Category Archives: Social Media

On Why iOS Should Be Worried About Google+

After a week of using Google+, it’s become clear to me the platform that should really be afraid, is iOS. 

There’s been lots of talk about “social network” comparables.  Is it Twitter?  Is it Facebook?  It’s a bit of both, but thruthfully, it has the potential to blow them both out of the water.  How so?  One word: Android.  Mobile isn’t just how Google+ will survive, it’s how it can explode.

I’m an iPhone guy, but I’m not an Apple nut (though they’re close to making me one).  I like iOS and iPhone because the UI / device compatibility is almost flawless (the virtues of which I’ve extolled) and the ecosystem they’ve created — I also have an iPad — is easy to get sucked into.  Hands down, it’s the best phone on the market.

But, as most everyone knows, Android is the mobile OS market leader.  Sure there are compatibility problems, it’s open source.  But the fact of the matter is, more people have Android phones in their hands than iPhones and that’s the key here.

There’s a reason why there have been rumours of a Facebook phone.  There’s a reason Apple has strategically aligned iOS with Twitter.  Social isn’t just about sharing.  It’s about sharing in the moment.  People don’t want to have to wait until they get home to tell people what’s happening, because by today’s standards, that makes it ancient history.

Before Google Buzz’s (failed) launch, The Tech Journal posted an article that contained some interesting stats about mobile social sharing:

  • There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice more active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
Heads up: the future isn’t just mobile, it’s social. 
 
Google hasn’t been able to get a foothold in the social sphere and it’s no doubt been frustrating for them, which is why Google+’s success (so far) is as exciting to early adopters as it is threatening to Google’s competitors.
 
 
I’m not sure how much Apple and Twitter knew about Google+ when they struck their partnership, but if they didn’t know much, then they were prescient, lucky, or both.
 
If Google can effectively and seamlessly integrate G+ into the Android platform as the default method for social sharing…?  Well that’s the sound of Apple, Twitter, and especially Facebook, shaking in their respective boots (collective, in the case of Twitter and Apple).
 
It’s the step Blackberry couldn’t make.  This could be Google’s BBM.  Sure they’ll have the iPhone app available, but its real power will be in its integration with Android.  And if Android users can bring their friend networks over to Google+, then guess what: people are going to want a “Google+ phone”. 
 
Or, you know, the phone Facebook wanted to make.
 
Apple’s in a better position, having Twitter in its corner.  It’s an established social network and Apple’s facilitating the ability to use that network.  Facebook is still the giant, but hey, so was Friendster at one point. Its biggest asset might also be its biggest risk: not being strategically aligned with a mobile platform.
 
We’ll see how this all plays out over the next year or so, as iOS 5 is realeased, a new iPhone(s?) comes on the market, and Android brings a newer version to the party.  Google prides itself on being open, so we’ll see how developers take to the API.  If I can post to Google+ from Twitter with a “#g+”, maybe it won’t be such a big deal, but quite frankly people don’t need this many social networks (I know I don’t).  Someone’s going to come out ahead.  The question is: will it be a social network or a mobile patform? 
 
Because right now, Google’s got both.
  
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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On YouTube Getting a Homeless Man a Job

How does a former radio announcer, left homeless and on the streets, garner job offers from the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and NFL Films?

YouTube.  That’s how.

It’s a great story, and Mr. Williams’ voice really is incredible, but what makes this story so remarkable to me is how it demonstrates the sheer power of the medium. 

We’ve seen YouTube sensations get millions of hits and even record deals, but this is social media affecting profound change in the life of a person who lost their way.  All because a reporter decided to follow up and someone decided it belonged on YouTube.

This isn’t another story of the media machine trying to take advantage of viral popularity (if anything, it’s the other way around).  This is real and it’s quite amazing, really. 

Also, I might add, there’s a strange bit of zeitgeist in seeing YouTube help struggling radio find a second chance.

Just sayin’.

On Crowdsourcing The Kinect

Backtracking on their “hack the Kinect and we’ll prosecute” stance was the smartest thing Microsoft’s done in a long time.

Multinational corporations that fear manipulation of their carefully crafted devices come across like old people who wrap their sofas and remote controls in cellophane (Apple just has better branding).   At the end of the day, the Kinect is a technologically impressive device that, if Microsoft lets the momentum ride, could have a significant impact on the future of user interface. 

Microsoft’s decision to now be “excited” by the community’s interest in their toy will likely do more to advance the innovation of their own creation than they ever could.  Forget sitting in a boardroom trying to figure out what people want from a motion-driven device — let them play with it and tell you. 

It’s like market research, except the market is researching for you at the same time.

So here’s my thing: what are people actually doing with it? 

Everyone’s been watching the guy who used a PC emulator to play the original Super Mario Bros using body motion control.  Pretty cool.  And there’s also a fellow who turned his Kinect set up into a digital puppet controller.  Probably tougher than it looks and definitely impressive.

Still…  I mean, these are great and all, but I’m looking for that breakthrough use.  That thing where everyone goes “ah ha — this is where it goes next.”

The most exciting development to me so far?  Finger tip recognition with multi-touch interaction and navigation.  Researchers at MIT have basically made Minority Report a reality:

[via www.kinecthacks.net]

There are others who’ve done a variation, but this example was easily the most impressive.  The ability to recognize and interpret individual finger motions is, technologically speaking, nuts.  Touchscreen technology always seemed like a matter of time, but multitouching the air always seemed like the future.  Still does, really.

Now where are my moving sidewalks?

On Hyundai, Pomplamoose, and Taking Viral Mainstream

Looks like Hyundai’s playing with a new friend in the social media sandbox.

How do you make a fun, fresh commercial and tap into an existing audience of millions? Why, ask one of YouTube’s hottest viral musical talents to make it for you, of course.

I — like millions of net denizens who’ve found them on YouTube — am a pretty big fan of Pomplamoose and their channel. Their growing catalogue of covered and orignal “video songs” (songs where you can see every instrument played) are smart, catchy and fun to watch.

Hyundai thinks so, too. That’s why they’ve partnered with Pomplamoose to create a series of holiday season commercials featuring Jack & Nataly’s musical and editing talents. Yes: editing. Hyundai gave Pomplamoose full creative control.


Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose cover “Deck The Halls” for Hyundai

I imagine acquiescing control was a low-risk proposition for Hyundai, considering most of the budget probably went into revamping the duo’s garage into a higher-end studio than the room they’d been using for the past few years.

The point being, though, that Hyndai was smart enough to not mess with a good thing. They hired people who were doing something that people obviously enjoyed, so why tell them what to do? “Just make us a holiday video song with our car and these messages.” Done.

The result? A fun, unpretentious and enjoyable holiday ad campaign. Produced on a relatively low budget. And that has the potential to reach millions of viewers online.

Below is Pomplamoose’s full cover of “Deck the Halls” followed by a vlog post that not only talks a bit about the Hyundai commercials, but also about how to use a generous donation to get their “MPfree” Christmas EP.