Commodified Authenticity and Social Media

Good read…

The demand for commodified authenticity is an expression of consumers’ nostalgia for a never-existing time when one had total control over the development of one’s identity. That sort of authenticity has always been a fiction, but the very real existence of goods that signify authenticity masked that fact. Consuming authentically could seem to prove fidelity to our “real self.”

via Google Alert for the Soul – The New Inquiry.

A/B Testing for Mobile Websites Webinar

Split testing is incredibly important as all good marketers know.

A/B split testing on mobile is extremely important as more marketers are realizing in 2013 and definitely into 2014. I came across this webinar this morning and thought I’d share as it’s always a good idea to hear tactics from others to improve conversions (especially in mobile):

In one hour, you’ll learn:

How the right mobile strategy can accelerate your marketing ROI

Key mobile web design elements that improve conversions

How to use mobile A/B testing to drive conversions through the roof

via A/B Testing for Mobile Websites: A Crash Course Webinar | Mobify.

Pinterest Suggestions from Sony

Interestingly enough, Sony has been a great study for how businesses (large and small) can leverage Pinterest to drive traffic and revenue back to a site.

Sony has done a great job of not just community evangelization and using Pinterest as a place to engage current and potential customers, but they have also successfully cross promoted their own account there with promotional emails to existing newsletter subscribers.

The one thing many companies, especially in the performance marketing industry, look over when creating social media campaigns is the need to promote accounts via something like an existing newsletter subscriber base. By combining those two, there’s a great potential left on the table for many companies…

Pinterest Suggestions from Sony

1. Send a dedicated Pinterest email to showcase your boards and encourage following

2. Add the Pin It button next to product shots in emails to get people pinning

3. Create unique boards that appeal to different groups of people

via Sony: Making email more interesting with Pinterest | Pinterest for Business.

Twitter Rolls Out Great New Analytics Update

Twitter quietly rolled out a huge and needed update to its developing analytics offering for businesses using its ad system to promote tweets and accounts.

Google obviously rules the roost when it comes to advertising on the web, but as Google continues to try and find its own footing with the Hummingbird update to better encompass mobile user experience (which is an important and growing traffic segment, of course), Twitter really has a chance to grab and keep substantial traffic when it comes to mobile users. According to Twitter, there are 230 million users of their services globally, and 76% access Twitter on a mobile device. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a real chance to be a dagger in Google’s side given its focus on the mobile experience.

If it can better deliver ads and messaging to those users, there’s a real income source for Twitter to be had.

By offering companies the ability to segment down to the mobile OS and device versions along with location, this could be a big deal for Twitter over the long haul.

BTW If you’re not reading the Twitter Advertising Blog, you’re missing out.

Previously, we offered advertisers the ability to reach our highly mobile users by targeting only their operating system. Today we’re announcing greater flexibility to this targeting capability: Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. And we’re also introducing granular reporting analytics for these targeting types across all campaigns.

via Enhanced mobile targeting by device, OS version, wifi | Twitter Blogs.

How to Win on Price is Right Using Math

Make sure to check out the cheat sheet at the bottom. Math is pretty awesome when you use it…

Many contestants fail to win anything on The Price is Right, of course. But as I watched the venerable game show that morning, it quickly became clear to me that most contestants haven’t thought through the structure of the game they’re so excited to be playing. It didn’t bother me that Margie didn’t know how much a stainless steel oven range costs; that’s a relatively obscure fact. It bothered me, as a budding mathematician, that she failed to use basic game theory to help her advance. If she’d applied a few principles of game theory—the science of decision-making used by economists and generals—she could have planted a big kiss on Bob Barker’s cheek, and maybe have gone home with … a new car! Instead, she went home empty-handed.

via Winning The Price Is Right: Strategies for Contestants’ Row, Plinko, and the Showcase Showdown..

Pocket 5.0 Update

After being an Instapaper user and fan for so long, I held out on Pocket for as long as possible. However, over the past year, Pocket has become one of my most-used apps and a go-to place for my workflow.

While I’ve been using Feedly for something close to this new functionality, it will be a nice addition to an already slick experience…

Pocket is releasing an update to its app today that puts a new focus on helping you discover the best of the items you have saved, using algorithms to surface content likely to interest you the most. Pocket 5.0 searches through your saves to find articles that are trending, longform content, and items that you’re likely to enjoy based on your interests.

via Pocket update highlights the saves you’re most likely to enjoy | The Verge.

HP Chromebook 11 Now Unavailable

Weird.

Just bought Merianna one on Monday night and was planning to go pick one up for myself today…

Retailers everywhere have stopped selling the new HP Chromebook 11, effective immediately. Best Buy store managers were sent a memo which read, in part, “Stores should stop selling the HP Chromebook 11 effective immediately”. This removal from the retail space is widespread, with Amazon and other retailers also pulling the item from their product listings.

via HP Chromebook 11 now unavailable for purchase, no reason given – Android Community.

Bill Gates on Catalytic Philanthropy

Reads like one of those quotes that you’ll eventually see in the authorized auto/biography of Gates in a couple of decades (if he doesn’t cure death first)…

We work to draw in not just governments but also businesses, because that’s where most innovation comes from. I’ve heard some people describe the economy of the future as “post-corporatist and post-capitalist”—one in which large corporations crumble and all innovation happens from the bottom up. What nonsense. People who say things like that never have a convincing explanation for who will make drugs or low-cost carbon-free energy. Catalytic philanthropy doesn’t replace businesses. It helps more of their innovations benefit the poor.

via Bill Gates: Here’s My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help | Wired Business | Wired.com.

O’Connor’s Prayer Journal

Parker’s Back is still one of my favorite stories, and I’ll definitely be picking this up:

She sensed that the act of creation in both was not her own. “My dear God,” she wrote, “how stupid we people are until You give us something. Even in praying it is You who have to pray in us.” Like the Psalmist who asked God for words to pray, O’Connor believed that words themselves are a gift from God. She wrote, “There is a whole sensible world around me that I should be able to turn to Your praise; but I cannot do it. Yet at some insipid moment when I may possibly be thinking of floor wax or pigeon eggs, the opening of a beautiful prayer may come up from my subconscious and lead me to write something exalted.”

via Inheritance and Invention: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal : The New Yorker.

Twitter Learns from Pinterest

While tools like Storify have been doing something similar to this, Twitter’s newly unveiled custom timelines feature could be incredibly popular (and valuable for your business):

Starting today, we are introducing the ability to create custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines, which were just announced, are a new type of timeline that you control by selecting the Tweets you want to include.

via Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too.

For instance, here’s a quick curated timeline I just put together:

Why are these important and not just another random Twitter feature that only a few power users will use?

Think of this as the ability to “pin” Tweets into curated lists as you would do with images around certain topics on Pinterest. While you can do something like that by favoriting tweets (something I love to do), being able to assemble tweets in a non-timed based manner and more focused on certain hashtags or topics is exactly what Twitter needed to compete with other social services.

It looks like Twitter learned a great deal from Pinterest here and this is going to be popular with live sports events and reality shows like The Voice (pictured above). Your business could benefit.

Google’s Hummingbird and the Importance of Social Signals

Google’s new Hummingbird engine for search is finally starting to give us some clues as to what Google is prioritizing in its algorithms now (mainly mobile and contextual).

Here are a couple of good sources and videos for you to ponder while you plan out your site’s marketing strategy.

Both links and social signals are forms of social proof, but they have different aspects to how they work and what is involved. For that reason, I expect there will be differences in how they are applied by Google. Regardless, building your reputation across many platforms and getting lots of different types of social proof signals is the heart of online marketing these days.

via What Everybody Missed About Hummingbird: Social Signals.

We can focus on the root of the matter: the major reason that Google has rolled out Hummingbird is because it wants to offer relevant and helpful results to conversational, voice searches. By creating content that is suitable for mobile users, you can optimize it for the Hummingbird algorithm.

via Six Vital Google Hummingbird Questions Answered.

While the Panda and Penguin updates were more punitive in nature, Google is giving out prescriptions for webmasters now. Namely, make sure your content is relevant to mobile users and more easily found in a “conversational” context.

The iPod is 12

Still amazing to watch all these years later (start at min 24 for a glimpse of pure joy if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing):

I can’t believe the iPod is twice the age of my oldest child, but I’m glad she’s growing up in a world of music sharing and discovery made more possible by that device.

The iPod first went on sale 12 years ago | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Now I need to go dig up my Gen 1 and Gen 2 iPods from whatever drawer they may be haunting…

What’s After Web 2.0?

My pal Wayne Porter and I got into a fun spat almost seven years ago about what web 2.0 meant for marketers. We had a similar “what’s next” private convo on Facebook a couple of nights ago regarding Twitter’s very successful IPO.

Seeing Twitter hit the mainstream over the last few years and now being a big public company has been weird to say the least. Not to compare, but I imagine the apostles felt the same kind of bittersweet “what now?” moment after seeing the early Jesus movement take off under Paul etc (yes, grossly simplified).

But what’s next?

Is there a web 3.0? Wearables like Google Glass?

I don’t know… it’s a strange world and we need new descriptive science fiction to point the way.

Here’s Dave Winer on the topic:

New models for communication can develop, independent of the needs of the companies that run the Web 2.0 servers. I don’t think Web 2.0 will go away, but a new net can take its place beside it. And that’s all that’s needed to boot up a new layer.

via Why the Web 2.0 model is obsolete.

Why isn’t Thomas Whitley in this competition?

Science Magazine has posted the 12 finalist videos from its annual Dance Your PhD contest. The contest asks scientists from around the world to send in videos of themselves interpreting their research in dance form. As usual, this year’s finalists have gone all out with some wacky, fun, and just plain bizarre videos. You can vote for your favorite, with the winner and reader’s choice announced on November 21.

http://m.slashdot.org/story/194043

Writing on the Wall

I definitely just ordered Writing on the Wall as it combines two of my favorite things… the social internet and anthropological archaeology…

Papyrus rolls and Twitter have much in common: They were their generation’s signature means of “instant” communication. Indeed, as Tom Standage reveals in his scintillating new book, social media is anything but a new phenomenon. Cicero’s web is just one of many historical antecedents of today’s social media. Other prominent examples include the circulation of letters and other documents in the early Christian church; the torrent of printed tracts which circulated in 16th-century Germany, triggering the Reformation; the passing from hand to hand of gossip-laden poetry in the Tudor and Stuart courts; the duelling political pamphlets with which Royalists and Parliamentarians courted public opinion during the English Civil War; the first scientific journals and correspondence societies, which enabled far-flung scientists to discuss and build upon each other’s work; the handwritten poems and newsletters of pre-Revolutionary France, which spread gossip from Paris throughout the country; and the revolutionary pamphlets and local papers that rallied support for American independence. Such social-media systems arose frequently because, for most of human history, social networks were the dominant means by which information spread, in either spoken or written form.

via Writing on the Wall | tomstandage.com.

Wow.

Using Photoshop on my Chromebook

Screenshot_102913_045835_PM

Got to love the Chrome Remote Desktop app that Google has for any Chrome user. I’m at home but easily running Photoshop on my little Chromebook (very fast and non-laggy) while my work PC is downtown.

Chromebook is not just a browser.