The social media influence myth?

If you begin to hang around social media types who are trying to understand the dynamics of social media, influencers and influence get mentioned a lot, as do nodes. This is particularly so discussions lean towards social media’s role within the marketing, advertising and PR mix. (On which note see the slide show by John V Wiltshire in last week’s recommended reads)

So I was interested to read this post by Anthony Mayfield entitled “How advertising distorts brand marketing” and his corresponding slide show (below).

My summary: influence can be a flighty thing.

Anthony also pointed me in the direction of friend Alan Patrick’s site (always nice when that happens), and his outlining of two reports that have recently come out about Twitter and influence, which is also worth your attention if you’re fed up of the LOTS OF FOLLOWERS = LOTS OF INFLUENCE mentality.

And, by, the by, when it comes to measuring influence on Twitter a combination of the tools Twitalyzer and Twitter Grader will probably give you a good a picture as any for free.

UPDATE 10/09/2009: See also Mark Earls post on this topic – Free gift: influence and how things really spread

Recommended reads and links for this week

It may be August, it may be quiet but there have been a few things this week that are worth a read or quick schmooze – oh, and where else will you find viral marketing mentioned on the same page as semiconductors and DNA?

IN ADVERTISING

The Guardian reported this week that the Office of Fair Trading is to investigate targeted ads and pricing online. The investigation is going to cover areas such as price comparison websites and the use of personal data in website advertising, including behavioural targeting technologies.
The results of the investigation could prove significant for the industry, particularly in the light of the European Commission’s proceedings against the UK for failing to uphold privacy laws in line with EU regulations as regards Phorm.

This week Advertising Age also asked: Why Do UK Videos Always Seem to Go Viral? With a headline like that, how can you not go and have a peek?

IN TECHNOLOGY
Wolfram Alpha – the computational engine using semantic technology that should not to be confused with Google or a search engine as this thing likes calculating stuff – have blogged on what they have been doing this summer.
The post can be summarised as: we’ve been busy and reliant on summer being quiet and traffic down so that we can make sure the site works even better in the autumn. But, ignore my cynicism, the insights that Stephen Wolfram gives show how a company can be open regarding it’s product development and give you a little glimpse under the hood.

Another semantic technology company to be aware of is Fluidinfo who launched online this week. The idea for the company started in the UK and the team are now based in Spain. Their first product is FluidDB which they describe as “a new kind of hosted (cloud) database, designed to provide a global metadata and personalization engine – for everyone and everything.” You can read the product overview here.

Note: those interested in semantic technologies should also look at OpenCalais.

Finally, the FT reported that IBM scientists may have discovered a way to use DNA to help construct semiconductor chips. The report explains:

Scientists have suggested that artificial DNA nanostructures and “DNA origami”, in which a long single strand of DNA is folded into a shape using shorter “staple strands”, could be used to provide a template for the self-assembly of other materials into nanoelectronic or nano-optical devices on the surface of the chip.

An augmented reality

The term Augmented Reality is popping up in more and more places of late, as the 3D visual technology rapidly develops.

Augmented Reality describes the technology that integrates computer graphics into real-world environments. Huh? Yes, it’s not easy to describe, but this video illustrates the possibilities beautifully for books:

Ad Age is predicting that within the next six months augmented reality will become more useful and natural. It looked at several examples including Wikitude developed by by Austrian company Mobilizy, which launched this demo video in October 2008.

Mobilizy describe the application as:

Wikitude is a mobile travel guide for the Android platform based on location-based Wikipedia and Qype content. It is a handy application for planning a trip or to find out about landmarks in your surroundings; 350,000 world-wide points of interest may be searched by GPS or by address and displayed in a list view, map view or cam view.

Think about the possibilities for just a few moments, and that marketers are beginning to use these techniques in advertising, and you begin to understand how walking down the street in the future could be a very different experience, as more invisible layers of data get added to the real-world and hard surfaced environment.

More examples