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Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3


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

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Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3

  1. 1. Social Technology Quarterly October-December 2011 Volume 1 Issue 3
  2. 2. Overview Welcome to the third issue of Social Technology Quarterly. The Social Technology Quarterly is a research publication focused on helping brands leverage the latest research and trends in social media and social technologies. With demand for high quality research and analysis in this fast moving space we have introduced a new category of articles on the social consumer. Our focus here is to help brands and marketing managers understand the changing perspective of the consumer in the era where social, mobile and location are emerging as a lifestyle. Along with contributions from Kuliza, Manu Prasad, who blogs at, and Payal Shah, a psychologist who builds storybook apps for children, this issue also features a photo essay of the ‘evolution of social spaces’ by Anindya Kundu. We hope you like the latest issue and look forward to hearing your views. Team Kuliza Social Technology Quarterly
  3. 3. Contents Contributors Achintya Gupta | @achintya85 Marketing enthusiast and Brand Manager at Kuliza. Writes on social media marketing. Kaushal Sarda | @ksarda Technology evangelist, serial entrepreneur, Chief Evangelist at Kuliza, and an advisor to HashCube. Writes on commerce and CRM. Diarmaid Byrne | @diarmaidb Psychologist and interested in behaviour change and gamification. Chief People Officer at Kuliza. Writes on communities and collaboration. Manu Prasad | @manuscrypts Head of Social Media at Myntra. Writes on technology, startups and restaurants for the Bangalore Mirror. Kshitiz Anand | @kshitiz UI designer, photographer and Design Strategist at Kuliza. Writes on design and interaction. Payal Shah | @pobroin Psychologist and child development enthusiast. Writes about children’s media, baby sign language and education. Nitin Saboo Solutions Specialist at Kuliza. Writes on campaigns and commerce. Anindya Kundu| @anindya_kundu Visual Designer at Kuliza. Aspiring drummer, food enthusiast and animator. Illustrates Kuliza’s stories.
  4. 4. Campaigns Why Automobile Marketers Love Social Media? 6 Achintya Gupta The True Nature Of Flash Mobs 11 Kaushal Sarda Retailing To The SoLoMo 15 Achintya Gupta Social Commerce Browsers To Buyers: Converting Online Windowshoppers to Buyers 19 Diarmaid Byrne Social + Ecommerce ≠ Social Commerce 25 Manu Prasad Breaking The Banks 29 Diarmaid Byrne Social Consumer Babies On A Digital Media Diet 34 Payal Shah The Power Of A Story 37 Kaushal Sarda Social Media Fatigue 42 Kshitiz Anand What Is So Smart About An Energy Grid? 46 Nitin Saboo Contents
  5. 5. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Social Spaces Coliseum, Rome 5 The Colosseum in Rome is the largest and most famous surviving amphitheatre from the Roman world built by Emperor Vespasian and later by his son Titius. It was used to stage large-scale public events, festivals and celebrations, such as gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology were held in the arena.
  6. 6. 6Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 How some of the best social media marketing campaigns have come from automobile brands For many of us, our car or our bike is more of a passion than a product. We spend months re- searching which brand and model we should buy. They are our prized possession, conversation starters and status symbol. We connect easily with other people who own the same car or mod- el as us, and whenever we meet the conversation is often centred around our shared passion. All these characteristics make automobiles a great product to be marketed with social media, and it is not surprising to see that some of the best social media marketing campaigns have come out of the boardrooms of automobile com- panies. Not only that, each and every sizeable player in the automobile market is dirtying his hands in the social media marketing space. So what is it that makes automobile market- ers love social media and how are they using this space to come up with the finest of the campaigns? This article will discuss the reason behind their love, some examples of the best automobile marketing campaigns, and what the social media marketing community can learn from automobile marketers. Why Social Media Marketing For Cars? A car is more than just a car Social media marketing works best when you are marketing a passion and not a product. A passion makes people bond and directs conversation. These conversations around passions are the heartbeat of social media marketing and a cam- paign runs as long as these conversations run. The best thing about marketing automobiles is that they are larger than the product. For many of us, they are a passion and talking points for conversations. Hence, no other media suits sell- ing an automobile better than social media for its abilities to connect people, connect with people, Written by Achintya Gupta Why Automobile Marketers Love Social Media? Campaigns and engage them. Instrumental in research, recommendations and advocacy What sells a car? The three most prominent factors are research, recommendations and loyalty. Since a car is a considerable investment, we spend a lot of time researching on the best models, understanding the specifications, and comparing brands and their various models. Here we use a lot of recommendations from our friends, talk to the experts among them, search for reviews online, or research the specifica- tions to understand whether we need them or not. Sometimes our loyalty for a particular brand makes us advocate certain models to others. Interestingly, when it comes to cars, traditional media helps you in none of the above factors affecting the sale. A 20 second ad spot, half page emailer or full page banner are just not enough to satisfy a consumer’s needs. Social media, how- ever, is a great tool in that it generates conver- sations for recommendations, supports thought leadership for research, and gives a platform to brand advocates to promote their favourite brands Time bandwidth for engagement Another thing about cars that makes social media an attractive tool for marketing is that cars are not purchased on impulse. Customers take their time in deciding which cars they need to buy. Inbound marketing techniques like social media marketing might not be best at generating mass awareness quickly (like advertisements), but they are great when it comes to engaging consumers across every stage of the sales funnel. And hence, considering the prolonged time period consum- ers take in assessing which car to purchse, social media marketers get enough time to engage the consumer in conversations, develop a relation- ship with him, and convince him for their product.
  7. 7. Auto Industry Use Of Social Media? There are no fixed set of strategies for marketing anything through social media. How you market yourself depends upon what you are selling and whom you are selling to. So if you are selling cars and automobiles, your strategies will be built around the fact that you are selling a passion, a subject around which people talk a lot, around which people have lots of stories to share, and people react badly if anything goes wrong with it. Based on this, brands are using 7 different strate- gies to sell automobiles: Listen and respond This is an old school way of using social media and is often the first step of a brand’s entry into social media marketing. This strategy has been successful for brands, and helped Dell generate millions of revenue. Moreover when it comes to cars, people are very verbose on social chan- nels and love to talk about them. This is why all auto majors like Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, GM are on Twitter responding to consumers, listening to their conversations, and finding opportunities. The interesting thing here is that most of the automobile majors have their senior staff (and not external hired agencies) talking on these social platforms, like Scott Monty for Ford and Adam Denison for GM. Toyota used the same strategy during the mas- sive 2.3 million vehicle recall in January 2010, but with a difference. They got Digg to let people ask Toyota questions and others to ‘digg’ the most popular questions. Then Toyota got their President for North American sales operation, Jim Lentz, to answer these questions in a video interview. Conversations with customers Once a brand knows that consumers are talk- ing and researching about their cars online it is a good idea to give them a place to access the best content. This is where blogs are successful in building meaningful conversations with con- sumers. Volkswagen and GM understand this fact and run a number of blogs to engage, inform, and con- nect with their audience. While VW has individual blogs for its different models like Jetta, Passat and Beetle, GM runs other popular blogs like Fastlane and Drivingtheheartland. Microcampaigns These are small campaigns, often for a month or two, which aim to excite the audience about a car and increase its recall in consumer’s mind. From a technology point of view, such campaigns are often applications running on platforms like Face- book rather than run on an independent platform. A few examples of such campaigns are: In 2008, BMW launched an online graffiti contest, where participants could paint BMW cars with graffiti tools – a simple but effective campaign to engage audience around the brand • Volkswagen Nederland launched an app called the Fanwagen. They asked people to vote for the all time VW classic – the Beetle and the T1 – with the possibility of winning the vehicle as a reward. The classics were, however, armed with social media features like print your newsfeed, relationship status near the number plate, and many more • Harley Davidson launched the H-D Fan Machine contest where they asked fans to submit ideas for H-D web videos about how life is better on a Harley • In 100 cars for good, Toyota decided to donate 100 cars to organizations that need them for doing good. Many non profits partici- pated while others voted for the non profits they thought needed the cars most • Honda Civic launched a quest called the Honda Super Civic Quest, that gave partici- pants various clues and challenges across different Honda channels to win a Honda Civic User generated word-of-mouth campaigns This strategy truly uses the social potential be- hind marketing cars. Major automobile makers created campaigns that ask people to share their stories and experiences with their cars. Although the idea is simple, it results in tremendous word
  8. 8. 8Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 of mouth. People today are less likely to believe brands, but they will believe stories from other customers. Some examples of such social media campaigns are: • The Road We Are On campaign by Chevrolet focussed on celebrating 100 years of Chevy and asked customers to share their wonder- ful memories with Chevrolet. Interestingly, they also filmed a series of documentary style webisodes for Bridgeville and the role Chevy has played in the history and culture of the city. Another campaign by Toyota – The Camry Effect – focuses on Camry users sharing their journeys and memories • Jeep launched Have Fun Out There cam- paign, where it asked customers to share fun moments they have had with their Jeep. They got some exciting submissions, like the fan who converted his jeep into a music machine, or others who shared their photos of coast camping with their Jeep • Such user generated social campaigns might not always be about cars. The campaign can also express a particular value that the car brand holds. For e.g., Volkswagen launched a brilliant campaign some time back called The Fun Theory where they asked people to post ideas about exciting and fun ways to change people’s behaviour. In the teaser campaign, they converted a subway stair- case into a large piano with each step as musical keys, to encourage people to use stairs more than escalators. examples are: • Ford launched the Fiesta Movement cam- paign, which is considered the benchmark for social media campaigns. In order to generate buzz about the launch of the new Fiesta model, Ford gave the car to 100 social agents, who drove it across US and complet- ed various missions while promoting the vehi- cle on various social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. The success of Fiesta Movement led Ford to launch a second chap- ter where participating teams engaged with local talent to find creative ways to promote the Fiesta • Chevrolet also launched a reality contest on similar lines called the Chevrolet’s SXSW road trip challenge. However, the challenges and missions in the reality contest were crowdsourced • In India, Mitsubishi launched a similar contest for Cedia in 2009 where they used social media to find a participant to tour across India along various routes and share their experiences Social reality shows Some of the biggest car brands have used social media to create mega campaigns on the scale of reality shows. These social reality shows are different from user generated contests: in user generated contests the focus is the content generated by people, whereas social reality shows are less about the content and more about excitement and participation. Some of the best Communities Building a community of car lovers is definitely a great idea. Not only does it create an active pull- based marketing platform that your consumers will visit often, it also helps you understand your fans and exposes you to large amounts of valu- able data from conversations in the community. I have not seen many online community initiatives by automobile companies (although there are many independent fan communities), however there is a specific example by BMW Mini called creative use of space – a community of art- ists and designers – that is worth talking about. This community engages people in projects and initiatives to make ‘creative use of space’, a core value behind the BMW mini brand. Experience apps These apps are more sales focused and aim at bringing the in-car experience to a potential cus- tomer. Although currently most of these apps are
  9. 9. are at a catalogue level, such as the Audi A1 eCatalogue, Audi A8 experience app, Rolls Royce Ghost iPad app, BMW X3 iPad app, there is great potential. Additionally, adding social com- ponents to these apps - user generated reviews for various features, related blog links for more research, the ability to share experiences with your network of friends and followers – will take them to the next level. Automobile companies have very aggessively adopted new marketing models and made their marketing more social and engaging. They have succeeded in creating interesting social media marketing campaigns, and also have proved the ability to market successfully with this media. We would look forward to more fascinating cam- paigns from car makers in the near future.
  10. 10. 10Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Social Spaces Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, Nottingham This pub claims to be one of the oldest in Britain, dating to 1189. Pubs were both drinking establishments and social focal points for their community for centuries in Europe. They provided space for public debates, and before the spread of theatres, they staged per- formances by travelling musicians and theatre groups.
  11. 11. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 11 Written by Kaushal Sarda The Genesis Pranks may be one of the most elusive forms of comic behavior. Even dictionaries don’t seem to have a precise definition. They define pranks as “by turns, a malicious trick, a conjuring act performed to deceive or surprise, a mischievous frolic, and more”. This reason could be that the best of pranks have always blurred the lines be- tween appropriate and inappropriate conduct. Abbie Hoffman, a serial prankster from the 1960s had classified pranks into 3 types: 1. Good Pranks – these are amusingly satirical 2. Bad Pranks – these are gratuitously vindictive 3. Neutral one – these are surreal and soft on the victim The true potential of a flash mob lies in triggering instantaneous social movements Campaigns The True Nature Of Flash Mobs examples for each of these objectives, dwell into its mechanics, the influence of communication technology, and finally probe if there is potential for greater social impact using flash mobs. The Origins Of Flash Mobs A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time and then disperse. Bill Wasik senior edi- tor of Harper’s Magazine created one of the first flash mobs in Manhattan. The mob occurred on June 3, 2003, at Macy’s department store. More than 130 people converged at the ninth floor rug department of the store, gathering around an expensive rug. All the participants had been advised to say that they lived together in a ware- house on the outskirts of New York, and that they were shopping for a “love rug” as that they made all their purchase decisions as a group. Organizing A Flash Mob Since flash mobs involve a large group of people who have to meet and behave in a predefined manner, such events require adequate planning. The success of any flash mobs really depends on the coordination between the participants and the clarity of tasks. Some key things to keep in mind when planning a flash mob are: • Clear sense of purpose for conducting the flash mob • Deciding the tasks and their sequence for the occasion • Sharing clear instructions to participants on the objective, location, timing, and tasks • Arranging for any props needed as part of the event • Know the limitations of the location • Ensuring that there is someone capturing a great video of the event (essential to watch it later or to share online) One of the famous pranks that Abbie and his group performed involved showering the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with dollar bills, bringing the ticker tape to a halt for six minutes. It’s hard to say if this prank would purely fall into the good pranks category. In this article we are going to explore a particular type of prank called flash mobs. Flash mobs are social in nature and since their inception have been used for amusement, branding, social im- pact, opportunistic crime, etc. We will look at
  12. 12. 12Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 aware of the flash mob having been texted by T-Mobile. A human orchestra of 20 singers using their voices to mimic instruments supported the performance. • Finishing the event in a way that it appears nothing ever happened The Role Of Social Tools Advances in social media and mobile technolo- gies have certainly made it easier to organize mobs quickly and with better coordination. These tools make it possible to create real time location specific social networks. These networks make it easy for the mobs to coordinate on location and in real-time, hence making it that much harder to predict behavior and also ensure they can adapt their behavior in real-time. Two such applications are BuzzMob and Yobongo. BuzzMob In this application users create “rings” around geographical areas, from a single building to a three-mile wide area. That place gets a virtual wall that includes a live stream of posts, tips and pictures from users who are in the location (as validated by GPS) and join the ring. Rings can be public or password-protected. Yobongo This application was also an earlier entrant in the space. They provide a way for users to connect and communicate with other like-minded people nearby. Foursquare is also moving towards real-time con- versation and has launched an events check-in feature. Flash Marketing T-Mobile organized a flash mob at Terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport. Thousands of travelers flying in were unexpectedly greeted by hundreds of sing- ers and dancers as part of a flash mob. The greeting were performed by a crowd of more than 500 people - a mixture of waiting public, taxi drivers, cabin crew and baggage handlers - spon- taneously bursting into synchronized song and dance. Some of the flash mob participants were Flash Buy Tuangou is a fun way to combine group buying and flash mobs. The way it works is that if you want to buy something from a local store – a car, a luxury fashion item, gadget or gizmo - you tap your social and local networks online for oth- ers wanting the same item and you organize a flash mob. You then agree to turn up at the poor unsuspecting store en-masse at a particular time and demand a group discount. The logic is that the store manager would trade margin for volume and make the sale, allowing the mob to buy the product with a discount. This is a fast growing social commerce trend of team- buying in China that fuses online collaboration with high street retail. Tuangou provides an opportunity to inject some fun back into the Western style of group buying. There could be an interesting opportunity to add the immediacy of a real-world Tuangou to group buying tools to increase the location-based social fun.
  13. 13. steal merchandise. A group of 30 teens flooded a Maryland 7-Eleven in August 2011, helping themselves to chips and other snacks. Police ini- tially labeled the group a flash mob organized via cellphones, but it turned out that the group had designed the plot while riding a city bus. What scares most authorities is that social tools have now made it possible to introduce pre-meditation in mob behaviors in real time which previously have only been thought of as sporadic gathering. Flash Mobs As Social Change Agents An interesting and possibly the most valuable utility of flash mobs was discovered through the actions of the occupy squads. These squads are groups of people willing and committed to respond to injustice created by the system, wher- ever they should arise. For example if someone is harassed by a bank, an employer, government red tape, etc., they no longer have to face it all alone – now they have a group, a squad, a move- ment to back them up. With the availability of social tools like BuzzMobs it could be possible for people to signup for certain causes and help create occupy squads in real time at any location where there is a form of injustice happening. If this works it may transform flash mobs into a real powerful social change agent, surely something to explore further. References • Bremer Bank, Flash Mob to End Hunger, Nonprofit Resource Center, June 6 2011 • Flash Mob, Wikipedia • How to Organise a Flash Mob, Wikihow • Katie Kindelan, Flash Mob Raids 7-11 Store in Silver Spring, Maryland, ABC News, November 22 2011 • Sheila Shayon, Flash Mob Trend Spawns a New Social Media Industry, Brand Channel, August 23 2011 • Shirley Brady, T-Mobile Flash Mob Takes Over London Heathrow, Brand Channel, November 1 2010 • Special Report, From Hermes to Bonsai Kit- tens, The Economist, December 20 2005 • Tuangou, Wikipedia Cause Mobs Dancers and drummers wearing bright orange t- shirts with the words “Ending Hunger” entertained shoppers at the St. Paul’s Farmer’s Market in St. Paul, Minnesota. They performed a choreo- graphed rendition of Glee’s “Halo”/“Walking on Sunshine” mash-up. The mob was produced by Bremer Bank, a US Midwestern bank chain, as part of the company’s sixth annual “Taking Action to End Hunger” cam- paign that raises awareness and donations for Feeding America and local food banks. Bremer posted the video on YouTube and promised to donate $1 for every view up to $10,000 — in addition to matching donations made through the bank’s website. The final haul? More than $84,000. Flash Robs As we know all good pranks can lead to bad conduct. It is very easy for a flash mob that has malicious intent to cause serious damage. Flash robs are essentially a criminal incarnation of the flash mobs. A common version of a flash rob involves a group of unwanted visitors: typically swarms of teenag- ers or young adults who plot via Twitter, phone texts and Facebook to descend on stores and
  14. 14. 14Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Social Spaces The Globe Theatre, London July - September 2011 | Deriving its basis from ancient Greek drama, theatre is a collaborative performance art depicting events and narratives to a live audience. The Globe Theatre, built by William Shakespeare’s acting troupe in 1599, was the stage for many of his most famous plays. During the Elizabethan and Jacobean period in Britain, theatre was the cinema of our time, and the major social activity for the rich and poor.
  15. 15. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 15 How are the world’s top retail brands selling to a consumer who is social, local and mobile With the growing numbers of smart phones, con- sumer brands today are preparing themselves for a new breed of consumers – the SoLoMo. These consumers are: • Social they are connected to their friends, interest groups and are having online conver- sations • Local they use a location layer on mobile phone to find things • Mobile This group is very attractive to sellers since it is small but very rapidly growing and it will soon encompass a large number of brand’s target audience. However it comes with challenges, such as its shift from a traditional to newer media, technology savviness, a lack of time, and a huge affinity to word of mouth. Brands have realized that such a SoLoMo con- sumer would like this mix of social, location and mobile available on their smartphone to make their life and shopping as easy as possible, and would give preference to brands that enable this. This triggers a race between the brands to tap the SoLoMo customer. So, how do you sell to the SoLoMo? At Kuliza, we realized that among all the industry verticals, the retail industry has come a long way in cater- ing to their need and has launched interesting initiatives to make their shopping quicker, simpler and more reliable. Hence we deep dived into this space to research into what the world’s top retail brands are doing to attract the SoLoMo con- sumer. How Are World’s Leading Retailers Selling To The SoLoMo? Walmart The world’s largest retailer has come up with interesting applications on the iPhone, iPad and Written by Achintya Gupta Campaigns Retailing To The SoLoMo and Android to improve the in-store and out-store shopping experience for consumers. Their mobile apps help customers get detailed product infor- mation, see reviews, and order from their phone to get items delivered to their doorstep. The app makes the shopping experience even simpler as it adds items on bar-code scanning, finds stores using maps, checks what is in stock in a particu- lar store, finds in-store items using the aisle loca- tor, ticks off items with using a smart shopping list, and integrates with coupons. Another interesting initiative by Walmart is the in- novative fusion of Social + Mobile + Retail with @Walmartlabs. The idea is to use millions of pieces of data generated in the open social web through forums, tweets, and blogs to create inter- esting analytic insights and use them to facilitate smarter purchases. Tesco Tesco has also developed mobile apps for Android and iOS to help consumers make smart purchases. Consumers can use these apps to browse through products, scan products to order them, and add products to a shopping list. On the top of these mobile apps, Tesco has also initiated some very interesting campaigns to
  16. 16. 16Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Amazon With traditional retailers like Tesco and Walmart providing options to SoLoMo consumers, it is not surprising that an online retailer like Amazon is also developing a number of apps. Some of them are: • Amazon mobile (iTunes and Android): Helps user to get the full experience from mobile phones from selection to re- views, product comparison to purchase • Amazon Fresh (iTunes and Android): Aids grocery delivery. The app allows users to choose delivery slots, pick past purchased items, scan barcode to order etc • Amazon Student (iTunes): To help student buy and sell books • Amazon Habit (iTunes): Daily sales of hand- picked selection of designer brands • Endless (iPhone): For premier accessories from designers • Kindle (iTunes and Android): For the Kindle experience on your non Kindle devices and for purchasing books and magazines • Window shopping (iTunes): A rich media ex- perience to browse interesting products and learn more about them Although the range of apps is exciting, such a wide range requires customers to download and install multiple apps. A practical move from Ama- zon would be to release an umbrella app from Amazon that contains all the various apps. attract to the SoLoMo consumers. One such campaign was launched at Korea where they put up billboard of grocery products with QR codes in the subway stations. The users could simply scan the QR codes to add products to the list. Tesco is also using Augmented Reality (AR) apps to provide their customers a 3D image of the product they want to buy and improve online pur- chase satisfaction. Their AR app allows them to place markers in front of their computer cameras to see 3D images of the product they want to buy. eBay If we have to pick one retailer that is doing a commendable job to attract the SoLoMo consum- er, I will pick eBay for the amazing thought they have put behind their smartphone apps. They also offer their apps across Android, Blackverry, iOS and Windows phones and mobile web. The Ebay app helps users on the move to easily sell and buy their items on Ebay with their smart phones. Sellers can research pricing trends and know the best price they can get for their product. They can scan the product barcode with their phone to put it on auction or enter details by tak- ing pictures with their phone camera. Sellers too can get the full ebay experience: alerts for auc- tion updates, minute by minute information about what is happening in their account, and quick search and purchase features. The eBay Fashion app allows users to build their wardrobe and get personal styling accessories, shop exclusive flash sales and share interests and purchases with Facebook friends. The app also has an augmented reality feature that lets users try sunglasses virtually. Similarly, eBay Stubhub brings users to the world’s largest ticket marketplace. Users can find tickets for the shows they like, select ticket prices and choose seats with the app. eBay Classifieds app helps users to post, search and browse items easily and get the full classifieds’ experi- ence from their phone. To add to this, eBay has number of other apps that help users find deals and buy sell products from Target The world’s second largest retailer is not behind the competition when it comes to wooing the SoLoMo consumer. Although they have shopping apps for almost every device, their mobile apps
  17. 17. 17Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 world of Social, Local and Mobile consumers. Returning to the original question: how do you sell to the SoLomo? Researching how retailers are solving this problem, here are a few ques- tions companies need to ask themselves before planning their app: • What are the problems your customers are facing? A SoLoMo app is not just a marketing tool to create buzz, but should target specific problems your customer’s face. The Home Depot’s app helps consumers measure screw sizes before they make purchases, Tesco’s app helped the busy Korean commuters shop faster, Walmart’s app help consumers locate products inside the store. • Is your app blurring the wall between online and offline shopping? Your customer might like to get an in-store experience sitting at home or get an online social experience while inside your store (see the Facebook fitting room by Diesel). Is your app helping in that? • How are you leveraging the location layer? Can your customers find your stores, see what products are available in their nearest stores and check collections? Certain mo- bile CRM apps like Place Pop send location sensitive messages such as personalized deals and offers from brands to customers in the vicinity • How social is your shopping experience? People want to take advice from their net- work or see reviews from other buyers before they buy stuff. Is your app enabling that? • What happens behind the app? Is it provid- ing the kind of analytics you want, like data on purchase behaviour, customer’s priorities, kinds of questions customers are asking to their network, influencers among the cus- tomers, etc.? With such an app, this kind of essential data and insights are possible. are not very different from others. Their key features include shopping from within the app, bar code scanning, store location with maps, deal and coupon offers, reviews, and in-store search. Ikea The Sweden-based home products company has been printing its catalogues for the last 60 years. Now it has brought its catalogue to the mobile phone with its catalogue app for a rich and interactive experience. They also have launched an augmented reality app to help users see how specific furniture products would look at their home. Ikea also has a text based mobile loyalty program that sends messages on deal, games and alerts to subscribers. Also, to facilitate purchases with mobile phones, Ikea has a mobile shopping site where customers can browse through products and find offers. Home Depot This is another brand that is launching interest- ing initiatives keeping the SoLoMo consumer in mind. While most of the shopping apps of other brands have more or less the same operating mechanism, Home Depot’s shopping app is in- novative and targets some very critical needs of consumers. The home improvement and construction prod- ucts retailer has built a mobile shopping app that has an interactive calliper to measure the lengths of objects so that you don’t go wrong with your purchase. It also allows you to measure the size of nuts and screws, calculate the amount of ma- terial required for painting, insulations and other home repairs, and watch do-it-yourself tutorial videos. The app helps consumer find stores and locate items inside the stores. This is definitely not the end of the list as you will see many other retail majors like Best Buy, Macy’s and Kohl’s fighting their way into the
  18. 18. Social Spaces Cafe Central, Vienna 18Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Coffee houses in Vienna have been an integral social institution in Viennese culture dating back to 1685, and are listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO. Providing food and drinks, they allow guests to sit for hours social- izing, writing, playing cards, receiving post, reading or contemplating. Poets and writers have regularly met, exchanged ideas and even written here, contributing to what is commonly referred as ‘coffee house literature’.
  19. 19. July - September 2011 |Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 19 Written by Diarmaid Byrne Tactics for e-retailers to convert online windowshoppers to customers Browsers To Buyers Social Commerce that lavender-scented restaurants increase the amount of money and time diners spent in the restaurant. For online retailers it is very difficult to compete on emotions and desires with real-world retailers. As Jonah Lehrer argues, online retailers are still trying to sell to us with information even though emotions drive purchase decisions. Until the day comes when we develop an emotive internet, on- line retailers must continue to focus on the insula and take advantage of their ability to offer better savings on the same products. However, over- indulging the insula by offering lower prices is not enough to convince people to move from brows- ing, comparing and reviewing products to actually purchasing them. Retailers need to design an online experience that makes it easy for people to make purchase decisions. High-street retailers have the advantage of al- lowing customers to feel an item, try it on, look at it from every angle, and read any information on the packaging or labels. E-commerce retailers don’t have this opportunity so they have to focus extra hard on ensuring that the experience and design of their online store converts browsers to shoppers. Web Stress No business wants to increase the stress level of their customers. However, spending money is an inherently stressful experience for many people, and convincing them to part with their cash is a hard task irrespective of the price. It is important that retailers look at their site’s user experience to make life as easy as possible for their custom- ers to encourage them to purchase products. User experience starts from the moment the web- site opens. People typically take 50 milliseconds to make a judgment about the website based on The combination of lower disposable incomes, cheaper prices and technology advances has made online shopping more attractive and easy for people. However, ecommerce sites convert just between 1-3% of their visitors and shopping carts are abandoned by 75% of shoppers on av- erage. With just a laptop, tablet or mobile screen to convert browsers to buyers, online retailers need to evolve their websites to take advantage of human psychology and consumer behaviour. Research described by Jonah Lehrer in his Wired article The Neuroscience of Groupon that there are two ways to influence consumer behaviour: • Increase desire for an item • Convince people that they are getting a good deal In an experiment researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford found that as people decide whether or not to buy products their nucleus ac- cumbens, insula and frontal cortex are activated. These measure how much a person desires an object (nucleus accumbens) and whether they find the price good value (frontal cortex and insula). If retailers can measure and design shop- ping experiences that increase the activity in the person’s nucleus accumbens, and so increasing the desire for a product, while inhibiting the insula by making sure the customer feels like they are getting value for money, there is a greater likeli- hood that browsers will convert to customers. When it comes to encouraging people to spend, real-world retailers have a tremendous advan- tage over online retailers. They can determine how much we desire a product. In an Apple store visitors can feel the quality of their products by holding them, in clothes stores shoppers can feel the quality of the materials and try items on, and in a food store senses can be excited with smells that increase the temptation to buy in a way that a photo can not compete. In fact, a study showed
  20. 20. 20Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 the speed at which the site opens and the im- mediate impression of the design of the website. Research by Computer Associates on neurologi- cal reactions of consumers to shopping online found that poorly performing websites require more concentration and result in increased stress for users. This is not good for business. Making an online store fast and easy to use ultimately determines if a person converts from a visitor into a buyer. Pricing Psychology Another aspect that significantly affects customer stress and sales is how retailers display the price of a product. A study by Sybil S. Yang , Sheryl E. Kimes, and Mauro M. Sessarego of Cornell Uni- versity called $ or Dollars: Effects of Menu-price Formats on Restaurant Checks looked at differ- ent restaurant price display techniques: • Number with a dollar sign ($10.00) • Number without a dollar sign or decimals (10) • Written price (ten dollars) The researchers found that the written price (10) resulted in customers spending significantly more money. This is because they minimized the pain of buying by eliminating dollar signs and cents from the prices. Essentially, people suffered less than in a transaction that involved $ signs and so purchased more. Checkout Process Spending money is an experience we often dis- like, as seen by the behaviour of the insula in the research above, and online retailers don’t have lavender to heighten the experience of facing prices on our tablets or laptops. Therefore online retailers need to reduce the stress of the checkout process in any way they can to encour- age people to stay and complete the purchase process. The process should be simple, without distractions, and with all the necessary informa- tion available to them. Some elements of an excellent checkout process are: Registration Any registration form is a barrier to shopping because they imply commitment that the person may be still unwilling to make and they take up unnecessary time. It is best to incorporate this during the checkout process Modify order As the aim is not to stress the customer, make it easy for people to modify their order during the checkout process Product details Provide customers with as many details and op- tions as possible to review before they complete the purchase: specify product details, provide a photo of the product, and a link to view the prod- uct page Breadcrumbs Unlike the product detail page where people want to spend time, the checkout process should have each step of the process clearly defined with breadcrumbs and involve as few steps as pos- sible. Disruption Customers should not be taken out of the check- out process in case they do not return. They should have all the information available to them, such as FAQ, customer service numbers, and delivery times, so they do not need to look for it elsewhere on the site. Shipping Costs In a 2010 study by the Foresee Institute across 30 online stores, the lack of shipping costs was the most important feature that significantly improved sales. Unfortunately many stores hide shipping costs to generate extra revenue. Hid- den shipping costs will make shoppers feel that the store is taking advantage of them. Airlines are well-known practitioners of this: Ryanair and AirAsia don’t display the final cost of the ticket until the final step of their purchase process. So even if the ticket looks like unbeatable value, the additional charges added on make it less so. When looking to convert a browser to shopper, there are two benefits for not listing shipping charges at the end of the purchase process: • It makes the purchase decision easier be- cause there is no uncertainty about what the final price will be • It is easier to compare prices across stores, especially against brick-and-mortar stores. Online stores typically have a cost advan- tage, so providing a clear price during the browsing phase make it more likely people will convert If shipping costs are unavoidable, they should be presented in an easy to understand way that does not exhaust people. This will reduce the
  21. 21. 21Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 information, and here where retailers need to move them from browsing various products to adding them into their shopping cart and pur- chasing them. Ensuring that all of this information is present in an appealing and organized man- ner means that the design of this page is crucial. There are a number of things that retailers need to focus on: UX Design It seems that many e-commerce sites spend too much time on the design and usability of the homepage and ignore the importance of the product detail page. This is the page that users spend most time on, looking at the product in detail, checking specs, reading reviews, compar- ing products and, hopefully, deciding to buy. It is important that all the information a customer needs or expects is present and structured in an intelligent way. It is also important that retailers provide as much product information as possible: sizes, materials, weight, dimensions, colours, instructions, etc. The customer should not have any questions left unanswered about the product. If they do they are likely to go elsewhere, reducing the likelihood of a sale. North Face do this well, giving shop- pers all the information they are likely to need. pain of buying and make the decision to continue purchasing the product simple. Shopping Cart Design E-commerce sites do not want to encourage shoppers to purchase just 1 item at a time. This makes the design of the shopping cart essen- tial in keeping people on the site and browsing products. Ideally, the shopping cart should allow people to add multiple products, edit the quanti- ties, see what other people bought to help with upselling, and display the total cost without ever leaving the product page they are on. One of the better examples of this soft-cart style shopping cart is at Pottery Barn. It displays products that other customers bought and gives shoppers the option to go straight to checkout or to continue shopping. This meets two important criteria: keep shoppers interested in other prod- ucts based on intelligent suggestions and make it easy to quickly purchase their product. However, it does not display the final price (shipping and taxes included) nor does it allow customers to increase the quantity of products to purchase. Product Detail Page The product detail page is the most important page for shoppers. It is here that people want to look in depth at the product and product
  22. 22. 22July - September 2011 |Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Photography Product photographs are the most important design element of an e-commerce site. Without the ability to excite shoppers’ kinesthetic, olfac- tory and gustatory senses that brick-and-mortar stores have, online retailers only have product photos to excite and convince shoppers to pur- chase. However, displaying a great product photo is not enough. As with typography, the photos need to match the sites style, colour scheme and branding, as with Threadless. Photos play a crucial role in converting browsers to shoppers in a number of ways: • Influence Photos help users imagine using the prod- uct, how it fits into their life, and convinces them that it matches their needs. Photos are a more immediate and effective method of doing this than marketing blurbs and product reviews and can sell the product on their own without the need for content are buying fits their needs. This can be done by showing them how the product works, showing zoomable details, or highlighting exciting features or innovations Typography Along with focusing on the design of the site, especially the product page, and ensuring there are high quality photos of the products that inform and educate the shoppers, typography is another crucial element when trying to convert people to shoppers. Rather than typography that has been selected for its beauty and artistic merit, the most effective typography is simple and direct so shoppers don’t have to expend too much effort reading and understanding it. As outlined above, tiring shoppers out with unnecessary effort re- sults in tense rather than relaxed shoppers who spend less time and money. This is why Helvetica is so popular. It doesn’t distract attention from the product photo and allows the content to be read quickly and easily. • Upselling Photos of product accessories can excite shoppers and help them imagine what else they can add on to enhance their product or experience • Reassure Photos can reassure shoppers that what they Emotional Connect Shopping is typically a social experience heavily influenced by friends, family and peers. This is because people look for social proof and valida- tion that their purchase decisions have been cor- rect. Technology has not yet accurately replicated the social experience of shopping in a group, but online retailers are leveraging social features on their websites to satisfy the human need for social validation. This is seen in the ‘Amazon effect’, a term coined by Joshua Porter to explain why people start searching on Amazon before other retailers. Am- azon is not necessarily better than other stores, nor does not have the best user experience, but people choose Amazon because they provide trustworthy reviews, personal stories, and infor- mative comments about products and how they work in the real world. Providing user-generated feedback and ratings on Amazon increases trust in a product, provides social validation, and
  23. 23. 23Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 makes the purchasing decision easier for people. In fact, if Amazon personalized their feedback more by including a photo of the reviewer, the feedback would become more impactful and convincing. Spending money is a stressful experience for people and online retailers have a limited ability to manage this. Therefore it is essential that they look at every aspect of the user experience to convert hesitant browsers to relaxed buyers. References • Rooger Dooley, Neuromarketing, Available at • Jonah Lehrer, The Neuroscience of Groupon, Wired, September 8 2011 • Smashing Magazine, Best of Smashing Magazine, 2011 • Smashing Magazine, How to Create Selling E-Commerce Websites, 2011 • Smashing Magazine, Typography: Getting the hang of web typography, 2011
  24. 24. Social Spaces Graffiti, Buenos Aires 24Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Although often considered an act of vandalism and a visual blight, graffiti has emerged as self-expression in the form of street art in public spaces. Its history goes back to scribbled, scratched and chalked writing or drawings on monuments from Ancient Greece and Roman Empire, and most famously in Pompeii, Italy. Collaboration has played a vital role in the development of graffiti art in Buenos Aires. This is due to the collaborative nature of artists who value each others’ art and their visual representations of society.
  25. 25. July - September 2011 |Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 25 Nothing beats sales as an ROI metric, but social platforms can also play a key role Written by Manu Prasad Social + e-Commerce ≠ Social Commerce Pardon Social Commerce for being 2011’s buzz- word, but someone had to apply social platforms to actual business before it died a fad’s prema- ture death. After all, few would remember the early history of social and e-commerce. If I asked you who originated a patent titled ‘Social Net- working System’ in 2004, filed for it in 2008 and received it in 2010, wouldn’t you just say Face- book? Wouldn’t you also stare at the one poor nerd who said ‘Amazon’? But indeed, Amazon owns it, thanks to PlanetAll, probably the inter- net’s first social network, acquired by Amazon in 1998 (the same year it acquired IMDb), and shut down in 2000 after Amazon ‘integrated the key e-commerce features of PlanetAll’. Indeed, a few years later, Amazon would pioneer user reviews, a feature that has endured despite controversies, and is probably the forgotten proof of commerce liking social even before the latter even got itself a name. However, this was before Zuckerberg made a mark in our lives and in an age when going be- yond 140 characters did not automatically mean reframing the communication. Thanks to the ubiquity achieved by these and other networks, the corporation became interested and decided to use it for its prime directive – sales. It became even more of a mantra for the ever increasing tribe of e-commerce sites because in terms of proximity to social media, they had trumped their brick and mortar counterparts on the original fourth P – Place. From ensur- ing that each product display had a ‘Like/Share/ Tweet’ broadcast button to using plug and play f-commerce solutions and taking Dell’s name in vain in the context of sales on Twitter, sales was deemed only a click away from social media. A Gartner report suggests that by 2015, compa- nies will generate 50% of their web sales via so- cial presence and mobile applications, so there’s Social Commerce nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but it quite belies the potential that social media offers e-commerce. For when the consumer moves from read/listen to discover/create/share/connect/ curate, then, virtual or real, across the organisa- tion’s functions, new competencies and process- es need to be evolved to factor in this transition in consumption patterns. At a fundamental level, all activities of the e-com- merce venture can be clubbed into either acqui- sition or retention. If we expand this further, we would get a typical marketing funnel (above, from Booz Co.’s report ‘Turning “Like” To “Buy”’) and the various activities therein. It is easy to see how social media can play a part at each level of the consumption process. From establishing the brand as a thought leader in its domain using multiple social publishing and distribution tools, to using consumers’ social graphs to create more engagement contexts, to involving the user in ex- perience design as well as advocacy on various platforms, the possibilities can only grow as more social platforms arrive and the consumer usage increases. The only thing that’s missing in that chart is culture, which, as Zappos has showed, can become a strategic difference maker. So, here are a few examples of how social has found use beyond sales.
  26. 26. 26Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Twitter Practically every brand is now on Twitter, so rather than give examples I’d like to draw your attention to this excellent use by ASOS where it showcases stakeholders in the fashion industry. Facebook Similarly, it’d be difficult to find a brand that’s not active on Facebook, so I’ll point you to Burberry’s Facebook exclusive for the launch of Burberry Body. It’s to be noted that fashion brands are now understanding the nuances of communication with regards to gender and are promoting content accordingly. Instagram A lot of fashion brands use the Instagram plat- form but Rebecca Minkoff (which also sells on- line) actually used photos by fans in a print ad. Brand In terms of brand building and content creation, some of the best examples belong to the fash- ion industry. Though guilty of being a little slow on the uptake when it came to utilising social platforms, they wasted no time in redeeming themselves, when they got the hang of it. Aided by their online sales capabilities, they created/ex- tended their brand story across platforms, to the extent that now, fashion magazines are getting into commerce. Tumblr Tumblr, already popular as a quick’n’easy blog- ging service with a sense of aesthetics, had its fashion quotient increased by the likes of Oscar PR Girl, TopShop, DKNY PR Girl and many many more. Others like ASOS, Mr.Porter, and Macy’s chose to build their own blog homes. Burberry’s Art of the Trench is a success worth mentioning too. YouTube With bucket loads of video content – photo shoots, ramp walks, behind the scenes and so on, it wasn’t difficult to see that YouTube would be a destination too. HM, FCUK are a couple of examples, and Ikea has done a wonderful job of integrating an interactive experience with its brand story and sales channel. Foursquare Even a (real) location based service can be use- ful. If Jimmy Choo’s Catch-A-Choo trainer hunt on Foursquare or Topshop’s SCVNGR play can’t be taken as e-commerce examples, we can step outside fashion for a minute and take a look at what it did for the online sales of Domino’s last year. Google+ The official announcement of Google+ pages for brands mentioned HM, Burberry and Macy’s, and Amazon and eBay are already among the top brands there. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard style social photo sharing site, has been used to great effect by Shop It To Me, a ‘personal online shopper’, to post curated styles and announce flash sales. Mobile Another major and now common platform that has been used by fashion e-commerce brands is the mobile. eBay’s Fashion App, Harrod’s iPhone app, DACE, StylishGirl, SheShops are all
  27. 27. affiliate e-commerce platform which allows users to build catalogs and share it on their social net- works. Swedish interior design retailer Lagerhaus has created a distributed pop up shop (usually seen on Facebook brand pages) widget for blogs. ASOS has used gamification – allowing users to jump the queue – for its Sale Preview. But in UK, there is an entire game platform named Fantasy Shopper in which users can make spend fantasy currency in real world shops, and convert it into a real buy with one click. Gamification also finds its uses in retention, something that Bluefly is test- ing, in partnership with Badgeville. examples, as is Louis Vuitton’s HTML5 optimised online magazine – Nowness. Tablets And while smartphones do drive traffic to e-com- merce sites, the iPad and tablets are on their way to trump them. An eMarketer study indicates that 41% of users have bought an iPad for shopping. The Gilt Groupe, GAP, Gucci have already made successful forays. Product Remember Levi’s friends store? Building social plugins into the products for shares and recom- mendations is nothing new, and every e-com- merce player from Amazon downwards has done it. Nor are virtual dressing rooms a new phenom- enon, but when the two are combined, as jcpen- ney’s augmented reality dressing room did last year, it can be quite a cool tool. Similarly personalisation is another area where a lot of brands have made advances. But there are those like Wet Seal, which have combined that with social media to good effect. Far away from fashion, Domino’s does personalisation with great pizzazz on an iPad app. It allows users to make a pizza onscreen, makes a game out of it, and then lets them share their score on social networks. ModCloth pioneered the use of crowds in inventory planning back in 2009 with its Be The Buyer program and then amped it with social media tools. When social is considered outside of known me- dia platforms, there are several communities like Kaboodle that make great use of social shopping. It is not really social media, but eBay has been using physical stores and QR codes to promote online sales for a while now. Tesco has been experimenting in South Korea on this front too. Sales In addition to vanilla social commerce, there are other options being explored too. Shopcade is an The Community Formerly Known As Customers Zappos is legendary for utilising social tools to advance its core customer centric culture. Dell, on the other hand has, for several years now, been involving the consumers in shaping their brand with the Direct2Dell blog, twitter accounts, Ideastorm. Best Buy’s Twelpforce is one of the many other brands that use Twitter to address customer concerns. But it goes beyond that and opens itself up to consumers with their CMO’s blog, partnering with MOFilm for user generated advertising last year, and launching BBYOpen (earlier Remix) that allows developers to create applications based on its data. Platforms like GetSatisfaction and BazaarVoice cite many examples of e-commerce brands using social media to address concerns, amplify positive reviews, help create customer champions, and increase sales and brand equity. Conclusion Going forward, social will become ubiquitous, and thus e-commerce sites would need to build mechanisms that weave in social externally - across consumer touch points, both real and virtual - and internally across functions. Social is creating disruptions across domains, but consid- ering their relative age, e-commerce sites have the best chance of transcending it, simply by utlising their natural advantage.
  28. 28. Social Spaces Burning Man, Nevada 28Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Burning Man is an experimental community that assembles every year at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week. It floudishes for one week and leaves without a trace. The community, which has expanded to more than 50,000 in the last 25 years, is dedicated to art, self-expression and self-reliance. Music, guerrilla street theatre and performances are a common sight at Burning Man.
  29. 29. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 29 Typically people associate currencies with money. However, the rise of the social web and social rewards means that people and companies are thinking more inclusively about what money is and how people will pay for products and services. Since the introduction of the credit card in the 1950s society has become more credit dependent. Advancements in technology and payment processes point towards the increasing digitization of money and probably a cashless future. Similarly, virtual currencies may evolve beyond the online world and be viewed as a vi- able currency in the real world for purchasing real world products. Money will no longer be the only kind of currency we use. Virtual Currencies MMORPGs Online gaming has been a key driver for virtual currencies. The purchase of virtual goods started with massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft. These have a large fanbase of millions of players per day that readily buy in-game virtual money and goods, such as armour, weapons or in-game fireworks. Over the years transactions involving game-specific currencies in MMORPGs have grown to hundreds of millions of dollars. Social games Although virtual worlds like Second Life and MMORPGs have historically driven the growth in virtual goods, today the fastest growing seg- ment is social games, such as Zynga’s Farmville, particularly on Facebook. This growth has been achieved by leveraging social features in games that encourage players to share, collaborate and communicate their progress and achievements with friends and fellow players. This has been hugely successful: according to research by the NDP Group, 1 out of every 5 Americans over the age of 6 has played a social game at least once, The evolving definition of currencies from cash, credit, and virtual to identity and reputaion Written by Diarmaid Byrne Breaking The Banks Social Commerce of which 35% have no previous social gaming ex- perience. The average social gamer is a 43 year old woman. In fact, the biggest competitor for the attention of social gamers is TV and soap operas. Research by Mashable found that: • $2.2 billion was spent on virtual goods in 2009 and this is expected to rise to $6 billion in 2013 • 58% of virtual currency purchases are in the range of $10-50; and 9% are more than $50. • 53% of players in the UK and US have earned and/or spent virtual currency in a social game • 83% of social gamers in the UK and US have purchased a virtual gift • 28% of social gamers have purchased virtual currency with real world money Facebook Credits As most social games are played on social networks they represent a lucrative new revenue channel for social networks. In the case of Face- book, rather than relying on advertising revenue they have begun to monetize their users via vir- tual goods and virtual currency in social games. Until recently in-game payments had been made by using a credit card or PayPal account, but in early 2011 Facebook announced that all Face- book game developers will be required to
  30. 30. 30Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Digitization Of Money The credit card was introduced in the 1950s, and since then banks and credit card companies have built proprietary systems that handled over $3 tril- lion in transactions in 2010. Credit cards funda- mentally changed the way people used money, making it easier to buy products, but with a high cost for retailers. Along with a monthly fee for the credit card reader that registers purchases, retail- ers also have to pay transaction fees to the credit card companies. MasterCard, for example, have 243 types of fees with the highest rate at 3% and a process time of 1-3 days. Entrepreneurs have viewed this payment process as inefficient and saw an opportunity to innovate a quicker and more user-friendly way to complete payments. The internet and online retail present- ed them with this opportunity. PayPal The first major innovation in improving the flow of money was PayPal. It started out as a tool to complete credit card payments online without customers having to provide credit card informa- tion to different retailers. Essentially they were an online credit card company charging retail- ers a percentage of every transaction from the customer’s bank account to the retailer’s bank account. PayPal used communication systems for digital transactions, by-passing contact with banks or credit cards. Users could also keep their funds within their PayPal accounts, and make purchases with other PayPal users without involving banks or paying their fees. As a result PayPal were able to charge lower transaction fees and transfer money more quickly than banks and credit card companies. PayPal were able to undercut the traditional bank middlemen and innovate by streamlining the transaction process. More recently they opened up their platform and gave the ability to move money to engineers and entrepreneurs who are attacking the ecosystem that banks and credit card companies built. This has allowed people to build payment applications like Twitpay and ShopSavvy and leave regulatory and risk-man- agement issues to PayaPal. Square As PayPal became a common method of pay- ment for online purchases, and more people buy intangible goods and services, the more comfort- able they have become paying with digital money and virtual currencies. Similarly, as people have evolved the way they buy items, they also evolve how they pay for them. Even though services like process payments only through Credits from July 1, 2011 with Facebook retaining 30% of all revenue earned through Credits. Credits are a simplified system to pay for ser- vices and goods inside Facebook. They can be purchased in numerous currencies and work across different apps rather than being tied to a specific one. The major benefit for users is con- venience of not needing to enter credit card or PayPal details every time they make a payment for in-game goods. Credits are typically used for purchase of in- game goods on social games on Facebook, but brands are experimenting with them for other pur- chases; in March 2011 Warner Brothers accepted payments for movie streaming in Credits on their Facebook page. This type of initiative works as there is a fast-growing number of people comfort- able with and excited about making payments in virtual currencies. Just as Facebook rolled-out ‘Like’ and Open Graph to other sites, there is no reason to think that they won’t introduce Credit payments also. The commerce experience has been personal- ized with Open Graph up to the point of transac- tion, so what is to stop retailers from allowing Facebook to complete the transaction also? Currently gamehouse are testing purchases with Credits along with the usual options of PayPal and credit and debit cards. If this is successful, Facebook will surely look to expand Credits to other sites, especially online retailers, and estab- lish partnerships with brick-and-mortar brands for people to spend and earn Credits in the real world. An interesting hint of where this could go is the partnership between American Express and Zynga established in November 2010 to allow cardholders to redeem their card-based reward points to buy limited edition virtual goods in Zynga’s games. As the line between the virtual world and the real world increasingly blurs, so the line between virtual and traditional transactions will also blur. The first sign of this virtual-real world crossover was Facebook’s partnership with MOL Global in July 2010 to allow people to buy Credits at MOL- connected stores. This was significant in that it al- lowed people can spend real cash to buy Credits that they can spend on virtual goods and services on Facebook. This allows Facebook to expand Credits to users who do not use credit cards or who prefer pre-paid plans. Facebook also started selling Credits gift cards in Target, Walmart and BestBuy stores from October 2010.
  31. 31. Square require users to be authenticated and linked to a bank or credit card company like Pay- Pal, they promise next day payment for retailers with a cheaper transaction fee than credit card companies. Eventually they want to create an open system that allows users to exchange mon- ey instantly without middlemen charging fees. Square have designed the payment process to be far more simple and user-friendly. The most recent update - Card Case - introduced a virtual card case that users fill with ‘cards’ of retailers they purchase from who use Square. The cards provide users with store location and contact information, menu or services, and purchase history and receipts. Most interestingly they give users the ability to pay by telling the cashier their name at the check-out without swiping a card or using the phone. Google Wallet Google have also been pushing virtual payments with Google Wallet. An alternative to Square, Google Wallet is a prepaid virtual card that ties in to the near field communication (NFC) sys- tem built into Android phones. It allows users to pay for products by tapping their phone against a compatible card reader in stores. Users can either link their credit card to the Wallet app, which will then directly transfer money from their account to the retailer, or they can top-up funds on a prepaid card with funds from credit or debit cards. Like with Square’s Card Case, Wallet us- ers can also connect loyalty cards to the app. What services like PayPal, Wallet and Square are pointing towards is a future of digital money with people and retailers less reliant on cash, banks and credit card companies for processing transactions. Both Google Wallet and Square reduce the cost of business for retailers and make payment easier for customers. They are also reducing the interaction between people and banks. It is not difficult to imagine that payments will move away from credit card companies to prepaid cards that re-fill a customer’s Wallet or Square account, or payments that are added to a monthly phone bill, or possibly even real world payments with Facebook Credits. In November 2011 Fast Company charted the likelihood of who will succeed in the battle to control mobile payments, predicting that tech titans like Google and Apple will be the most likely successors, with banks losing out early. Future Currencies In the future Facebook Credits could be just one form of currency that avoids transactions through banks and credit card companies. As the larg- est social network Facebook has a tremendous opportunity to expand Credits to other sites. ‘Like’ is already embedded on websites, Open Graph is common across many brand sites, large retailers have already built sites on Facebook, and they have a currency already in use. The major advan- tage for Facebook is that they have hundreds of millions of potential users; they would need 12% of their current 800 million users to use Credits to equal the number of PayPal account holders. Credits also look like a crucial tool to increase revenue: with more users accessing Facebook from tablets and smartphones there will be lim- ited growth in ad revenues. Looking further ahead, another potential form of currency that could emerge in the future is iden- tity currency. A recent article in BetaBeat detailed the efforts of banks to analyze social media
  32. 32. 32Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 profiles to build a better understanding of a person and determine their credit risk. Jeremiah Owyang has written about ‘social insurance rates’ based on a person’s online profile and behaviours. In the current environment the major concern is that banks and insurance companies may gather information that may be illegal for them to ask. However, it is only a matter of time before banks and insurance companies offer opt- in programs to encourage and reward behaviours that are displayed online, and the crossover of virtual currencies into the real world will begin in earnest. References • Benjamin Wallace, The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin, Wired, November 23 2011 • Daniel Roth, The Future of Money: It’s Flexible, Frictionless and (Almost) Free, Wired, February 22, 2010 • Danny Vincent, China Used Prisoners in Lucrative Internet Gaming Work, The Guard- ian, May 25 2011 • David Zax, Should Facebook Pay You? Or: How to Monetize Friends and Charge People, Fast Company, May 20 2011 • Duncan Geere, How to Run a Magazine Using Virtual Money, Wired, March 29 2011 • Eliot Van Buskirk, Facebook Makes a Play for Virtual Currency Dominance, Wired, September 20 2011 • Greg Lindsay, The First Bank of Blizzard: Are Virtual Currencies the Next Safe Havens?, Fast Company, August 9 2011 • J.P., Bits and Bobs, The Economist, June 13 2011 • Jake Perry, The Cost of Virtual Currency, World Policy Blog, September 26 2011 • Kit Eaton, Facebook-MOL Partnership Brings Virtual Credits to Real Stores, Fast Company, July 8 2010 • Kris Hansen, The New Reality of Virtual Cur- rencies, Core Banking Blog, August 22 2011 • The Future of Facebook Project, The Bank of Facebook: Currency, Identity, Reputation, Emergent by Design, April 4 2011
  33. 33. Social Spaces Heidelberg Project, Detroit 33Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Created by artist Tyree Guyton and Sam Mackey in 1986, this is an outdoor community art environment where the elements of each canvas contain recycled materials and objects from the streets. Every part of art is meant to tell a story about current issues plaguing society. It started as a political pro- tect against a deteriorating neighbourhood and evolved into its present form.
  34. 34. 34Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 My husband and I don’t own a TV. And we don’t plan to own one anytime in the future. We both grew up with TVs in the house but had relatively low-tech active childhoods revolving around playing in streets and backyards, sports teams, reading, and general playing with friends. In the last four years that we haven’t had a TV, the only thing we miss it for is watching sports but are still very happy with our decision because of the extra time we get to do a lot of other things, especially reading. Our childhoods were not that dissimilar to our parents’, but thanks to technology, our children’s childhoods will be very different from our own. It’s almost as if a huge digital wave has transformed childhood in the span of one generation. Even though we don’t have a TV, our children (when we have them), will have a childhood drastically influenced by technology of other kinds - comput- ers, tablets, smartphones - things we ourselves rely upon heavily for our work and access to en- tertainment and news. This is also classified as screen time and there has been a lot of debate around exposure to screens for children, espe- cially babies. All my research on this issue points towards the policy statement from the American Association of Pediatrics that strongly frowns upon all screen time in general. This is especially for babies under two because their cognitive development differs from babies over the age of two, though children over two should not be exposed to more than an hour or two of screen time either. The AAP’s original policy statement from 1999 strongly recommended against exposure to screens originally based around television, which is still the primary way children are exposed to screens. The updated policy that was released on 18th October 2011 uses the word media even though most of the references are to Television and video. Dr. Ari Brown of the AAP admits that The influence of TV and other digital screens in the lives of babies today Babies On A Digital Media Diet Written by Payal Shah Social Consumer there was not enough research done to have a stand on interactive digital media. After twelve years of research, one would think they would have had a chance to consider all the alternate screens that exist. It is somewhat understandable that tablets were not included, but unaccept- able that the research doesn’t include computer screens! Truth is not much research has been done to find out the benefits or disadvantages of using digital media on under-2s. However, it is worth considering that the AAP is right about using electronic media of any sort, TVs, DVD players, computers, video games, tablets, smartphones, etc as digital baby sit- ters. While it can be completely understandable to leave a baby unsupervised in front of any of these for 30 minutes so that a busy parent can catch up on work emails or make dinner, it is something that should be avoided entirely. Leaving babies with digital pacifiers means that interaction with these devices is reduced and static viewing increases. Static viewing is what becomes a barrier to learning and increases the risk of ADD, Autism, aggression and violence, de- pression, etc., according to Dr. Jenn Berman who has dedicated a whole chapter to zero tolerance to TV in her fantastic book Superbaby. Digital babysitting happens under the guise of education. The Baby Einstein series claimed all kinds of development for babies but ended up having to recall all their DVDs because the claims were ill founded. “When children view videos, they are passive recipients of information and are not truly engaged. TV’s quick scene changes (every four seconds), disconnected images and incoherent subject matter are confusing to young children who can’t follow the content and don’t have the cognitive skills to create a narrative for the images” writes Berman in her book Superb- aby. The non-interactive screen (TV and video) undermines the development of the very claims
  35. 35. 35July - September 2011 |Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Background Hi! This is an article. As for whether or not babies should be exposed to digital media, like all things in life, moderation is key. Digital media should be limited and have a designated time allotted to it. Rules set around digital media from the very beginning help even exposure to other forms of play and learning. And while there’s nothing like playing outdoors and reading traditional books at bedtime, it does make sense to carry an iPad while traveling, as a mobile all-in-one coloring book - story book - game - activity book as long as interacting with devices doesn’t replace one-on-one, face-to-face interaction with people. In any case, reading, even on an iPad is a million times better than watching TV. that “edutainment” offers. Interactive screens however, like tablets and smartphones offer the possibility of interaction which has the potential to help with actual learning. Lets take for example a children’s picture book app like The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton - it is basically a picture book, with some interactive elements. The interaction makes sure it is not static, introduces a fun element, and sounds like popping bubbles that babies would like. The experience itself is not very different from reading a traditional picture book. The baby doesn’t have the finger dexterity to swipe or flip pages on the iPad, but doesn’t have the finger dexterity to turn pages on a traditional book ei- ther, so both have to be read with a parent. Even if a toddler read the same book everyday, as they often do, it would amount to about 5 min- utes of screen time. Children’s app developers have even created an App Manifesto where they pledge towards the contribution of overall de- velopment, not encouraging an exclusive digital media diet. Storybook apps are a great way to engage ba- bies and get them to experience more, but finding a balance between apps that are educational and recreational at the same time, traditional books and play is key. It is important not to limit other types of learning and development that hap- pens through social interaction. Introducing and instilling a love of books, irrespective of the size, shape or medium will help the babies enjoy learn- ing in any form. You can’t compare the pop-up version of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpil- lar with The Going to Bed Book on the iPad - both are fantastic and why should a baby be deprived of one over the other? They should be exposed to different books, irrespective of the medium.
  36. 36. 36Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Social Spaces Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, London As expression of free speech became more acceptable, debates could move from restricted spaces in pubs and homes to public spaces. Hyde Park, one of the Royal Parks of London, is famous for its Speaker’s Corner where open air public speaking, debate and discussions are conducted. Speakers can talk on any subject as long as it’s considered lawful by the police. Speaker’s Corner has hosted famous figures like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell, C. L. R. James, Ben Tillett, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and William Morris.
  37. 37. Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 37 The Origins A fundamental human trait is that we need pat- terns to understand and relate to the new. That is why most people find it very easy to relate to sto- ries intellectually and emotionally. Stories provide great ways to reach people and create an instant sense of connect. With the invention of stories, we bought the con- cept of heros, villains, gods, etc and established strong cultural and social bonds. The earliest recorded evidence of storytelling dates back to 35,000 year old paintings on the walls of Lascaux caves. Effective storytelling helps brands create campaigns that strengthen their customer communities Social Consumer The Power Of A Story Written by Kaushal Sarda insights into what makes a story great, and why it is a very important skill for any brand, especially in the era of social. We will also look at examples of some interesting campaigns that have used smart storytelling to gain momentum and create an impact. What Makes A Great Story? Before you start leveraging storytelling to create impactful campaigns, its important to understand the constructs of a good story. There are some important questions that need to be answered before you start. Who is the audience? What is your goal in telling your story? Are you persuad- ing someone to invest in your company? Are you trying to gain buy-in for an idea/product among your co-workers/customers? Are you trying to in- spire people to support a cause or an individual? Answering these kind of questions will help you create a crisp and hard- hitting story. Some other things you should remember when creating a story are: • Stories are about people: People always con- nect with other people. So ensure your story revolves around characters which are like real-life people • Make your characters speak: Make use of direct quotes and let your characters speak in a tone that provides an emotional connect and purpose to the story • People easily get bored: Always keep your audience engaged and interested in what’s going to happen next. You can achieve this via elements like goals, obstacles, and sur- prises in the story. • Trigger emotions: A good story has the ability to stir the audience’s emotions. The objec- tive is not to add an element of drama but to ensure that message stands out and is long remembered. • Deliver a clear meaning: When your story To the primitive man of that time, these paintings were a great way to describe the experience of a great hunt to those who did not participate and and ensure a common sense of connectedness. These story art paintings are also our first forms of visual art and narrated slideshows. Hence what this proves that even though com- munication techniques and mediums evolve, but the fundamentals of good storytelling are ancient and one of the best way of communicating a message that is clear and relatable. The objective of this article is to provide some
  38. 38. 38Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 is over the audience should know what the story was about and have a reason for taking the journey with you. Without this you have just wasted a lot of their precious time. The Role Of Storytelling In The Era Of Social The glue that binds a community - whether online or in the real world - is a strong emotional con- nection with a purpose or social object. In order for a brand to market itself effectively and to connect deeply with its community, it must have a message that clearly articulates its core values, captures the attention of that community, and makes them emotionally invested. One of the best ways to achieve this is for a brand to define its own narrative that is clear, hard hitting, and aligned to their values and vision. Brands should try to augment their ability to tell a great and consistent story with technology ad- vancements in real-time communication, location based services, and augmented reality to create an impact at the right moment. They should then use social media to provide customers with tools to share stories, and contribute their own relevant experiences. One key advantage of the social era is that brands now have the ability to aggregate user- stories that reiterate their message and add credibility. However, this also means that busi- nesses must constantly monitor any conversation about the brand as consumers co-author their own stories, augment any positive exchanges, and publicly acknowledge and learn from nega- tive ones. Social Campaigns That Leverage Storytelling To make all of this more relevant, let’s look at some campaigns that used smart storytelling to create value for the brand and achieve great suc- cess. Make A Wish Facebook campaign The Make A Wish created a Season of Wishes Facebook application. The app shared a stream the stories of children who participated in the foundation’s program. There were videos and photos associated with most stories. Users had provisions to like, share, and make donations towards stories. The organizers mentioned that the approach of the campaign was not simply asking for dona- tions but to create “stronger relationships and engagement that we believe, ultimately, will lead to more donations, more volunteer support, to more referrals.” The strategy was to use social media as a channel to establish a dialogue and build relationships via powerful stories about children in the program. Urgent Evoke Urgent Evoke is an “alternate reality” genre game that was created to help empower young people all over the world, and especially in Africa, to learn about and devise creative solutions to some of their biggest problems, such as hunger, pov- erty, disease, war and oppression, water access, education, and climate change. This World Bank funded project involved par- ticipants going through a comic book storyline in which the main character would send out an “urgent evoke” message about a disaster taking place (e.g. clean water shortage, famine, etc). The players had10 weeks, in the real world, to do something that meaningfully addressed this kind of crisis through investigation, volunteering, or coming-up with solutions. They had to catalogue their work and were awarded points on this post review. Each player needed to complete and document their contribution to get access to the next “evoke”. Players who completed the whole game and won were awarded mentorships, internships, scholarships and start-up money by the World Bank. The fact that each “evoke” was represented through a comic story meant that it became more fun to learn about the problem and create a sense of urgency to contribute amongst partici- pants. This is an excellent example of a cam- paign that used creative storytelling and game
  39. 39. The initial film created a strong message that helped Tiffany excite couples to share their own stories and connect as a community around the theme of romance. The Story Of Stuff The Story of Stuff is a short animated documen- tary on the lifecycle of material goods. The docu- mentary is critical of excessive consumerism and strongly promotes sustainability. Though a much shorter documentary than Al Gore’s An inconve- nient Truth, it managed to be entertaining and still drive a strong and clear message to viewers. design to great effect. Tiffany Co. - Love is Everywhere Tiffany Co. created a microsite and iPhone app that allowed real-life couples to share their ro- mantic stories through a film or series of photos. All of these stories were compiled and placed on a map to create a unique collection of user-gen- erated romantic stories. Visitors also had access to a compendium of love tips and, in addition, information on Manhattan as the “ultimate city for falling ecstatically in love.” The campaign was kickstarted with filmmaker Ed- ward Burns’ story “Will You Marry Me?,” a short film created exclusively for Tiffany Co. The film presented a variety of couples that shared heartfelt, humorous and surprising tales of their romantic journeys. These couples were photo- graphed in New York and showcased jewelry, photographs or love letters that symbolized their life together. The duration of the film allowed it easier to be used during one class and still have time for a discussion. This helped to quickly spread it amongst teachers, who recommended it to one another as a brief, provocative way of drawing students’ attention and subsequent dialogue on the subject. Another reason why many educators say the film was a boon to them is because it helped address the gap between what textbooks said about the environment and what science has revealed in recent years. The project has been a great success, and ac- cording to the Los Angeles Times in July 2010 it had been translated into 15 languages and been viewed by over 12 million people. The film still gets actively shared and watched on social
  40. 40. 40Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 platforms like YouTube and has resulted in a lot of variants on related topics. This project is a great example of how smart and effective storytelling can not only create rapid awareness but also potentially trigger a move- ment in the era of social. Takeaway I hope this article will get brands excited about the power of storytelling and how they can use it to create campaigns that strengthen connections with and within their customer communities. Reference Links • About the Evoke Game, Evoke • Andy Smith, The Power of Storytelling, The Dragonfly Effect, October 6 2010 • David Cohen, Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Facebook Campaign Tells Stories, All Facebook, December 21 2011 • Lascaux, Wikipedia • Lauren Fisher, Social Media has Evolved into the Art of Storytelling, and we Must all Become Masters of it, Simplyzesty, Novem- ber 20 2011 • Lauren Indvik, Tiffany Co. Releases User- Generated Map of World’s Romantic Mo- ments, Mashable, June 1 2011 • Leslie Kaufman, A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’, New York Times, May 10 2009
  41. 41. July - September 2011 | Social Spaces High Line Park, New York 41July - September 2011 |Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 The High Line was a disbanded freight line above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side in New York. It was re-opened in stages from 2009 as a park and social space for public events. It also includes four venues that can be rent- ed. The enchanting beauty of High Line is how it brings together the tranquil- lity of nature amidst the busy city, and merges history with new architecture.
  42. 42. 42Social Technology Quarterly | Volume 1 Issue 3 Written by Kshitiz Anand Life in the times of the information economy Social Media Fatigue Social Consumer Understanding The Why Information as the building block for social media platforms In my opinion one of the key influencers of the social media phenomenon centers on the word ‘information’. An article first published in 1995 highlighted advances in computers and data networks that will create a future “information economy’’ in which everyone will have access to gigabytes of information anywhere and anytime. Ten years from now we may find the economic institutions of the information economy a similarly unremarkable part of our day-to-day life. I would like to believe that social media is a direct consequence of this information economy, and its main drivers are the terms ‘informational activity’ and the ‘information industry’. Information can be of different kinds. It can be functional, instruc- tional / actionable, recreational, motivational, confidential, philosophical, knowledgeable, etc. Each type of information created can be either short-lived or for a certain period of time. It can be valuable or useless. It can be global or local. It can be created bit by bit or it can be shared. In the era of social media and social networks, this information is created at a rate faster than ever before. People are now the champions of creating information. Amateurs to professionals across all age groups are creating information. Practically anyone with an access to technology has the power to create information that can be shared and consumed. Emails, tweets, and social network updates are best when they are con- sumed fresh, and with the rise of technology plat- forms that ensure a 24x7, seamless experience, we end up consuming more than we can handle. Social networks and social media platforms are the facilitators of this information dissemination and promoters for information exchange. How- ever, we should understand that consuming We live in interesting times. Did you know that many people now access their Facebook profile first thing in the morning? And some people find it difficult to communicate with others because they are not social media savvy. An interesting infographic titled “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds” highlighted that over the course of the last ten years the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to a staggeringly short 5 seconds. People around the world spend close to 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month, make over 1.6 billion search queries per day on Twitter, and post 250 million tweets per day (Oct 2011). These are huge numbers! In such times, there ought to be better strategies for social media engagement for individuals as well as business. Almost as prevalent as blind social media evangelism is the level of fatigue and ennui around it.
  43. 43. information takes energy. It is this excessive con- sumption of energy that causes fatigue. The Nobel laureate economist Herbert A. Simon puts it nicely: “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. Tech- nology for producing and distributing informa- tion is useless without some way to locate, filter, organize and summarize it.” On one side there is excessive information being created, and on the other side there is only a certain amount that the brain can process and consume. This results in social media fatigue. What Is The Impact? You are being watched: from whom you follow on social networks, to what you read, to what movie you saw, to who you spend time with. It has taken over our lives. This takeover of life by social media networks is something that needs consideration. The times we live in often reminds me of the note in George Orwell’s classic 1984: Big Brother is watching you. social media and networks are the new Big Brother. Research conducted by Retrevo in March 2010 found that close to 42% of respondents accessed Facebook the first thing in the morning. The Re- trevo Gadgetology study also found that 48% of respondents say they update Facebook or Twitter during the night or as soon as they wake up, and 19% of people under the age of 25 say they update Facebook or Twitter anytime they happen to wake up during the night; 11% over the age of 25 say they do the same thing. Social media and social network sites appear to be a new set of cool tools for people to consume information, but the impact is greater than that. For example, young people use social network sites for: • Keeping in touch with friends and acquain- tances • Developing new contacts, often with friends of friends, or people with shared interests • Sharing content, engaging in self-expression and exploring their identity • Hanging out and consuming content includ- ing commercial and user-generated content • Accessing information and informal learning • Participating in informal groups and formal youth engagement opportunities People have become adept at multi-tasking across platforms. The impact is seen on our social status, on our personal self, our position in the society, and also on our productivity. Our conversations are in 140 characters or less, and videos that are under 10 minutes are used as a tool to make judgments easily. We have become more opinionated and have developed a knack for raising our voices over anything we feel is not right. We wait for acknowledgement of any infor- mation we create. All this leads to a fundamental change in the way we view and consume infor- mation. It has to be processed at a faster rate so it is natural that fatigue sets in early. Addressing Social Media Fatigue With the overload of information it is easy to be disillusioned, frustrated, and to feel lost. It becomes necessary to identify a way address it. Brian Solis noted that: “We all know very well that activity within social networking can lead to distractions. With one click, we can find ourselves hopelessly lost in a labyrinth of fascinating experiences that have nothing to do with our initial focus. Serendipity is part of the splendor of social media, but it is something that necessitates discipline to learn, entertain and be entertained, while also staying the course. In the end, we exchange time and privacy for exposure and attention. The reality is that the cost of social networking is great and without checks and balances, engage- ment can cost us more capital than we have to spend. The net result is then social and emo- tional bankruptcy. And, the most difficult part of this unfortunate state is that it is at first difficult to recognize and far more exacting to overcome. It is important for both businesses and individuals to understand this. Here are a few tips on how this can be addressed: