Interactive Data Visualization is becoming a hot trend in the interactive marketing world and the Many Eyes Website has some great examples. One in particular is the World Map of Social Networks created by user Vincos that was posted here. The link has an interactive version of the map so check it out. For the purposes of this blog post, I’ve included the image below:
How accurate is this? I’m not sure and haven’t had time to fact check what the largest social network is in Belarus. But, one thing this shows that’s definitely accurate is how fast MySpace fell off the global map and how quickly Facebook has risen to global dominance. This is also accurately reflected in recent Compete stats (as my compadre Jack pointed out):
What is also apparent (and disturbing) is that in this 21st century world, we still have many countries in Africa that are not connected and are getting left behind in this latest social media / internet revolution…
As a child, growing up in suburban Washington D.C., I can remember some of the rules we were taught to avoid predators. Sure, there are the obvious ones like don’t talk to strangers, but there were also the less obvious ones (at least to me as a child) like “don’t wear jerseys or athletic jackets with your name on it, because predators could pretend to know you.” Predators, it seemed, were everywhere and they wanted to do terrible terrible things to me. Then the news came out that statistically, a predator is most likely to already know the child (and vice versa). Thanks to my neurotic family, I grew up fearing everyone.
As I watched social networking take hold (in particular Twitter), and people become more and more comfortable with putting essentially their entire lives online, my old neurosis started to twitch a bit. But what about the predators? Of course, MySpace and Facebook have a documented history of working to keep registered Sex Offenders off their networks. Sadly though, I think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The first time my radar seriously went up, was a few months back when @SuzyWelch (author and wife of former Super-CEO Jack Welch) tweeted about where she and Jack were going that night. Mind you, for Twitter, that type of content is very much in the “norm”. Now, perhaps the fact that I had recently seen a Discovery Channel show (or maybe it was on National Geographic) about how successful executives are targets for kidnappers influenced my immediate thinking. Or, perhaps it was because the last six movies in my Netflix queue had been Die-Hard-esque type action movies. None the less, my immediate thought was: wow, that is some risky behavior. Since then, I’ve always been somewhat amazed that there hasn’t been a Twitter related tragedy. I mean, if 30 million or so people use the site, statistically, some of them have to be d-bags.
Then, this week, two things caught my eye that point towards the fact that the d-bags are starting to feel safe, and starting to get active. The first, was an article on Mashable about a man who tweeted that he was leaving town on vacation, and also tweeted details during his trip. When he came back, his house had been burglarized (or is it “burgled”?). Coincidence? Potentially, but still… it should be enough to give you pause. The second example, I watched unfold in my Twitter stream this morning. A woman I follow Tweeted about an upcoming trip to a city in Canada. Soon after, she evidently received a private direct message from a follower telling her that he wanted to “F@*k her” while she was in town. She didn’t actually know this person, not in the “real world”. And, her subsequent Tweets clearly articulated how violated she felt. She even cancelled her trip because of this guy’s douchery.
So, what’s the moral of this post? Should we all dump our social networking profiles? No, of course not. But the examples above should serve as a wake up call to all of us. Nearly all of us have been guilty of being too comfortable online, too trusting. Protect your info people. Be cognizant of who (potentially) has access to it, and what they can do with it if they have a predatory mindset. The items you tweet are out there, for public consumption. What additional information can people find out about you with a few strategic Google searches? Sadly, we all have to err on the side of caution these days. If your tweet gives you even a moments pause, just don’t send it. The technology is out there, and we can’t rely on the Twitters, Myspaces, and Facebooks to completely protect us. Quite simply, they can’t. There needs to be some personal responsibility.
So, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I came across two quotes about innovation this week while reading various online articles. They come from a couple of tech company CEOs, and the fundamental differences in philosophy stood out to me so I thought I would share:
“If you don’t continue to innovate people are going to shift interest elsewhere. We need to continue to innovate a lot more rapidly than we have been.” – Owen Van Natta, CEO, MySpace
“You can’t plan innovation or inspiration, but you can be ready for it, and when you see it you can jump on it and you can make a difference.” – Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google
So, any wonder why Google is taking over the world and MySpace is seemingly praying that their freefall stops on its own? Myspace’s philosophy is all very “Office Space”. You can almost hear Van Natta around the office: “Yeah, um, I’m gonna need that innovation on my desk tomorrow at 9 a.m. sharp. Mmmmkay?”
Now, in all fairness, Van Natta is new to the MySpace gig, but I think Google’s track record speaks for itself. In my opinion, trying to mandate innovation just breeds fear and paranoia in an organization. Even if the end result is a product that’s “okay”, you truly don’t end up getting the best out of your employees/teammates. You don’t get true innovation. You get… “usable stuff”. But what do you think? Can corporations successfully mandate innovation, or are they better served creating an environment/culture that’s conducive to innovating?
So, it seems the stigma attached to online dating is slowly fading away. If you are an active member of an online dating site, odds are you no longer feel the need to “hide your shame” from friends and family. Twitter even has a third party dating application now, Flirt140 (although the consumer need for this app is highly debatable). Let’s face it, if you’ve been single any time recently, you’ve probably checked out an online dating site (or at the very least had a nosy family member suggest that you do so). Maybe you didn’t stick around, or maybe you let your membership lapse rather quickly, but the point is you’ve been to one. 10s of Millions of people use one every month. The fact of the matter is, no matter who you are, or what you’re looking for, there’s a dating site for you. I mean, even if you are looking to have an affair, there’s a site (but not an app) for that! Classy!
One dating site that impresses me is Plenty Of Fish. Now, I don’t find it impressive because I tried it and met the love of my life, or because the site’s design/functionality is unparalleled. Because none of that is true. Other than a cursory visit to check it out, I’ve never actually utilized the site. And, the fact of the matter is it’s uglier than all hell. No, the reason I like it is because it’s free for the consumer and still makes the guy that runs it, Markus Frind, $10 million a year. Oh, and he only works 10 hours a week, doesn’t spend a dime on advertising, and has just one employee. Talk about living the dream. Those numbers, naturally, caught my eye and got me thinking. This guy has a license to print money and he’s not even really trying. There’s got to be a crapload of money in online dating. Right?
Match.com, eHarmony, etc… these are all substantial businesses or business units. So my question is this: Why haven’t MySpace and Facebook created safe, gated, dating environments on their sites? Now, I’m not talking about facilitating the shady stuff that goes on everyday on those sites. I’m talking legitimate safe communities that would compete with the Match.coms of the world. Communities where people can pick and choose which of their content (that they’ve already uploaded) they want to port over to their “dating profile”. There are definitely ways for MySpace and Facebook to make these “dating extensions” safe, and allow users to keep their anonymity. And this seems to me like a natural extension of what these social networking sites already do. Plus, it could bring in some additional revenue to boot… What do you think, should MySpace and Facebook get into the online dating game? Could it help “save” MySpace?
So, this probably isn’t a shock, but it looks like both Facebook and Twitter continued their impressive growth in April. Facebook hit 104 million domestic visitors (going over 100 million for the first time), and Twitter came in at just under 20 million uniques (19.4 million). Myspace on the other hand, while still having a huge population (55.4 Million), once again failed to see the growth of the other two social media darlings. It will be interesting to see if Twitter can maintain this pace once all the media attention subsides and things “get back to normal”.
I am not a screaming teenage girl (i.e. the Jonas Brothers’ fan profile), but I WILL be checking out the Jonas Brothers + UStream event on Facebook tomorrow night at 5PM PST. This is the first time Facebook has really done something exciting and innovative in the music space, and if successful, MySpace might as well just kiss their community goodbye. So, what are those brothers doing tomorrow from 5-6PM? Well, it is going to be the premiere episode of a series of four live webcasts (May 7, 21, 28, and June 4) and they are planning to debut their latest song titled “Paranoid” live using Ustream! Remember UStream? Matt was the first to blog about it, and we are all convinced of its superiority in the interactive online video space…as is Ashton Kutcher and Punk’d.
Naturally, this live stream will be accompanied by live Facebook chatting (think Barack Obama inauguration), and I for one am very excited to see how smoothly all of this pans out.
The Jonas Brothers’ got themselves the best management and marketing team. They are managed by their dad and Johnny Wright, and marketing I assume is done by Hollywood Records, their label. Whoever these marketing gurus are, they are totally on top of their game – the brothers are present on every social media platform you can think of. They are on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, iLike, and bebo.They are also on Wikipedia, and have a comedy series on the Disney Channel.
Poor MySpace…the only thing they have had left is was their music community…
Why is this the first time I’ve heard about Shopflick?! I love to shop, but always do it in-person because I enjoy the experience: seeing, touching, trying on, and viewing in the mirror at all angles. I don’t enjoy shopping online, because more often than not, I find myself returning clothes that looked great in the thumbnail picture shown on the site, but awful on me. Shopflick is the first retail site I’ve experienced that really does a great job at meshing the in-person experience with the online experience.
You can go to Shopflick to browse through very funky, cool clothes. (Yes, even men!) It is not unlike any other retail e-commerce site at first: select a section, click on a thumbnail image of one that looks good to you, and view a detail page about that item. Normally, however, the detail pages on other retail e-commerce sites contain just a single photo with a short text description. Sometimes you can view additional close-up photos and/or change the color of the item. Shopflick takes it to the next level!
When you click on a thumbnail in Shopflick, you are taken to a detail page that will contain the photo, and a “Meet the Designer” video. This video isn’t super high quality, but I think that is part of its beauty. It is a very personal video in which the designer(s) speak to you about their product line and what they try to achieve with their clothing line. It really gives you a feeling that you know the designer personally, and by understanding the craft behind the creation, there is sure to be a higher sell-thru. (Would be interested to find some stats on this!) These videos are short and sweet, encouraging you to watch all the way through. Also, on some of the products, if there is other footage on the specific product you’ve selected, it is included so you can view the item on an actual person from all angles. I am really impressed by Shopflick’s video integration because it is very compelling to a shopper like me, and doesn’t look expensive to make. (i.e. possibly shot on a handheld digital camera!)
The site also encourages you to join the community, where you can save favorite items, post comments/feedback, and even become a seller within the community. The list of designers featured on Shopflick is respectable and quite long! There is also a “Videos” section that contains series of webisodes such as Hall of Style and Kitchen Couture.
I first read about Shopflick on Mashable, and now I can’t get myself off this page. I’m sure to buy a thing or two before the day ends. Because I liked their video integration so much, I thought I would explore what Shopflick is doing in terms of social media. Sure enough, they are up to date, with a Facebook page, a YouTube page, and even a MySpace page! The YouTube page features the “Fashion Designer Series” and other various fashion videos. Nothing too fancy here, but in my eyes, very innovative in the retail web space.
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.