Marketers are in the business of painting the future in such a way that using their company’s products look like common sense.
Now, if you’re peddling crapola for a company you don’t believe in then this is sheer torture—but if you’re fortunate enough to be inspired by the benefits your company’s services or products provide, then it’s creative, inspiring and lots of fun.
And if you’re Apple, then I guess you make products that change the future!
It’s a pet peeve of mine when marketers go all pie in the sky and promise more than they can ever deliver.
In this case LevelUp is just jamming them in:
- “Good things happen”
- “Save Always”
- “Use it Everywhere”
Can these things be true?
Is it a turn off to adopters?
It’s time for some radical thinking about your local newspaper.
Here’s the problem: my local paper is covering things that aren’t that relevant to me—and when it is relevant, it’s not covered exactly the way I want it covered.
What if we flipped the editorial function on its head? What if we employed the Groupon model or crowdsourcing intent from a community?
Specifically, I think it could work like this:
- Allow readers to post story ideas
- Readers could then vote on their favoriate ones.
- Once a critical mass was achieved, the story would be assigned to a reporter.
Of course, the initial posting of the idea could include detail to provide a clear idea of what the story should achieve.
Isn’t this a way for a paper to always remain relevant to its readership? More importantly, isn’t this a way for a community to get what it wants?
I think it’s worth at least a pilot.
When I worked at a local newspaper, I served on the community relations board. It was a way for us to ensure we were serving the community better. This idea is soooo much better. It’s real-time, it’s democratic, and it’s transparent.
It used to be that ‘going viral’ meant that people forwarded the s$#t out of some meme.
Today, you don’t really hear the word “viral”—”virality” yes, but more on that in a minute.
In the olden days—4 years ago!—”viral” meant that a meme spread throughout networks as a result of many people working fairly hard/investing real quantities of time—most likely that meant people spammed their address book or fired off 10s or 100s of individual emails. It meant that the meme had overcome a relatively significant impediment to achieve ubiquity or success.
But today that doesn’t apply. Today, meme’s traverse an ecosystem that is fundamentally built to facilitate the success of viruses.
So today we use ‘virality’ to describe the relative success or value of a meme’s growth towards ubiquity—because everything is viral, isn’t it?
And “virality” isn’t even listed in Dictionary.com!
I have Dictionary.com’s iPhone app, and I receive their Word of the Day. Today I actually looked at it and it was a gem:
Bandersnatch: An imaginary wild animal of fierce disposition.
There’s something about this words that seems so cool and useful that I’m definitely gonna use it. Ok, that makes me a little strange… My instinct, though, was to share it on Facebook–where my geeky linguaphile friends would surely drool over my discovery.
Alas, the only sharing on the Dictionary.com iPhone app was for the whole app!
Who wants to share a whole app!
People tend to share the smallest parts of our culture—song, photo, text, quote, link, video… Have you ever heard of an app going viral?
And so Dictionary.com could enable the sharing of words because that’s what people do. Marketing strategies might share apps, but people sure don’t.
It’s the meme that counts!
So IM was a great tool.
It no longer is.
Why? Primarily because we’ve all adapted to the concept of asynchronous communication, and we’re ready–we expect!– for a better, easier, more intuitive, more effective tool. What do I mean?
The problem: The Skype UX lays out communication in linear fashion–even though human conversation isn’t! Here’s a little illustration to remind you:
Tell me you haven’t had this IM experience: your typing fast on the initial thread and then someone veers off–so you follow. Then someone comes back to the initial thread before you’ve even finished typing a response to their tangent. Then you press ‘Enter’ on the tangent thread and the IM UX shows the response next to a non-corresponding line. Now your work has exponentially increased. Add another thread and you’re focused entirely on the screen above–double checking previous IMs to ensure your on target. At this point the UI is not making it easier–it’s making it harder. Fail.
Now, imagine this: a branching IM a la Visual Thesaurus.
What if each comment or line had an imaginary box around it–and that box could be dragged around and anchored anywhere on a screen; and from each node could grow a conversation?
I would pay for that that!