Why am I writing about Twitter at midnight? Even Ashton Kutcher is icing his iThumb at this hour. I’m chasing a brainstorm for my keynote at New Media Expo/Blogworld on Sunday. My talk is about the future of social currencies and the new economics of work. Since launching several successful loyalty services at MasterCard and American Express, I’ve been obsessed with deconstructing what motivates us. That’s why social media and gamification are so amusing to me. They’re a shiny new set of controls that can change – or exploit human behavior. But before drunkenly commandeering The USS Twitter, it’s best to first meet its passengers. Like my 15 Faces of Facebook article last year, here is a deconstruction of Twitter – what it is, who uses it, and what motivates them. In future articles, I’ll go deeper into tools to change both customer and employee behavior.
Registered users will get the detailed infographic here (to be posted on 1/11)
Cirque du Soleil’s Andy Levey joins Steve Faktor to discuss the business of social, including:
- Can you make Charmin cool on social media?
- Is Mark Cuban alone at being mad at Facebook?
- Do platforms have monopoly power?
- The economics and future of Twitter and Google+
- How actionable is social data?
- Is the social user a real human or a “subset of humanity”
- Is buying fake followers like paying for a stripper?
- Who is a real influencer or expert? How to use brand ambassadors.
- Can you sell through social media?
This is a reprint of the original interview I did with the popular innovation blog from consultancy PSFK.
We talk to innovator, futurist, and author of the book ‘Econovation’ about how impermanence, gamification and sensory stimulation are crucial in today’s developing office culture.
As part of our Future of Work Series, PSFK reached out to experts to get their take on the changes we’ve identified that are currently going on in the workplace. We recently chatted with Steve Faktor (@ideafaktory), author of Econovation (Wiley), founder of the IdeaFaktory incubator, and former Vice President and head of the American Express Chairman’s Innovation Fund. Following Steve’s popular series of articles on work and happiness in Harvard Business Review, we asked his thoughts on how social, generation gaps, and what jobs we do will change the workplace.
In one episode of Seinfeld, Elaine finds out the birth control sponge was discontinued. So she buys up all available inventory and obsesses over how “Spongeworthy” her many suitors are. Like Elaine, we luxuriate in the abundance of the information age, but it also hides some uncomfortable scarcities. In watching the recent TEDGlobal event in Scotland, it occurred to me that TED is much more than a collection of great talks. TED is that selective lover that doesn’t fish out fresh sponges for just anyone. In that way, TED offers us a glimpse into our future – an unnatural selection of sorts. It foreshadows what success – and even survival will look like in the next century. Of course like any great story, it’s full of lessons for you-me-us.
It wasn’t very often that my parents took me to the museum. Let’s face it, we were poor immigrants and Brooklyn already featured five Pakistani shops for cultural diversity. Plus, I’m pretty sure that my parents were faking their interest in art for my benefit. No one would mistake our one bedroom apartment for the Louvre. A loo, maybe. I could tell they were faking it when my engineer dad tried to straighten one of the lopsided installations at the Guggenheim. OK, I’m not sure that actually happened, but I remember him grumbling that no one there would ever land a job at his old Soviet aviation plant. A coveted prize.
As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate how those lopsided installations and grotesque paintings got inside the MOMA. Often, it’s the work of a slight, somewhat effeminate, persnickety man dubbed, “The Curator” *. He grew up fetishizing art, learning what inspired Picasso, and hoping his parents don’t discover his secret: that he’ll never become the race car driver they’d hoped for. This preening prodigy spent his whole life admiring objects he couldn’t afford – waiting, pining away for that moment when his stature could finally catch up to his snootiness. Today, he dresses to impress. And, celebrities from Elton John to Ricky Martin can’t wait to marvel at his huge…collection.
This week’s episode of Ideafaktory Radio is the first of a three part series with Forbes contributor and Social Enterprise guru Mark Fidelman. This wasn’t even meant to be recorded! Mark deviously taped our private conversation on his iPhone and captured the two of us brawling over the future of apps, among other issues that keep geeks up at night. In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Why you don’t need to motivate people who work at MTV
- Why only rich, hot people should go into journalism
- How successful apps get pimped
- Why Twitter and Facebook might be #JumpingTheShark #LOL #OMG
- Why I don’t care that apps are dying as Mark nurses app developers back to health, like Mother Theresa.
- How competition cleanses everything except financial services
Coming soon: Gregory Essau, a home builder turned sustainable economy missionary.
The first episode of the Ideafaktory Podcast is the best one ever. It’s a great conversation between Steve Faktor and Dan Lyons (aka the original “Fake Steve Jobs“, aka “Real Dan Lyons). Dan has written for Forbes, Newsweek and many publications that begged me not to use their names!
This episode is all about social media fame as job security. You’ll learn:
- What crazy thing Dan wrote that made me reach out to him in the first place
- How Dan escaped being an anonymous drone by blogging…as the end of print media loomed
- Why you need to be a star
- All about the brilliant, but seedy underbelly of monetizing influence
- Why you should never get out of your jammies
- Why immigrant parents don’t care if you can spell
Enjoy. Comment below and subscribe to this weekly podcast at ideafaktory.com.
Awesome intro music by The Walkers
As I baked muffins to celebrate Facebook’s IPO, it occurred to me that there’s one HUGE, unspoken difference between the data people reveal to Facebook and what Google collects through search and other tools. It’s this: Facebook knows the image you want to project to the world – your “social resume”. Beautiful vacation photos; that perfect profile photo you Photoshopped so much that your nose is part puma, part Joan Rivers; and those photos of you surrounded by hot girls that lets the world (and Facebook) know that your party never stops.
Well, Google knows your dark, ugly, dirty truths. Your transcribed Google Voice messages reveal you argued nonstop on that island vacation as your kids yelled, “I hate you!” in the background. Your search history shows all your liposuction research, as your Photoshop bills skyrocket. Several of your eHarmony dates have jumped through glass storefronts to escape your shocking, incongruous looks. Google also knows where you’ve been – HOME!!! Your Android phone tattles like a four year old bribed with brownies. It reports your every move and it knows you’ve barely moved. You haven’t been invited to a hot party since October ’09, when you made your one friend wait two hours as you caked on makeup, trying to look your very beast…I mean ‘best’, before leaving the house.
What I’m saying is – you have two lives. The pretty, inauthentic one you construct on Facebook and the one where Mistress Sally from Craigslist walks on your face with stilettos wrapped in bacon. (Don’t ask…I just write whatever my imagination conjures.) Point is, that disparity creates a very different value proposition for the two companies. As Google mines your dark side, Facebook scrapes away at your veneer to get to it.
As a journalism student at NYU, I remember my immigrant dad interrogating me suspiciously about a profession he couldn’t possibly understand. He asked me the kinds of questions you’d expect from an engineer who just risked everything to drag his family out of the Soviet Union. “How will you make money?” he’d ask in his thick Russian accent. “What kind of (stupid) job is writing?” He would have been more proud if I majored in mink skinning or Zamboni maintenance. Slowly, he chipped away at me until I gave up my journalistic dream. For the past 10 years, it seemed like my dad’s fresh-off-the-boat wisdom paid off. I was having a successful career in business while the field of paid journalism looked like Courtney Love circa 5 a.m. – a hot mess.
I’ve had a Facebook account since early 2007, but resisted its advances like catcalls from drunken sailors. My first few friend requests didn’t exactly inspire hope – random co-workers, curious exes, and forgotten classmates . What kind of voyeuristic, Orwellian nightmare was this?? And, why were my ‘friends’ so damn old and frumpy?!? Where were the celebrities, billionaires, and supermodels? Was I not the youthful, gregarious intellectual I thought I was? Surely, this was a mistake… Despite years of self-delusion and indifference, I finally consummated my cold, distant relationship with Facebook by uploading my contacts in October 2010. This was no selfless act of love. Like many corporations and fellow narcissists, I salivated at the chance to use it to promote my “brand” –blog, book, appearance on Ellen. The last year of this reluctant romance taught me that Facebook is no easy prey. It’s an amazing social experiment that can be trivial, passionate, funny, and deeply personal – all at the same time. It’s an addictive, evolving organism with a rhythm and personality of its own – one that can be prickly and unkind to marketing and self-promotion. This fact is often lost on businesses. If, like me, you’ve ever tried to claw your way out of a mind-numbing meeting on how to “market on Facebook”, salvation is here. “The 15 Faces of Facebook” will be my ever-evolving analysis of who dwells on Facebook, what motivates them, and whether they’ll hear your Twilight howls of commerce. Ideafaktory is about to save you hundreds of thousands of dollars on behavioral psychologists and social media research. Then again, like any good drug dealer, the first hit is always free.
Hyper-connected tech blogger Robert Scoble, recently wrote about treating startups more critically. Robert found himself meeting with lots of crappy, over-funded, digital startups that desperately need more time in the oven, an intervention by Dr. Drew, or more likely, Dr. Kevorkian. (My words, not Robert’s.) Not only am I seeing the same things, but I’d take it a step further. I believe this current crop of entrepreneurs might actually be hurting America - and perverting the very idea of innovation in the same way Beyonce’s Run The World is like kicking Aretha Franklin in the ribs…repeatedly. All is not lost. There are ways to take advantage of this situation, though it’s way too late to save this song:
It seems you’re likelier to find Amy Winehouse up bright and early, going for a run, than to find an American politician untainted by special interests. Unfortunately, that’s the usual angle we see when talking about the relationship between politics and business. Let me suggest another: innovation. That’s right, innovation. The Democratic campaign has been a real-life example of Apple vs. Microsoft, or Google vs. Yahoo. The innovator vs. the stalwart. I’ll explain…
There are now two contenders for the democratic nomination, Senators Clinton and Obama. Despite their virtually identical voting records and positions on issues, one is clearly an innovator.