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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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VuHunt – The Next Generation Foursquare

Posted in ideas, internet, photography by aldorf on May 31, 2011

It doesn’t look pretty but it will definitely find it’s followers. VuHunt, a rewards-based location game that uses the technology on Android phones.

With VuHunt, users can duel with their friends to conquer territory in the real world, as they can with popular mobile check-in service Foursquare. But while users simply check in at a place in order to take it over in Foursquare, the process is more complex with VuHunt.

You can, for instance, take over your friend’s castle at a particular real-world location via long distance means. You can answer a trivia question correctly or solve a puzzle in order to dislodge someone. Or you may have to upload a picture of a physical location, such as a lake, or upload a few seconds of video of a car, in order to dislodge the person. The game capitalizes on location, artificial intelligence, and internet connectivity.

Your friends, meanwhile, can defend their castles by fulfilling their own challenges. If they do so, you may be forced to execute several challenges before you can take over the location.

Each action you take tells VuFind something about your behavior, and the company hopes to target ads from brands to you based on your interests.

The photos you upload can be geotagged. You can go to someone’s castle simply to find out more about that location by viewing the pictures that have been uploaded there.

“We appeal to people who want to use and see photos,” Rashad said. “It’s like a next-generation Foursquare.”

The technology uploads a photo to VuFind’s servers, which use algorithms to decipher what the image is. Then it sends a response back in near real-time, depending on whether the image is accepted or not. If it doesn’t recognize the photo, it says so and the user has to try again. Over time, the recognition should get better and better.

The company is designing more levels where users will be able to purchase virtual currency and use them to buy items in the game. The game has a news feed where you can watch what your friends are uploading. Rashad believes that players can get into pitched battles for control of castles in certain locations. Some of the tougher challenges require users to be at the actual location and check in. A leaderboard will show which users are winning.

Over time, Rashad said he hopes that advertisers will be able to put their ads into the various castles and other locations. But the company is only beginning to engage with advertisers now.

Rashad started working on the technology in 2007. He started VuFind last year and raised $420,000 from angel investors. VuFind first started to create an augmented reality social network based on the ability to recognize places in photos. But that business wasn’t easy to monetize. So the company morphed its plan and entered the game space instead. It now has seven employees and a few more consultants.

Besides Foursquare, rivals include Pixlogic, Digitalsmiths, Scvngr, Gowalla and Booyah. (via VentureBeat)

More on this and a short video at vufind.com

Mark Ecko’s Powerful New Campaign Using Foursquare And Mobiles To End Corporal Punishment

Posted in blog, ideas, Media, your take on... by aldorf on March 11, 2011

In the United States, every class of citizen, from prisoners to soldiers, is legally protected from corporal punishment–except for children.

Unlimited Justice, campaign by Mark Ecko to end corporal punishment in schools. Students become real life activists, game-like heros by using foursquare and their smartphones. A novel way to bring home the otherwise abstracted feeling of a national problem.

The final step of the campaign encourages an army of young citizen journalists to curate striking images, compelling stories, and local reports of corporal punishment in the 20 states where it is still legal.

 

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NYE in NYC? Check In To Apartm.net on Foursquare The Door Unlocks

Posted in ideas, inspiration, Media, web by aldorf on December 18, 2010

Apartm.net is the location of New Years.They made it so if you check in to Apartm.net on Foursquare the door unlocks. Well, not you. they. So you can’t steal their stuff. Made possible with Foursquare’s Alpha 2.0 API, a local push notification service, an industrial web-enabled relay device, some speaker wire, and knowing about electricity.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Scvngr – The Next Level

Posted in ideas, pioneers by aldorf on November 22, 2010
Image representing SCVNGR as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

The check-in application that asks users to complete activity challenges, just announced a strategic partnership with major drink distributor Coca Cola http://www.coca-cola.com/index.jsp . The two have joined forces to give users who check-in to certain Simon Malls http://www.simon.com/ across United States the opportunity to earn points and rewards like gift cards and other Coke-branded merchandise.

Starting Friday, November 26, Scvngr users who check-in at one of the malls will be prompted to complete the new Coke Secret Formula Challenges. Some of the challenges include tasks like having a friend snap a photo of you high-fiving a fellow mall patron (bonus points if your target is drinking a Coke) or snapping a photo of hiding locations throughout the mall (maybe that’s where the Coke Secret Formula is hidden).

Display Your Foursquare Checkins On Google Maps

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on July 23, 2010

Want to see your foursquare checkins on a map without a lot of fuss? Try this quick, easy method to show your checkins using Google maps.

  1. Visit your foursquare feeds page. Right click the KML link and copy it to your clipboard (don’t download it).
  2. Visit Google Maps and paste the link you copied into the search box. Hit enter.
  3. There is no step 3.

Your foursquare checkins will be highlighted with pins on the map. You can share the map with a friend by clicking either “Send” or “Link” at the top of the map. Be careful who you share the map with, though, because once they have the link, they’ll have access to your entire checkin history, both now and in the future (for example, don’t post the link on your website).

“I would love to save these foursquare feeds in discrete chunks like this for future reference. Someone sends me an email saying “what did you do that was fun in Zurich?”. I could simply send them this list of checkins. So simple, so easy, so useful. I love it.” (Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures)

(read more)

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  1. Visualize your Foursquare history with Google Earth
  2. Track your Foursquare checkins using Google Calendar
  3. Bing Maps Launches Foursquare Everywhere
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Smartest Way To Find A Cab IN NYC

Posted in ideas, Media by aldorf on April 16, 2010

a new iPhone app called Cab Sense.

CabSense, which the company (Sense Networks) just released two weeks ago, shows on a map the best street corners for getting a cab in New York, taking into account the time and day. With CabSense, the user can see “hot” corners for getting a cab in the vicinity right now, or plan ahead and see what would be the best location for hailing a taxi, say, the next day to get to the airport.

“Right now” doesn’t mean that CabSense will tell you exactly where the cabs are driving right at that moment, though. It does not track specific taxis in real time. But its taxicab predictions are based on some heavy-duty data crunching, said Blake Shaw, a project manager at Sense Networks, who worked closely on CabSense.

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