Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Creating a Sustainable Social Media Marketing Campaign

To conclude my analysis of Ford’s Fiesta social media marketing campaign, I sought out the opinions of several social media marketing experts – to have them weigh in on the Fiesta Movement, but also the broader idea of making a social media marketing campaign sustainable over a long period of time (6-12 months).

The below response is provided by Moosylvania’s CMO Rodney Mason. Saint Louis based Mooslyvania specializes in digital branding and promotion. Rodney is a social media expert, and has authored several white papers, namely “The 7 Trust Builders of Gen Y” and “The Nine Step Guide to Social Networking.”

“Social media campaigns are like the produce section of the grocery store, the content is perishable and people’s tastes change often. Sometimes they buy oranges and grapes, other times they switch to strawberries and bananas. They consume social media campaigns in the same way.

If your Social Media campaign has a strategy that provides depth of content, variety of selection, and regularly updates the stock, throwing out the expired, it can run to perpetuity.

Need proof, look to the movie studios with many of their prelaunch campaigns running six months or more with some over a year. Barack Obama’s campaign did the same.

How about a car? The Ford Fiesta Movement has breadth of content and variety through its small army of connected Agents.

How engaging and appealing they are to the Gen Y audience over time remains to be seen. But many of them have thousands of visits to their content. If they are truly going for staying power, they will regularly introduce new, compelling reasons for visiting.

Burger King’s approach to Social Media, whether it’s derived from a macro strategy or not, is to regularly bring out fresh new messages around different products. This has worked for them. They’ve built credibility in the space and continue to grow their audience which anticipates their next move.

The Skittles social media campaign that drove hype for about a week, was missing sticky content or a long term strategy. There’s nothing wrong with flashy launches, but if your goal is to be relevant for more than a week, you have to build a sound strategy – that includes regular touches with compelling and different content.”

Rodney Mason
CMO, Moosylvania

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gen Y : Stick to the Basics

My hero (and the proof that reaching Gen Y can be more simple than you think).

Long, long ago...in a galaxy far, far away...there existed a saying (I think it came from my father's childhood); keep it simple, Stanley.  Yes, Stanley's really his name.

Since Josh is up in Ford's grill about their social media campaign for not meeting his high standards (you should see the women he dates), I thought I might as well just jump in and comment on Dealer Marketing Magazine's article Keeping Up With Gen Y: How Automakers Can Reach This Upcoming Group of New Car Buyers.

The article from Dealer Marketing Magazine goes on to say that to reach Gen Y you should consider using social media, automated kiosks in dealerships, car customization, and technologies that allow Gen Y to custom build (and preview) their pimp new ride.  

Here's the concern; reaching Gen Y isn't just "bling".  Yes, it helps.  In this analogy, I'd obviously prefer my car to be rollin' on Dubs and Lambo doors like Fiddy, a disappearing hood ornament like Too Short in "Blow the Whistle", and I always love me television headrests like Bird Man and Mannie Fresh.  However, if the car doesn't have wheels, an engine, or smells like a cat just yakked tuna all over the bucket seats...that car's not worth my time.

Here's the dirt; the technologies above are fantastic.  They would work.  They do work.  Scion is a great example of a company that's utilized customization, social media, and great advertising to reach Gen Y.  However, I wouldn't step foot inside some of the car dealerships I've visited with their sleazy salespeople, pushy lines, and horrible advertising even if they had all those technologies.  And that includes Scion.

At the end of the day, interacting with and reaching Gen Y can really come down to the basics of service, quality, and product.  For example, take Les Schwab.  They have some antiquated technologies to preview your car with rims.  I can't see a computer animation of how much better I will handle wet roads if I sipe the tires.  Yes, the store is a little mid-90's.  Their advertising involved a senior citizen driving a Jeep around in the mud.  But when it comes down to it, people still go buy there to buy their rims and most certainly go there to get their tires maintained.  Why, do you ask?  It's simple; great service, high-quality maintenance, and reliable product.

As people get more and more caught up with Gen Y and the concept of social media, they must always be on the lookout to see if they're exceeding the needs of their customers in the core aspects of service, quality, and product.  If we fail in these areas, your $300,000 flat-panel, multi-touch, fully-integrated tabletop customization magic computer machine won't be good for much else other than the standard purposes of a table (and impressing your bored workforce).

Dealer Marketing Magazine; I look forward to your next article on those three topics.

- Mama said knock you out -

Phil Jones

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Improve Ford's Fiesta Movement

Part 2 of 3 of my analysis of Ford's Fiesta Social Media marketing campaign.

In my previous post, I not-so-politely documented my frustration with the Fiesta Movement social media campaign. I had a lot of questions sent my way in the past couple of days, both on and offline, and I think I need to clarify my position on the Fiesta Movement.

I do not hate the campaign; in fact, I think it was thoughtfully conceived – to a degree. The launch was effective; successfully harnessing the power of YouTube. The target market was intelligently selected, pegging 100 highly socially connected individuals who, most likely, act as influencers in the respective social circles. The buzz culminated into an orgy of tweets as social media fan boys/girls caught wind of it. However, I don't see how the hype can be sustained as the campaign heads into its maturity stage (if we're talking in terms of its product lifecycle).

I see the campaign like Fox's 24. We've watched the first 16 hours of Jack Bauer kicking ass and taking names, and right as we are heading into the most important and exciting final 6 hours, the camera cuts to 6 solid hours of watching Jack Bauer sleep (but it's shot in night vision, so it's "edgy"). Having these 100 Agents blog and tweet about their experiences driving the Fiesta just isn't going to peak consumer interest.

This is a problem that is not unique to Ford's Fiesta Movement –it's an epidemic associated with many social media campaigns. Well conceived social media marketing campaigns typically start out hotter than the contestants of the Miss USA pageant, and then die faster than Chris Brown's career. Few have successfully found a way to become sustainable over the life of the campaign and maintain the high performance rather than peaking too soon (that's what she said).

Now that I've talked about what's wrong with the campaign, I want to talk about what could make it better and subsequently, make it more sustainable.

  1. Social Bookmarking and Wikis: The Three Musketeers of social media are Communication (blogs, microblogs, and social networking), Collaboration (Wikis and social bookmarking), and Multimedia (Flickr, YouTube, etc.). The Fiesta movement managed to hit up two of these three, however it neglected such behemoths as Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. Being able utilize social bookmarking website can help draw crazy, crazy traffic. And yes, the argument would hold that a popular article on Digg may only drive traffic for a few days. However, if you can consistently post interesting, exciting, or humorous articles on these websites, you have consistent traffic that also makes its way into the blogosphere and twitersphere.

  2. Mockumentaries – The Fiesta Movement needs to find a way to spice up the daily postings of its 100 Agents. So rather than writing about their daily experiences with the car, why not have them make mockumentaries poking fun at how much their morning commutes suck. Have the 100 Agents film daily vlogs documenting the horrors of their commutes, finding quirky ways to incorporate the Fiesta into the mix and have viewers vote on which are the funniest/most tragic and the person that gets the most votes gets to keep their car. This could potentially drive traffic from all three of the major social media avenues.
  3. Hire real influencers – Yes, the 100 Agents Ford handpicked all have substantial pull. But they should also consider getting the car into the hands of people that have A-List social media cred – think Andy Samberg and his mega hit crew Lonely Island. Or vlog all stars on YouTube like Michael Buckley and his What the Buck Show, or Philip DeFranco and his channel Sxephil. These two vloggers alone average 300,000+ viewers/post. Not only that, but they are channels that are hugely popular with Gen Y. Get these guys and others on board, and watch the buzz take off!

What suggestions/ideas do you have for the Fiesta Movement to help it sustain a healthy marketing buzz?

--Now Let Me Clear My Throat--

Josh Groth

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Only Thing Better Than Yoga Babes: Yoga Branding

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...this post just spoke to me.  I don't even know if the points I will make would be worth the 0s and 1s it takes to type this, but there are two things that got me excited tonight.  They include:
  1. Chattarunga
  2. Branding
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, let's combine two things of awesomeness; things that make you well and things that make you money.  That is the best thing I heard all day since I found out it was supposed to be 80 degrees in Oregon on Monday.  In April.  Thank you global warming.  This is truly a day of the possimble.

For the record; yoga babes count too.  I just don't think anybody would read the rest of my post of it was listed.

Tonight's post inspiration comes from Fast Company's article on the rise and Harley Davidson-esque cult following of the one and only Lululemon.  I'm not going to lie; I think Harley Davidson is a little cooler.  And more dangerous.  And probably less healthy.  Hold up...scratch that.  I'll stick with yoga.  I don't look good in leather pants and I don't look good with road rash.  Then again, I don't look good in capris.  And I have tan lines if I go shirtless in yoga class.  Darn.  I'm going to stick to video games.

Since Lululemon started in 1998, it has grown from one tiny yoga apparel store to 100 storefronts, $340 million in revenue, and triple the sales per square foot compared to retailers like J. Crew and Abercrombie.  Although the revenues aren't on par with the Nikes and other athletic apparel companies of the world, it's still worth noting a tiny storefront puts up huge numbers and has a cult following similar to a yogi Michael Jordan doing a one-handed handstand at the yoga All-Star Pose-off.

I first heard of Lululemon on a trip to Seattle a few months ago.  A family friend said his daughter now worked for them, attended yoga classes as an ambassador as a relational marketer, made practically nothing, and lived in the trendiest part of Seattle.  Is that Gen Y or what??

What makes Lululemon so delicious?  I could pun and say its the flexibility of the organization or the raw peace of nirvana, but that would be a lie (and truthfulness is one of the eight pillars/limbs of yoga).  Then again, I'd probably be lying if they didn't follow at least a few pillars of yoga on their way to success.  If Gen Y holds up its end of the bargain (and why wouldn't we?  If we fail we'll just blame it on our parents), Lululemon should keep on its rise to the top.  I'll highlight some of the key points I love about Lululemon below:
  1. Recruiting influencers: Lululemon targets hot gyms and great instructors to increase brand authenticity and spread the word about its products.  At a grass roots level, you see very few companies that have done this as well as Lululemon.  As a bonus to the instructors, the portraits they throw up on the walls of the storefront increase loyalty and develop mutually beneficial relationships between influencers and the company itself.
  2. Finding great inspiration: First and foremost, Lululemon and its employees believe in what it stands for.  Second, they didn't care where they got it.  Just because you take inspiration from cults or psychological mumbo jumbo to create a company culture doesn't make you evil; it makes you smart for using the addictive techniques of Jim Jones and the like to create jobs, improve health, and impact communities.  I can't lie; I believe criminals are the most creative and best entrepreneurs in the world today.
  3. Hiring people who "drink the Kool-Aid": This doesn't mean hiring people who eat, breathe, and sleep yoga.  For Lululemon, it means hiring people who help drive its business AND believe in the message.  By hiring people who believe in the message, you create a motivated, dedicated, and loyal workforce.  Oh; did I mention they'll work for practically nothing?
Gen Y, eat your hearts out; this is the brand of our futures.  Health, wellness, goal actualization, achievement, and expensive product.  Oh wow.  Did I just raise the limit on my credit card?

That's all I've got for tonight; I'm going to throw on my manpris and go do some crow push ups.

- Mama said knock you out -  

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Ford Fiesta Campaign – As Exciting as a Colonoscopy pt. 1 of 3

I recently happened upon Ford's new social media marketing campaign that surrounds the re-launch of their Fiesta car. After looking into the campaign at length, I've decided I want to do a three part series on it (or four, if I feel so inclined), analyzing it in detail. Why? Because I think the campaign sucks - a lot. However, I think that there is a lot that can be learned from taking a closer look at Ford's mistake.

If you need filling in, Ford recently selected 100 "Agents," as they've dubbed them, to test out the 2010 Ford Fiesta for the next 6 months. These Agents are all Millennials, and social influencers. Ford selected these Agents by their geographical dispersion and their affinity towards social media; aka the more digital friends they had, the more likely they were to get a car. According to Ford: "[The] 100 agents are spending six months behind the wheel of their own Fiesta, sharing their experiences, and completing monthly missions to show you what experiencing the Ford Fiesta is all about, way in advance of the U.S. launch in 2010."

This sounds about as exciting as a colonoscopy.

I don't care what car you drive, a morning commute is a morning commute; it sucks, it's boring, and nobody talks about it in a positive manner. I've yet to hear someone tell me "wow, my experience driving to work this morning was exceptional, and it's all because of the new car I bought!" All you hear about is how much traffic sucked that morning, where the accidents were, how long you waited at the staggered onramp light. So please tell me Ford, why would I ever care about someone's daily "experience" driving your car? If the Agents are not writing about how much their commute sucked, they're probably not being honest.

I could understand it if it was something like a Land Rover, and they were writing about all of the cool off roading they did, or a Wrangler and how they made it up to the mountain to board despite the crazy snowfall that kept everyone else at home. But let's be honest about it, it's a hatchback – it's not much of a game changer.

This leads me to wonder if Ford knows how Word of Mouth Marketing (Viral marketing to the cool kids) actually works. While I don't have any qualms with them basically purchasing Fiesta fanboys (and girls), I actually think that was a strategic move, the topic isn't something that's actually going to provoke more consumers to pass along their message. Consumers are going to pass along a link/brand/commercial/video whatever, if it is something that they like and find valuable or entertaining. It doesn't matter how much you pay your Agents to pass along your campaign, if the campaign isn't interesting, then the consumers that the Agents share your message with will not continue to pass it along via Word of Mouth. If they really wanted to reach Gen Y, as they stated, they should have had a campaign that appealed to Gen Y's interests and not just their communication channels.

What Ford did well:

  • Identified the "influencers" of social media
  • Beautifully designed website
  • Careful launch along with New York International Auto Show

What Ford did wrong:

  • Unexciting campaign
  • Nothing (good) that will drive consumer Word of Mouth

-- Now Let Me Clear My Throat --

Josh Groth

Thursday, April 9, 2009

President Obama: Tactical Employer

Ladies and gentlemen; welcome to the new face of the Obama administration.  No, not the respectable Asian that lost his dress shirt; the other one.  

In case you haven't heard, Kal Penn, of the infamous Harold and Kumar movie series, Van Wilder, and House, decided to leave Hollywood to join the Obama administration as an associate director in the White House Office of Public Liasion.

When I first read this, I felt shocked not by Penn's decision to leave Hollywood, but instead by the Obama administration's decision to hire him.  With such rigorous background checks that include questions like, "Have you done something that could embarrass the White House?", I felt a little surprised the administration would hire someone whose image in the public mind is a stoner in Harold and Kumar.  Don't get me wrong; I'm sure Kal Penn is an great guy.  Any person who loves politics and acting (as quoted in the Washington Post) is someone I'd buy a beer for any day of the week.  It just seemed too ironic that an administration so concerned with image would hire an individual who has at least "acted" foolishly.

However, as I thought about it a little longer, I changed my tune on the Obama administration's decision to hire Kal Penn.  He's certainly articulate, intelligent, and driven to be successful.  More importantly, the Obama administration identified key markets where Penn would be highly impactful.  According to the Washington Post article, Penn should contribute positively to the environments where he'll work; youth, arts, and Asian American communities.

The brilliant decision made by Obama and the White House was to hire an individual and selectively target him to where he can make the most impact.  Youth today know of Kumar or the dearly departed Dr. Kutner, the arts would align with his passion for acting, and his ethnic background would play well with Asian Americans.  Sure, most 45-64 year-old Republicans would hate him for the loose morals of his characters, but to the demographics the Obama will use him in...he's brilliant.

As an employer, President Obama and the White House give us all a few key lessons on hiring and branding.  These lessons can easily be applied to Gen Y, and have particular relevance as businesses try to get "the most bang for their buck" out of employees in this economic environment.  They include:
  1. Right person: A lot of organizational hiring is finding the right person for the job.  Penn, with his experience and ethnicity, is the right fit for the role and the target audience they want to reach.  How many times do we see companies "reinventing" themselves and their marketing by taking current marketing campaigns (and managers), adding a little social media, and thinking Gen Y will swoon?  It's important to match a person with relevant experience and relationship to the role to have maximum impact.
  2. Targeted (and generation specific) branding: Not all ad campaigns need to appeal to all generations.  Penn certainly won't appeal to anyone above the age of 35.  Thankfully, the Obama administration will put him in front of people under that age (and appreciate the finer humor of Harold and Kumar, Van Wilder, and House).  Companies can employ the same strategy in all areas; from marketing to management to communication, messages need to reach an intended audience in the way they respond to best.

- Mama said knock you out -

Phil Jones

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Social Media: It Actually Works!

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...social media is so cool!  If you can't wait because you're as excited as I am, then you can just read Wired's article on Moldova's riots by clicking here.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, today Twitter was used for something far beyond Twitter's standard list of responses for the question, "Why use Twitter?"

In case you haven't visited Twitter's Why? page, the body of the page contains some information on why people should use Twitter.  These reasons include:
  • Eating soup?  Research shows that moms want to know.
  • Running late to a meeting?  Your co-workers might find that useful.
  • Partying?  Your friends may want to join you.
Although I'm honestly not sure if my Mom would care about my chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side or if I would consider Twitter to be the best way to communicate to my co-workers and the world at large I'm not making the meeting on time, it's a good thing Twitter's functionality is better than its description of why you should use it and its hotter than wasabi peas when you inhale wrong and your nose burns.

However, Twitter is now forgetting about one key thing that you can use Twitter for...you guessed it!  Inciting public disturbances, organizing flash mobs, and destroying government buildings by lighting things on fire and smashing windows.  THAT is a great reason to use Twitter.

No joke, Moldovans felt like the government fixed their most recent elections and organized demonstrations via Twitter and Facebook.  People tweeted from the heat of the action, updated and posted pictures or video to fellow Moldovans, and communicate to the world via a single computer.  

The amazing thing about the Moldovan Twitter fiasco is not that people revolted and broke things; we can just go to college campuses around the country for that.  The amazing thing is this is the practical and real-world demonstration of what social media offers people; an incredible voice to reach a mass audience and the opportunity to do it in real time.  On a mass scale, we can see how social media (when paired with a cause, belief, or idea people will believe in), has real-world power to organize, educate, and empower people to impact (or destruct) the world around them.

If only Josh and I could get our hangouts to be this well attended (and destructive)...

- Mama said knock you out -

Phil Jones

Monday, April 6, 2009

I’ve Got 99 Problems and Motivation Ain’t One

My counterpart Phil wrote an article a couple months back entitled “How Do We Motivate Gen-Y.” He wrote the article in response to several poorly written articles about how to motivate Millennials. He offered some excellent alternative approaches about how to motivate a Gen-Y employee.

I want to take it one step further; why do so many professional articles offer advice on how to motivate Millennials? Yes the advice offered is usually a hodgepodge of overused corporate catchphrases, but why do so many experts think Millennials need an exorbitant amount of motivation?

If anything, I would consider most Millennials overly ambitious – products of our raising. Ron Alsop, author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace believes that we all just want a trophy for participating and need constant mothering from our bosses, I’m going to politely disagree, and actually provide the perspective of a Millennial.

While I may not be an “expert” like Ron Alsop, I (unlike him) actually happen to be a part of this demographic that he has under a microscope.

As a Millennial, I was raised as a “trophy kid” as Ron would label me. I got a trophy for participation. However contrary to Ron’s opinion, my success wasn’t solely defined by what place I took in a competition, but also by how many different activities I successfully competed/took part in. I didn’t just get a trophy for basketball, but also for baseball and soccer. While I wasn’t training for sports, I was active in Boy Scouts collecting merit badges like an inmate collects tattoos. When I wasn’t reciting the mantra “Be Prepared,” I was competing at the state level with the chess club. The list goes on and on.

But I’m not tooting my own horn, all of my peers led similar lives.

This mindset was only perpetuated in high school. Growing up being told “you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” we quickly realized that our resumes stacked up equally with everyone else’s. So we piled on Advanced Placement courses, language skills, leadership roles in clubs ad infinitum. We grew up being told we needed to be the best, and we spent our lives learning how to accomplish just that.

So when articles come out talking about how to motivate me as a Millennial, I get frustrated. When I see similar articles saying how Millennials are arrogant and think they can take over, I get even more frustrated.

I’ve got news for you, as a Millennial I don’t need fluffy motivational techniques. I’ve spent my life motivating myself past my peers. What I need is the motivation that’s found from being believed in as someone who CAN be successful and challenged accordingly. Millennials' personal drive should not be a threat to Corporate America, but an asset. Companies that can put stock in their youth and trust in Gen-Y’s personal drive have an invaluable leg-up on their competition.

I’ve got 99 problems Corporate America, and motivation ain’t one.

--Now let me clear my throat--

Josh Groth

Friday, April 3, 2009

Google Buying Twitter: Internet Bling

Rumors are awesome because they're like that first date when the girl says something like, "Oh, we should totally do this again.  I had a fun time," when you drop her off.  The hopes go up, you tell all your friends, but 80% of the time you end up confused and wondering why she avoids your calls.  Hold on; maybe that's not awesome.  Obviously I've avoided dating too long.

Tech rumors are no different than the whispers of romance you hear on a first date.  You start to salivate and dream over the potential that what you hear on the blogs is true.  "Oh my gosh...they're going to do what?  They bought them for how much?  They're producing little babies?  GOOTUBE??"  Sadly, they're not always true, and you realize all the time you spent figuring out if you were going to short the company's stock was an exercise in frivolity.

Today was one of those special rumor days.  Internet blogs blew up saying Google was looking to buy Twitter.  Past the "he said she said" of one blog saying it would indeed happen while another blog vehemently denied it, the rumor persisted and made it onto mainstream news sites all over major networks.  The rumor, just like any good one, was delicious.  To quote the alien, Hulu-loving Alec Baldwin; "I think I'm drooling a little."

If I could put the Google and Twitter (Gootter) relationship into a simile, I would equate this to a rap star with a few platinum albums, creative beats, and plenty of groupies.  This rap star decides with all the spare coin he can kick around he should go buy "bling" (e.g. new cars, new houses, new boats, new women, etc.).  Although the rap star can certainly afford his bling and generates buzz by making it onto MTV Cribs (or CNET in Google's case), it really does little to improve his bottom line or increase his profitability.

The problem with Twitter is the same problem that Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, or any other social media site.  They were raised in the wild of the Internet, and like any feral cat worth its weight in financial valuations they're awfully tricky to control, manage, or make lots o' dollars.  The business models created by these websites were born out of user ingenuity and the idea of meeting the needs of a consumer...not making bottom line dollars.  As far as I can tell, I don't think anyone has completely mastered the art of profitable social media.  In the end, it's a matter of convenience and user simplicity for the users of the site...and isn't that the way it should be??

If you don't believe me, take a peek at Google's purchase of Youtube for $1.65 billion in 2006.  Good googly moogly, that's juicier than my Fruit Punch Capri Sun I had with lunch today.  However, if you look at estimates of Youtube's revenue forecasts, the highest revenues I saw for 2009 were $125 million.  Although this is an impressive 50% increase over last year, if sales plateau at $125 million it will take them about 13.2 years to break even on this initial investment.  I'm a patient man, but in the world of business don't you expect a return on your money a little quicker?

The trouble with social media born in the wild of the Internet is conversion of the medium to a profitable commercial enterprise.  In my opinion, Google should just put its genius programmers (preferably the same ones who brought us the joys of Google Maps, Google Earth, and Gmail) and let them loose on creating social media that boggles the minds of its users and makes killer profit for Google.

-Mama said knock you out-

Phil Jones

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Study Shows Tweeting Increases Worker Productivity 9%

BOOM TIME! I was busy catching up at tweets this evening, when I noticed that my friend @mattsingley tweeted about an article on Wired.com that was about an amazing study that came out of Australia. According to researchers, people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.

What I’m wondering, is why it took so long for a study to come out to validate this!

I wrote an article a few weeks ago about social media being Gen-Y’s “water cooler.” Why submit yourself to awkward, forced, and sometimes painfully repetitive conversations at a water cooler when you can spend that same time catching up with friends and family online? This study plays in tandem with that, and gives credibility to those “stolen” minutes at the office spent tweeting of Facebooking.

To me, this is just another painful example of how the “tried and true” ways of Corporate America are outdated and in dire need of a defibrillator to the jugular in order revitalize the workplace.

Take the following examples to help these points sink in:

-Sitting at a computer for 8 straight hours with no breaks is like being strapped to a chair and being forced to listen to Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up on repeat for the entire day. You’re brain is going to be numb. Your productivity is going to suffer, your mood is going to be off, and you become increasingly more likely to punch a koala (see Careerbuilder.com Super Bowl ad below)

-Sitting at a computer all day with intermittent water cooler breaks is like shotgunning a beer; it’ll briefly wake you up, but it’s only one beer. Not enough for a buzz, but just enough to put you right to sleep – and you’ll take more frequent bathroom breaks to pass the time/beer.

-Sitting at a computer all day and having breaks to cruise your favorite websites is like a never-ending Red Bull. The breaks revitalize the mind, break up the monotony, and help engage separate parts of the brain.

According to the researchers, "short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the Internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days' work, and as a result, increased productivity." More importantly, "firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity." Someone should let them know their logic is flawed.

--Now let me clear my throat--

Josh Groth

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

If Big Business Ran Web 3.0

The mantra of Gen-Y, is that social media and web 2.0 are synonymous with efficiency. Anytime an article comes out blaming Gen-Y of wasting time at work on Twitter or Facebook, another article pops up from a Millennial praising the efficiencies of using social media to communicate.

I whole heartedly agree that web 2.0 has provided numerous ways for us streamline our lives – to an extent. Don’t hate me. It wasn’t until recently, as more and more people recommended that I join more and more social media sites, and I began working more and more hours at work, that I realized I straight up don’t have time to balance all of it. Where’s all that damned efficiency that everyone’s been raving about? With a handful of social media websites, I can be efficient. With hoards of them, each offering me unique ways to simplify my life, I find myself bogged down. I’m being bludgeoned with promises of efficiency.

This reminds me of a Robin Williams quote from his infamous Live On Broadway performance where he talks about a similar problems with pharmaceutical drugs. There a drug for this and that, but why can’t there just be one wonder drug?

Robin Williams: I want a drug that encompasses it all. We'll call it "Fukitol." (pronounced "f***-it-all"). I don't feel anything. I don't care for anything. Fukitol. The closest thing you'll ever be to being in a coma: Fukitol. I'm sitting here in my own dung. Fukitol.

Hilarious – yes, but it also got me to wondering what would happen if big business drove the future of web 3.0 instead of basement startups. If efficiency was the tune of web 2.0, then big business would beat it to death with all of their corporate logic.

I’d be able to blog, micro blog, and microscopic blog (not here yet, but I’m thinking 10 character limits are what we’ll unfortunately progress to seeing as how our time is stretched so many ways.). I could skype, connect with coworkers, and upload all my pictures at once, but I’d be bombarded with even more ads in the side bar since they still wouldn’t have found a creative way to monetize the millions of users they have suckling at the teat of social media. While we could speculate at what all would be encompassed, I think, in the name of efficiency and in true corporate fashion, I could outsource my social media obligations to someone overseas. For a fee, I could give someone a rundown of my recent happenings, and have them post on my friends walls, tweet for me, take pictures for me and post them to Flickr, and manage my social network for me. Aahhhhh, sweet sweet delegation, it’d make networking so much less work!

What are your thoughts/concerns with the ever growing number of social media sites that you’re being encouraged to join? Are you finding yourself strapped for time as well? Would you want someone in a third world country to delegate your social networking obligations to? Haha just kidding, but seriously…

--Now let me clear my throat—
Josh Groth