Tag Archives: social media

Press ‘X’ to Add a Friend: Gaming as the New Social Space

There is an event going on that you most likely don’t know about – and you probably wouldn’t care about it if you did.

On the popular social streaming site, Twitch.tv, 50,000 gamers are trying to complete a Gameboy video game from 1998. “Twitch Plays Pokémon” is either an insane experiment, or the next evolution in social media. Thanks to some clever programming, someone has modified a virtual version of Pokémon Red to accept the input commands of over 50,000 simultaneous users. This exercise in group gaming has proven that even the simplest tasks can be nearly impossible when mass coordination is required.

It’s also a unique case study showing one potential future for the social media industry. Can you imagine having 50,000 people spending a week staring at your brand? This is gamification on a massive scale. Each of these users is wholly engaged in their activity. Memes and fan communities numbering in the tens of thousands have sprung up overnight. Gamers who weren’t alive when Pokémon Red was released are following the progress as if it was the latest FOX reality show. Unfortunately for the three brands that stand to profit from this phenomenon – Game Freak, Nintendo, and Twitch – only one is actually seeing any gains. Twitch is seeing active user counts (and ad views) that haven’t been matched since the DotA 2 International Tournament last year.
In fact, if Nintendo knew the stream was happening, they’d likely actively fight to have it shut down.

Of course, it’s easy for game and tech companies to fall into these types of social success. We’ve already written about the ties between social media and console gaming (and those are getting even closer all the time). In the near future, however, it isn’t hard to imagine this kind of gamification extending beyond the Sonys (Sonies?) and Microsofts of the world.

Nearly every social media junkie online is writing about the coming social cataclysm, when the “Big Four” networks fall out of favor and the new icons of social are brought to power. Some believe content curation platforms like Twitch are the future; others turn to niche networks like Wiser and Kaboodle.

There’s only one thing we can agree on: Change is coming, and it’s time for big brands to stop relying on Facebook.

Klout’s Komeback

The last time we wrote about Klout, we criticized (alongside many other outlets) the tool for failing to provide its advertised service. For those of you that missed the first blog, here is a brief synopsis: One of the earliest and longest-lasting challenges of social media is proving ROI – return on investment. Klout sought to solve that problem by creating the ‘Klout Score,’ a number between 1 and 100 that ranks your social media profile based on the supposed influence those profiles have. The biggest fault in this system was in its hyper-dependency on Twitter, and its inability to recognize context. Automated accounts tweeting links to Amazon.com could have the same Klout Score as a major news outlet, as long as they had enough followers.

Klout may have been all but forgotten, until last week, when the social tool everyone loves to hate rose from the grave with a brand new look.

Rebranded as a content-creation platform, Klout now actively seeks ways to improve your content and, by proxy, your Klout Score. Upon logging in to the new platform, users are asked to select a number of pre-defined areas of expertise, which Klout uses to rank and judge your influence. A user with 90 Klout in ‘social media’ and one with 90 Klout in ‘celebrity relationships’ will no longer be considered equally influential. Much more importantly, the tool will use your chosen fields of expertise to provide a newsfeed of relevant and trending content that your audience may be interested in. This gives social media newbies a shortcut to hot links to share, and gives brands an idea of possible conversation topics your consumer followers may want to see you comment on.

Will this complete overhaul be enough to win Klout a fanbase outside of the existing devotees? We think it just might be. Klout is finally delivering on a promise they made years ago: Make social media influence simple. They’re attempting to make it easier to enter the social space, and to find out how brands and users alike can make an impact. That effort – if nothing else – is admirable.

Facebook Friends Startup Company, Branch.

The spinning minds at Facebook in Northern California have officially teamed up with the innovative thinkers at the rapidly growing startup known as Branch, in New York City. Branch is a social startup with a twin site called Potluck. These two sites monitor, engage, connect and ignite unique thought and conversations between users across the social-sphere. The idea of creating and, more importantly, maintaining an intellectual community of users with similar interests is an extremely powerful tool – if you know how to use it.

Facebook currently reports a total of 1.9 billion active monthly users. So where do they go from here? What service do they have planned to continue that growth into the future? Something where users can gain insightful information about their daily lives; be it health, travel, education, world news, politics and local events could be just around the corner. That is what the Branch team intends to do following Facebook’s supposed 15 million dollar ‘acqui—hire.’ Branch professionals will manage a portion of Facebook centered around developing Facebook’s conversations group, a service aimed at helping people connect based on their interests.

Pushing the envelope one more step, connectivity and topical engagements will go far beyond the best Steakhouse in SoHo or how to stay gluten free. These particular engagements could become a forum where community managers can enter the social sphere and really learn how their product or service is being taken in by the average person.

The doors have opened for “users to connect, and engage in meaningful exchanges based on interests”, according to Branch co-founder, Josh Miller. While on vacation in Japan, Josh received word that the news would be released during his trip and so he did what anyone else would do, proving exactly why he made the acquisition deal that he did… he updated his Facebook status.

Facebook Status

Another Link on the Chain of Engagement

LinkedIn has long focused on bringing together professionals of all levels, from CEO’s to interns. The network has been a place for people to connect but connections were historically not enough to bring people back to the site on a daily basis. Site views mean opportunities for advertisers. This past quarter LinkedIn only acquired about 23% of its revenue from ads. To expand that, they needed to become a place where people create and consume content. More content would mean more page views, and more page views would help them sell more advertisements. Continue reading

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Video Games and New Social Media 3: The Indie Crowd

Last week, we published a blog explaining the way some larger brands and developers are capitalizing on the connections between social media and the games industry. Of course, any brand with a large enough budget could accomplish much of the same thing. But what about smaller franchises? What about indie developers? How can a small business, with no spare budget, get their work in front of the eyes of millions of gamers?

Let me introduce you to Sips. Continue reading