March 14, 2012
Posted by cdavis
The 30-minute documentary, Kony 2012, hit 100MM views in 6 days, making it the most successful viral video in history. This post isn’t about the content or politics surrounding the video, but the format and what social media marketers can learn from it. Here are the top 5 lessons:
Break the Rules – Industry standards say that users have an attention span of about 2 minutes max when it comes to watching online video. Over 30% of people who watched the video watched the full 30 minutes, blowing the whole 2 minute rule right out of the water.
Simplify your Message – Have a clear call to action for users to take. At the end of the video, users were directed to share it with others. Looks like quite a few of them did.
Follow the Formula – I blogged earlier this week about the 6 Secrets of Viral Videos and what do you know, this video used nearly all of them. Although you can never guarantee a viral hit, there are proven tactics like music, surprise, cuteness, humor and celebrity.
Set Expectations – By minute 2, the video explains how long the video is, what you’re going to learn and, most importantly, what action they want you to take at the end.
Be Prepared – The traffic from the video crashed the Kony2012 site almost immediately, diminishing the amount of action users could take when they were most inspired. Although it’s hard to prepare for 100MM views in 6 days, it’s always good to talk through the “what ifs.”
What do you think about Kony 2012? Do you think anything else contributed to the video’s success that should be added to this list?
Despite the fact that I draw on a weekly basis, I went to the Shut Up & Draw: A Non-Artist Way to Think Visually panel on Monday, and wanted to share some of the main points of this inspirational and informative talk. The panelists, Sunni Brown, Jessica Hagy, and Dan Roam, are all heavy-weights on visual note-taking, and have books to help educate about the subject on their respective sites/channels. I highly encourage you to check out their work by clicking on their names above.
In the panel, these three offered some excellent points on the power of using visuals to communicate complex business ideas, since visual note-taking is a fast way of recording important information for easy access later. Here are some of my thoughts, but I’ll leave room for the 4 pages of sketchnotes below to do most of the talking:
1. Visual notetaking is for everyone. Jot down the important information, doodle some pictures that correspond to what you’re hearing, and most importantly – have fun!
2. Our brain power for visual recognition is high (65%+), so visual ideas have the ability to spread far quickly and retain the basic concepts for easy re-consumption later.
3. Lastly, check out the diagram on the 4th page below titled Visual Grammar. It’s a great tool that Dan walked the audience through – a crash-course on how to visually break down ideas using the analogy of sentence structure.
My head hurts. SXSW interactive is over I don’t want to hear about code or clouds or location based blah blah blah for at least the next 5 days. Bring on the music. Being in a band seems glorious right. You haul a ton of stuff around get some free drink tickets for 2 PBRs. Set up all of your stuff as fast as possible. PLAY (this is the good part). Then get everything off as fast as possible so the next band can play. Then some girl says, (while you’re trying to get gear off stage) “That was really great. What are your influences?” Then you say “I listen to a lot of dub”. Then she walks off. Your an old bald married dude with a bad back so who cares right? Deep down you’re wondering…did she think I meant dubstep? Then you remember you still have to load the van.
^^^^^^^^^^Nate’s bloody bass.
March 14, 2012
Posted by Curiosity
I’m a bit of a blog failure this SXSW, but it isn’t just because my computer is so heavy and walking around with it for hours is the worst (although it is also that). I’m dealing with something I’m going to call a Top Chef Conundrum. You know on Top Chef when the chefs crumble because they can literally do anything? That’s where I am.
I’ve been to lots of really great panels (and, to be fair, some really bad ones) and seen some really great films and comedy so far, but I can’t quite narrow down on what to relay to you, dear Surrogate Reader. Do I talk about how social TV is really helping Top Chef engage their viewers? Do I get a little meta and talk about the composition of what makes part of this conference good instead of the actual content involved? Do I talk about how big the festival has gotten in the past five years and question its ability to contain it?
I can do any of those things. And I likely will, at some point. When the festival winds down, stay tuned for a full retrospective from me covering all 10 days of madness. For now, here are three things I’ve learned in the past five days:
1) Have a back-up plan to your back-up plan.
I don’t know what it was about this year, but getting to things was a comedy of errors of sorts. Everything always seemed to go wrong to inhibit me from getting where I was going. I missed panels I really wanted to see and I saw panels that I didn’t really want to. I still caught lots of great things, but not without a bit of stress.
2) Jimmy Fallon is the perfect panel moderator.
I caught the Digital Sport panel put on by Nike+ that Jimmy moderated and it was great. He was interested enough in the content to keep the conversation moving in a fun, engaging way, but not so much that he bogarted the panel. It was a lot of fun.
3) Don’t just put your show online.
I think we all could’ve filled in the blanks on that one, but both Top Chef and No Reservations have seen really great success in not only views but actual fan engagement online, all because they produced content specifically for the web experience.
That’s all for now. Head over here to follow my tweets through SXSW Music, and I’ll see you on the other side.
As the target audience for Pinterest I was thrilled to see the founder, Ben Silbermann speak at SXSWi. I thought I would share what I am calling the Fabulous 4’s: 4 upcoming enhancements on Pinterest, Ben Silbermann’s 4 Favorite things, and 4 Fun Facts about the history of Pinterest.
4 Upcoming Pinterest Enhancements
1. Re-Designing and enhancing profile page to be more of a snapshot of who you are (launching within weeks)
2. Making it easier to connect with others with common interests (not just your twitter followers and Facebook friends)
3. Expanding the number and type of things you can pin (video, sound bites, etc)
4. Platform expansion for iPad, Android, iPhone, etc.
4 of the Founder’s Favorite Things (on the web):
1. Kick Starter: KickStarter: A New Way to Fund & Follow Creativity
2. Duo Lingo: learn a new language for free Duo Lingo
3. Instagram: Instagram (iPhone app for photo sharing)
4. Fit Bit: Fit Bit (tracking of your everyday steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, and more, motivating you throughout the day)
4 Fun Facts About Pinterest:
Fact 1: Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest started at Google. Originally a collector of stamps and other collections, wanted an online outlet.
Fact 2: Ben Silbermann, started Pinterest by emailing his idea to 200 of his friends and 100 of his friends opened the email. First few months only had 9,000-10,000 users.
Fact 3: Up until mid-2011 Pinterest only had 5 employees working out of an apartment. Now Pinterest has 20 employees, 10 were hired in the last 4 months.
Fact 4: Goal of Pinterest is to help others discover things that they didn’t know they wanted (things that are hand-picked just for you), your boards should be collections of things in the online space that you can be proud of.
Thanks Pinterest for giving me inspiration in fashion, food, travel and so much more. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
After a full day of listening to inspiring speakers atSXSW, I started walking back home. With every step I took, the strap of my bag cut deeper into my shoulder.
It was painful. But it was a good pain, because it reminded me that I left SXSW with more than I came in with.
Like a greedy squirrel preparing for a long and arduous hibernation, I readily accepted anything handed my way wandering around SXSW. A poncho for the rain. Sunblock for the sun. Numerous t-shirts, none of them my size. A scarf, even though I live in Austin (a city known for its numerous 100 plus degree days).
Now you may ask, how did I get so much swag? Here’s a guide so that you can efficiently gather the most swag in the least amount of time possible.
Know what you’re looking for.
Givers-of-swag come in two forms: good-looking people, and costumed character mascots. If that very attractive person is giving you a smile, odds are they’re not looking for a romantic evening at Uchi…they’re looking to give you something, and it’s swag. On the flip side, if you have a fear of mascots, learn to overcome it. Take a picture with them. Offer them a drink of water. There’s a human underneath that soft and cuddly exterior. You’ll be walking away with pallets of swag in no time.
Be in peak physical condition.
Yes, that’s what all those months in the gym are for. When a man dressed as an owl is tossing scarves off the top of a moving bus, and you have to out-jump a mom with a stroller for a scarf, you’ll find out what you’re made of. (in my defense, she already had a scarf). I highly recommend box jumps and light cardio. You’ll also want to do some deadlifts, so that you’ll have the strength to carry your prizes home. Always think positive.
Bring an iPhone with plenty of space.
I learned this the hard way. There’s a price on free swag, and these companies aren’t content with just simple flattery. You’ll have to be willing to tweet, check-in, or download their newest and greatest app. Learn from my mistakes; I brought a Blackberry Bold with limited space. I would literally get laughed at by the givers-of-swag as they waited for my prehistoric phone to download their software. At times, a few of them would even feel sorry for me and just hand me the swag so that I’d go away. Minutes later with swag in hand, I would delete their app, clearing room for more apps. Next year, it’s all iPhone for me.
Look to get the free stuff later in the week.
The final days of SXSW? That’s when the givers-of-swag are looking to get rid of their stuff. They don’t want to ship back multiple boxes of swag on their company’s dime. The 500 scarves they’ve been squirreling away for important clients? At the end of day 5, those scarves are yours, because today’s baggage fees are absolutely ridiculous.
Follow these key points and you should walk away with enough to furnish a small studio apartment. Good luck out there!
March 14, 2012
Posted by Chad Wise
I decided to head over to the video game convention as my inner child was screaming after seeing all of the posts by my colleagues all day. When I first walked in, I was immediately drawn to the back of the room and followed the loud cheers. To my delight, there was a video game deathmatch for Starcraft II being played out right before my eyes (photo below).
First thing to note, the two contestants (TTeSports’ White-Ra and Millenium’s Stephano) were aggressively sitting at there respective computer stations in front of a large seated audience playing for money. The game was being shown on a large screen behind them with two play by play announcers in the middle calling the action. That’s right, two play by play announcers. When something big would happened the crowd would go nuts and the announcers would act like it was the second coming of the “thrilla in manilla”. I was hooked for a solid hour watching this spectacle.
After growing bored, I decided to take my new adrenaline rush and confidence over to the stations set-up featuring a new game with 100 other people playing each other online. I was confident I would summon my teenage skills and it would be just like riding a bike again. I was very, very wrong. After registering 2 kills and 30 deaths I decided that first person shooters just weren’t my thing.
Feeling down, I headed for the exit but a hunting game catches my eye with a modern day version of duck hunt. I go head to head against a worthy opponent and come out on top registering 50 – 10 ducks (Take that my 10 year old foe!). It’s good to know that I haven’t lost a step. Now where are Mario and Sonic?
Assembling in the aircraft-hangar-like Exhibit Hall 5 for a conversation between Silicon Vallery wonder child Sean Parker (Napster, Plaxo, Facebook, Justin Timberlake) and ex-Vice President on the United States Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth, Apple board of directors, running the free world), you could be forgiven for wondering just what direction the talk would take.
Parker, known for his technological vision and infamous party lifestyle and Gore, still trying to shake off the memories of that most famous runs for the presidency (or as Parker would put it at the end of the discussion “that time you won the presidency”), on paper seem to be the perfect example of an odd couple to throw up on stage. But Gore, now known almost as well for his climate activism, forceful calls for democratic reform and moderating liberal voice in the business world shares many common goals with Parker, the founder of Causes, a web-based platform for mobilizing fund raising for political and charitable non-profit causes such as Votizen and Nation Builder.
Unsurprisingly considering these shared goals, the conversation centered on democracy, the internet and how the two are becoming intertwined in order to mobilize and inform voters and slowly wrest power away from special interest groups and corporations and back into the hands of ordinary voters. A tall order for sure, but one that was torn-into with much gusto by two very different personalities.
Gore, ever the consummate career politician came across as charming, self effacing, intelligent and unsurprisingly unafraid to push his climate and political agendas. Parker on the other hand, who has garnered a reputation as a ruthless playboy, shocked at least this attendee with his thoughtful viewpoints, searing intellect and modest, slight discomfort in the spotlight.
(Photo by coalcamplese on Flickr.)
Without wishing to document an entire hour long conversation in full, here are some of the key takeaways from what was a fascinating discussion:
Gore: The Internet is to culture today what Gutenburg’s printing press was to 15th century culture; a vital, new medium to democratize the spread of information and to provide a path for the masses to actually contribute to political and social discourse, something that has been lost in the latter half of the 20th century in our embrace of television as our dominant communication medium. A form of media with enormously high financial barriers to entry.
Parker: Political activism tends to mimic vitality online in terms of patterns and social graphs, but ironically this hasn’t traditionally translated to the online world. The challenge is helping political structures activate their communities by using online platforms in an efficient and coordinated way.
Gore: We need an ”Occupy Democracy” movement. An effort to reclaim the democratic process for individual citizens by lessening the influence of lobbying groups, corporations and special interests.
Parker: Incumbents within the existing system have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. We have a real opportunity to embrace technology and form active political communities online whilst those embedded in the system ”spin their wheels” is beyond doubt. We have to be savvy and nimble to use our technological headstart to meaningfully begin this process before the institutions get wise and use the same techniques to protect the current system.
Gore: The trend in politics is that the amount of money has gone up while the quality of discourse has gone down. $10m was spent on campaigning in 1960 versus $10b in 2010. TV watching goes up minute by minute every year, often while using the Internet at the same time. We need a new way of putting an end to the obscene campaign spending and getting the political messaging to the masses.
Parker: A two-step plan for changing the status quo; Part one is information. We need a well informed populace by providing easily accessible and digestible political information sources online. Part two is to do what those of us in the technology and creative sectors do best and to build (better & better) systems to aggregate power and elect the right people.
Overall, it was a classic piece of SXSWi. Stepping outside your industry bubble to listen great minds debate a subject as fascinating as it is vital.
Today I saw 3D printing in action for the first time at the GE Garage set up at 4th and Guadalupe.
They were giving a demo of the MakerBot Replicator which is a small home model of 3D printer.
While we were there they were creating/printing a gear for a robot which will take 2 hours to print.
Here’s some other stuff the created by the MakerBot.
The GE Garage was really cool and worth checking out. The people working there were real helpful and nice. I also learned that permanent GE Garages exist in San Francisco and Brooklyn where you pay a monthly fee to use their 3D printers and other cool equipment. Ideas can be taken from design to prototype in a few hours. So keep your eyes and ears open because they plan to open a GE Garage right here in Austin by the end of the year!