Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category


Long-term answer – no clue. Short-term answer, yes, for me, anyway. I’d like to welcome you all to Aerocles 1.0 – My very own “Tiny Letter

1.0 being a bizarre regression from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, this blog, my writing for Ad Age, and other such endeavors. A newsletter, however tiny, seems like an unnecessary anachronism. Which is why I was so confused upon submitting it’s magical lure. I’m even more astounded that anyone even signed up to receive this thing, given my average daily tweet count that must be well over 100. So I guess, for those of you that have already subscribed, thank you for that, and for those that haven’t yet, please do. I hope I don’t disappoint, but I’m honestly not quite sure what direction this initiative will take.

I’m about halfway through Frank Rose‘s “The Art of Immersion,” in which the Wired contributing editor explores the history and evolution of what we now call the “Transmedia” narrative or experience. One of the examples he gives is the way in which Charles Dickens used the newsletter of his time as a way to communicate with his readership between editions of his serial stories, soliciting feedback which he usually ignored but occasionally impacted the direction of his work. (For the record, I was never a fan of Dickens – content suffers when you get paid by the word.)

That’s my plan, for now. I will be taking a hiatus from blogging here on The Legends of Aerocles, as there’s no point in duplicating my Ad Age efforts, but in doing so, I’ll be losing the valuable back-and-forth with my few, but oh so appreciated, readers (you) (hi mom). As such, while I contemplate shifting the nature of my blog (if you have any suggestions, I gladly welcome them), this newsletter will serve as my direct connection to you, so I can let you know what I’m working on and hopefully, you’ll give me some feedback. This means pimping out my writing for Ad Age and all the conferences I’m working on, but don’t think of it as shilling, think of it more as exclusive access to vital insider information 🙂 I’ll also share links to articles that I think you’d enjoy. What? A Human Content Aggregator? Shocking, I know. But I’ll do my best to filter out all the crap and stuff you’ve probably already seen and keep it to 1 piece of recommended reading per “edition.”

I don’t quite consider myself a journalist in the traditional sense, but the modern industry blogger/trendhunter/writer/quasi-journalist, and in that role, I very much rely on you, my readers, to tell me what you want so I can pander to your every whim. Or at least take it into consideration.

For my first trick, I’m going to direct you all to check out our upcoming Media Evolved Conference which I’ve been working on for a while now and really hope you attend and enjoy.

For my next trick, I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m working on a write-up exploring the future of eCommerce, looking at several possible routes online shopping can take – with my own unique POV that I know you’ve come to love.  Obviously, “social” shopping is one future iteration with significant potential, but it’s not the only one. Nor is Groupon (Damn I hate that name). So please, my first request to you, aside from general feedback on this whole “TinyLetter” concept, is to clue me in on your thoughts and predictions for eCommerce – innovative integrations, data-mining operations, partnerships, new platforms or sites…and all that jazz.

So with that, I bid you a temporary farewell. Trust me, when the “Legends of Aerocles” Rebrand, Refocus, and Redesign is complete – I’ll make sure you know, whether you care or not. You may still see occasional posts here, but until I figure out exactly what to do with my blog so that it augments or supplements my Ad Age writing, I’m going to focus most of my writing into Twitter, Ad Age, and now, Aerocles 1.0.

To everyone who has read and commented on this blog for the last 2+ years,  Thank you for at least pretending to give a crap 😉

Courtesy of Encryped (sic) Memories

I’ve always been a fan of Hootsuite. I’ve been touting them as the best Twitter client while everyone else was clamoring over seesmic and tweetdeck. Well folks, this is why:

Hootsuite upgraded to HTML 5 not too long ago, an impressive move on it’s own. Today, they astound their users yet again with another update, this time focusing on improving the quality of content through the institution of additional filter systems, along with a new Social CRM features.

The filter system is incredibly easy to use, and allows us to further refine the content that floods our streams every day. For power users and professional social media folk, like myself, following 5000 people is a daunting task. Tools like this allow users search within their pre-established columns and tabs, either by Klout Score (Influence) or by keyword.

This functionality has been lacking from twitter and 3rd party clients. I’m shocked it took so long for someone to do this the right way, but I’m not in the least bit surprised it was Hootsuite.

Add to that the additional “Insights” that appear in a new tab within the pop-up profile boxes, integrations with “Zendesk for customer service, and you’ve got the makings of a twitter app/client to destroy all others as the premier package for personal and professional use.

I’m not sure how many of you took the survey (using User Voice, an awesome crowdsourcing tool if you haven’t seen it). I did, and I’m glad to see that a lot of the user feedback and ideas are incorporated into this evolving product. H00t H00t.

This also just happens to be a brilliant way for Hootsuite to build buzz just prior to the imminent Paid Premium Service launch.

Here are the basics, excerpted from the press release.

Filter by Influence

Drill down into your network by filtering columns by influence score. Sorting by Klout’s algorithmically-produced score allows you to learn which followers and contacts enjoy the widest reach. Ideal for quickly identifying campaign candidates or response priority.

Filter by Keyword

Too many messages to sort through? No problem. Filter your columns on-the-fly by keyword. Type in your desired word to remove the extraneous updates and focus on what’s on your mind. Ideal for tracking topics and prospecting for clients.

Follower Insights

Get to know your network with the knowledge behind the “Insights” tab . Learn where your contacts Hang-out online including publicly available links to social profiles, a collection of images, even occupations and title — all in one view

Hoot to Zendesk Support

Where does social networking end and tech support begin? It doesn’t matter since Twitter updates can now become track-able tickets directly in the popular help desk app, Zendesk . This integration helps streamline your customer service and ensure quality responses.

Organization View

Since HootSuite released Team Collaboration tools, many users have added extensive networks. Now managing your colleagues is easier thanks to a new view which shows your contacts on each network, along with a simple way to add more team members.

To get started, click the Owl, choose Settings, then My Organizations to tune-up your teams.

From enterprises to start-ups, HootSuite is pleased to help businesses and organizations reach out to spread messages, monitor conversations and track results.

As you may know, we’re excited about releasing paid plans in the coming weeks. Keep in mind, HootSuite will remain free for an estimated 95% of users based on current usage patterns. Meanwhile, premium users will enjoy access to extra features, high limits and prioritized support.

We’ll release details in the coming weeks but to preview, the paid plans will offer:

* Unlimited social networks
* Unlimited RSS feeds
* Team members on social networks
* Advanced analytics & reports
* Expedited support

Ask 50 people what the number 1 rule in business is and you’ll likely get 50 different responses. Regardless, I’m sure most would agree that “Don’t Promise Your Customers Something You Can’t Deliver” is high up on the list of “don’ts.”

Now, I preface my forthcoming complaint with 1 caveat:

I greatly admire Starbucks for jumping on new media, technologies, platforms and generally attempting to keep the brand evolving alongside consumers. Be it with unbranded stores, partnering with Klout, the legendary My Starbucks Idea, or being the first major brand to tout a Foursquare Promotion in which Mayors supposedly receive special promotions or discounts at specific location at which they reign (this being the subject of my imminent rant), they clearly see the value in the primacy and innovative thinking that dominate successful modern marketing.

As a Social Media Marketer, Community Manager, Creative Technologist, and Digital Trendhunter (yes, I AM all of those things, so bite me), I am quite familiar with the territory and how difficult it must be to brave the unknown and forge ahead in spite of landmines and obstacles that saturate the landscape. Understanding this, I will happily grant brands the latitude to explore new ideas and forgiveness for blunders that occur under noble (at least for marketing standards) intentions. But in the case I’m about to discuss, we’re closer to false advertising than we are to easily dismissed road bumps in a beta program.

That said, the aforementioned programs are worth shit if no one at Starbucks is actually aware of what’s going on. Case in point, this morning I happened upon a Starbucks which I routine (I’m verbing that word, as opposed to say, “frequent”).

This is the Starbucks In Question

Having only been there a handful of times, I didn’t think that “Checking In” on foursquare would have any impact on my quest for the elusive Mayorship, but lo and behold, while standing there on line, boom, I was crowned mayor and notified of my reward.

Mayorship Official

I was entitled to a $1 discount on any Frappuccino.

Starbucks Venue Page on Foursquare

And so, with a stupid ass grin plastered on my face, I walked up to the Barista and kindly asked for the frap, with discount, courtesy of the promotion and showed her my phone with the corresponding messaging displayed. She had no idea what I was talking about. Neither did the manager. The convo went as follows (not verbatim, but essentially this is what happened):

Me: Hi, I’d like a Grande Caramel Frapp with the $1 Foursquare Mayorship Discount. Do you need to see the phone? Here [Showed her the phone].

Barista: Um, I’m not sure if we do that, hold on [Gets manager].

Me: Hi, Do you do the Foursquare promotion for mayors? [Showed him my phone].

Manager: What’s foursquare? I never got that memo, sorry.

Consequently, I left, quite unhappy, and walked straight into the Dunkin Donuts around the corner (though they screwed up my order, at least the didn’t renege on any promises.

After Tweeting my incredibly frustrating and disappointing experience, I found that I was not the only one to encounter such ineptitude. This was sent to me by a twitter friend, Cassie:

Every weekday morning I go to the same Starbucks.  Not only is it convenient but, they know me there and are always friendly and consistent.  While I’m waiting for my drink, I usually check in on Foursquare.  I have about 30 checkins in the past two months and I’ve been the mayor for several months now and since where I live (Albany, NY) isn’t really the mecca of social media, I doubt that anyone will oust me any time soon.  Although I’ve been the mayor for this long, I hadn’t yet tried to use my $1 off a Frappaccino until this weekend.

I stopped by my regular Starbucks on Sunday morning and I ordered my normal hot drink and a Frappaccino and then said “Also, I’m the Foursquare mayor here.  What do I need to show you to get my $1 off?”  The look that the barista gave me when I said this was sheer confusion and dismay…like I had spoken to her in some kind of alien language.  I then proceed to show her the screen that said I was the mayor, the coupon that pops up on all Starbucks locations and generally try to explain how Foursquare works and that this is a nationwide promotion.  She was more than confused by all of this and kept mentioning that she would need a promo code in order to give the discount.  There was another barista working who also said he had never heard of the promotion or Foursquare.  I was starting to get annoyed and the barista probably picked up on this and offered to give me the $1 off anyway.  She took copious notes and I told her just to Google it and she would see the press release from Starbucks.  I paid, took my drinks and left.

I went back this morning (as usual) and asked the two ladies that I see every morning if they knew about the promotion.  Both of them said they had not heard of it.  Thankfully, I don’t really like Frappaccinos.

All the best,
Cassie Cramer

And Twitter Cohort Joe Hester Brought This “Jaffe Juice” Post to my attention, for yet another example.

Which brings me to a very big WTF Starbucks?

Starbucks FAIL

In addition to an angry ‘tip,’

Angry "Tip"

I’ve tweeted the @Starbucks account 2x since this egregious communication breakdown with no response. Which brought about this post.

I’m very torn here – I want to just not care, it’s only a dollar, and like Cassie, I’m not particularly fond of Frappuchinos. But as someone who’s job it is to devise and advise on programs like these, such problems are simply unacceptable. Right? It’s not like this is a secret promotion they’re running. Just look at how many outlets have covered it!

Where do you  guys weigh in here?

AKA The “I don’t care about the World Cup” Edition 🙂

Stay Tuned For My In Depth Coverage/Review of Everything I Learned at the Ad Age Creativity & Technology (CaT) Conference, by far one of the best and most valuable and interesting events I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. I rank it up there with TED and SXSW. Oh, and I’ll be looking over this new Klout “Facebird” thing and will have my thoughts for you next week. Klout is definitely going to be huge. HUGE!

Klout to Launch Facebird for Facebook

Heineken Lets Beer Drinkers Customize Their Bottles

Stickybits Rolls Out “Official” Branded Bits, Signs Up Pepsi As First Advertiser

Twitter Acquires Smallthought Systems to Integrate Analytics Tools

Reaching Teen Influencers with Social Messages

Are Typosquatters Hijacking Your Brand?

More Adults than Teens Consume Mobile Video

Mind Over Mass Media

Hispanic Moms’ Online Shopping Habits

Mobile Apps to Hit $32 Billion in Five Years

Google Launches Video Ad for TV Effort

Google Mobile Trivia Feature Activited: But, Keep Your Questions Short if You Use Speech-to-Text

Experts Predict We’ll Be Working in the Cloud by 2020 [STUDY]

City of New York Blankets Times Square with Giant QR Codes

Fashion Mag Turns to Facebook to Find New Stylists

Why Japan Matters: iPad Mania, Cloud Computing, And Social Intelligence

Online Video Viewing Shifts to Long Form Content

How Consumers Interact with Brands on Social Media

Trada brings crowdsourcing to online advertising.

Awareness of Location Based Social Networks Currently 7% Of Americans 12+

Remember Google’s ‘groundbreaking’ Super Bowl Ad – “How To Impress A French Girl” [AKA Parisian Love] as seen via search engine magic? Well, now you can create your own. Check out the demo and my own crude attempt, titled “My Day In Google Searches.”

What do you think? Gimmick? Utility? Fad? Not Even?

Google, come clean on Wi-Fi spying

Twitter to Eliminate Third-Party Ads in User Timelines

Twitter, Customer Service, and Good Brand Management

The Psychology of Web Design

Epicenter Mind Our Tech Business: Inside Foursquare: Checking In Before the Party Started (Part I)

Klout Launches Site Wide Refresh In Bid To Become The Arbiter Of Influence

Shortbord Launches Public Beta: Employs “Enduring Exposure” To Unlock Mystery of Real Time Social Endorsements

Victoria’s Secret Shares the Facebook Like Button a Whole New Way

Twitter To Prohibit Any Third Party To Advertise In-Stream

Papa John’s Recruits Facebook Fans to Create Next Pizza

Simplify Foursquare Checkins with Barcode Scanning Android App

TweetUp Launches “AdSense For Twitter” Product At #TCDisrupt

Zynga And 7-Eleven Strike Branding Deal, 10% Of The U.S. Now Playing FarmVille

Vivaki Predicts $100M Market for Choose-Your-Own-Ad Format

Facebook Shopping Mall Snares a $1.5 Million Investment

Millennial Media: Android Ad Impressions Rise 77 Percent In April, iPhone Sees 8 Percent Drop

Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed by “Evil” App

Hulu Gets Tricked Into Running On Android 2.2

Twitter’s Most Influential Users [INFOGRAPHIC]

Facebook CEO: We Will Add Simpler Privacy Controls

A Resume Is Not Enough: How to Market Yourself Online

An Inside Look At Facebook Questions, The Next “Killer App” Of Facebook

What Are Mothers In Asia Up To Online?

Why Google’s Android Could Rule Connected Cars

DST’s Yuri Milner: Facebook Is Going To Be The Social Graph That Unifies All Civilization

Rivals Seize on Troubles of Facebook

New Media, Old Media: How Blogs and Social Media Agendas Relate and Differ from Traditional Press

Crystal-Clear, Maybe Mesmerizing

10 foursquare secrets worth making ‘public’

Google TV: What Does It Mean for Advertisers?

Shortbord Social Platform Launches: Takes Different Approach To Consumer Centric Social Marketing


Badges: Shortbord just added embeddable badges for blogs. Just log into your Shortbord account and on the top of the page click on “Get Badges” and you just drop that simple html into a widget on the sidebar of your blog wherever you’d like it. What’s amazing is that these badges will update automatically as your endorsement changes – truly realizing the potential for that “Enduring Exposure.” I’ve already got mine embedded in my left sidebar!

Also – I’ve just received word that that Shortbord has just launched the capability for paid campaigns (as opposed to just rewarding users with deals) and their will be an additional targeting functionality added within the next couple of weeks.


Those familiar with the intricacies and mechanisms of social platforms intuitively understand that somewhere underneath the clutter lies a latent promise of peer-to-peer, consumer-to-consumer, socially enabled endorsements on an unfathomable magnitude, but no one has been able to decipher the proper methodology to facilitate such consumer-to-consumer brand advocacy…yet.

Udorse tried it…but I don’t think it’s quite caught on just yet. Offermatic holds similar potential, and I’ve got my eyes on them.  And Flattr also has an interesting business model and concept…they’re worth watching as well.

Klout, as I’ve written about previously, has a unique take on influencer targeting that seems aligned with Yahoo Researcher Duncan Watts’s philosophy; that is, the desired cascade effect can only be predicted or achieved when then voice promoting a subject has, A) an audience, B) recognized authority on a certain topic, and C) when the content promoted is aligned with the subject area in which the voice is an expert. And I think that if Klout keeps pushing down this path, they could corner a market on social influencer targeting.

Now, Shortbord, a new social media platform that launches today, takes a unique approach to tackling social media marketing, namely, the longevity issue.

When Kim Kardashian tweets about Carl’s Jr.’s – she has no authority in that arena, so it doesn’t matter how many followers or fans she has, her impact is minimal (per Duncan Watts). But Kim also tweets about Quiktrim – a dietary something or other for weight loss – a subject in which she might have much more influence. A new problem then emerges as an effect of real time quality of social media. Her promotion is quickly buried underneath new posts and new content. So, for whatever impact value her promotion may have had, it is thus negated by its fleeting nature.

Shortbord remedies this through the use of Affinity Badges designed to maximize the long-term exposure a user gives a brand. Like Udorse, participants can choose from a plethora of brands and causes to endorse and once that’s done, the endorsement attaches itself as a temporary fixture to your profile and to any content you post in the form of a thumbnail that sits opposite your avatar. For bloggers, the potential is even greater, as you can embed a widget on your site that is tied to the specific promotion your currently “surfing” (to use shortbord lingo).

Once you’ve temporarily tied the endorsement to your profile just do what you usually do – it’s a set it and forget it system – when the promotion has run it’s course – you get a reward (I got a T-shirt! YAY!)

Josh Schneider, of the Shortbord founders, explains how they are different from other services:

We are the first word-of-mouth display advertising company that enables individuals to monetize their social media reach & influence without changing their voice.  Paid blogging services exist for influencers to monetize their online fame, but are oftentimes viewed critically by both influencers and their followers because the ad units can be misleading and the content is not genuine. Furthermore, websites do not support most types of paid blogging because too many advertisements reduce the quality of the content being shared.

Shortbord takes paid blogging and combines it with display advertising to enable people who are valuable to monetize their popularity through displaying Shortbord Affinity Badges.  Once a website is enabled, Shortbord Affinity Badges display an individual’s current endorsement and websites that are in the Shortbord network share in the endorsement’s value. Both the influencer and the website get paid for the value they create, and brands have an effective word-of-mouth ad unit that is relevant on social applications.

Our goal as a company is to be THE ad unit that monetizes all user-generated content. We just opened our website to the public today and are trying to get Shortbord Affinity Badges on as many websites as possible.  Our next step is to release Facebook implementation and enable people to promote their favorite charities and brands on their facebook profiles / pages

Check it out here and let me know what you think. There’s certainly room for improvement, but I also think they are really onto something here. If I had the money, I’d buy them, Klout, Flattr, and Offermatic (and maybe salvage Udorse or Blippy in the process) and turn them into one massive social endorsement and social consumer shopping experience…

I won’t go into all the ramifications of Facebook’s new social plugins and bid to dominate the interwebs. You can check out the Carrot Creative Blog for a nice little “what it means for you” recap, along with Mashable’s constant, sometimes in depth/sometimes superficial, coverage of the new tools and announcements, as well.

What I’ve noticed is that the tech battles that are currently brewing transcend industry or product. To name a few:

Facebook  vs Twitter vs Foursquare

Facebook vs Google

Google vs Apple

Google vs Microsoft & Yahoo

My question, as such, is – if you were to relegate control of you entire online behavior and identity to one of these dominant entities, which would it be? Which brand engenders trust? Functionality? Personality?

We may not have to actively make this decision in the near future, but we are passively acknowledging its growing preeminence it every time we go online. Sooner or later – and probably sooner, Facebook’s open social graph will collide head on with Google’s open ID, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple launched an alternative – anti-culture – subversive  – nonconformist version of the concept: One ID to rule them all. Add to that the truly independent competition – the open source Wikipedia/Firefox-ish rival.

In fact, it may – and probably will – boil down to what browser you use as your portal to the digiverse – Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or the inevitable Facebook Browser that will be the culmination of their efforts to connect the web and infuse Facebook’s presence in every online destination.

So – I ask again – if you had to turn over near-complete control of your online activities to one of these brands – insofar as they will manage you – your email, social activities, functions and features, web browsing, shopping the advertisements you receive, your financial information, etc… to provide a seamless, integrated and unified experience – Who would you trust? Who would you prefer as your Internet partner-in-crime-and-everything-else? I know I trust Google to develop functional tools, I trust Facebook exploits my personal information to create a more socially enhanced experience – even if it is at the cost of my privacy. I trust Apple do design innovative and aesthetically pleasing “things” that boast superior user experience and interface, but may lack in the features/functionality department (Can someone say MULTITASKING?)

Anyway…PLEASE weigh in here and in the comments. Thanks!