Here’s what I see coming for voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Lots of marketing opportunities here, and perhaps finally one eco-system to combine all social app data. More on that later.
What date did I move to San Francisco?
Who joined me at the Bruce Springsteen concert a few years ago?
What was the name of that Portland, Maine dive bar on the water with the oysters we loved?
When did I first buy raw maca powder?
That’s fairly simple stuff. The required data sources (which we’re already comfortable sharing) include:
Apps like Timehop can already tap into high level info like this and tell you where you were three years ago, but the social and detail layers will require more information and networked data.
What did I wear to Blackdiamondskye?
Which outfit should I wear today?
What topics did I research after my first lunch with Sandra?
Mobile GPS data (location services) from apps like Google Maps
Passbook (boarding passes, movie ticket stubs, event badges)
Messaging app history (iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.)
When was I happiest during the time I lived in New York?
Which job offer suits me best?
When did I know I was in love?
Everything we say and type? No – just all of the aforementioned sources, plus a future wearable or implanted device to monitor energy. Triangulate the data and apply some algorithms and AI.
Essentially, I think everything I currently rely on Evernote for will be available through a voice assistant that is continually self-improving a personalized tagging convention and data-rich picture of who I was, who I am, and who I will be (how I will behave).
Location, check-in, and social data – your digital footprint – will be accessible. Visuals included. The more you check in and document your every move, the richer your look-backs will be. This is similar to the re-do in my favorite Black Mirror episode, The Entire History of You, except what I envision is not based on a 24/7 life recorder, but an aggregation of experiential data shared by permission.
ICYMI – The Entire History of You premise: In an alternate reality, most people have a “grain” implanted behind their ear. It records everything they see, hear, and do, like a first person recorder for life. This allows memories to be (quite realistically) played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen, a process known as a “re-do”.
I’m not advocating for a grain implant or anything as terrifying as what’s available in this show. But the personal data recall possibilities are pretty exciting.
Upside: wonderful for re-experiencing memories or pulling up information quickly.
Downside: our memories will get even weaker because we will exercise that muscle less and less. Oh, and privacy.
LinkedIn’s methods for gathering data from its over 450 million* registered users are shrouded. Usually, they don’t ask permission, they just uncheck new Privacy Controls for you. It’s no wonder they’ve faced numerous lawsuits.
LinkedIn seems to know everyone you’ve ever emailed: The People You May Know feature seems to make predictions based on information you’ve never knowingly transmitted. Before I explain how this works, here’s a quick fix:
How to remove your imported contacts from LinkedIn:
Go to Connections -> Add Connections -> Manage imported contacts (top right of page) -> click “select all” and delete all
(This is easiest to do on desktop: forget performing half the functions you want to on the iPhone app.)
How LinkedIn is seemingly psychic about people you may know
Other users’ actions: This algorithm is their secret sauce. LinkedIn analyzes other users’ searches and viewing histories to make assumptions about people you may know. I.e., if Sheryl and Dean searched for both you and Tony, then you and Tony may know each other. Multiply this across many users. The result is an algorithm that predicts your likely contacts without ever accessing your actual contacts. You may see recommendations to connect with someone who has the same name as someone you know, but is a totally different person.
Your contacts: You may have granted LinkedIn access to your contacts, which often happens inadvertently by using the app. “Inadvertent” is the keyword for most privacy issues with LinkedIn, because its strategy hinges upon 1) the fact that most users don’t read fine print and 2) that its UI, especially on mobile, effectively shuffles users along a permission-granting bender.
Your login: When logged in, even if you close the tab, LinkedIn has access to any activity you take on a site with a LinkedIn plugin or authentication that you’ve granted. To avoid this tracking, log out of LinkedIn whenever you’re done with your business.
In the last 1-2 years we’ve seen a trend of complimenting brands who are “rocking” Snapchat and other relatively new one-to-one social messaging apps. (I prefer Allison Steele’s term: attention deficit content creation platforms.)
After 5-10 years of oversharing, narcissism, and selfie culture resulting in enough privacy backlashes, firings, and divorces, many users are crunching inwards toward more private communication. Brands automatically assuming they belong in this new crop of apps is a me-too mistake, the result of too much demand for rapid reaction.
Where is the data indicating that Taco Bell, McDonald’s, General Electric, Heineken, the New Orleans Saints, 16 Handles, etc. are successful on Snapchat?
Brands on Snapchat hope to reach Millennials (those born in roughly the early 1980s to the early 2000s). Targeting a demo whose childhoods were filled with every-loser-gets-a-trophy-for-showing-up has translated to brands showing up – without even keeping score – being considered winners.
You can’t measure engagement within Snapchat.
A snap can’t benefit from the interaction of a Like, retweet, favorite, or share. Brands get more buzz off the flowery Mashable campaign coverage written by AYSO trophy-saturated writers who continually fail to proofread (a symptom of “A for effort”? – this is too easy). I’ve personally seen brand impressions from articles lauding the “organic/intimate/forward-thinking/risk-taking” efforts of marketers and their agencies for experimentation with Snapchat, Vine, etc. worth more than any fleeting impact the disappearing content may have on consumers. Not only do the messages disappear, the attention span of their target user base is the shortest on the planet.
Resources devoted to Snapchat when your other social ducks are anemic makes good linkbait when we’re all tired of hearing about the reach woes of Facebook and ineffective YouTube pre-roll. Instead of fixing problems on platforms with better tracking, targeting, reach, and content longevity, it’s easier and more fun to make stop motion videos. Now, Snapchat’s 32.9% penetration among 18-34 year-olds should not be ignored. And if you want to reach 18-25 year-olds with exclusive content – things like limited time coupons, flash sales, and behind-the-scenes footage – I see the draw. But where is the yardstick?
Lastly, we all know what Snapchat is for. Do you really want a brand’s snap next to your sext? The proximity alone should cause a panic attack.
Andrew Cunningham at HUGE wrote a nice summary of considerations if you choose to market with Snapchat. I am not saying avoid it: I’m saying stop handing out trophies for showing up at try-outs.
It’s a mobile messaging app that allows users to share photos and videos that disappear after a short time once the recipient opens the message (after 1-10 seconds or 24 hours for Stories). As of July 2014, users were sending 700 million photo messages each day, up from 400 million in October 2013.
This week on the Digital Dive, we discuss the way technology has radically changed the world of dating and relationships – for better and for worse. Take a walk through the good, the bad, and the ugly ways that social media, online dating sites, search engines, and apps impact the experience of romance in modern culture. Is the level of transparency afforded by technology a good thing?
I. “Facebook me.” – When first meeting, how soon should you share your social profile? Is sharing a social profile more intimate than sharing a phone number? (I say yes.)
II. Online dating websites – The popularity of online dating sites has ballooned over the past few years, and the average age of users is dropping. Melanie and I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of meeting organically vs. meeting online. Is there still a stigma to online dating?
III. Breaking up digitally – “Out of sight, out of mind”is increasingly difficult as individual online presences grow. Avoiding an ex online can be almost impossible when you have mutual friends. Listen for websites and apps that can help ease the pain.
Tips on Tap:
I. Block Your Ex – Browser add on that blocks you from seeing your ex on social media, search engines, and blog networks. blockyourex.com
II. Never Liked it Anyway – Online marketplace to sell gifts from exes that are too hard to keep. neverlikeditanyway.com
2) Spam email hits a five-year low, but is still two-thirds of all email.
Considering how prevalent spam is, it’s no wonder many people who recently received the legal notice Fraley v. Facebook email were suspicious:
Fraley v. Facebook, Inc. — Sponsored Stories
If you’re an eligible Facebook user in the U.S. or UK, you may have already received an email (or may get one soon) from firstname.lastname@example.org titled: “Re: Legal Notice of Settlement of Class Action:”
You are receiving this e-mail because you may have been featured in a “Sponsored Story” on Facebook prior to December 3, 2012…
What are sponsored stories?
“Sponsored stories are messages coming from friends about them engaging with your Page, app or event that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people see them.” -Facebook
Who is the lead plaintiff, Angel Fraley? If the Fraley v. Facebook goes cy pres, which not-for-profit organizations will receive what’s left of the $20 million settlement? Why does this all smell fishy? What does the average user stand to gain (besides $10 max)?
Tips on Tap
1) Prevent cell phone frostbite: Keep your phone in your pocket in cold temperatures to prevent decline in the lithium ion battery when it’s below freezing.
2) Fashism.com – A fashion crowdsourcing website and app for iPhone and Android. “Post a photo, ask a question, get advice.”
3) Electronics buying guide – When to buy:
Computer monitors: January-February
Cell phones – Valentine’s Day (look for BOGO deals)