Updates from March, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • The digital citizen 11:30 pm on March 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Detroit, dialogue, Ford, General Motors,   

    Detroit is dead, long live Detroit 

    Watching “Requiem for Detroit“, a BBC documentary on the rise and fall of the city of Detroit, among the many things that attracted my attention was how the automotive industry in the 50s influenced the current culture and in a way is responsible for the materialistic way people live their lives today.

    When owning a car stopped being a privilege of the rich, Ford and General Motors made the car a need for everyone.

    Ford increased the daily wage to 5$ in a time when the average USA wage was 2.5$ in order to make his cars affordable among his employees.

    General Motors created 2 series of cars, The Cadillac, the more expensive car targeting the rich and the Chevrolet for the lower middle class. Everyone should own a car.

    Both were responsible for and the main pressure group for the creation of the  great Detroit freeways, creating the sense that further to a need for the obvious reasons, driving can also be a great experience. This way they created a need for sports cars, which, of course, they provided for.

    It is true that the automotive industry raised the standard of life among the residents of Detroit who increasingly started moving to the suburbs. GM did not fail to spot the opportunity to market cars as a need among the suburbs wives, if they were to be modern and independent.

    Detroit’s flourishing and prosperity made the city inspirational for Americans living in across the country, spreading the need for a car and the general Detroit lifestyle beyond Michigan’s borders.

    I can’t help wondering; if Detroit is the actual place when it all started, the hometown of imposed needs and material happiness, what does its collapse mean for the rest of us?

    A new beginning, I hope. Thankfully, social media have enabled global dialogue and this means that only people, and not an industry alone, can influence people.

    • Zoe Marmara 12:09 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “Social media have enabled global dialogue”: Isn’t that an oxymoron? The notion of ‘global’ applies to everybody, yet, we are aware of the fact that Social Media are means accessible only to the industrialized part of the world. Anyway, I think what you describe is part of the long history of globalization, which is strongly connected to western culture. Material happiness is a long sociological process. I can’t think there’s a way back. Back where? Marketing and sales rely on human behaviour and needs. Back, was when we needed, not less, but different things. Man can’t think differently. There are social norms that drive us. People more ambitious than the rest, used common sense, ethical values and religious beliefs to start economical progress. The truth is, if the drive for ‘material happiness’ stops, we will be poor, uneducated, unethical and immoral. Comes with the territory. I guess it was a good thing I studied sociology in high school… :))

      • The digital citizen 12:21 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Still it is the western world that influences modern culture. Social media have enable conversation among people, regardless of location, ethnicity, culture and we no longer need brands to tells us how to behave, we have each other to ask for advice when we need it.
        I am optimistic that Detroit will not be repeated because the people are now responsible for the social norms.

    • Zoe Marmara 10:47 pm on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right, we have each other. I like optimism in you – I think you’ve just set a nice example there. 🙂

  • The digital citizen 12:10 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , myscpace, social, ,   

    Social media and real sociability 

    When we are talking Social Media we tend to mean campaigns using the normal social media platforms, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc to connect with the public, building a strong relationship.

    It has been playing a lot lately in my mind that, as much as I love and believe in social media, that a great work, “social” is being misused or, at least, restricted to a limited amount of platforms, whose common ground is the internet. The internet is social but not just the internet is. My local coffee shop is social as is my local hospital.

    I was wondering, therefore, would it be possible to create local campaign, activated on the internet? Here is what I mean:

    During the HIV awareness week, we all see ads on the tube and red ribbons on twitter avatars. There is a number of walk in clinics in London and around the cities of the world. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to partner those clinics and launch a series of awareness lectures, where real people can talk of their experiences? Online and mobile media have now got the technology to recommend the closest clinic to where you are when you are seeing this advert. Such a campaign will result is much reduced media costs, with the rest of the budget donated to the clinics, which often struggle with their finances.

    Videos filmed within the clinics, showing real people, doctors and patients, can then become great viral material which can be distributed for next to nothing, with the power of social media, to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands to others, increasing the awareness.

    The internet is social, but human beings have been social before the internet. Could there be ways to activate the social element of the human with technology yet in environments outside it and within the society? Social media is undoubtedly a driving force for dialogue, yet has SM the power to generate the same dialogue outside the comfort of our sofa and within the real world, unmasked? This is how philosophy was born.

    • Another Day On Facebook 3:00 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      All I can do is clap. I have been wondering this question for some time. I even just posted a blog about how I discovered how social media really connects us through the internet but disconnects us in real life.

      I feel as if people are beginning to get lazy. It is easier to sit in front of the computer and click the like button on one of those pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness. It is harder to actually rally support in your community behind a cause.

      Another Day On Facebook

  • The digital citizen 11:18 am on December 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #uksnow, London, mobile internet, real time search,   

    The world is on the verge of becoming a very small place! 

    Two days ago London was brought to a standstill because of 2cm of snow. Airports were shut, train stations were shut, buses could not move, you had to fight to get a taxi.

    I was checking my Twitter feeds regularly on my phone to keep busy whilst trying to catch a cab in the cold but also hoping that fellow londoners would have initiated a twitter campaign, helping people get home faster. Here is what I mean:

    I was at London Bridge area along with hundreds of others trying to get a taxi home. Surely there must have been loads of people trying to go towards the same directions as me and we could have shared a taxi home, using the service to its full capacity. People driving to central London to collect loved ones, surely could have picked up strangers trying to get to the same direction.

    We all know that Londoners have a great sense of community but someone needs to activate them. Twitter has got the ability to activate thousands of people in seconds, via hashtags (#uksnow became an instant hit) or just nomal tweets. But it seems not a large enough percentage of Londoners are active on Twitter.

    Imagine though how different things would have been if someone saw in real time search, whilst trying to find a taxi back home, a tweet from someone offering to share their taxi.

    Sure, not everyone is on Twitter, but almost everyone is on Google. And increasinlgy via their mobile phones.

    Real time search + mobile phone internet =


    • Zoe Marmara 3:08 pm on December 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      May I add to that: A large interactive display that would track #uksnow and display the referring feed on screen in London Bridge would be most helpful in situations like the one you described. The system would also inform people how to use MMS or SMS technologies to send their own message to the display via Twitter API. Local government bodies need to use the Twitter framework to manage transport services. It’s free, after all! 🙂

  • The digital citizen 3:00 pm on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Huffington Post, online, paid content   

    Paid for content: a recipe for failure 

    As the digital world is divided on the paying/non paying for online content debate, the real world is not really that divided. About 91% of the population have said it clearly: they are not paying.

    And they shouldn’t. The internet was created to enable the free and fast exchange of information and its free nature is the reason behind the internet becoming the people’s medium.

    Here are some reasons why people will not pay:

    The internet has given people options. In the past we had to rely on a few sources to get information and analysis. Nowdays, there are millions on online sources we are visiting to get the information we need, not necessarily the good old press turned online titles. The Huffington Post recently overtook the Washington Post  in unique users, but did anyone either know off or was in a position to predict that a blog could achieve this level of popularity a few years ago?

    The internet has also made us more demanding when it comes to free. We reacted to the high prices of music and chose piracy. Eventually, the record labels had to admit defeat and compromise their trading models in order to survive. The same kind of reaction is expected when major UK titles, such as the Times Online, implement the paid for content, although this might not include piracy to that degree necessarily. All this model could possibly achieve is giving the change to smaller but equally good sites to shine, as people will be looking for alternative sources to get their informations. And, as the swift towards the free will increase, there will be more advertising income available to the smaller sites, which they can invest to get hold of the required resource to sustain the success of their sites.

    Piracy is easy online. What would happen if tv channels opted for a paid for model for their online content? Be 100% sure that people would find a way of getting this content for free, whether this would be by legal or illegal means, and they should not be held responsible for that. If publishers have made the mistake and granted people certain rights, then these rights cannot and should not be taken back. I am not supporting piracy but paid for content encourages it.

    It is true that many online titles are losing money and it is not the free model which is responsible for that. It is rather the fact that these titles failed to capitalise on the amount of people visiting their sites daily by means of advertising. It was their own lack of flexibility and innovative thinking that drove advertisers away from them. They failed to see how the internet was changing and the efforts to adopt a more social face failed as they seemed as forces efforts to be trendy rather than sincere efforts to engage with their audiences. By charging for content that can be obtained elsewhere will only make things worst for them, as they will start losing the advertising income which, until now, they had taken for granted.

    Is there a solution? Well, my opinion is that there is only 1 industry that makes big cash from the internet, and this is the internet provider industry. What makes it ironic is that the industry would not be booming if there weren’t for this great online content.

    Also, for anyone who works in the online advertising industry, they would know by now that the cost per thousand model does not work for anyone. I tend to commit most of my budget to whoever agrees to work on my agency’s cost per engagement model, as this is an indication that the publisher will work harder for their money. There is a need therefore for brave trading decision moving forward. And the time has come for publishers to prove everything they have been claiming regarding their audiences.

    Finally and most importantly, online can’t be allowed to become the scapegoat for the years of faulty business by the publishers. But still, I can’t wait for their panicking reactions to people looking for (and finding) the same quality in free environments.

  • The digital citizen 4:28 pm on October 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ROI,   

    ROI from socia media 

    Excellent presentation on proving the accountability of social media.


  • The digital citizen 10:08 pm on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    This is social 


    Web 2.0 has caused a great cultural swift in the way people communicate. It allowed people to express themselves among their friends and in communities of like minded people that quite often are far to reach offline.

    Some fanatical opponents of social media claim that they are only here until the next big thing arrives, failing to see that the next big thing will also be a social platform. Why? Because so far new technologies and designs have been changing trends but changing a whole culture may take a long time or may just not happen at all.

    What I find amazing when it comes to social media is that they do not depend on the interests of larger corporations to boom or collapse but on the people who will either embrace or reject them. And it is not the marketing or media agencies that define their future, based on advertising solutions available but the public who will decide whether a new social platform is here to stay.

    Social media have rudely entered the media landscape to help people communicate. Facebook started as a Harvard versions of Hot or Not and Twitter as a “daylong brainstorming session” board members at Odeo express their creativity, meaning that they are here to stay because they fill a need for expression. The reasoning behind their huge success is their usefulness, being that breaking communication barriers or real time search and news.

    Social media are giving people opportunities to be part of something bigger. To be happy together and protest together. To hear the news faster and comment on them. But most of all to be heard without having to shout. More like…to be appreciated. This is social.

    • bezalel 12:06 am on October 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Ok… Social media have a harmonizing effect on some people. (Including you!) I love optimism! Being optimistic by nature, I’m glad I live in the age of social media, the age of optimism! 🙂 This… digital landscape is in its greater surface, unexplored and what what we call “society of information” is still defining its scope and capacity and foundation. Social media is still new. That’s why it emerges free from prejudices of the “living” society. And its limitations. Now, social media draws people into participating, even profit-sharing harmony. Can we, should we talk about perspectives? I see a concrete wall in a near future. Life.

  • The digital citizen 11:09 pm on September 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: service, , strategy   

    Social media is King but it is not God 

    Have you ever thought that Dell, Whole Foods and all those great examples of social media campaign implementation have a very important thing in common: Great Customer Service?

    It takes time and patience for your social media campaign to drive the anticipated engagement with your audience, but only a moment for your bad, rude, uneducated customer service assistant to reap everything you so patiently sown.

    So before employing a social media guru or expert for your social media strategy, invest the necessary time and effort in improving your product and service. Once this is done, add a lot of honesty, proactivity and expertise and you are guaranteed that you have solid grounds to build a social profile that people will trust. And as you will learn in the process, no social media guru can engage better with your audience, as no one knows your product and your audience better than you do. People want to engage with the real you and not with a strategy.

    Here is a great presentation on why a social media strategy (alone) will not save you. Enjoy and comment.

  • The digital citizen 5:35 pm on September 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Content, , Technorati   

    Original Content? 

    Thechnorati announced that it will start producing original content from next month.

    Technorati claims that this is a great opportunity for writers to get exposure, whilst the site is entering a new area of sharing content and of rewarding contributors for it.

    Many bloggers, new and experienced, will seize this opportunity and some great writers are soon to get the credit they deserve.

    But how original can this content realistically be? And if it is original, what impact could this move have on Technorati’s reputation?

    The answer to the first question is clear. Content cannot be fully original, because any site and especially one of the size of Technorati, has a social obligation and an obligation towards its users to respect the rules of journalism. Therefore, before published, the content will have to be checked not only for insulting or politically incorrect material but also for the the accuracy of any data given and sources quoted, for the site to preserve its credibility. Which brings me to my second questions.

    Robert Preston’s blog is my trusted source of information for business news, whereas for film reviews I choose Time Out. In the same sense, Technorati is a trusted source of information, learned opinion and analysis for its users. Their credibility was gained over the years by consistency, unbiased opinion and quality writing. Publishing original content on Technorati might have a negative impact on its credibility, with its users turning away from a site written by amateurs.

    As we are already seeing the impact of the revolution brought by social media, businesses (and Technorati is a business) should ask: where do we draw the line between quality and quantity? Between professional and amateur? Expert and having a interest?Business sustainable and unsustainable?

    But then…these are questions that only the public can answer, with its reaction to the content of the new contributors. And the public, albeit strict, is always fair.

  • The digital citizen 1:36 pm on September 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business,   

    Business is people. Social media is people. Social media is business. 

    The man is a social animal, Aristotle said.

    For a business to flourish you need people. People to buy your product.

    Social media boomed because they offered an easy, fun and FREE way of communication. (They also offered freedom of speech)

    Businesses should engage with social media to be heard. This is where the people go. And they should do so democratically, by way of dialogue.

    We have entered the economy of social. Let the numbers speak:

  • The digital citizen 3:24 pm on September 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    A brand can’t be younger than a teenager. Before that it was a logo. 

    We are all talking about it. We want to build it, grow it, protect it, make others love it. What is a brand then?

    A brand is a the point where customer satisfaction becomes customer loyalty. Where the promise becomes an experience. The association of the experience with a product and not its alternative: Coca Cola drinkers do not compromise for Virgin Cola.

    For a name to become a brand, it takes time, patience but most of all consistency. Consistency in providing the public with a quality product or service. Consistency in delivering on promises. And as of lately, consistency in the communications strategies, via social media.

    Here is what I mean. We all understand why a good product is key. Furthermore the constant improvement and development of the product means that it remains capable to serve the needs of the society if targets. Innovative and practical products tend to gain the consumers’ trust earlier.

    Delivering on promises is an area that advertisers often fail. Although they recognise their products’ strengths and weaknesses, they choose to promote them advertising qualities that the products do not possess. This is detrimental practive for the brand and even more so now, that consumers admit to check reviews written by consumers, when buying  a product. Social media has also made it extremely easy to give an opinion a viral effect among the public. News, opinions and reviews travel faster than ever before and are deemed to travel even faster in the future, as a fastly increasing amount of people use their mobile phones to access the internet.

    Finally, consistency in communication. As more and more advertisers integrate social media in their campaigns, especially with the launch of a new range of products, how many of these social media campaigns live on and continue to engage in conversations with the members of the public who chose to engage with the brand or brand wannabe pas the campaign period? Not that many. Go on facebook and check it your self by typing in the search box then name of a brand. You will see that the last time the brand posted something on their fanpage was when there was a new product launch or a live campaign. With the end of the campaign, many brands suddently stop interacting with their fans, although, quite often, fans continue to interact with the brand.

    Becoming a brand requires a constant effort from the advertiser, because trust cannot be gained overnight. Understanding the consumer needs requires experience, evaluation and insight that often comes in a dear price.  Delivering a great product or service whilst staying ahead of competitors is harder in the age of dialogue that everything becomes old before the see the daylight.

    A brand can’t be younger than a teenager.It takes time to become a brand, to have a social value, to be part of a daily routine. Be patient, be consistent and one day you may even enter the English Dictionary. And this will be priceless!

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