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The Interest Graph – Eight ways to get ready by Edward Boches

Posted in blog, ideas, Media, web by aldorf on July 22, 2012

Social networks like Facebook start with your friends and let you see what you have in common.  Interest graph-based models – Springpad, Pinterest, Get Glue – start with your interests and then let you make connections. It’s less about who you know and more about what you care about.

Platforms attempting to capture and map the interest graph are the next big trend in social media

If you happen to have your Google alerts set up to grab the latest blog posts and articles about Pinterest, you’re stream is pretty well populated these days. Add “Facebook Actions” or “Springpad” or “Svpply” or “Hunch” and it gets even more crowded.  Maybe that’s why I don’t dare add queries for Google’s new privacy changes or developments like YouTube’s original channels. It would be more than anyone could possibly bear.

With each passing week, the social web evolves. Now that we’ve supposedly mastered Facebook and Twitter, we’re confronted with Google + and all the new interest graph platforms mentioned above. Are we ready? Do we know what to do? Do we have a strategy in place?

Recent research that Mullen just conducted suggests not. We surveyed 160 CMOs and marketing chiefs to find out where they stood when it came to using social media, monitoring the stream, developing conversation strategy and having a plan for tapping the interest graph.

We were surprised at some of the results.

Marketers remain challenged by social media

While 87 percent of respondents claimed that social media was somewhat or very important to their marketing efforts, most of their efforts remained limited to, or at least focused on Facebook. Nearly 80 percent were committed to the world’s largest social network. But fewer than 20 percent were using Google + and a full 80 percent had no focus at all on a platform like Foursquare.

While ongoing engagement emerged as one primary objective (64.5 percent noted it) marketers declared their number one reason for using social media was to generate awareness (76.8 percent), an objective that beat out both customer support (29.7 percent) and building loyalty (53.5 percent).

Among the more disappointing, but perhaps expected findings was the fact that marketers measure success primarily by how many followers and/or likes they generate (71.6 percent). By comparison, downloads (24.5 percent), share of conversation (25.2) and referrals (35.5) remained far less important. The latter is particularly surprising given the social web’s built in ability to inspire word-of-mouth marketing and the sharing of recommendations.

When it comes to content, marketers continue to think like traditional advertisers. They primarily use social platforms to promote products and offers (67.5 percent) and to deliver updates (64.9 percent). Providing utility (33.1) and offering entertainment (22.7) remain far less important concerns.

Despite the flurry of press coverage on the emerging importance of the interest graph, nearly half or respondents (48.7 percent) never heard of the term “interest graph,” and when they had it explained – the ability to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way by tapping into their interests – only 26.6 percent thought it could be “very useful.”

As for all that buzz around Pinterest, a platform generating page views, user growth and inbound links for the early adopter brands? Close to half of our respondents (42.2 percent) never even heard of it, while barely a sliver (4.5 percent) had started using it.

Perhaps that’s no surprise given that 68.8 percent of marketers surveyed capture no interest graph data at all — not preferences, interests, or intentions.

Finally, while brand stewards aren’t quite overwhelmed with the proliferation of platforms, they (44.2 percent) struggle with one fundamental challenge – where to put their resources.

According to a recent Mullen study, most marketers don’t capture interest data

From the social graph to the interest graph

The last finding surprises no one. Getting social media efforts to deliver hard results and ROI is a challenge for the simple reason that most consumers aren’t there to connect with brands and their advertising messages.

But the interest graph platforms can change that. If marketers can suddenly identify people who’ve raised their hands and virtually asked for a “proposal,” they can more easily connect with people who’ll welcome them.

Every social network knows this is the future. Facebook Actions now allows users to tap into and identify friends’ interests — music, tastes in foods and preferences for movies, books and more. Presumably, if you actually know what friends have good taste in music it will now be easier to call on their recommendations. Actions aren’t perfect, however.

You still have to scroll through the stream and most content isn’t really persistent, meaning if you miss it in the stream it’s gone. It still poses challenges for marketers, too.  Check out your own page and refresh it a few times. I guarantee that you’ll find the majority of ads that get served to you are completely irrelevant.  But the promise is significant. Facebook will inevitably get better at capturing even more data and presumably allow advertisers to more accurately focus messages.

Foursquare, which our research told us is barely on the radar for most marketers will start making recommendations to its users on where to eat and where to vacation based on past behavior and that of friends. Certainly any hospitality marketer – restaurants, chains, museums and hotels – should at least be exploring the possibilities, if not encouraging user participation.

But all of this is still new. The social graph as we know it is only a few years old while the interest graph has been a topic of discussion for a matter of months. So what does it all mean? For brands, it’s definitely not too late to be early. Marketers can still get in on the ground level. But they need to embrace it and work to leverage it.

For social media practitioners, there’s work to be done. We need to learn, educate each other, experiment and develop effective strategies and tactics.

Eight steps you can take to get ready

  1. Learn the difference between the social graph and the interest graph.  This simple description, by David Rogers writing in Read Write Web might help.*
  2. Read Grouped and get a better sense of how influence happens on the social web. The Tipping Point is a fallacy. Influence isn’t what you think it is. Small groups are what really matter.
  3. Open accounts on at least a few of the platforms. We would recommend Pinterest, Springpad**, and one other of your choice (The Fancy, Fab, Hunch) just to learn what it’s all about. Don’t commit to any one platform. Pinterest may be hot right now, but it’s too early to own this category and some consider the platform of the month a bit one dimensional.
  4. Take the time to learn what constitutes appropriate and effective conversation strategy on these new platforms. (Hint: it’s not simply about publishing content or adding a Spring This or Pin It button to your site.)
  5. Pay attention to Google’s new privacy policy and as mentioned earlier Facebook Actions.
  6. Look for opportunities to market to the data. We’re a few months or more away from this, but it’s coming.
  7. Use the platforms yourself. There is no better way to learn and understand their potential.
  8. If you’re at SxSW this year, come to our panel on the interest graph and deferred intent.

*The Social Graph

A social graph is a digital map that says, “This is who I know.” It may reflect people who the user knows in various ways: as family members, work colleagues, peers met at a conference, high school classmates, fellow cycling club members, friend of a friend, etc. Social graphs are mostly created on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, where users send reciprocal invites to those they know, in order to map out and maintain their social ties.

*The Interest Graph

An interest graph is a digital map that says, “This is what I like.” As Twitter’s CEO has remarked, if you see that I follow the San Francisco Giants on Twitter, that doesn’t tell you if I know the team’s players, but it does tell you a lot about my interest in baseball. Interest graphs are generated by the feeds customers follow (e.g. on Twitter), products they buy (e.g. on Amazon), ratings they create (e.g. on Netflix), searches they run (e.g. on Google), or questions they answer about their tastes (e.g. on services like Hunch).

Your thoughts? Please share ideas, examples or insights as to where you think things are going.


 

Please read another related article here “Social media gets interesting” 

What everyone in Silicon Valley and “Venture Land” conceive of as the real game-changing model involves capturing and capitalizing on the “interest graph. The company that succeeds in doing so would be “close to the Google search paradigm because it would be right in line with demand generation and with discovery that relates to product purposes.” Thus, it is the interest graph that defines the middle ground between Google and Facebook — between search, advertising, and the social graph.

(original posts by Edward Boches)

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Why I Hire People, Not Skills – great insight by David Cancel

Posted in blog, ideas, quality by aldorf on July 21, 2012

Companies change. Products evolve. Approaches get thrown out the window. The centrifugal force alone of that kind of rapid development is enough to throw anyone off center. Throughout my experience, one guiding rule on team building in fast-moving companies has emerged: hire people, not skills.

It can be tempting when you’re first growing to hire someone specifically to fill a gap in your company’s skillset. If you hire someone for skills alone, however, they may lose balance as the company grows, when those skills are no longer as central or get placed into a different context. Each time I have built a team, personal traits – not professional skills – have been what propelled the company forward.

So, what traits matter? The answer is going to vary by company and founder, but I look for the following:

Cultural Fit (45%)

Fit is arguably the most important of any qualification. Start-ups can be very hard, and they become impossible if you don’t love the people around you. Getting the culture right is critical. No matter how stellar a candidate’s skills are, if they don’t fit well with your team, it won’t work out for anyone involved. Be careful here though: fit should not signal conformity. You do not need 12 identical personalities. You need a mix of people with differing perspectives but shared values. You need at team that is cohesive because of its differences.

Scrappiness and Drive (35%)

At Performable, we include scrappiness in the job description. We seek out people who have toppled challenges with very limited resources. This is not just about being lean. It is about the character of the team. The four most powerful words coming from a new hire are: “I’ll figure it out.” Find someone who you can trust to say that and follow through on it, and you’ve found a true asset.

This kind of drive is different than traditional ambition. Ambitious people will succeed at any task laid before them. They will personally excel, quickly rising from manager to director to vice president. A scrappy person who is driven does not rely on titles or defined responsibilities. He or she will push the company forward even when no one’s looking. Driven people move through the responsibilities on their lists, but also keep a constant eye on how the company as a whole can do things smarter and better.

Intelligence and Experience (15% and 5%, respectively)

Intelligence and experience are valuable, but a scrappy person who fits well on the team can learn fast. In a start-up, jobs are always changing. So when you think about intelligence and experience, make sure you are thinking about it in terms of a genuine hunger to learn and level of life-experience that enables the candidate to easily adapt and evolve.

Discovering these traits in candidates may come down to a gut feeling for many, but some of it can be illuminated by carefully posed questions and by getting a candidate outside of the typical interview set-up. Whenever possible change the setting, meet candidates outside of the office, at events or out for coffee. Get them talking rather than answering. Find out what it is that makes them tick.

Website of David Cancel

Richard Branson Is Asking You …

Posted in Animation, blog, ideas, inspiration, quality by aldorf on January 18, 2012

What do you think about this video? “Incentivising senior employees very differently. Saw this incredibly interesting video recently. Was impressed not only by its surprising conclusions, but by its original way of presenting information. It’s certainly intriguing. I suspect that my senior people at Virgin will hope I don’t watch this video too often! What do you think about it? (via his blog)

It is a pretty cool video on management. And I agree that this original way of presenting information by RSA is very convincing. There are many more animated videos on their website or youtube channel. Great content and intriguing to watch. Thanks Richard for posting and thanks RSA for being a powerful and inspiring platform.

 

 

My first presentation slide of 2012

Posted in blog, inspiration, Quotes Of The Day by aldorf on January 3, 2012

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Occupy The Internet!

Posted in blog, Media, web by aldorf on December 1, 2011

Are you a “webmaster”, admin, blog owner or someone with access to index.html files? Are you interested in taking part in the recent global wave of revolution from the comfort of your home computer? Occupy the Internet! (via graffitiresearchlab)

 

Booktwo – Investigate The Future Of Literature And The Publishing Industry

Posted in art, blog, Media by aldorf on December 1, 2011

The book is dead. Long live the book.

Founded in September 2006 by James Bridle, booktwo.org exists to investigate, analyse, catalogue and debate the future of literature and the publishing industry.

Booktwo.org was founded out of a frustration with the failure of trade publishing to engage with new media and technology, a frustration reflected in the first essay: Birth Pangs of a new Literature. Over time, the industry has started to change, but booktwo.org continues to champion and challenge new literary forms and new publishing models.

James Bridle worked in a number of roles within and outside the publishing industry, from publicity and marketing to editorial, and from online strategy to web application development and production. His personal site can be found at shorttermmemoryloss.com.

Cool Sh*t: New Directions In Advertising

Posted in blog, ideas, inspiration, Media by aldorf on August 19, 2011

(via CR Blog) Stunts, installations, neat tech ideas and UGC – advertising has been experimenting with all manner of new methods of engagement. Discovery Networks Europe’s Federico Gaggio and Patrick Burgoyne CR editor brought together some of the most significant of these ideas in a presentation for the Promax Conference. Here’s their overview of adland’s new directions

“Cool Shit” started as a presentation at the Promax Conference in LA in 2010 by Federico Gaggio, Executive Creative Director at Discovery Networks Europe, and CR editor Patrick Burgoyne (the title was the organisers’ by the way). It was designed to be an inspirational session, rounding up content showing new and interesting ways brands and advertisers had been using the power of digital and social media to establish deeper and more meaningful relationships with their audiences. Since then, updated versions have been presented in London, Berlin and New York. There have also been many requests from audience members for an online version of the presentation. As a general overview of some of the key developing themes in advertising, we thought it would be worth sharing here on the CR Blog. What follows is a transcript of the talk as written up by Gaggio. Read more

 

 

Dont Fear The Internet Dot Com

Posted in blog, Media, web, your take on... by aldorf on August 11, 2011

American duo Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer. Their site Don’t Fear the Internet is a really great beginners’ guide to the fundamentals of web design, practical but in no way patronising. (via itsnicethat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a print designer, photographer, fine-artist, or general creative person? Do you have a shitty website that you slapped together yourself in Dreamweaver in that ONE web design class that you took in college? Do you not have a site at all because you’ve been waiting two years for your cousin to put it together for you? Well, we’re here to help. We know that you have little to no desire to do web design professionally, but that doesn’t mean that you want an ugly cookie-cutter site or to settle for one that hasn’t been updated since Hackerswas in theaters. Through short tutorial videos, you’ll learn how to take a basic wordpress blog and manipulate the css, html (and even some php!) to match your aesthetic. You’ll feel empowered rather than crippled by the internet and worst case scenario you’ll at least end up having a better idea of how professional web designers turn your design dreams into a reality on screen.

The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

Posted in blog, ideas, inspiration, quality, your take on... by aldorf on August 2, 2011

[via 99%]

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably

haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead,

people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on

your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they

resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your

story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head

around?

That’s why the resume is on the out, and the bio is on the rise. People work with

people they can relate to and identify with. Your bio needs to tell the

bigger story. Especially, when you’re in business for yourself, or in the business

of relationships. It’s your bio that’s read first.

To help you with this, your bio should address the following five

questions:

1. Who am I?

2. How can I help you?

3. How did I get here (i.e. know what I know)?

4. Why can you trust me?

5. What do we share in common?

here are a few key pointers for reinventing your bio as a story:

1. Share a Point of View.

You’re a creative. Having something to say is the ultimate proof. 

What’s missing from the larger conversation? Speak to that. Don’t be afraid 

to tell the bigger story. We want to know how you see the world. 

Show us that you have a unique perspective or fresh vantage point on the 

things that matter most.

2. Create a Backstory.

Explain the origin for how you came to see the world in this way. 

Maybe it was something that happened to you as a kid or early in your career. Consider your superhero origins. How did you come into these powers? 

What set you off on this quest or journey? What’s the riddle or mystery you are 

still trying to solve? When you tell the story of who you were meant to be, it becomes an undeniable story. Natural authority is speaking from the place of 

what you know and have lived.

3. Incorporate External Validators.

Think frugally here. To paraphrase the artist De La Vega, we spend too much 

time trying to convince others, instead of believing in ourselves. Nonetheless, 

if you’re doing something new, different, or innovative – you have to anchor 

it into the familiar. Help people see that your novel ideas are connected to 

things they recognize and trust. That might be your notable clients, press, publications, or things you’ve created. Just enough to show people your story 

is for real.

4. Invite people into relationship.

Now that you’ve established you’ve got something to share, remind people 

you’re not so different from them. Vulnerability is the new black. 

Share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal 

a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests. This will make you 

more approachable and relatable. You’re human, too. Help people find 

the invisible lines of connection.


Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno

Posted in blog, ideas, inspiration by aldorf on August 2, 2011

[via 99%, by Scott McDowell]

The ebb and flow of concentrated focus and total disengagement has been a subject

of particular interest to the composer, musician, and producer Brian Eno (U2,

Talking Heads, Roxy Music). Drawing on interviews from throughout Eno’s career,

Eric Tamm’s book, Brian Eno: His Music and The Vertical Sound of Color, delves

deeply into Eno’s “creative process.” Eno himself calls it:

…a practice of some kind … It quite frequently happens that you’re

just treading water for quite a long time. Nothing really dramatic

seems to be happening. … And then suddenly everything seems to

lock together in a different way. It’s like a crystallization point

where you can’t detect any single element having changed. There’s

a proverb that says that the fruit takes a long time to ripen, but it

falls suddenly … And that seems to be the process.

Throughout his career, Eno has used a grab bag of tools to assist the creative

process. “There are lots of ways that you can interfere with it and make it more

efficient.”

1. Freeform capture. Grab from a range of sources without editorializing.

According to Tamm, one of Eno’s tactics “involves keeping a microcassette tape

recorder on hand at all times and recording any stray ideas that hit him out of the

blue – a melody, a rhythm, a verbal phrase.” He’ll then go through and look for links

or connections, something that can form the foundation for a new piece of music.

2. Blank state. Start with new tools, from nothing, and toy around. For example,

Eno approaches this by entering the recording studio with no preconceived ideas,

only a set of instruments or a few musicians and “just dabble with sounds until

something starts to happen that suggests a texture.” When the sound texture evokes

a memory or emotion that impression then takes over in guiding the process.

3. Deliberate limitations. Before a project begins, develop specific limitations.

Eno’s example: “this piece is going to be three minutes and nineteen seconds long

and it’s going to have changes here, here and here, and there’s going to be a

convolution of events here, and there’s going to be a very fast rhythm here with a

very slow moving part over the top of it.”

4. Opposing forces. Sometimes it’s best to generate a forced collision of ideas.

Eno would “gather together a group of musicians who wouldn’t normally work

together.” Dissimilar background and approaches can often evoke fresh thinking.

5. Creative prompts. In the ‘70s Eno developed his Oblique Strategies cards, a

series of prompts modeled after the I Ching to disrupt the process and encourage a

new way of encountering a creative problem. On the cards are statements and

questions like: “Would anybody want it?” “Try faking it!” “Only a part, not the

whole.” “Work at a different speed.” “Disconnect from desire.” “Turn it upside

down.” “Use an old idea.” These prompts are a method of generating specifics, which

most creatives respond favorably to.

In the end, don’t underestimate your personal feelings about a project. Eno states:

“Nearly all the things I do that are of any merit at all start off as just being good

fun.” Amen to that.

How Do You Spark Creative Breakthroughs?

Where do you get your best ideas?

What strategies do you use to give your creative mind a kick?

Scott McDowell works with business leaders and creative teams to ease

collaboration. He’s also a DJ at WFMU. Follow Scott @mcd_owell.


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