Archive for February, 2009
I am currently attending the Visual Thinking Conference in San Jose. I wanted to attend the conference because it would force me to expand my skill into this area, but also because I work for an online marketing company where our ability to create visual language was really important.
It has been an amazing experience so far. Unlike other conferences I have attended, it has been a much more interactive experience and not just a bunch of people at the head of the room reading from a power point.
The first day has really got me thinking about the power of a visual, and the emotional and intellectual reaction you can have to it.
Throughout the conference a lot of participants and presenters have mentioned Ted presentations. I am huge fan of Ted and the way the presenters are so engaging and thought provoking.
Yesterday, Tom Wujec of Autodesk talked about the mechanics of Why Visualizations Work. He also share a project they did in conjunction with Ted that very nicely demonstrates the power of images. The video is incredible and worth checking out.
I have used Jing screencasts a few times on my blog to demonstrate a point I was trying to make. I think it is a highly effective way to communicate at very little cost.
While I was doing some exploring for information about Ning, I discovered their library of screencasts. They have a large series of these video and recently did one to unveil new Ning platform enhancements. I thought it was a great way to show the users the things that will be changing on the site and explain them in a more engaging way then just some text and standard screen shows.
I guess it gets back to the kindergarten tactic of ‘Show and Tell’ – I guess our teachers new it was not enough to just see cool stuff, you needed to explain it and bring in a real thing to demonstrate.
What are some other great uses of screen casting that you have seen?
I have been receiving emails from SmartBrief for a couple of years. It is a great source for B2B news aggregation. In November, I signed up for their Entrepreneur email.
It wasn’t until today that I noticed a very clever tactic they are using to get me to read their entire email. You can view my screencast about it.
The subject line of the email is “What’s North Carolina’s Secret?” It peaked my interest, so I opened the email, then I had to scroll all the way to the bottom. The subject line of the email was for a story buried at the bottom of the articles. Note the two sections of the photo highlighted by green boxes (click image for larger view).
SmartBrief had been able to get me to scroll through their emails more than one time without really thinking about it. Generally, I ended up reading other stories along the way.
It is an interesting tactic to NOT lead with your best stuff – kind of like putting milk at the back of the grocery store.
The email also did a great job by providing a mobile version of the email – great targeting because entrepreneurs are on the go and tend to read on their mobile device. On the mobile version, they put an email feedback loop at the top of the page to encourage readers contact them with issue or suggestions. Overall, the email has great content, is using some interesting tactics to get you to read more and providing the target constituent with tools – such as a mobile version – to make it more readable.
Yes, twitter is often a subject of many of the posts. It just seems like there is a new tool once a week that is being launched.
The tool is also becoming the darling of marketing departments. It is true, you can use twitter to drive traffic to your site. The success of that effort can be found by digging those facts out of your analytics package. However, there are a lot of referring sites that provide one or two hits. How does that add up, and stack up against some of your competitors? Sometimes, it is hard to tell.
Twitturly is a service that tries to dig up all of the twitter references to a URL and score it.
For example, the Dahlai Lama recently opened an account on twitter. The news traveled pretty fast. On Twitturly the article about it is one of the top links on Twitter. The full tweet history of the link is available.
As a marketer, Twitturly allows you to post a link, see if there is any traction through RT (sorry – retweet) and determine the type of conversation around it. This capability also allows you to find other tweeters who are interested in the same subjects.
It seems to me that the twitter-sphere of tools keep evolving to answer the same types of things we ask in the offline world such as
- How is talking about me?
- What are my friends doing?
- How popular am I?
- How popular are my friends?
Although these tools are hugely successful, sending a foamee it still is not the same as sitting with them and having a Guinness.