Vine, Vine You’re So Fine

Is Twitter’s new Vine feature the ticket for moving up the food chain in fluid media?

vinestosky

“Vines to the Sky” – Matt Krack, digital photo, 2012

If you don’t know what Vine is, it is a lot like and a lot unlike Twitter itself.  Instead of a text and links only format of a tweet, a Vine video is limited to 6 seconds of audio+video footage.  Outside of choosing which 6 seconds of reality you can consecutively squash into your file, no editing is allowed.   Once the indication bar tells you that your footage has hit 6-seconds, you can either send it or delete it.   Because Vine is only enabled on iOS for the moment (<get it there and follow me @mkrack <WARNING- I CAN BE A HAM>), at least that 6 seconds is in sweet High-def format, the standard for iPhones.  Speaking of Apple, it has been purported that the tech behemoth has been  in secret talks with the Twitter camp since July 2012.   With Apple being a lover of rich media applications, is Vine ready to soon be unleashed on a much wider scale than just the early adopters of the service?   My thought is perhaps it will never make it to Android or any other non-Apple platform, but they might “share” with others later on.

It’s been over a month since the release and no non-Apple developers have been able to pounce on – I’m calling it for Vine now – the hottest new platform since Pinterest, though porn posters have threatened its long-term viability.   My confidence lies in Twitter Co. to figure out how to suppress and weed out the vast majority of those posts by creating slight posting delays for suspect posts to be able run them through some sort of recognition algorithm perhaps.  Anyone else have ideas on how Twitter could keep porn from running rampant over Vine?   I also think if Apple is really going to step in on this one, they are the de-facto experts in creating a safe and fuzzy environment for everyone.

Vine is also competing against a plethora of platforms already out there such as Branch, which is already on iOS and Android, not to mention a whole host of other thornily-competing apps and platforms.

So, what do you think?

Thou Shalt Not Tweet

So the big news today is that Pope Benedict has announced his retirement from the Papacy.   That hasn’t happened in over 600 years!   What gives?    Many are wondering if it’s because of another impending scandal in the Catholic church.  The Pope claims he is just really tired.   Either way, this event might also be historic in that it may highlight the most widely followed, most followers per tweet and shortest “celebrity” twitter account ever.   That account is @Pontifex (His Holiness Pope Benedict) a.k.a. the certified Twitter account of the Cardinal formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger.

“You beat me to it – I see you!” – Prince (does not tweet, or has a ghost tweeter at best)

With only 34 tweets posted to the @Pontifex account in just two months, the Pope has amassed over 1.5 million followers.    Not surprisingly, all of His Holiness’ tweets have been either been very inspirational and/or very holy.   In homage to the Pope’s brief time in the Twitter spotlight, I thought it would be fun to post a couple of “thought shalt not” lists for uncertain Twitter users.

Top 13 Twitter Don’ts – PCMag.com

Ten Don’ts For Marketing on Twitter – Dummies.com

In case you were still wondering or didn’t bother to check, the sole 8 lucky followees of the Vatican resident:

More Pope Benedict accounts, but just more of him in 8 other languages.

mk

Live TV Broadcast Feed vs Online Streaming Feed of Super Bowl 47

This year I decided to take the plunge in viewing CBS’s online streaming offering of Super Bowl 47, with the best part being I wasn’t forced to go through a secondary portal (such as my disdained cable internet company, Comcast) to get it to work.  I just went to http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/superbowl/live/player and, Voila!, it worked, for free.   In some ways it was better than watching the traditional broadcast and others it was worse.    While many of you reading this, statistically speaking, watched a traditional broadcast, please forgive me ahead of time and  I’ll do my best to compare what I missed via post game search results.

By and large the game coverage was the same.  The online interface made it possible to pick from multiple camera angles at any time, though I just left it on the default for the most part.    When the power went down at the Super Dome my feed also went down I found out over the phone from someone watching the game. All I had was a black screen so I wasn’t sure what was up.   I found this quite disconcerting  because any section of the U.S. power grid could foreseeably get shut down by hackers.  I was just hoping that the lights weren’t cut “for a bad reason”. I also figured it would be New Orlean’s luck of all places for something like that to happen.   For several minutes I frantically checked twitter, Googled “power out super bowl” and saw nothing relevant up for several minutes and just hoped that it was a power surge that was effected by Beyonce’s million-watt half time performance.  Thankfully it appears it was just that, though there was no official cause immediately post-game.   On Twitter, people in Indianapolis immediately made sure to point out it was now advantage Indianapolis over New Orleans in getting the host nod for Super Bowl 52 in 2018.

Besides the loss of the stream during the power outage, the most disappointing technical aspect of the online feed was that the game clock was not conveniently located within any part of the interface, yet a full breakdown of game stats was always at the ready.   It was easily remedied by checking other sources but quite annoying nonetheless.   I also noticed that many of the commercials I saw on streaming were repeats (as many as 10 times the same commercial in one half) that appeared to be geared to a younger male audience.  It appears CBS believed that young males would be a predominant audience for the streaming broadcast so they specially tailored the ads to that demographic.   Once I realized in a discussion with a friend I had missed a lot of great ads, I was able to catch up on all of them thanks to Youtube.com/adblitz.   My favorite ad from the streaming broadcast was “Wolf” by Cars.com:

Zero to Hero to Zero to Hero in the NFL (a day in the life)

UPDATE 3/9/13:   A related article about this topic around the NFL recently posted on Bleacher Report.

We’ve all wondered at some point what it would be like to be famous.   Many of those dreams are to be a famous, or even legendary, athlete.    As we all have observed, once that status is achieved the spotlight is on whether you like it or not.   While we dream away about being a world champion, setting unbreakable records or achieving some other wishful off-the field glory as a side-effect to the achievements, does your dream ever include how you would run your Twitter?

  • Are you going to use it to thank your family, friends and teammates for support?  
  • Are you going to use it to go “extreme public” on your meltdown at practice?  
  • Are you going to converse with your fans about your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

via iconfinder.com

Below are just some “big tweeters” from around the NFL that have well-documented their paths of trials, tribulations, victories and validations of their football careers via the platform.

Ray Lewis (@raylewis) is the star for the Baltimore Ravens who will be in next week’s Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.    Not withstanding the usual animosity between Colts and Ravens fans (Indianapolis “stole” the Colts from Baltimore in 1984 in several getaway tractor-trailors), Lewis has won general favor with his insightful and classy tweets the gridiron over.

Rashard Mendenhall (@R_Mendenhall) ignited a firestorm and lost an endorsement deal with Champion apparel due to comments made about Osama bin Laden and 9/11.

Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) has experienced many social media ups and downs in his young career.  Tweets about his strong religious faith have both divided and excited fans.  His meteoric rise as an emerging star with the Denver Broncos, followed by a loss of the starting quarterback spot and subsequent trade to become a cast-away back-up with the New York Jets has allowed him to show humility and grace, mixed in with a never-ending fiery competitiveness of a gritty athlete wanting to climb back on top.

Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (@ochocinco).  Oh, just read the tweets.  One of the most postively colorful and downright mean and controversial characters (now retired) to have ever donned an NFL uniform.  My personal favorite tweet was when he he enticed and then bought 64 lucky followers dinner at St. Elmo’s when the Bengals visited Lucas Oil Stadium for a game.  He likely would have invited more but that was the capacity of the room that was available.

Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) is a Super Bowl champion coach, proud father and husband, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and in a long list of awards recently became recipient of the Teddy Roosevelt Award, given each year by the NCAA to one former student-athlete that has changed the world for the better.   Prepare to be inspired on a daily basis when you follow this guy.

If those aren’t enough there are plenty of compiled lists of the “best of” the NFL on twitter.

CBS Top Ten       Bleacher Report Top 30      Top Baltimore Ravens     Top San Francisco 49ers

If the NFL isn’t your thing, scoot on over to Lance Armstrong’s verified account @lancearmstrong to see how he’s coping with his “recent” public fallout.

mk

The Mountain Dew Extreme Network Pager

In our first week of class discussion class we were asked to define in a comprehensive manner what we actually perceived “emerging media” to be.  In general society seems to automatically attach a sense of promise to the term that something is “emerging”.  Currently, social media is often still considered an emerging media.  But what about when social media has had a chance to mature, yet continues to evolve and yet something entirely new and different comes around?  Is it reasonable to call all socially-oriented emerging media at a later date simply social media?  Upon analysis, what is often referred to very generally as social media can be much more or much less than social.  It truly can change in its meaning day-to-day or year to year.    Bestowing enhanced meaning upon such a term was a challenging and revealing exercise. It was interesting to see that many of us in our thoughts had converged on like terms, but for sake of generating ideas and further discussion had to branch out an each pick unique terms.   It was a wide range of terms that we generated that ranged from new acronyms to newly minted compound words.

One of the essential challenges that we all wrestled with: what makes something emerging? How does it emerge?   Is it really an essential medium or is the buzz just a deafening roar that denies concrete definition of its usefulness?   Perhaps history can provide an example.

The first telephone pager, a.k.a. the “beeper”, was invented in 1949 by Al Gross.   New York’s Jewish Hospital began deploying pagers to its doctors the following year, but they only worked when inside of the hospital.  Unfortunately, Gross did not get approval from the FCC to free up public frequencies for the device until 1958!  Because of barriers to implementation such as this and apparent lack of public enthusiasm towards adoption, pagers did not hit widespread public use until the late 1980’s, aided by its use as a status symbol in the business and entertainment worlds. Just think, the pager had been a highly exclusive communication medium for almost 40 years!   It was not for the masses.  Would we have called it emerging media that whole time if we had studied media communications definitions to such depth back then?  Doesn’t much of what we refer to as emerging media today also qualify as being available to hundreds of millions if not billions within a relatively short timeframe?

While pagers have not been known as a marketing communications tool for most of their existence, the biggest push for using pagers as a marketing medium was perhaps a 6-month long promotion by Mountain Dew in 1996.  This was near the height of pager use in general, mainly for convenient person to person communication.  Mountain Dew parent Pepsi’s plan was to distribute 500,000 Motorola pager units within 6 months, primarily to 18-24 year olds.  The pagers were Mountain Dew branded and came with free service for that time frame.  Also, each week the user received a special text promotion from the Mountain Dew network that encouraged a call in to a toll-free contest line that touted contests and other offers from companies such as MTV, Hummer, ESPN, Frito-Lay and Sony.  All wishful subscribers had to do was send in $35 and 10 proofs of purchase.   While I was unable to find definitive records, my research indicated that for all this effort perhaps only just over 200,000 of the pagers were ever distributed.   Also in the process, Mountain Dew  ticked off a lot of parents.  Regardless, most of the pagers  probably found their way to thee junk heap just a few years later as cell phones began their push to greater public adoption.

On the positive side, the pagers definitely were good for people’s social experiences.  To flesh out my research, I posted a status update to see if anyone remembered these things.  One Facebook friend said she’s pretty sure it gave her EX-boyfriend at the time/future husband an excuse to beep her to call him, presumably to reconcile – two days before her service would have been shut off for good!  Another didn’t actually have one, but to this day still remembers being jealous of his friend that did!

Mountain Dew Extreme Network Ad and Entry Form – via mtndewkid.com

While pagers displayed some characteristics of an early Twitter-like medium (limited character count, abbreviated wordings, references to other actions like picking up a phone) pagers are now a marginalized media, arguably not social media, and definitely no longer emerging.  The only time we typically only see pagers now is when we are waiting for a table at a restaurant and even that is being supplanted by apps and SMS (text notices).   Though, pagers still are very useful for emergency workers.   My brother still uses one for his rounds in med school and he even gets to take it home, thanks to the FCC.

Andy Krack's Pager

Andy Krack’s Pager

Do we automatically attach a sense of promise to the term “emerging media”?  Should we jump to that conclusion for everything that is new and shiny in light of such examples?  From my perspective, the pager was a flash in the pan in most people’s consciousness.

One interesting difference between the emerging media before the PC/internet revolution and post-PC revolution style of emerging media, is that to be in step with emerging media before the revolution, it was very expensive.  Think about the status symbol that was the satellite phone in the 1980’s.  It was expensive emerging media.  Now, anyone with an email address can get a Twitter account and so on.   The only exclusivity to being a user of a hot new emerging medium now seems to be if you’re a beta developer or part of the initial rollout group.

For example,  Facebook was only originally available to students and faculty at certain universities.  I had already graduated but luckily I was able to use my alumni email to sneak in.   Google+ was originally an “invite-only” network, but pretty much anyone that wanted one could get an invite, as Google was fairly generous with its invite quota – I had made it in and posted on Facebook that I had invites to Google + and got a couple of takers, but not more than my number of available invites.  These are small prices to pay compared to in the past to be an early adopter of an emerging medium.

The cost of  entry into today’s emerging media is often lowered to next to zero rather quickly.   I believe this has huge implications for the enhancement of communication in our world moving forward.  There is always some new and exciting change around the corner and it rarely takes $35 and 10 proof of purchases to get in on the action these days.

mk