Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Three - #1

Being a Twitter Snob is okay.

Or at least according to Mitch Joel it is.  And I agree too.

In his Sunday posting on his weblog, Joel argues that the only people you should follow on Twitter are those who "are immediately interesting to you or people who might becoming interesting to you".  What do you do with the rest? "Ignore".  He points out that this strategy (not necessarily following someone back if they follow you) somehow goes across the gain of what social media is about.  However, I disagree with him on this point because this whole notion is very "social media".  To me, social media is about creating value, relationships and learning.  As Joel Comm points out at the beginning of his book "Twitter Power 2.0 - How to Dominate Your Market one Tweet at a Time", social media is about two-way communications: create a conversation that brings meaning and value to you and from there, those conversations create communities.  If you're not creating a meaningful communication with your Twitter followers, maybe you shouldn't be in there.  Comm points out that Twitter relationships, like friendships, need to be maintained and nurtured if you wish them to be successful.  If you don't see the value in the relationship, if you don't put the effort in and you don't see yourself doing so, don't follow them.

Mitch Joel outlines some other reasons for being a 'snob':
  • Numbers don't mean valuable - By having a huge number of people you follow, it can communicate to others that you don't pick and choose your followers and that you're don't discriminate between people of interest and value from those that do not create any.  People may judge you on this basis, like judging a book by it's cover, and be turned off.
  •  Who you follow adds credibility - Being selective allows other people to better understand who you are, what your interests are and better determine if you're someone they want to make a connection with.  People who do will follow you and find the people you find interesting because there is a genuine connection being made.
  •  Having standards means value standards - By picking and choosing who we follow, and adding credibility, we are in fact creating better value for everyone who follows us.

    So, unless you're a brand looking for feedback ("none of this applies: why not follow back everyone who is following you? "), discriminate on value.  Go on, be a snob.

    Read the posting here.

    Starbucks' Digital Network

    This past Wednesday October 20th 2010, Mashable reported that Starbucks was to unveil their new 'Starbucks Digital Network' in their stores.  Operating through the store's free Wi-Fi internet, "SDN" has two key objectives: "enhancing the customer’s experience and better engaging customers while they’re in the store".  The experience includes access to newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, but is also split into six areas of engagement: "News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business and Careers, My Neighborhood and the customer-personalized Starbucks channel".  This means newsapers, e-books, magazines, local news items, community information... you name it, it's probably there.  In addition to these facets, there is also a connection with LinkedIn, where patrons can find exclusive content and job searching capabilities.

    Yahoo! are the brains behind the network, running the system and having designed the site as Starbucks technology partner.

    Starbucks is all about experience and getting engaged in the environment.  I don't know about how other social media sites fit into the SDN, such as Twitter or Facebook, but when I get the opportunity to try it out myself I will elaborate on how I think it works inside the Starbucks strategy.

    Read the full article here.

    Apple Back to Mac

    As you might have heard, Apple had a little do on October 20th called the "Back-to-Mac" event.  In true Apple fashion, it was a dramatic and awe-inspiring experience where many things were announced and many jaws-dropped.  Here are some of the big things to take from the event, as covered by Walyou.com:

    • OS X Lion previewed - I use Apple computers and have almost always used them at home.  As a OS Leopard user, I am not quite at the cutting edge of the OS X curve but from all appearances, OS Lion is going to be a step forward.  It appears to have borrowed some interface ideas from the iPad/iPhone/iPod family.
    • Introduction of the Mac App Store - It was only a matter of time before the user-friendly style of the App Store was transposed to the Mac for other programs.  With the same revenue-splitting system, this move will boost the availability of independent products for Mac.
    • iLife 11 - It's coming.  Surprised?
    • Macbook Air - Now available in two sizes, 11.6" and 13", it is now available with flash memory instead of a traditional hard drive.  This is much like the newest iPods, iPhones and the most recent iPad.

      To gain some more insight into the "Back-to-Mac" event, see Shaminda Attygalle's blog post "What can marketers learn from an Apple press event?".

      I feel that the Macbook Air is finally the product that Apple should have made in the first place.  Now, I am not going to presume that this humble marketer is smarter than the entire Apple marketing department, that'd be ridiculous.  But to me, the iPad never really made sense.

      I have a one year-old iPod Touch and I think it's brilliant.  It can play the music I want, the videos I want, gives me both useful and entertaining applications as well as, when within range of a wireless network, allow me to check my mail and social media sites.  When I see the Apple iPad, what I am really seeing is a glorified, larger iPod Touch.  Yes, the iPad has data capabilities but if you really wanted that, you'd buy the iPhone instead of the pod.  Other than that, and the larger screen, I don't really see a blockbuster product.  I see an iPod that's less practical: it doesn't fit in your pocket, it's the size of a network, it's difficult to type on and less practical as a music device.  After discussing this with many people, including my sister who is also a marketer by degree, we agreed that the only application of the iPad as a practical item is for those who don't use or know how to use a computer.  As a user friendly product, it could be the means for those who are not savvy to check their mail, and surf the web with its easy, push-button operating system.

      But maybe this is the point exactly, I am approaching this from the practical, beige-trousered approach.  Seth Godin might be able to explain why the iPad, despite its apparent shortcomings, still sold like hot-cakes.  Godin was interviewed at TED 2009 in this video, where he explains what might be going on here.  In the video entitled Why You Need a Tribe, he says it's not about "here are all the features, you should switch", that the one with the most features for the money isn't the one that's necessarily successful.  For example, the "iPod doesn't have the most features for the money" but "that's not why people buy it".  According to Godin, people buy it because "of the story, because of the way it makes them feel".  A lot of this desire comes from word of mouth, leading into Godin's idea of the "Purple Cow":  something that is remarkable.  People will talk about things that are remarkable, and it's the marketer's challenge to make something that is remarkable and get people talking.

      The "Back-to-Mac" event is a perfect example of this marketing, something that Apple seems to have perfected.  People talked about it, people wanted it and people got it.  A prime example of branding turning into purchasing.  Does it matter the iPad might not be practical?  No, because people want it anyway.

      PS: Reading Joel Comm's book Twitter Power 2.0, I will be posting a review of the ideas in the book later on when it's finished.  So far?  An excellent read.