Category Archives: Trends

By Julie Blaustein

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Jay Adelson of Digg and Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors

Jay Adelson of Digg and Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors

Digital Media Conference West, a one day conference held at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, focused on a wide range of topics  including online video, social media, investments, online advertising, mobile entertainment, mobile apps, the future of news media and the relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. There were also a number of well known digital media  leaders there to speak including Jay Adelson of Digg and Craig Newmark of Craig’s List along with other great speakers from the industry.

Bill Trancer of Hitwise and Nick Veronis of Veronis Suhler Stevenson kicked off the conference with their view of the trends of the Internet. Bill’s trends can be found in his book Click: What Millions of People are Doing and Why it Matters along with his blog I Love Data which he gave a few shout-outs about. His post about the competition of Twitter vs Facebook provides a clear analysis of the trends, spelling out his observation that Facebook, with its 6% of all U.S. Internet visits, is not threatened by Twitter.  Nick Veronis spoke of ad spending trends where $210 billion is allocated to digital advertising, search is huge and growing with over $11 billion while classified spending has been reduced by 50% most likely due to competition with free services such as Craig’s List. The main problem according to Nick Veronis is, “Distribution used to be the issue, now its gaining the attention of users”

It was like hanging out in a cafe during Jay Adelson of Digg’s talk with Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors, a research-based strategic consulting firm (founded in 1957!). Jay shared amusing incidents such as when he was hailed back west from NYC to return to the Digg helm and his biggest concern was the transportation of his daughter’s Gecko. He “twittered” for information inquiring how does one transport a Gecko and was blown away by the amount of knowledge his followers shared with him about Geckos – a testament to the power of Twitter. His first hire was a coder from eLance who turned into a full timer. Digg would have been Dig if Disney didn’t already own it. He isn’t thrilled with the depiction of him as despising VC’s as detailed in an entire chapter on him called Fuck the Sweater Vests by Sarah Lacy in Once Your Lucky, Twice Your Good. He does prefer Angel funding. Digg is hiring and allows dogs, even parakeets in the office. And he shared “secrets” including that Digg is releasing new features in a week and focusing on verticals, content types and also on multiple levels of promotions.

Chuck Fishman of Cisco and Craig Newmark of Craig's List

Chuck Fishman of Cisco and Craig Newmark of Craig's List

The agenda was packed with great content yet it seemed to always come back to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace in each and every conversation. Lunch was served along with a chat from Craig Newmark who still goes by his title of Customer and Service Rep from 12 years ago when he first started the site. He was candid, honest and a delight to listen to even though folks were having lunch while he spoke. His main concern is about information not being shared. He is so concerned that he gave out his Twitter, Facebook and even his email address to all, suggesting they contact him in the afternoons when he isn’t dealing with spam. Great information was shared during the conference by the speakers and through the Twitter hashtag #DMCW that was displayed front and center on the big screen on stage with the speakers. Attendees at the conference and off-site kept the live stream fresh. What were they sharing? They shared when they  arrived for the “party.” They promoted their speaking engagements coming up. They shared who they were looking forward to hearing speak. They provided links to information such as the Pew Study on Twitter Users tweeted by @nedsherman. They gave a play-by-play of who is speaking and about what. And they promoted themselves.

Check out more about the Digital Media Conference West and Buzz on its Twitter Feed at #DMCW

As I shared my recent concert experience via Twitter (and this blog and YouTube) this past weekend, I wondered if anyone would be interested in hearing about it the next day since all the good bits were already published. For being a new media lover, I’m old school by nature and it took some conditioning to share any personal details online but have I crossed that line and become an oversharer?

Occasionally, we all cross the line between “informative” and “too much information” but before social media, those moments were quickly forgotten only to be retold as a funny story between friends. Not anymore, we are living more and more public lives and sharing our personal information on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

I was recently introduced to a blog that chronicles social media oversharing, The posts range from funny to gross to NSFW (not safe for work, you have been warned). The blog is a great example that no matter who you are or where you post, remember that your audience may not be limited to your friends and loved ones. So take this as a pre-Halloween cautionary tale, before you describe the revenge your stomach takes on you for your over indulgence in candy corn, think about how much you don’t want that information to appear on this blog the next day.

If only there were an Oversharers Anonymous…
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Augmented reality has quickly become the next big thing in the tech world. Everyone is writing about, talking about it or making videos about it. The technology is super cool (for lack of better words) and has a vast amount of practical applications.

Mark Gibbs of ComputerWorld defines Augmented Reality as “the technique of inserting virtual objects into real-time video to create the illusion that the virtual objects are part of the scene. To do this requires analyzing the video to determine the geometry of the scene, warping and modifying the virtual object (or objects) to conform to the scene’s perspective and other attributes, and then rendering the virtual object(s) in their required positions on the display.”

nearest-tube-iphone-app-augments-reality-underground-style-1Augmented Reality is such an interesting concept and is best understood through video (check this out, originally posted on Jermiah Owyang’s blog, Web Strategies). Take a look at the video and imagine what that could be like; it’s impressive. Having that level of information at your finger tips is amazing and opens up a whole new world of experiences including a few questionable side effect, like the chances of having your phone stolen right out of your hands. I’m a little jaded by the recent iPhone thefts that have occurred in my home town, San Francisco.

After the “cool” effect wears off, I’m curious what the reality will be about the security of augmented reality. With your phone knowing every move you make and even which direction you’re facing, what will need to be done in order to keep that information private? Those who know me well know thats security is one of the first topics that I ask about when a new technology emerges. Location-based applications still make me a little nervous because of the security side of that conversation.

Although a hot topic, the reality of augmented reality is that it’s a ways down the road before it becomes the standard. I’m curious to see where the conversation about the security of augmented reality will lead and what types of privacy solutions will be available.

Image courtesy of

I’m a bit of a magazine collector. I’ve been told that I’m single handedly keeping the magazine industry alive with my ridiculous number of subscriptions. Although the mailman might have been exaggerating with that one, I am a print magazine loyalist and rarely read the online versions of those magazines. I wait anxiously each month for my copy of InStyle, Glamour, Wired, Fast Company and a few other favorites and am still mourning the first casualty of my subscription list, Jane Magazine (folded back in 2007).

Brad-Pitt-Wired-CoverA few days ago, the latest issue of Wired arrived so I threw it in my handbag and went to a nearby coffee shop to read a little before getting my hair cut and colored. This is something I love to do but don’t always carve out the time to get done. Coffee in hand, I sat at one of the outside tables, open up the magazine and soak up the wonderful San Francisco weather (surprisingly warm for October).

I read my magazines starting from the back so I quickly arrive at page 146 and start reading a story about Twitter and it starts to feel oddly familiar. The article, although it dives into other topics related to the company, opens with a discussion about “Project ReTweet” which was announced back in mid-August. Obviously no longer breaking news in the November issue of this publication, my 140 character attention span moved on to another article that felt a little fresher.

This quickly brought me back to a subject I’ve been talking about quite a bit lately, are we really looking at the death of print publications or is that just a side effect of the death of the attention span? I believe that it’s the later mixed with the need for instant gratification. Twitter provides a remedy; quick news before it’s even classified as news while monthly magazines provide more thorough and developed stories that arrive long after the topic has moved from breaking news to the archives. Is one better than the other? No, I think we need both. This means that every now and again we all need to step away from the computer or mobile device and get a cup of coffee (or other beverage of choice) and enjoy a magazine or newspaper. It’s good for the industry and it’s good for the attention span.
Note: This is not the cover of the issue I was reading, just a personal favorite when it comes to Wired covers

From my various mobile-oriented posts, you know that I’ve been playing with a lot of Verizon phones. In the beginning, I was pretty convinced that I was going to end up with a Pre no matter what. But Verizon has very smartly kept me testing out phones until the one they knew I’d want was released. I’m amazingly excited about the the new Motorola Android phone coming out at the end of the month. It’s been called the Sholes and the Tao, and they finally settled on Droid.

Verizon has really taken square aim at AT&T and the iPhone with their most recent ad campaigns. “There’s a map for that” makes me laugh routinely, considering how lousy my own AT&T service is. It’s worth noting that I have perfectly fine AT&T service – unless I’m in California, Ohio, and Kentucky. It was fine in Florida over the weekend.

But the ad campaign I’m really enamored by is the iDon’t/Droid Does campaign. They take on the iPhone and manage to cover everything I don’t like about my own iPhone (which are things that are perfect for other folks).

An Ad Age article wonders at whom the ads are aimed.

If the product and its message are crafted for a geeky and tech-savvy audience, though, the media buy is so far suggesting otherwise. Given how deep the commercial drills into the ways the iPhone falls short, experts said the messaging would mainly resonate with those in the deep know about the handset’s capabilities, which excludes the vast majority of people, iPhone owners included. These folks aren’t reading blogs about the latest and greatest smartphones, they said. Yet Verizon’s broadcasting of the message to viewers of a baseball playoff suggests the No. 1 wireless carrier wants to stir anticipation among a mainstream audience.

My gut feeling is that the ads are aimed at me: early adopters/geeks who are dissatisfied with their iPhones. There are enough of us. In fact, I think Verizon is banking on the fact that they have such a good network and that geeks everywhere will be interested in combining that network with an Open Source mobile phone. We’ll see how that pans out for Verizon.

What do you think about the new Droid ads? Interested in the new Motorola device? I have my fingers crossed I’ll be using one of these at the Social Media World Forum in November.