Thursday, July 26, 2007

Google less

I went to a conference yesterday by the AIIA on marketing predictions. While we started with Peter Williams from Eclipse (Deloitte) giving us a web 2.0 showcase: user-driven content, joy-of-use sites, mash-ups, hacking and good examples of user experience - the second presentation on "how to get google to love your website" left me stumped.
We are entering the "golden age of the networked economy" where users want to have more input and control over content but...

should we have incredibly long lists of search query text at the bottom of our screen and change the wording on our sites to bad English because Google says so (cos it makes us come up on Google searches?)I dont think so! Feels like a search engine dictating how i look at sites? I don't want to see back end stuff on the front, even it it is marketing spiel.

The more I use web2.0 the less I google. As much as I love it, I also love tagging and find half the stuff I need using social bookmarking, twitter and blogs. I would prefer to visit a site recommended by others, than a site recommended by the site-creators.

Maybe soon Google will have a 3rd search option.
Search: tagged content

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Virtual Value

Virtual Value

Are businesses making the most of their Secondlife investments? Maybe not.

Firstly, you might have seen some press flying around about a hotel chain discontinuing their Secondlife investment and donating its’ “land” for charitable purposes, and more about Secondlife user numbers falling over the last month. No surprise really- given the nature in which companies have jumped into this space to get a bit of presence without really considering the interactive and social dynamic of virtual worlds (or interactive media for that matter.)

One major failing I can identify is the precise replication of one business and economy metaphor into another without consideration of the technological advantages. Secondlife, as many are aware, is not yet stable enough to support users as a complete v-business web experience, and technology is still catching up with the demands of the user. Retail stores who tried to replicate their shopping experience on the web ten years ago are doing the same again now. Have they forgotten the reasons why that experience does not work as well? Ok there is the bandwith issue, but how does a user want to look at the product when shopping? The advantage of online shopping in this retail example, is the ability to have a cart, use previous lists, do quick searches for items and all the other perks of online shopping. When you use technology well – you consider the advantages and how that might benefit the business and customer demands.

So what are some of the advantages in virtual worlds like Secondlife? People want to interact, be entertained, create, learn, converse, discover, play, experience, roam, teleport, fly, engage, communicate and even escape. Who wants to escape to an online supermarket for entertainment? Not me!!

Some of the better examples of Secondlife places using the interactive social dynamic include, Comcastic island, the Alpine Conference Centre, IBM’s SOA Island, and even Coca-Cola who recently had a machinama competition with Crayon Marketing.

Next time your customer asks you about ways to use Virtual Worlds – think about the way users engage and the business opportunities therein.

  • Speaking to Harley Davidson? What about making well branded virtual bikes, giving them away at the popular and Noob (new user) areas and embedding links to your online store?
  • Talking to an insurance company? What about putting billboards up in the Freebie areas (such as Coldwell Banker is doing) handing out free wearables, or creating a ride in one of the many playgrounds?
  • What is a new and unusual way to use the medium – like IBM did with Wimbledon and the real world ‘hawkeye’ ball tracking data?
  • Your customer has globally disconnected teams? Set up team building exercises at the beginning of a project as part of the project ramp-up with thematic visual cues for retention and gameplay as a way of connecting.
  • Need to challenge some workforce diversity issues? Create a simulation using objects with scripting (like the Schizophrenia simulation)!
  • Onboarding staff? Get staff to take a cruise around the different areas of your business, set up a landscape metaphor…and that is just the tip of the iceberg, I am sure there are plenty of better uses…

Why are people making so many houses and business centres that are fast becoming empty while the nightclubs, beaches and experiential islands flourish with social networking? Lets think outside the square – and tell me about your favourite places or ideas…!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Moving Pictures

You may have seen this already
but are you inspired?

virtual charity

Time to start a public blog!

I'm loving emerging technologies right now,virtual worlds and web 2.0(but hey, why version it?)
We are on the verge of something big - "a mixed reality perfect storm" .Although there seems to be a lot of toe-dipping and not so clever attempts to replicate business models into this medium, I think the possibilities are enormous and gaming culture will be a huge influencer on the future of the web & v-business. I am fascinated in the potential social and learning applications. Its great to be a part of it.

I have seen some good examples of philanthropic use of secondlife by the Global Kids Digital Media Initiative in NY, who made a machinama about child soldiers in Africa - incidentally I am raising funds this month along with some friends for rescued child soldiers - email me if you want an angel bookmark for $10 (au)!!

These kids have done some great work. They love feedback on their blog.

And of course there have been many places I have come across in SL raising money for cancer, reforestation and others.
I would love to know about other social applications of secondlife and other virtual worlds - please share your ideas! And thanks for stopping by!