How to perserve a moment in time through the eyes of many

4 04 2008

How to archive events from multiple perspectives

The primary concept that the majority of my brain power has been allocated to has been the idea of community feeds that I discussed in my previous article, “Harnessing the Wisdom of YOUR Crowds: Why the Wisdom of Crowds Is Flawed” .

However, another interesting concept grew out of my efforts to create one of these community feeds around the attendees of the 2008 Blogger Social that is taking place in New York.

Community Event-streaming

How many parties have you been to where the host asked everyone to upload pictures to a Flickr group or videos to a YouTube channel? Everyone wants to crowdsource the task of capturing a moment in time as one person can’t be everywhere at once, but we still want to experience everything.

Now pictures and videos are nice, but what about capturing the conversations that give the media context? Currently it is lost and you need your friends to walk you through their albums for the full effect.

The solution?

1. Create a Friend Feed account with the name of the event

2. Friend everyone that will be attending

3. Export the aggregated information through RSS

4. The RSS channel becomes the archive of everything that happened at the event, which can be search and explored at a later date


The aggregated feed aggregates photos and videos, but also the Tweets and Blog posts that provide the content with context in a chronological stream.

As a proof of concept I have built a feed for the Blogger Social ’08, so I hope all those that couldn’t attend join us:

Everything I have learned in my life… Up to this point

4 04 2008


“Don’t Work With Assholes” – Stefan Sagmeister

Smart guy. I just wanted to share this amazing minidocumentary on Stefan Sagmiester’s exhibit “Everything I have learned in my life… Up to this point”.

Also one of truths is, “Keeping a diary supports personal development”.

This whole trend toward lifestreaming and everyone sharing their lives online has always been approached as an outward facing action; however, by making our lives more transparent to others we are also making it more transparent to ourselves.

And, that is your moment of Zen.

Other truths:

“My Dreams Have No Meaning”

“Don’t Work With Assholes”

“Everyone Thinks They Are Right”

“Trying To Look Good Limits My Life”

“Worrying Solves Nothing”

“Complaining Is Silly”

Check out the video here

One of those New York moments…

4 04 2008

Why is there a loony brit in a ridiculous outfit?

The most interesting thing happened this morning on the morning commute. I got on the C train in Brooklyn completely engrossed in my New Yorker cocoon, with iTouch powered 180 BPM house music trying valiantly to wake me up before the morning java and my visual senses fixated on Convergence Culture.

Then it happened… the subway operator flung open his door and starting talking to the passengers of the car. At first everyone was startled as the man began to recite various stories he had read in the morning paper. However, by the 3rd stop the entire car was caught up in an intense ad hoc analysis of current events, and every new passenger that stepped into this car turned symposium was shallowed in the conversation.

I even joined in (It broke through my media addict shield, which is no easy feat).

Anyway, it just reminded me of old town criers that would disseminate information. One interesting thing about mass media is that we are more apt to discuss it as we are all on the same page vs. esoteric media theory posts from online celebs (I’m still shocked when I drop a name like David Armano and people look at me with a blank stare…)

Harnessing the Wisdom of YOUR Crowds: Why the “Wisdom of Crowds” is Flawed

17 03 2008

Excerpt from today’s Featured Post on Marketing Profs Daily Fix:

“Why am I so distressed about having to use a news aggregation site?

Because the Wisdom of Crowds is a flawed model for long tail information aggregation. It works for data predictions and guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, but the ‘Crowd’ is nontransparent, it is sterile, and most importantly, it doesn’t know who I am.

In addition, Digg is controlled by the select elite, and TechMeme favors large sites like TechCrunch and non-blog content like The Register, because they have more traffic (equaling more overall links) and it lets the gems fall through the cracks.

The Crowd will never understand my eclectic tastes, the nuances of my passions, and the tonality that puts a smirk on my face.

So who or what does know all these aspects of Seni Thomas?

My friends and my communities, of course……. MY CROWDS.”

Check out the full article here.

The Eye of the Beholder is Only Half the Equation

17 03 2008

A New Perspective on Data Through Visualization Tools

The essence of the adage, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is that every individual has a unique perspective. Extending the message, we can safely say that everything is dependent on the perception of the individual; however the individual is only 50% of the equation for not everything is static.

Data in its most basic form is a series of static numbers and observations; however, when parsed through data visualization tools the data can become far more. For geeks like me, it even has a certain beauty to it.

Inspiration, creativity, and eureka moments have a greater chance of occurring when you approach a problem from as many perspectives as possible, and also mold the object being observed.



Keep pushing yourself to explore additional perspectives and check out this list of really cool data visualization tools to spark the next big idea. Also check out this site that hosts a number of damn cool examples.

If this is a topic that is of interest, check out the currently running ‘Design and the Elastic Mind’ exhibit running at MoMA. Phenomenal exhibit across the board, but the data visualization component is hypnotic.

Finally, Hans Rosling is the ultimate data molder, and can do far more justice to this topic than I. Check out this video from TED talks. It will blow you away.

Conversational Marketing & Managing the Expectation Gap

17 03 2008


The slide above is from Noah Brier’s Brand vs. Utility presentation, which reminded me of a post I wrote a long time ago in my young blogging days on a concept I called ‘The Expectation Gap”. I’ve left the article as is, therefore, it is slightly out of context, but the core concept still shines through. Also I wanted to showcase my ever greater skill as manipulating the English language….. Yes, I’m well aware it is a futile endeavor…

Without further ado:

The essence of conversational marketing is of course to get people talking. To ignite conversation around a given service or product. To seed the conversation and amplify it, you need the right people to say right things about your product. For example you want the camera buff to evangelize your new digital camera to his friends for he is a trusted source of information regarding cameras. At least within his network. However, how do you get the camera buff to crank up the volume of your message, to amplify it.

The key is in managing the expectation gap. To explain this concept I will use 4 scenarios at a local pizza shop.

1. You are hungry so you walk into a pizza shop you’ve never been to before. You are expecting a decent slice of pizza, but you’re primarily just trying to get a quick fix. The expectations are relatively low, but the pizza isn’t bad in fact it is slightly better than anticipated. You go back to the office and might mention it. The expectation gap was too small to register.

2. Now this time you walk into the same pizza place and are BLOWN away by the flavor. When you get to the office this time you tell everybody about this transcendental pizza experience. The expectation gap was huge, therefore the quality and volume of amplification is equally exaggerated.

3. Now if you get a slightly subpar pizza it’s also not a talking point as the expectation gap was insignificant.

4. The final scenario is if your best friend, whose pizza taste you agree with, raves about a particular pizza joint and you decide to give it a shot. However, the pizza was so bad you ended up throwing it away. Due to the hype, the expectations were astronomical and subsequently the negative expectation gap was equally as large. You now go back to your friend and curse him out for making you endure such a terrible gastronomic experience, and vow to never heed another recommendation from him. In addition, you tell everyone else you know how bad it was. Finally, your friend, the evangelist, loses confidence in his recommendation and stops promoting the shop. The repercussions are severe.

The greater the expectation gap, the more conversation, good or bad, is catalyzed around the product.

The key to conversational marketing is optimizing the expectation gap, not simply hyping a product to unrealistic levels. In today’s world if the product under delivers word travels fast. As marketers we need to find the balance between building positive buzz around our products and not over-hyping.

Create as great a gap as possible between expectations and delivery to catalyze conversation.

The Age of Conversation, One More Time

16 03 2008

Bigger and Better… What more can you ask for?

Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan are at it again, with the next incarnation of last year’s The Age of Conversation, a collaborative book project where 100+ bloggers contributed short articles on various issues surrounding media today. You can still buy it here.

However, this time around yours truly will a contributor.

It is a fantastic project and I’m very humbled to have been selected to participate.

In addition, all proceeds will be donated to Variety’s LifeLine charity of kids. It’s win-win, you get to gain more perspective on the state of media today, and the budding media strategists of the future will have an opportunity to live full, fulfilling lives.

Finally, we are planning a huge Bum Rush for new book on March 29th, so please support the project and help spread the word.

Details here.

Organically Mutating Websites…

16 03 2008

An open source company website

Noah Brier turned me on this newly launched website from agency Modernista!, which is essentially just an navigational interface that threads together information about the company from a plethora of social media platforms. For example they have a gallery on Flickr, their video reel lives on YouTube, and the About section lives on Wikipedia.

These guys have balls of steel.

They are handing over control of their ‘brand’ to the people.

For example their competition could reedit their wikipedia entry, or consumers could trash their creative with comments that potential clients could see.

Crazy? Yes, but admirable.

They are walking the walk, and committing to openness, for in today’s marketing world the consumers own THE BRAND, not the corporations or the agency of record.


The Relaunching of The Ad-Vocate

16 03 2008

Hello World… Again

It’s been awhile. Hope everyone has been well.

Since January I started a new position at Kirshenbaum, Bond + Partners’ media buying and planning arm, The Media Kitchen (TMK) as an Asso. Interactive Strategist. After leaving Crayon many months ago I wandered for sometime looking for a place where I could spread my wings, doing small consulting gigs and talking to a number of mentors and friends within the media world. Well, I’m happy to say I found a new family and home at TMK’s Digital Media Team, lead by Darren Herman, who used to be my competition during my stint at Massive Inc., as he was one of the founders of IGA Worldwide. Funny where life leads you.

That said, I wanted to relaunch the blog by reaffirming my manifesto:


The advertising and marketing worlds are on the cusp of a revolution. The world of radio, print, and television has experienced a big bang catalyzed by the rapid assimilation of technology. We are now in a world where 3 channels have expanded into 3,000+. However, the expansion of channels brings with it an opportunity for brands to connect with people in a more meaningful, more dynamic, and more personal manner. The day of media blasts – one to many marketing – is being eclipsed by personalized, targeted brand communications – one to one marketing. The advertising industry is in an era of upheaval and controlled – some would say uncontrolled – chaos.

New buzz words are coined every day and the conference halls are awash with confusion.

Conversation marketing. 360 degree integration. Word of mouth marketing. Buzz marketing. Metaverse marketing. Etc. etc. etc.

This is adscape of today.

Yet, the educational institutions still preach the outdated curriculum as gospel, and professionals everywhere are sticking their heads in the sand hoping it will all blow over.

Change is needed, and change should be embraced.

The Ad-Vocate seeks to be a guiding hand in these turbulent times.

The Ad-Vocate is a conversation platform for students of advertising, media, and sociology.

The Ad-Vocate is a space where we can collaboratively explore the ultimate question, why do these crazy little creatures called humans do what they do?

Welcome to the Ad-Vocate.

The Pull Out Method: New Inspirations, New Year, New Life

17 01 2008


The Pull Out Method

This post is not an homage to the band, or the last ditch contraceptive method (not condoned by myself), but rather a post reflecting on the past month spent disconnected… 

Scary isn’t?

For those of you that are unaware I grew up for the most part on the island of Maui, way out in the middle of the Pacific.  Thus, as winter dawned I decided to escape back home, and in the midst of last minute packing I threw Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s masterpiece, Fooled By Randomness into my bag.  For anyone that hasn’t read it or the pseudo-sequel The Black Swan, go buy it NOW! The heart of the book grapples with the illusion we create to trick ourselves into believing that we have even a shred of ability to predict the future.  We live in a world of denial, where we build complex prediction systems to help us sleep at night (They also double as great scape goats when the ^#&* hits the fan). 

I finished the last chapter waiting for my parents to rendezvous with me at the airport and I decided to make a pre-New Year’s resolution: 

Disconnect until I return to New York & rise above the noise.

Noise is the day-to-day chatter, the overblown memes, and the X is the new X killer articles.  I’m an info-maniac, and quite literally went through a tough withdraw, however, as I’m catching up on the 1,000,000 blog posts clogging my Greader, I am beginning to see the larger themes, ideas, and trends.  It’s a fascinating experience.

People on the forefront of any revolution tend to get too caught up in there space, hence the manifestation of bubbles, because they throw themselves into the cyclone of noise.  I understand being able to disconnect for a month is a ridiculous luxury, but try to disconnect whenever you can, and actually sit back and assess all the information you have accumulated.

Dots will start to connect themselves, instead of being swept up in the next info blitz.

That said The Ad-Vocate is up and running again, expect a deluge of new posts.