Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mobile Vuvuzela

Earlier this year Nielsen predicted that by the end of 2011 there will be more smartphones than non-smartphones. Watch out, mobile hardware manufacturers, software vendors and carriers are about to create what I title a Mobile Vuvuzela.

Read On:
We are currently experiencing a mobile revolution. Numerous factors are driving the revolution – faster mobile Internet speeds, improved browsing, a highly competitive market, etc. Two that pique my interest are apps and social media. Both will contribute to what I title Mobile Vuvuzela. Let me share some facts:

Apple surpassed their 10 billionth download in February and now has over 425,000 apps. Google’s Android has over 200,000 apps. At a touch of an app, we can check out whatever we want in a nanosecond – the weather, our personal checking account, a restaurant review, sports trivia, a recipe for Saturday’s dinner party. Does the local Target have any Waterford Crystal in stock to buy for a friend’s wedding in two weeks? Don’t forget to tap the Zappos app to shop for a new pair of shoes for the wedding.

Why stop? You are on a roll. Check your updates on Facebook. It is estimated that 200 million of the 750 million plus people on Facebook access via their smartphone. How about Twitter? It is estimated that approximately half of the people tweeting do it from their smartphone. So tweet a friend to hookup at your favorite local Tapas bar tonight for dinner since you know that when you get there, check-in on Foursquare, you will become the restaurant’s Mayor and receive a free pitcher of sangria. Timeout, you might as well check out your LinkedIn updates before you go to the bathroom, then jump into the shower and get ready for work. I think this would be a good time to throw in a bathroom stat. According to a recent AIS Media survey, 27% of Americans report using mobile devices to check Facebook while in the bathroom. Maybe you decided to pass on Facebook, read the latest issue of Wired and used your phone to scan the QR code on the Ford ad.

Post shower, your friend tweets you back: k dinner great @ 7, movie 2? That is when the confusion sets in. There are two multiplex theaters and one art film house, a total of twenty-four film choices within proximity of the restaurant. What is a good movie to see? Should you read films reviews, check out your friends' likes on Facebook, tweet a friend, etc. Stop: Marvin Gaye’s "What’s Going On" your customize ringtone fills the airwaves.

Welcome to the world of Mobile Vuvuzela.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

FB Alternatives – Social Curation


I am not surprised by the number of articles now surfacing detailing social media fatigue. A recent global survey conducted by Gartner revealed that 24% of the respondents now use their preferred social media sites less. Opinion: Too much noise. Solution: Curation!

Read On:

Twitter recently announced that they host 200 million tweets a day. There are more than 750 million active Facebook users – 50% usually log on in any given day. Nielsen BlogPulse reported earlier in the year that there are over 156 million public blogs. Bottomline: Social content is growing exponentially as I write this post. Social media leader, Steve Rubel, EVP at Edelman believes we are beginning to witness a shift in web dynamics. We are now entering the Validation Era which is all about acquiring appropriate content or interactions. Consequently we need content curators, people or tools to filter and aggregate content which personally resonates for us.

One social curation tool which is receiving all the buzz lately is Google+ Circles launched at the end of June with a limited, invitation-only beta. You can organize your real-life social connections to share or follow relevant content, everything from family chitchat to favorite wines. Will Google+ give Facebook a run for its money? Time will tell. Articles are already surfacing that early Google+ adapters are ditching Facebook. Experian conducted a study that indicated the fastest growing demographic on the network are “Kids and Cabernet” – affluent people living in suburbia with children. They account for 29% of all visits to Google+, a relatively small number, but this same group only accounts for 0.7% of all Facebook visits. However, I predict Google+ will soon get too big and become a social media platform comparable to Facebook. Consequently some people will seek out smaller, more specialized social curation networks. Here are three tools I recommend that facilitate social curation:
  • – Helps organize content to read like a newspaper shared with followers on a daily basis.
  • BagTheWeb – You create a virtual bag to collect, publish and share content on a specific topic. In the process you create a network of bags.
  • Pearltrees – A social curation community where you build a network solely on things you like, known as pearls, with other people. This site also helps organize, share and discover what you have already curated on Facebook and Twitter.
Welcome to the Validation Era. Are you already on information over load reading this post?

Monday, August 1, 2011

People Commerce

We are experiencing a mobile revolution. Nielsen now projects that half the mobile universe will own a smartphone by the end of the year. One implication: sellers will be able to connect with buyers that have an ephemeral need. Welcome to the new world of “people commerce.”

Read On:
I am certain that most of you reading this post have experienced eBay or Craigslist, two services that created a marketplace for buyers and sellers. The difference with “people commerce” is that it’s mobile, location based and all about real time availability. People connect regarding goods and services that normally do not have a marketplace because they are valued differently. A good example is parking. Earlier in the year, two San Franciscans introduced Park Circa. Owners register their parking space, availability and asking price. Buyers who are driving into San Francisco can use their smartphones to locate a space that meet their immediate needs. Travel is going to be a natural for “people commerce”. Airbnb, 9flats Roomarama, etc. are relatively new companies that connect people who are willing to rent a spare room or even a tree house to adventurous travelers on the move who are looking to save a few dollars plus gain insight on how local residents live. One company that has been receiving a lot of ink is Zaarly which was launched at SXSW in Austin in May. Partly funded by Ashton Kutcher, the app enables buyers to enter their need which Zaarly broadcasts via Twitter to line up potential sellers. Buyers can then connect and negotiate with sellers via an anonymous party-line or a face to face rendezvous. So think about it, when iPad 3 is finally introduced, what would you be willing to pay a seller who has been camping out for days at the Apple Store for his or her space?

Oh by the way, I understand the heat wave is going to continue here in Philadelphia this week. I am looking for a backyard with a pool and a Weber cooker for a two day rental.