Headstream’s Social Bento : 25th April 2014

Are the young ones really down with the IoT?

Voxburner has carried out new research over March and April on the youth audience’s opinion towards the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT describes the revolution which began decades ago – although only being named in 1999 – which involves ‘Things’ such as animals, people and objects being assigned an IP address, allowing them to be internet-enabled and able to communicate with one another.

The new data released shows that little of the 16-24 age group (6%) had a fully comprehensive understanding of the concept, with 53% claiming to have never heard about it. Despite the initial unawareness, once explained, 75% of the youth market were excited about the development in technology, predominantly as it may contribute towards them saving money.

Waitrose invest in Content Marketing Strategy

Tomorrow morning, Saturday 26th April, will mark the launch of Waitrose’s new TV show, Weekend Kitchen. The show will be co-hosted by the attractive team of Lisa Snowden and Steve Jones, whose back-catalogues both comprise of a history of modelling and TV and Radio presenting. Lasting 60 minutes, the program will boast celebrity guests, chefs, recipes and cover the latest lifestyle trends and emphasises the brand’s shift from selling to inspiring their customers.

An investment into branded entertainment content like this sees Waitrose expanding on their existing content marketing strategy of the brand as a publisher. Already Waitrose hold the title for the first ever supermarket newspaper Waitrose Weekend, with their 40 page publication which can be picked up in store and now the TV show is an inspired extension of this.

Weekend Kitchen will air at 9am on Saturdays on Channel 4, undercutting BBC’s Saturday Kitchen by one hour. Our mouths are watering already…

Earth Day Selfies

This week saw the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, held annually on April 22nd. To mark the occasion, as well as their upcoming launch of five missions into space later this year to find out more critical data about our planet, NASA launched the #GlobalSelfie event.

NASA invited the planet to, “get outside and show us mountains, parks, the sky, rivers, lakes,” NASA suggests. “Tell us where you are in a sign, words written in the sand, spelled out with rocks.” The event is part of the larger Earth Right Now campaign, with the intention being to compile all the images sent to NASA across social platforms together to create one astounding mosaic of our home planet.

Unclaimed baggage?

Although we’d expect it would become apparent rather quickly if you returned home after your summer holiday and were not equipped with your luggage in tow however, this might not be the case. Ever wondered what happens to all the unclaimed baggage? A novel idea was devised out of just that. From these items, a retail outlet was derived in Alabama, USA which sold anything from formal wear to technology and gadgets and is so large in size it even has a cafe inside it.

Desperate to grow their customer reach organically, Unclaimed Baggage used a strategy of outreach marketing. Opposed to getting more clicks-through to a website, the store’s objective was instead to drive more physical footfall in store. To achieve this they tapped into the sphere of local family and retail bloggers, all within a 2-3 hour radius of the store. By offering incentives such as free breakfast, lunch, gift cards and store tours Unclaimed Baggage received significant brand uplift whilst only working with 30 bloggers; proving quality prevails over quantity.

Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

This week saw #HappyBirthdayShakespeare trending, as the great English playwright celebrated his 450th birthday. Widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, Shakespeare’s birthday notably falls on St George’s Day and Twitter, as a result, witnessed masses of patriotic and commemorative tweets celebrating the life of the Avon Bard.

The day saw a series of activities such as a Q&A held by The Royal Shakespeare Company as well as a series of jokes, like this one from Waterstones:

Shakespeare: Pint of beer to celebrate my 450th birthday, please!

Barman: Sorry we can’t serve you, you’re bard.

Attention was also drawn to several Shakespeare-inspired apps. ‘What Would Shakespeare Say’ is the app that trumps it for us, a free app made available by Windows which gives the user the opportunity to impress by paying a compliment (or even an insult!) in Shakespearean tongue: ‘thou balmy life-rendering sweet-meat’ ;)

Twitter as a recruitment tool?

The newly rolled out Twitter redesign is receiving mixed reviews. Main criticisms centre around the fact that the new desktop-orientated developments ignore the 76% of Twitter users that use the platform on mobile. However the progression has now seemed to move Twitter towards acting as more of a tool to be used in recruitment. For instance new additions to the platform now include best tweets and pinned tweets. Best tweets will be all of the posts which receive the highest engagement levels and thus will appear larger and more prominent on a twitter profile, providing a snapshot of the user at a glance. The latter, will give the user an opportunity to choose one specific tweet and ‘pin’ it to the top of their profile to instantly characterise themselves; making the process a lot easier for potential future employers.

Many an hour will now surely be spent painfully deliberating over how to correctly sum up your whole existence in one sentence. From now on, better think before you tweet!

Whatsapp notches up half a billion regular users

More celebrations this week, but this time they are taking place in Whatsapp HQ after the instant messaging service successfully acquired 500,000,000 active monthly users! Facebook purchased Whatsapp back in February this year for $19 billion, and now the company is over half way to the active monthly target of 1 billion users set by Mark Zuckerberg. It is thought that significant growth of the service in Brazil, Russia, Mexico and India – countries where Facebook is not such an omnipresent force, has greatly contributed to their rapid and continuing expansion.  So what’s next? Jan Koum, the CEO of WhatsApp has reported that the service will be moving into voice calls within Q2 of this year, so stay tuned.

As a cheaper alternative to SMS messaging and with the ease and immediacy of sharing images and videos, Whatsapp’s success comes as no real surprise.

Uber reaches its 100th city

Uber is a private taxi service centralised around a mobile app, which this week launched in Beijing, totalling its presence to 100 cities worldwide within the four years since its conception.

The app connects a user to a driver within a tap of the button. It finds your location via geo-targeting and immediately notifies you not only where your nearest driver is, but his name, his contact number and the vehicle he is driving – all before it picks you up within minutes! The best thing about the whole experience however is not the reliability, nor the great customer service (the cars I have travelled in usually have USB charging points and bottles of water available to passengers for no extra cost) but the fact all transactions are carried out via the app either by debit card or PayPal, with a detailed invoice being sent to the user via email straight after the journey.

The service began in San Francisco but can now be found within 35 countries, running in London and Manchester as it stands here in the UK, but we can’t wait till it reaches us down here in Southampton. No more whistling, no more haggling, no more walking home because you have no cash on you – just an effortless and comfortable ride in style!

Stephen’s story

An overwhelmingly emotional story of a teenage boy diagnosed with incurable cancer rose up from the depths of social space this week, flooding our screens with the story of an inspirational 19 year old.

Ever since being diagnosed, Stephen Sutton found the best way to channel all his grief would be to compile a bucket list of 46 things he wished to achieve before he died. Amongst going to Wembley, completing a sky dive and getting a tattoo, above all Stephen wanted to raise £1m for the charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

With the help of Jason Manford and an army of celebrity comedians, a text domain for donations was soon circulated across Twitter, accompanied by the hashtag #ThumbsUpForStephen and the floodgates opened for donations to pour in and they did, in their millions. The target of £1m was soon reached and the donations have since exceeded the £2m mark, accompanied by the running commentary from Stephen in his hospital bed, ‘hanging in there’.

Much a kin to the #NoMakeUpSelfie movement last month, both the power of social media and the generosity of the British public are again emphasised.

Please get behind this inspirational individual and text STEPHEN to 70500 to donate £5.

 

*This week’s Social Bento is also available via flipboard here: http://flip.it/JnSno

Social networks = ‘look at me’ Interest networks = ‘this is me’

The social media phenomenon of 2012 to date has to be ‘online pinboard’ Pinterest. Its simple formula, which allows users to make ‘virtual pinboards’ of images that interest them and to browse others’ boards, has proved a winning formula. Having amassed over 10 million users Pinterest is moving towards its stated mission to ‘connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting’.

Pinterest’s success has thrown the subject of ‘interest networks’ into the spotlight, but the idea of ‘interest networks’ isn’t a new one…  

The success of longstanding Web1.0 forums such as Money Saving Expert, Motley Fool and Trip Advisor is based upon the wealth of user generated information available on a particular topic (interest).  Members can share links and information, discover links to information and collect links and information on a particular topic of interest within the forum.

Facebook on the other hand is a social network platform allowing us to share information with selected friends and family (our social graph).  However, to have a deep conversation with our connections around a specific interest, most of us revert to direct messaging e.g. email and IM which is closed.
Even though brands have joined in on Facebook, the primary conversation is between brand and fan.  For the brand it is more about being social with customers, rather than facilitating fan to fan interaction.  Yes a community does exist within a brand page, but conversations are primarily based on responding to brand updates. As a result brand content released through Facebook, such as applications, are one size fits all.  Content is primarily general interest (competitions, entertainment) rather than specific interest.

Twitter on the other hand allows many like minds to come together around hash tags and lists, but it is not easy to collate info on a single topic in one place.  You can use tools such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite, or custom data visualisations but it is not a perfect solution.  A brand can be more flexible in terms of content, but because of the limited number of characters allowed on Twitter it is difficult to use multiple hash tags in each post to produce a comprehensive interest list.  Again, as a result, the majority of content produced by brands themselves is usually generic to ensure that a large audience will re-tweet to achieve trending.

It is against this backdrop that interest networks such as Pinterest and Foodspotting are becoming ever more popular.  They combine the open API of Facebook (tapping into the social graph, allowing for frictionless sharing amongst personal social networks), with the open forum/message board behaviour of link sharing, allowing curators to comment, discover and collect information based on specific interests.

Facebook themselves are responding to this trend via interest lists.  If one is interested in UK Politics you can group together feeds from political party brand pages and curate a stream of related content. Alternatively I can follow someone who has already curated this list.
However, interest lists are limited as you can only group people/brands based on your social graph, or allow you to filter friends into circles similar to Google+.  They do not allow you to curate individual pieces of content surrounding a specific topic.

Moving forward we will see even more interest based networks springing up.  The life blood running through them all will be Facebook/Twitter, so that users can achieve ‘look at me’, showing off to their social network, when they discover ‘this is me’ content via their interest graph.

Next week we’ll be looking at how brands can take advantage of interest graphs.

Understanding Online Communities (part 1): De-Centralised

Types of Online Communities: De-Centralised

View more presentations from Headstream
In this presentation we outline the first of the three different ways that we look at online communities; de-centralised.
Over the following two weeks we will also outline centralised and transient communities.

Introducing MapleStory – the world's worst kept secret.

MapleStory, an online MMORPG, is now celebrating its global success with over 92 million players worldwide. You may not have heard of MapleStory, but with 92 millions players we’d be surprised if someone you know isn’t playing it right now!

We are lucky enough to be working with this hugely successful game, helping to promote their Summer Season for European players, during which there’ll be a slew of new updates to the game.

One of the most important updates is the release of Knights of Cygnus, which offers a totally new dimension to the game, with upgrades to the interface system, adding new functions and hotkey add-ons as well as the anticipated community improvements.

There’s also brand new content including new maps and monsters as well as new mini dungeons. For a sneak peak you can watch the trailer for Knights of Cygnus:

To keep up with the latest updates from MapleStory you can follow them on twitter!

With all these improvements MapleStory is definitely the place to be this summer; we’ll see you in there!