OK Go recently released video for their song This Too Shall Pass, of their new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, and it shows that they really understand viral web video and that their target demographic consumes their content on YouTube and Facebook.
First, check out their video, if you haven’t yet. It’s really worth watching, even if you don’t like their music. Analysis after the jump:
As you’ve seen it’s a Rube Goldberg inspired music video that is doing everything it can to keep your attention. It starts with a shock view of singer that looks like he just slaughtered a cow and as that grabs your attentions it gives you an interesting machine to observe as you watch the video. If they kept your attention for 30s you’ve probably managed to be enthusiastic enough about it to instant message it to your friends as well shared it on Facebook etc.
Based on their recent open letter, this is exactly what brings money today to a band – YouTube advertisements and the only way to actually make serious money on YouTube, besides having 500 videos that you released over last 2 years is to go viral with a well thought our video.
This brings to a completely new problem: what sells of the internet is porn, but if you can’t show that, kittens and lolcats will do. So the best tactic for an indie band that would like to get a lot of views would be to get some cute girls and somehow embed fuzzy kittens and puppies into their video. This way you’ll have a few bonus points in terms of views and maybe you’ll be able to achieve tipping point that will allow you to skyrocket the number of your views.
Did you spot any other details in the video that would contribute towards virality and sharing?
It’s been two months after last WebCamp and it’s time for another party. Following the idea of BarCamps with story line, we’ve decided to organize RealTime Social WebCamp Ljubljana.
This time we’ve decided to focus on a single emerging technology space: Real-Time Social Web. If you’re not up-to date with the latest buzzwords, it’s about next generation RSS protocols like HubSubPubBub, RSSCloud, XMPP (that powers GTalk), Synaptic Web, Twitter API and a bunch of other technologies and ways of thinking about the Web and Mobile space.
Intended audience are developers and people who are close to them (e.g. interface designers, product managers, etc.) and will need to innovate in this space in the next 6 months.
We’re doing it a bit more limited this time, just 50 spaces. I’m interested in seeing how a smaller and more focused group changes the dynamics of such gathering.
The rules for the tickets are the same as the last time. Send description of your talk early and you get a ticket, or hope that you can click fast enough for the left-over tickets later. I believe that extra effort should be awarded.
The official language this time is Slovenian since we’ve figured out that locals that are not native speakers understand our geek talk enough that it shouldn’t be a problem and we can understand them as they lecture in their own language.
Here are some of my notes from the Social Media Club panel discussion that happened tonight:
What is influence?
Influence is a capacity to have some people do something. Actionable influence – influence as a strategy, as a process. You don’t master the outcome but you have a feeling what’s happening and where it’s going to end.
Influence – facilitating conversations between and with customers. You have to be within the context of the conversation.
Brands are today presented in many different worlds and the question is, how to manage all the influence there.
Influence – the art of successfully levering what you can’t control.
You are more influenced by the person that looks like you. What are the ethical and legal ratifications of using such technology?
How do you measure influence? Is the technology really the solution for this problem?
Technique 1: Mapping out all the people that are interesting to us, and then we converse with them (Twitter/Blog/etc.). Then we measure how often they talk about us, and what % of that is positive. After you identify a few thousand people like that, then we measure how many of them we can reach (phone, mail, etc.). Then we measure the reach of their blog and how many people connect through that.
Technique 2 (@Get Satisfaction): Asses the customer satisfaction level: where they are contextually in the conversation (are they angry?) and where they are going.
The role of crowd-sourcing and how does it impact the influence and how does that connect to “Web 2.0”?
Twitter is not very influential, because it’s just another broadcast channel. Until we have threaded @replies, we don’t really have conversations.
Get Satisfaction is a “Social CRM”: There’s a lot of value in deanonymizing your personal data.
If you enable your customers to talk to each other, they’ll get value in that and you’ll get value from eavesdropping. But to get real value out of that, you have to engage in conversation with them.
Twitter is a lot of time used as a broadcast tool, but there are true customers on there and you can reach out to them (not spam them) and engage in deep conversations with them. Too much focus on the tool is dangerous path to go down so you get too focused on the technology.
140 characters – going back to basics, the value of headlines. They’re teaching us to write short and teach us how to be concise.
Does Brand matter anymore?
The brand matters, but it’s changed. Brand has to work in so many more contexts. You have to understand how does the identity form itself, how does the brand act in a funny situation, how does it work in a serious one? You have to allow and understand how it works in these contexts in order for brand to be part of the conversation.
We can count on the large portion in B2B that want to be part of conversation that are not ready for that.
Conversation is still the same, it just moves faster from one medium to another.
Creative marketing can’t cover bad brands and products anymore.
How can companies become more comfortable in the social media space?
The conversations are happening whether you’re participating in them or not. You can be afraid of them and hide from the information that’s out there, or be part of it.
What are the things that can be controlled?
What does the technology really change? Technology changes the circumstances in which the crisis happens. It changes who the influencers and important people are. But it also gives you more tools to refine and change your message.
The tech that allows you to target your message to a right group of people. If you talk to people about their experiences about social media:
Ads for women are very different. It’s increasingly the case that women get very different messages then men.
Search engine bias – there’s a big fight right now about the algorithm for search. They’re really important things from the influence point of view.
The media and analysts doesn’t matter that much anymore. The buying influence is coming from the peers. When it comes to lead conversation and getting involved with them – it’s not for sales team but for the whole team. If you’re not willing to expand your role and engage in the peer to peer conversation, you’re not giving your full potential to your company or a client.
The user interface matters. Like the recent Facebook redesign that made the user status much more prominent. You can do a lot with cue’s and prompts.
How do you develop your own influence (as an individual?) – personal brand
Let people see who you are and what are your interests and just go with it.
There’s something in seeing vulnerabilities in people and companies that makes you trust them a bit more.
What I discovered at this NY event is that because they brought in a lot of out-of-town people they mingled a lot in the hallways, allowing everybody to casually meet others from the industry that are a bit more visible or work for bigger web companies. I also saw basically everyone at all the parties and social events, which by the end gave the whole event a nice homey filling.
I also noticed more people were using backchannel, CrowdVine and Twitter that provided valuable insights at what was happening at other sessions or extra events that I missed for some reason.
My Perfect Plan for Berlin Web 2.0 Expo
The idea of this plan is to take a week off, and fully dive into the â€œWeb 2.0â€ scene. Taking this much time, should allow to actually meet everyone enough times for initial bonds to start happening (and maybe also some idea sparks).
The whole event starts with Barcamp, unconference that is designed by participants. By now these events were done so many times that people have some great presentations ready. More prominent speakers also often speak at Barcamps to test their material and see how well they actually explain their material.
After weekend, you can take monday morning off, to go see the city, but preferably youâ€™ll meet enough people at Barcamp that are also new in town that you can arrange a meet up and go around together or just hang together for lunch. Doing something topical around your interests (semantic web, python enthusiasts, etc. is often good enough excuse to meet).
Alternative is to go to Facebook Developer garage and meet the people who create one of the main social networks of this age.
Make sure that you donâ€™t miss the Ignite event in the evening, as 5-minute presentations are usually extremely enjoyable and thereâ€™s a good excuse to go for a beer with fellow geeks afterwards.
Then the whole conference starts with the workshop day. Iâ€™ve attended workshops a couple of times and I can say that theyâ€™re usually worth their time. Thereâ€™s also a lot less people attending so it gives you easier time to meet new faces in less crowded environment.
The conference and expo days are great by itself, but Iâ€™m not going into detail about this since itâ€™s well covered in other peopleâ€™s writing.
Afternoon parties and extra events are also something to keep an eye out. Conference pages usually have a list of unofficial events, that might require separate RSVP, but keep you busy and mingling.
For bonus points, donâ€™t go home the very next morning. If you can stay another day in the city and hang around at post-conference breakfast or arrange another topical meetup. This way youâ€™ll get to meet yet another group of people.
Party, party, party
Reading above plan assumes a lot of partying and mingling. For me thatâ€™s the main thing about the conferences, as you get to meet all these great people that you can then start forging alliances together or just have great time. Since almost everyone will be from the industry, most of the time the talk will be about things that are somehow related to what we all do, as such youâ€™ll get first hand experience and by listening to lots of anecdotes get some new perspectives.
(this post was inspired by sheer greatness of O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo NY and I don’t get anything in return for writing it)
Startup Snap has been with us for as long as I can remember the modern Web 2.0. While a lot of geeksÂ really hate it, it’s a great thing for novice internet users, since it turns out that they are afraid of clicking links and this removes the ambiguity of that link. Snap.com kindly provided a detailed use case and usability findings about their widget that supports this finding. Even though it’s from the makers themselves, it’s still a good read.
Recently Apture, introduced similar, yet not the same, functionality by providing contextual information for certain types of links, like Wikipedia. They made some interesting progress in fluid dynamic, so their boxes bounce around in a really cool fashion.
They’re both very useful for your site visitors, especially if you want to keep on your site, without making them lost in Wikipedia, with no hope of ever finding outside web. There’s only one thing you have to watch out when using them – don’t use them together. Otherwise you’ll get this kind of situation like on the TechCrunch today:
There’s also an alternative solution for both popup makers to detect when they are running side-by-side and develop their algorithms in a way that doesn’t overlay one on top of each other.Â