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Twitter has inspired everything. It's changed the way people communicate. It's become a marketing platform. It's become a direct marketing channel. It's lent credence to the notion "conversations" can actually occur between a brand and a person. And...it's given us Oprah whether we like it or not. So why not a road trip? Or, rather, a Roadtwip.
Oh yes. Much like iPhone's "there's an app for that," there's an app for anything and everything you want to do with Twitter. Why not a road trip app? OK so Roadtwip isn't actually an app, rather a physical road trip during which three people hop in a car and, for two weeks, traverse the country "seeking the emerging future for a new America."
"When presented with bold new ideas, people reference what they know more than what they can conceive."
Senior Director Michael Perman of Levi's passed us oranges, recounted memories of his dad and deluged us with blue-jean trivia in an ad:tech sesh entitled "The Power of Storytelling."
See snippets of tweet coverage. It's apt that Levi's give us the skinny on storytelling's underrated appeal, given that its capacity to spin tales has beguiled us for years. Anyway, here's some videographic deja vu.
Ogilvy Vice Chairman Steve Hayden conducted a keynote titled "Fear, Love and Advertising" at ad:tech SF last week. I livetweeted it; you can see some of the tweetage here.
Hayden kicked off by explaining the premise behind his talk: in this dire economic clime, when everybody's castrating their own creativity, he hopes to encourage the industry to shelf their fears in favour of a little (well-informed) wonder.
He woke the muse by blasting us with iconic ads, like the Apple Newton stuff and "True Colors" from Dove's Real Women campaign.
Then he gave us a long, colourful explanation of a hexagon he calls Hayden's Mandala -- a complex (and yet simple!) cycle of everything a person/brand goes through when facing a major growth trajectory or change. Here's a video snapshot of that:
Then Hayden did something I've never seen a keynoter do before: he passed the floor to people whose products he thinks will change the media environment. I was awestruck, and only more so when I saw what came next.
The stuff that comes out after an interview is sometimes just as good as what you get during. After our audiovisual taste of the future of HootSuite (and a power-fail story about ZipCar), founder Ryan Holmes of Invoke Media and publisher Krista Neher of The Marketess riffed on the photo storage merits of Facebook and flickr.
Compelling factoid: while it may be true that flickr hosts over three million photos, the unlikely Facebook totally pwns that figure. As of October 2008 Facebook became the largest online photo storage site -- clocking over 10 billion pics and counting.
Obviously there are big differences between the sites. Krista argues that flickr's too public for comfort, and people are more inclined to curate personal images in a space where they can control who sees what. (Apropos to that, I like how Ryan murmurs, "...stalker" at :22.)
How has social networking changed online photo storage and personal life-whoring in general? What's coming? We contemplate these questions and others while I clutch a digicam with one hand and macaroon-gorge with the other.
"Hey Steve, what's up. Nah, just wanted to give you a heads-up on where I'm at before you guys get back. Trying to finish up a Werther's Caramel House Party thing. No, yeah, the grandfather chocolate
people. From like the 80s, yeah. They're doing some kind of house party
chocolate women thing this Saturday. No, just like housewives and shit for a girls' night in, but yeah, strippers and hot caramel takes it places too. Huh? About 15,000 people signed up so far.
Amielle Lake is the CEO of Tagga, a Vancouver-based company that helps agencies add a strategic mobile component to their campaigns. (Think broad SMS efforts, mobile websites, etc).
The service -- currently live in Canada and the US -- includes reporting and dashboard management, and payment models are flexy.
We sat down yesterday to talk about Tagga in a video interview. As luck would have it, I ended up gleaning a lot more than I expected. Amielle tells this great story about Tagga's birth and the state of agencies at that time; it also turns out she worked in mining and knows French cheese like this. (*crosses fingers*)
Funny what you can find out when the pressure's on (ad:tech was ending, hence the skulky suited man in the BG) and you know your first take MUST be perfect (I don't know how to use my video editing software. But you probably guessed that).
Compulsive Twitterers can hit the Follow button at: @tagga and @amiellel.
Forget, for a second, about the vacuumy cafe noises and the girl with the crutches in the background. The weather is pretty, Schoggi is cozy and we have pistachio and rosewater macaroons.
Fun fact: Founder/CEO Ryan Holmes of Invoke Media, parent company of HootSuite, has never had a macaroon before. When I ordered them at the register, he asked if they were "Asian hamburgers." And then I died.
Notes on this video:
1. HootSuite is one of the cooler tools available to marketers on Twitter right now. It has a proprietary URL shortening feature (ow.ly) with a built-in ad and revenue sharing model. HootSuite can also manage multiple accounts at once.
An update, slated for the near future, will boast still more features and turn the HootSuite UI into a cross between Firefox (with tabs!) and TweetDeck. Yeah, that sounds scary, but Ryan assures me they've got good info architecture/usability peeps back at Invoke.
I believe everything he says. EVERYTHING.
It's impossible to get work done in the ad:tech SF press room, and this is one of the reasons why. Witness while Krista Neher (The Marketess) tries telling an Extremely Boring Traveling-to-ad:tech Story. And Larry Chiang of Duck9 tries detracting her with tantric massage.
Then they reflect on their recent Jedi marketing battle and how they couldn't have been SO DAMN AWESOME! without each other.
Be advised: there are bad words, and this video is of no practical value whatsoever. Although Krista does lend valuable insight on how to get out of speeding tickets in Toronto.
This casual ad:tech SF press room convo takes place between Brent Terrazas of Everything's Better with Brentter, Krista Neher of The Marketess and Larry Chiang.
Larry runs a company called Duck9, which helps college kids improve their FICO scores. He also explains the premise behind (read: plugs the living dickens out of) his BusinessWeek column, What They Don't Teach You At Stanford Business School.
Krista, never one to resist an opp to antagonize, loudly observes Larry never actually went to business school.
Witness with awe how a (too) smooth operator eases out of that snagglety-snaggle.
Shortly after his keynote at ad:tech San Francisco -- and David Spark's timely pre-talk grab -- founder Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia sat down with me to talk shop.
Expect to hear his dish on where consumer generated media is now and why brands should dive in (as well as where). We also talked about what-in-hell happened with Wikia, why branding's underrated, and what keeps Wikipedia afloat. (It ain't advertising.)