Category Archives: HOT SITES

Some Initial Thoughts on Airtime.

A little conversation about Airtime and (missed?) Twitter Potential

Storified by Ian Schafer · Tue, Jun 05 2012 17:18:30

I would actually rather Airtime with someone who is tweeting about something I just tweeted about. #instanttalkshowIan Schafer
@ischafer So kinda like a hangout;-)David Weiner
Seriously. An instant video chat with people debating & discussing a topic is much more interesting and relevant.Ian Schafer
@ischafer Yes. I was thinking that this morning. . . I’d imagine a Twitter sync is only a matter of time, right?MikeMoffo
But alas, Sean Parker is not as vested in Twitter as he is Facebook.Ian Schafer
@ischafer powerful point you are making there. That Sean is missing the boat by doubling down on FB-model over Twitter model.Andrew A. Rosen
@ischafer Nice idea.It could use @Klout API to ID relevant topics, and invite you to a "show" when you tweet about those topicsRyan Drumwright
@ischafer The nice thing about using @Klout is it should help you identify thoughtleaders ppl would want to listen to. #Conference2.0Ryan Drumwright

So Tell Me How You Really Feel: Brand Tags Are Back.

In 2008(!), my friend Noah Brier (@heyitsnoah) launched a little side project called “Brand Tags“, enabling people to share the first word(s) that came to mind when seeing a particular brand.

In his own words:

In lieu of actually writing something interesting (which I haven’t done in a while), I’ve decided to release a 70% done project. It’s called Brand Tags and the idea is simple: You tag brands with the first thing that comes to mind. The idea came to me as I was working on my Brand vs. Utility presentation a few months ago. The thinking went something like this: If brands exist as the sum of all thoughts in someone’s head, then if you ask a bunch of people what a brand is and make a tag cloud, you should have a pretty accurate look at what the brand represents.

Four years and an acquisition later, my friends over at Solve Media (disclosure, I’m on their Board of Directors) have relaunched the Brand Tags service as a free opportunity for brands and their agencies to gather real-time sentiment. What I’ve always loved about Brand Tags is the sometimes visceral response that traditional market research just wouldn’t yield. As I’ve heard Noah say before, “it lets agencies tell their clients how people really feel about their brands”.

Having this service back in a more mature incarnation (complete with a wordcloud “export” function for PowerPoint/Keynote presentations) is incredibly valuable. We’ve gotten into a habit of brushing aside methodologically-complex panel-based brand market research in favor of social media sentiment analysis. And while conversations may yield a ton of insight, semantic analysis often fails because of inadequate natural language processing. A more heuristic approach can really help when both of these extremes fail to deliver, and Brand Tags have the potential to be that.

So hats off to Noah for seeing his vision pay off. Congrats to the team at Solve Media for seeing Noah’s vision all the way through. I’m looking forward to putting this to good use.

Reality Mining

MIT's Technology Review just published it's list of 10 Emerging Technologies for 2008. The one piece that resonated with me is Sandy Pentland's exploration into Reality Mining especially in relation to social networking, new media and interactive.

Reality mining "is all about paying attention to patterns in life and using that information to help [with] things like setting privacy patterns, sharing things with people, notifying people


A fellow co-worker and myself were discussing various social aspects and the new trend of how people use space. As in, where they spend most of their time. The topic was very interesting where we initially narrowed it down into three areas. Home, work and the ThirdSpace (or Being Space as TrendWatching points out)

commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren't just the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin.

BEING SPACES charge us for eating, drinking, playing, listening, surfing, working, or meeting, just as we would at home or in the office, while successfully reintegrating us into city life 

An all too common example is the way Starbucks has made the coffeeshop into a living room type setting.

I also believe that in addition to these three spaces, there is a 4thSpace – online and social networks. A place where people go as a virtual home, from their landing page on Facebook to iGoogle. People dwell in one or two of these spaces at any one time. Usually one is physical with the second being virtual (ex: sitting at home playing Xbox Live, in Starbucks surfing Facebook, etc.)

The Four Spaces
1 – Home
2 – Work/Office
3 – Being Space (Starbucks, Borders Books, Panera Bread)
4 – Virtual Space (Facebook, iGoogle, MySpace) 

The intriguing aspect of 4thSpace is that it continues to exist without us after we place our identity into that realm. With MySpace, there are pages of deceased members that still garner visits and posted comments. So much so in fact that those that have passed now warrant their own sites like The virtual identity becomes, or takes the place of, a real presence. Granted, social networks also allow users to be someone (or something) other than themselves, but the 4thSpace allows comfort in a setting where the other three spaces may not.

People unfamiliar, and even the familiar, become known by their page or avatar. Xbox Live, Facebook or when SecondLife was viable allows users to drop in for a visit and say hello. No one home? Leave a message and they'll get back to you.


Disney Buys ClubPenguin

My head's exploding.

So Disney, who is one of those companies that actually hasn't been handing out money to independently-owned/VC-backed web properties lately has purchased hot kids' virtual world/social networking site ClubPenguin.

Great fit. Probably a better virtual world than the one they launched themselves.

Here's an open letter from the founders of ClubPenguin about the deal.

Now it's up to Disney Online to figure out how to continue to monetize the property through integrated ad offerings (Club Penguin was doing a pretty good job, operating at a 50% profit margin).

ARGNet Hearts

Check out ARGNet's review of the Deep Focus-created online experience to support HBO's John From Cincinnati.

From the post:

Via Game Tip, ARGNet received word that HBO was doing something interesting with a promo site, Clicking repeatedly on the "Help" button generates an increasing number of search terms and objects floating around your screen until you're told, "That's all the help you're going to get. There's more out there. Start Searching." However, the interface seems pretty intelligent — entering your own search terms nets results that usually seem on-target.

UGO to be Acquired by Hearst

More acquisition news…

Popular site UGO, also according to TechCrunch, will be acquired by Hearst for around $100 million.

UGO has been around for a long time. They've built their property through small site acquisitions, then by growing them editorially. They hopped on the widget bandwagon early, but it's still young men and gaming that has fueled and sustained their growth.

CondeNast got their Wired & Reddit, Hearst got its UGO.

Delta Twitters?

If Joe Jaffe has the kind of influence that can all of sudden make Delta, an airline straight outta bakruptcy, develop a Twitter strategy, set up an account, and start posting messages, than I'm a monkey's uncle.

Actually, as of 4am this morning, I am an uncle. My sister just had a baby boy, Sam. 6lbs, 9oz.

Regardless, if Delta is, in fact, testing Twitter usage in the wild, BRAVO. I'm glad someone is trying. I just hope companies (including Delta) learn from this experiment, and the reactions to it.

After all, as Douglas Adams once wrote, ""Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."