My persona?

First things first, Clo explained it best what this is all about:

Personas | Metropath(ologies) | An installation by Aaron Zinmanis "a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

Sounded interesting so of course I had to give this one a try. And indeed nice animation while your profile/persona is being created – mine ended with this:

personasweb

Not sure where ‘religion’ or ‘politics’ is coming from but I suppose everything happens for a reason ;). In the meantime I saw other people I follow create their own Persona Web but then I got curious to see which results it would generate when looking for brands such as Duval Guillaume (the agency I work for), Windows Live, Kinepolis, Marlboro, … etc and then I must say I got kinda disappointed. The results always seem to turn out very similar… almost the same really. Too bad, hope they keep developing because they’re definitely on to something here.

All of this got me thinking though. Wouldn’t it be possible to search on a brand name for blogs, twitter, … etc and then look up the content of the last 10-20 posts and turn that into a word cloud similar to what Wordle creates? I would definitely be interested in seeing the result of that. Let me know when it’s ready ;)

Love your content, set it free

I’ve been working on a theory that relates a lot to the content of this presentation. The theory is something I need to blog about later (once I get it all nicely lined up) so take a look at this in the meantime.

The Garden of Tweetdom

Since Marcus decided (on purpose!) to have his little event in London pretty much the only week I wasn’t in town…. just kidding, I will have to share the slides with all of you who have missed it just like me.

Watch what happened when God created Twitter and be the witness of the first conversations between Adam, Eve and the snake!

Here’s some video footage from the event.

Generation movie project

This has been sitting in my drafts for a while, that’s what happens when you don’t get time to blog for 2 weeks. Proximus Generation is a youth oriented mobile subscription from Belgium’s largest mobile operator. To promote this service Proximus will crowd source it’s latest tv commercial, here is the explanation (which is also the current tv commercial for the whole project):

Want to be part of an ad that will most definitely get a lot of airtime? Here’s your chance: Generation Movie Project :) The website loads rather slowly unfortunately, but still nice work by Famous.

I’m listening…

But do you care? Did you really want to have a conversation to begin with? Well maybe not you you, but consumers in general? With all the talks about companies and their need to be part of the conversation etc… I get all that, I’m a believer and everything. But what about the consumer? Does he really want to have that conversation? Sometimes I believe they don’t, or at least not everyone does. Sometimes people just want to shout out, make a statement, … without expecting, hoping or even wishing for an answer.

Kris Hoet
Photo by Joi Ito – taken at the SIME08 Blogger Meetup

It was the Facebook discussion during the Kinepolis blogger meetup that got me thinking about this again, but it’s something I experienced on quite a few occasions myself. Someone calls out for support, feedback, … or complains about something on their blog, Twitter, etc and you reach out to see how you can help. I would say that in +50% of all cases you never get an answer back.

Therefore my question. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pessimistic about ‘the conversation’ and believe companies should do a better job at listening, I’m just saying that sometimes consumers also just want to talk to/about companies and that they’re not always interested in listening to what those companies have to say in return.

Kinepolis meetup

My old friends at Kinepolis invited me over for a blogger meetup 2 weeks ago, something they had set up together with Proximity BBDO (represented by the one and only ‘Druppels’) and Adhese. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but given the fact I worked at Kinepolis myself for some 7 years I had more than enough reasons to go check it out.

I don’t really want to cover the content of the meeting (as others have done that already) but I was mostly interested in the approach of the company towards the community. And the commentary after.

Kinepolis
Photo by Dipfico

I once wrote a post called ‘not for sale’ and featured it in my side navigation since then. And then people started asking me why I don’t like advertising on my blog… I tell them to read it again, it’s not what I’m saying. The whole social media approach, the whole thing about being more consumer friendly, about engaging in a conversation, … is something that needs to be in your soul so to speak. A lot of companies get some recognition because ‘they get it’ whereas they just started using social media technologies to do one way communications. Sigh. I like genuine innovation, genuine openness… and yes even when you could argue about why it didn’t come any sooner.

Kinepolis is a company that gets it, maybe late but they showed me they do. Why? Because of the genuine openness and honesty of the conversation we had with the Kinepolis management during the meetup, including their CEO. The 20-some bloggers present at the event will probably agree, when was the last time you had such an open conversation with the CEO of a company the size of Kinepolis? Very curious to see how this will evolve, I guess that’s where I still can go wrong. At least the goodwill is there…

Looking at the commentary after the event I realized even more people don’t seem to make the distinction between ‘I approve how they did this’ and ‘I will now believe whatever they say without thinking’. Did I buy everything they said at that event? Did I think they are now all saints? No. But they did show in a very honest way what their plans are and how they want to have this conversation. I liked that a lot. And for the naysayers, if you really care about this just tell Adhese about it and there’s no reason why you couldn’t be part of this.

There were only 2 things I missed really, one being some more food and the other one a demo of the big screen gaming they do because I always loved that. There’s really nothing that beats playing COD or other on a 24 meters wide screen in full THX Dolby Surround sound ;)

Where’s agency 2.0? (Cont’d)

Right about a year ago I wrote this thought:

“With more and more agencies adopting new ways to get the connection between their clients the advertisers and the consumer, I think it’s time they rethink themselves as well and look at how they can serve their clients, their customers a bit better. Just a thought.”

It was at a time that I was working simultaneously with several different agencies across Europe and it struck me how all of them were telling me to focus more on the customer etc while in the meantime operating on a very self-centric approach themselves.

I was reminded of this post (and discussion) this week as Alain Thys and Stefan Kolle from FutureLab released a new report around exactly that topic:

“This is the free version of the Futurelab report on the growing disconnect between what advertising agencies offer, and what their clients are looking for. If you wish to purchase the full report with 60 pages of strategic insights and recommendations, go to: www.futurelab.net/agencyreport.”

Enjoy.

Personal/corporate identity

Last week at SIME during the first speaker gathering Ola Ahlvarsson (CEO of SIME) thought it was a good idea to introduce Thomas Crampton and myself to each other… he sure was right :) Thanks for that Ola!

We got talking right away (part of which translated in a little video interview – see below) on several things relating blogging, corporate blogging, identities, transparency, … and how difficult it can be to turn small company learnings to good use at corporations, or how US learnings wouldn’t necessarily work in Europe or Asia (where you don’t have one market / one language).

Interestingly enough, the topic seems to surface at other places as well these days, look at this post on MarketingProfs for instance. The video below is part of the conversation I had with Thomas, focusing on identities. Thomas called it “difficulty of blogging for Microsoft”, I see it more as “challenges in corporate social media” or something but that doesn’t sound half as good… and the chat would have been the same anyway so why bother ;)

The reason for this was the notion that corporate blogging projects that get listed this days only seem to relate to initiatives that are set up centrally and less about the ‘accidental spokesperson’. LionelatDell or ComcastCares (aka Frank) or … are real people, real but corporate identities, transparent and honest (I presume) but set up for the company they work for. What if you (like myself) already have that presence and identity, which is personal, but talks about work stuff as well? What if you set up a corporate initiative next to your own, that you own for a long time already? Again, not really problems, but questions/challenges I like to think about… and so does Thomas.

2nd Edition: Age of Conversation

Some 18 months ago I was part of a project called the “Age of Conversation” and today I’m happy to announce that the second edition of the “Age of Conversation” is a fact. Instead of 100 authors there are over 200 contributors this time (not me anymore) and it’s themed around “Why don’t they get it”. Other than that, all proceeds still go to charity so to encourage you to by the hardcopy this time, John Moore lined up the ‘Money Quotes’ in one little presentation.

A friend’s birthday

It seems to be quite appropriate that the 2nd anniversary of the Blue Monster coincides with Steve Clayton’s birthday as Steve has been crucial  in getting the Blue Monster where it is today. Hugh Macleod has a nice little write-up about the Blue Monster history, well worth reading. For me this story started at a similar time that I got to know both Hugh (we met for the first time at LeWeb 2 years ago) and Steve and that’s how I got affected by our little blue friend. It was good getting to know all three of them.

In his post Hugh refers to what David Armano had to say about the Blue Monster, something he wrote after he and I met at MIX08 in Vegas:

“What’s to be learned? Blue Monster shows us that no matter how big or small the company that the world is a bigger place. And external influences can become internal influences. And it teaches us that if we are interested in the evolution of corporate culture, that symbols are important. If we don’t find our own—someone will find them for us.”

bluemonster Even more, the Blue Monster became an example of how companies can embrace social media. It has become an example of how a company (or anybody for that matter) can benefit from letting go of control. Just read through Rohit Bhargava’s “Personality Not Included” for instance, or the more recent “Crowd Surfing” from David Brain.

Hell no, the Blue Monster is not dead – it’s alive and kicking, not only within the spirit of many Microsoft employees but also outsiders are starting to see change. And did you read Hugh’s 7th point? Well the Blue Monster is going to Paris… but more on that soon ;) For now, it’s just happy birthday.