Some quick thoughts on why Google+ (still) hasn't worked March 20th
James Whittaker, an ex-Googler, writes about how Google+ has sucked the real innovation from what used to be one of the web’s greatest innovators:
The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.
A user exodus from Facebook never materialized. I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice, “social isn’t a product,” she told me after I gave her a demo, “social is people and the people are on Facebook.”
I think the quite above is the most insightful. Advertising is the real business behind most web companies.
Dot-com’s tried this back in the heydays of the web, but it didn’t work. This isn’t because the model wasn’t right, but for two other important reasons:
Firstly, the Internet is now mobile. Most of us have faster, more reliable connections in our pockets than we could have ever imagined. Companies that are getting the advertising business model right like Facebook are now designing everything for people using their services everywhere.
Secondly, the products were crap. This was partly because the technologies available were still in their ascendancy but mainly it was because of a misconception that people would keep coming back to consume content written for them. It turned out most people didn’t really want to do that, they wanted to share.
This is where it comes back full circle to Google+. They decided to play Facebook at their own game by building a social network. I think all they needed to do was to embed sharing more into their products.
Imagine if Google+ was a great, simple way for you to share and collect things you’ve created or found across Google’s products, without the need to maintain another profile. Google gets what it needs – better data about you so it can target more effective ads, and you’re more likely to use the tool because it doesn’t force you into behaving in particular way, it just happens as part of your normal Googling.
It’s a subtle distinction, but one way Google could have won the next round of social.
Breaking the pocket pavlovian reaction. February 10th
I’m conducting an experiment.
For the past 5 years I’ve always had some form of smartphone. That’s 5 years of constant connection to the whole of the Internet. 5 years where I’ve never really had a blank, empty moment. 5 years of a constant inward flow of information.
This got me thinking: What else could I have done with that time? Often its only a few minutes here and there, but it certainly adds up.
Now, this does not mean it’s been wasted time. I’ve made some real and valuable friendships and learnt some useful things by being constantly connected.
Having access to things like Twitter and Facebook in my pocket has created a pavlovian reaction when I’m bored or not immediately occupied – an easy way to get a ‘social’ hit. I’m not as bad as some. I know people who conduct entire conversations they’re sat next to whilst ‘checking in’ or Tweeting.
So, my experiment: see if I can break that pocket pavlovian reaction. See if I can use a smartphone as a tool, not a thing to grout the cracks in my day to day activities.
Last week, thieves stole a TV from a Cancer Ward. This week, Twitter fights back… November 26th
Colchester is usually a nice place to live, but like many towns, bad things happen. This was worse than bad:
Colchester: Thieves steal TV from cancer ward tinyurl.com/bhpf6pq
— East Anglian DT (@EADT24) November 22, 2012
There’s been a rather pleasant community of Colchester Tweeters develop over the last year or so, and they’ve decided this kind of horrendous act won’t do:
— Colchester Views (@Colchesterviews) November 26, 2012
— Sacha Allen (@XsashkieX) November 25, 2012
The JustGiving page is seeing donations trickle in, but I’d love it if you fancied donating, or at the very least sharing this post so others have the chance.
You can donate here.
Twitter's CEO is a comedian. (No, really) October 10th
A story about service that makes you smile September 15th
You know that special smiley, tingly feeling you get when someone does the exact thing you want them to when you weren’t expecting it? Well let me give you a little example.
I own a beautiful pair of headphones, made by Incase. They make the 90 minute commute from the Badlands of Essex bearable. They broke about 4 weeks ago.
Incase are based in California, and they wanted me to pay for posting the broken part out to them, wait for them to test it and then wait even longer for a replacement. I’m an impatient bastard, so I asked if I could just buy a replacement part.
I had no response. This made me rather grumpy, so I Tweeted this:
@goincase Your customer service is terrible. Does anyone monitor your email inbox?…
— Oli (@oli) September 12, 2012
Now, at this point Incase had no idea who I was, or even if I was a customer.
This made me rather surprised to receive this email:
I know this kind of service is possible, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to receive it. Intrigued, I wanted to know how they’d done it:
As for finding you/your info we use sprout social and it showed that you were on fb which, like your twitter page, also had a link to your site from which we found your last name. Luckily for us, there was only one Oli Watts in our system. We found your RMA and email support tickets and viola, here we are. Your RMA info was missing your zip and state/province but plugging in your address in google maps brought up any missing info.
We had most of the pieces, just needed to put them together.
Incase aren’t a massive corporation. They’re a medium sized business who make really well designed products. They could have chosen to invest more in R&D than customer service, but they didn’t because they get something a lot of people don’t.
The real value of ‘social media’ is to help create a conversation and to build a relationship. I’ve now got a relationship with Incase because not only did they show they cared, they followed through. Doing service like this is really hard, but the benefits can be rather exciting.
How to stop your headphones tangling in your pocket September 9th
My marvellous Incase headphones are broken at the moment, so I am relegated to the original Apple earbuds.
For 1.5m of inanimate plastic cable they seem to have a superhuman ability to get tangled in a ball. If this pisses you off as much as it does me, the video below will save your curses:
What happens when your Twitter account is verified September 3rd