Author Archives: Brian Solis

About Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Recently Gap rolled out a new logo and already a twitter account impersonating the logo itself is out there – @GapLogo. This is obviously not an official company account, but simply someone who wants to state their opinions and have some fun with the new Gap logo. This is a clear case of trademarked logo infringement — someone has decided to use a brand’s protected image for their own purposes on a social network. What prompted the fake account was apparently an attempt by the Gap to crowdsource ideas for their new logo on Facebook, which has resulted in thousands of unhappy fans and the return to the old logo.

Everyone probably remembers the fake @BPglobalPR Twitter account which was created to make fun of BP’s handling of the gulf oil spill. A lot of people questioned the reasons why Twitter allowed them to continue to impersonate a major brand and corporation, but did you take a look at the logo they used? They took BP’s actual trademarked sunburst logo, photoshopped it black and white and added a few oil drips for good measure. Aside from actively impersonating the company’s PR team, they blatantly infringed on the trademarked image.

Twitter does have a Trademark Violation Policy, which states “Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.” They do assert they will suspend or release an account in violation, but they appear to be either very slow or very reluctant to take any action on this policy.

This kind of logo impersonation raises the question, what kind of protection do brand and trademark owners have on social networks? If large companies like BP and Gap can be so easily impersonated and have their logos misused with no repercussions, what chance do you think your trademarked brand or logo will have in social media?

Barry Wise is co-founder of the social media trademark and brand protection firm KnowEm.com. KnowEm specializes in protecting trademarks in social media and provides free searches for username and domain name availability.

I’m attending The Sundance Film Festival again this year and on Saturday, January 23rd, I will do so with a purpose.

During Sundance, The Parnassus Group is hosting the Tweet House to celebrate the uses and potential of Twitter in the entertainment and film industries. On Saturday from 5 to 7, the Tweet House will dedicate its efforts towards raising awareness and funds for Haiti.

It Won't Stay in Vegas CES 09 - LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton and The Parnassus Group are hosting “Tweet for Haiti,” a celebrity Tweetup that invites talent and other Sundance Festival attendees to gather and Tweet messages encouraging their followers to make donations to the organizations that are accepting funds related to the Haitian disaster. Proceeds raised from corporate sponsors of the event will be earmarked to benefit the victims. I’m supporting Unicef.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this crisis. I know from experience that members of the entertainment community can be counted on at times like this, and my partners and I are dedicated to doing what we can.” – LeVar Burton

The Tweetup will be held at The Tweet House, located at the SHOP Yoga Studio in Park City, Utah.

Click for map.

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What follows is a repost of my contribution to Intel’s Inside Scoop blog. As an Intel Insider, I advise the company on new media as well as share my thoughts and views on tech…

CES 2010 is the next stop for all gadget lovers and technologists. In many ways, the holidays and the slower pace that ensues serve as an excuse to recharge so that we may effectively travel the miles of booths featuring new electronics, tech, and consumer products.

It’s overwhelming, wonderful, and an easy way to start my wish list for the holidays next year.

As an Intel Insider, it’s my responsibility to not only stay current with innovation, but also to live and breathe all that inspires the next trends and those that also should have, but didn’t. Technology is part of us now and while living the digital lifestyle was once a prediction, the truth is that we tech is an extension of who we are and what we do.

As the curtains of 2009 draw to a close, I wanted to share some of the tech that propelled me through the year. So while this is less of a top gadget list, I am sharing the very products that I use and rely upon daily.

Beats by Dr. Dre

Bose has dominated the high-end, noise canceling headphone market for quite some time. It would take an unlikely alliance between Monster and Dr. Dre to create a product that rivaled Bose and also delivered the balance fidelity and noise suppression necessary to achieve a satisfying and intimately level of audio ecstasy. In fact, I was introduced to these headphones at CES last year and remain a loyal user.

Canon 5d Mark II

I carry this camera with me practically everywhere I go. In fact, this camera is, by DSLR standards, quite possibly the most incredible camera I’ve used yet – so much so, that I ended up buying a second body.

It captures stunning, detailed images with it’s 21.1 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor featuring a DIGIC 4 Image Processor, a ridiculous ISO Range of 100-6400 (expandable to ISO L: 50, H1: 12800 and H2: 25600). The other feature that inspired me to spread my wings is its ability to shoot jaw dropping, dramatic, and absolutely beautiful HD video.

To see samples, please visit my album on Flickr.

RODE Stereo VideoMic

I’m exploring the HD video capabilities with the new Canon 5D Mark II, but one thing I’ve noticed is that the internal microphone doesn’t quite match the level of cinematic beauty recorded by the camera.

After much research, I opted to purchase the Rode Stereo VideoMic to provide portable, studio-quality stereo audio while on the road. It mounts directly on the camera body using the camera-shoe mount. For those shots where you need a bit of distance between the camera and the subjects, I purchased an inexpensive cable extender and mount the mic on a stand closer to the sound source.

The X/Y configuration enables the StereoVideoMic to capture the true ambiance of the recording space, while still offering a high level of rear rejection and low noise. The StereoVideoMic offers 9V battery operation, an LED battery status indicator, high pass filter switch, and a -10dB pad switch.

Dell Adamo XPS

At only 9.99 mm, the Dell Adamo XPS is the thinnest laptop in the world. It’s simply unbelievable. This is by far the most elegant notebook running Windows. The only other laptop in the world that rivals its design is, of course, Apple’s Macbook Air.

The Adamo XPS features a 13.4-inch widescreen HD display, a full-size keyboard that seemingly disappears inside the display when folded, and a one-touch capacitive latch release that unlocks the notebook to unfold simply by sliding your finger.

It features a 1.4GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor, runs Windows 7 flawlessly powered by 4GB 800MHz DDR3 dual-channel memory, and includes a 128GB solid state drive. Note to the potential suitors however, this notebook requires the optional extended battery which offers up to 5 hours in comparison to the sub 2 hour performance with the included slim battery.

iPhone 3GS

The iPhone 3GS is in my opinion, the first iPhone to have everything it should’ve included looking back to the first generation of phones. However, I’ve remained begrudgingly loyal over the years as it is by far the most integrated experience on the market, one that keeps up with me in everything I do, everywhere I go – almost anyway.

I wholeheartedly depend on many of the new features that are now standard in the 3GS such as the faster processor, video camera, internal compass, and also voice control. Now all we have to do is focus on improving the actual “phone” part which is something AT&T will have to address sooner than later.

HyperMac

The Dell Adamo XPS is not the only laptop in my arsenal of content creation devices. I also travel extensively with a Apple Mac Air and a 17-inch Macbook Pro. One of the greatest strengths is also one of the most challenging hurdles. The integrated batteries maximize life however on a longer flight, they’re irreplaceable. Dimming the screen and turning off wifi and Bluetooth only goes so far…I still frequently found myself without power with an hour to spare on coast-to-coast flights (mostly westbound). On international flights, I actually brought two notebooks as a means to ensuring consistent productivity.

Enter the Hypermac, an indispensable solution for keeping Macs online while on the road or in the field. Available in four different models, the Hypermac is essentially an external battery for Macbooks providing anywhere from five to over 20 hours of additional life per charge. I picked up the MBP-100 and it travels with me everywhere I go. One charge, for example, lasted from San Francisco to Frankfurt, 3 hours at the Frankfurt airport and an additional flight from Frankfurt to Stuttgart with room to spare.

Oh, and a bonus for you, it includes a USB port to power any device that can power-up via USB.

Hyperdrive's Hypermac External Macbook Battery/Charger

Sprint MiFi

I’ve been a vocal supporter and user of USB-attached broadband devices for portable access to the Web. The problem, if there really is a problem with having anywhere, anytime access to the online connectivity, was that the tethered devices drain precious laptop battery life.

Now that MiFi devices are becoming commonplace, do yourself a favor and get one. They are essentially portable wifi hotspots. They provide portable broadband connectivity for up to five PCs, each accessing the device via wifi. The MiFi fits in the palm of your hand and boasts its own internal, rechargeable battery.

If you want to be a popular person at the airport bar, fire it up and offer free access to all of those who buy you a drink!

iMax IMP500

Perhaps by now, it’s become quite clear that I spend a great deal of time travelling. As such, I’m an avid iPhone user, spending as much time talking on the phone as I am sending email and surfing the Web. One thing about the iPhone 3GS that you can count on is that its battery will not make it through the day with constant usage.

So, like the HyperMac for MacBooks, I picked up the iMax IMP500 as a referral from good friend Paul Greenberg. It is an external, high capacity battery that can power an iPhone for days on end. It’s a bit bigger and heavier than the iPhone, but it works. It works extremely well.

Kodak Zi8

When I can’t carry the Canon 5D Mark II around everywhere, I do carry the Kodak Zi8. Similar to the FlipCam HD, the Kodak Zi8 shoots high-definition (HD) video in a highly portable, palm-sized device featuring a pop-out USB dongle to connect content instantly to any PC. The camera includes editing software onboard to edit upon connection. And, I also use my RODE mic when I need to combine excellent video with crisp and audible audio.

Amazon Kindle 2

Say what you will about the new Barnes and Noble book, I still prefer my Amazon Kindle 2, for the time being. Why? Well first off, I was able to get one. Second, the Kindle is already in its second generation, having worked out many of the bugs and hiccups over the years.

The Kindle is thin, light, and ready to download books and blogs almost anywhere there is access to 3G, in and out of the U.S. Now if we could get airlines to amend their no electronics rule for ebook readers during takeoff and landing, I could spend more productive time reading what I want versus what lies in the seat pocket in front of me.

2nd Generation Pogoplug

If you’ve ever contended with a VPN, the idea of plugging in a drive directly to a router and accessing it from anywhere a Web connection is present might seem like fairytale. However, Pogoplug is an incredibly affordable and easy to use device that let’s you access and share the content from an external drive – even a USB drive – over the Web. Think music, movies, files, etc. It’s all there, ready when you are.

Sonos S5

The Sonos S5 is an all-in-one wireless music system. One system. One jukebox. One experience. Now you can play a world of music–from iTunes and the Internet–throughout the house or office. This little box can fill the room with rich sound and warmth. Sound travels from one device to multiple devices without wires. Each system can either play music simultaneously or serve as its own musical hub in each room.

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Six months ago, Ford launched the Fiesta Movement, an ambitious social media program designed to bridge online and real world communities in support of its 2011 Fiesta.

The Ford Fiesta has come to play on the American roads.  In the ultimate foreign exchange program, our 100 agents will spend 6 months behind the wheel of their own Fiesta, lifestreaming their experiences, and completing monthly missions to show you what the Fiesta is all about.

Now, as the Fiesta Movement draws to an end and Ford prepares to preview the 2011 Fiesta at the L.A. Auto Show starting December 4th, a celebration is in order.

To commemorate the movement, Ford is aiming to organize the largest corporate-hosted Tweetup on record and you’re invited.

On December 1st, Ford, CEO Alan Mulally, Head of Social Media Scott Monty, and its Fiesta agents will take over the Hollywood Palladium. Not only will you see a preview of the 2011 Fiesta before everyone attending the auto show, Ford is also treating its guests to a special live performance by Parachute – featuring their hits “She Is Love” and “Under Control” from their debut album Losing Sleep.

The event is free, all you have to do to attend, is RSVP here.

See you in Hollywood!

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Measuring individual influence in Social Media is as coveted as it is elusive. While many tools claim to calculate authority, it is the definition of influence that requires clarification in order to grasp the relevance and differences of existing tools and services.

For the sake keeping this discussion on track, let’s define influence. According to Merriam-Webster, influence is having the power or capacity to cause an effect.

San Francisco-based Klout is no stranger to measuring influence on the Social Web. The company launched at SXSW Interactive 2009 to help Twitter users discover the voices that the world listens to (on Twitter anyway). Essentially, Klout measures influence at the topical level, sorting individuals who demonstrate the ability to drive action within respective social graphs when discussing particular subjects.

Today, Klout is announcing its most significant release to date. In addition to measuring authority on Twitter, the company is releasing a new, intelligent Twitter List engine that identifies and ranks the top 25 influencers for any topic of interest and produces a new, qualified, and ranked list as a result.

For example, here’s list of the most influential people on the topic of technology:

And, according to Klout, Public Relations:

Prior to the official release of Lists, Twitter provided Klout with early access to its List APIs. As such, Klout was able to immediately address one of the early frustrations with Lists – the ability to modify a list started by someone else without having to recreate it. The new system now adds the means to introduce any list into Klout’s analysis engine and instantly view the analytics of each person on each list. Users can then either follow that list as is or customize it using Klout’s topical search and ranking feature to ensure that the list is inclusive of all necessary authorities.

Klout’s ability to add context to a person’s influence is critical for businesses that want to leverage influencers in spreading the word about their companies or products.

Klout’s algorithm involves three sophisticated stages of semantic calculation. The first, described as “True Reach,” measures influence between each and every relationship, evaluating the engaged audience versus total audience.

The service also employs a secondary metric known as “Amplification Probability,” which documents the likelihood of a specific tweet spreading beyond the primary network through retweets as well as generating a response from the immediate audience. The service then examines the percentage of actual mentions or retweets shared by a particular audience as well as the percentage of the originating messages generated a user’s actions.

Finally, Klout factors the “Network Value,” which measures the influence of those individuals who follow the original user and their propensity for sharing their content, which contributes to overall authority.

Overall, Klout’s scores place a significant emphasis on the number of clicks a person drives through the links they share on Twitter, thus truly measuring action associated with each update.

Twitter Lists impact not only influence, but also create an opportunity for a new layer of earned authority. Whether or not you inspire measurable action directly, the creation of highly accurate and meaningful lists is significant and also helpful to the Twitter community. The ability to identify and assemble proven authorities on relevant subjects allow followers to stay connected to verifiable and trustworthy sources and the voices, information and trends that in turn influence their activity. More importantly, Klout empowers followers to further modify lists to not only track activity, but also determine opportunities for future engagement and behavior tracking.

After all, influence is not in the eye of the beholder, it is the ability to inspire action and also measure its effects.

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