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#Social2011: Radian 6’s User Conference

April 7, 2011

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m finally settled into my hotel here in Boston. Today and Friday I will be attending Radian 6’s User Conference, Social 2011.

For those of you who don’t know, Radian 6 is an online listening tool that allows Community Managers like myself to get a glimpse into what is being said about their client’s brand online. Additionally, it’s one of many tools that helps users gather research and insight into what people are saying about a particular topic online. At JWT we’re already doing this type of work with Randian 6 and other listening tools, but there is always room to grow and I’m hoping that this conference provides just that.

Prior to getting to Boston late this evening, I was feeling frazzled and rushed as I left New York. I literally booked my ticket just a few hours before leaving and I hadn’t had much time to organize which break out and training sessions I wanted to attend. As I sat on the train, I started searching Twitter for the conference’s hashtag, #Social2011. Not surprisingly, I saw that lots of people were already in Boston meeting up before the conference even started. A tiny bit of FOMO washed over me- I was missing out on all the fun and the pre-conference festivities.

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Focusing on the Small(er) Screen

April 1, 2011

The use of social media combined with TV is becoming increasingly more prevalent. A new survey by Harris Interactive shows that US adults are turning to social media more than ever to discuss and comment about programs they’ve recently watched. The survey also shows that 31% of adults interact using social media while watching a program, and we can expect this trend to continue as TV viewers increasingly engage in big-screen TV viewing with a small screen in hand (tablet, smartphone, netbook…)

TV networks have begun taking a more proactive approach in combining social media with traditional television as well. CBS plans to launch “Tweet Week” beginning April 3rd which will have its stars Tweet and take questions during their respective shows. Besides scripted programs it will also be used by NCAA tournament commentators to interact with viewers.
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LinkedIn Knows It’s The Little Things

March 25, 2011

I wouldn’t put “receiving blast e-mails from social networking platforms” atop my list of stuff that I like.

But I just received an unusually thoughtful one “from” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s co-founder, calling me out for being one of LinkedIn’s first million members:

I wouldn’t say I’ve previously had a tremendously strong emotional connection to LinkedIn, but small gestures like this are a great first step.  They’ve even thrown in some info about locating a little easter egg within LinkedIn (i.e. how to identify your member number)!

More companies should follow this line of thinking.  Sweat the small details.  They’re the things people remember.

In Defense of Brand Journalism (and Bob Garfield’s Involvement)

March 21, 2011

Bob Garfield did a great job moderating our SXSW panel last week: “Brand Journalism: The Rise of Non-Fiction Advertising.” He got called out in Twitter, in blog posts, and in private conversations as one of the better moderators of the whole SXSW show, and I completely agree with the assessment.

We knew when we submitted the panel idea last summer that we would need to explain and perhaps even defend brand journalism—it’s not a practice that many are familiar with, even though we at JWT have done it with huge clients like Microsoft and Ford. And we knew that brand journalism, and branded content in general, would be a hot-button issue at SXSW this year.

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Fun with Nintendo 3DS and Kinect

March 21, 2011

First, an amazing video showing off the augmented-reality prowess of the Nintendo 3DS (found via Kotaku)

At SXSWi last week, I bumped into a friend who is studing at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. That friend introduced me to another friend at HCII, who introduced me to another friend at HCII, and now I’m in thick with these geniuses! Anyway, one of these new friends, Nisha Kurani, sent me this note this morning, regarding the program’s mind-bending Kinect-hacking projects:

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Adventures in Lo-Fi: Highlights from SxSW Music Video program

March 21, 2011

[guest post by Owen Katz, Senior Integrated Producer at JWT]

This year’s SXSW Music Video program featured “a range of classic, innovative and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.” The low tech, lo-fi videos, created for little money and/or without sophisticated production tools, were the most remarkable. They prove that compelling content does not have to be expensive, elaborate productions.

U.S. Girls “Red Ford Radio” dirs. Jacqueline Castel, Preston Spurlock

This lo-fi animation was created on a photocopier and shows collage animation of 1950s – 60s era print advertisements featuring women, domestic appliances and electronics. This video’s simplicity makes it more poignant, highlighting the ever-changing and never-changing aesthetic/style of advertising throughout the years. It’s using popular culture as a counter culture statement (nothing new) but has stand-out power when compared to the hyper-produced videos of today that look more like cell phone commercials that artistic statements.

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Holy Crap, I’m Using Foursquare Again

March 18, 2011

Badge fatigue. Privacy concerns. Another likely-to-pass technology fad. I thought these were the reasons I quit checking into Foursquare.

Turns out, it’s a hell of a lot simpler than that:  I lead a boring life.

Last week, when I touched down in Austin for SXSW Interactive, I checked back in at the airport. (At the risk of sounding even more curmudgeonly, I even found myself rationalizing it: I needed a digital memento from my first trip to the Salt Lick.)

It may have been the Jetsetter badge I earned, or the fact that Foursquare told me that two of my friends had recently checked in there, but immediately, I found myself pulled back in by the Foursquare tractor beam.  Over the next several days, I tracked down friends. I racked up points. I earned a slew of new badges (though I’m still missing the coveted “Room Service” – curse you, @gmdclark!). I even referred to the “Tips” section when making dinner plans.

So what was I doing with Foursquare before SXSW?

Well… There was that time I checked into JWT.  And that other time when I checked into JWT’s café.  Oh yeah, I went to the Spotted Pig once.  And then I checked into a chat room… at JWT.

In the category of “things most people learned in 2009,” it turns out that Foursquare is only as interesting as you are. The second your check-in list tips in the direction of work, fast food restaurants or (god help you) your apartment, it’s over. The corollary is you’d better have interesting friends or… I’m not naming anyone, but honestly, I don’t really care about your Applebee’s check-in.  Joe.

Now that I’m back, I find myself checking in more frequently, excited by the possibilities of the app. Here’s hoping it’ll make me a more adventurous person.

Things are looking promising: after all, it’s only two more days before I become mayor of chat room 3A at JWT.

SXSWi’s Breakout Performer: Advertising

March 17, 2011

[Guest Post By Tim Nolan, Creative Director @JWTNewYork]

Looking back at my SXSW 2011 experience, I have been trying to determine who and what exactly was the breakout of festival. Last year we of course had the birth of Foursquare, and the years leading up to 2010, Twitter was a huge component in the digital vs. real world. However this year, the breakout performer was not a person nor was it a product or even a platform, it was ADVERTISING.

Having attended the event since 2005, it was clear just after a few hours in Austin that this year advertising, and advertising agencies were definitely #winning. It was impossible to avoid the co-opted and sponsored experiences, free rides, and free food brought to you by major brands like Pepsi, CNN, and a wide array of advertising agencies including our very own collaboration with The Salt Lick.

Over the past two years the interactive portion of SXSW has outgrown the once dominant music presence and I am sure the SXSWi attendance will only continue to grow in the years to come. The event I once attended in 2005 is no longer the same, and I can definitively say we are not in Kansas anymore Toto. For better or for worse SXSW is once again changing and breaking new grounds.

High Tech Reminders of the Fundamentals at SXSW

March 16, 2011

[Guest post by Paul Fix, senior copywriter at JWT]

The interactive portion of SXSW is behind us, and with it the guilt associated with sleeping past 8 in the morning (the guilt associated with not staying out past 2 still lingers, and promises to grow throughout the music festival).

As I try to make sense of the cascade of 4 days of information and keep the lid on my excitement about prospects for the future, I keep coming back to one truth I found interwoven throughout all the seminars, movies and events:

At the end of the day, it’s about human connection and connectivity, and the core fundamentals of communication have not changed.

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My Meetings Suck. But It’s Not Just My Fault.

March 16, 2011

[guest post by Elias Kakomanolis, Project Manager at JWT]

Judging by the amount of people who attended a SXSW session entitled “Your Meetings Suck and It’s Your Fault,”  it’s clear how frustrated people are with not only the amount, but also the level of inefficiency that exists in group gatherings. I realize as a project manager it may be hypocritical for me to say that meetings are inefficient, but that’s not exactly the point I’m making, nor the one the speaker delivered.

Meetings have become, in part, a solution to challenging issues that colleagues have a hard time understanding. Ken Hoffmann, User Experience Director at Happy Cog, blames this (as well as other inefficient use of group time) on the fact that there isn’t as much thought put into the design of meetings as their is to the design of an app or a print ad, or what you’re cooking for dinner.

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