Friday Five

chartbeat-methodology

  1. Analytics firm Chartbeat has opened up its measurement methodology, limitations and all. By exposing their thinking and technology, they give the service’s users better insight into their reports — and simultaneously ramp up the pressure on the competition to go transparent.
  2. Now that we’ve all given up on comments, annotation is on the rise. The Genius platform continues its quest to annotate everything through social reading. Spend a little time with Tech Genius to see how people dissect and discuss noteworthy texts.
  3. Pew released a sobering report on the state of online harassment. Younger adults are more likely to have experienced some kind of harassment, from name calling to physically threats. Young women experience particular, severe forms of harassment, with a full 26% reporting that they have been stalked online. See also: #GamerGate.
  4. Before you respond to that email, pause. This HBR post explains how to improve your communications by being a little less quick on the draw with the send button.
  5. It’s the end of apps as we know them. The mobile experience will be less about sifting through app icons spanning multiple screens, and more about apps sitting in the background, serving up relevant content as needed.

Weekend fun: How many times has your heart beat? How has the planet changed around you during your lifetime, from animal extinctions to solar eclipses? Check out this clever, interactive visualization from the BBC.

 

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up for a weekly email.

Friday Five
  1. NASA audio tweetTwitter has enabled streaming audio to a limited number of partners via Audio Cards using Soundcloud. Now users can listen, like and share audio content on SoundCloud without leaving Twitter. This feature will be big for music, and useful for finding new audiences for public radio programming. Audio excerpts might also serve up interesting teasers for online learning content.
  2. With stickers in comments and the ability to draw on photos in Messenger, Facebook got a lot more visual and fun this week.
  3. Facebook is for the olds, while Spotify, Quora, and Instagram topped this list of digital products teens use and love. Product Hunt this week featured products made by teens.
  4. Data security has everyone spooked, and rightfully so. Do your part by reading this handy guide to not being that idiot who got the company hacked. TL;DR: two-factor authentication for everything.
  5. How do organizations that adopt and advance by new technology effectively drive digital transformation? According to this HBR post, it’s not an impossible task or arcane art — the main requirements are time, tenacity, and leadership.

Weekend fun: Remember that McSweeney’s piece and subsequent video mocking 1990s feel-good font Comic Sans? Now someone’s made a typewriter called the Sincerity Machine that produces nothing but.

 

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up for a weekly email.

How to lead a responsive web design

responsive web design Web thought leaders and authors Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte now publish a popular responsive web design podcast. Each episode features an interview with the people who make responsive redesigns happen, and covers the various complexities from change management and organizational readiness to design optimization and monetizing mobile.

You can see my interview here, which talks about the current content strategy shift toward mobile, and a recent responsive redesign at Harvard.

Friday Five

Arsenal search

  1. Google has enhanced its search results with an “In the News” box. These results include blogs and other content sites that are not traditionally indexed as news. This would explain the travesty above, where a Chelsea blog is listed related to a search for Arsenal F.C.
  2. Here’s a thoughtful recap and lessons learned from the NYTNow and soon-to-be-shuttered NYT Opinion apps. Being smart about mobile can draw in new and younger audiences, but it’s still a challenge to figure out what users will pay for, and to avoid cannibalizing existing channels with lower priced offerings.
  3. Did you ever wonder what the advertisers know about you based on your web habits? Data researcher Jer Thorp paid 10 users $5 each to profile him based on the ads he’d been shown, and shares the results. If you are curious about the data online advertisers are gathering about you, download this Chrome extension, Floodwatch.
  4. Creative types proficient in Photoshop or InDesign can make anything look good. For the rest of us looking for ways to improve our graphics, here are 23 useful tools to create images for social media.
  5. Diehard location check-in fans may like the new Swarm widget for iOS 8, which lets users check in with a single tap. Foursquare is taking another run at serendipitous in-person socializing with a “nearby friends” feature.

Weekend fun: Jimmy Fallon runs down the pros and cons of Ello, the new ad-free social network.

 

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up for a weekly email.

Friday Five

active_exposure

  1. Pageviews and clicks provide some insight into your content’s performance, but understanding if and where your users are paying attention is far more valuable for content producers and advertisers alike. Chartbeat announced that it’s been certified by the Media Ratings Council for a new way of measuring reader attention: active exposure time.
  2. Are we actually reading the articles we share on social networks? Buzzfeed’s new data blog has some encouraging news: on average, users who share spend 68% more time on page than users who don’t.
  3. Google Ventures shared these five rules for creating great interface copy. The rules offer designers and developers a useful reminder of the importance of well-crafted microcopy, and how all those little, big details add up in interface design.
  4. Reddit received $50 million in funding, to be used in part for product development, community management, and mobile tools (maybe an app, finally?). Reddit also announced plans to share back 10% of equity with the site’s users via crypto-currency.
  5. Overwhelmed by your inbox? Try Eric Schmidt’s 9 rules for email. I’ve been rescued by the LIFO strategy more times than I can count.

Weekend fun: Anyone else remember using an SE/30 for wordprocessing or playing Dark Castle? A team working at the Harvard Innovation Lab has visualized the evolution of the desk from an old-school Mac with accessories to your laptop today. Spoiler alert: there’s an app for that.

desk evolution

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up for a weekly email.

Future M and Inbound

Last week, well over 10,000 digital marketers and technologists arrived in Boston for MITX’s Future M, and Hubspot’s Inbound.

For Future M, I was fortunate to participate in a fireside chat led by industry pro Sarah Fay on how to cultivate a digital team. Smart question from the audience: who are the three members I would bring to a desert island digital team? My answer: developer (always be building), storyteller (it’s vital to have a narrative, be it words and pictures), and strategist (define why are we doing what we’re doing — and what we’re NOT doing).

At Inbound, I presented the deck below on the Rise of the Chief Digital Officer. Not clear what the future is for that curious title, but the need for a digital competency that favors integration over education will certainly endure.

Thanks to all who attended and followed up later with great ideas and insights.

What do L’Oreal, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and McDonalds have in common? Like Harvard University, they all have CDOs. But what on earth does a CDO do in a world where almost everything is digital? A CDO is a means to catalyze change and to empower one person to accelerate digital capabilities across the enterprise. This session will focus on practical ways that CDOs, CMOs, and other enterprise leaders can create and innovate through digital strategy.

 

 

Friday Five
how search works
  1. Even with the meteoric rise of social media, search remains a significant driver of traffic for most sites. Google released a helpful, scrolling infographic reviewing the basics of how search works.
  2. Visual social network Pinterest is a treasure trove for publishers. Not only a resource for trendspotting, Pinterest can in some cases drive more referral traffic to publishers than Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Social media anxiety most often takes the form of FOMO (fear of missing out) — that feeling you get when you realize all your friends are on a fabulous ski weekend while you’re home in your pajamas binge watching True Detective. A new site aims to ease the pain of a different form of social media anxiety — when you fret over your unliked Instagram photos.
  4. Are messaging apps taking over your mobile device? Here’s a breakdown of the trends that are sticking (e.g., disappearing messages, ambient messaging) and leading to the app proliferation.
  5. If you work in marketing or publishing, chances are you spend some of your time sourcing digital design. 8 tricks to selecting a design partner underscores the value of a designer who understands business goals, and who will stand up to you and your bad ideas.

Weekend fun: The time-honored geek ritual of unboxing a new tech product is re-imagined in Blue Man Group’s video of the iPhone 6. But once unboxed, will it bend? Here’s a roundup of internet reactions to #bendgate.

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up to get a weekly email.

Friday Five
  1. Facebook trending topics Facebook is updating its News Feed, again. This set of changes focuses on putting more weight on trending topics, so your feed reflects more discussion of what’s going on right now. Now the recency of the likes and comments on posts will matter more, perhaps reducing the frequency of those odd moments when a friend’s heavily-liked wedding post resurfaces in your feed as they’re celebrating their third anniversary.
  2. Compared with the emphasis most organizations put on growing a house email list, it’s surprising how little effort is spent to re-engaging those subscribers when open and click rates falter. Here are some tips on how to clean and re-engage your list.
  3. Google Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik makes a compelling case for better mobile site analytics (and throws in some fighting words about responsive web design for good measure). If you are working with Google Analytics to measure mobile, his comprehensive post provides useful examples from implementing Google Tag Manager to advanced Cross-Device Tracking.
  4. Wired delivers with 15 insanely great tricks to master Apple’s iOS 8. Word to the wise: don’t make your first trick downloading iOS 8 on your iPhone 4S.
  5. That said, there are some clear advantages to downloading iOS 8 on a newer device. Do you spend too much time swiping through your emoji keyboard to craft a perfect, visual response? Then, you might need Keymoji, a downloadable keyboard that converts your text into emojis as you type.

Weekend fun: Tough week? Nervous about going long on today’s Alibaba IPO? Go ahead: watch some puppies playing with a GoPro.

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up to get a weekly email.

Setting the Stage for Digital Engagement: A Five-Step Approach

Today, people don’t simply replicate offline activities online; rather, they create and engage in new mobile and social behaviors.

This article was originally published in EDUCAUSE Review, a bi-monthly magazine on current developments and trends in information technology, how they may affect the university as an institution, and what these mean for higher education and society.

 
To get a sense of what’s new in digital, blink twice: helpful, innovative products are cropping up everywhere. But to build an institutional structure for digital engagement that will stand the test of time, organize once—smartly and creatively.

Change is now our norm. The last decade has produced a rapid and stunning transformation in digital behavior. Students arriving on college and university campuses in the fall of 2014 were born in 1996; back then, college students visited a physical location—a computer with a modem on a desk—to connect to the Internet and their new electronic-mail accounts. By the time today’s freshmen were in kindergarten, 62 percent of U.S. adults had mobile phones. Once the students reached middle school, iPhones were everywhere. This generation has grown up during the seismic shift from computing as a discrete activity to living with a ubiquitous Internet.

Today, people don’t simply replicate offline activities online; rather, they create and engage in new mobile and social behaviors. Our very language has changed. The graduating class of 2014 Instagrammed their selfies and Snapchatted their campus farewells before Ubering to the airport. Today, more than 90 percent of U.S. adults own mobile phones, 65 percent have smartphones, and 74 percent participate in social networks. The explosion of the mobile and social Internet thus extends far beyond the student body to the rest of the campus environment. Because of these deep-seated and rapid-fire changes, current digital engagement and expectations require fresh approaches to forging and maintaining connections with students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Over the past five years, Harvard University has developed a strategy to advance digital communications and engagement. One key takeaway for us was simply this: why, how, and where an institution builds a state-of-the-art digital system is as important as, if not more important than, the technologies an institution ultimately chooses for building the system. That’s because if the first part is done right, the system will work far better, with both internal and external audiences vested in its success. In this process, strategic and audience-driven thinking trumps 3.0 tech.

Strong partnerships spanning campus communications and IT organizations, various schools, and the university’s central administration—as well as the core belief that we are co-developing these solutions with, and not simply for, our audiences—have buttressed our approach. Although there is no one simple roadmap for all higher education institutions, we laid out five steps that can ensure a solid foundation on which to build:

  1. Understand the environment
  2. Position the institution for digital success
  3. Develop a product management mindset and approach
  4. Champion user experience
  5. Prepare for the next wave of digital and social engagement

Read the full article at EDUCAUSE Review.
 
 

Friday Five

music migration

  1. When Spotify bought music intelligence platform Echo Nest, they gained access to a trove of data, and a smart team of people who could optimize curation. A new Spotify Insights blog focuses on telling scientifically-driven stories about music. This first post takes a look at how music migrates, and the varying musical influence of cities around the world.
  2. The options for publishing your content online are myriad. When should  you post to your “owned” properties, and when should you syndicate to communities like Medium or Rebelmouse? Ths KISSmetrics post has some useful rubrics for how to overcome the content distribution hurdle to help your content find its audience.
  3. Digital disruption may have moved from buzzword to cliché, but the advent of agile marketing is a great example of this phenomenon. As technology has become both ubiquitous (so many options!) and pervasive (throughout the funnel), marketers must learn to manage for uncertainty and change. Make time for this terrific slide deck on Managing Marketing in High Gear by Scott Brinker.
  4. I once read that algorithms are people’s opinions, mathematically expressed — and nowhere is that more evident than digital journalism. As news becomes more mobile, the experience of news consumption can be more tailored — and potentially more monitored. A new study sheds light on how engineers and designers think about their role in news delivery.
  5. Twitter cards offer a way to create more visual tweets to drive engagement and spur specific actions. Here’s a comprehensive guide to types of Twitter cards and how to use them.

Weekend fun: Ever wonder what your favorite characters in videogames do when you wander away from the controller? Find out here — GIFS included.

Every Friday, find five, highly subjective pointers to compelling technologies, emerging trends, and interesting ideas that affect how we live and work digitally. Try out the Friday 5 archive, or sign up to get a weekly email.