Monthly Archives: September 2008

Tweeting the Debates

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I love Twitter’s new features – especially the ability to see one subject consolidated in a stream.  Tonight, there were several Twitter channels dedicated to the Presidential Debate.  The discussions were quite lively – it was almost like having thousands of people in your living room watching the debate at one time.  

The TV channel Current ran a program called “Hack the Debate” which posted various tweets at the bottom of the screen during the live debate.  You were able to participate with the debate – extremely interactive.  

More on this later.

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Did Windows Kill the Mac Campaigns?

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Microsoft launched its new Windows advertising campaigns with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld talking about nothing.  Many Microsoft supporters said that the ad was to prove that Windows users are just as smart and witty (if not more so) than Apple users.  But it seems that the ads were just the “WTF?” pre-cursor to the heavy-hitting “I’m a PC” roll-out.

In the third installment of the $300 million campaign, Microsoft finally gets to the point with its “I’m a PC” ad.  The commercial is smart – a perfect rebuttal to the long-running Apple campaign.  But, my real question is, “did this new commercial kill the current Apple campaign?”  The PC from the Apple commercials – real name, Sean – appears in the “I’m a PC” commercial for Windows.  He can’t possibly appear in both moving forward, right?  He’s an integral part of the Apple campaign, but he can’t make fun of Vista and then appear in a Windows commercial talking about how great it is….right?!?  I feel just as confused as when I saw Carey Hart in the new Pink video where she calls him a tool and pokes fun at their divorce.  

If this is the case, and Windows was able to woo Sean away, then I must say that is genius.  As much as I absolutely love the Apple commercials, this is a very quick way for Microsoft to squash the Apple campaign and it gives them time to undo some of the brand damage.  The “I’m a PC” commercial (which can now be seen at http://windows.com) is a very classy way for Microsoft to finally voice themselves after such a long silence.

Oh, this could be the end of an era.  I’m anxiously awaiting Apple’s next move.

And, just in case you were wondering – I’m a hybrid; a PC at work and a Mac at home.

***UPDATE***

Matthew is correct – as always.  The gentleman in the Microsoft commercial is a look-alike.  Great rebuttal, though!

Hello! I’m back!

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Wow!  The past month has been crazy!  We had our 2008 Global Analyst Day event last week.  It was wonderful!  We had 38 analysts, 12 TPAs (third-party advisors), 4 clients, and about 60 total Perot Systems associates participating.  Overall, I must say, it was a complete success!  However, the past month has had me running crazy, and unfortunately, neglecting my blog.

So, let me say – hello!  I’m back!

Gustav Twitters?!?

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First, let me say, I am so thankful that we did not have a repeat of Hurricane Katrina yesterday.  Our thoughts and prayers are still with those in the southern Gulf states.

I was shocked – and happily suprised – to see the role that social media played in the Hurricane Gustav disaster preparation.  Based on the wiki created after Hurricane Katrina, Andy Carvin, of NPR, established a social community on Ning that became The Hurricane Information Center.  It did a wonderful job with weather maps, evacuation centers and routes, and linking people and information. 

There was also an official Gustav wiki which had live news feeds from CNN and MSNBC, and included ham radio communications for those who lost internet connections. 

Several Twitter accounts were established, including GustavAlerts, GustavNews and GustavBlogs.  The Red Cross set up the Safe and Well list so family and friends could search those that had registered themselves as “safe and well.”  Cerado Ventana created a mobile resource guide for those to access on their mobile phones.

Rock the Vote

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The Rock the Vote website says that there are 44 million eligible young voters for this year’s election.  In 2004, 20.1 million voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old turned out to vote.

Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are using social media to appeal to a larger demographic.  Both have launched Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as Facebook applications.  McCain and Obama have also each launched their own social community sites – my.barackobama.com and mccainspace.com. Many people question why they would launch their own communities when Facebook and MySpace exist, but I’m sure they did so to 1) collect more information about their community users and 2) better control the messaging and format of the site.

The interesting question is whether the online “friends” of these candidates are any indication of how the election will turn out in November.  Here is a few stats (as of September 1, 2008):

These numbers are changing by the hour – especially now that both candidates have announced their running mates.

What do you think? Are these any indication of future votes?

Where vs. Nearby vs. Yelp

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I downloaded the Where, Nearby and Yelp applications for my iPhone…they had different descriptions, but ended up having some similar features.  Here’s the run-down on these three apps:

Where, by ULocate Communications, lets you search

  • Restaurants on Yelp (I love when apps are integrated)
    Where

    Where

     

  • Nearest Starbucks location
  • Cheapest gas through GasBuddy
  • Nearby Zipcar location (I’m not in a Zipcar market, though…so, local rail, bus or subway would have been better)
  • Where your friends are through BuddyBeacon (which can be integrated with Facebook)
Nearby, by Platial, let’s you search:
  • Location-based notes, pics and sotries
  • Street art, parks and restaurant reviews
  • Popular places around your current location
  • Platial geobits – from foods and the arts, to activism and history
  • Add stories, photos and leave virtual notes
Yelp, let’s you search:
  • Local restaurants, bars, cafes, banks, gas stations, drugstores and more
  • Narrow your search by neighborhood, distance, price and what’s open
  • Browse reviews
Nearby

Nearby

Interestingly enough, Where markets itself as a navigation application but Nearby and Yelp classifies themselves as a lifestyle (or social community) application.  One of the downfalls of Nearby, though, is that it doesn’t yet have enough participation to offer enough suggestions in certain areas. 

Where and Nearby are map-based applications – both are relatively accurate and load quickly.  Where has a much more usable interface with a scroll bar on the bottom which allows you to search for items much easier.  Yelp, however offers a listing of locations as default with a map option.  One benefit of the Yelp list is that I don’t have to drag a map around in order to find locations close to me.  All three integrate with iPhone in order to place a phone call to the business or map directions easily.

Nearby’s website shows much more promise than its mobile application.  When I first launched the app on my iPhone, all locations (which weren’t many) loaded as blue squares.  I had to click on each one to read the name and review.  On the web however, I was able to see the legend for each classification (restaurants, hotels, etc.)…I guess many users in my area just aren’t classifying the locations they’re entering.

Nearby has possibility, but they will need to evaluate how to compete against apps such as Where and Yelp – both of which have a large user base with incorporated feedback.  I understand that they don’t just want to be a map search, but a community-based app…but, they may need more to draw people in.

Yelp

Yelp

Yelp’s website offers much more than it’s mobile interface at this time – from pet services, to shopping to real estate.  You can get to the website via mobile.yelp.com on any mobile phone.  Yelp’s website reminded me of a much more updated Craig’s List, in that you can find just about anything in your metropolitan area and there is quite a large user base.

I really like Where’s interface.  I’ll be anxiously waiting future updates – as I recommended, bus stations, subway stations, and hotels would be nice icons to incorporate on the scroll bar.  And, in case you don’t have an iPhone, Where is available on most major carriers for Nokia and Blackberry phones as well.

I’m still not sure that there is enough differentiation to download all three of these applications – although they are all free.  If you are a consumer business, however, I think it’s important to make sure that your business is loaded into all three.