Fascinating Finds and Observations

Web Schmeb

With platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck making it easy for social media junkies to update their status and manage multiple social media accounts, I wonder if this is changing the way we use the web?


More and more, I find myself accessing specific sites, and not surfing the web. Having the ability to log on to just one site and organize Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all at once meets my need for one-stop-shop convenience. With dozens of smart phone applications for Twitter alone, it appears that others like the idea as well. But do these sites change the overall Twitter experience?

Third party services provide a no-nonsense platform to push, and receive, tweets or status updates, as well as manage social media accounts (all done under the third party’s branded dashboard). The launch of the new Twitter site is evidence, perhaps, of a strategy by Twitter to regain control of their members’ experience – lure back those using third party services.

By driving users to twitter.com there is potential to re-discover, and fall in love with, the new feature-rich, modern platform, bringing Twitter users back to the mother site. This move has the potential to grow the Twitter community creating engaged, committed users and increasing retention rates.

As Twitter rolls out their new interface, I will definitely check it out. I am excited to try the fresh, cleaner platform, that reveals greater context in each tweet. I also want to take advantage of the option to embed media to further engage my followers with photos and videos.


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Future unFriendly

Louis CK is right:  The world is amazing and no one is happy.

This weekend I saw two game-changing videos. One was the Tipp Ex advertisement with the Hunter and the Bear, the other was the Arcade Fire video “The Wilderness Downtown.” One word sums up both of these experiences: Wow.

The Tipp Ex video advertisement is exhaustively interactive. A bear comes upon a hunter – and you, the viewer, decides what happens next. Does the hunter shoot the bear? Dance with the bear? Kiss the bear? You name it. The hunter and the bear do it.

Of course there are limits. And of course, *that* is what people talk about. Forget the fact that there are at least 50 possible outcomes. Forget the fact that this video continues to shoot around the internet at lightning speed and has garnered over 6.5-million views on YouTube in less than 2 weeks. Forget the fact that this is another inspiring example of interactive media, a la Old Spice. Nope. Let’s talk instead about how the words “sew” or “knit” don’t trigger results.

Taking the concept of what a video can be, to another new level is Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown”. (You must launch this video on Google Chrome for the full effect.) This interactive video sucks you into the experience in a most intimate way. By incorporating imagery from Google Maps, the street you grew up on becomes part of the video. Not only that, but halfway through this experience, you are prompted to write a note to your younger self, who lived on that street. There are multiple windows opening – with content transferring between them. It is truly remarkable.

Yet when you read people’s reactions online, many complain about their address not working. Or, having seen this done before… it’s nothing new. And therefore..? That takes away from the overall awesomeness? People. Dial back the negative. I think this ambitious interactive experience takes an entire industry of video production to new heights. The potential blows my mind.

In my opinion, these two examples give us a taste of what’s to come. And I, for one, will be greeting that future with a jaw on the floor and an abundance of praise for the very effort.

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Your Choice. Your Voice.

One thing we have a lot of these days is choice.

Want olive oil? There are a hundred to choose from.

Want to host your website on a reliable server? There are many, many options at your fingertips.

Choice is great.. until there’s so much choice you feel overwhelmed. My brother had a great line in one of his films from a few years back, which was “Why is it there are hundreds of cheeses to pick from, yet only 3 political parties?”. The political parties seem to be catching up with the cheese these days.. but I digress.

I’m sure many an article has been written about choice paralysis… not being able to make a decision due to too many options. This is what makes personal endorsements so powerful. If someone I know and trust recommends something – I am considerably more likely to get it. A friend’s endorsement offers needed guidance in a world stuffed with multiple choice.

This is why the latest evolution in Facebook Ads is so brilliant. This month Facebook started experimenting with friend’s ratings of ads.
This means people in one’s personal network can like an ad, rate it (out of five stars) and leave a comment. This allows friends to see what each other has liked – personalizing the advertising and making it more relevant to the target audience. Products or services endorsed by a friend you respect and like, are more likely to get your attention and your business.
You can read more about that here.

Google Places has enabled reviews of ads for some time – but this too is evolving. Now, business owners can respond to the reviews people write and post on Google Places. Additionally, business owners can now post real-time updates to their Google Places listings – to offer customers timely specials or deals, or even coupons compatible with mobile phones.

Yelp is another directory all about customer reviews. (Interestingly, Yelp was almost acquired by Google in 2009 when the deal fell through.)
It helps too when businesses respond to reviews. It’s only fair and I, personally, appreciate hearing the other side of a story. However, some people need to be reminded of just how publicly permanent their written words are. This particular Yelp response to a review is one that should be a lesson to us all. The business owner blasted the reviewer and accused him/her of being the competition in disguise.

Well, at least such a vitriolic response helps to eliminate that business from your basket of choices…proving any voice can shape your choice.

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An Experience at F5 Expo in Vancouver

On April 7th, some members of the Magnify Digital team attended the F5 Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Different people had varying opinions about the conference, panels and trade show. All in all, it was an experience.

The morning started with a surprise for attendees and organizers alike. I was greeted by a room full of people waiting in line at the entrance of the Convention Centre – technical difficulties. After an hour wait, I was finally able to check-in.

The day went well. I visited some booths at the trade show and attended some of the panel discussions. Here are a couple interesting points I heard from the panel discussions:

  • If a search engine user sees a company’s results in both paid and organic listings, they are 25% more likely to click through on either listing
  • 60% of Canadians use more than 1 search engine
  • “Viral is an outcome, not a plan”
  • YouTube has made videos eternal – watch what you say

Overall, the conference sessions were okay, but the opportunity to connect with other people at the conference was the highlight of my day.

Here’s what other people are also saying about their experience at the conference:

So, what was your experience at F5 Expo?

Victor Chan
eMarketing Strategist

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A Vancouver Marketing Strategist’s Day in 20XX?


I woke up to my alarm clock, yawned and wondered what day it was today. Realizing it’s Tuesday, I brushed my teeth, took a shower and got dressed for work.


I sat down at the kitchen table to eat my favourite cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios. As I poured out the cereal, a small holographic sticker fell out of the box. Picking it up, I thought, “They still make these?” and had a good chuckle at myself. Stretching out, I reached for my iPad across the table and opened up the Vancouver Sun. The Headline News was “Google Bought Another Country”…go figure. Right beside the headline I saw the Flash video playing an ad for our client. Yes, it was Flash!


My iPad suddenly spoke, “It’s now eight o’clock”. I took a quick glance at the clock, hoping my iPad was somehow lying. I jumped off my chair, grabbed my MacBook Pro and darted for my car, knowing how bad the traffic would be in the morning.


I slipped into my car, where the fun begins every morning. My Google Android equipped car powered up and gave me a report on any traffic accidents on my route. After that I told Jessie (Yes, I named my car, Jessie) to login to Twitter and read the latest tweets from my Twitter List. Hands-free of course, it’s great how voice-recognition technology has come along.

As always it’s cloudy and raining in Vancouver. Pulling up to a red traffic light I started daydreaming about what it was like back then, driving without a HUD windshield. The windshield is great especially while driving at night or in the rain when visibility isn’t that great…

“The traffic light has turned green”, Jessie spoke.

…or for drivers who are often preoccupied.

I drove past Cambie & Broadway and Jessie prompted me, “Moyra checked in at this Starbucks 15 minutes ago. She recommends the Chai Latte”. Jessie’s hooked up to Foursquare, of course, and all my other social media accounts. Location-based social media marketing at its finest wouldn’t you say? I was tempted to stop by, but I was going to be late for work.


I arrived at work. (To be continued…)

Victor Chan
eMarketing Strategist

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