahindra empowers people by allowing them to shape their future through Spark The Rise sourcing business ideas. A report published on Celsias, New Zealand’s guide to sustainable business and corporate citizenship analysed why crowdsourcing was important for corporate social responsibility (CSR): When asked why crowdsourcing is valuable for CSR programs, 36 percent of respondents said it highlights new perspectives and diverse options; 25 percent said it helps build engagement and relationships with key audiences; 22 percent said it invites clients and customers from non- traditional sources to contribute ideas and opinions; and 16 percent said it helps bring new energy into the process of generating ideas and content. Other brands crowdsourcing for corporate citizenship include Ecomagination – GE’s commitment to imagining and building innovative solutions to environmental challenges while driving economic growth. The Intel Innovators Contest looked at funding the most innovative ideas in technology through crowdsourcing. Spark The Rise is a massive hit, becoming the first initiative of its kind conducted on such a massive scale in India. The first month saw more than 300,000 visitors and 2,000 entries. The ripple effect on the web led to thousands of conversations across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, with participants asking for votes and supporters asking friends to fund projects. Six rounds have been completed so far. With Spark The Rise making waves, other brands are likely to follow suit. If they can create solutions that impact thousands just like Mahindra has, they will profit from it as well. Citizenship Mahindra ‘Spark The Rise’
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  26. 26. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Intel Innovators Intel Innovators was launched as a contest on December 1, 2011, on the firm’s Facebook page. It gives young people in the US a chance to change the world through technology by coming up with ground-breaking business ideas. Every month, Intel awards up to $100,000 to the best ideas based on support from members of the Facebook community and a live pitch where the top five innovators face off. The programme’s initial run is for three months. It’s possible that, if the contest does well, it would be rolled out internationally later this year. Citizenship Intel Innovators
  27. 27. 27 Participants register for the competition by filling a form, answering a few questions related to Intel and uploading a 30-second video that explains their business ideas. Once the ideas 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. The finalists make a live pitch to a panel of four, which awards the winner $50,000. The
  28. 28. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 judges are influential personalities in the fields of technology and innovation and include venture capitalists, executives and entrepreneurs. The ‘Top Fan’, who earns and invests the most social capital, gets to give another $50,000 to his/her favourite finalist. The Battleground is streamed live on the Facebook community and is later posted on Intel’s YouTube channel. The winning ideas so far have been social- media-centric. December’s fan’s choice was Alex Adelman, a 22-year-old from North Carolina who came up with Cosmic Cart, a product tagging system that allows users to buy merchandise from any video online. The judges’ choice was Virgil Hare (24) from Detroit for LoginWill, a social networking website where people can designate beneficiaries to receive all their online login information when they pass away. Intel positions itself as the pioneer in technology and innovations. Even though it has undertaken similar initiatives offline, it decided to go a step further and use 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 into college-aged entrepreneurs — to help the young Mark Zuckerbergs of the world take a step forward. The idea also fits perfectly with Intel’s previous communication taglines ‘Sponsors of The Future’ and ‘Leap Ahead’. Here’s what Deborah Conrad, Intel’s chief marketing officer, said: At Intel, we are on a constant quest to fuel innovation of all kinds. We never fail to be impressed by the power of the human Citizenship Intel Innovators
  29. 29. 29 imagination or the millions of people who are fueling the future with their amazing ideas. We are especially excited and motivated by this new generation of entrepreneurs. Through the new Intel Innovators program, we can show our commitment to these entrepreneurs by providing tools and resources to help them pursue their visions. We think we will see some very cool ideas. This isn’t the first time Intel has focused on corporate citizenship through technology, innovations and entrepreneurship. It has always claimed it is all about fuelling innovation with programmes like the Global Challenge at UC Berkeley and the AppUp Fund show. Intel wants to put its money where its mouth is. Intel’s official web-page on Technology Innovation says: 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. The Innovators campaign allows participants, 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
  30. 30. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 professionals. The winners will take away action plans and get visibility across the web. Panellists, on the other hand, get to contribute to a better future by deciding which idea is most worthy of the prize. Fans help judges decide which ideas go into the final round. Social capital is earned by fans by taking part in various activities on the app, such as watching a video or posting a comment. Fans invest this social capital in ideas that they like. The one who invests the most social capital becomes the Top Fan. Allowing the Top Fan to participate in The Battleground and rewarding his/her choice with $50,000 helps him/her feel a sense of belonging and ownership of the idea, which is essential in this age of relationship marketing. Crowdsourcing is a good way of bringing a sense of belonging and ownership to enhance a relationship between customers and brands. While crowdsourcing is not new, social media has taken it to another level by turning consumers into brand advocates by getting them more involved and engaged. Brands are increasingly turning to fans to help them develop products. Samuel Adams followed in the steps of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola by turning to Facebook fans and crowdsourcing a new beer. Nestlé asked fans to help it pick the next flavour in their KitKat Chunky range to increase its uptake amongst young men. Facebook is the ideal social media channel to source insights. From simple competitions to complex apps, users are able to engage with their favourite brands in a fun way in a familiar environment. It’s a win-win situation – brands invest in something their target audience will buy and give insights on and users feel they are part of the creation of something tangible. As blogger Toni explains on his blog, The Bluedoor: 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 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. • Fans can interact with Ideas and Seeds using standard Facebook engagement tools (share, like, comment, answer polls, etc.). As they do, Fans earn badges and Social Capital, the program’s virtual currency. Citizenship Intel Innovators
  31. 31. 31 Social media also offers other benefits such as dynamism, ability to provide tangible results, aggregation of public opinion, push-button curation, etc. The campaign benefits by combining crowdsourcing with gamification to attain the objectives of corporate citizenship. Gamification comes into play when fans accumulate social capital every time they engage with the app and when users use these points to slug it out for Top Fan honours. Gamification works for crowdsourcing because it adds fun to what is a monotonous task. An editorial on said: By presenting a simple task in a playful manner you motivate the user through the introduction of a competitive dynamic. Tried and tested approaches are being adopted that are straight out of the world of electronic games, where settings are created where tasks are incorporated as actions within games, often in surreal environments, sometimes incorporated as part of a story, a journey through the game. Other initiatives that successfully used crowdsourcing and gamification are, a UN sponsored program where correct answers in a geography quiz amount to certain quantities of rice being donated to the poor, and, 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 of gamification for crowdsourcing, but is gamification for crowdsourcing for corporate citizenship, which makes it unique. 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:
  32. 32. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Got to ask. Why is there an age limit? Does this play in the false assumption that older people cannot innovate or have good ideas? If you look at most patents the average age is over 35. Also Founders Institute has found that startups founded by older founders have a much higher average of success Other criticism centred around the nature of the ideas being mostly social and basic. Many questioned whether the innovations would actually impact society. Youngsters aren’t venturing outside the comfort zone of social media, others said. Even if it has its drawbacks, the concept is quite a marvel as it has aggregated more than 1,000 ideas and 100,000 visits in a little over two months. There has been a recent spurt of crowdsourcing initiatives that has saturated the market; several brands have used it as a method of engagement without any real purpose. Without a clear objective, the idea won’t be taken seriously. Intel, though, has thought it through. This sturdy combination of crowdsourcing, gamification and corporate citizenship has made it a benchmark for brands aspiring to use novel crowdsourcing techniques. Citizenship Intel Innovators
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  34. 34. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Curators of Sweden Sweden was the first country to hand over its official twitter account to citizens. Each week a different Swede gets to run @Sweden, the ‘world’s most democratic Twitter account’, showcasing the skills, opinions, lifestyles and experiences that make the country what it is. The initiative kicked off on December 10, 2011, with the first ‘curator’ being Jack Werner, a writer- editor. Since then, there have been five other faces of Sweden, ranging from an advertising executive and an organic sheep farmer to a coffee-loving lesbian trucker. The project is christened ‘Curators of Sweden’. By means of the various curators’ narrations, not one Sweden is conveyed, but several. Citizenship Curators of Sweden
  35. 35. 35 The objective: arouse interest and raise curiosity to drive tourism by highlighting Sweden’s qualities through the curators. Sweden understood the importance of strong relations with the outside world. It hoped that its curators, through Twitter, will showcase the 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. “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
  36. 36. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 why English speakers prefer visiting countries that speak the language. Sweden understood that communication is vital, which is why it chose a platform that would get people from other nations familiar with the country through its people. People seem to identify better with brand Sweden after it tried to create a relationship with its followers by adding a human touch to its Twitter feed. Excerpts from a blog : The project, an initiative of the Board for the Promotion of Sweden is definitely looking to market travel with the human element. Ask anyone who specializes in social media niche jackets– they will tell you that the more personal and human-like you can make your company’s social media accounts, the better. Sweden hopes that by giving people the chance to see the country through vastly different sets of eyes, they will inspire curiosity. Having a different Swede tweet each week offers more room for creating relationships by catering to different kinds of 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, answering a set of questions about the nominee. If the answers and evidence justify the nomination, chances are that he/she will be selected as a curator. Citizenship Curators of Sweden
  37. 37. 37 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’s about the spirit. 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 The content posted is personal and bold. The Swedes who run the account face little
  38. 38. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 parliament for the first time. When the Swedish Tourism board says on its Curators of Sweden website that “Hasan Ramic is @ Sweden” and gives him the opportunity to speak for his nation they are telling us a lot more about the country Sweden could not have chosen a better time. Several governments are discussing the possibility of moderating content on social networks, which has received tremendous flak. However, there is a section that didn’t like the idea. Detractors felt that the lack of moderation deterred Sweden from creating a positive image for itself. No censorship meant that there was a barrage of abusive/offensive tweets and some 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!” Curators of Sweden, on the other hand, mostly received rave reviews for being uncensored, innovative, daring, personal and different. Observers applauded Sweden for taking a route that most countries would shun. The very fact that Sweden aimed to connect with its followers through its citizens made it a novel concept. Blogger Chris Armstrong is a fan: I tip my hat to Visit Sweden for being daring enough to go all the way and encourage a conversation between its citizens and the rest of the world. Whether it’s called a social experiment or a publicity stunt, I’m pretty sure it’ll do its job well in increasing awareness about Sweden and lead to more curious tourists. Citizenship Curators of Sweden
  39. 39. 39 Expat Swede Anna Dahlström launched a scathing attack on her blog , calling the initiative a ‘publicity stunt’ as there were many tweets not remotely concerning to Sweden. For all the wonderful things Sweden has to offer I highly recommend visiting, just not the twitter account, for now. An insight picked up across the web was that there were several disgruntled followers who seemed to dislike the curators, and not the campaign itself. This was brought up by Tommy Sollen (Social Media Manager, VisitSweden) on the same blog in response to Anna’s attack: Hi Anna! Let me begin by saying that I’m very glad you’re recommending and that you have been happy in the past with our Twitter account :) Now about our new approach on @sweden on Twitter it seems to me that you like the idea but you don’t like our first curator, Jack. Granted, he is an outspoken person and his way of writing is certainly very different from our previous more official tone of voice. But if we are to be transparent and genuine in our presence on Twitter and truly show the wide range of what we as a country and as a people have to offer then we have to let go of some measure of control and have some faith in our people. In 2012 you’ll probably have 50+ new curators to get acquainted with and I’m sure you’ll like some of them, if not most :) Media Culpa, a Swedish media and public relations blog agreed: Now, what a brilliant idea to turn to the crowd and let ordinary Swedes share their views on Sweden. The only problem with letting go of control is that, well, you have little control. You see, there is one thing I’m not particulary impressed with in this campaign so far, and that is the actual tweeting. The whole purpose of this activity is that the tweets should be linked to Sweden and create interest in Sweden. But I have a hard time seeing that tweets containing foul language, mentions of dreams of racist jokes or jokes about planning terrorist attacks on Twitter are what the Swedish Institute had in mind. 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:
  40. 40. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Of course it’s all a stunt to boost tourism, but as stunts to boost tourism go, you’ve got to 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 but dormant. @twitter - please free up dormant accts Canada has also done something innovative with its most recent campaign that had the Calgary Philharmonic singing tweets submitted by the public. The Calgary board called on Calgarians on Twitter, asking how they stay warm in the winter. The tweets were curated and turned into a song. 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. Tourism boards around the world have found social media an effective way of communicating with their audiences. As Twitter matures as an information and sharing platform, people are becoming accustomed to seeing governments and tourism boards on it. Sweden’s campaign stood out, which led to other countries trying something different on social media. Australia and the US are already copying the idea, and it has been well received. Citizenship Curators of Sweden
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  42. 42. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 #Kony 2012 ‘Kony 2012’ is an online campaign by the non-profit Invisible Children that aims to make one of the world’s most sought after war criminals, Joseph Kony of Uganda, famous. The campaign is meant to raise awareness about him and his crimes, eventually leading to his arrest. The official Kony 2012 website said: Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice. In this case, notoriety translates to public support. If people know about the crimes that Kony has been committing for 26 years, they will unite to stop him. Secondly, we want Kony to be famous so that when he is stopped, he will be a visible, concrete example of international justice. then other war criminals will know that their mass atrocities will not go unnoticed or unpunished. The campaign kicked off with a 30-minute documentary by Invisible Children co- founder Jason Russell on YouTube and Vevo showing Kony’s killings and Uganda’s struggle against his terrort. Citizenship #Kony 2012
  43. 43. 43 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. Invisible Children has been working for nine years to end Africa’s longest running armed conflict. 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. Even though Kony has been named by the International Criminal Court as one of the world’s most wanted men, not many know about him.
  44. 44. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Invisible Children’s documentary was watched by millions within hours of its release. With over 100 million views in the first six days across platforms, it became the most viral video ever. The video featuring Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 hit 70 million views in six days while Old Spice’s ‘Responses’ campaign didn’t hit 70 million until five months after launch. 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 world 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. Citizenship #Kony 2012
  45. 45. 45 Russell said in the video: Celebrities, athletes and billionaires have a loud voice and what they talk about spreads instantly. Invisible Children targeted celebrities who could amplify the message. It also turned to lawmakers to act on the campaign. The celebrities and politicians were selected keeping their credibility, reach and influence on social media in mind. They included the likes of Justin Bieber, Bono, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg and 14 other household names. The organisers made these celebrities tweet on #StopKony and retweet other #StopKony tweets, 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. It showed that a slick, controversial video playing on human emotion has immense potential for virality. It portrayed happiness, sadness, shock and hope in the space of minutes. It also simplified the issue for the target audience – the youth. Almost everyone who watched it understood it and related to it. The calls-to-action also urged users to share the video. Social Media expert Calum Brannan explained on 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 • This video is emotive, its a roller-coaster of happy to sad to shock • Film maker Russell invites the viewer to participate in an experiment, and the use of the word ‘We’ and ‘Us’ instantly builds a sense of community and is very personal • Another point to note is a younger Russell from a clip a few years ago makes a ‘promise’ to a child, and I personally was amazed he could make such a promise, you feel that you almost want to help • The end of the video provides clear instructions on how you can help, leading with financial ones first, then powerfully suggests that the least you can do is ‘Share’ the video • There has also been critics who are shouting that the facts are wrong, this sort of debate and emotive reactions are simply more fuel to the fire for this social media blaze
  46. 46. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Bieber retweeted an Invisible Children message and looped the link to the video, saying: it is time to make him known. Im calling on ALL MY FANS, FRIENDS, and FAMILY to come together and #STOPKONY.” The list of politicians included George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Bill Clinton. The public can message these influencers directly 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 by the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign and tests them against the empirical record on the ground. The truth is that Kony has been inactive for more than six years, and is said to have fled to Congo. Much like the speculation behind Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, some reports said that Kony is dead. Many Ugandans say that the country is now safe and the video wrongly portrays it as a war zone. The other criticism is related to Invisible Children’s donations to the Ugandan army as brought up by Mario Shapiro : The campaign wants to make everyone feel like they are part of the movement. The video repeatedly uses the words ‘we’ and ‘us’ to create a sense of togetherness and belonging to the movement. By asking people to get more involved by visiting the website, signing a pledge, getting the Kony bracelet and action kit for $30, and donating for the cause, Invisible Children makes people feel like they are playing a vital role in bringing Kony to justice Citizenship #Kony 2012
  47. 47. 47 Detractors feel that Invisible Children’s priorities and motivation are completely out of whack with the nature of their cause (Invisible Children is accused of providing funds to the Ugandan government’s army and other military forces which allegedly committed rape and looting, though the charity has denied the allegations). Reports also alleged misappropriation of funds by Invisible Children; they said it sent only 30% of the money collected previously to the anti-war effort in Uganda. Another conspiracy theory was that the US deployed its troops in Uganda with an eye on the oil found in nearby Congo. Jlkinsella sums up a lot of doubters’ thoughts on a blog by Fred Friske : There is no question that Kony is a bad guy. But, it is also true that he and his couple hundred followers are unlikely still in Uganda. So what is this video really about? Why do we have 100 troops there? What are they doing? Money raised by this campaign certain goes to the organization that created the video. Does it do anything else? unclear. Meanwhile, there is a story from Uganda that is largely ignored by our media. Over 20,000 Ugandans (a few killed) have been thrown off their land by their government so that European companies can plant trees for carbon offsets. Why is the land and livelihood of Africans being destroyed to mitigate the guilty consciences of Europeans? Is this the true atrocity occurring in Uganda? Why would we ignore one story and promote the other? The controversy certainly contributed to the video’s virality. As the controversies intensify, the 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.
  48. 48. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 This incident led to more people viewing the video online. Stung by the criticism, Invisible Children hit back on its website as mentioned in the National Post : After a brief period of near-silence in which it says its website repeatedly crashed from the volume of hits, has tried to fight back. Its chief executive posted a long video on the website in which he attempted to answer many of the questions posed by critics and the charity also says it will try to answer as many as possible of the thousands of questions lodged via Twitter. This fuelled the conversation further. to be riled about crime. Invisible Children hoped to capitalise on this emotional drive. Sceptics said Invisible Children targeted the youth because they are easier to manipulate. Dalhousie University International Development professor Dr Robert Huish told the Peninsula News : Huish says that the big issue with the use of social media in the Kony 2012 campaign is that “truncated (history) into sound bites and into tweets,” causing individuals without expertise on the subject to chime in with opinions which causes false information to circulate around the web. 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, but specifically for the youth. According to YouTube statistics, the Kony video was most popular with girls aged 13 to 17 and men aged 18 to 24. Some experts felt that the video was aimed at the youth because many of them are oblivious of world affairs. They are also the activists of tomorrow. As the youth are maturing emotionally, they are more likely Viewers were able to question the campaign quickly, thanks to the amount of information available on the internet through blogs, articles and social networks. Mario Shapiro mentions the impact the movement had on her son in a blog : Citizenship #Kony 2012
  49. 49. 49 However the movement is perceived, Kony 2012 certainly raised awareness about an issue that not too many people knew of. By becoming the biggest viral movement ever, Invisible children 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. So, how are teens reacting? Well, I only know what’s happening in my house. My own son, after doing a bit of research, has become a bit soured on Invisible Children. He stopped asking to purchase a bracelet, and other than a Facebook post denouncing the video, I haven’t heard another word about it. Even though Roxanne Anderson’s views are different, she agreed that social media gets important information out faster : I am also very impressed with how social media campaign has raised awareness so quickly, and would like to see that happen more. There are so many areas of the world where people are suffering for various reasons of injustice, and if we can use our media networking to motivate people to do something about it, that is noteworthy. Some of our greatest battles are to get people who aren’t suffering to care about people in another part of the world who are and to take action. Invisible Children has done that. Cheers.
  50. 50. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Most successful viral movements were more or less local or national in nature. However, Kony 2012 transcended these boundaries. People across the world are talking about it. The movement didn’t gather pace in Africa, but that was probably because of the low levels of internet connectivity there. There will be more twists to this story. The kind of information – and the amount – a person consumes impacts his/her decisions. Hence, good research is important before 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. Citizenship #Kony 2012
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  52. 52. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Few people expected Pinterest to be the smash-hit social network of 2011. It had strong competition in the form of Tumblr, Twitter and the more recent Google +, but the image-based social curation tool was on fire, making it to the Top 10 most visited social networks of the year. Pinterest’s mission statement summed it up well: Our Mission Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests Pinterest Crowdsourcing Pinterest
  53. 53. 53 Pinterest allows users to organise and share things of interest found across the web in the form of ‘Pinboards’. People use them to plan weddings, decorate homes and concoct recipes, amongst other things. David Lee, a tech addict, spoke his mind on this: People use Pinterest to bookmark things they like and share them with friends and followers. It’s also fun to browse through things other Pinterest users have discovered. I’ve found lots of things that I otherwise never would have. It’s also plain fun to browse pins. What really works for it, though, is the fact that it uses social bookmarking to aid ‘discovery’ through a collection of visuals. Blogger Joe Murphy cites this aspect as an important reason for using the platform : I also use Pinterest for discovery: I browse what others pin in common areas such as books, travel, or products, for ideas to inspire my activities, books to read, places to visit. Christmas shopping: I watched people’s pinboards of products they love or want very carefully for ideas to add to my shopping list or wish lists. Even though there are plenty of social curation tools around, Pinterest focuses on ‘images’ rather than conversations. When user Kary Delaria was asked what she thought made Pinterest different, this is what she had to say: There’s no talking. Well, very little. Pinterest is a social bookmarking of visual items. It focuses on visual sharing. User Mariam Shahab likes that she can follow things that are of her interest by following specific ‘boards’: For me, it’s much easier to filter my many interests on Pinterest than on Facebook or Twitter. Sure Twitter has lists, but people are dynamic and tweet about things other than what I categorize them under (i.e. fashion, PR etc). However, on Pinterest, I can only follow a user’s boards I’m actually interested in.
  54. 54. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Crowdsourcing Pinterest Pinterest is different from Facebook, witter or Google+ because it doesn’t focus on starting a conversation through posts. In fact, people post images of things hat they love, which eventually gets the conversation going. Blogger Deb Ng thinks that Pinterest makes for a refreshing change: It’s also giving me an opportunity to see another side of my social media friends. I can tell you who is renovating, who are moonlighting as foodies, who are expecting kids, and what kinds of books everyone is reading With users finding new ways to use Pinterest, the challenge before brands was how to use its burgeoning success to their advantage. Pinterest scores in terms of visual enticement, which plays a huge role in conversions for an oft-neglected segment – women in the 25- to 44-year age bracket who love cause marketing. Pinterest is effective in creating awareness, driving conversations online and boosting consumer engagement through novel methods. Social media strategist Constance Aguilar feels Pinterest holds immense potential for brands: Pinterest holds immense potential for brands to interact with their audiences and to visually entice current and potential customers. Using the power of image, companies can create buzz around products, display more in-depth aspects of their businesses, and ultimately create more personal and visually pleasing social experiences for their audiences. On the other hand, detractors believe that marketers are trying to attain first-mover advantage on Pinterest without assessing 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 no exception. The user experience for most is pleasant, but there were a considerable number who had qualms about it. The positives are that the network is a visual treat and it makes sharing easy. This, in turn, makes its core purpose – content curation – seamless. It is also addictive and organises content well. No wonder many like Ky Kow swear by it : Pinterest is fantastic. Makes you wonder where all these visually appealing images have been hiding
  55. 55. 55 all these years. The only downside is that it’s probably setting some very unrealistic expectations “for the home” and wedding planning :) Its biggest drawback is that beyond a point there is not much you can do on Pinterest. It lacks in variety of utilities. Pinterest is such a hit partly due to its developers’ understanding of the need for structured social curation, which has been around for a while. It can be compared to networking in the sense that it always existed offline. There was always a need for curation, as Erica Friedman explains : Once upon a time, back when we didn’t have the Internet, I remember folks spending an afternoon cleaning up their Rolodex files; pulling out old, unneeded contacts, updating others. 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 why they are racing to incorporate push-button features on their platforms. Whether it’s the Facebook ‘share’, Twitter ‘retweet’ or Tumblr ‘re-blog’, social networks don’t want to miss the curation bus. Whilst there are many social bookmarking/ curation websites like Tumblr, Instagram, Digg, Quora, etc, Pinterest scores over them for a reason best described by Social Media specialist, David King:
  56. 56. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 By constructing content in a structured set versus a stream, sites such as Pinterest and Snip.It have prevented stream-based sites such as Facebook from becoming a compelling place to consume the Pinterest or 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: As the market for social networks begins to get saturated, niche networks like Pinterest will begin to prevail. Social networks adding value to a niche are perfect candidates for word-of-mouth marketing. Pinterest is one of the first niche social network successes, and as the market matures, and the demand for niche social networks rises, it will be considered a pioneer in its industry. Pinterest’s character will be truly tested only once it moves beyond its invite-only phase to a public avatar. That’s when it will face increased pressure not only from users, but also from rival networks and new entrants. One thing’s for certain – its growth and user engagement suggests that Pinterest users aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Pinterest should not be taken lightly by other social networks. Its traffic has grown by 4,000% over the last six months. Its growth is different from other social networks as its early adopters were women – as of December 2011, 58% of Pinterest users were female. Blogger Joe Waters recognised this differentiator in his post ‘Why and how causes should use Pinterest : The heavy presence of women 25-44 on Pinterest is what distinguishes it from other new social media platforms, which are generally populated by men 18-24. Here’s a site that already has the audience everyone wants: women and moms who make most of the household buying decisions. Crowdsourcing Pinterest
  57. 57. 57
  58. 58. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Path Path started off as a social-networking- enabled photo-sharing and messaging service for mobile devices, much like Instagram, in November 2010. Later, Path changed its purpose from sharing only images, to videos, places, thoughts, etc, to become a ‘smart journal’ through which people could share their experiences with their closest friends and family, on the go. Users can have up to 150 friends because David Morin, co-founder and CEO, wanted to create a community with more personal and high-quality interactions. Our long-term grand vision here is to build a network that is very high quality and that people feel comfortable contributing to at any time. 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. Crowdsourcing Path
  59. 59. 59 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 Version 1.0 was all about sharing photos, and with an even smaller network of 50 people. Users could tag each photo to people, a place and with a ‘thing’ in it. Path called it a ‘moment’. While this picked up initially, the hype subsided as there were few activities and the number of people users could share their experiences with were restricted. Version 2.0 made up for this by allowing up to 150 friends. Users can now share a number of activities – friends can stream a song you’re listening to, where you are or even how much you’ve slept! Over a million people have shared when they woke up or slept. Path’s new ‘Automatic’ mode updates friends about users’ activities without permission, a little like Facebook Timeline apps. For example, Path can track where a user is vacationing through GPS and update his/her friends about it. This feature can be disabled if users are uncomfortable with it. Stephen Robinson said on Social Steak : Path 2 is a brilliant way to keep track of your favourite people and what they are doing in a sexy, slick and additive to use app. I’ve used Path 2 more in the last week than I did with version 1 in a whole year, that is how much an improvement this is. Path hopes that since friend groups are smaller and more curated, users will feel more comfortable sharing these details on it rather than on Twitter or Facebook.
  60. 60. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Simply put, Path allows people to be themselves without thinking what others feel about their preferences and what they share. Another insight was that social networkers were craving more intimate interactions with closer connections. There are only so many people you can stay in touch with. While this number differs from person to person, Morin felt that most people interacted with only 20 to 30 others at any given time on social networks and in real life. We thought there was a genuinely interesting opportunity to build … a very personal, very private network. Ben Parr explained the reasoning behind the number in his post ‘With a 50 Friends Limit, Path Is the Opposite of Twitter’ : Path calls itself “The Personal Network” because it’s determined to go against the example set by Twitter‘s follower model; you are limited to just 50 friends on Path. It chose the 50 number based on the theories of Oxford professor of evolutionary psychology Robin Dunbar, who claims that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships any human can handle. 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’. A new way of adding friends is through an algorithm called FriendRank. Thanks to integration with Facebook, Path scours through users’ Facebook friends, photo tags and other interactions to figure out five friends that are Path-worthy. If the user agrees, he/she can add those friends to Path. As described by social media enthusiast, Andrew in an article: Meh. Twitter and Path do not compete and will probably never compete. If you know anything about graph theory, this becomes obvious. Twitter is a directed graph. Connections are *not* mutual. Facebook is an undirected graph. Connections are mutual. Path is an undirected graph. Connections are mutual. You should compare Path to Facebook and not Twitter. Here’s another way of putting it: Crowdsourcing Path
  61. 61. 61 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. This has left certain social media blogger, Jen O on blog Mama Pop disappointed: The premise is basically the same as Facebook – you log on to share pictures and thoughts with your friends. Oh, wait. That’s not “basically the same”, that’s exactly the same. No! It’s different because you’re only allowed to have 50 friends! 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? Facebook are the people you went to highschool with. Twitter are the people who you went to highschool with. Path are the people who you still hang out with from highschool. (of course, they aren’t limited to highschool, insert “people you work with” or “college” if you want) With Path’s initial focus on photo-sharing through mobile platforms, it was compared to networks such as Instagram and PicPlz. As mentioned by Cnet writer, Caroline Mccarthy All in all, it’s like a more tightly restricted Instagram, minus the artsy camera. When Path allowed users to share more than just photos, it drew comparisons to Facebook,
  62. 62. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 Path identifies itself as a companion, not a competitor to the Facebooks of the world – an approach that most social networking start-ups are taking now. It would be arrogant for start-ups to not add a Facebook connect or an integration of some sorts. Path allowed users to add Facebook friends through ‘FriendRank’, and in version 1.5 it added sharing with Facebook to the experience. 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. It encourages users to restrict their friends list, stressing on ‘quality circles’ rather than ‘quantity circles’. “If you look at how these networks are grown, they start out really high-quality,” said Morin, “and as more and more people join, it becomes hard to find people you care about. With Path, you have to be friends with them in the real world in order for them to pop up on your screen.” 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’t seen in years) on Facebook. He also said why he thought it would be difficult for people to accept a private social network: Let’s face it: You’ll let anyone follow you on Twitter or Google+. You don’t care if 100 or Through ‘Automatic’, users could post photos and videos to their Facebook wall, either publicly or for a select group. Users can also share and check in on other networks such as Foursquare and Twitter. At the same time, Path was termed as an ‘anti-social network’ by some marketing experts. As Business Insider writer Dan Crowdsourcing Path
  63. 63. 63 This touches on a fascinating trend in our social relationships. Facebook has transformed the way we live and think about friendships. 873 friends? Really? It’s absolutely ludicrous to think that have enough time, energy and brainpower to manage relationships with this many people. I think this 50 friends limit is an interesting twist on this social networking site. 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. 100,000 people know what you ate for breakfast. And while Facebook is inherently a permission- based network, you found that girl you dated in 5th grade and haven’t spoken to in 20 years and you friended her, right? It’s okay, though, because the social paradigm has shifted. 10 years ago a phone call to your neighbour who moved away when you were kids would be no less than creepy, but it’s common practice now. This strategy, however, worked as Path was downloaded more than 1.5 million times in its first year. Experts said that Path was exactly like Facebook Timeline – “sharing your personal journey in a journal with the help of actions through Timeline apps and by sharing images, videos, milestones, status updates”. The only difference is that it can boast of a more advanced and user-friendly design on the mobile, and is far more private in nature. Social media enthusiasts have mostly loved Facebook, but have always pointed to privacy as a major concern. Path made sure it tapped into this segment. As mentioned by a social media enthusiast Vilder on a Mashable article : Downloads dropped drastically when Path was rocked by a privacy controversy. A developer from Singapore, Arun Thampi, detailed on his blog how the app for iOS accessed users’ contact information when it added contacts from the address book, and uploaded that data to Path’s servers – all without the user’s permission. 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.
  64. 64. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 The most notable criticism is of the social media space getting saturated. Critics said that for a new social network to emerge, it needed a niche audience and a different purpose, like Pinterest. Mashable reader Shop HDE agreed : Agreed, there isn’t much room for yet another social network. I get that there may be a smaller group of friends that you want to easily share photos and other media with, but who really wants to open up ANOTHER account just to do that? Especially with Facebook’s new group feature. Don’t forget, Google tried it too with Google Wave, but now that’s being discontinued Another scathing attack on Path was about it not being ‘social’ enough as it encouraged users to share less with fewer people, contrary to what other networks do. As described by writer Dan Frommer in an article on SFGate : Facebook and Twitter are making people more promiscuous with what they share. Sure, there will always be some stuff you don’t share publicly. But the trend is toward sharing more, not less, so this may work against Path. Path was typecast as yet another network aiming to displace Facebook, but being too similar to it to make users shift platforms. Critics said that Path lacks a USP that has made networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube so popular. The small user base was also cited as a concern. Even though there were early 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 ;). Morin apologised, announcing that Path had deleted all the personal data on its servers. In trying to connect new users to their family and close friends, Morin said that pulling in address book and Facebook data, as a way to “recommend people to you when you joined”, seemed like a good idea. “The way we did that turned out to be not the way users liked,” he acknowledged. Adding friends from your address book is now optional and users are asked for permission. This immediate response received a mixed response too, but many like Bob Ferrin appreciated Morin owning up to his mistake and correcting it right away: I don’t use Path, although now I’m interested to check it out. Based on what you reported, I can appreciate most of the conversation with CEO David Morin. I think at least half of app developers (if not most) don’t want to step into the wrong side of privacy issues, since inevitably their apps land in the hands of many savvy users and their missteps generate more presence and opinion on the web than the corrections the companies make in the end. The best thing Morin can do is keep the conversation going, and stay candid with folks. If he’s deflecting, a better response might be, “we kept to the letter of the guidelines, and we could be more conservative when it comes to privacy issues.” Whilst Path has plenty of fans, it has detractors too. Crowdsourcing Path
  65. 65. 65 Another challenge is creating a sustainable, scalable revenue stream. Morin said that he wanted a revenue strategy of premium features and brand partnerships. Path began its revenue stream by creating a premium feature called ‘Lenses’. It takes photos and videos that users shoot through their phones and run them through Photoshop-like filters in real time. Several lenses are free, but a few like the ambiance of Tron cost 99 cents each. Path announced Nike as its first API Partner to build Nike+ GPS to share runs in real time with friends. Even though Path has not started advertising, ‘the inner circle’ social graph is potentially lucrative through advertising. As Frommer said: The “inner circle” social graph could eventually -- if enough people buy in -- be worth a lot as a platform. Advertisers and other developers would LOVE to get into your inner circle, because it means the recommendations you make will be trusted more, and the connections you have are worth more.
  66. 66. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 What can get users to sign up is a network that helps you deal with time and place 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 frictionless sharing through ‘actions’ via mobile. Path is certainly on the correct path on this front. In an age of 12-hour work days, personal commitments and a plethora of networks and apps, it is very difficult for new social ventures to get attention. People are already finding it difficult to juggle between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Crowdsourcing Path
  67. 67. 67 Little Monsters Lady Gaga’s stupendous success on social media prompted her to plunge into a bigger project that would do justice to her digital clout. www. is the pop princess’ attempt to create a network built around her fans, which she dubbed as ‘Little Monsters’. Fans now have an outlet to create or share Gaga-related content, interact with fellow Little Monsters and vote on each other’s posts. The network was built by Backplane, a social media start-up that helps celebrities interact directly with fans. Lady Gaga is an investor in the firm. Matt Michelsen, CEO and co-founder of Backplane, told Mashable: Backplane is about bringing together communities and Gaga’s community just so happens to be the community we’re using to learn about proper functionality. We think we can really change the world.
  68. 68. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 The website features an image of the singer, created with pictures of her fans and a registration form. The opening message says: Register now to be among the first to experience a new community only for little monsters. Because you were born this way! After filling in the name and e-mail fields, visitors can request an invite. A confirmation is mailed to the user with an assurance that he/she will be welcomed to Little Monsters soon. Little Monsters makes the most of online trends by offering users a chance to vote on content and post video, images and text on a public board. As described on The Web/Tech/ Gadgets blog : With a look like Pinterest and an popularity- vote feel like Reddit, the Little Monsters website appears to be latching on to what’s hot on the web right now: sharing visuals and rating content Most social media user interface designers nowadays want to make networks look like Pinterest. Facebook Timeline, other social bookmarking websites and now Little Monsters have joined in. The site has been compared to Pinterest (a fast-emerging mobile app that lets users ‘pin’ locations and items they like), because of its heavy focus on aesthetics, imagery and similarity in design. The design is reminiscent of Pinterest also because of the grid-like, image-based content architecture. Clicking on an image enlarges it and, in some cases, links to an article or video. The site resembles Reddit and Digg because it emphasises sharing and creating photos and videos, as well as letting users promote content from others that they like. The resemblance is clear in the slide above. It will take users a while to experience it as the network is in the beta and invite-only phase. So, why does Lady Gaga, who already rules 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. Crowdsourcing Little Monsters
  69. 69. 69 Between the two, more than 66 million accounts interact with all things Gaga. To top it all, she has more than one billion views on YouTube. This consolidated fan base seems like just the start of things to come. What does a pop star do when she masters most media platforms? Create her own! That also ensures that other companies and networks don’t cash in on her popularity and social media savviness. Lady Gaga has always been a step ahead of all her competition on the web. As user Robyn Smart said on Mashable: I like the design of the new site! I think Lady Gaga and the marketing team do a great job of creating a digital brand. They use all digital channels effectively – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even Foursquare. Last year they teamed up with Starbucks to do a QR code game. 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. Lady Gaga wants a more personalised and interactive fan experience through Little Monsters. She wants the quality of engagement and interaction to improve between fans and between fans and herself.
  70. 70. Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Mar 2012 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 with For example, one Little Monsters user tattooed her wrist with the site’s name. Lady Gaga herself ‘liked’ the post, which made the comments section go ballistic. Aggregating a variety of interest groups also helps Gaga reach out to a wider variety of fans through images, videos, text and exclusive content. The network aims to unite people around interests, affinities and causes. 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 Jordan in his article ‘Lady Gaga Breaks Twitter History and Launches Little Monsters’ : Crowdsourcing Little Monsters