Should Marketers Care about Google Glass?

Image by Ars Electronica
Image by Ars Electronica

The buzz about Google Glass, a form of wearable computing, reached zeitgeist status after SxSW. Now mainstream media is picking up the hype drum for a product that won’t even be released until next year. Should marketers care?

It’s a very reasonable question, and there may be two answers.

First, marketers should care, not necessarily about Glass, but what the device represents.

Wearable computing promises to take ubiquitous mobile Internet access and layer unprecedented information into our day-to-day existence. Commonly called augmented reality, users can interact in two ways: Sharing and accessing information anywhere.
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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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The End of the Social PR Revolution

Soup Lines
Image by OakleyOriginals

In building the program for xPotomac (February 25th), I sought to address a sea change in media evolution. That change spells the end for the social PR revolution, a marketing movement embodied by brand-led conversations over the past seven years.

We are currently experiencing a throttling of branded, online grassroots power. Specifically, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to be seen with branded earned media and social updates.

This evolution is best evidenced by the increasing role of owned and paid content placement (as discussed, content marketing is the 21st century nice description of advertising), and social or native advertising.

Other signs evidence this change, too. Social search and stronger policing of black hat SEO by Google has put a premium on paid search again. Facebook’s use of Edgerank to force companies and individuals alike to pay for attention is another harbinger of this fate.

The rise of big data and the forthcoming wearable computing revolution — themes that run throughout xPotomac — will cause a further throttling of online grassroots pipes.

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xPotomac: 7 Tech Trends Changing Media

BlogPotomac, my old social media conference, returns on February 25, 2013 under the new name xPotomac.

The opening salvo in the xPotomac series features seven new media technologies impacting businesses and marketers now and in the immediate future, hand-picked by myself and conference partner Patrick Ashamalla. We’ve already got our keynotes and emcee lined up, too!

To distinguish xPotomac, the event will feature a “gladiator” presentation format with conversations only and no powerpoints.

Speakers will present in a tight setting with the stage centered in the round or in a horseshoe formation. Each session speaker has 15 minutes dedicated to their topic, followed by 30 minutes of question and answer from the audience.

More on the revised conference after the raison d’être for the post, the seven must watch media trends for the first xPotomac:
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Hope for Better Conversations

Virgin Island Sunrise

by Beth Harte and Geoff Livingston

So we know what we don’t want to hear about any more. How about increasing the volume on some conversation that push people to think or act more mindfully, bettering our professions, our societies, and our day-to-day lives? Our last post was tongue in cheek, but this one is full of hope (and a little humor, too). Here are 10 current or would-be memes that could better our online conversations.

1. Stakeholders Are Smarter Than Most : Wouldn’t your job would be 100% easier if you let your customers/donors and/or volunteers do their job? And that job is to participate in a relationship with your organization as extended members of the enterprise, either as customers, donors, volunteers, or brand investors. Let’s take it one step further shall we? How about letting stakeholders sit at the heart of your organization so that they help to design (or at least influence) the products and services they want to buy. (Was that you shuddering at the thought?!).

In Greg Verdino’s new book ‘microMarketing’ (a book we highly suggest you read), he shares the story of Lauren Luke. Lauren Luke is a young makeup entrepreneur that created a following using social media tools and eBay. Even now that she is recognized globally (her line is now carried by Sephora), she still keeps her customers (not the media, not herself) at the heart of her business. They help pick colors, names, etc. and they are extremely loyal to Lauren. Imagine that? Customers that are loyal. Hmmm.

2. Citizen Journalism: It’s so promising, and there are great examples emerging periodically. Having experienced this personally with CitizenGulf, it’s a great way to move from pitching to providing seriously valuable information. Further, good citizen journalism – if encouraged – can help with the general degradation of content quality we are seeing across all media. How can citizen journalism be encouraged, bettered, and more widespread? Besides, who doesn’t want to be (or maybe be with) Anderson Cooper?

3. I Screwed Up, So?: Why is it when it comes to social media (and marketing & PR) we only hear self-patting back echos? It’s doubtful that corporations and agencies score a perfect 10 every time. Mistakes, or their cousin, flops, are always made (Pepsi, anyone?). Perhaps if people were more open to admitting that sometimes mistakes come from trying to do something different or innovative they’d be more empathetic and less tempted to skewer a brand in a meme. How about having the guts (being nice there) to publicly fail? Even better, how about an effective apology?

4. Using Open Government Data: So the Obama Administration is opening up all of this data, and generally civilians, nonprofits and businesses are not using it. While this may be as far as the mighty O can deliver on open government, civilians and the private sector can do more. This open data represents an incredible resource from a semantic, societal and general pragmatic basis for online media. So how can we create better analysis, applications and uses for this fantastic data? While there are initial thought leaders starting to discuss and use this data, we could stand for much more conversation… and action.

5. Culture Shifting: Unfortunately, the days of office politics are far from long gone. There are just some people (a lot of them!) who can’t see beyond their own insecurities and needs in order to be a part of something larger than themselves. Anyone who has been neck deep in social media knows this to be true. Customers could care less about personal issues, they have their own problems. There are companies and nonprofits trying to lead the way to culture shift change, why aren’t we hearing more about it? Is it too soon? This evolution from industrial silos to networked structures is the future. Let’s talk about it!


6. Better Crowdsourcing: As soon as the vote for me meme ends… Wait, let’s shift it towards better crowdsourcing. By far, crowdsourcing is the most difficult of social media strategies to master. Even some of the industry’s leading thought leaders seem to have a hard time getting down to actual mechanics and experiences. We’d like to see a lot more conversation about what does and doesn’t work with crowdsourcing and why.

7. Marketing 3.0: Given that some marketers don’t even get Marketing 1.0 (‘cause you know, anyone can be a marketer), it’s with hesitation this one is even mentioned. Marketing 3.0 is about getting to the level where our stakeholders are today (as we know, they aren’t sitting back waiting to receive your marketing campaigns). If you are still focused on what products and services you want to bring to the market, you’re still at 1.0. If you are focused on social media, you’re at Marketing 2.0. If you see the whole customer (and no, sCRM isn’t the way to do it) as people — not just consumers — Marketing 3.0 is where you want to be.

In addition, Marketing 3.0 organizations have aspirations to add value to the world as a whole, not just to their bottom-line. They in essence want to be responsible citizens, not just cause marketers. Example: The Body Shop.

8. The 2010 Election: It’s going to happen with or without us. And most people are groaning. But elections represent a period of innovation in communications, and there are inevitable experiments and successes that occur. How are the GOP trying to leapfrog the Democrats sensational social networking success in 2008? Will it work? Why? How will the Democrats counter? Arm chair communicators should celebrate and talk about the Super Bowl of PR that’s about to occur.

9. Augmented Reality: Talking about toys, er, tools, seems to be inevitable online. So maybe we can talk about the next game changer instead of Steve Jobs, for crying out loud. We’re so over Mister I Don’t, er Do, Flash. Once augmented reality goes mainstream, it will change the way we interact online, and in reality. This means a paradigm shift for communicators. We should be talking about this, seriously.

10. Your Turn. We thought the right thing to do since it is supposed to be a conversation is open source our last meme. What do you think the conversational market place is missing and why?