Archive for September, 2011

The social navigation – Predictions based on the digital now

Posted on: September 28th, 2011 by Fransgaard No Comments

The original version of this article can be seen at the Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

Personalised and predictive navigation features have been around for a while. No need to look further than Amazon.com’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” and “New For You” panels.

They are great selling tools. One is based relationships between products; the other based on your previous purchases. Both are based on the products’ or the users’ historical digital footprints within the environment controlled by the company in question.

Your friendly neighbourhood navigation

But what if the next generation of navigation tools could suggest products based on knowing what is of interest to user right now? What if the navigation could behave like a friend of the user?

Users are increasingly sharing their thoughts, tastes and opinions with their friends online and often in public digital spaces which results in a nuanced picture of what is on their minds right now.

Tools such as Radian 6 can listen and digest social sentiment by understand things like how many liked a product or didn’t like it. And if they didn’t; what did they not like about it?

It is an overview of what the many say about a few things. But could this be turned upside down and look at what the individual say about many things?

An example of social navigation

A user visits a website selling DVDs. She has never been to the site before, but at the promise of receiving a personalised experience she decides to identify herself to the site. This could be as simple as entering her name or by connecting to her social profiles using functions like Facebook Connect or the Twitter API.

As she submits her details the site sweeps the web for any content created or associated with the user and it notices that she recently have made positive comments about the new movie “Drive” as well as showed interest in learning more about other Danish movies.

With this information the website can now suggest other movies by Danish “Drive” Director Nicolas Winding Refn as well as other similar Danish movies. The site effectively listened to the user’s online voice as her friends would and started a relevant conversation by replying back in context.

Creating a subliminal personalised experience

As a real friend, the website is not just listening to the words, it is also paying attention or other communication signals such as music preferences, ‘Likes’ given etc. As the website sweeps the Internet it finds a range of photos uploaded by the user and notices that she has uploaded several photos of blue skies and green fields.

The website reacts on this information and modifies its own visual appearance to match in a sky blue and nature green colour scheme. It may even have a nice header photograph of a blue sky in its repertoire. By mimicking the user’s preferred photography subject the site makes itself more appealing in a way not that dissimilar from human behaviour.

Final thoughts

Facebook has recently been under fire for monitoring the behaviour of users without being transparent about its activities and motives. While their services may be beneficial for companies and users alike, not being transparent only nurtures suspicion.

Creating social navigation features as described above need to be done in a transparent fashion and with the customers having full control over what they share and are fully informed about the process and what the benefits are. As soon as that trust is established a true friendship can be formed to the benefit of both the seller and the buyer.

Is the non-digital native generation missing the real value of Generation C’s user generated content?

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Often when I go to digital events and conferences I can help but wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and scream “I TOLD YOU SO!” in the faces of those who were adamant that the Internet was a toy and a fad.

Alas, I don’t have a time machine. But some times events happens that makes me think that I am doing the same mistake now as these non-believers did back then.

JuicyStar07

Such an event happened at SalesForce‘s recent CloudForce conference here in London where I joined a break-out session by the social sentiment company Radian6.  The presenter wanted to show how the Radian6 product helps companies filter social comments and identify the ones with the “loudest megaphone”. He proceeded to show a YouTube entry made by a beautiful young woman going by the screen name “JuicyStar07”.

JuicyStar07

When the presenter said the words “JuicyStar07” there were several semi-naughty grins from the audience who assigned some sexually charged undercurrents to her screen name and the presenter was quick to state that the video was PG.

The presenter continued to play the video in which JuicyStar07 was talking about her Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 bag and he brought to our attention that the video had received a stunning 2,000,000 views significantly more than the audience of most printed publications. Think about that for a second: More views than most newspapers have readers! How’s that for reach and influence?

Everybody instantly sobered up. No more naughty winks from the audience and we all realised the sheer scale of the reach this single video have. The presenter then posed the question: Shouldn’t Luis Vuitton reach out to JuicyStar07?

It highlights how easy it is to miss the real value of content produced by digital natives simply because of the presumptions we project on to what we see. We saw a young person seemingly rambling on about fashion nonsense. But the truth is not only does she know what she’s talking about, she also has a large crowd of loyal followers who are naturally suspicious and  largely immune to traditional advertising. She is the future of product promotion.

Is the Google+ common name policy missing the value as well?

Is the name “JuicyStar07” intended to be sexually charged? I don’t know. Maybe it was when she came up with the screen name, who knows?. Fact is: It does not matter. 

What matters is that changing her screen name would be PR suicide and I am convinced she is aware of this. Some of her fans may not recognise her as Blair Fowler but they all know and want JuicyStar07.

These were my thoughts at the time. I’ve since learned she is blogging under her real name as well but it still raises yet another issue with the whole utopian Google+ real name policy which my colleague Rick Mans has covered in another blog post. Sufficient here is to ask: Do Google really want to risk losing somebody like JuicyStar07 and her 2,000,000 views in a crusade to force them to use their real name?

Thoughts spawned by CloudForce 2011

Posted on: September 15th, 2011 by Fransgaard 6 Comments

This post was meant to be a continuously updated summary of Day 2 at CloudForce, London. However, there’s already a suite official material online and I am sure what is not covered by this will be covered by various blog posts and ofcourse the #cloudforce Twitter tag.

Instead I want to share a few thoughts provoked by this very inspiring day.

For example I found it interesting that while Peter Coffee was interviewing a range of interesting guest speakers on stage we were all staring at the video feed from the camera filming him… we weren’t looking at him standing there in flesh and blod, no we were looking not only at a screen projection of him; we were looking at a video feed embedded on a Facebook page projected on the big screen.

I also find it interesting how we experience live events through our cameras. It is like if we don’t capture it digitally it didn’t happen. I remember last year going to MovieCon and having to hand over my iPhone before we could enter to here about all the new movies coming this year. It was an unpleasant experience not being able to share all these great secrets with my online contacts.

JuicyStar07

JuicyStar07But the single event that stands out in my head happened during the Radian6 breakout session where the presenter wanted to show how Radian6 helps companies filter social comments and identify the ones with the “loudest megaphone”. He proceeded to show a YouTube entry made by a beautiful young woman going by the screen name “JuicyStar07”.

When the presenter said the words “JuicyStar07” there were several semi-naughty grins from the audience who assigned some sexually charged undercurrents to her screen name and the presenter was quick to state that the video was PG.

The presenter continued to play the video in which JuicyStar07 was talking about her Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 bag and he brought to our attention that the video had received a stunning 2,000,000 views significantly more than the audience of most printed publications. Think about that for a second: More views than most newspapers have readers.

Everybody instantly sobered up. No more naughty winks from the audience and we all realised the sheer scale of the reach this single video have. The presenter then posed the question: Shouldn’t Luis Vuitton reach out to JuicyStar07?

It highlights how easy it is to miss the real value of content produced by digital natives simply because of the presumptions we project on to what we see.

Is the name “JuicyStar07” intended to be sexually charged? I don’t know. Maybe it was when she came up with the screen name, who knows?. Fact is: It does not matter. 

What matters is that changing her screen name would be PR suicide and I am convinced she is aware of this. Some of her fans may not recognise her as Blair Fowler but they all know and want JuicyStar07.

These were my thoughts at the time. I’ve since learned she is blogging under her real name as well but it still raises yet another issue with the whole utopian Google+ real name policy which my colleague Rick Mans has covered in another blog post. Sufficient here is to ask: Do Google really want to risk losing somebody like JuicyStar07 and her 2,000,000 views in a crusade to force them to use their real name?

The Burberry Social Enterprise

I want to end this post with a personal note: It was great seeing the project I am User Experience Lead on up on the big screen.