20 June 2012

Harnessing Complexity

Suited for real-time.
Twitter’s importance in Cannes continued on Wednesday as CEO Dick Costolo presented a seminar called, “Harnessing the Power of Real-time Connections.” During his talk, Mr. Costolo reportedly presented examples and advice on how to turn cultural events into real-time marketing opportunities.
“We live in a world where the conversation—if we pay attention to it—can lead to a campaign.”
Dick Costolo- Cannes Lions, 20 June 2012
The recent introduction of hashtag pages gives brands, marketers, and event organizers a consolidated presence within the Twitter framework to promote a real-time discussion. They also give Twitter a potentially huge new source of income. But is this the Holy Grail of revenue that Twitter critics have been looking for? Maybe. And here’s why.

The new Web product enables a lot. For Twitter, these new pages provide a way to create a community, within its own domain, to anyone with a marketing budget. For promoters, the pages offer another outlet to create and craft a consolidated conversation. And for users, this new endeavor offers the opportunity for a meaningful tête-à-tête with the accounts and interests they track.

Let’s take the highly-touted NASCAR partnership as an example. Searching for #NASCAR leads you to a branded, and presumably purchased, page of results which features updates from a select group of accounts. Twelve of these accounts are highlighted in a “Top people” section, but updates from all other accounts are quickly accessible through the “View all Tweets” link. 

This is a great way for Twitter to curate posts from some driver, track, and sanctioning body accounts. And even if you’re trying to find out what other people are saying about NASCAR, this is much less intrusive than most pop-up ads, and presents contextually relevant content based on the NASCAR search term. However, it does leave me asking a few questions:
  • Which accounts get included in the results?
  • How did they get selected?
  • Did they pay to get included?
  • How can I get my updates include in the search results?
  • What about the accounts I follow?

This effort could be the first, big step toward a fast, flexible advertising product. Marketers could customize which accounts and topics are included in ad buys as circumstances change. Real-time adjustments would allow conversations to emerge and evolve naturally while still supplying campaigns the ability to promote their ideas.

Now, making sure you have a team in place that can accurately and adequately monitor and react to an ongoing event can be tricky. Just ask McDonalds. Or Kenneth Cole. Or Netflix. But that is a larger topic for a longer day. Like tomorrow, the longest day of the year. Find out if I tackle it when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

19 June 2012

I Cannes Haz Lions

Did you see the #CannesLions hashtag floating around on Twitter today? Touted as the “the world's biggest celebration of creativity in communications,” The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is taking place in France this week. Why is this relevant to this blog? Because Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-creator, Co-founder, and Executive Chairman—as well as Co-founder and CEO of Square, Inc.—was named Media Person of the Year. 

In a press release, Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, pointed out that through Twitter, Mr. Dorsey has given us a new way  to share and learn from each other.
“The power and simplicity of what he has created has made Twitter a social phenomenon.”
Philip Thomas- Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 15 May 2012
We can’t just focus on Twitter as the primary reasoning behind the award, however. Mr. Dorsey’s work with Square deserves an equal share of the credit. These two efforts, combined, weigh into the title “Media Person of the Year.” Focusing solely on Twitter gives too much credit to Mr. Dorsey’s efforts there, and not enough to his efforts at Square, not to mention the influence of fellow Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

In any case, a hearty congratulations go out to Mr. Dorsey. For Twitter. For Square. And for democratizing information for us all. Information you can find again here when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.

18 June 2012

Migratory Story

Hashtags from car tags.
Thanks to a wonderful change in my employment status, these posts can start up again. It’s been a long while since my last update here, and Twitter has changed considerably in the interim. They’ve got a new look, a new address, and even a new Larry!

I hope to return to the almost-daily regularity of my previous entries. With Twitter growing so quickly, and its influence on politics, advertising, and sports becoming larger and larger, I have no doubt that there will be plenty to pontificate about. 

As always, if you have something to add, let me know. Post it here in the comments, or—better yet—send me a note on Twitter. Either way, I’ll see it when I see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.