Category Archives: Technology

Social Storms Bring Happy Opportunities

“Technology is best when it brings people together.”

OK, that’s enough with the #Sharknado, right? (Did you see it on Twitter? Go Google it if you haven’t, I’ll wait 🙂

As much as I love mystery and intrigue, this post is a longform, down-to-earth exploration of how a silly little concepts become big ideas, and how this has value in your day-to-day life.

What’s a Social Storm?

Let’s start it off with a plain old definition. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the uncontrollable yet mighty power the internet brings in connecting ideas, opportunities, and people: a social storm.

Social storms shares a lot in common with regular weather storms:

  • They’re unpredictable – we have analytics and radar to help us make good decisions, but the ultimate result is impossible to determine until it happens;
  • They’re exciting – as humans, we simply love observing something new. Look at how big #Sharknado trended!
  • They make an impact – whether positive, negative, or in many cases, curiously ambiguous and hard to measure.

The only real difference? Social Storms happen virtually, through the power of our connectedness, and our belief in the idea at hand.

Whether the rain comes in from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, email, blog post comments, trackbacks, or favourites, they all say one thing: Someone’s listening, someone cares!

What a great feeling to have 🙂

Sharknado 2 – The Sequeling!

Sorry, but we’re talking about #Sharknado and Rocky Horror Picture Show for another minute. Feel free to skip this section if you’re in the loop!

So what exactly happened? Imagine, if you can, the time when Rocky Horror Picture Show was in theatres. The camp. The culture. The community.  I wasn’t even around at that time, yet I know of this and still hear stories told of midnight singalongs in dress! They may even still show the movie regularly, there’s that much love.

What happened then, happened now, only in a fraction of the time due to our hyperconnections.

From what I saw, people became aware of #Sharknado very shortly before it was made available to them, gratis, on the cable channel SyFy. The mystery and intrigue were too high and the risk was too low to resist exploring.

Of course, gotta love the ironic fact that the prize is a hilariously campy movie which I as of this time have yet to actually see. However here I am, fully versed in #Sharknado lore, taken with the story of the story rather than with the story itself. (And excited for the already-announced sequel!)

One could label #Sharknado as New-Age Marketing or even as a Social Media Marketing Success Story. One could even go as far as to say that it was a beautifully executed Alternate Reality Game with a Free Movie as a prize! As many know I’m not a fan of unnecessary labels, so I don’t feel the need to define it yet, but am enjoying observing the cause and effect results. There’s certainly something social/viral going on!

And they’re not the first. Another hot contender for Amazing Social Media Usage Of The Year goes to the makers of Pacific Rim, who successfully leveraged the long-tail targeted marketing capabilities of YouTube to quantifiably drum up interest and buzz, and who are now coasting on the buzzwave generated (and a huge Hollywood budget, but that’s another post)!

Does it work? Consider one of the most interesting use cases – yourself, now: if you hadn’t known about these two movies already, you do now. If you knew about them but hadn’t seen them, you’re one step closer to taking some kind of action. And if you’re already in the in-group, you’re smiling and will love to chat with me about them (and I full-heartedly encourage you do to so 😉

How’s THAT for new age marketing?

Happy Opportunities

Wait wait wait… This isn’t that “evil marketing” I hear about, now is it?

Let’s take a second to realign. Do the movie makers want to make money? Well yeah! Any wise business owner wants to generate revenue in some form or another. Even non-profits benefit by generating a larger resource pool from which to reinvest and achieve greater results.

What’s changed then? Why isn’t this “evil”?

Three golden words: Word of Mouth.

The simple act of having a chat and giving a recommendation inspires action far more effectively than any uber-designed animated poster.

It’s just one of those ironies in life, what else can I say?

Well, we could look at some numbers to help show, so let’s do that! On average, people are shown thousands of advertisements a day. How many is pretty hard to quantify, but people have tried. I feel it’s safe to say we easily encouter at minimum 5,000 old and new brands/products/ideas each and every day.

No wonder we’re tired of the old ways of advertising! We need a way to filter the signal from the noise. Trusting our friends and social networks is a fantastic way to start, and that’s where we’re at today.

Socialize Your Life!

I promised to tell you how this has value in your life, so let’s do it!

Of course, that would only work if there was one type of person in the world. Thankfully, we are all unique, and use tools in our own different way, so I can’t give you any solid reasons to believe that engaging in social media is one of the best investments of your time.

I’d love to tell you a story here, but interestingly enough, all of mine are still being written! I encourage you to read the pages that have already been created by perusing any of the social networks I’m on.

I can give you a bit of a teaser though: #LifeChanging.

I’m a big fan of learning by example. I’m rapidly learning I’m not alone in this belief. It’s amazing how many other opportunities are out there from those who believe the same.

I encourage everyone to get out there, put your toe in any social media that’s calling to you. I can’t promise no sharks, but you just might find your very own #SharkNado 😉


The Magic of Copperfield and Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

Magic is a fantastic phenomenon, one that highlights the power and impact of illusion. We believe the laws of the world, yet they are seemingly challenged right before our eyes. If anything, you KNOW it’s an illusion, yet the means of achieving that illusion remain elusive.

In this light, I’ll start this series off with some edutainment: one of my favourite magicians, David Copperfield! I’ve taken inspiration from his techniques, and feel that he has insight to offer in the fields of interactive engagement… Plus, who doesn’t like a magic show 😉

The thrill of interacting with this act added greatly to the impact of this interactive video. As always, there is a way to break the illusion down to its factual components. But doing so takes a bit away from the mystery and delight… Or offers additional insight into creating your own illusions.

Here is one of his most acclaimed illusions, disappearing the Statue of Liberty:

Sidenote: Gotta love that classic 90s style eh!

In my search for this video, the second most popular auto-filled suggestion was indeed, “how he did it”. Many of us have an inherit desire to understand a complex technology, and I respect that greatly! We’re tinkerers. We like to figure things out. I encourage this!

Here’s one of his more orchestrated acts, Death Saw. Watching this for the first time, it’s easy to get caught up int he fantastic spectacle. For myself, I love trying to figure out how he pulls it off!

So how does David Copperfield’s magic relate to technology? I put forth the thought that having a bit of smoke and mirrors in our apps and programs is an exciting way to increase interaction and comprehension. Adding a bit of mystery – such as through creative writing, smart user experience, predictive input, and targeted analytics – increases engagement, as people are given a drive or simple reason to figure the system out.

Yes, in an ideal world people would be naturally motivated to master their tools, however in today’s gamification nation it’s no surprise that people’s attention is taken away. I propose we take it back by bringing in a higher level of edutainment to our offerings.

Excitement is infectious in the best way. To have an ecosystem where users are intrinsically motivated to try and learn due to their own excitement – to me, one couldn’t wish for a better outcome!

What do you think? Leave a comment below 🙂