3 Top Emerging Media Trends – Calm and Curated

I don’t really like Facebook. When pressed to explain why, to myself or others, it always comes down to the feeling of utter lack of control.  Prior to the Facebook News Feed changes, announced earlier this March, updates were prioritized for me  based on my activity, leaving me no ability to customize how I wanted to see my News Feed. This is surpassed by the increasingly “creepiness” of mis-targeted advertisements that are pushed to you based on interactions within your Facebook network, regardless of whether or not the ad truly fits your lifestyle or profile. (See Jill Whiskeyman’s excellent example of being pushed babyware ads simply because she liked a photo of a57394 friend’s baby.)

There are three emerging social media trends that are intriguing to me as both a consumer and a marketer. They are the antidote to the unhinged life invasion that I call the Facebook Experience. And more inline with how I like to use the Internet, the fundamental concept of social media, and how marketers can make their products relevant in a user-controlled space.

These trends include:
1.       Calm Technology
2.       Content Curation
3.       Interest Networks
Calm Technology is the perfect remedy for technology overload.  Mashable describes calm technology as referring to applications that cut down on the digital noise of high-volume data to show the user only enough information so that he or she is able to focus on a task.  Lack of calm is why Facebook bugs me. If I only want to see updates from the fitness pages I’ve liked, for instance, I may have to wade through the latest photos of my cousin’s kids. I love my family, but it’s a distraction that takes me off the immediate task.  This is made worse when within my newsfeed are ads for brands people in my network like, but may or may not be akin to my particular tastes. Facebook’s new ability to customize news feeds is leaning more towards calm technology. Pinterest has the right idea by allowing the user to self-curate, through the creation of boards. Still I cannot fully customize the pins that appear in my feed, which is becoming increasingly frustrating as the number of boards that I follow increase.  For instance, I was invited to join a Gluten Free board, which includes dozens of other pinners. So my feed is now dominated by wheat-free recipes to the point where all other content is getting eclipsed. I have no control over it. And that is mighty frustrating. And not at all calm.

Slowing down the amount of information one receives could be counter to marketing goals. But instead of  handing marketers unlimited ability to push brand “recommendations” just because someone in my networks likes it (see Facebook), wouldn’t it be better to recommend it because I like it?  The concepts of content curation and interest networks support calm technology, and allow for marketers to more appropriately target consumers within a social network of truly shared and sometimes singular interests.

Content Curation allows the user to organize and control content. (Pinterest is a perfect example). And it works both for consumers and marketers. “By consumers posting and sharing products and photos, brands reap the benefits of SEO, social engagement and build brand awareness all in one sweet pin, explains social media columnist Macala Wright. While there may or may not be a direct sales funnel, with curation marketers have a greater ability to appear precisely where there is the greatest interest in their product.  This is evidenced by the rise of ‘social product discovery sites’, such as Buyosphere. On this site, you can float the product type that you are looking to buy to the community and ask for specific product recommendations. These inquiries appear along-side user-curated “style guides”

Interest Networks. Insidefmm.com calls interest networks “the next big thing that Silicon Valley is watching to change online user behavior.” With interest networks, “online users can tailor their experiences and interactions around things that interest them by choosing the people, brands and products they’re connected to.” This notion of interest networks is so intuitive to me that I am surprised it’s still an emerging trend. But when you consider the most popular social media sites today, none are singularly focused, and most don’t make it easy to segment multi-interests around a shared, social experience. In beta test mode now is http://chime.in/, which allows the user to select specific interests, such as music or movies, and tap into a global social community for discovery, recommendations and sharing. This makes more sense to me as people in my Facebook network may or may not share my interests. The bulk of my Facebook network are relatives, childhood friends or friends of friends, and believe it or not that’s limiting. Even with Spotify, my social discovery is somewhat limited to the musical tastes of those in my Facebook network. But there is a whole world of people out there who like the same obscure music or movies I like, that I’d like to connect with. Interest Networks allow for that. And that’s calming.

DWI — Driving while Intexticated . . . There’s Help for You

Remember when Oprah, during her final season on-air, would make each and every one of her guests pledge to never, ever text while driving? A noble effort, but who’s going to say no to Oprah …. on her show. Plus unless you’ve got Oprah in your car, chronic texters (and I know a few) aren’t likely to stick to a symbolic pledge.

Most of us know that texting while operating a car is risky behavior. In 2011, 23% of collisions were a result of distracted texting. And the five second distraction is like driving across a football field blindfolded.


Technology comes to the rescue.

In-car systems, such as TXTBlocker and cellCONTROL block text message signals when the phone is in a car. A new product called ORIGOSafe takes safety measures to another level. It forces one to dock a cell phone before the car will actually start. Removing the phone while the car is in motion triggers an alert to the system administrator, which in most cases would be a parent.

ORIGOSafe knows its market, as most chronic texters are under age 20.

Facebook’s Facelift — Too Little too Late?

Last week Mark Zuckerberg announced a new look for Facebook

Essentially the revamped look centers around the Facebook News Feed, and is designed to have the look and feel of a customized newspaper or magazine. For instance, A “switcher” tool bar on News Feed lets  one switch to different sections, as they would the sports or life section in a paper. It’s also more visual with larger photos and video feeds. Zuckerberg’s three goals are to provide.

  • Rich Stories
  • Your Choice For Feeds
  • Consistent Experience Across all devices.

Facebook will allow for  access to additional streams, so we can organize content feeds based on topic rather than the sources. If I like music, for instance, I can set up a music stream.

I say, why’d it take them so long? Despite Zuckerberg attempts at channeling Steve Jobs during the press conference,  I’d hardly put Facebook in the category of an innovator; rather its a reactive move towards a trend that Facebook should have set three years ago.  Facebook has already lost the attention of the teen crowd, who have migrated to Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other social platforms. I’m with you teens. Facebook’s facelift is too little too late. And I’m sure it hasn’t escaped most of us that the primary objective of the revamping is to make it easier for Facebook to push ads. There are far more innovative uses of content curation to the satisfaction of both consumers and marketers.

Among the many reasons why I’ve always disliked the Facebook experience is because the mishmash of unorganized content that is “fed” to me. I have little control over what I want to see. Instead, Facebook prioritizes for me; they determine who I’m most interested in by doing that stalkerish activity tracking thing.  It’s never made any sense to me why Facebook didn’t put newsfeed prioritizing in the hands of the user long ago.  When there is no way to organize my friends list or page’s I’ve liked into subcategories, then I always walk away from a Facebook visit with my head spinning. Twitter is a constant hotbed of activity, but functionality introduced years ago allows me to categorize my follows into lists. This is how I make sense of the 400 plus Twitter accounts I follow. This is why Twitter is like my soulmate, and Facebook is like my stalker. The former works with me, respects me, empowers me —  the latter is domineering and never seems to have my best interest at heart.

Despite the upgrades, after reading a friend post (on Facebook no less) that videos in my feed will play automatically,  I sensed that Facebook still doesn’t get it at all. Right now they are bordering on being akin to a clingy boyfriend who just won’t leave you alone. And I’m feeling the need to take out a restraining order.

Your Tweets Suck, and The Oscar Goes to JC Penney

There were 8.1 million Oscar-related tweets Sunday night!
66.5 million Oscar-related interactions on Facebook, an all time high!

If the whole world is watching something, then brands want to be seen as watching too. Big event tie-ins on social media have proven to make brand messaging more relevant, more likely to go viral and more likely to get noticed.

So how well did brands do on social media during Hollywood’s biggest night? Not quite as well as brands such as Oreos that used message tie-ins during the Super Bowl blackout. And definitely not as well as JC Penney.

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Social Media Explained – By Mad Men, Soviets and Donut Lovers

Sao Paulo ad agency Moma Propaganda created a WONDERFUL, SPECTACULAR series of unsurpassed retro ads for Twitter,  Facebook, YouTube and Skype.  I am enticed with these tools for modern times. Looking past the obsolescent use of adjectives, some of the copy actually offers pretty clear customer benefits.  I still need to explain the advantages of Twitter to the unconvinced. Now I’ll just call it a “virtual locality with a wide assortment of people. That’s Twitter!”

Here are a few examples. See more here

Source: designmom.com via Amy on Pinterest

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Twitter — The World’s Digital Water Cooler — Could Rule TV

As we know, social media has changed the way brands market. But what is most twitter-tvintriguing to me, even more than Facebook, is Twitter and how it has become what Huffington Post calls the “world’s digital water cooler” (2012).

Sure there are new social media sites popping up every year. I recently read that Instagram is giving Twitter stiff competition. But here’s one thing Instagram lacks that Twitter has — the ability to instantly capture what the world is talking about at any given moment. Events often become news after they first trend on Twitter.

Tweets about television show Scandal are at about 2,200 per minute while it airs. Could this happen on any other form of social media?

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You can still advertise in the dark . . .

Second Screens And Power Outages make perfect bed fellows.

The Super Bowl for most of us is not just about what’s on the television. It’s the gathering of friends at home or in a sports bar – eating wings and drinking beer. It’s the anticipation of half time musical act, and the clever multimillion dollar commercials.  And when the power went out for awhile, last night, that gave me ample time to devote all my attention to my second screen, which was far more entertaining than listening to the commentators.  Apparently CBS decided to “let commentators riff without commercial break,” according to AdAge today.  When 30 second spots cost $3.8 million dollars, one could understand why there few unscheduled freebies, (although they did repeat a few commercials). But that was onscreen.

What was happening on second oreoscreens, via Twitter specifically, was an advertisers dream. Some took full advantage. For instance  Bud Light and Speed Stick bid on promoted tweets pegged to the term “power outage. Oreo tweeted  “Power out?No problem. You can still dunk in the dark,” which  was retweeted 10,000 times within one hour.



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Are Kids More or Less Imaginative with Technology?

I don’t have young kids, but I know people who do. One friend told me a story about a kindergarten teacher she knows and her lament – kids these days cannot create on their own. In fact, in her classroom, kids have literal meltdowns when asked to do something like make up a story or draw a picture. With no visual clues and left to their own devices, aka whatever they can dream up in their young imaginations, they are not only at a loss, they experience a crisis of atomic-level proportions. They get angry, they pout, they cry, they flat out refuse to do the assignment. She thinks the culprit is the prevalence of technology of course, and it’s” do it for you so you don’t have to do it yourself” nature, where gratification comes instantaneously and the end-result is a simple click of a mouse.

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