Archive for ‘Holiday’

December 17, 2014

4.5 Social Media and Tech trends to watch for in 2015

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It has been a few years since I’ve done a prediction post, but there’s so much going on in the social media and tech world right now, and I couldn’t resist making a few guesses for the year ahead.

1. Wearables will not live up to expectations

Even though this recent 2,325-word news release suggests that wearable tech is primed for growth, I just don’t see it happening in 2015. Innovators and early adopters may jump on the wearables bandwagon, but I can’t imagine that this new product line will capture the early majority segment of the market.

I’m thinking that these products may fall below expectations because: first, the price point. Google Glass is selling for around $2,000 on Amazon.com, and smart watches range from about $100, but if you want a watch with good two-way connectivity, you’ll be putting out a couple hundred dollars for these watches. I’m not convinced that the average Jane or Joe will opt to fork out another couple hundred bucks for an accessory for their smartphone, which already set them back close to $1,000.

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Wearable technology may not have the anticipated cachet and growth many are predicting for next year.

Second, appearance. Admittedly, I’ve been interested in a smart watch for a little while now. How cool would it be to get alerts, take photos and videos, and even use talk-to-text features to communicate just using your wrist (cue Dick Tracy). The problem is, these watches, are definitely lacking in the style department; they look like the modern version of the calculator watch. Although that look was coveted on the playground, I’m going for a different image in the workplace.

As for Google Glass, Google is trying to give the impression that this technology is for the super fit, attractive, person on the go. I imagine people who will actually drop the 2K are the über techies or large organizations where real-time connectivity will help their employees do their jobs – jobs like police, paramedics, and other first responders, but not your everyday commuter.

2. Continued innovation in the content marketing space

Creative creators will keep on creating, and I love content marketing. My absolute favourite example of content marketing is Lowes’ Fix in Six campaign on Vine. Besides the recent Black Friday deals listed on the channel, the vast majority of the content is quick little tips for easy home improvements. This is THE example I use to demonstrate what content marketing looks like in my Social Media Management course.

American Express’s Open Forum is a good example of a more traditional approach to providing your customers value through content marketing rather than a sales pitch. The forum is packed full of ideas, tips, how-tos, white papers, trending topics, etc. designed to help business owners on the marketing and sales side of their business, which isn’t a strong suit for many small and medium-sized business owners.

Want more great examples of content marketing from 2014? Here’s 30 more from Exacttarget/Salesforce.

3. Music industry fails to embrace new distribution methods and continues to whine about profits

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Talyor Swift (left) and Lars Ulrich (right) follow in the footsteps of John Philip Sousa (centre) in their opposition to new ways to record and distribute music.

Spurred by the recent comments of wealthy pop singer Taylor Swift (I’ll get to more specific details on this in a minute), it seems like the music and technology worlds are clashing once again. This battle seems to have been taking place in perpetuity for the last hundred, or so, years. In 1906, John Phillip Sousa, legendary American composer and marching band leader, published an essay entitled “The Menace of Mechanical Music.” In this essay, Sousa warns that recorded music, as opposed to live performances of music, removes the human skill, intelligence, and soul required to create “American musical art.” He continues with a colourful metaphor to describe how the recording of music will destroy American values and eventually concludes with a discussion on the latest copyright bill introduced by Congress. Within a few years of this publication, however, Sousa himself became a prolific recorder of music on his own turning the new technology into a new revenue stream – naturally you can find his works on iTunes if you are interested.

Almost 100 years later, the same battle was still raging when Metallica’s Lars Ulrich  sued a couple of young entrepreneurs to shut down their digital music sharing service, Napster, because he didn’t like that the service allowed for the trading of music among music fans. I suppose Lars forgot that Metallica built a loyal, world-wide following with the help from the (illegal) underground tape-trading network in the Metal scene of the 1980s. He was cool with music sharing when he needed the exposure to grow his band, but called in the lawyers when he thought this new business model was a threat to his royalties.

Now, 15 years after that, Taylor Swift seems to be offended by the current shift in the music distribution model, and she has Spotify squarely in her cross-hairs. Taylor’s people are saying that she’s only received a half-a-million dollars from Spotify, where as Spotify is saying that she’s on pace for a $6 million pay cheque this year. As a result, she decided to remove her entire back catalog from Spotify, forcing her fans to buy her new pop record instead of streaming it for free. This current musician vs technology debate doesn’t seem to be going away because Taylor keeps bringing it up every chance she can get… at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards,  American Music Awards, and through news releases and PR efforts.

In each of these examples, the musicians have taken a combative approach to the new technology with an interest to protect their profits veiled as an interest to protect the music from the vile people who want to share it in a way that doesn’t fit into the existing business model. My gut tells me that we haven’t heard the last from Taylor Swift on this issue, and if history serves as a guide, this won’t be the last time a hugely successful artist challenges new technology for a bigger part of the pie.

4. Increased tech invading the education space

The battle is brewing in this arena. I spent two days this month at an international conference hosted here in Ottawa called EdTech Summit 2014. This inaugural event featured keynotes and panel discussions with textbook publishers, silicon valley hardware/software giants, and students and representatives from a broad range of North American colleges and universities.

It was clear that two different views of education were in the room. One side saw education as another potential market for their product offering. For these folks, colleges and universities were the customers of their enterprise-level “solution” – be it course content, email provision, or software productivity tools. On the other side of the room, educators were looking towards technology as a way to achieve learning outcomes, improve student retention, and make use of the advantages current technology provides. It will be interesting to see whose “view of education” will dominate.

In the months and years to come I envision that we will see more collaboration between these for-profit businesses and our not-for-profit education sector. Mobile devices and eTexts will continue to proliferate in the classroom. The real story in all of this will not be the existence of new education technology – that’s a given. Instead, the success of this technology will depend on how curious professors, instructors, and teachers adapt it to serve the needs of their students. I’ll be looking to share case studies of this nature in 2015.

4.5 More social media meltdowns

MichaelJacksonThis one only gets half a point because it’s just inevitable; this prediction is as difficult as saying that there will be hockey in Canada this winter. The reason I included it is, yes they are entertaining, but even more so they are great reminders of the power of social media and the importance of managing your online reputation. Whether it’s something on the global scale of the Justine Sacco saga that caught the world’s attention at around the turn of 2014, or something as benign as a football player’s Twitter account being hacked and a few funny tweets sent out on his behalf, it will happen again in 2015. I’ll be waiting with popcorn in hand.

What do you think? Did I miss something that you see happening in 2015? Am I totally off with some of these?predictions? Let me know, sound off in the comments section below.

November 21, 2012

The social side of Black Friday: Where will you be checking-in? [Infographic]

It’s almost upon us again. That’s right, Black Friday. When our American friends line up for some great holiday deals on the day following turkey and football day. And it’s a big deal. Some wait in line all night for the stores to open to get one-day-deals of around 60%-80% off, even on big ticket items.

If it’s a big deal in real life, it’s a big deal online. Just take a look at the #BlackFriday hashtag. It is filled with tweets of excitement and plenty of businesses trying to get the word out about their great deals. And the tweets keep mounting up. When I took the screenshot below from hashtags.org on November 21, 2012, it clearly showed the sheer amount of Black Friday related tweets going through the roof.

Twitter will be a great source of information this weekend, but the one social network I’m most interested in for Black Friday is Foursquare. Will a Black Friday badge be available? Who will be the most popular retailers? Who’s offering discounts and sales to people who check-in at their store? I couldn’t find many answers online, or through my own Foursquare app (perhaps because I’m in Canada). To be quite honest, the lack of Foursquare specials in my city has led me to stray away from that social network altogether.

But Foursquare has been very popular in the past. Check out the infographic below released by Foursquare that outlines last year’s activity on the network. It shows that Black Friday is the day that sees the greatest number of check-ins at retail outlets. It also suggests that people start arriving at their shopping destinations around midnight of the day before to either stake out their spot in line or to participate in Black Friday Midnight Madness events.

I would like to ask my American readers if they can add some first-person accounts from the Black Friday social media front. Will you be looking for deals using apps or social media sites? Is Foursquare part of your game plan? What hashtags do you find the most value in? If you are a business owner or retailer, will you be offering any incentives to your social media audience? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 3, 2012

Talknowledgy Podcast #105: Hurricane Sandy, Movember, Uncle Drew, Star Wars goes Disney, social gaming, and more

Plenty to chat about in the world of news this week. We kick off the show by discussing the social media and tech implications of  Hurricane Sandy, the most popular Halloween candy on social media, and the launch of Movember.

In our “Creepy of Awesome?!” section we look at a new Facebook rumor – Users may be able to place classified ads to display to their friends on the social media giant. The main difference between this new feature, and the existing marketplace function, is you now have to pay to have your ad seen.

Our “YouTube Hero” this week is Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving. He reprises his role as Uncle Drew in a Pepsi Max commercial posted to YouTube this past Tuesday. The first video he did, posted May 2012, received 16 million views. Adding to the interest, Irving himself, wrote and directed both commercials.

Uncle Drew: Episode 2

And we couldn’t go a full show without touching on the US Presidential Election, so here’s our Bonus YouTube Hero this week, courtesy of The Simpsons:

Our “Hashtag Fail of the Week” is near and dear to Phil’s heart. Disney announces a new Star Wars trilogy. What do you think super-nerd Phil has to say about that? Tune in to find out!

If you liked the show, feel free to subscribe to this blog or our RSS feed to make sure you’re always up-to-date with Talknowledgy.

June 14, 2012

Father’s Day and your Digital Dad

When I was a boy (way back in the 1900s), Father’s Day and Mother’s Day were easy. You got together with family, ate a lot of food, and gave mom and dad cards and gifts. Simple, easy, done. But earlier this week, I started thinking about all the other bases I have to cover because my dad is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and of course email. I figured that this now means a wall post, tweet, G+ hangout, and possibly a lame animated eCard. But after a little bit of my daily internet rummaging, I realized that the wonderful world wide web has a lot to offer if you’re looking online for Father’s Day ideas…Here’s what I found:

Social Coupons. Groupon, and other community buying services, are tailoring their offers this week for dad. You can get a great deal for dad on: 5-hour competition BBQ cooking classes, exotic car racing laps at race tracks, $150 worth of golf equipment, photo mugs,  6-hour charter salmon fishing trip, etc.

As a mild warning, I bought a Groupon from FTD florists this past Mother’s Day and was seriously disappointed. The flowers never showed up. So I tweeted about  the issue, and within 24 hours I was refunded in full and a great bouquet arrived for my mother. Good customer service from FTD and Groupon to make this right.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas. Sure, there are plenty of retailers and other websites offering their ideas for dad, but my favourite has to be the 10 Best Father’s Day Gifts for Geeky Dads from @Mashable. Here you’ll find binary code t-shirts, lego tie clips, Moleskine notebook shell cases, and more.

iPhone Apps. Appadvice.com curated a list of iPhone apps dad might like. With offerings of primarily sports games and reading apps, this list left me scratching my head a bit; perhaps it is designed for the teen-dad in your family.

Google Doodle. Google has showcased a Father’s Day Google Doodle (log0) every year for over a decade, so watch for a new one this Sunday. I anticipate they will use the one below originally posted March 19, 2012 when Father’s Day is celebrated in some European and Central American countries.

And, of course, if you were out late on Saturday night and you’re due at the pulpit in 15 minutes but forgot your sermon at the pub, don’t worry: pull out your smart phone and check out these Father’s Day sermons from preaching.com.

Hope everyone has a great Father’s Day full of red meat, relaxation, and good beer!

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