If have 3 different guesses as to why you are at this blog:
You know about my upcoming year long project.
You know me and managed to stumble upon my blog from a link at a different social media outlet like my Twitter account or Face.
You DON’T know me and somehow found this blogs on the series of tubes that some people like to call the Internet.
In any case, I welcome you to my (oh, if you don’t know me, my name is Zack Zaban) blog regarding my senior honors thesis project. Currently, I am a senior in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin- Madison (UW-SJMC for short). To graduate with “Honors in the Major” I need to complete a comprehensive thesis that encompasses two semesters worth of research and writing.
Right now, I’m in the early stage (we’re talking “zygote”) of research. I’m trying to figure out what I want to research. I know of two components so far: health communication and internet communication. Besides that, nothing is set in stone and I need to browse through many scholarly articles.
Luckily, I just received my How To Write A BA Thesis book in the mail, so I have a better understanding of what I actually need to accomplish.
It’s the day before classes at UW-Madison and the weather outside is pretty crappy. Thus, I’m currently watching the Apple Live webcast while sitting in my sweatpants.
Let’s be honest: if the weather was amazing outside, I would still be glazed in front of my computer screen, listening to the recent innovations from Stevie and and the rest of the crew at Apple.
Screenshot of the September Apple Keynote (image via TechCrunch)
Nothing too mindshattering with the changes about the iPod nano, iPod touch, iPod shuffle. AppleTV doesn’t apply to me. The biggest innovation, in my opinion, from today’s event was the announcement of Ping: Apple’s new music social networking platform.
Ping’s features and functionality parallel that of Twitter:
“Social music discovery” <-> Discovering posts on Twitter
“Follow and be followed” <-> Basis of Twitter
“Circle of Friends” <-> Like a Twitter List
“Post your thoughts and opinions” <-> Core of Twitter (duh)
“160 million iTunes users” <-> 100 million Twitter users as of April 2010
Do I think that Ping will act as a competitive force against Twitter? The answer is no. Apple’s new social media platform is focused on the subject of music, whereas Twitter has no agenda or overarching subject/topic. They are simply two different systems of communication.
However, I am making one simple hypothesis about Ping: Ping’s reach to a mass audience will help the general public understand what exactly Twitter is, how it functions in society, and how any person can use Twitter in his/her day-to-day life.
Let’s face it: you might understand what Twitter is, but your roommate or girlfriend may have no idea what the hell you mean when you say ” I just RTed the NYTimes” or “I follow the #wisconsin hashtag.” Twitter has a strong following, but the general person (“the general”)living in a developed country, in my opinion, does not understand how to use Twitter.
Back to Ping. I see Ping as a force that will help “the general” understand the nature of Twitter, using music as the vehicle that will drive the understanding. People know what music is and enjoy it. They like to talk about music. Music is used as an expression of their personality, feelings, and overall being. Apple essentially created a network that focuses on the love of music… a shared love/interest of one subject.
Twitter is like the wiser, more educated uncle of Ping. Instead of sharing the love of one subject, Twitter isn’t limited to an agenda. You can talk about music on Twitter, but you can also share information and stories about subjects ranging from cupcakes (like @flirtycupcakes, a Chicago-based cupcake bakery) to Jewish summer camps (shameless plug for @herzlcamp)… and everything in-between. This is where “the general” does not understand Twitter: without a defined binding force like music for Ping, “the general” overlooks the benefit of connecting on Twitter.
So, if you have one idea that you should take away from this post, it’s this:
Ping and Twitter share the same communication values. However, Ping provides a specific topic of conversation whereas Twitter has an open-ended dialogue. People who do not understand Twitter are lost in comprehending the open-ended dialogue, but Ping’s use of music as an overarching talking piece will help these individuals understand the power of Twitter.
So, now it’s your turn:
What are your initial reactions to Ping? A stupid idea or something interesting?
Do you think Ping will hurt or help Twitter?
Should I stop thinking about social media and pack my books for my last first-day of class?
My brother just received his Droid Incredible in the mail. My mother just ordered the same phone on a shopping whim yesterday. I’m deprived of a smartphone for the time being.
Although I don’t own a smartphone, I am quite fond of some of the buzz-campaigns that cell phone carriers are rolling out to promote their new products. Yes, some newsworthy events (cough cough… Gizmodo “finding” the iPhone 4 at a bar) make their way into mainstream news outlets like the New York Times. But what about campaigns that do not necessarily make their way into newspapers and cable news networks.
An Image of the DroidLanding Twitter Page
Enter the “DroidLanding” scavenger hunt…facilitated on one medium: Twitter.
Verizon Wireless essentially played a game of hide and go-seek with customers across the nation. The company placed 21 Droid X phones in different locations across the U.S. prior to the phone’s launch date of July 15th.
RVINE, Calif., July 13 /PRNewswire/ — Find the DROID X and it’s yours. That’s just what Todd Leykamp of North Hollywood did this Monday. Leykamp participated in Verizon Wireless’ nationwide scavenger hunt [and] got his hands on the company’s latest Android phone, the DROID X by Motorola, which is not available for purchase until this Thursday. The hunt was announced and executed on the company’s Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/droidlanding, which currently has over 22,000 followers. GPS coordinates were provided at 1:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon and participants inserted these coordinates into Google Maps to lead them to the DROID X’s destination - the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, CA. Los Angeleswinner Todd Leykamp found the DROID X in 56 minutes!
Verizon, in my opinion, did a great job of targeting the early adopters of the new Android-based phone. The company captured an audience that new about the phone and its features, understood how to use Twitter as a news and information source, and, finally, move from an online social media space into the physical world.
The company took the campaign a step further than using one online outlet. Verizon taped DroidX searchers and interviewed them before uploading this footage to YouTube. Not only do the videos show the actual scavenger hunt, but they also reveal the reasons, such as new phone features, that drove Twitter followers to hunt for a phone.
What’s interesting about this campaign is that Verizon made use of two different social media outlets without promotion in mass media outlets. Additionally, the company integrated both outlets- Tweets about the YouTube videos and YouTube videos mentioning the Tweets. Unlike some companies that occasionally use Twitter and then let their stream die out, Verizon Wireless continued the life of the account after the hunt was over. Finally, the company produced a force of synergy between creative and media- the Tweets had a distinct “Droid” brand and voice while the actual placement provided an Out of Home experience.
The one point of criticism I have is that Verizon did not weave in its new brand, “Rule the Air”, into this promotional event. With such a brand in its infant stage (less than a few months old), I feel that sending an image separate from “Rule the Air” would diminish the power of the new brand. But I’m just a college student, so what do I actually know? Overall, I think Verizon made their mark in a positive fashion with avid Twitter users.
Now if only Apple could produce a similar campaign… hmmmm. I guess there’s not a large budget after providing free bumpers for all iPhone 4 customers.