Category Archives: UGC

What’s Happening with Curation

Over on AdAge Bob Garfield presents a good overview of the realities and media implications of Curation characterized by a student quoted anonymously in 2008: ““If the news is that important, it will find me.” The post has roots in Bob’s Chaos Scenario and was inspired by a forthcoming book by Steven Rosenbaum, Curation. Nation, How to Win in A World Where Consumers are Creator.

I’d propose that Twitter passed from the banal to the profound in its earliest days as users started curating their lifestream and sharing links. After reading Bob’s review, it’s easy to see how Curation Nation supports the transforming media landscape and his chaos scenarios with another consumer-driven digital dynamic. Harder to spot are the marketing implications. Here are some of my thoughts on Curation for marketers:

  • People seek expertise referrals in the “heads” and “long tails” (recipes as head or “best bbq in St Louis” for long-tail example) of passion-based subjects. Curate your brand values, category, pop-cultural overlaps, marketing activity or deeply functional/medicinal/helpful content–the stuff your Ad Agency usually tells you is too small to represent in your communications but which your frontline, FAQs & customer service folks deal with daily–to create the potential for discovery by Search and the SocialGraph. That last point is the financial incentive to Curate, btw.
  • Curation is mandatory if you understands the digital dynamic that micro-transactions like curation, ratings, check-ins, etc. create metadata that transforms discovery potential into something more viral, like the most viewed video on YouTube.
  • Wondering where to start for functional curation? Check out your Google analytics and in-site search logs for what people seek out around your brand. For more creative curation, consider a shared value like curating around a cause or social mission. For Axe that might be a compendium of links for how to woo the girl. For Method brand it might be around “dirty.”
  • Curation is more about will than means. It’s not about the time it takes but the commitment to do so.5) Quick tip: if you’re like most of us and end up with dozens of open browser windows of articles you’re reading or intend to read, use a bookmark system to curate these articles for your future reference as well as for others to find. I use the delicious plug-in to each of my browsers–Chrome, Safari & Firefox to instantly curate an article, using tags and notes to add context around the link.


Summary: curation=relevance to search & socialgraph and it’s easy, cheap, necessary for brands.

Some examples of curation resources I use that marketers could benefit from as well:

What Curation resources do you use & why? Comment below. Thanks.

Design Happiness

WarmGun 2010 Designing HappinessOn Friday 10/08/10 Dave McClure (follow) of 500 Hats (blog) & 500 Start-ups (angel) hosted the “Warm Gun” design conference. Original in many ways, this event emphasized design from a usability and technical perspective and still managed to be about design. You can pull down the slideware from and view the videos at –Developer path is /warmgun and Designers are /warmgun2

Big takeaways for me: an enormous amount of design and marketing talent lies deep within the walls of every major digital media and service provider. They’re thinking broadly about the implications of their data and usability across channels, in different media and devices as well as within different contexts. The new breed may have more science than art in their make-up, or at least more than they may have had to express in previous generations. And, as with every walk of creative life, they’re generally open, curious, opinionated and a lot of fun to be around.

As marketers expand their skillsets and embrace their inner-publisher/media-mogul by necessity, they’ll find a well-trained workforce available in the Valley. That’s not to say there won’t be competition, simply that there’s a farm-league for this talent within hundreds of digital companies and agencies. And, they’re really smart, connected and resourceful. Tip of a hat to Dave McClure and Christen O’Brien for bringing us together.

The entire event’s tweetstream is available via new aggregating service,—if you’re an event organizer be sure to check them out!

And, as the event had the heart, imagination and inspiration of John Lennon who would have turned 70 on conference date, here’s a tribute video in honor of the Man and the Idea:

Lessons from Book Quote’s Viral FB Meme


The Book Quote Game Goes Viral in Facebook

Virally speaking based on watching my own response along with others in my social graph, a clever little meme called the “Book Quote Game” is exploding over on Facebook. Over the weekend a quick challenge gambit  appeared in my Facebook socialgraph and I took it. I responded in to a friend’s post asking me to find a random but specifically-placed quote from “a book near me.”

What followed surprised me: within 12 hours 18 others added their quotes–more comments than my FB posts usually get; their socialgraph represents 3641 people and inspired another 23 comments. I didn’t crawl their comments to see the network effect in added reach, but if we use the averages based on mine, the echo would include another 9300 in reach. With an average friend duplication of 7.75% you still reach over 10,000 people per post in the first two generations of the meme. Because the active socialgraph/profile will bury this meme, it needs to reappear at different times, which it does as others replicate and comment. I expect to see this meme come back around many times in the coming months.

More surprising is that this isn’t even a Facebook application. It’s an activity that’s as catchy as an application but relies on The Groundswell to crawl all the SocialNetwork’s carriers to produce the Metacalfe effect. So, without any programming and low-production content you can create a viral campaign by following the best practices of The Book Quote Game.

I’ll give more evidence and details then see if there are best practices that can be applied for Marketers. Please add your reactions below in the comments area as well. Continue reading

Ben and Jerry’s Killer Facebook Ad Integration

Facebook Election '08 Application/PageCheck out this page. It’s content right? This is the Election ’08 page on Facebook.

It’s got your voting booth location mash-up powered by Google Maps, some info graphics and even a gift/badge for you to wear your colors–Red or Blue. It showed volumes in real-time as people clicked the “I voted” link on their Facebook profile page after visiting the polls. I tweeted about the page in the morning of election day when 1.1 million people had already been counted and watched the numbers swell each hour until the polls closed. Nearly 5.5 million acted making it one of the highest daily-use apps to date (think about how few YouTube videos get that much play in a single day, let alone month for comparison).

The genius is in the Ben & Jerry’s map/application integration. This is content, but it’s also a delivery mechanism for the advertising sponsorship by Ben & Jerry. Simple. Natural (as in additive and not interruptive). Brilliant.

In this case you were able to find the local Ben & Jerry’s store to get the free icecream cone they were offering for those that voted IRL and in the integrated link you could also send a “vote cone” virtual gift to your friends in Facebook.

For Ben & Jerry’s it’s a win across the board. The association is perfect for a brand that has in its roots social change and political activision. That future analysis will likely attribute SocialMedia and Facebook’s influence on 14mm new young voters heavily skewed to Obama as a determing factor in the race can’t hurt the brand. And the message was party-neutral regardless of the results. These are the kind of brand-fit filters every connection planner should find: Content, Context and mission.

As a campaign tracking mechanism, free cone redemptions will be an easy metric. Virtual gift talleys will also be telling as will traffic to the Election ’08 page. Without a doubt, Buzzmetrics and other influence trackers will be tallying total blog mentions and related viewership. And, I’d love to see the total impressions this campaign earned from the SocialGraph as well. We’ll reach out to Facebook, the brand and related agencies to see if we can get the numbers. And, if you’re related to the brand and know, feel free to share below.

Ben & Jerry’s won big on this campaign–even before all the numbers are in–by hitting the right tone of placement and pitch. I learned about new retail locations in a relevant way. I also didn’t feel like they were selling me. In fact, they were offering a number of value-exchanges I couldn’t get without them entering my social interactions on Facebook. Consider how different this is from the “Market Stall” approach of fast and casual food retail where the strategy based on ad spend (shout louder, sooner and with a better offer than your competitors) dominates their consumer communications. The Market Stall has 90%+ of ad spend concentrated on TV and traditional media in a cluttered, interruptive market place. Ben & Jerry’s essentially opened a new market away from the noise, clutter and lack of relevance of the traditional approach.

Every brand marketer should be asking themselves and their agencies: What’s our occasion(s) that should be so integrated with Facebook? And then buy the date to lock out your competition and outplay them.

Added: was reminded that I previously posted about Lee LeFever’s Common Craft show,  “SocialMedia in Plain English” and it was the metaphor told via Ice Cream retail. Fun conincidence. All our SM Answers Haz Ice Cream.


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SocialMedia with Obama As President

Ellen McGirt of Fast Company asked a couple of questions about the new administration and SocialMedia which she summarized in a moving, personal post that combined fresh reactions to the President-elect and perspective from a wide range of respondents. The two questions and my quickly prepared response follow: Continue reading

Somethings About Influence

I’m going to try something different for “Share of Voice” based on my previous post about spending more screen time on other social media tools besides the blog. Periodically I am going to post an edited and organized bundle of links around a related topic. There are some heavy bloggers who can’t stand re-link population and I respect their perspective for the most part, although I think it’s a wee bit elite and assumes the masses follow the firehose of information they consume daily.  Bless them for their original links; as you’ll see below it’s why they become “Super Influencers.” I think I’ve changed these enough with context and commentary to justify this different form. If these links get used it will show up in my log-files and confirm their value. Consider this a beta-post format for me.

So let’s get this started. The link-theme today is Influence.

The Power of a Good Referral-Social Influence

Digg CEO, Jay Adelson, talks Facebook Connect & Collaborative Filtering

Good article from TechCrunch, great developments and quality video presentation at the end of this article. When you’re done reviewing, think about the game-changing implications this can mean at an enterprise and community level. Digg or similar service can essentially become our digital editorial staff. With the network effect, it could also be one of the largest unpaid distribution/traffic-driver. This is big.

Super Influence

Universal McCann’s Take on The Groundswell (16mb pdf file will open in new window)

Key takeaways about “influencer economies,” super-influencers and the democratization of influence. Titled, “When did we start trusting strangers?” this multi-country, multi-age longitudinal study supports a lot of what we already know about Web2.0 and the SocialWeb with a few new areas of focus. I like the super-influencer target and can imagine a future study that can assign volumetrics or “valuemetrics” to these brand movers.

Collective Influence

Check out this directory of presentations from last week’s Web2.0 expo in NY; it’s a great collection of people who consistently influence and inform my views on digital. Some gems in here. Some of my favorites:

  • Clay Shirky’s “it’s not about information overload it’s filter failure”
  • David Armano, “Micro-Internactions,  how brands can influence consumer behavior in a 2.0 world”
  • Mike Lazerow, “Why Brand Advertisers Will Be the Biggest Beneficiaries of Social Media and How You Can Participate”
  • Jay Adelman, “Social Collaborative Filtering”

Reactions? Do you like these collections? Comment below or contact me directly via twitter, facebook or any number of other social/direct paths.


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Little Known Fact-In Case You Missed It

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Starting Friday and over the long Labor Day weekend the twitterstream was full of a new meme, “Little Known Fact, Sarah Palin” It was a gambit that started to fill in the lack of information on the new McCain ticket running mate, Sarah Palin, with disinformation and humor. Within three hours of the announcement the meme started, and thousands of tweets were submitted by every corner of the twitterverse. It was a spontaneous gag that kept getting better or worse, depending on how you view the sophmoric humor. It was a “Saturday Night Live” skit that took off with the collective contributing at a furious pace. In most cases it kept to the humorous bend, but ranged from critical to fawning. Here are some selected tweats; where attribution is missing they were pulled from

Brand Promise (bringing it back to digital marketing for a second)

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin softens your hands while you do the dishes.

@diabolos: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin isn’t qualified for VP, but she did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

@MovableHype: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

@kevinbinversie: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows what’s in her wallet.

Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.


@JonHenkeSarah Palin’s enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List

When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

Sarah Palin plays Whack-a-Mole with her forehead, and always gets a perfect score.


Sarah Palin knows who was on the grassy knoll.

@stuartturner: Little known fact: There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Sarah Palin’s computer. She’s always in control. Too bad McCain doesn’t have a computer

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin know’s what it’s like to be the sad man behind blue eyes.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

@markaiken: Little known fact: Sarah Palin IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU

Chuck Norris Comparisons (follows the “fake Chuck Norris” meme format and consumes it)

@DarkAdapted: Little known fact: Chuck Norris backs down from no man. He does back down from Sarah Palin.

@brennanm: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin blows her nose with Chuck Norris.

@steezydeezy: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin and Chuck Norris together in one room would create a black hole!

@miketrap: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin once kicked Chuck Norris’ ass, just because he thought about looking at hers.

@conblog: Little Known Fact: There are only 2 forces Chuck Norris recognizes: brute force & Sarah Palin. He practices one & lives in fear of the other

Pop Culture

@neoskeptic: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. She could teach you, but she’d have to charge.

cheesie_67: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is the last daughter of Krypton.

@wolfcat: Little known fact: Sarah Palin will eat the twitter fail whale for breakfast if elected

@I_aint_Eddy: Little known fact: Sarah Palin is never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.



@cscan:Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin has been governor for less time than John McCain has been running for President.

@YooPlaceTop: ★ Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin tried to ban book …

@Trudaluck: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is simply the best….better than all the rest

@fpaynter: Little known fact: Sarah Palin shot the state trooper, but she did not shoot the deputy.

Sarah Palin’s finishing move in the VP debate will be pulling Biden’s still beating heart from his chest & taking a bite.


Impact:Like a lot of internet memes and one-hit-wonders, this one lived strongest for about 24-36 hours getting discovered at varying points by MSM and bloggers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this catches fire a few weeks from now when another media discovers it. I’m also confident that these results will game the search engines and take over top search results, perhaps even influencing some votes. The good news about these memes is that they eventually fizzle out. They’re the equivalent of Sunday Funnies for those that remember, or a good Sienfeld/Simpson’s line that crept into popular culture. They serve their entertainment purpose for the moment, then need to go away.

If you liked any of this, you might also like:


Social Bookmarking from CommonCraft

For some reason, Social Bookmarking inquiries have been on the rise from clients lately. Not so much a demand for custom applications/marketing programs, but more “how does it work?” For some it’s a basic question of relevance and benefit. For others it’s a big-think question about its role in the armada of Social Media activity with which they engage, recognize, reward and participate in social spaces around their core values and brand attributes. Here’s a little three and a half-minute primer from Lee LeFeever from The CommonCraft show.

Done viewing? Good. The video is a good beginner primer for context. There are significant benefits to the micro-content generated from bookmarking beyond what Lee and company laid out here awhile ago. Micro-content formats include tags, descriptors, titles, date/times and more. Some bookmarking includes rating to qualify the quality of the content and its relevance. Any and all of these micro “events” can be captured as data exhaust to the benefit of a larger communication program.

As with much of Web 2.0/Social Media, a small percent of the community using these tools create a disproportionate amount of the value. Many of these creators see it as their mission to improve the taxonomy in their ecosystem. Others use it as a simple syndication/publishing tool, as Lee and team propose.

Killer app for collaboration: I’ve set up an account for my wife and I to co-index content around Celiac, which act as reference from our phones for dietary allowances and restrictions. That way, when we’re out shopping and reading package ingredient labels at retail or looking for a place to dine we have reference articles, blog posts and user reviews at our fingertips.

You can also view or subscribe to my bookmarks and find them in the sidebar of this blog or in my Friend Feed stream.

How do you use bookmarking? Please comment below.

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A Real Brand Can Stand Parody, Flattery

A great idea usually inspires other great ideas, even if in reaction to them. You see a fair amount of parody, imitation and adoration when searching brand terms on YouTube, Flickr, etc. That’s merchandising for Real Brands and can be an opportunity to listen, respond, stunt (IMHO, Marvel’s Cease & Desist to Techblogger Arrington re: Iron Man screening was just that) and maybe even innovate. The mega-benefit of posting + parody + commenting + rating + @replying + blogging + sharing is trust for consumers and the search algorithms that crawl all this activity. In terms of the latter, that means better organic placement.

So, if you see something out there about your brand that you don’t like, consider all your options for response and remember that your customer is smart enough to tell the parody from what’s real, even in your actions. A Real Brand can stand parody and even benefit from it. Who knows, you might even have your next big seller, as in this video for an innovation-on-innovation violation (consider watching with sound on mute if in shared office or if potentially offended by lyrics):

Embrace Real Brand Champions

An appropriate 4/1 post: Mark Malkoff pulled off the amazing feat of visiting and buying something to consume from every Starbucks in Manhattan in one day. Real Brands, repeat after me: “I want consumers to do this for my brand.” Below are the 3-4-minute Today Show, CNN & Fox News pieces that covered the stunt. Can someone do the math on how much–in addition to the $280 (plus $80 bribe for poundcake to an employee to reopen after closing which was later repaid by Starbucks) in revenues generated by in-store spending–this equates to in free advertising?

Mark’s incredible journey Continue reading