I was traveling on business this past week and need to figure out how to easily post when I am mostly using mobile devices. Meanwhile, here’s a catch-up on some interesting items related to my main topic here:
Click: What Millions of People do Online and Why it Matters by Bill Tancer – saw some press mentions of this new book by the chief researcher at Hitwise and picked it up for airport/plane/hotel reading. It has lots if interesting stories about how our real, trackable behavior (anonymized of course) reveals what really preoccupies Americans – and how marketers can leverage that info. The much-touted chapter on “Searches for Prom Dresses spike in January” was fun, but I think there was a flaw in it. After months of research, Tancer finally meets face-to-face with an editor who solves the mystery by telling him that teen magazines start featuring prom dress fashions around New Year’s. The retailers Tancer called by phone in the first instance should have told him that.
Get Off the Internet, and Chew Some Gum – this article in the NYT was about a new campaign for Dentyne gum aimed at the Facebook generation. The campaign, called Make Face Time, features print ads with big photos showing intimate moments of “connection”: a couple hugs (friend request accepted); canoodles (the original voicemail); kisses (the original instant message). NYT caption says “The campaign is trying to question whether new technologies are bringing people closer together.”
A related Web site, www.makefacetime.com, was unveiled on Monday. It opens with a warning announcing that it will shut down after three minutes. “When people are surfing the Web, they’re missing the best part of life — being together,” it reads.
The site includes a Face Time Finder, powered by Google Maps, to locate places to meet offline. The Smiley Chamber of Doom takes aim at the “annoying” emoticons that people use to express humor or sadness in e-mail or instant messages, showing them being killed by fires and sumo wrestlers. An essay contest asks users to write about how social networking has led them to be “disconnected to the people that matter most.”
Quoted in the article, Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who studies the way young people use technology to socialize, points out that this is a “false dichotomy.”
People use online tools as a way to be more social, she said, updating their acquaintances on what they are doing and making plans to meet in person. Her research has shown that people who use these tools have just as many offline friends and spend just as much time with them as people who do not socialize online.
But I think it does point up the need to deepen the interaction online, which is one of my main themes.
TimesPeople – This past week, I noticed for the first time a little horizontal bar across the top of the New York Times site. It appears to be a social networking “layer”
The “What’s This? says:
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