Mariamz

Posts Tagged ‘media

For website owners and advertisers, user intent matters. But those ever-desirable eyeballs may as well be attached to sticks for all we know about their owners much of the time. The feelings, the mood, the intent of site visitors is incredibly valuable  to understand, because knowing this and serving up an appropriate user experience enables happier, more satisfied individuals.

Yieldbot is a publisher-side analytics and targeting platform which “captures and organizes the realtime intent existing in web publishers and makes it available to advertisers so they can match offers and ads at the exact moment consumers are most open to receiving relevant marketing.”

In the presentation below, Yieldbot boasts goal conversion of 26% higher than Google paid search and 326% higher than organic Google search traffic, on a ‘Leading deal site for Moms’ for ads placed according to its ‘intent-based targeting.’ (You may also be interested in this Business Insider post which refers to Yieldbot as a solution for Yahoo.)

Eyeballs image from Celebrations.com

This is the read-write-edit web, and when we make mistakes, we are told. We are told by our followers, our fans, our enemies, by people we’ve never met, from all around the world. We can correct ourselves, and be easily and swiftly corrected online.

Lord McAlpine, there’s no need to sue so many of my fellow tweeters, we’re all over eachother’s mistakes, and we will lose so much more than we gain as a society if your action means we start pre-emptively restricting what is shared. It is unimaginable to be accused of something so terrible as you have been, and I can only sympathise with the unfortunate situation you find yourself in. But you and your lawyers should take into account Twitter’s unique properties as a peer to peer communications platform, and high value for our civic present and future, before threatening it, and quite specifically threatening the act of reacting to a television programme, discussing it, and sharing what has been said by others (a standard and highly popular way of using Twitter in the UK).

Previous moral panics and outrage about incorrect information being posted on the web have been countered by the fact that as quickly as false information is passed around the Internet, so too is it corrected. Quite famously, this has been used to demonstrate the value and accuracy of Wikipedia as an encyclopaedic resource. And stands in stark contrast to the slower method which has to be used in print media: printing a correction in a subsequent edition to apologize for any error.

Lord McAlpine, I’m afraid your case is one for all of us who care about UK civil liberties to watch as it risks being muddled by those who neither use Twitter or understand how it is used and / or are driven by ruling-elite-political posturing, quite specifically in relation to Sally Bercow – a tweeter whom it is no secret that your side (the Tories) of our political spectrum love to hate. It would be a travesty for us all if this adds up to fundamental curbs on the way Twitter is used in the UK – via legislation and self-censorship driven by fear.

Last week this small commentary that appeared in London’s Metro newspaper shocked me – declaring that internet service providers (presumably Robin Thompson means Twitter here(!!) not the people who run the pipes) should give right of reply (a journalistic pre-publication norm) before something is tweeted – in other words, we may as well pack up tweeting altogether as I’m sure Twitter would rather flip the UK switch off than become some sort of uber-real-time-editor-in-chief-on-steroids. 

In my view, (and, granted, this may be quite obvious to Twitter-natives, but let’s remember we are a statistical minority), we need different rules for social media, because social media is different. And indeed there are some in development at the moment for the UK.

We must beware of the traditional lobby which will straightjacket the democratisation of public political discourse online just as it is beginning if we are not very careful.

We must make the argument and fight for a legislative environment that facilitates a world where everyone can be informed and critically thinking citizens… citizens that make mistakes, of course, but mistakes that should be contrasted with those made by institutions, and mitigated by the fact we can quickly apologise, and put them right.

We must win the argument that it is a better media environment when we can have our eyes and ears and mouths open, and unprecedented capabilities to communicate with one another.

Sure, we should be responsible. But we should cater for errors in different ways when it comes to public, peer-to-peer discourse. A good rule is individuals should be treated as citizens, with special protections for their freedom of speech and right to share, until they write or speak with the authority of a collective, institutional platform.

Libel laws in the digital realm should be focused on policing institutions, or failing this, at the originator of offensive online materials, not on everyone who shares or discusses them.

Our rapidly evolving communications environment may distribute more widely the potential for error, but it also redistributes our chances to learn fast, to hear others, and to be corrected. We don’t need to be gagged Lord McAlpine, we all knew the story was wrong, really, really fast. So please end this revengeful race to the bottom, for all our sakes.

Image Credits: Censorship image by Tyler Menezes; Twitter illustration by Edwards McGowan

Last weekend I took part in a Cambridge Festival of Ideas panel discussion on whether we are being ‘sold online’ alongside Michal Kosinski of Cambridge University, Professor Bill Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute and Nick Pickles of Big Brother Watch.

During this I proposed that practitioners who deal with collecting, processing, analysing and sharing social media data can operate according to a simple principle, to weight privacy in favour of individuals, and transparency towards institutions. For indeed, such responsible data dealing is essential for attaining and retaining trust in 21st century institutions…


Delving further into what this means in practice I put forward the following framework, which can be used by marketers to clearly document and ask questions of social data usage:

Best Practice Data Dealers Recipe Card

Note: my recipe card is loosely based on Tony Benn’s five questions to power

Encouraging ‘constructive’ participation is a goal for most forum owners (but remember, one woman’s troll is another woman’s truth teller). Design and nurture is a critical successful factor for developing a healthy interactive online spaces.

With this notice automatically embedded inline with new forum members posts, money saving expert (MSE) is taking account of how nerve-wracking speaking up for the first time can be, and gently suggesting to other established members to go easy. This has three great functions:

  • Makes established forum members aware of how their words may have particularly strong effects
  • Encourages other lurkers to take the leap into posting when they see it
  • Makes the newbie feel protected from the highly charged crowd

Pinterest has officially been the fastest growing social network this year. But why do we love it so? Why is it driving sales so much better than other social networks? Why is it so moreish?

Pinterest traffic growth to March 2012

I’m running a private Pinterest training session next week, where I’ll be covering:

  • A rapid introduction to the hottest visual social network right now
  • Overview of best in class activity
  • Activation framework

And I thought it would work well, especially for those in the room not already into it, to start off explaining why people love Pinterest… how they feel about it… to bring it to life. Personally, I’d muse the following:

  • We’re tired of looking at words on screens. I was talking to an old friend the other day who was at college when computers first hit the market. She said they used to tell them not to read on screen. To this day she usually prints everything – she says everyone has got too obsessed with saving trees (which can be replaced) – but your eyesight can’t. Whatever you think about this logic.. I think one of the reasons we love Pinterest is our eyes have become wary of reading reams and reams of information, and you can actually see a whole world of ideas on Pinterest (especially when you browse the ‘everything’ tab – without reading a word.
  • Simple serendipity. Eli Pariser, among other doom-sayers, have waxed lyrical at length about the danger of filter-bubbles in how we use the web as individuals. Our use of Twitter is mostly confined to the people we follow, the lists we have chosen to follow, searching for – or following the hashtags we are already interested in. On Facebook we see the pages and people we already like or know. But on Pinterest the ‘Everything’ tab is an easy, visual view into the world of many, many, others. It’s easy to skim past any picture you find offensive (and actually its Acceptable Use Policy and usage norms mean I very rarely see anything that fits that category from my perspective).
  • The whole world meets one click product discovery. When we shop online we usually go to a very few trusted websites, for the brands and websites we know. Or use massive shopping aggregators like asos which enable us to scroll through pages and pages of bags and shoes. But it can be samey. We get tired of looking at 300 dresses just to find one we like. We get ourselves into the mood to shop but somehow the pressure of scrolling and searching takes the shine off. You can’t touch or see the items up close and you get a bit fed up after watching 20 little videos to work out how the fabric hangs. But on Pinterest a dress or pair of shoes, new make-up or hair idea is all mixed up with cool travel and home and even digital inspiration. It’s not just one shop or even a virtual high street… it’s pictures of the whole world online.. it’s the beach, the bar, the library, the philosopher and the boutique all at once.

That’s just some speculation from me… but why do other Pinners love it? I thought I’d use the ethnographic method of observing what people say about their feelings about it on Twitter:

In keeping with ethnographic research principles – I started with a question, gave my feelings on the platform and the perspective from which I am approaching the question, and uncovered themes from my observations.. represented here in this word cloud:

Here are those themes in more detail:

  • It helps you easily share what you find and love.. without having to comment on it in any great detail – e.g. Danni Minogue’s pets board has shown me with pictures, some insight into her personality I’d never have really gauged otherwise
  • I’ve heard people say this in person too – it takes you into another world – a more dream-like world
  • It drives desire
  • It inspires you to make new things (or makes you feel you should be!)
  • It gives you hints, tips and recipes that can brighten your day
  • Music was a new one on me – how does one use it for that I wonder? Via video perhaps? This is how I discovered you can now pin sounds from Soundcloud onto Pinterest
  • The quotes help you feel positive (personally I always feel an undercurrent of embarrassment when I re-tweet inspirational quotes on Twitter but it just doesn’t feel like that on Pinterest)
  • It makes you feel good by letting you know when other people like what you love
  • I’ve often found it annoying that I can’t pin directly from G+ or Facebook – but the fact someone suggested it as a reason to love Pinterest made me think… it’s a good safeguard against it getting filled up with lots of personal pictures of people falling out of nightclubs and indeed outfits
  • It can lift your mood – or help you explore the mood you’re in
  • The ease which which you can share visually makes it less intimidating for non-technical users as a collaboration / bookmarking tool
  • Photos are usually professionally taken / shared when they fit with the professionally taken shots there – meaning their visually stunning appeal differs from the more amateur photography you might expect on Flickr, or personal (to you) shots you see on Facebook
  • It can help creative people to think visually

So that was fun… a view into the world of our positive feelings towards Pinterest. But I must report that in the course of this research I found a significant number of people reporting negative feelings - i.e. the wish their lives were as fabulous as the world they can enter on Pinterest / their Pinterest boards. This reminded me of criticisms levelled at magazines over the years – on how they make people feel in terms of pressures on how to be and what to buy.

Back on the sunnier flip side, something I realised in trawling tweets about why people have taken to Pinterest so readily – is how much they love to say how much they love eachother’s pins. We might posit here that if Facebook be the platform of like, Pinterest be that of love

Just quick props to Nieman Journalism’s new design feature (well new to me anyway) that quietens the right-hand nav as you scroll down to read. It’s all too easy to become tempted away, or just annoyingly destracted by what’s going on around your focus, to the left or right of a web article. Nieman deals with this neatly here – the right hand nav’s suggested links are faded out – becoming dark, with text coming into sharp focus, whenever the user hovers over. Nice detail, helps you stay on the article at hand, whilst allowing the site to keep their desired / suggested next steps on your visit just a nudge of the mouse / finger away.

Nieman Journalism Lab faded right navigation


This blog is about utilizing and optimizing the social web for business, pleasure and social change

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