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August 5, 2008

The next 5,000 days of the web

TED never ceases to have great talks.

August 3, 2008

Blogging is Addictive


With blogs becoming a regular part of digital marketing I thought I'd share my opinon on what goes on in the mind of a blogger. If you're selling drugs its good to know what goes through a junkies mind and the same can be said for bloggers.

There's plenty of blog posts about blogging being addictive (here, here, here and here).
But there's not much about the WHY and what drives a blogger to spend the wee hours posting and reading.

Here's my take on the topic. This also applies to Video Blogging on Youtube. People who read blogs are different. They are just addicted to the web.

1: Getting Your Voice Heard:
Blogging becomes more addictive the bigger your audience becomes. You feel that what you say will be heard by hundreds if not thousands of people. This is a big deal for people that usualy don't get their opinon heard by anyone but their parents.

This is why I'm posting this here and not my personal blog.

2: Stats:
Most people wouldn't call themselves stat junkies or even care about numbers. But look at Facebook and you'll see that quantifying your friends is something akin to collecting all the Pokemon, gotta get them all. Blog stats give you even more data and thus becomes more addictive.

We did a small site back in 2002 for a 2 people design agency and the client constantly checked his stats. He even sent emails to friends announcing it and waited for the graph to rise. I recently spoke to a photographer friend that had to delete his photos off Flickr after constantly checking his stats and comments a few times per hour. When no one commented on a new photo he became anxious. He coudln't handle the stress the addiction caused.

"Ohh 15 people today read my blog! Oh.... and one persn from Turkey maybe I can stay there. How exciting. I better post again!"

3: Doogie Howser:
Remember when Doogie Howser used to blog at the end of every episode? People want to keep a journal of their life and blogging tools made this easy. No more need for a big thick diary to lug around.

4: A Chance to Become Famous:
People love to increase their chances of becoming famous. They might post something that could become the next big thing. Or maybe they'll just get to crash at someones house in Turkey. That'll save on hotel costs. Or like a lot of bloggers in the marketing industry it's a way to get a better job.

"Oh yeah I blog so that must mean I know that I'm doing. Job going for Head of Strategy? Of course I'm ready for that, I've been blogging since 2006! I'm OG."

5: Free shit or money:
No one will complain if their blog gets huge traffic and makes money, or even just get sent free shit. When the money and free shit starts rolling in you'll become addicted to keeping that level of income and growing it.

"My eCPM is dropping and I don't know what to do."

6: Impress the friends:
Most people want a way to impress their friends. Show social worth. Having a blog is an easy box to tick and a way to seem interesting. That might be cynical but that's why iPhones are so popular too and why using a Mac is better than a PC. Can't afford a BMW or a fancy watch? just blog.

"Oh you don't blog? Well you're missing out. I can show you how sometime."

For me it's a combination of 1 & 2 and some of 5. Toss in a little bit of 4 too. It all started at 3 but that's gone as I hardly blog about me now. I only blog what I'm interested in or mostly stuff I think people will be interested in.

Some people become trolls and just like posting negative comments on blogs. It's their release and is still classified as being addicted to blogging.

Credit for the image above and a simple test to see "How addicted to blogging you are" can be found here.

The fact that blogs are much more of an influential media than the mainstream and that your audience probably reads more blogs now than traditional sites (and may not know it) is proof that blogging is the Fifth Estate or at least the new Fourth Estate.

August 2, 2008

Visualizing your Life (the non self help way)

The more we digitize our lives the easier it is to visualize all the data we produce. Take your music taste for instance. Previously when someone asked what music do you like you'd have to think on the spot. Now thanks to services like Last.FM I can rattle off my top 10 musical artists.

The same goes for video games and Xbox Live. I can claim to be a gamer but checking my gamer tag will reveal that I've hardly finished any games and play infrequenstly.

I can visualize my friends thanks to Facebook's Friend Wheel app.


I can visualize my exercise thanks to Nike+. Well make that I could if I did any or owned a pair of Nikes. Here's someone elses. But if I did take up running I'd only do it with Nike+ as I'd hate to not get the data.


I can visualize my photo taking habits on Flickr.


My broadband at home is graphed.


Sites are popping up all over the place to help you visualize your personal data and social networks.

Take a look at Fidgit and Last Graph and Xobni. I've probably missed another 50.

Here's my music listening trends from my Ipod and Itunes for the last year. You can see where I've been on holidays with the dips.


If someone asked me who my favourite musical artist was I would not have said Beck but it seems he is by a long shot. Here's my Beck listening graphed.


And what about newcomers like Justice (I run a music blog too and I've expanded my musical tastes ten fold lately.


You can even get your tunes as a poster. Here's a crop of what you get.


Here's my email visualized thanks to Xobni. I send more emails at 10pm than I do at 9pm. Weird


I can track my infuence on Technorati and visualize the incoming links to the blog. Sadly my influence is dropping while traffic is increasing. Go figure.


What about brands?
How long before other markets start to bring this form of visualization into their products and normal life.
Imagine an airline that visualized your flight history with them,

  • A fast food chain that tracked your consumption and presented you with a certificate to congratulate your 100th burger.

  • A bar that tracked every drink you consumed.

  • A car that displayed your driving habits, urban vs rural, miles per day, week and month, mpg etc etc. Then when you go to buy a new car you can use that data to choose a car that's right for you.

  • Why doesn't my mobile phone bill look more interesting? Imagine your bill that charted your location and time of day you talk in a sexy graph. I'd be able to make more informed decisions on if I talk off peak or not.

  • A condom manufacturer that tracked your sexual activity.

This one has already been done, without a brand. Bed Posted keeps track of your sexual activity. It's dying for a brand to own this space. (lynx? Or a condom manufacturer) The data alone would be worth a lot to the product teams. Track this app's dev on Twitter.

Pretty much everything in your life generates data. And the more data you have the more informed your decisions can be. For brands gathering this data from users is a valuable business tool.

Amazon knew this and that's why their suggestion engine is so powerful. Nike now knows your running habits and can recommend a new pair of shoes to you after you've done a few hundred miles.

One graphic designer has been charting his life for the last 3 years and produces annual reports based on his life. Beautifully designed and insightful. See 2007 here. The printed version is quite nice.


What else in life or what brand could be enhanced with data visualization?

August 1, 2008

Check out which is a good resource for all things to do with agencies. I also like the Web design Dashboard which has all the links you need in one spot.

July 20, 2008

Eyeblaster Analytics Bulletin


Eyeblaster have launched their Analytics Bulletin with a 2007 Summary. There are lots of chunky stats and graphs to gorge on and they compare North America, Europe and Asia Pacific in depth. View the full document as a PDF here.

I found it interesting the different verticals dominating each region. Australia sure loves cars and banks. I'm surprised automotive isn't higher in North America. I thought cars were like lungs to Americans. ie they need two to function.


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