Micro is the new small. Progress, one micro step at a time.

A couple of weeks ago I attended Jeff Pulver's #140 Conference in Detroit. I have to say that it was one of the more inspired gatherings of people that I've been to in some time. The more conferences I attend the more I find that any conference with the words "social media" in the title are total crap. Same people, same thinking, no progress. I'm trying to diversify and find the other people who are doing the work.

The #140 Conference brought together storytellers who talked about how they are affecting change in the city of Detroit and the world. Two of the top presenters had something in common which I find fascinating and in both cases, revolutionary. It's the evolution of micro.

I've written about micromedia before as far back as 2007. The web has made big things small and small things big. New trends are emerging now around micro-payments, micro-fundraising and even micro-real estate. Meet "Lemonade Detroit" and "Loveland".

Lemonade Detroit:

Lemonade Detroit is a documentary film about the people who are in the city of Detroit who are not leaving and who are committed to making things better. Here is the trailer if you are interested:

The coolest part of the project, however comes in the way the filmmakers are trying to fund the film. They're allowing the public to purchase individuals frames of the film. Once purchased, that person will be listed in IMDB as an official "Producer" of the project. So, you get to help a filmmaker and get a cool bonus on the side. Such a cool way of thinking differently about raising money for a project like this.

Screen shot 2010-11-01 at 4.46.21 PM.png

Loveland Inchvesting:

Welcome to the microhood! Along the same lines as Lemonade Detroit, Loveland is trying to improve the city and allow people to invest (or inchvest) over time. Loveland is a small physical parcel of land (see map below) located at 8887 East Vernor Highway and Holcomb streets where people can purchase inches of land. Once purchased, the ownership is mapped to a digital environment where people can chat with their neighbors and form real relationships. People can earn badges, name the city and give it their own personality.
Screen shot 2010-11-01 at 4.51.16 PM.png

Screen shot 2010-11-01 at 4.51.36 PM.png

This way of thinking small can have a big impact. It's different, adds value to the community and to individuals and makes you sit back and think about the possibilities. Just think about micro funding a novel all the way up to a project to bring clean water to Africa. There are amazing possibilities that open up when conencted to mobility and mobile micropayment by SMS/RFID.

What would you do as a side project if you could? How would you change the world?

RSS_quote.pngIf you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

81B7407D-819E-4FC1-9D5F-9D777D91D6EC.jpg

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,



If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Transparency in 140 characters

iStock_000003551768XSmall.jpgOver the past couple of weeks I have seen a number of people on Twitter who seem to forget that transparency extends to micromedia platforms. I think we've been through this drill with blogs and social media profiles, but the need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

Let's take a look at the challenges that micromedia presents to marketing folks, when to disclaim, guidelines of what counts as needing disclosure and what to do.

The need for honesty and transparency does not diminish with the number of characters you type.

The challenges

There are only 140 characters: A lot of people are trying so hard to get every single word into their messages that adding a note for transparency's sake falls off the radar. Tweets look much more like text messages at this point and it's going to get worse. KNIM?

Twitter is asynchronous: People begin listening and stop listening when they want. We jump in and out of conversations. If you only disclose something one time, someone may not see it and be under a false impression. Better to be safe than sorry.

[Update] Context takes effort: The two previous issues compound the difficulty of providing context. It is more an art form than a process and everyone needs to learn for themselves. Just remember, people are reading your stream of thought over time and possibly out of order. Will they get what you're saying and know what your involvement is?

When to disclaim

When you talk about a client: If you talk about a client for any reason, in any way just add the tag [client] to the message. Yes, it's an extra eight characters, but it is highly important. The risk to not doing this is looking like an idiot to your peers and looking underhanded to the broader community.

Picture 3.pngWhen you stand to gain from what you say: Robert Scoble recently got caught "red handed" by my friend Louis Gray. Scoble mentioned the Amazon Kindle in a Twitter message (he has 20,000+ followers) and linked to Amazon using his affiliate link. Thus, any sales would give him revenue. I have no problem with him doing it, but he should have been more transparent (or naked if you will). [Note that I did not use my affiliate link.] This is relatively new to micromedia, but could be simply noted with the tag [AD]. It is still to be seen if this could be successful.

Fictional users: If a user is created in support of a campaign, it should be disclaimed when not clearly fictional. Entertainment characters like the Mad Men Twitter users would be an exception. I am sure we will see more of this in the near term.

WOMMA Guidelines

When you send a message on Twitter et. al. you are driving word of mouth. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some very good guidelines on disclosure that dovetail in nicely to new formats.
Honesty of Relationship
  • We practice openness about the relationship between consumers, advocates, and marketers. We encourage word of mouth advocates to disclose their relationship with marketers in their communications with other consumers. We don't tell them specifically what to say, but we do instruct them to be open and honest about any relationship with a marketer and about any products or incentives that they may have received.
  • We stand against shill and undercover marketing, whereby people are paid to make recommendations without disclosing their relationship with the marketer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations that state: "When there exists a connection between the endorser and the seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement (i.e., the connection is not reasonably expected by the audience) such connection must be fully disclosed."

Honesty of Opinion

  • We never tell consumers what to say. People form their own honest opinions, and they decide what to tell others. We provide information, we empower them to share, and we facilitate the process -- but the fundamental communication must be based on the consumers' personal beliefs.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding testimonials and endorsements, specifically: "Endorsements must always reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser. Furthermore, they may not contain any representations which would be deceptive, or could not be substantiated if made directly by the advertiser."

Honesty of Identity

  • Clear disclosure of identity is vital to establishing trust and credibility. We do not blur identification in a manner that might confuse or mislead consumers as to the true identity of the individual with whom they are communicating, or instruct or imply that others should do so.
  • Campaign organizers should monitor and enforce disclosure of identity. Manner of disclosure can be flexible, based on the context of the communication. Explicit disclosure is not required for an obviously fictional character, but would be required for an artificial identity or corporate representative that could be mistaken for an average consumer.
  • We comply with FTC regulations regarding identity in endorsements that state: "Advertisements presenting endorsements by what are represented, directly or by implication, to be "actual consumers'' should utilize actual consumers, in both the audio and video or clearly and conspicuously disclose that the persons in such advertisements are not actual consumers of the advertised product."
  • Campaign organizers will disclose their involvement in a campaign when asked by consumers or the media. We will provide contact information upon request.

What to do

When in doubt, disclose. If you are talking about a client or making direct profit just add a tag at the end. Don't just add it once, but each time you mention it.

Would you add anything to this?

RSS_quote.pngIf you liked this post, you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer RSS feed in your reader or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

81B7407D-819E-4FC1-9D5F-9D777D91D6EC.jpgTechnorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Twitter icon mystery revealed; early adopter advantage

Picture 2.pngThis may not be news to many of you, but it was bugging me and I had to find out authoritatively from the powers that be at Twitter. (Thanks to Alex Payne for helping me out.) Have you ever wondered how that little cluster of icons is ordered on your profile page? I've heard lots of speculation from "the top influencers are higher on the list" to "It's the order they added you as a friend".

The truth is simple. They are displayed in the order that the person joined Twitter. Early adopters have an advantage here in that many people find new people to follow by surfing through those clusters. For example, Twitter's founder @jack will be at the top of your list if you follow him. If you just joined, you may never make it unless the person who is following you isn't following many other people.

As it is possible to sort people by ID through the API, it would be a cool experiment to create a Twitter user timeline in Flash using the profile images. If you're game, take that idea and run with it!

RSS_quote.pngIf you liked this post, you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer RSS feed in your reader or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

81B7407D-819E-4FC1-9D5F-9D777D91D6EC.jpgTechnorati Tags: , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

Best and worst new Twitter services

iStock_000000997148XSmall.jpgOne of Twitter's core attributes that has helped propel its growth is its open nature and extensible architecture (the ability to build on it). Twitter's open API (click here to see my API for marketers video) makes it possible for developers to allow access to user account information from third party servers and then build upon that.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been exposed to two services that leverage Twitter and try to add value to the community by building additional services. One I loved and the other I am totally over. You be the judge.

Picture 1.pngThe worst - Qwitter At first, I thought I would like this application. Qwitter is very simple to use. You sign up online and the service looks at who is following you. Over time it tells you when somebody stops following you. Great information to know right? For me personally, I found that I was taking this personally. Qwitter would send me an email that somebody stopped following me and I had a little pang of guilt. I would think to myself, "what did I do wrong?" "How could I change this?". It wasn't healthy. So, in the end I quit Quitter. It wasn't adding value to me. If you're a masochist, go for it ;)

Now, for clients I would recommend using Qwitter. I think it's very valuable to know what messages lack resonance so the voice can be refined over time. It's part of the listening process. It's just not for me.

Picture 2.pngThe best - Mr. Tweet I heard about Mr. Tweet on, you guessed it, Twitter. (Go figure.) At the end of the day, however, it's one of the most valuable services I've found for extending the service. Mr. Tweet is also easy to use. Once you follow their username on Twitter (@mrtweet) they send you a direct message with a personal URL. Once there you have two options, 1) find people who follow you and you should be following and 2) find new people to follow. Mr. Tweet uses some influencer mapping to suggest new people to you.

The service lets you log in to your account and easily follow the people you want. They show you nice metrics like total followers, total following, total message and the follower-to-following ratio. If you're looking to extend your network in a quality manner, this is a great service.

There is room for improvement however. Mr. Tweet has a very slow/non-existent refresh rate and needs to update each time new people are added to show a new group. Showing that I already follow someone isn't that valuable to me.

I'd encourage you to try Mr. Tweet if you have time and try Qwitter if you can take the rejection.

Either way, let me know what you think!

RSS_quote.pngIf you liked this post, you can subscribe to the Techno//Marketer RSS feed in your reader or sign up to get updates FREE by email.

81B7407D-819E-4FC1-9D5F-9D777D91D6EC.jpg
81B7407D-819E-4FC1-9D5F-9D777D91D6EC.jpgTechnorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


If you liked this post, you can subscribe to the RSS feed or sign up to get updates FREE by email.