Wednesday, 15 September 2010

New Twitter: New Facebook or New Coke?

Hope that you are well. Apologies for the brief radio silence on the blog, it’s been an incredibly busy two weeks since I left London and relocated to Manchester with my lovely girlfriend Ana, and I’ve been really busy moving in and, well, working. So no blogging.

I’m currently sat here in lovely Islington (thanks to Emilio, Sarah and Tom for putting me up), putting the finishing touches to my Twitter presentation for tomorrow at the Marketers Forum. The new video and photo functionality on Twitter could be very exciting, and I wonder what it means for third-party apps, and how they can build the new functionality into their existing platforms.

Do we really want streaming video within our Twitter feeds? Is it really a location, in the same way that Facebook is a social location? Obviously not, but this move seems to be an indicator that potentially that is where the guys at the top want their platform to go…  

What do you think of their chances of success? Is this a smart, or a stupid move? 

Check out the video below previewing the new changes, and if you are coming to the event tomorrow, then see you there!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Does Ping Pong?

After a typically cryptic invite, and much debate in the tech and music press, Apple have launched their new music-based social network, Ping, to a suitably salivating audience of tech geeks and fanboys. I'm not one of those bloggers who like to steal a march, and pretend that they have more hours in the day to sit up and review a new network and give it the thumbs-up or thumbs-down. It's too early to say whether Ping will be successful, and I'm not going to write a stunningly deferential review or a snarky obituary just yet. I'm going to have a bit more of a play with it and let you know when I feel like I can make an informed opinion.

That said - I think that Ping will fail.

Why? It's not an authentic enough experience for me.

The whole point of social media is to provide a forum for people to share experiences, to share pictures, events and music videos. Myspace put music and self-expression at the heart of it's service, and for a while, it ruled the roost, until it was usurped in the user-experience stakes by Facebook. Facebook, being an essentially silent platform, eventually added brand pages and music to their offering, allowing artists to express themselves and connect with their fans where they feel comfortable. Comfort - now there's a nice, warm, cuddly word/feeling...

Let me ask you a question - how many of you feel comfortable just hanging out in a shop?

Well, that's what Apple are asking you to do. Facebook serve advertising, but they are not primarily an eCommerce platform. Myspace have advertising and very heavy brand sponsorship, but they are not checkout heavy.

Ping is like the free coke the estate agent gives you when you come in to chat about a mortgage. They want you to, first and foremost, buy something, or go away. Sharing will always be secondary with Ping, as it's primary function is an eCommerce store.

That's not to say that eCommerce stores can't do it properly - ASOS and Amazon do a great job of creating a community that generates it's own content. They don't pressurise you into doing so, and they are honest and upfront about the fact that they are an online store.

Apple have just repackaged the iTunes store, got a few big artists on there, and yet they expect people to just blindly start using it, without asking any big, difficult, un-cuddly questions. That is not going to happen.

I love sharing content, and I love sharing information. Any site, network or service that allows me to do that is great in my book. But please, do me a favour first - declare your interests! I don't want a personal shopper, I want to share cool stuff with my friends. That's what social media, at it's very core, is all about. I certainly wouldn't say 'buy this album now', or 'listen to this thirty-second sound file THEN BUY IT'. I just want to share.

So Ping: you have a lot of questions to answer over the coming months. So get pally!

Have you used Ping yet? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below...