Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Social Geo Dating: StreetSpark

I've heard of smartphone dating applications that alert its users if they happen to be in close proximity to one another but StreetSpark's unique approach to geo dating lies not only in its geolocation platform, but in its social matching capabilites. It draws on your social behavior on social networks like Facebook to match you to other users. If a match is found to be in close proximity, you can either "ignite" or "extinguish" the spark to get meet up information. Drawing on one's social graph is a great idea. No more 400 "scientifically" designed questionairs or proprietary matching services.

One concern comes to mind with an application like StreetSpark. By making your services a smartphone-based platform, you really close the market for your product. There are only a certain number of people in any given area, but by filtering those results with people who have a smartphone (iPhone specifically) AND are using your application can greatly reduce user inventory. Nonetheless, the idea of using the social graph to find matches is a great idea. I think StreetSpark would do better focusing on a web based platform with geo-dating as a supplemental feature.

Related articles:
On Mashable

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Copenhagen Wheel

A post on Make's blog features a wheel that, when attached to your bicycle, can generate and store braking energy. What caught my eye was its integration with the iPhone. The "Copenhagen Wheel" can lock and unlock your bicycle via iPhone, but thats just the beginning. It also utilizes the iPhone's location aware technology to assess upcoming traffic, distance traveled and even pollution levels! By generating "green miles," it reminds the cyclist just how many mother nature karma points they've racked up.

A couple of years ago "The Copenhagen Wheel" would have simply been a product aimed to enhance an already green activity. Now, with the integration of the iPhone, it becomes your "personal trainer" and "a natural extension of your everyday life." By integrating smartphone technology and social networking into the product, "The Copenhagen Wheel" is able to have a far more robust and appealing marketing campaign; whether or not it sells more units is another question. Speaking of questions - what happens if at the end of the day your phone dies and you need to get home?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

3D Gaming

Look ma, no glasses! 

Nintendo DSi game: Rittai Kakushi e Attakoreda (English: Hidden 3D Image: There It Is!)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Digital Nation: life on the virtual frontier

I just finished watching, Digital_Nation: life on the virtual frontier. Did you know that in Korea, "Internet addition" is actually treated as a psychiatric disorder?  About 90% of children in Korea use the Internet on a daily basis, 10-15% of which are in a "high risk group." "Internet Rescue Schools" are scattered throughout the country in order to "treat" people afflicted with the disorder. Of course, Internet Etiquette is also a part of their required elementary school curriculum.

"Digital Nation" screenshot of Korean elementary school students singing.
"Digital Nation" screenshot of a Korean elementary school sign that reads, "Our ancestors were known as the politest eastern state. Now we are the kingdom of Internet etiquette."

Here are a couple of interesting quotes/notes taken from the Frontline story:

At a school in the Bronx: 
  • School was on the verge of collapse. 
  • Only 9% of students met state standards in math.
  • Students were all given a laptop and within 4 years there were no incidents of violence, attendance increased over 90%, test scores in reading went up 30% and test scores in math almost 40%.

College students:

"Chronicle of higher education surveyed college professors, about basic skills today as compared to ten years ago. Only 6% of them said that, 'college students come to class very well prepared in writing.' By a 2 to 1 margin they said that basic skills are worse today then they were ten years ago."
"Instead of writing in essays, they are writing in paragraphs. Seeing less of a notion of a big idea being carried through and much more little bursts and snippets." 

IBM implemented a virtual working environment to save money. Employees work from home and meet up in Second Life-like virtual spaces.  

Virtual Reality Lab

A study in which an avatar was created 10cm taller than the actual subject, found that the avatar was "...three times more likely to beat someone else in a negotiation in virtual reality. And that advantage persists after you leave the virtual world...regardless of our actual height, you'll then beat me face to face when we have a negotiation [in real life]."

This documentary presents some very interesting perspectives on whether or not the Internet and technology are "dumbing" us down. I like Marc Prensky's (founder and CEO of Games2train) take on the matter:
There were people who complain when we moved from horses to cars. There were people who complained when we moved from letters to the telephone. And it's not that they're wrong totally, because things get lost. You might have less memory and we may not have as flowery writing, but we gain other things. And life moves on. 

Go ahead, take a break from that paper and take a peek...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Snacksquare Brand Management Done Right

Snacksquare is a new business directory Website that incorporates Foursquare venue data onto a single Google map. This makes for a much friendlier user experience when searching for Foursquare deals. Instead of retrieving a list of nearby deals, you can now get a visual look at where deals are being offered.

In TechCrunch's article describing the company, Snacksquare CEO James Gillmore demonstrates great brand managment by directly responding to the article and its negative comments in the "comments" section. Gillmore successfully controls the conversation and is able to portray his company in a positive light. I highly recommend reading through the comments and see a true pro at work.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ning not free?

Ning announced yesterday that it will soon start construction on its walled garden. First to go, free use of its social networking services. According to Ning CEO Jason Rosenthal, the decision came after listening to the majority (75%) of already paying Ning users who want more flexibility and options in their networks. Well, ain't no free rides son. The pay services range from $5 to $100 or more a month.

I don't see how anyone would want to pay $5, let alone $100, a month for something they've been using for free? I mean, if Craigslist started charging for all its services, how long would you give it? Then again, Mr. Newmark didn't have $120 million in investment money breathing down his neck. I'd want to see some sort of significant return if it were my 120 mill...I guess. I can't help but think of the corporations who are pouring millions of dollars into branding their products on Facebook. It may be a good time to start warming up the back burner, just in case.

Related article:

Wired "Ning Fails at Free Social Networking"

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's to come in Week 14: Mobile, Gaming and Location-based apps.

This weeks topic in our Intro to Online Communities class is, “New Developments: Mobile, Gaming, Location-based apps, etc.” Our guest speaker will be Josh Lovison who is the Practice Lead for Mobile and Gaming at IPG Emerging Media Lab and is a contributing writer for the Lab and MediaPost blogs.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 13 Overview: The Social Strip

Just this las week the APOC class had the pleasure of hearing two local online community heroes, Alf Lamont (Director of Marketing and Development for the Comedy Store) and Majorie Kase (Co-founder of MarKyr Media), discuss how "The Social Strip" came to be what it is today. Here are some key points I gleaned from their discussion:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Marketing Chatroulette

Chatroulette’s creator, 17 year-old Andrey Ternovskiy, has received offers from web industry giants like Facebook and Google for his site but is shopping around before saying yes to anyone. Ternovskiy could easily sell Chatroulette today for $1 million if he so desired. Since its inception, Chatroulette has spawned dozens of similar anonymous video chat sites but in Jennifer Van Grove’s post, “Why Chatroulette Is More than Just Penises,” she touches upon several reasons why companies like Facebook and Google have their eyes specifically on Chatroulette:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Online Marketing Gone Bad recently lost a lawsuit in which it was accused of false advertising to its members. The website would hook its members by sending an e-mail claiming that an old classmate was trying to re-connect with them. The only way for the member to gain access to their long-lost classmate’s contact information was by upgrading to a “gold” membership. Upon upgrading, the “gold” member would discover that no former classmate or friend had tried to contact them. The member had been deceived and conned into forking over premium dollars for nothing. For such false marketing, will pay $3 to all persons who upgraded after receiving such e-mails (roughly 3.16 million users) if they so choose. This story reminded me of the property management group with which I have a lease.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My blog and SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a process in which a website takes advantage of various techniques in order to ascend search ranks. The higher the rank, the more visibility your site gets. Greater visibility, more traffic. All weekend I’ve been wracking my brain of ways to promote my blog using SEO techniques and although it’s still a work in progress, I think it’s a good start.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Viral Suicide?

Have you seen the one with the Ford Sport Ka (Evil Twin campaign, 2004) and that poor little cat? What an interesting way to engrain the “Ford” brand into our minds. If you haven’t seen it, check out the youtube video. (Disclaimer, do NOT click if you LOVE cats.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Rules of Marketing and PR - Meerman is Dearman for Beginners

David Meerman Scott’s book, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” is a good beginner’s “how to” guide to navigating through the digital media marketing and public relations arena. In his book, Scott describes how the Web has essentially fused marketing and public relations roles into one. With emerging media tools made available on the Web, not only can a marketer or Public Relations person more effectively and efficiently reach its buyers, but can now do it on a much smaller budget.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tweet Tax

Alan Webber from the Altimeter group writes an interesting follow-up to a CNN story highlighting the first tweet by President Obama. Although all federal agencies have been encouraged to adopt a social networking presence, according to the CNN story written by Ed Henry, Alan points out:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Google philosophy #3 "Fast is better than slow"

Google has recently announced that it will be administering a test market in which select communities will have access to an ultra-high speed 1 Gbps fiber network. This network will not only provide users with a ridiculously fast online experience, but will serve as test grounds for developing new applications otherwise impractical with today's speeds. Google will share key finding from these select communities with the world.

Google will also allow "open-access" to its networks. Various Internet Service Providers (ISP) will be able to use its high-speed networks at very low costs. Needless to say, I'm sure the major ISPs aren't too thrilled.

Granted, speed critical services such as Netflix and torrent sites would benefit, but how will this change social media platforms? If load times aren't an issue, will we see 3D moldings of our (insert community) profiles? Will web-based applications like Google Docs become as robust as Microsoft Word? Will sites such as Stroome take the place of Final Cut or Avid?

Nominate your community here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blake, meet Craig. Craig meet Blake's chest hair.

Jesse and I dropped by the Gov2.0 LA “unconference” this weekend and got a chance to see Craig Newmark speak on government involvement in social media.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gov 2.0 Los Angeles

Gov 2.0 LA is this weekend! Here's a great opportunity to get a glimpse into some of the issues surrounding government integration into social media. I think it'll provide some great insight into some of the hurdles we may have to overcome as future online community managers. Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist - I think he was/is somehow involved with APOC? ) and Cory Ondrejka (founder of Second Life - Cory's blog) will be speaking!

*Cool Note: Registered users can partake in the agenda topics.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I recently volunteered at the Twiistup even this last week and although I missed Paul Graham *tear, I did meet and get to know some great folks - including my fellow classmates of course! I wish I could have gotten off of work a little Thanks Jer for the opportunity to be a part of this awesome event! Oh, and I'll brush up on my blackjack skills for the next casino themed Twiistup...

Community Rx: Add two friends twice a day. Preferably before meals

In Amy Bruckman's "A New Perspective on 'Community' and its Implications for Computer-Mediated Communication Systems," she offers a prototype-based perspective in defining a community. A perspective which, rather than labeling a "community" by its collocation or rules of inclusion and exclusion, are defined based on their similarities and differences in "focal" members. These focal members are the determining factor when categorizing community members or prototypes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Secret to My Succe$$...APOC!!!

My year-long goal is to get the local VA site's user interface friendlier and functional. I have yet to get access into it's CMS, but have a good idea of what to start on. First of all, design. The site feels static. No, excuse me, it IS static. I want my eyes to tear up upon loading onto my screen. Much like the White House site...*drool (ok, maybe not that nice, I've got be realistic here).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Paul Graham aka Dr. Emmitt Brown?

Paul Graham’s essay, “The Other Road Ahead” on server-based software is quite ahead of its time. Both he and Robert Morris founded ViaWeb in 1988. ViaWeb developed a server-based software or Application Service Provider (ASP) for online commerce. He predicts that ASP’s “easier, cheaper, more mobile, more reliable, ...powerful [and] convenient” facets will make it the future model upon which software is developed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Back to prove to daddy that I'm not a fool"

We hit the ground running on our first day of class with a special treat - guest speaker Jeffery Cole (Director of USC Annenberg's Center for the Digital Future). He spoke primarily about the effects new modes of media had on...well, everything. When it comes to hard statistics regarding media this guy was a breathing Wikipedia. No Joke. I tend to think of a "Director" as a delagative/manager type but could tell Mr. Cole was on the front lines of his research. I looked into the annual report he publishes - FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS a copy. I wonder if he offers a payment plan...?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

snapshot of me (without a snapshot)

I'm currently working in the Office of External Affairs (Public Affairs) with the Department of Veterans Affairs in WLA negotiating and overseeing filming contracts with studios interested in filming on federally owned land. I have recently been tasked to revamp the GLA VA website and establish the agency's social networking presence. I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a dual BA in Theatre and Digital Media Production and am currently working toward a MA in Communication Management from USC’s Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities (APOC).