Facebook and General and social media and strategychris on 07 Oct 2008 12:55 pm

I don’t know how folks played basketball in these shoes…

That’s where corporate organizations are with digital tools and the interactive universe. They are running in Chucks. Not necessarily a bad thing – they look good – but as CNET’s Caroline McCarthy reported this week, half of these corporate efforts in social media will flop.

There are some key differences between the basketball players of the fifties and the “digital strategists” today — the players understood all aspects of the game and didn’t throw bricks…

Dialing-up to Digital

New media is no longer niche. You are no longer from another planet if you blog. In fact, most people in the district are now on Facebook or even Twitter. Not to mention that every Public Affairs firm in town is now offering blogging and new media services. In addition to those firms, many social media experts are marketing themselves online… Okay, so that guy with 4000 followers on twitter (who is good at personal branding) is going to lead your interactive public affairs strategy or your online marketing initiatives? Scary…

If you are looking to utilize digital tools as a part of your overall communications strategy, look for folks who have been on some campaigns or led some grassroots initiatives. In addition, look to hire professionals who know your industry and can get your organization beyond the “fad” of the day… You’ll score more than fashion points…

General and mobile video and PrivacyEmily on 03 Oct 2008 11:50 am

As cameras and mobile broadcasting become a part of our mobile life, we need to think about the pros and cons of our citizen surveillance society.

Globally, netizens have begun documenting civil disobedience in their communities. Today it is so prevalent that, as profiled by Wired, some police officers and emergency workers wield shiny government-issued iPhones, receiving images from crime and accident scenes.

However, as citizens increasingly police each other, do we create a potentially unhealthy vigilante society?

For an extreme example, one can examine the aptly named “Dog poop girl” incident from South Korea.  In a Seoul subway, a young woman incited national outrage when her small dog defecated in the train.  The woman received international fame after citizens captured the woman, when given a tissue, leaving the mess and cleaning her dog.

After the pictures were posted online, the girl’s identification leaked and was posted for the public. Shamed by the resulting press coverage and public scrutiny, the girl’s family was verbally accosted and she left her university.  She was later reduced to issuing a video apology with her dog.

Continue Reading »

General and Politics and strategyEmily on 23 Sep 2008 11:04 am

With the November election on the horizon, we have pondered the implications of utilizing wireless to mobilize voters.  We believe that in a race this close, mobile offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness and engage folks.  However, will mobile make the difference in ’08?

Our friends at Mobile Future or going to take a closer look at this question and have organized a timely forum on this subject at the National Press Club on October 14, 2008 titled “How Mobile Technologies are Changing Elections.”

Mobile Future Chairman, Jonathan Spalter, will moderate a panel discussion with some of the leading experts in mobile and its impact on politics. The dialogue will be facilitated by Jed Alpert (CEO of Mobile Commons), Michelle Mayorga (Rock the Vote, Mobile Programs), Casey O’Shea (DCCC National Field Director) and Katie Harbath (Former Deputy eCampaign Director, Giuliani for President).

Additionally, Peter Hart (Peter D. Hart Research Associates), a leading U.S. pollster, will address the atmosphere of the 2008 election and discuss the impact that mobile-only users will have upon the outcome in November.

The forum will be presented over lunch, and all are welcome! 

Be sure to Rsvp at to reserve your spot.. HOPE 2 C U THERE!

08CTIA and GeneralEmily on 16 Sep 2008 12:22 pm

The Atlantic recently published a great piece examining technology titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Using a historical perspective, the author critiques how technological inventions have fundamentally shaped our lives, and ponders if their impact transcends mere lifestyle changes to actual biological adaptations in the ways that we think and learn.

Do we shape technology, or does it shape us?

And, are we even aware of the impact as the technology itself becomes embedded into our culture?

For instance, few people critically examine that the minutia of daily life is mapped out by a clock. Before the mathematical concept of time emerged in the 1300′s, people organized their meals and sleep around their own internal schedules. Today it is maddening and almost unthinkable to envision a world without clocks. As we become dependent on new technologies, which other ones have fused with our modern culture?

The mobile device is a modern day invention that, much like invention of the clock, is shaping every facet of our lives.

Our mobile devices are integrating into our lives at an astonishing pace. The future will be shaped by our increasing dependence on mobile. Today’s mobile devices are affordable and highly sophisticated. They are hubs of communication and allow access to the web. Unbeknownst to some, our future lies in mobile – not the PC.

This fact was impressed upon me at CTIA, as I sat through a great presentation by Weather Channel Mobile’s Louis Gump at the Crisp Wireless hosted event. Continue Reading »

Generalchris on 15 Sep 2008 07:43 am

I thought I had seen it all in Washington…

What would be YOUR caption for this photo?

CTIA and Facebook and General and social media and Social NetworkingEmily on 12 Sep 2008 12:27 pm

This morning I attended 2 great keynote speeches here in San Francisco at CTIA. The first one was Jim Balsillie (Co-CEO, Research in Motion), followed by Shantanu Narayen (President and CEO, Adobe).

With regard to RIM’s presentation, BlackBerry is putting its money on real-time use of social technologies. As we know, in the diner, these technologies flourish through wireless. Mr. Balsillie demonstrated this by showing the utility of the new BlackBerry devices and how they can fuse all of your entertainment, music and social networks.

BlackBerry already integrates Flickr and Facebook. In addition to those social spaces, Mr. Balsillie also announced a recent deal with MySpace. This offers a tremendous opportunity for the MySpace community (currently 122 million users) and I expect the results to replicate Facebook’s mobile app success (already 2.5 million downloads in 1 year). On a related note, Mr. Balsillie sited the projected growth of mobile social networking as a staggering 1000%, leaping from 80 to 800 million users.

It will be interesting to see how users implement the constant access to social networks via wireless and how the social networks themselves adapt to their usage.

Disclosure – Blackberry is a client…

General and Policy and Politics and social media and Social Networking and strategychris on 08 Sep 2008 10:14 am

With the U.S. Open Men’s Final all set for tonight, I’m feeling a little nostalgic.

I’m remembering Andre Agassi and those Canon commercials — “Image is Everything” he would proclaim… Andre was so right!

In the district of communications, your image has a lot to do with how successful you are with your policy initiatives. One industry that has suffered from bad perception in the marketplace is the cable industry. However, the cable folks are not following the traditional playbook and trying to hire more lobbyists. They are looking to improve their image engaging bloggers and the citizenry.

In a Communications Daily story today (subscription only), Rob Stoddard (NCTA, Senior VP of communications and public affairs) stated:

“the cable industry needs to do a better job of improving its image with bloggers and customers alike. As we chip away at that image issue, I really believe that all this money we spend on messaging will go further.”

Policy and politics are all about marketing. Accordingly, in times like these, making sure you are a step ahead of the competition is critical. Companies that blend an interactive strategy with their traditional communications will be rewarded in the market and in DC.

General and Mobile TV and Politics and SprintNextelEmily on 05 Sep 2008 09:01 am

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing noted author Nate Wilcox in a video for Mobile Future.  Nate is the co-author of Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists is Changing American Politics.

With the convention season in full swing, Nate’s interview is timely – as he discusses the impact of mobile integration (particularly texting) that has uniquely characterized this 2008 election process.

Nate is currently a senior strategist at the Alexandria, VA based WebStrong Group.  Some highlights of his extensive political career include work with the campaigns of John Kerry and Ann Richards,
and a role as the Online Communications Director for Governor Mark Warner’s Forward Together PAC.

Update – We wanted to give you some additional info on Nate’s Background, for a full bio please click here.

GeneralEmily on 04 Sep 2008 12:56 pm

Tonight Chris has the great opportunity of participating in an American Marketing Association panel discussion at NPR on “Mobile Marketing: Effective Strategies, How-to Implementation.”

The panel, organized by the AMA-DC, will be moderated by mobile marketing veteran Limor Schafman (KeystoneTech).  There, in front of a full house, Chris will address the ways that Non-profits, Associations, and Campaigns are utilizing text messaging and video to augment their marketing.

We wish Chris and the rest of the panel a great event tonight!

General and Politics and social media and YouTubeEmily on 29 Aug 2008 10:39 am

According to a Rasmussen report, Obama now leads McCain by one single point. The race is in a dead heat… Or is it?

Many are trying to find other ways of gauging the election, beyond reliance on traditional polls.

For instance, Tech Crunch recently did an interesting article based on research by Hitwise – comparing the number of people accessing Obama and McCain’s respective websites by state, attempting to infer which candidate is more popular via web hits.

Alternately, there are some (relatively unscientific) methods, such as this Yahoo News Poll, that states that pet owners could be the deciding factor in the election (they apparently revere McCain).

The search for alternate polling methods makes sense considering that traditional polls are completely unrepresentative – utilizing predominantly landlines to survey voters – and leaving out the increasing number of voting age adults with only cell phones. According to PEW Research, 14.5% of American adults (a majority of which are the 18-30 demographic) cannot be reached by land-line. I call this neglected group the Mobile Millennial, and I predict they will come out in droves in November. Continue Reading »

Facebook and General and social mediaEmily on 19 Aug 2008 02:15 pm

Michael Phelps is my hero.

After cheering him on for 8 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, I feel entitled to a little something in return - his friendship on Facebook.  AND yes, we have a mutual Facebook friend, (actually a friend of a friend) so I think I might make the cut…

Unfortunately, I am one of several thousand desiring a brush with Olympic glory, in what Valleywag has termed “Phelpsmania.”

Phelps recently told Bob Costas of NBC that he has over 7,600 pending Facebook requests and will no longer accept new friends.

As of today, Phelps’s fan page has an astounding 1,012,704 members (at least his fan club accepted me!) and is the most popular exempting Barack Obama’s page (with 1.34 million followers). Additionally, there are 465 fan driven discussion boards covering a myriad of topics from Phelps’s ipod music preference to a transcription of an AIM chat with the Olympiad.

We millennials grew up being told that the world was our oyster and we could be anything. For those of us who fall short of Olympic aspirations, connecting with Michael Phelps is a little way of vicariously sharing some of his glory. I know Phelps would probably like to maintain some semblance of a private life and keep the usefulness of his Facebook page. However, that doesn’t bode well for my pending friend request!

In the absence of my own gold medal, I for one refuse to accept defeat. I think I will try to friend Nastia Liukin next.. I’ll keep you posted…

General and PoliticsEmily on 06 Aug 2008 11:13 am

The US Presidential race seems to be in a dead heat. Yesterday, a Rasmussen Poll showed McCain and Obama tied at 44%. I see many people (myself included) disparaged by these figures – how can two very different candidates fail to polarize the election? Will the indecision of 2000 rear its ugly head in the ’08 election?

People are starting to talk about this and Chris recently had a Twitter exchange with Erik Schwartz over at Foneshow on this same topic.

Could these numbers reflect inaccurate projections by antiquated polling methods – rather than real public opinion?

Pollsters do not include cell phone numbers in any random digit dial surveys. According to Pew Research, 14.5% of eligible voters have a cell phone and no land line. These voters are also predominantly young voters – the projected demographic to come out in droves in November. 6.5 million voters under 30 participated in the ’08 primaries and caucuses. Millennials (born between 1980 – 1994) are engaged like never before – but their voice is not being heard.

The inaccuracy of polling, by mobile exclusion, may mean the race is not as close as you might think.

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has reported on the “graying” of land line users. Accordingly, Public Opinion Quarterly reports that 40% of adults under 30 years will use ONLY cell phones by 2009. Land lines are not a way to reach a majority of the public, as they were in past elections.

The youth of America, who are increasingly adopting a mobile only lifestyle, are under-sampled in current polls. Generation Y might be the dark horse that changes the course of the ’08 election and pollsters need to adapt their methodologies.

I’m interested to hear, how do YOU think that cell-only users will effect the outcome in November?

How do YOU think pollsters can remedy this problem without infringing on the rights of cell-users?

GeneralEmily on 01 Aug 2008 10:00 am

I was excited to attend RIM’s “Taste of BlackBerry” event last night at the Hotel Palomar where, besides throwing a great party, they demonstrated cool new applications developed for their BlackBerry devices, including the upcoming BlackBerry Bold. As someone who is always keeping track of my many gadgets, I love learning about new technology that will allow me to pare them down.

Here are some of the highlights from the event:

  • The guys from Unify4Life impressed me with their app that turns your BlackBerry into a universal remote. The program is intuitive and easy to setup, and it allows you to replace 5 remotes with your mobile device! You have to buy a $30 transmitter box for behind your TV, but this cost pales to paying a professional to sync up your entertainment system. On a related note, their application lets you control about anything – from lights to your garage door (this feature is in beta).
  • mobile version allows fans to receive real time updates for a favorite team or fantasy roster. With this program, Nats fans (like me) can get pitch by pitch game coverage and instant batting analysis. In addition to stats, you can get links to watch game highlights right after they happen.
  • The creator of Viigo showed me his free application that allows instant access to your selected topics, such as political coverage, entertainment or blogs. This app is also very user friendly, I could see my mom using it and that says something…

It’s an exciting time in the wireless industry. Watching all of these innovations come to life on the BlackBerry is more evidence that this is tool for the office and at home!

dish disclosure – Research in Motion is a client…

General and mobile diner video and Politics and social mediachris on 28 Jul 2008 02:28 pm

On Friday, I had the pleasure of having coffee in Adams Morgan with Jill Foster. Jill really need no introduction in the world of social media. She is the co-founder of DC Media Makers and her efforts in new media have been highlighted in the Washington Post… However, for folks in the telecomm policy space, Jill actively utilizes wireless to augment her contributions as a “roving” reporter and to make media.

In this interview, we discuss the mobile-social convergence and her upcoming trip to Denver to cover the DNC convention. Jill has access to many events in Denver and she will be utilizing Utterz to capture the action.

Make sure to check out her reports from Denver here

General and Social NetworkingEmily on 23 Jul 2008 03:00 pm

Everyone seems to be trying to benefit from social communities these days, including corporations. Even that little show about a company based in Scranton, The Office, made a spoof of this – seen when Ryan, the greasy exec from corporate, extols the merits of his newly launched Infinity website where customers will buy paper products – and will stay to chat!

According to a Deloitte survey, most company sponsored social communities don’t upkeep their site, then bomb as a result. Most people don’t want to spend more time engaging in work than they have to. There has to be a value, beyond banal conversation, to drive participation.

For instance, female employees and customers may find it difficult to work away from their kids. You could allow these employees to shape a space in the social network to suit their need. Maybe they can find other parents in their neighborhood to start carpools with. Or maybe the feedback from these forums cues an organization in on the need for enhanced childcare. This is a great way to soften your brand – putting a personal feel on an organization, and maybe enhancing customer loyalty at the same time.

There is a misperception that if you build social communities people will automatically engage, and I think that’s where corporate social networks go wrong. That’s what she said.

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