On Haters

polar-bear-haterA few years ago there was a book, an author’s first published novel. Originally, it was something she wrote just for fun.

Then, out of nowhere, it became a national phenomenon. It spread around the globe, as people picked it up out of sheer curiosity, or just wanted to be part of this massive viral sensation.

As with every hit book, Hollywood quickly got on board. They turned the author’s addled fantasy lark into a much anticipated, big-name-affiliated movie, and people hated it.

They hated the marketing. They hated the story. They hated the characters. They hated the actors. They hated the author. They hated the director. They hated the ads.

I remember arguing with friends who groused that the movie was pop culture tripe that sent all the wrong messages, and was a cataclysmically false appropriation of the culture portrayed in the film.

That movie was Fifty Shades of Grey… I believe there’s a third one out, that has already eclipsed its budget seven times.

Haters gonna hate, right? But another thing haters do, is validate.

Andy Wier’s “The Martian” had a similar introduction to the world. Released chapter-by-chapter online, it gathered enough of a following that it became a published novel. It’s hard sci-fi, and the book can almost serve as an advanced mathematics text. He found a way to make science accessible in a story that was just good clean fun (well, cleaner than 50 Shades anyway).

And when it became a movie, it had haters. People bashed it for being scientifically unsound. Far-fetched. Derivative. And of course we know where that went. His next book, “Artemis”, is a best-seller. Everything the guy does from now on is guaranteed to be a movie.

Soon enough, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash will be a streaming series. People will hate it. Seveneves will be impossible to adapt to film, but Ron Howard is trying, and people will hate it. Dan Brown is a novel-to-hit-movie perpetual motion device, but they hate him too. Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series will be adapted for film or television, and it will have haters.

Black panther has haters. Stephen King has haters. The breakout book of 2018 (which I am digging into right now) is an incomparably brilliant new fantasy tale, and Hollywood has already jumped on board. It will, crushingly, have haters.

Harry Potter has haters.

I’m just sayin’. Everything has haters.

So I’m not surprised that some people hate Ready Player One. I don’t know if it it is coming from the real geeks, or if the real geeks are people like me, who legitimately got beat up by blond kids in the ’80s.

Or maybe I’m one of those dudes who latched onto something after it became cool, I don’t know, like the jocks who discovered Metallica in 1988. But it doesn’t matter. Ready Player One speaks to me. It doesn’t speak to everyone. That’s cool.

Too-cool-for-school is a traditional trope that has been with us since James Dean.

I admit, though, it would be nice if people could focus their hate on something that deserves it.

Disney’s “Zombies”, for example.

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Innovative Disruption: The New Normal for Online Media

Innovative Disruption: The New Normal for Online Media | KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas BlogLast week I took my daughter to her first Red Sox game. We got there early, explored the ballpark, and enjoyed some Fenway Franks, peanuts and ice cream while we watched the first four innings. We left before the first rain delay of the 2013 season. This game was also a long-term milestone for the team, as it was their first non-sold-out game in ten years.

That’s disruption.

On the train ride to Boston’s North Station, I used a new payment system provided by the MBTA; mTicket, a mobile app that lets you buy your ticket and activate it when you board. I worried that it wouldn’t work, or that the T conductor had never heard of it, and we’d get tossed from the last car at a low speed. Instead, the app worked perfectly.

More disruption.

On the subway ride to the ballpark, we saw several people reading books on Kindles and other handheld devices. During the game, a lot of people took pictures with their phones, of the game, the players, and each other. I joined in the fun, and we’ve all seen Facebook friends posting pics of themselves at the game. People take mobile pics at rock concerts, too. It harkens back to the (circa 2004) obnoxious use of cell phones while sitting behind home plate.

All of that is disruption.

Innovative Disruption: The New Normal

Innovation has made it possible to disrupt one industry after another, from home delivery of groceries to genetic RNA interference. In the realm of education and training, Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, allow countless users to take part in university courses, which may be regular in-person courses or specialized for online learning.

In business, online video and online presentations have become a disruptive tool for sales and marketing, as more video communications tools emerge and more conferences occur online. I remember when we thought videoconferencing was a killer for the airline industry, but in reality online video and presentations have enhanced live events, while the real killer apps aren’t just about communication, but collaboration.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen has led the discussion on disruptive innovation for years. His books have focused on new technologies and mechanisms that have changed companies, industries, and the world. We think of mobile devices and social websites as disruptive innovations, and they are; but it doesn’t have to be technology. Business methods and ideas can also turn the tables on how things are.

What makes a concept disruptive?

It’s important to note that disruptive technologies and ideas are nearly impossible to identify, except to visionaries. This is because they should be characterized not by what they are, but for what they aren’t:

  • They are not a reason for change: Brian Solis says that disruption is a catalyst for change, but not the reason. Look at the current content marketing trend, which is considered disruptive, but it emerged partly because of social media, which required a constant flow of new, original, branded and unbranded content. Similarly, tablets like the Apple Newton existed for decades, without a clear purpose, before Apple launched the iPad and changed everything.
  • They lack refinement: Often, new technologies have no single organization driving best practices. MySpace and Friendster began as an expanded version of online chat, and only now, with the emergence of the Facebook Timeline and Google Plus, are we beginning to see design dominance in online social platforms. Or are we? Pinterest is driving a completely different look for social sharing, and Facebook’s frequent updates still drive people nuts.
  • They lack performance analytics: Views, shares, likes, retweets, leads, opportunities, influence, and engagement…the list goes on. These terms are still fairly new, and it’s unclear which of these communications metrics actually mean much to a company’s bottom line. More importantly, how marketers can best manipulate these numbers remains a mystery, as does how they can readily use these metrics to drive true business impact.
  • They lack an audience: A disruptive innovation is usually a simple fix to a product that is meaningful only to a small group of people, the way content management systems began as a better way to store documents and share them with people across internal networks. It mattered only to IT managers. Today, a CMS like WordPress allows any web publisher to share just about anything with the whole world, using customized designs and access levels.
  • They lack an application: It’s usually easy to see something emerge, but be unable to imagine a use for it. Look at the iPad, which sold well at the outset but originally stymied people as to its best use. The complaints included “no keyboard”, “too big to be a phone”, and “too underpowered to run desktop applications”. That didn’t matter. Mobile apps and cloud technology combined drove the success of these platforms, and now people can browse, read, search, communicate, and view videos while watching TV, working in retail or healthcare, sitting at the beach, or riding the train.

In online media, whether it is for communications or social sharing, disruption is driving incredible changes in the way we do things. It’s already hard to imagine how we got by without Facebook, and five years from now we’ll wonder how we survived without something some software developer is creating right now.

But disruption still has its holdouts. On the subway ride home, I saw a student reading Clayton Christensen’s book “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns”.

In hardcover.

Originally published on The KnowledgeVision Fresh Ideas Blog.

The Spirit Of Edison: Advancing Online Content Technology

The Spirit Of Edison: Advancing Online Content Technology | KnowledgeVisionWhy do we communicate?

With so many advanced tools out there, it’s easy to think of communications technology as something we’ve always had. We wake up in the morning, and there’s yet another social media platform to learn about.

Books are written to show us why we should use them, and how we can best use them for… sharing content, making money, spreading knowledge, promoting music and making people laugh with clever pictures of cats.

It should be amazing.

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I Gotta Admit, I Like Being Quoted

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | AgilityAtWork & PR NewswireIt’s a small thing, really.

Earlier this year, I took part in a video project for Curata, a brilliant software firm providing an easy-to-use site where users can find online content for their own newsletter and online portal. They were doing a video shoot at their User Conference, and I wound up being quoted in the Curata Mobile App press release!

Then I published a few blog posts and videos of my own for KnowledgeVision, showing off our product and how I like to use it for presenting interesting topics. It’s mostly about how best to use online presentations, but also industry issues and shifts in technology. Some of our stuff got picked up by Business2Community and the Custom Content Council, and posted all over the social web. I love that.

The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement | Tom BishopNow I’ve contributed a segment to an e-Book for PR Newswire, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”. It’s part of their promotion called Agility At Work – It’s a social hub dedicated to sharing tips, tools and best practices to keep up with changes in the realm of earned media. The e-Book is a comprehensive guide for any marketer who wants to find and energize their best social media followers.

My segment is part of Chapter 4, and is called “Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice”. It’s about what to do once you have been able to work with your most influential followers. I set a few ground rules for engaging them, such as: The most influential people are not necessarily your customers; people use social platforms mostly to converse with friends, not to shop, and; there is a difference between turning a person into an influencer and making them a customer.

PR Newswire did a tremendous job with “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”, and I look forward to the outcome of this e-Book and getting some more recognition for me and for KnowledgeVision. That is, after all, what I do.

I should also point out a few other people who wrote segments of Chapter 4: Anne-Marie Kovacs is founder of the BOOMbox Network, an agency focused on marketing for Boomers; Lee Ann Forbes is a former commodities trader and Marketing Manager for Micro Strategies, and; Vatsala Isaac, an experienced Marketing Consultant. Each of their segments are a must-read for turning influencers into brand advocates.

I don’t say this often, but I gotta say I like being noticed in my industry and quoted as an expert on topics related to it. Just once in awhile I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m pretty cool.”

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales In-Store And Online

Online Video Is Trending: Drive Holiday Sales

Image Courtesy ABC News

As we enter Cyber Week 2012, we know that record numbers of shoppers hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend. Among the online shopping trends we’ve seen include multi-channel shopping, mobile advertising, and opening times that are earlier than ever.

Social platforms will be a bigger factor than before. 2012 will also be the year that Pinterest really starts to show its worth for driving online purchases, especially with apparel.

Another trend is that stores are pushing for in-store sales, using sales that aren’t available online and by guaranteed price-matching.

But the biggest trend appeared earlier in the year, when 2012 officially became the first year that online clothing purchases, or purchases influenced by the web, surpassed those made in a store. The driving factors in online retail are increased use of mobile devices and tablets, and an increasing emphasis on video. It turns out that 40% of video viewers wind up in the store or on the store’s website.

That’s huge. Do 4 out of ten viewers of television ads drop everything and head for the store? Nope. No way.

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Being The Lightning Rod: When A Social Media Disaster Strikes Unfairly

Have you seen a more egregious example of unfairness than this?

Facebook | The ING New York City Marathon

During Hurricane Sandy, aka #frankenstorm, some Good, Bad, and Ugly things happened on social networks. There were fake tweets about flooding at the NYSE, and of course the American Apparel #SandySale fiasco (WTF were they thinking?).

But the New York Road Runners, the running community and ING bank can hardly be blamed for the devastation wrought by the superstorm, yet the social backlash against the New York marathon dwarfs all the venom ever spent against McDonalds for #McDStories, Kenneth Cole for using the Cairo uprising to sell clothes or KFC Thailand for suggesting that a deadly earthquake was caused by people buying chicken.

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