Tag Archives: socialnetworking

Facebook’s Musical Side – Are You Listening Yet?

You may have heard the news that Facebook has partnered with more than a dozen music services, making for richer musical experiences for the social networking site’s millions of members. But are you listening yet?

The top three favourites so far are Spotify, MOG and Rdio. Other services in the mix include TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, Audiovroom, earbits, Deezer, SoundCloud, Rhapsody, Vevo, Jelli, Songza and Slacker, among others. All have been introduced as part of Facebook’s Open Graph approach, that aims to feed music, movies, TV, news, books, media and something called “lifestyle apps” into the social mix. All was revealed at the f8 conference back in September when Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage, alongside music darling Spotify. Read More »

Is TV more fun when you tweet?

Boring old telly has been getting a lot more fun lately, if you are using Twitter. The micro-blogging service is increasingly becoming the back channel of broadcast, where people turn to exclaim delight or disgust about what they are watching. Tuned into Channel 4′s My Monkey Baby, and wondering what others are thinking about the parade of monkey loving characters? Popping onto Twitter and searching for the programme title reveals a trail of hilarious tweets, and you can add in, that is, if you actually want to confess that you are watching the show.

A television programme can come alive when you chime in with your own views, and see the intelligent, dumb, off-colour or utterly bizarre commentary of others, adding a whole new layer of entertainment experience. In America, broadcasters are fully embracing the interactive power of Twitter, with even local news stations inviting people to tweet in with updates about the weather conditions, or share views on issues. Political elections were the first and most noticeable examples of how the views of many can be shared using Twitter, as seen when Hack The Debate aired on Current TV in the lead up to the presidential elections.

For broadcasters, the service can be an instant way to guage if programming is having any impact on viewers, or, for the more clever, use the service to ignite interaction with audiences. When a show starts “trending” on Twitter, broadcast executives can know they have a hit, as has happened with Eurovision, ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and Channel 4′s Surgery Live.

Twitter got noisy surrounding Eurovision, as it sparked hundreds of amusing tweets about the song contest, and gave rise to an alternative tweeting voice when journalist Ewan Spence used Twitter to cover the event from the show’s frontline in Moscow, sending tweets, blogging and podcasting from the event. Followers of @ewanspence got treated to extra facts, insights and a few trumpeted early previews of what was to come, as entrants paraded on stage in gladiator costumes, thigh high patent leather boots or full green body paint.

“I decided to offer pithy, humourous, pre-emptive insight of what we were all seeing, and joined 1,000 other press people from around Europe to cover Eurovision,” he said.

With viewing figures of 10 million in the UK, and 112 million across Europe for Eurovision this year, Spence thought that 2009 would be the year that millions of fans would tweet about the song contest, based on the growing number of entertainment trending topics he noticed, and recognizing that this year Twitter’s popularity has expanded, with estimates of 33 million monthly visits. He out-tweeted much of the official BBC correspondents by speed of updates and depth of information, winning rave reviews from followers. Several said they preferred the commentary of the renegade Eurovision tweet host to the banter of Graham Norton’s debut year as Eurovision host.

“The public love it, but mainstream coverage does not match up to the public viewpoint so the Internet’s communities are augmenting what they see using Twitter,” he said. Listen to an Audioboo interview with Ewan Spence here.

Ewan Spence


While Spence may still be a rare visionary in how he used Twitter as a journalist, the big broadcasters are certainly wading into the water with experiments. Channel 4′s Surgery Live invited people to send in questions using Twitter, some of which the show’s host Krishnan Guru-Murthy then posed to both the doctors, and even the patient, on live television. Following along with the programme’s hashtag of #slive, a rather surreal conversation developed with audience members, with one even asking if the patient’s brain tumour was edible. Brave, risky, groundbreaking, Channel 4 proved that entertainment can also be educational, and the show did manage to top Twitter’s most watched trending topics.

“What this new generation of social media brings is a networked conversation which is global, searchable, tagable and open. In other words, unlike emails, text messages or phones, you can join in a discussion among numerous people from right across the Uk and beyond — fellow viewers, experts, medical students, enthusiasts, all manner of interested parties — live and simultaneously,” said Adam Gee, Channel 4′s Cross-platform Commissioning Editor for Factual.

Channel 4 has just started a new programme incorporating Twitter, beginning to share updates from documentary film maker Ed Wardel, who is putting his wilderness survival skills to test in the Yukon, for the series Alone In The Wild. The programme airs in July, but Wardle has already started tweeting about his experience. 

Using Twitter, and other social media websites, to add interactivity to television watching might just be transforming how we interact with the medium, and Twitter’s founders are keeping an eye toward possibilities, with news that a Twitter television show may be in works for the future. 

“Twitter’s open approach might have the power to transform television — the dominant communications receiver worldwide. We’re very excited to see where these experiments take us,” posted Twitter founder Biz Stone on his blog.

In the not to distant future, a new transmedia entertainment venture called Purefold from Ag8, a partnership production with Blade Runner director Ridley Scott and Tony Scott’s RSA Films, will see an even more multi-layered approach to integrating social media with viewing experience. Purefold will cull storyline ideas from comments people share on Friend Feed, and other social networking websites. The programme is not planned to air on any maninstream channel, as episodes will be spread across the Internet’s video sharing platforms, and brands will be invited to collaborate in the content creation to fund the programming.

Confused? You are not alone. Best stay tuned, and have some fun participating in the 2.0 tool of Twitter, and think of it as training, to get ready to adpot for the entertainment world flashing forward to even more futuristic technologies. 

Watching television and tweeting at the same time,



Should big brands make a move into social media?

Last night, as a guest speaker at The Future Laboratory’s idea networking event, I had the opportunity to chat about who is doing what in social media, and the pros and cons of big brand’s moves into the social media space.


Love it or hate it, with Facebook fast approaching 200 million users worldwide and Twitter adding thousands of new members daily, not to mention the popularity already established with platforms such as Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace, the social media channel of influence can make or break a brand. Discussed was the fear factor that big brands have now toward the social media monster, and the question of whether to enter the arena, or stay out, for fear of losing control of a brand. As The Future Laboratory’s mission is to look ahead and keep ahead of the curve, my counsel last night was that big brands need to define social media strategy now, rather than wait for a point in time when they may have to be re-active rather than pro-active toward the medium. 


Whether it is a comprehensive strategic plan to making a brand’s presence known among social media channels, or a short-term experiment into the space, such as a contest or other promotional campaign, brand’s need be bold and step into this brave new world where consumers are hanging out and, in some cases, stirring their own little revolutions. In considering a few examples we discussed:


Mars recent campaign for its Skittles candy, a courageous approach that saw the website homepage transformed to showcase the brand’s live streaming Twitter feed along with its Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages. Usage triggered was so high for this campaign that at one point Twitter crashed, and the brand discovered that turning things over to consumers opens up to a challenge when not everyone played nice with the Tweets they sent along. In the end, the fantastic publicity received around the experiment, has made Skittles top of mind and won new enthusiasts for the brand, even if there has been a bit of brusing.


Comcast, an American cable and broadband provider, has been using Twitter to supplement customer service responses. They’ve posted a guy named Frank Eliason to man the Twitter customer service site, positively giving a corporate brand a real human being to interact with in real time. Customers simply Tweet their queries to @Comcastcares and quickly receive response.


Other big brands that are stepping into social media with a variety of approaches include: Dell, Starbucks, JetBlue, TheHomeDepot, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods Market, HRBlock, Best Buy, Popeyes, Forrester Research, Ford, Samsung and Kodak, to name a few.


Here’s a few quick tips I shared with folks last night in thinking about approaching social media for a brand:


Be Seen: What do you look like to your social media audience? Are you human, or are you something off a shelf? People want to see other people in the world of social networking so in reaching out to your audiences pay attention to showing them what you and your team look like. Upload images to your Facebook group of your brand in action — people at events, people using your products, people in your office. Use Flickr to build an image trail of both products and people. Use YouTube to seed videos, integrating several visual tools to showcase the human side of your brand.


Be Real: Don’t piss off your audiences by engaging in blatant heavy promotional use of Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites. Show a personality and offer up a variety of information to your audience, pointing them to helpful or quirky items.


Be Brave: This is new territory for brand building, and it takes an adventurous sort to take some risks in approaching social media. Think out common sense approaches to using social networking for your brand, and don’t be afraid to experiment out there. 


Be On It: Assign a member of your team, or several, to be monitoring and watching for responses that come back via Tweets, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr comments, and blogs. Response to people’s comments should be swift and effective, helping those with complaints and thanking those with praise. 


Be Interactive: It isn’t enough to hang up a billboard in Second Life or set up a Facebook group or Twitter account, unless you think out how your approach should interact with people. Think about what you can offer up to your audience that will be of interest and relevance to your brand. Can you host a virtual conference in Second Life with prominent speakers? Can you run a contest through Twitter? One company called Going.com created one of the most popular Facebook applications called Naughty Gifts, a slightly cheeky way to give adult gifts to your friends, that has produced millions of exchanges. To promote Going.com, they took the popularity offline and held adult-themed parties throughout America, promoting the events through the Naughty Gifts Facebook application.


For more about future branding trends, sign up for The Future Laboratory’s Lifestyle News Network (LSN)


Thinking about social media branding,


Brave Brands With Social Media Strategy: