Tag Marketing

The Internet (alone) will not discover you

The other day +Trey Ratcliff posted an article here on Google+ that suggested that if one does great work they will be discovered. I think this is an over simplification at best. It’s a myth that has been told over and over through out time. The suggestion that all one needs to do is great work to be discovered gives many the hope to carry on but for many it also suggests that the lack of discovery suggests one is not doing great work. I know TREY meant well as he’s great with promoting other photographers work, he even talked about some of the other steps in the process.

It’s his actions that touch on the other side of the discovery equation…promotion. Wether it’s self promotion (including networking) or some one else singing your praise, with out promotion your great work may never be seen.

In Trey’s video, he talks about how a painter (+Daniel Ibanez) reached out to him in a Hang Out and shared with him some photos of his paintings. Trey liked the work and shared it with his network, members of his network liked and then re-shared the work. Clearly people connected with the paintings (quality) but it was the promotion (artist to Trey, Trey to his network, his network to their networks, etc) that helped the Internet discover NAME.

Another great example of how both parts of the equation are needed. Recently there was a storage locker full of photos that was purchased during a lot sale. The buyer (John Maloof) digitized a few and then posted them online. The photos were great, and story went viral. They took off because they were great photos, but with out his discovery and promotion one of the largest collections of street photography would have been lost. Luckily for us this isn’t the case and we can now enjoy +Vivian Maier’s work both online and in galleries.

Even with the Internet there are thousands of photographers/writers/actors who are doing great work that will never be discovered/appreciated/noticed. This is true for every media, every art form and even in your 9-5. This doesn’t mean not to keep doing what you’re doing, but do it because you love it, not for the fame.

I think Trey would agree, the best advice is do what you love, do it as best you can, share what you’ve done and don’t be discouraged when the zeitgeist of serendipity passes you by. When you are discovered don’t forget all the hard work, promotion and people who helped you along the way.

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Trey Ratcliff’s original post:
The Internet will Discover You

Vivian Maier’s work
http://www.vivianmaier.com

Xbox App = Pure Brilliance

The Xbox community is pretty rabid and many use the service for way more than just gaming. As such Microsoft just released an app for iOS devices to give access to your account from anywhere. Not only does it increase the value of having a XBox account they slyly put WindowsPhone 7 on your iPhone.

The app itself is build using the Metro framework but it also includes the default nav bar from their OS. So visually other than the status bar at the top of the screen you’re in WP7 land. What a way to introduce the masses to WP7 without them having to give up their iPhones in the process.

Outside the visuals, the app is pretty impressive. From the animated avatar that reacts to your actions (shake phone, poke, etc.), to full access to your account including messaging and setting of beacons. Beacons on their own are a brilliant move, but together Microsoft has a killer marketing tool disguised as an app that you’ll want to use.

Check it out for your self.

Getting to know Facebook’s Open Graph

Last week Facebook announced Open Graph, a way for external sites to connect Facebook’s users and services. Open graph takes what was previously called Facebook Connect a bit further. First, it’s based on using OAuth rather then Facebook’s proprietary system. Secondly, it allows tighter integration with Facebook’s data as well as allowing 3rd parties to locally retain user data for more then 24 hours. This is a huge perk to 3rd party developers; on the flip side this is a huge privacy concern for members. Other additions include the ability for any site to embed some Facebook functionality without requiring OAuth or compromising user privacy, this is done through iFrames.

It’s this last one that initially will be Facebook’s biggest win. It includes the ability to add a “like” button to any page with a simple line of JavaScript. For external sites, like this one, the addition of a “like” button allows for a simple way for readers to share the site/page with their (the readers) friends on Facebook. Much like the Digg, Buzz Up, “post to Twitter” and other social buttons previously available. The big difference is access to Facebook’s membership numbers, especially since Facebook users encompasses a broader spectrum of the masses then most of the other services. Granted the “like” button is little more then a marketing/promotional tool for the sites that use it. For Facebook, on the other hand, it provides endless user preference data, which can be used for better ad targeting or be sold to 3rd parties. It also positions Facebook as the go to source trending information.

In addition to the “like” button, Facebook’s Developer’s guide offers a number of other widgets via iFrame/JavaScript for 3rd party sites to connect with Facebook. One widget offers a view of what other pages on the site your friends (and the world at large) “liked.” Almost instantly there was likebutton.me, a site displaying multiple instances of this widget listing what friends “liked” on some of the Internet’s bigger sites. All this is done without likebutton.me ever directly knowing who you are as each instance of the widget is actually an iFrame containing Facebook. I say “directly” because the data is readable via JavaScript post rendering. Facebook also offers a recommendations engine based on all the data collected that 3rd parties could implement. Though I need to learn more about this one myself before I can explain its particulars here.

One thing Facebook is requesting as part of the “like” button spec is the addition of meta data about the page/site that is hosting the button. The more accurate the info included the better you’ll be found within the Facebook universe. This reminds me of the early years of search engines where they relied on the honesty of the poster’s meta data for the integrity of their search algorithms. Regardless of the potential for hacking the system, Facebook has a list of requested meta data fields to be associated with the “like” button. The “type” field is potentially linked to the content listed in the user’s profile. For example, if you “like” a movie on IMDB, it can potentially be added to your profile’s list of favorite movies. Though I believe this type of connection to user data is reserved for OAuth connected clients rather then the JavaScript based “like” buttons.

The OAuth connection allows for more access to user data then ever before. OAuth now has access to profile data and the ability to locally store Facebook user data for periods longer then 24 hours. This empowers developers with the ability to parse through all the user data and make analytical connections that were previously impossible. For example if User X allows access and a week later User Y allows access, if User X is friends with User Y the data is now available to make this connection and any others that come along with the increased dataset. Additionally as an admin for pages that were “liked” you can push page updates to those users.

Overall, Facebook’s Open Graph looks like it’s worth using even if it’s only for the simple marketing benefits by adding a “like” button. Granted the real power lies in the OAuth integration. The biggest winner in all this is Facebook, as all these services places Facebook at the center of it all. As Facebook’s gravity increases they can always switch to a pay system so I don’t suggest relying solely on Facebook for the future of your site/service, but until then no reason not to take advantage of all that Open Graph has to offer.

Links:
Facebook: Open Graph
Facebook’s Developer’s guide
OAuth

The Growing Numbers and Effect of Twitter

Twitter's logoTwitter has exploded over the past year.  Earlier this year there was talk about membership growing some 400+ percent over 12 months.  More recently it’s been calculated at over 1300 percent (via Mashable).  Shaq is no longer the lone celebrity and Jimmy Fallon has integrated Twitter into his new late night show ultimately introducing millions of viewers to the service.  Soon Oprah just joined the twiterverse on her show with Ashton Kutcher, whom just hit a million followers.  Along with Twitter’s numbers exploding so has power/influence of a Tweet.

Here’s a quick list of some of the

  • January 15th, 2009 – a plane crash landed in to the Hudson River.  Before the news networks or other media outlet could get images, Janis Krums‘s was sending out a photo of the floating plane via Twitter.  From there it spread like a virus till his photo was viewed thousands of times.  Soon the story of his twet was almost as big as the crash itself (WSJ).
  • Twitter’s community is a way for bands to connect with their fans.  With the Internet providing a way to distribute the music, Twitter is providing the marketing platform and a way to connect with fans.  Amanda Palmer explains how she uses Twitter as her primary way to market her music, sets up places to stay on her tours and stay connected with her fans. (link cred: @trent_reznor)
  • A few weeks back Mac Heist was offering their latest bundle of applications.  Part of their promo was that additional applications would be made available based on how many bundles they sold.  They also offered an additional app if you tweeted their message.  I had at least 6 friends and a number of others I follow take them up on their tweet deal.  I was interested in one of the apps, but it was one that was locked until they reached their final milestone.   Again it was a tweet that informed me that the milestone was reached.
  • Even classic literature is getting the Twitter touch, Homer’s The Odyssey

Links:
@JKrums
Janis Krums’s photo
Amanda Palmer’s email
@Trent_Reznor
@MacHeist
Homer’s The Odyssey