Category Archives: Widgets

When Every Little Bit Really Does Count

The Good Cause

The Good Cause

Tonight at 9:12pm David created a blog post for a friend in need. Daniela, with her three youngsters, made the courageous decision to exit a physically abusive marriage. Now homeless and far from home and support, her friends came to her aid. David posted a picture, an entreaty for donations and included a widget from ChipIn–a PayPal enabled payment system–to raise money that would provide Daniela the means to rent a small apartment for her family. His target was $5,000 and within two hours it easily passed $7,000 in donations.

To be fair, David is just any guy. He’s David Armano,  or @Armano on Twitter where you may already be one of his 8000+ followers. I am. You should. He puts great thinking and creativity into the SocialSphere everyday through his Logic+Emotion blog, twitterstream, twitpics, flickr visualizations, slideshare decks, bookmarks and more.  David populates and prolifically fills his SocialMap with an abundance of original thought, discoveries and insights. So, when he finally asked for something in return, the community answered his call. When he posted to his blog, he also asked in addition to giving that people help him spread the word by “retweeting” his link. They did and the response was immediate.

The widget allows you to track progress and it’s clear by the decimal point movement that people were making payments of all sizes, including very small, but meaningful ones. Because with The Long Tail and micropayments, a little can add up to a lot. In this case, a families dreams of a better life. Currently 218 donors have raised $7,099.31 or $32.56 per person on average.

To bluntly and awkwardly bring this back to the business of digital marketing and Real Branding, here are some lessons David delivered tonight:

  • Brands that create value have the right to make the ask on occasion and their fans will respond
  • Micro is the new black. Sure widgets have been around for at least three years when RockYou put its code up on MySpace and started tearing at the walled gardens creating a distribution and value-creating revolution. But now they’re getting people elected, or into their new home
  • Blog post alone isn’t the solution as Forrester’s Jermiah Owyang has recently discovered; need to add viral and urgency through twitter. Add a twitter url and hashtag for your followers to use, making it easier to promote, track, aggregate through search and measure
  • We digital folks never fail to be amazed when our magic works for us–and it does

Thanks David and family for the lessons from the heart. Every little bit counts. You can help the cause by clicking over and making your donation now (I don’t know how to embed widgets in WordPress otherwise you would be able to do it right here; don’t tell anyone :-). Be Great.

Radiohead Recognition for Art, Innovation

Radiohead has received a lot of attention and press as a result of their forward-thinking approach to consumer engagement, marketing and sales in the digital channel and age. Last year, the band gave away their music for a limited time with mixed results based on who you heard it from. Clearly these guys aren’t one-hit-wonders in music or in marketing innovation. In a “make tech cool in a popular culture sense” move, Radiohead and Google are partnering on data visualizationas you can see in the House of Cards video below. Data geeks can download the inputs, create their own versions and post to the Radiohead YouTube site. The partnership also includes an iGoogle homepage themeand embeddable gadget for the video. Pretty simple, but effective stuff, especially when backed by the distribution of Google. This video has already earned over 2mm views as of this posting.

How can this approach work for digital marketers in other product categories? Consider the ways innovation can create a halo effect for your brand and seek out those innovations that tie closest to your brand values. Many brands require repositioning or reappraisal, and your marketing message and approach can be as talkable as any singular message crafted. In this case, the marketing is the message.

Share your thoughts or ways you’ve used marketing innovation to earn reconsideration below.

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Flash+Search+Embed=Influence, Amplification

The big news around the Real Branding water coolers and wikis is Adobe and Google’s announcement about searchable Flash. The subhead is that all text within your Flash files will now be read by Search–it doesn’t currently include images, flash videos or fed content such as xml files, but may soon enough. I don’t use this space often to geek out about platform applications, but this is huge news.

For years we’ve had to manually insert tactics to inform the search cloud what we were doing in our Flash engagements and elements to prove relevance and earn natural placement. Think of Search like army ants scouring the land for food, devouring all living organisms in its path. To the search ants, Flash was pretty much dead, at best something to explore on its surface.

When you combine the richness of Flash communications with the reference ability of search and the sharing influence of widgets and applications to be shared you change the potential reach of your message.

We’ll watch closely to see how Search absorbs and prioritizes all this new content and different behaviors. We may be closer to a concrete engagement measure than ever to evaluate the benefit of engagement on desired actions and goals. I think we’ll find both influence and amplification for services, brands and entertainment the outcome of these announcements. To learn more about what’s in and out in Google’s crawling activity, check out this Q&A with their software engineers.

The Conversation Will Happen With or Without You

GetSatisfaction, the customer review site for “people-powered customer service for absolutely everything,” is receiving a fair amount of buzz from the technorati and 2.0 media biz. Like many other 2.0 companies including digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter and others, they’ve announced an open API (application programmable interface) which means that developers can create applications over their platform.

What does that mean for Marketers? The conversation about you, your brand, your products, your employees, the greatest act by your visionary leader and the lowest act from a help-desk, the pixel-perfect logo placement and the poorly executed ad placement will be posted, rated, debated and elongated–in the long tail way.

There is little anyone can do to change the course of this consumer-lead initiative. It is the natural extension of “consumer in control” expression. And yet, most marketers behave as though avoidance will have some impact. We have lots of ideas about what to do with this new reality and how to act, but for this post let’s leave the provocation and comments to how the conversation in happening with or without us. Either way, you’re in the middle of this through commission or omission.

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Some Twitter Hacks

Last week I wrote about how I pipe tweats, posts and links from one space to another with greater efficiency thanks to the magic of rss/widgets. I’m not a coder and pretty much learn by tips from others or trying things out. One of the concerns I’ve had is that when I make a twitter post, if I’m not following my account I miss people responding via the @marksilva convention. How do you track and capture all these?

I found a pretty cool way that I might add to a sidebar here (have to consider if utility is of value). Using the awesome Terraminds twitter search engine, I simply search on @marksilva and now have an RSS feed from these results. Anyone can subscribe to it.  I’ve created an area of my Flock browser sidebar to subscribe to top folks I follow, which means I get a message-board like conversation that has the original post and all responses embedded as well.

If you know a better way to do this short of scripting/coding, please share below. Cheers! silva

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2.0ptimizing Blog, Twitter, Facebook

Over at his Mediavorous blog, Brad Berens is having trepidations about the encroachment of 2.0verload on his personal space. He believes that Twitter feels adictive while Facebook Status is nifty noting their similarity.  The trick is to pipe your “data exhaust”–output from activity you’re already engaged in that previously would have been lost to the channel it was intended–into your other spaces. Read on for some quick how-to tips I’ve used to make this time optimized and work harder for me:

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Real Branding on Widgets

On August 30, 2007 Real Branding hosted a Digital Leadership Summit for clients such as Anheuser-Busch, Darden Restaurants, Disney ABC Television Group and ESPN on the topic of “Widgets.” Like widgets, we consider the gathering small, but the impact mighty. In this intimate setting, inspired greatly by Freeweb’s Widgetcon in NY, we enaged in lively discussions about the framework, measurements, best practices and direction of “Widgetdom”–a new phrase generated from the day.

The executive summary presented here—and via webinar/podcast with Newsgator on September 26, 2007—represents content and best practices shared at that summit by market leaders such as comScore, Freewebs, Google, NewsGator, RockYou, Slide and Fox Interactive Media’s SpringWidgets.

 Get the summary presentation (5mb ppt file):

Slide handouts with notes (2.5 pdf file):
Real Branding Digtal Leadership SummitFlickr Slideshow from day–view slideshow with “i”/information window on to get details/texture describing progression of the day.

What’s your take? Add to the discussion with your comments below.

Personalize, Embed, Share, STAF

Repeat these words and consider how to implement them in all digital endeavors. Make your content personal and find ways to allow others to personalize it. Make it embeddable. Make it easy to share and Send To A Friend (STAF) as minimum requirements and best practices. Here’s a good example from AOL’s execution for The Transformers Movie DVD release:

Other than the cool factor this will have when my son sees me as Optimus Prime, the reason to link over is for the best practices in the lower navigation: download (doesn’t work as of this post), permalink, embed, share, do more. Well done.

Widgets Vs. Ad Networks–Rankings

Quick quiz and no cheating: which has more unique viewers each month worldwide: eBay, Wikipedia or Widgets in aggregate? How about in the U.S.: widget makers Slide and RockYou or–iPhone inclusive? The numbers and rankings may surprise you. Here’s a run-down from June 2007 Media Metrix and Widget Metrix by comScore: Continue reading

VentureBeat: Widgets=Traffic to Mothership

Quick read: using Quantcast reporting, VentureBeat pegs growth of three widget-leading companies–HotorNot, RockYou and Slide–to their distribution in Facebook. Conclusion: Widget=Growth strategy for publishers today. “Free,” a tenant of Widget development and distribution, is Chris Anderson’s latest concept to follow-up on his must-read, The Long Tail. It helps address that question you’re internalizing: “just how do you evaluate value-creation of “traction/hyper growth” if they’re not producing profit?”

Also, via Masha Geller on facebook: Facebook puts itself on the block for sale–only $7-10bn, about 20-30% the value of Yahoo!.