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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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Must Read “Nike’s New Marketing Mojo”

Posted in design, ideas, inspiration, Media, quality by aldorf on March 6, 2012

Nike has always been at the forefront of cutting edge philosophies in the world of design, execution and marketing. One of the most innovative in recent memory was the establishing of Nike Digital Sport in 2010, whose aim was to develop devices and technologies that allowed users to track their personal statistics in any sport in which they participated. For those interested in Nike’s marketing philosophies, head over to Fortune to read the fascinating article in its entirety.

Stunning! Award-Winning Teenage Science In Action

Posted in conference, ideas, inspiration by aldorf on January 14, 2012

In 2011 three young women swept the top prizes of the first Google Science Fair. At TEDxWomen Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah described their extraordinary projects– and their route to a passion for science.

Dead Pixel In Google Earth – The Great Work of Helmut Smits

Posted in art, ideas by aldorf on December 10, 2011

I love his work. Helmut Smits (1974) is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Make sure to check out his website.

(Dead Pixel In Google Earth)

(Microphones)

(Photo Tip)

(Paddling Fountain)

Subjot Is Not Just Another Twitter Clone

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on August 19, 2011

Do we really need more social networks? Looking at New York based Chris and Becky Carella’s latest venture, Subjot, the answer could well be ‘yes’. Subjot, on the other hand, makes a decent effort in terms of setting itself apart.

It’s not just another Twitter clone. There’s no denying that there’s a ton of similarities but there is one feature in particular which is pretty interesting – and that is the ability to curate the content you follow from other users. So instead of following all of their status updates, you can view a list of the topics they ‘jot’ about, and select only the ones that are of interest to you.

How does it work?

When sending an update, which is limited to 250 characters, you can accompany that update with a ‘subject’ of your choice. People who follow you can then select from your subjects what exactly they want to hear about. Read full article

Random Hacks of Kindness

Posted in conference, ideas, innovation, internet by aldorf on August 12, 2011

 

 

What a great idea! (via rhok.org)

Random Hacks of Kindness is a community of innovation focused on developing practical open source solutions to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation challenges. Random Hacks of Kindness was founded in 2009 in partnership between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank.

Since then thousands of volunteers have worked on applications that are already making an impact. I’m OK, an SMS service that lets people inform their families of their status, was used on the ground during the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010. The World Bank is piloting CHASM, software for visualizing landslide risk, in the Caribbean. Other apps have received support and interest from governments, NGOs and international organizations around the world.

How it Works

RHoK works by bringing together experts in development and volunteers with a broad set of skills in software development and design. The goal is to produce practical open source solutions to development problems. Events give the community an opportunity to sprint on projects, but the community continues to collaborate around the year.

RHoK Highlights

The RHoK community grew rapidly in 2010, with volunteer-organized events taking place in 26 cities around the globe, over 2000 registrants and resulting in 120 distinct projects worked on.

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.


Interactive Film “ROME” – Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin Did It Again!

Posted in Uncategorized by aldorf on May 14, 2011

Experience “3 Dreams of Black” at http://www.ro.me/

“3 Dreams of Black” is Chris Milk‘s new interactive film, created in WebGL with some friends from Google, for Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi’s ROME, featuring Jack White & Norah Jones. The project is a Chrome Experiment (http://www.chromeexperiments.com/) that showcases some of the latest web technologies in modern browsers like Google Chrome.

In building “3 Dreams of Black”, we’ve had the opportunity to build many tools, libraries, and models. We’ve fully opened up the source code and made it available for web developers to tinker with us at http://www.ro.me/tech. In addition to the code, a few other highlights include eight WebGL demos, a fun model viewer for interacting with some of the animals from the web experience, and the Three.js 3D library used for building the experience. In addition, a big part of the project was to define a good pipeline for getting all the animals and environment models right in WebGL — for this, we extended Blender with custom plugins so we could manipulate and export the data with ease.

Music Beta by Google or Noisey by Vice?

Posted in Media, music, web by aldorf on May 10, 2011

I know not exactly comparable options but both landed in my inbox today. Noisey is having a launch Party tonight in Berlin and Music Beta is handing out invitations (U.S. only).

Noisey is a new video-based platform from Vice for showcasing the most essential new music by emerging talents from all corners of the globe. Tonight is the official launch of Noisey in Germany, and one of Berlin’s own stages for new music, Tape.

Music Beta by Google. “You can get to your personal music collection at home or on the go. Listen from the web or any enabled device with the Music app available from Android Market. Not online? No problem. The songs you’ve recently played will automatically be available offline. You can also select the specific albums, artists and playlists you want to have available when you’re not connected.”

A Crowdsourced ‘Timeline for the World’

Posted in Media, photography, web by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Thanks Angela Maiers for your comment on my recent post around crowdsourcing tools. You recommended vineme.com as a very useful tool. For almost one year  Josh FlemingTony Muse and Chris Taulborg have been hard at work building Des Moines’ newest startup, VineMe. VineMe is billed as a “social platform that allows the world to crowdsource content by time, tags, places and people.” (public launch March 31, 2011). Here is what Josh Fleming says about this new crowdsourcing venture:

“We want to curate life through visual content. I always enjoy discovering content in new ways. It’s why people flocked to the internet. It’s why Google quickly became a verb. It’s why apps are so popular. The combination of discovery and ease of use is what is driving technology today. We think VineMe offers both.”

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