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Will the smartphone finally replace the Flip camera?

(Update: Engadget is reporting that iPhone 4 will include Facebook Integration, and that includes direct video uploads to your Facebook account from your iPhone.)

This post started off as a Twitter conversation between me and my friend Ashley Gephart, the day that Apple announced their new iPhone 4. I had sent out a tweet asking what the impact of the iPhone would be on products like the Flip camera for PR types and non-profit communicators and she responded that most non-profits wouldn’t pay for something like this, and that a lot of non-profits still don’t get social media. While true, I think we were talking past each other, I was looking at how it would impact the Flip camera, while she was looking at the impact from non-profits, although I think more non-profits will get behind this when they hear about the benefits. (so point all of your non-profit peeps here for info and consulting 😉 )

The Flip camera has been the darling of many a PR person creating content for social media (especially if you read Ragan.com), and it’s a nice little basic video camera (which has, IMHO, been replaced by the Kodak Zi8 for better audio and the Sony Bloggie CM5’s superior optical zoom).

But with the introduction of the newest iPhone, Steve Jobs announced that the camera will be able to record 720p high definition video, in addition to taking pictures with the 5MP lens on the camera that you can upload to your company’s Web site, or Flickr account. In addition to this, the iPhone’s app store will finally carry an iPhone friendly version of iMovie – Apple’s grandma-ware version of video editing software.

Read more…

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Apple, Heal Thyself

29 April 2010 2 comments

Well it has been quite the week for corporations in my little part of the online sphere.  Earlier this week my good friend Will has his car towed by an Albuquerque towing company of meth addicts because he accidentally parked on the wrong side of a McDonalds and “McDonalds Parking Enforcement” officers had his car towed away.  Parking enforcement officers… yeah really.

(BTW, this is the same lot I’ve parked in many times to eat at a different restaurant – come tow me, bitches.)

But more importantly, this has been one of the weeks where Apple has crossed over the line of corporate paranoia and let their cyberpunkish “Corporate Overlord” mentality show through.  And from a PR standpoint Apple’s not looking too great.

Jesus Buddha Christ, Apple. Really? Let’s break this down:

  • A tech blog gets a hold of your super secret next generation iPhone that was lost at a bar,
  • And then returns it to you after reviewing it
  • (Which happened after you denied the prototype’s existence),
  • Then you send your super secret “Apple Force” to the journalist’s house demanding to look around
  • (Which he says “hell no” to.  Makes sense.)
  • And then you have the reporter’s house busted into by the cops and multiple computers, et al “taken for examination.”

Let’s see, did I miss anything?  Nope, didn’t think so. I’m just surprised that Apple didn’t hire a private group of mercenaries to bust this poor guy’s door down.

Wow Apple, you have really opened yourself up to ridicule at the least, and a potential lawsuit on the more serious end.  (and if the EFF and other technology or media non-profits don’t sign on to object to this kind of treatment of a journalist, then y’all just need to pass your 501c3 cards forward because y’all are dismissed.)

But in true Apple form, Steve Jobs has penned a letter about… Apple’s problem with Adobe’s Flash??  It’s like Steve-O really thinks that by ignoring the problem, or dictating the terms of engagement, he can control all of the coverage he gets.  And right on cue, noted tech journalist (and Steve Jobs apologist) Walt Mossberg will pen a column decrying Flash (and asking why the hell Team “Apple Force” didn’t tase the entire Gizmodo staff over and over).

So this is a PR and tech blog.  What advice would I give Apple if they asked?

Well, this being Apple, they never would because in their minds “The Jobs” can’t do anything wrong.  That said, I’d tell them to cut this crap out.

  • Drop any charges,
  • Get the police to turn over all equipment taken from Jason Chen’s house,
  • Replace any broken or damaged equipment on Apple’s dime,
  • Pray that Apple doesn’t get sued,
  • And one more thing, stop acting like jerks.

I guess Steve-O really hasn’t learned anything about tact (or new media) from the Think Secret lawsuit. Jon Stewart is right, chill the hell out Apple.

(And before Apple Evangelists start typing a response about how I’m some Apple hater, this post, much like this video in years past, was completely created on a Mac.)

Snoochie Boochies.

Praising, and not Burying, Foursquare

This isn’t a post designed to slavishly worship at the altar of Foursquare – the app that allows you to broadcast your location to everyone following you on Twitter, Facebook, and… oh yeah, your Foursquare account. And the jokes about telling people when they can break into your empty home have already been made, so I won’t make them here.

(And I’m sure this post has been written many times before by other smarter people than I, but bear with me, please. )

In fact, and this may surprise you (and to bastardize Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar), “I have come here today to praise Foursquare, not to bury it.” Foursquare could be one of the great saviors for many small businesses that always appear to be under threat.

By keeping an eye on who checks in at a business via Foursquare, savvy businesses are already able to offer special discounts, or menu items (in the case of a restaurant), etc. to people following their business.  But what about those people who are walking by a business?  Since most of these smartphones are (or will be) equipped with GPS (how else can you run Google Maps and Directions?) it should only be a short jump until these phones can signal that they are in the proximity of your business. Then you do the same thing, offer discounts, freebies, etc to swing by.

How will the person behind the counter know if the discount is legit? You might be able to send a picture of a QR Code or Bar Code for the specific item in question, in order to try and minimize people gaming the systems with bogus tweets/etc. At the end of the day though, let them work the system a little bit, the end result will still be sales.

The most important aspect to this will be creating a system where people can opt-in, instead of pushing your message to any phone capable of receiving a text message. Because at that point your message becomes nothing more than spam and will drive people away.

Monitoring Foursquare for check-ins, and Twitter for tweets, and responding appropriately will help you to attract more customers, and to handle customer service issues. Look no further than ComcastBonnie (@comcastbonnie on Twitter) for an example of those tech savvy peeps doing it right.

RSS-Fu: Why RSS “Isn’t Quite Dead”

21 March 2010 4 comments

I was surfing on Twitter this evening while walking the dog when I came across a few tweets from Robert Scoble touching on the idea of Twitter replacing RSS as a way to get information. Twitter is a lot of fun, especially when checking out what your peeps are saying, but the problem is, even with lists and blocking spam-tards, you’re still getting a lot more info from the firehose than you might need. But Twitter is the hot thing going on right now, at least until FourSquare takes over (as is usual in the tech sector).

But Twitter replacing RSS feeds totally?

Not to say that I disagree with some of tech’s heavy hitters, but are y’all kidding me?

While not as important as it once was (or was considered to be), RSS still plays a part in attracting people to your blog or social media hub, or providing that content to a selected audience. A big part of social media, especially for businesses, is creating kick ass content and getting people to come to your site to check out your latest creations. RSS delivers that info to people who have requested it, and why would you want to discount that? Plus RSS feeds from blogs and Google searches (yep, Google searches can be used as RSS feeds and delivered to your favorite feed reader) are one of the pillars of what Chris Brogan has referred to as your social media listening hub.

And RSS is important if you’re a business or PR firm looking to create a media hub for yourself or your clients.  It’s an easy way for you to direct content to your target stakeholder audiences (media, shareholders, clients, etc). Give them the RSS feed to their FeedDemon or Google Reader and let them take care of the rest.

I do agree with the view that RSS isn’t as important as it used to be, or is considered to have been, but still plays a part in your overall social media strategy. Ask yourself one question, if RSS didn’t matter then why do all of these social media peeps still have RSS feeds to their blogs?

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Getting in the Game?

11 November 2009 Leave a comment

Greeting again from sunny (during the day, it’s 1 a.m. as I write this) Disney World. It’ll be a few days later when y’all read this, but I’m getting the thought down now before I forget them and will have them up and running back when I get to ABQ and have reliable wireless again.

(Can you believe that after paying a bucket of cash, Disney still charges for Internet access? They have a good thing going here and know not to kill it.)

While the above paragraph sounded like some random ramblings, it makes the point I wanted to make in today’s piece. This idea of putting a message up when you want to, and allowing people to see it in their own time frame. And the medium I want to talk about today is the idea of advertising in video games.

Video game advertising? Really? Are people going to want to see this?

“Want?” Probably not. But advertising is already more and more prevalent in the video game world.  It probably started with the Madden NFL franchise (as many things in the video game world do) promoting various products with the “announcers” in the game (all real NFL Network and NBC talent). The “Old Spice Red Zone Report” when either team is within the 20-yard line (known in football as the “Red Zone,” which is also an Old Spice brand of deodorant I believe), or “this game is brought to you by EA Sports” mentioned at various times throughout the game, or the recreation of advertising actually located in each team’s stadium.

If football’s not your thing, the new “Need For Speed” allows for billboard advertising by companies or organizations that you can target to selected times and places. One organization that took advantage of this to a great benefit was Barack Obama for President. They were able to target ads for gamers in selected battleground states. Even if they did not notice the ads right away, or at all, they were still in the background adding to the subliminal message to vote for (or have more positive feelings for) President Obama.

As games and platforms continue to advance, you can expect to see game companies allow for advertising in their games. Think about it, you could place an ad for your organization on a bulletin board read by players in the upcoming Fable 3 game, or on a TV screen in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  And of course in any game which XBOX Live players can download (or even on the online games page itself).  Some platforms might even work out deals for players on their platform to get cheaper games if there is advertising allowed in the game, or might charge more to allow players to get “premium games” free of advertising.

It’s all up to you or your organization to think of new and creative ways to tap into this growing market. How would you like to present a consistent message to your audience in this medium? Would you even try to present more than a few seconds of a message? Would this be a great way to target a message to a potential audience in a selected location? – Probably, because you can selected which parts of the country these messages would go to, and they would be available to an audience that might TIVO ads away, if they even watch TV on a TV set, but can later get the message from their video game, still reading the message, only in their own time frame. (I would think that this would be a great way for a university to reach potential students.)

Then of course there are some opportunities for video game makers to offer games for a little higher price if they come with a “No Advertising” guarantee.

It’s called “You”Tube for a reason

I was thinking about this post while giving a presentation in class this evening. We had an open ended assignment where each person presented on a topic related to the mass media. Being interested in online communications, I focused on Web communications by mass media outlets. That got me thinking about bloggers (which I wrapped up the presentation with) and how people in my profession should look at content creation vs. pitching to bloggers.

A lot of PR peeps are looking at how to pitch bloggers and other A-list social media mavens instead of working towards creating their own content.This is fine, but it’s as if the mindset of PR people around the globe continues to be:

“I’m in PR. I’m used to pitching people, sending stuff out. I must pitch the “media.” I’m not going to create my own content. I don’t shoot video, and sound like I gargled with rusty razor blades.”

Trust me I know where you’re coming from. I don’t have that creamy radio voice either and am more “Body by Buddha” than “Body by Jake.” Ya know what, that doesn’t matter. It’s all about authenticity. It’s about your company becoming the media outlet, instead of waiting for reporting from the media which may never come. It’s about PR person as civic journalist (or corporate journalist) than traditional “pitch man.”

(This also matters to you and your personal brand. You are your own Hollywood director. But wunder-dude Chris Brogan has a lot of great articles on this. I may give my own humble take later (but read Chris first))

Your company should become part of the conversation, not just treat bloggers/podcasters/et al as one more media outlet to just pitch to. Remember, it’s called “YOU”Tube for a reason. Use it to create your online brand, then your company will piggyback on the “you” brand (if you identify yourself as working for that company).  Then other bloggers might get interested in your product/organization.

And your first efforts don’t have to be Hollywood-esque. Just get some practice time in with your camera and some software. Here’s a little footage of me practicing around with my Flip Video Camera and the Sony Imagination Studio software. There’s also more relevant footage (PR wise) that I shot for work located here.

Good on Ya, Apple, Inc.

26 November 2008 Leave a comment

Just to reinforce my love of technology, and that i’m not averse to Apple, Inc. I bumped into this story while on Twitter.  A high school kid had emailed Steve Jobs (and just how in the heck did he get THAT email address, I’ve gotta ask) and asked if he could get the college educational discount for the latest copy of Final Cut Studio.  MInd you, not a free copy, just for the $600 or so discount (still willing to pay $700 for it).

Well, this email got forwarded to Richard Townhill, the director of Pro Video Product Marketing for Apple, who emailed the kid back and asked for his address to send him a free copy of the software.  How cool is that!  Apple, Inc gave this kid an early Christmas, and created another evangelist to boot. Not too bad!

HT: aGEEKspot