Google rocks the launch of their Chrome browser with 11 Short Films on YouTube. The shorts highlight the browser’s features with a unique interpretive presentation that captures the attention of the Internet generation. They are fine examples of a smart and stimulating way to educate and entertain.
Starting every Thursday, I’ll be posting up and coming Beta sites that seem interesting, cool, and innovative in their own ways. To kick it off, I want to introduce everyone to INDABA MUSIC.
“Indaba Music is an international community of musicians, music professionals, and fans exploring the creative possibilities of making music with people in different places.”
Being a music lover like myself as well as a fellow musician, I was intrigued in what Indaba Music had to offer. Indaba Music brings musicians from all over the world together to create musical art with no limits. I understand that creating music with others in a room is an experience like no other, however, this takes music creation to another level by using key social media elements the web has to offer. Not only does it allow users to share their music, but a user can save their musical sessions online for other artists (who are part of the community) to view and edit. I think that is amazing…
Create musical sessions online with other musicians from around the world
Create a personal profile, blog, share music and photos
Search through your gmail, yahoo, & aol email accounts to see if your friends are a part of Indaba Music
Watch & post to music sessions
Get hired for musical projects
Featured “Artist Spotlight”
Forums & groups
Chat & join rooms with other musicians or virtual band members
Live and digital global musical events
Musical contests such as PBS: The Music Instinct, John Legend Remixes, The Stephen Colbert Challenge, and others…
If you are style challenged or just don’t have the time, I present to you the Trunk Club. Personally it’s hard for me to find the time to shop for clothes, let alone wanting to deal with traffic and navigating through malls or promenades. I’m more of a tee shirt and shorts guy or a what ever is in my closet mix and match guy. When I have an event or a client meeting I either resort to what I have or I run out and do a 5-minute shopping drive-by. That is why when I heard of the Trunk Club I was excited at the prospect of someone taking care of my wardrobe hassles and freeing up time.
The Trunk Club provides you with a personal clothing expert that will recommend, find and deliver your wardrobe needs based on your style. First you apply, then you connect with your personal Trunk Club Expert via webcam. You share your jive with your expert and off they go to make you top dog in whatever it is you are into. No hassles, they ship the hand picked clothing to you and whatever you don’t like you ship back. Of course, you pay for what you keep.
If you don’t have the coin to hire a personal assistant, using webcams to simplify your shopping experience is a great idea. Considering the rise in do-it-yourselfers in our current depression, I’m curious as to how well this service will do. If they tap the right market I’m sure they will reach the light on the other side of the storm. Time is money…
A word to the wise, this is not a full endorsement of the service. I applied yesterday, 4/28. In turn I was notified that I would be contacted within 24hrs. As of yet, no one has contacted me. I’ll keep you posted as to how my webcam shopping experience goes in a future post.
I can recommend one thing to the guys reading this post, if you have one of the following apparel items in the pictures below, the Trunk Club is definitely for you.
With the iPhone being around for close to two years now, one might have assumed that most car companies would have a website designed for it. Typically this is not the case. The always-hip VW is one exception. They built a clean and simple site formatted to look good and work well on the iPhone. It offers some basic information about their models, a dealer locator and an “Assistance” page. Best of all – you only need to type in vw.com in the address bar. No unnecessarily complicated Urls.
The site is a very “safe” corporate approach. No risks taken. No real use of the opportunities offered by a mobile platform. The site could have been so much more if only approached from beyond the lowest common denominator of the corporate safety zone.
If the site had been developed more with consumers in mind, we might have seen:
Actual inventory lists from local dealers
User ratings of local dealerships
Useful information for current owners such as user guides or vehicle specific information
Even from a company perspective more could have been done:
Current APRs or incentives right on the home page
Dealer incentives or specials per dealer located
Build or price with options functionality
List of pre-owned inventory
Some of these items would clearly require a lot more development effort and may therefore have been too expensive given the general state of the auto industry, and the relative small size of the smart phone ownership. However, some are really low hanging fruit such as current incentives, or detailed vehicle information. Most of it exists online already. VW even has a whole section devoted to videos showing specific features of their cars. The content is there. Just use it.
Even though VW could have done more, I applaud them for at least offering something for smart phone users. Where are all the brands that call themselves technologically advanced and cutting edge? Where is Audi? BMW? Mercedes-Benz? Cadillac?
Granted, some of those companies made specific iPhone games. But how does that really benefit the consumer?
Augmented reality has made its move into the wild. From its inception to now we have seen 3D environments come to life with the GE Smart Grid and when interactive baseball players jump out of Topps cards. Today, Jack Link’s gives us the customizable Living Sasquatch.
On the Jack Link’s Living Sasquatch site you can customize emotions, actions and attacks. Just drag your selection from the player content bin, drop it on the timeline and you’re on your way to creating your personal 3D augmented reality Sasquatch. You can even add speech bubbles to ring your friend’s goat. Have him drop a groove or be your drinking partner; whatever floats your boat. If you don’t have a web cam, check out the user submitted gallery.
You’ll be saying “WOW” every time you use social media! It chops, it dices, it’s also a deep fryer that fits conveniently under your bed! Order now, and she’ll also throw in your very own widget and or viral video! Absolutely FREE! Normally a $19.99 value!
Finally! Nielsen has given us some retention rates for Twitter. I mean, Twitter’s growth has been incredibly impressive, but the real question in my mind has always been: how many of those visitors are really using the service. Twitter’s gotten more press than Obama and the Pope combined the past few months. It should have gotten a crazy amount of visitors, but are they sticking around?
In short, no. According to Nielsen “60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent.”
So, is this Second Life 2.0, as so many critics would like it to be? I don’t think so, but clearly, we’re not looking at Facebook 2.0 either. Don’t get me wrong, Twitter doesn’t need to continue it’s meteoric growth to be a sizable community and create value for (some) brands/businesses. It doesn’t need to be the biggest site ever to have value. But, can it increase it’s retention rates and subsequently grow into a real and sustainable social networking powerhouse? Can it make it to the next level? If I worked at Twitter, improving those retention rates (and a revenue stream) would be my focus.
If Twitter is to increase that retention rate they need to take control of their site, and the consumer experience. The early adopters are there, they get it, they love it. Now, this is very tricky territory. Twitter can’t butcher the experience for their most loyal users (or they will revolt, and potentially leave), but clearly, a majority of visitors are not willing to take the time to figure out where the value is in this service. Flat out, if it is going to see long term growth (if that’s even one of their business objectives), Twitter needs to become more consumer friendly. Here are a few items that I think they can immediately start working on:
Do a better job of educating the average consumer on the “why’s” and the “how’s” of Twitter. Currently, too much responsibility for figuring out why and how one should use Twitter is placed on the consumer. They are being misinformed (I mean, the Twitter home page still claims that the whole experience is about frequent answers to the question: “what are you doing?”) and asked to do too much work. Twitter knows when someone is new to the site, help them out, hold their hand and offer suggestions.
Create more intuitive tools to help people find people. Twitter is a community site. Help people create their communities. Create tools that will make it easier for people to connect and find value. As Facebook is showing us, once people begin to find that value, they’ll stick around. It doesn’t matter if individuals are on Twitter to find offline friends, to network, or to follow Oprah, the site should constantly be helping them to find value and create meaningful experiences/connections. Right now, those tools are inadequate, cumbersome, and relatively hidden.
Create clear, concise, and consumer friendly messaging, and once that’s done, stick to it and make sure your spokespeople are always on message. Right now Twitter’s messaging is all over the place, and has subsequently created confusion in the marketplace. To be honest, it’s a larger issue than I’m really willing to tackle right now, as Twitter needs to take control of their brand. Someone needs to get behind the wheel and start steering the ship.
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.