Timehop Abe – It’s Nice To Wake Up with You


If you have not already invited Timehop Abe into your life, I highly recommend it.  Timehop Abe sends me an email each morning recapping my social activity from one year before.  Personally, I find this to be extraordinarily interesting.  It puts things in perspective to be reminded what I was thinking about and experiencing a year before.  Do I feel the same way today?  Are my observations still relevant?  Was I doing something particularly fun or interesting?  How has my life progressed?  Am I about to attend the US Open exactly one year from the last time I did so?

This morning I woke up to a quite lengthy recap of my Twitter posts from OMMA Global, which took place September 26th, 2012 – an interesting reminder on the eve of Advertising Week 2012, which includes OMMA Global.  I imagine OMMA schedules during that week in order to take advantage of the energy and the presence of those from out of town.  Unfortunately, for me, I prefer to sample the smorgasbord of Ad Week panels throughout the city vs. dedicating a day to OMMA Global, which is a shame.

In any case, as I reviewed my entries, I had two observations: (1) Most, if not all, are completely relevant today.  (2) Some are more relevant today because the topics or initiatives were just being born a year ago and have become mainstream, such as AMEX’s foursquare program, which has now branched out into other social media such as Twitter. (I see that I quoted Zuckerberg several times.  Was he there?Have I seen the great Founder in person? I don’t recall – though I could certainly look this up…)

Hence, since the majority of my observations are still of interest, I thought I would start my day by sharing them with you.  What do you think?  Are they still relevant and thought provoking?  I have added some of my own comments.

#1 This was the beginning of an ongoing – friendly – battle for mayorship of my apartment building with my doorman, several years since I created the venue.  I don’t believe that anyone else in the building has ever signed in.

#3 “Native Monetization.”  I don’t recall hearing this phrase since the conference.  However, a quick Google search does reveal some discussion:

“Native advertising is a new form of inventory that seamlessly integrates promoted content from brand advertisers into the fabric of a site itself. Native advertising inventory is content that’s part of the site experience rather than ads that interrupt users, such as pre-roll video ads or boxes, buttons, and banners on the corners of pages. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are one of the largest bets on native advertising in the ad industry – a bet that’s consistent with the ad strategies of the dominant social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and the coming ad products from the next wave of internet elite like Tumblr and Spotify” – Dan Greenberg, TechCrunch

I hope this does not include those incredibly annoying and interruptive “Pages You May Like” posts on my Facebook news feed.

Whoops – I have a conference call in 15 minutes.  More later…

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Social Media Tidbits II


Visit me here – or on Pinterest – for social media tidbits I find share-worthy.  Share with me your thoughts and infographics you fancy.

Women dominate Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Zynga.  Men dominate Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn.  Net, net, women are heavier users of social media.

So fantastic!  But… don’t blink, or this LUMAscape will be out of date.  Pinterest? (posted July 2012)

67% of consumers uncomfortable with Facebook’s use of data (July 2012)

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet – 100 million strong — 21 million active in U.S.

Social Media and Recruiting:

Using Facebook during the workday?  Sure!

Which Social Media Activity Do Companies Feel Benefit Them the Most?

I suspect this varies by company, e.g., a customer service/complaint/service oriented company such as Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Bank of America, etc., might rank customer support higher.  As Ted Schadler wrote in “Empowered,” customer service has become a form of marketing.  Think Zappos and Virgin America.


“You Can’t Market Financial Services to Women:” I am currently exploring the issue of whether financial institutions are or should be marketing, communicating with and developing products and services for women – particularly in the digital and social arena. I found this article and the large number of comments worth sharing.

Snarketing 2.0 by Ron Shevlin

Before you jump to conclusions — and all over my head — read first, and then let me have it if you’re so inclined.

There’s renewed talk these days in financial services circles about “marketing to women.”

Renewed, because I remember that 11 or 12 years ago, in the height of the dot-com boom, start-ups emerged dedicated to providing financial services to women (I still remember Jennifer Openshaw coming into our offices telling us about the Women’s Financial Network). I haven’t been involved in the financial services industry long enough to know if there was focus on marketing to women (specifically for financial services) before the dot-com era.

Recently, the topic has reappeared a number of times in the past few weeks:

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Geolocation: What Art Thou to Me? Part VII


Welcome to the continuation of a day in the life of geolocation and me.  Not really a day but several years.  I started keeping this little journal (in chronological rather than blog order…) several years ago (three?) when I first met Baratunde Thurston and Dennis Crowley and joined Foursquare.  I was so fascinated by the “game” from so many perspectives: a user, the founders, national marketers, local retailers, data junkies like myself.  So, in the name of good ethnographic and social anthropological research, I started keeping this journal of my time with geolocation.  I welcome you to check it out should you like to share my thoughts:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little to no mention of geolocation here at Social Media Week NYC thus far. Get Glue (not really LBS) was represented on a panel. No sign of Dennis Crowley. Pinterest and Instagram (which does have a bit of a geolocation aspect) are all the talk at the moment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Facebook has recently enabled Near Field Communication (NFC). Is this this first step towards social commerce such that you can transact within the social environment as you can within the Facebook newsfeed?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting in August 2011, I have posted several entries about Amex’s foursquare program. (See, for example, January 13th above.) For more insight and information, check out this live stream video of a Social Media Week panel. As a consumer, I did not realize at first that the strategy came from the B2B perspective, i.e., as a value add/service for AMEX’s small business customers (AMEX Open). The consumer insight was that AMEX cardholders, especially affluent ones, don’t want to pull out coupons or even show their foursquare checkin to a waiter or clerk. This way, by activating a special offer by simply checking in on foursquare and getting the discount credited directly to the user’s AMEX account, it can all be done discreetly (and simply). Now that I’ve got it all connected, I really like it, although… I haven’t had any relevant check-in specials pop up recently. Maybe I need to get out more.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dennis Crowley (the founder of Foursquare) is starring in an ad for Best Buy and Samsung smart phones.  Does that mean Foursquare is in the public consciousness or that smart phones have gone mainstream. Or both? I have to remind myself that there are people who don’t have smart phones. In fact there are people who don’t have access as to the Internet, as evidenced by a public service campaign I saw recently.  To the second point, I recently had a moment of insight during a recent trip to Atlanta.  As I sat on the MART public transport system with my new iPad, I downloaded an app of the public transport system to familiarize myself with the journey, mapped the journey from the transit stop to my hotel, sent “text” messages to my tennis partner, checked my email, thumbed through my digital photo album and listened to music, I looked up to realize that no one else on the train was using a mobile device.  Ok.  One.  There was one person using an iPhone.  For those of you in NYC, I invite you to count the number of smartphones and tablets in use in any one car of a subway, particularly in Manhattan.  I would venture to say 75-80% are “plugged in.”  Very useful, of course, because it’s completely taboo to make eye contact with anyone else on the train.

American Express continues to leverage and expand its program with foursquare – and twitter.  It’s expecially evident during these three weeks of restaurant week.  I was pleasantly surprised during a recent visit to Aquavit that AMEX would reimburse me $5 for my $24 meal if I checked in and activated the offer on foursquare.  In fact, when I check into four restaurants (on my way…), I will receive an additional bonus – $20, I believe.  Today, I checked into China Grill and was devastated to realize that I had left my linked AMEX in my office!  I had taken it out of my wallet to buy a cookie for someone in my office.  That $4 cookie just became a $9 cookie!

Similarly, I recently checked into Andy’s Deli and received a notification that I would get $5 back if I spent $10.  This is part of a “Shop Small” program to encourage small, local establishments to accept AMEX.  I immediately upgraded my $3 salad to a $10 expenditure that included extra add-ins as well as two big bottles of water.  Unfortunately, I realized the next day, when I unlocked a similar special at the nail salon, that I needed to click through one more screen to activate the deal.  I had not done so the day before.  Hence, my additional $7 in expenditures went unrewarded.  I contemplated going back to buy 4 bottles of water for $7 rather than $12 but didn’t want to mess up my pedicure on the walk home.

August 19th, 2012

I’ve just been ousted as Mayor of the Central Park Tennis Center.  Truly devastating after 212 check ins.  I’m not kidding. 😦

Techno-Disaster Averted


ImageWalking home from tennis with my iPad and my iPhone in my open summer purse.  Saw the lightning…

Quickened my gait.  Felt the raindrops!

Jumped a bus.  Arranged the devices as best I could.  I’ve seen this before…

Pulled the cord.  Leapt to the pavement.

Dashed three blocks in my Pliner wedge sandals.  Running between the raindrops, as my mother likes to say.

Made it home!

Watched the people scurry to safety from my window.  Watched the light show from my desk.

Techno-disaster averted.

The Stroke of Midnight – Will Viacom Go Dark?


As I looked up from my desk today, I saw a news story that caught my eye: DirecTV is threatening to take 26 Viacom channels off the air at midnight.  Gee, I thought, I guess it has been three years since they last were at loggerheads with the operators.  But that was December, and this is July.  That was Time Warner Cable, and this is DirecTV.   That was 2008, and this is 2012.  Is this story new or an off-network airing of a 2008 episode?

I went to the “Always On” archives to see.  What I found was my post from New Year’s Day of 2009.  I recall going out the night before preoccupied with whether Viacom would still be on the air when I came home.  It was a dramatic moment!  Fortunately, as with Y2K, the stroke of midnight did not bring the terrors foretold.

(Ok, so what I mean here is that in 1999, people feared that there would be all kinds of havoc when we entered the new century because our computer systems would get confused – long story – and people prepared for all kinds of hardships including food and water shortages and lack of electricity.)

In any case, my plan this evening – July 10th – was to republish the post below, comment on how this will be a tricky negotiation given that Viacom has had significant ratings problems with Nickelodeon and MTV, reference the fact that Viacom’s stock price is vulnerable to adverse news given these ratings problems, discuss whether these standoffs have become more common, more public, or simply more on my radar screen, and call it a night.

Given that I had an image of the Sponge Bob ad from 2008, I decided to grab one from this summer’s dispute.  That is where the differences became apparent.  The Viacom ads – at least the ones I found – are simple and slick and use Comedy Central rather than Nickelodeon brands.  Somewhat interesting.

But what really struck me was DirecTV’s website.  Clearly planned well in advance, the site maps out DirecTV’s side of the story including a heartfelt video message from the company’s CEO Mike White.  The ability for television programmers and operators to communicate more directly, personally and interactively with their audiences and customers makes 2012 quite different from 2008 – even though the key sound bites: “Viacom wants too much money,”  “DirecTV/Time Warner Cable is taking your channels away from you” may sound the same.

Who”s the Enemy?  Who’s the Friend?  January 1, 2009

Cable operators and TV affiliates complain when programmers put content online. Programmers put content online because that is where viewers are going. Music producers ignored this “where I want it, when I want it” trend, seeking to protect their business model, and were leapfrogged into impending demise by iTunes. NBC Universal cites Hulu as a huge success story, but CEO Jeff Zucker fears that the web will turn “analog dollars” into “digital pennies.” Online ads may garner high CPMs and may be growing at rapid rates, but they are still dwarfed by broadcast.

Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, has for years sought to create a “360 degree” media presence that hinges upon the Internet. They now have a huge army of digital employees. Cable operators complain that hits like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are available in long form on Hulu. But who is benefiting now?

Viacom is asking for a 25 cent increase in monthly subscriber fees (25 cents more per subscriber per month) from Time Warner Cable across 18 Viacom networks. Yesterday, a crawler at the bottom of the screen for each of these networks warned of an impending blackout at midnight. (I rushed home at 1:20am to see the blank screens, but alas no MTV Armageddon.)

Now I watch Comedy Central more consistently than any other non-premium cable network (I love my Showtime – twisted as it may be), and my loyalty to the two programs above is on par with that for broadcast network programming such as “60 Minutes” – most other programming (“Eli Stone,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty”) comes and goes. I am proud and embarrassed to say that I get most of my news from Mr. Stewart and, to some extent, Mr. Colbert. So, what will I do if Viacom goes dark? I don’t envision doing much.

First, I don’t watch any of the other MTVN networks. I used to admire Viacom for its segmentation strategy, i.e., different networks for different age demos, but now what that means — for me as a single New Yorker, at least — is that I watch only one of their networks. And, as mentioned above, the two programs I count on are available on Hulu. In fact, Time Warner Cable is promoting to its subscribers where they can access Viacom programming online should it go dark on TWC. So, to whose advantage is the online platform now? Ironically, Viacom has made itself less indispensable to TWC – at least in the short term.

It reminds me a bit of our strategies in the middle east. We train the enemy of our enemy, even though that force was or could become our direct enemy. A bit of an extreme comparison, perhaps. But the question remains – to whom is the Internet a greater threat and for whom is it a greater advantage? Programmers? Distributors? Both? Neither?

Business minds around the world have not yet come up with a way to turn the enormous value of the Internet into a tangible, substantial monetary value. True, digital broadcasts of the Olympics, of SNL (Tina Fey) and of prime time programming do drive stronger TV viewing of these programs — something that was not necessarily anticipated. But, what is the long term business model? How can the television industry identify and transition to a new business paradigm? And, how will they accomplish this in light of existing carriage contracts and – even more specifically — Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses that make change even more cumbersome?

I Want My WiFi Free


I recently flew to Atlanta on Delta Airlines to attend orientation for my new role as Managing Consultant with Capgemini Consulting.   I must admit that I was not looking forward to flying Delta. Given the choice, I typically fly JetBlue or, when the occasion presents itself, Virgin America – the Apple of air travel.

The last time I flew Delta was coming back from Florida. The trip was uneventful but somehow stressful.  I had flown JetBlue there and even though they lost my luggage for a day, they handled it so nicely, I went away with a really good feeling – a good customer experience.

The time before last I flew Delta to Las Vegas, and I recall spotting a mouse in the waiting area. So, my expectations were not high.

When I arrived at the Delta terminal, however, I was blown away by the technology.  In the waiting area of the gate was a high white table with what looked like iPads, available for passengers to use, as well as plugs for charging their own devices. It looked like something you might find at a trade show or conference. Very slick and modern.

When we boarded the plane, we were informed that there would be in flight wifi available. But not just available. Free. What?  You’re giving me something free on a domestic flight?  I promptly booted up my new iPad to check it out. Aha. The free wifi was sponsored. Brilliant. A much better business model than asking passengers to pay $15 or $20 for access. And a much better consumer experience. After all, I’m telling all of you about it.

And as for the advertiser, well the advertiser got a captive audience that visited a sponsored web page to activate the coverage.  Moreover, the page had an opt out lead generation component so that users would be added to the company’s mailing list unless they unchecked the box.

In addition to this on screen and direct marketing component, the advertiser had a short promotional video incorporated into the in flight television entertainment.

All in all, I thought it was an excellent program. A win win for all involved, And a reason to give Delta a second look.