Most Contagious 2009

Every year at the end of year there are 2 reports worth looking out for, one is FEED from Razorfish that came out a few weeks ago and the other one is Most Contagious from Contagious Magazine which was released this Friday. Make sure you get them both.


And while you’re at it, take a look at the new Contagious Magazine website as well.

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:”


Meet the connected consumer

Last week Razorfish released their 2008 Consumer Experience Report which had (according to the report) a simple mission:

“To gain a better understanding of how technology affects today’s digital consumer experience and explore the emerging trends that will shape those experiences for years to come.”

I’ve been reading the report during my flight back home from Los Angeles and found it very much worth the time. Although I do prefer research that isn’t just US focused, I can recommend this to everyone so make sure you download it and check it out (PDF). More results are to be expected on Razorfish’s Digital Design Blog according to this post.

Six degrees of separation

I stumbled upon this fascinating research done by Microsoft Research about a year ago (disclaimer: I work for Microsoft) after Mashable picked it up this weekend.

“We present a study of anonymized data capturing a month of high-level communication activities within the whole of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging system. We examine characteristics and patterns that emerge from the collective dynamics of large numbers of people, rather than the actions and characteristics of individuals. The dataset contains summary properties of 30 billion conversations among 240 million people.”

“All our data was anonymized; we had no access to personally identifiable information. Also, we had no access to text of the messages exchanged or any other information that could be used to uniquely identify users.”

And while these are only MSN/Live Messenger users during a period in time in 2006, and miss data from the competitive services, it still gives a pretty solid idea of the ‘inside’ of the social aspect of an IM network. Here are some of the key findings.

When you compare the world population to the Messenger population you will see that ages 18-30 are over represented, and ages 10-14 and 30-34 are fairly comparative to the world population. This tells me that IM is indeed linked mostly to youth, but definitely not youth alone.


This here is another interesting finding:

“We investigate on a planetary-scale the oft-cited report that people are separated by “six degrees of separation” and find that the average path length among Messenger users is 6.6. We also find that people tend to communicate more with each other when they have similar age, language, and location, and that cross-gender conversations are both more frequent and of longer duration than conversations with the same gender.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

Euroblog 2008

This last Thursday and Friday I attended and participated in the Euroblog 2008 event in Brussels organized by Euprera – the European PR Education and Research Association. The symposium was very much an academic event with a lot of academic speakers and attendees, and less practioners (at least that’s how I experienced it).

That wasn’t a surprise though, as the event was clearly set up to try and have the academia embrace the need to change. Still, sometimes, I felt like I didn’t belong there. Now I don’t mean anything bad with this, there’s just a very clear gap between the way we all approach things. It made me think of trying/testing out the water in a swimming tool. If you’re a practioner like myself you will get ready for the pool, put your toe in to get an idea of the temperature, probably feel like it’s colder than you would have wanted it to be but you’ll get in the water anyway and start swimming. You’ll talk to other people in the pool, maybe about the water, or maybe about that new glide which you then try out as well. This is the way me (and other people) started their blog, signed up for Twitter, Friendfeed, etc etc. After the presentations from the academia, it became clear that they approach ‘the pool’ in a different way. They talk to people outside and next to the pool about the temperature of the water, use a whole bunch of metric equipment to test the water conditions, relate all that info to ideal human body conditions, etc etc (this still fully dressed of course) to work out a project trajectory to get into the water at some point in time.

And I know this analogy is a bit black&white, but I think you get my point. On Friday I sat on a panel myself that was a mixture between academia and practitioners and there the difference was less visible (on the panel itself). The discussion itself with the panel and audience was pretty interesting to me as well. It highlighted once more some of the fears but also strengthened the idea that there aren’t enough case studies to go by.  At one point I feel this is just another ‘reason’ to keep away of change as long as one can. But as you (might) know from an earlier post I do feel we have to reach out more to get more people embrace the need to change so maybe we should just see what we can do about it – there really is more than just Kryptonite you know ;)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like the event. Some discussions where pretty interesting, some presentations like the one’s of David Jennings and Martin Oetting where very enjoyable and it was very good meeting up with the Edelman Digital crew: Steve Rubel, Marshall Manson, Rick Murray, … but also David Weinberger or Neville Hobson, the latter whom I met in person for the first time after being in several online conversations before.