How Will Project Glass Impact Marketers?

I will be speaking at xPotomac this February 25. Co-organizer Patrick Ashamalla and I are presenting together on Google Project Glass and augmented reality. Here’s a sneak preview of our session.

Google Project Glass promises to take ubiquitous mobile Internet access and layer unprecedented information into our day-to-day existence. While Google doesn’t like the term augmented reality, wearable computing could move this concept from a geeky work in progress to a breakthrough Internet application.

This glass monocle features a wirelessly connected computer built into it. A half-inch display allows you to take and share photos, chat and access information like calendars and maps on the Web. Bone conducting audio will allow information to transmit without interfering with outside sounds.

Scheduled for release in 2014, Project Glass holds so much promise Apple and Microsoft have competing projects.

Wearable computing empowers two things: Sharing and accessing information anywhere.

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Does a Social Score Make a CMO?

A recent infographic published on a Forbes blog ranks the top 20 Fortune 100 CMOs based on social scoring. The graphic poses an interesting question: Should CMOs be judged by their individual social media prowess?

The methodology for the social scores released in the infographic was not released, and there was an incredibly wide disparity between follower counts and placement in the Top 20. It’s hard to consider the scores valid because we don’t know the criteria used for the algorithm.

One would hope Forbes would insist authors provide information sources and research criteria, even when it’s published under the guise of a blog. More on this tomorrow. Today let’s address the question of CMOs and social media scores.

Clearly influencers have become an important part of marketing.

The first group of people to tell you that is the influencer/social media community. That’s because we as a group overvalue ourselves.

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Does Google Deserve More Credit?

Sometimes I think Google deserves more credit.

This is not a defense of Google+, anti-trust issues facing the company, or the apparent sunsetting of Feedburner. Rather, more admiration for the company’s overall approach and success online in recent years.

When I learned Google had scrapped its facial recognition technology because the negative uses outweighed the good, I felt they were the better player of the big companies operating in this space. It’s not an isolated incident.

Google changed its privacy earlier this year, uniting its many disparate policies across different products into one holistic company-wide statement. The company waged an extensive public relations and advertising effort to explain the new policy to the general public.

When was the last time Facebook did that? Never, to my knowledge. You just log in and find everything switched without any communication whatsoever.
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Steve Jobs Breaks the No News Cycle

steve jobs co founder of apple computer
Image by Annie Bannannie

Contrary to popular speculation, Steve Jobs is not dead, at least not yet. But it is hard to blame people for the dramatic belief that the icon’s end is near given his ongoing health issues and his weight loss. Further, Jobs’ sudden departure from the day to day helm of Apple broke a monotonous summer of no technology/social media news. Really, how many more Google+ blog posts can we read?

Given that Jobs has asked for and received the Apple Chairman position and will still counsel on new products, he sure doesn’t seem to be planning an imminent funeral. Perhaps it’s simply time to balance his life a little more because life (health, family, mind, etc.) demands it.

The Jobs departure is similar in stature to Bill Gates leaving Microsoft. A true industry titan, Jobs has had a critical role in shaping the U.S. technology in three critical phases — the PC revolution, the .com era, and again in the 2.0 era. And like Gates and Microsoft, it is unlikely that Apple will be the same.

There is so much to reflect on and think about when it comes to Steve Jobs. But until he dies, let’s save the obituaries. Keep breathing the air, Steve.

What are your thoughts on Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple?

All Polls and Surveys Are Not Equal

linkedin polls
Image by renaissancechambara

In Washington, polls and surveys drive policy decisions, particularly around campaign season. For a presidential election, Gallup polls are considered accurate within four points, and this has yet to be proven wrong. However, several online polls and surveys last week did produce highly questionable results, and in once case, was outed as a hoax tarnishing the Microsoft Explorer brand.

This degradation in quality is indicative of a larger trend on the social web, the erosion of expertise (and professionalism) caused by social media content. Launching a poll or a test on a web site is so easy now that anyone can claim to execute research. Indeed, they are. The quality and value of their data is another story. Mind you, this erosion has not only impacted the new media content producer, but also the traditional journalism field as both our Microsoft and Google+ examples will show.

Interactive firm AptiQuant ran a test on its site purportedly measuring the IQ of visitors and correlating that data with IQ. Explorer users were deemed least intelligent.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, the browser IQ test was widely reported by the media, which did not verify the data. Finally, the BBC determined the research was a hoax, but not before the media had popularized Explorer as a low IQ tool. AptiQuant is defending its study, and says it will battle any lawsuits.

But does it matter? The damage has been done to an already lagging brand. Publications that may print retractions won’t push them to the top of their sites with the same zeal they did in their original reporting. A successful lawsuit would only provide a consolation prize for being a called stupid Internet Explorer user.

Google+ Polls

Several polls came out surveying Google+ users about abandoning Facebook for the new circle based social network. Of all the polls only the Christian Post labeled their effort as an unofficial poll, and their numbers were the lowest with 7% moving solely to Google+.

The Brian Solis, Mashable and PC Magazine posts ranged from 23% to 50%. However, all of their readers are extremely tech or social media centric, in essence polling the early adopters. They do not represent the general population, and as such their polls can be pretty much dismissed as industry and demographic specific.

The average reader of these stories would not be able to discern that three tech/social media polls are in essence, “inside baseball.” Mashable did add a little conjecture: “Users may be reacting to the novelty of a new social network. Facebook.”

What is most notable about these four polls is the 40+ point spread between them in response. In the case of the three social media and tech polls, there was still a 27 point spread. Such wild variations should be a clear indicator that the data is inaccurate or compromised in some way.

Keep in mind on line polls — particularly those on social media — often suffer from fan based flash mobbing towards a favored outcome. Also, given the subject matter a survey of the non-indoctrinated general public’s opinion about Google+ would have offered an interesting context to the data.

Conclusion

Without stronger open methodology and wider population samplings, polls cannot be considered representative of likely trends. Polls that deserve respect like Gallup and Pew Internet research are painstaking about their methodology.

In the information age are readers and the media — as the Internet Explorer hoax revealed — savvy enough to discern quality information? Yet another series of examples why we need to teach children and adults alike how to mindfully accept information, and question sources.

What do you think of the polling trend?