March 14, 2011

#SXSWi Session Notes: Felicia Day, Monday Keynote

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:59 pm

These are my raw notes from this session.

On the web, you have to be more targeted. You can’t target everyone on the web.

Social media was integral to growing the audience.

Personality really does drive more on the web, rather than a product brand.

Online personalities on YouTube are getting a ton of hits because people emotionally connect to the people and the personalities.

On Twitter, it is about timing: people will see it in 10 minutes or not at all. So, doing it multiple times is important. Knows what her click through rate will be. Knows that RT will amplify in crazy ways.

Fly by the cuff and by emotion a lot, but feels like it serves her well because there is a psychology and humanity to it.

Dragon Age had a strategic launch strategy. Asked people to RT and felt like she was asking her friends.

The Guild was new in tech and media.

The way we think about what is mainstream is going to change. What is mainstream now?

After season one, got a lot of offers from studios, but did the first season all by themselves and sold a DVD when it was over basically to pay for it and burned all 4000 DVDs themselves in her kitchen. Now have a dream partnership with Sprint and Microsoft. Still retain ownership and still do it in her house.

The sponsorship middle is one that is not mainstream yet, but makes a lot of strategic sense for a brand. Take the sponsorship trust to heart, and don’t put something out there that they won’t be proud of.

On her rabid fan base: she appreciate and am honored by the fact that people like what I do.

Dragon Age wanted to make something that gamers would love. When she met with the Dragon Age people said she knew the game better than they did and really let me run with it because she was faithful to the brand.

It is okay to be willing to fail and learn from that and get better.

Everything she does is reflective of who she is.

Website Two Filter that reviews web series.

Are Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers going to replace Q Scores as metrics for celebrity influence.

You can be who you want on the Internet. You don’t have to judge someone by how they look, which is another great thing about gaming.

Still very grassroots. Just Felicia and Kim and sometimes they hire someone to help occasionally. No office.

Want to stay on the web. Not trying to use the web as a springboard to traditional.

#SXSWi Session Notes: Enabling New Experiences and Creating Serendipity Through Check-ins

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 12:30 pm

These are my raw notes from this session.

Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, interviewed by Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.

Crowley crowned the mayor of SXSW.

Announcement: lightened up API limits to allow people to build things for themselves. Taking venue IDs from a bunch of different providers.

Foursquare 3.0: Check-ins are more interesting in the archived history sets. recycling your data and giving it back to you in the form of recommendations. Game mechanics that encourage you to do more interesting things. The core piece of data gets really interesting when you look back.

Facebook Places integration, not opposed to it, there is just not a demand for it.

Want to build the tools that bridge the gap between what you see online and what you experience in the real world.

Competitors are everyone. Specifically, the big players because Foursquare has grown up, like Google and Facebook.

Build something that makes people’s lives more interesting.

Group messaging really the break out for SXSW 2011. SMS has never had a “reply all” or cc function, these apps fix that. Like GroupMe.

Last round of funding was in June 2010. Focused on putting the product and vision in the best hands possible. Right now, it is the team that they have in place.

Have 7.5 million users. 250,000 merchants are using the merchants system.

Dennis Crowley is 34 years old.

Business model is the stuff they are doing with merchants. Just launched a new specials products. Does it put them in competition with Groupon? Groupon is driving new customer. Foursquare is driving customer loyalty.

Not convinced that people want the coupon pushed go your pocket when you walk pastor. More interested in having a message push to your pocket that says this the coffee shop that Alex is always talking about. They want recommendations running in the background rather than the coupons or promotions running in the background.

Want to make it fun and playful, want game mechanics, want recommendations.

Apps on top of the Foursquare API: using places database, pushing checkins back into Foursquare, health department database on top so when you check in, you get a push message telling you its rating.

Plan 12-18 months out. Don’t want to plan too far in advance because you acne predict the technology.

NFC is being considered. QR code to check in.

Haven’t done tablet stuff yet because it is hard enough keeping up with the Blackberry and iPhone and Android.

Worked with over 200 brands to create branded pages and badges. Trying to figure out how to work with brands outside of retail locations. History Channel example, Foursquare can become a lens.

Foursquare is coming at the check in differently than Gowalla. Foursquare is looking at it from a bigger approach with merchants. Recognizes the design of Gowalla is prettier.

Crowd sourcing data.

Foursquare ambassador program.

50 people in the company, 40 people came to SXSW.

#SXSWi Session Notes: Games: Tools for Mass Communication

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 10:55 am

These are my raw notes from this session.

GameSalad: building games for beginners.

The Storymaker. Bar Karma iPhone app. Could potentially give you your start in writing television. Real production team, idea inception from users.

TransMedia is the hot word of this session.

Interactive vs. Linear media. Linear media industrialized. With computers, we can distribute games as easily as tweets. You have the ability to provide an interactive simulation through experience.

Games allow people to engage in a story. You are an active participant in telling the story. Users are not passively consuming. Have the chance to explore an idea.

There is going to be gameification of traditional media, like TV.

The quality of conversation improves when you ad the interactive element.

Scientific-based games for education and contributing to something bigger than the player. Example given was RNA development game, once reach a certain point level, get to enter the lab and be part of the crowdsourced project with the RNA strand actualy gets created.

(Doesn’t everyone know who invented the game Pong? Duh. This will probably be my last gaming session.)

Access to the creation tools and access to the games themselves are incredible. It is instant. Accessibility.

(The interactive television piece of this panel is probably the most interesting aspect.)

Create places where people can create and have discussions and engage, even if it is. In a simulated environment. As long as you empower people to talk to to each other across barriers, games allow this.

Man that is working on revolutionizing education through games like PBS did through television. Using GameSalad to build the game and is a finalist in Obama’s competition.

Games can be used in a positive way, it just depends on the people that are wielding that power. In the past, games were consisted a pastime for children, a time wasted. It is time to move past that.

Games are a fantastic teaching tools. Interactivity is a better teaching tool than passive learning.

In games there is a danger that developers/designers use the games to move forward their own agenda and use them as propaganda rather than letting the user learn for themselves. Example of this is rewarding points for how you think they should go.

Pick something that you are passionate about and make a game about it. You can tell your story and encourage engagement from other people.

The root of all problems is lack of communication.

Hess gas station made a game and it is awesome. Don’t know why they made it, but is fun to play and respect them more because they did.

The games apocalypse. Getting points every time you get a coffee at Starbucks. Get points for brushing your teeth as a child. Positive reinforcement. Are games an abusive substance? In Korea, kids forgetting to eat because the sensory pleasure they receive is greater than those they get with eating. Get points, get recognition among friends, etc.

Should games be treated as a controlled substance?

Hold people accountable for what they are posting.


Opportunities for corporate positive PR by creating games that show how to make a positive impact and education.

#SXSWi Session Notes: How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 9:30 am

These are my raw notes from this session.

#seenocreepy Twitter hashtag

Foursquare 3.0 launch on Wednesday. Explorer takes all the Foursquare data recycled to help you decide what to do.

Washington Post new website called Trove launching in a couple of weeks. Customized aggregation model.

BizGreet has ads that changed based on who you are. Relevant advertising.

Privacy researcher at UC Berkley looks at how to not invade privacy barriers. is a website that personalizes. It predicts what you will like based on what you already like. Netflix for everything.

Life is goo short to see a generic website. Your attention and time is worth something, so the purpose of personalization is to give you something more relevant and better use of your time.

Do users have more control over their data? There needs to be clear and upfront information to the users so they understand how that information is gathered and ultimately used. Setting clear expectations.

People have a long tail of interests and no one publisher can meet all the needs of everyone.

People don’t read privacy policies and they definitely don’t read the changes along the way. Designers need to take this back from the lawyers.

Marketers are getting too excited about trying to get intimate with their consumers too fast.

Trust is something that is very fleeting and hard to gain back once it is violated.

Users don’t understand what is going on behind the scenes. Foursquare is pretty straightforward. But the confusing piece of it are the sites that track you with cookies across the web. People have no idea how that works; it is incredibly confusing.

Is it more important to have an opt-in on the front end more explicit or should we be really railing against those companies that make it incredibly difficult to opt-out?

Opt-in is an opportunity to up-sell and explain the benefits.

Social Code is an incubation project at Washington Post that works on Facebook advertising.

Difference between customization and personalization. Personalization takes information to drive information experiences in a different way. Customization is about the user clicking a checkbox.

Ideally, we don’t want to be surveilling your customers. Don’t keep such a detailed database on your customers that reveal things about your customers that they didn’t want revealed. Otherwise you could become the greatest treasure trove for divorce lawyers.

Creepy and embarrassment are on the same level. Violate human social protocols that are implicit.

It is up to the designers to anticipate creepy situations like liking hemorrhoid cream.

Just because your user gave your permission today, does not mean that they have given you permission to have that sat a and use it five years from now.

Exporting your private tastes to the public world is the rub with consumers. They are fine with announcing their tastes to their friends.

Google “ad preferences” and Google will tell you what they think you are interested in and you can make some choices there. There was recently a WSJ article about the ad re-targeting.

The question of human dignity is the “harm.”

Can’t be faceless.

Worry about the loss of serendipity. But you are discovering a lot of things that you would otherwise not have encountered. And there will still be serendipity because you can’t catch everything that is being thrown out at you. Has the definition of serendipity changed?

Sometimes you want to find something that none of your friends know about son you can be the one that discovers it.

#SXSWi 2011 Day 3 Experience

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 5:57 am

The hump day of the SXSW conference is now complete; three days down, two to go. As an added bonus to the exhaustive schedule of SXSW, today we lost an hour with daylight savings time.

A few general observations:

  • Today’s themes were community and online user experience.
  • SXSW is also known as “spring break for geeks.”  This means that there is a lot of drinking and a lot of parties.  Which also means that the 9:30 AM sessions are generally quiet and the lines at the coffee bars are generally short early in the morning.  Being a morning person, I like this.
  • I feel a little starstruck when I am in a session with a panel of people that I follow on Twitter but have never met in person.  They are like mini celebrities in geek world.
  • I am getting old.  Carrying around a heavy bag all day yesterday meant that I was so sore I could barely get out of bed this morning.  This is not the reason that other people could barely get out of bed this morning (see first bullet).
  • My iPad battery and iPhone battery lasted all day with power to spare.  Tomorrow my bag will be even lighter minus the power cord.  Hopefully each day my load will get lighter.
  • I need photography lessons.

Today, I covered the following sessions:

  • Decision Trees: YouTube’s New Breed of Interactive Storytellers
  • Designing iPad Interfaces
  • Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned from the 3six5 Project
  • Christopher Poole of 4chan, Sunday Keynote
  • Haters Gonna Hate: Lessons for Advertisers from 4chan
  • Jeffery Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel

I posted my raw notes from each session to this blog, but here are my key takeaways and summaries from each.

Decision Trees: YouTube’s New Breed of Interactive Storytellers

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: You can do some really cool things with video, using tools that YouTube provides like “annotations” and create an interactive experience from what used to be the passive experience of just watching a video.

Here are some examples produced by the panelists:

American Idol Interactive Experience

Green Eyed World (Sprite Sponsorship)

Gaming invaded a session that I had no idea was going to be about gaming. Gameification is part of everything this year.

Designing iPad Interfaces

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: iPad navigation should give the users cues as to its use: (1) relatable –hint at real world physical experiences (website-like navigation, physical spaces), (2) discoverable — suggest the desired interaction (grids, carousels) or (3) learnable — providing instructions/guides for use.

Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned from the 3six5 Project

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: Crowdsourcing gives a voice to those who might not have had the opportunities to be heard before, which can be very rewarding for those that manage the project.  Crowdsourcing requires the management of large groups of people which can be time intensive and challenging for those that manage the project.

The 3six5 Project was a crowdsourced lifestreaming project with the idea that each day a journal entry was contributed by a different person.  The panelists talked about the challenges and rewards of an online crowdsourced project such as the 3six5, Six Items or Less and Victors & Spoils.

Christopher Poole of 4chan, Sunday Keynote

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: People need community and can do creative, good, fun things when they come together, even anonymously.

4chan is a very simple image board where people can post images they create for others to pick up and use as they want.  There is no archive, there is no search and there is no registration.  If the community doesn’t like the image, the image falls off the stream.  If the community likes the image, it stays in the stream longer.  Most internet memes have originated on 4chan.

Haters Gonna Hate: Lesson for Advertisers from 4chan

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: People are remixing, playing with and editing our brands on their own, whether we want or allow or not; using 4chan as a metaphor for community dynamics in general can teach us what happens when the community takes over.

We can learn community behaviors from the 4chan community to prepare for the things that happen when our brands become “owned” by the communities.  This includes shows of support, expressions of dislike, disruptions, establishment of rules and how much we can ask our communities to do.

Quote of the session: “If you are not getting the views that you want, then consumers are telling you that you are not culturally relevant.”

Jeffery Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes for this session.

Key takeaway: Design with the end user/use in mind.

Designers/developers are guilty of developing for themselves rather than the end user.

Day three is complete.  I am exhausted already.  More coverage to come tomorrow.

March 13, 2011

#SXSWi Session Notes: Jeffery Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 4:59 pm

These are my raw notes from this session.

We choose how to experience a site/app based on the tool we use: iPad, iPhone, Chrome, etc.

But, have to think about how the end user will experience it. They are technology agnostic. They don’t want to think about how it looks in Firefox vs. Chrome.

Creators need to continue thinking about the end user., open source. Write once, publish everywhere.

Algorithms, JavaScript, HTML 5, Flash. (I am in a very large room full if developers.)

A print designer has total tyranny over the page. The reader can’t escape. On the web, the user can and wants to consume in a variety of ways.

Content consumption is changing and people will pay for content, buy the pricing model is broken. You used to get a handful of magazines each month, a couple odor books and newspapers. Now you might read 2000 blogs each month. You aren’t going to pull out your credit card 2000 times each month. The business models need to be reinvented.

Readability plug-in. Reformats text on the fly using HTML and JavaScript. And hides the ads. Perhaps Readability and bookmarking tools become subscription based and every time you click, the author gets part of your subscription money.

People love to read on the internet, but it is hard to do with all the flashing ads and columns, etc.

Now asking apps to curate for you because consumers are overwhelmed with tier feeds. But tools like Flipboard need some kind of human editor.

Don’t advertise, create things that remind people that they are human, or create something that they want to use.

Creators need to put the user first. What is the user trying to achieve? Start with mobile? Perhaps.

#SXSWi Session Notes: Haters Gonna Hate: Lessons for Advertisers From 4chan

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 3:08 pm

These are my raw notes from this session.

Speaker is Director of Digital Strategy for Publicis in NY. Describes herself as a b-tard. Taught at Miami Ad School..

4chan is an image board forum. Very old school method if Internet communications. 4chan is anonymous, which is very unusual now. No archives. Very fast moving. If you say something on 4chan and it is not interesting, it will go away. You can’t search for something on 4chan. There a very few rules and it is quite chaotic.

4chan is a high speed microcosm of the world. It is a small strange community that shown us idea spreads.

“Bump” is something people can do on 4chan to show a “like” for the idea posted and keep itinerary the front page longer. Real time response, live critique. This is how brands are treated online right now.

People are remixing, playing with and editing our brands on their own, whether we want or allow or not. That is the crux of this conversation: 4chan show what happens when the community takes over. How can we learn from that and embrace that?

If you are not getting the views that you want, then consumers are telling you that you are not culturally relevant.

When people want to see more, then your campaign is successful. This happened with Old Spice. Real time content creation becomes the need. Agencies and clients are not currently structured this way. It is a huge shift in terms of teams, money and turnaround time.

Microcontent is the answer. Fast, small and sticky. See this happening and FB and YouTube.

When you ask consumers to come co-create with us, chaos can happen. Need to have rules and moderation in place. But how do you deal with that effectively?

A troll is someone who is annoying you because it is funny. For the “LOLs.” Speaker gives free burger giveaway example when fulfillment wasn’t ready to give the burgers. Had built the community big and fast and they started complaining. Need to have a plan for this. TGIFridays.

NYPA = not your personal army. Sometimes we are asking people to do too much. Just because you can ask, doesn’t mean that you should.

How do you get past legal? Get all the people in the room together at the same time so that everyone that has to say yes or no is there and can do it on the spot. Additionally, the legal person would learn and be more likely to approve more.

Brands with lower budgets are better at social media because they are wiling to take more risks. And don’t have another choice.

In measurement, people understand dollars, so the closer you can get it to dollars, the better your chance of getting buy-in. This is usually impressions and sales.

Astro-turfing = the idea of creating a grassroots campaign that is actually fake. If you get caught, you are in trouble.

#SXSWi Session Notes: Sunday Keynote with Christopher Poole

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 1:59 pm

These are my raw notes from this session.

Speaker is founder of 4chan

Started in 2003 as an image sharing community of people who are interested in. Japanese animation.

15,000 people a day browse the random feed.

4chan is anonymous, no registration. Nothing prevents you from contributing. There is no archive, making the content a constant waterfall. So something can poop on the site and pop off quickly. When the community embraces something, it stays up there. Survival of the fittest.

A very creative culture on 4chan. It is an image board. To start a topic, you gave to start with an image. There are about 50 different topic on the site: photography, animation, adult.

Founded 2003. The message board hasn’t gone anywhere in the last 10 years. Looks just like it did years ago. Wanted to re-imagine what the message board can be. 4chan is not going to win any design awards. It is a gatehouse, basic website. What makes it special are people co,ing together and collaborating on comic creation. Riffing back and forth. The process of arriving at that product is really fascinating.

Loss of the innocence of youth with these social profiles that follow you across the web. You can’t start over with each new town, new job, etc. You can’t re-create yourself. If you fail, it stays with you.

Disagrees with Zuckerburg’s opinion that anonymity is cowardly. Instead, it allows you to experiment. At 4chan, people are all judged equally.

4chan has become a place where people come to hang out.

Refrigerator Magnet game, shared experience, community. (like crowdsourcing, sort of)

Recently launched Canvas. Using Facebook Connect for verification, bit still allow for posting anonymously.

People on Canvas are not using Photoshop, which evens the playing field.

Typical community is 90% lurked and 10% contributor. It is more balanced at Canvas because it is way to use.

My Little Pony is really popular on 4chan right now.

Chat doesn’t build durable conversation.

Build a community slowly. Build a community worth scaling.