Thursday, October 6, 2011

the rebels, the troublemakers, the ones who see things differently

"Crazy Ones," the iconic Apple commercial by TBWA\Chiat\Day from the "Think different" campaign of the late 1990s, was always, in a way, about Steve Jobs. Voiced by Richard Dreyfuss, it celebrated "the rebels, the troublemakers, the ones who see things differently" and would therefore change the world. The images showed everyone from John Lennon to Gandhi, but the inference was that Apple's visionary leader was one these remarkable souls. Adweek has now added him to the end of the "Crazy Ones" spot—a place he rightfully earned, even if he would never have come right out and said so. Jobs died Wednesday at age 56.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Say Hello to Facebook Timeline & Social Commerce

The F8 Developer Conference concluded with some really exciting changes to the Facebook experience relating to timeline, music apps, lightweight status updates.
Mark Zuckerberg Reveals “Timeline” Redesign at F8 2011
One of the biggest announcement done in the F8 was the newest Facebook profile design - refered to as the “Timeline” - a major re-imagining of user profiles that allows users to build what’s essentially a visual scrapbook of everything they’ve done on the site.The current profile design drops off the user’s most recent activity after a few days and there’s no quick way to show it again. However, with the used of “Timeline”, users can now search the past story they shared. Timeline is clean, modern, customizable and different from other applications that users could see before on Facebook. One of its features enables users to search as far back as they remember, and fill their Timeline in with images and important events to create a digital autobiography.
One of the biggest announcement done in the F8 was the newest Facebook profile design - refered to as the "Timeline"
Nothing can really capture the imagination behind the Facebook Timeline than this You Tube mash-up video that has emerged showing Don Draper of Mad Men pitching the features of Facebook timeline.

YouTube mash-up video showing Don Draper of Mad Men pitching the features of Facebook Timeline

The Facebook Timeline algorithmically organizes everything you’ve done on Facebook — from posting photos to changing relationship status to check ins — and also allows users to fill out a “Way Back” section to add details that are omitted or pre-date the social network. Facebook expects to roll out Timeline in a few weeks, but you can see what it looks like in the video below.

Timeline is your collection of all the top photos, posts and apps that help tell your story

Though it has not been made clear whether brand pages will employ Timelines, the guys at Mashable worked with Colin Murphy, director of social at Skinny to produce glimpses of how future brand pages could look like. As a parallel to Mark's statement, these approaches underscore the fundamental that every company has a story and in the future, Facebook will provide the platform to visualize that story.
Every company has a story and in the future, Facebook will provide the platform to visualize that story.
Timeline unlocks new possibilities for branding and creativity. The introduction of the “Cover”, an 849 by 312 pixel image spanning the top of the profile is perfect for a product shot or promotion push. In addition, brands could call out important photos on the Timeline by clicking a star on the post that expands the photo to widescreen.
The introduction of the “Cover” is perfect for a product shot or promotion push.
According to ExactTarget, 40% of the people who “Like” Facebook brand pages are doing that to receive discounts and promotions - leaving the brands confused on how to integrate Facebook into their brand strategy - driving them to develop viral apps or other incentives for people to "Like" and engage with their page. Now with Timeline. Facebook can easily serve as a brand blog, providing fans with frequent and engaging updates in a neatly packaged profile. Though the challenges for bringing the brand to life and building a brand hub still exists, the design of Timeline will make content creation easier by providing a skeleton for brands to fill in. With the inclusion of featured posts, it’ll be interesting to see what brands feature — whether that’s something they’ve created, fan comments, photos, etc. The sky’s the limit.

Some of the new plugins and API updates in Facebook are changes to the Like Button, Activity Stream, Recommendations and the introduction of the Facebook Registration and Login Plugins as part of the Open Graph Protocol. That's right! They are killing Facebook Connect!

One big change is that Facebook has added a control in the top right of each story that users can check to unmark a top story. Facebook will use that information over time to automatically edit the feeds. Since users now have more control over their news feeds, brands with boring or irrelevant updates will have lower visibility. (They will still show up in the Ticker, however.

The change will require new thinking from marketers who had merely tried to accumulate as many fans and “Likes” as possible. Jenna Lebel,managing director of strategy at Likeable Media, says the “Like” is “a little less relevant now,” and that marketers will have to work harder to earn their place in news feeds. “Your content is going to need to be absolutely amazing,” she says.

Custom Open Graph gestures brings a new level of relevance to the Facebook experience. By enabling new buttons such as “Want,” “Own” and “Love,” Facebookers will be able to express themselves more specifically around a particular topic. Consequently, News Feed stories can also be customized to generate phrases such as “John reviewed” or “Jean loved” a particular post. These types of posts will drive much more effective social discovery than a simple “Like” story.

These new buttons can also be used to enrich the social shopping experience within Facebook storefronts themselves. For example, in the future, you will be able to see who “owns” a product you’re considering and connect with that friend for recommendations. This functionality will also enable sellers to engage more deeply with shoppers. For example, if you discover that John owns a product in the storefront, you can actually ask him for a product review.

Christian Taylor illustrates a model to give a feel of this heightened online commercial experience. Developers will now be able to build a Facebook commerce experience more relevant to shoppers and also offer more effective social discovery for sellers. Sellers will be able to access new insights into shopper preferences and will use this data to better promote their products. These new opportunities will make the Facebook shopping experience richer and more social.

By enabling new buttons such as “Want,” “Own” and “Love,” shoppers will be able to express themselves more specifically around a particular product.
Adding product-focused lists to your profile also lets people know what you want, and makes it easier for friends to know what to buy you when those special events come around. Now when your friends get a birthday reminder for you, they can click through to your profile, and may even be able to buy you something from your birthday wish list immediately.

Christian also points out that since the Facebook custom Open Graph and Ticker opened the door to social music discovery we couls soon be seein this used in social shopping as well.In the near future you might see an “invite friends to shop” button within a social storefront. Clicking on it would generate a post in the Ticker that says, “Jean is shopping for baby strollers.” When a friend clicks on the post, they would be taken to a chat room-style panel or comment box where they can share stroller recommendations. That feedback might become part of the public comments in the store, or may only be visible to the two of you. The end result is that you have enlisted your friend’s help to make a purchase decision, as if you were both shopping together at the mall.

The last phase of Facebook was all about creating your social ID and popularising the concept of social gaming. This phase sure looks like building your story and immersing in social shopping. It still seems like only the beginning.