Social Currency as a tool for community managers

I see a world of games, competitions, fun to be added to online communities using social currency platforms.

Social currency is shared information that encourages further social encounters. It’s not a new concept, but the social web increases its prevalence. In the web-based collaboration software platform called Rypple, a simple act of thanking someone on a team and using a badge as a way to show your gratitude is a form of social currency. A platform called Badgeville promises to add virtual rewards to your digital media property through leaderboards and virtual “badges” that act as reinforcements to reward certain behaviors and encourage others.

via Serious Play: The Business of Social Currency – David Armano – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.

How anonimity online is being eroded

This is The Economist, not Richard Stallman or the EFF:

But anonymity is freeing. It lets people go online and read about fringe political viewpoints, look up words they are embarrassed not to know the meaning of, or search for a new job without being thought extremist, stupid or disloyal. In America some judges have recognised that browsing habits will change if people feel that they are being watched. In rejecting a government demand for book-purchase data from Amazon, an online retailer, a judge wrote that the release of the information would create a chilling effect that would “frost keyboards across America”. Librarians have long understood this, which is why they keep readers’ files confidential. But many of the new custodians of people’s reading records do not seem inclined to do the same.

Read it all Monitor: Anonymous no more | The Economist and donate to EFF and FSF.

Intel desperate to further Meego

I spent a few hours listening to Intel’s presentation about Meego and the new app store (another) from Intel. AppUp, the name of the store, is just another store. The only new thing that I remember is that AppUp allows to integrate other stores into this store… For example, if you published an app on AppUp, this will also appear on BestBuy’s app store. Not sure what to make of that: as with many other features of the afternoon, I and others in the audience were not impressed.

Intel will review and validate every app submitted in the store and, contrary to Apple’s total opacity, they have published the validation guidelines. The validation process will take ‘at most’ 7 business days and every updated version of the app will have to go through the validation process again. The developers in the room didn’t like that: it’s a huge problem because if your release has a bug, it may take over a week to send a fix to your users.

Admittedly, this validation process is a hard nut to crack but one would expect that a new app store would at least try. I would suggest Intel to give up the subjective control on the ‘objectionable content’ and relegate porn material in a section of the store behind an additional credit card. I would make this section graphically anonymous and before anybody can access it, they have to enter a credit card number, all the time. Developers that publish bad content out of the porn-wall are permanently banned. Fool proof? No, but neither is the existing system with Apple constantly under fire for its decisions to pass or block apps.

My advice: put automatic checks in place for malware and trust your developers until they screw it up. You can also imagine a crowdsourced moderation system after the publication of the app. A model based on trust may not work but at least it would give Inte’s AppUp a differentiating factor compared to the leading stores.

By the way, if you are developing a sync application, port it to Meego and enter the contest for Best App to Stay in Sync at Intel AppUp(SM) developer program.

Turn your next marketing campaign an “expression campaign”

A very good piece of advice from Coca-Cola’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, shifting from measuring consumer’s expressions instead of impressions.

  • Accept that consumers can generate more messages than you ever could
  • Develop content that is “Liquid and Linked”
  • Accept that you don’t own your brands; your consumers do
  • Build a process that shares successes and failures quickly throughout your company
  • Be a facilitator who manages communities, not a director who tries to control them
  • Speak up to set the record straight, but give your fans a chance to do so first

With the ambitious objective to double its business by 2020, Coca-Cola’s leaders know that they can only reach it leveraging its powerful community.

I wouldn’t work as community manager for Coca-Cola but if you have ambitious business and marketing objectives this is the way to go.

Read the full Coca-Cola Marketing Shifts from Impressions to Expressions – Joe Tripodi – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.

Companies and governments join forces to hassle motorists

Continuing yesterday’s theme about privacy and the relationship between governments and companies,  here is another warning sign that citizens should trust neither. The AD reported:

Satellite navigation system maker TomTom indirectly sells details of motorists’ driving behaviour to the police for use in determining where speed traps should be placed,

The role of police should be that of patrolling the streets to prevent people from speeding. But patrols are expensive and it’s much more efficient to hide speed traps and send hundreds of tickets directly in driver’s mailbox. Who cares if the speeder will cause an accident only a few km after being photographed at 180km/h. It’s awful. Technology is increasingly used to control our lifes, but I agree with my fellow Americans that the most scary threats to privacy come from governments, and that corporations are a secondary threat.

via DutchNews.nl – Satnav maker TomTom ‘helps’ police set speed traps (update).

Perception of privacy in Europe and USA

Discussing with one of Google’s lawyers  about the different perceptions of privacy in Europe and in USA, he was puzzled that European politicians and people always say that for them privacy is very important and they want it protected from “evil corporations”. The somewhat rational explanation that Google gets is that the memory of oppressive regimes (the nazi/fascism and later the communists) is still clear in people’s minds. This should explain why so many Europeans get upset when a corporation stores a picture of the facades of their homes.

But, he asked me, why do Europeans trust the governments that in recent past turned against them and keep giving them huge amount of personal data but don’t trust the corporations?  It’s not rational, he commented.

I think the main reason why Europeans people (still) trust governments is that both share the same cultural background: governments know how to persuade, mediate and communicate directly to their people and spin the most awful controlling measures into ‘good things’. Think of the Telecamera Amica (the ‘friendly camera’) in Florence: every corner of the city has these surveillance devices. It’s a videocamera but it’s not a friend. The city marketed as a security/prevention system, people feel better but as a result they get just more traffic tickets. Another horrible example is the Data Retention Directive, defined as “the most privacy-invasive instrument” by the European Data Protector Supervisor.

My short answer is that it would probably be more effective not to treat the perception of privacy as a rational/irrational issue. I would approach this more with the tools of marketing and diplomacy than with those of the law, working on improving the perception of Google and its tools within European people. For example, increase the visibility of projects like dataportability.org, be a champion of transparency. And, if possible, loosen up the image of the big colonizer corporation from Silicon Valley and be more humble, mingle as a European company.

Things I said on 2011-04-24

Google’s Scribe is a good improv actor

I took improv classes to improve my ‘soft skills‘ and the first thing I noticed playing with Google is that it would make a wonderful member of an ensemble. I started the game by setting the scene writing “My friend is a pe” and hit SPACE. And I kept hitting space. The story develops under your eyes effortlessy and all you have to do is to ‘keep the scene hot’ and ‘say: yes and’ hitting space 🙂

Hours and hours of entertainment.