Microsoft Gets So.Cl

microsoft so.cl

If you heard that Microsoft has launched a social networking site, the first idea that comes into mind that it’s a competitor to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Wrong. In their own words, Microsoft So.cl is an “experimental research project” and the goal is to help users search for, express and share ideas through collages.

So.Cl’s Quiet Unveiling
So.cl actually launched in December of last year and was aimed at students. No surprise here – So.cl is powered by Bing, which pulls visual content that can be added as a story to the community. Like visual and viral trends seen on Twitter and Pinterest, So.cl is meant to be a place where the stories are amplified and classified by specific interests. Of course, this social community isn’t for just any user and it’s completely self-aware of the fact as it still clearly touts a “Microsoft Research” banner under the logo.

The Power of Visuals
Looking through the site, you’ll see a common theme of discussion, sharing and discovering. Instead of the me-centric attitudes of other social networking sites, So.cl is interest-based. And it’s not just about finding and sharing pictures, you can also post news articles and video. Speaking of, another interesting feature is Video Party where you can group chat with your others while watching YouTube videos. Again, these video parties are based on a specific topic, so you’ll be watching and commenting in real time. (Kinda reminds you of the early, good-ole AOL chatroom days, doesn’t it?)

What’s Your Impression?
While I appreciate So.cl’s subtle introduction and differentiation from other social networks, it’s not really clear if this site can hold it’s all against the giants. But then again, So.cl doesn’t claim to be a game changer. I guess we can only wait and see what direction it takes on next. Like with many social media sites, privacy is a concern. Did you know what your friends are able to view your search history? Be wary of your questionable searches! Besides that, nothing else really stands out in my mind. What do you think of So.cl?

What Can Your Business Learn from 2012’s Super Bowl Ads?

Did you catch the big game this weekend? Whether you’re in it for the actual game, the food or the half-time show, the advertisements have become a spectacle of their own. Here are 5 commercials and some lessons you can learn from each:

Doritos
Doritos is known for making funny and memorable commercials and this one doesn’t disappoint. Well, unless you’re more of a cat person… This ad combined humor with product placement in all the right places. Lesson learned: Keep your ads short and to the point – customers will remember!

Samsung
Samsung has made fun of “urban camping” before, it what others have called their anti-iPhone ads. This latest ad showcases a larger screen and some cool looking stylus pen, all celebrated in an over the top style. The down point of this product highlight is that they should’ve shown more about then pen and show viewers that it’s not just a regular stylus. Lesson learned: You can make fun of the competition but make sure that your product can stand up to your talk!

Honda CRV
Nostalgia, anyone? This ad received a lot of buzz and mostly positive reviews. It showcases some pretty cool car features, as well as a possible Ferris Bueller sequel. Lesson learned: people love the 80’s and familiar faces.

Toyota
While this commercial tried hard to push “reinvention”, the ad itself did very little to show viewers what was so new about the car. I think ads like this spend too much time on the creative aspect and not enough on sealing the deal with hard facts… or even product details for that matter. Lesson learned: A commercial can’t be considered effective if it does little to remind customers why they should use your product.

Go Daddy
According to critics, this ad ranks dead last. When these commercials first came out, the point was to be sexy, shocking and provocative. But for the past couple of years, this schtick isn’t doing it for viewers anymore. Lesson learned: Don’t beat a dead horse. If your edgy angle is no longer working, it’s time to think of something else. Nowadays, I think these commercials make the company look very lame and outdated. Anyone else with me?

What were your favorite and least favorite commercials? Check them all out here on Mashable and feel free to share your favorite online viral marketing campaign with us.

Improve Everwhere’s Mp3 Experiment # 7

Tomorrow night, Improv Everywhere is set to carryout their 7th Mp3 experiment!

It will all take place in Manhattan, NY and you can read more about it here. The goal is to have as many people as possible download an Mp3 file that contains instructions – everyone will listen to that file for the first time tomorrow night at 6PM. As the crowd gathers, hilarity will ensure! Last year, the crowd imitated popcorn, followed strangers, and participated in a friendly game of Bats vs. Hammers.

Take a look for yourself in the clip above. Does it remind you of one of your favorite online viral campaigns?

I think they should bring it to Los Angeles!

Arcade Fire: Social Media and a #1 Album

As Katy Perry, Drake, Eminem and Lady Gaga dominate the summer music charts, it was nice to see a change at the top spot. Congrats to Arcade Fire! But what really helped them get there? Good music, unique live performances, loyal fans or a focused social media marketing plan? How about all of the above? Earlier this month, the band even played a live show from New York’s Madison Square Garden, which was streamed in real-time on YouTube.

A look at Arcade Fire’s social media profiles reveals that they are effective because they are so well-maintained. It’s also refreshing to see a band expand beyond just using MySpace. All the profiles are linked to their main site, where fans can find tour information and buy the new album. Over 97,000 digital sales have also helped Arcade Fire secure the #1 spot.

The ease and shareability through social media has given Arcade Fire (and tons of other bands) an opportunity to reach new fans that they wouldn’t have otherwise. A new Arcade Fire fan reveals, “I just found out about this band today and I must say, I’m quite impressed. They are amazing.” Isn’t this glowing review an example of what any band or business would like to have said about them?

‘Modern Man’ is currently my favorite track off the album. Check it out!

The Secret to the Best Viral Content

After some technical difficulties, the SEOmoz webinar about viral content was finally underway. When you hear about ‘viral content’, most people think that it’s a weird/outrageous campaign à la the new Old Spice ads. After hearing Rand Fishkin’s presentation of successful case studies, it was interesting to see the real secret behind the most realistic cases of viral content – the content is useful and relevant to their target audience!

Viral success in this case means that the sites are shared and  receive linkage from many different domains. Here are some of my favorite examples of viral success that were presented:

Epicurious
This neat interactive site shows a seasonal map of the US. You can click different states and months to find the best seasonal ingredients during any specific time. It’s a simple idea that’s easy to pull off but not that easy to think of. Kudos to Epicurious!

OkCupid
The popular dating site featured a write up dispelling myths about the success of profile pictures. For example, women seem to get the most responses with a flirty, smiley face. Interestingly enough, men who received the most responses from their profile picture were not smiling. This is an interesting and fun article that even got OkCupid a write-up in the New York Times.

Boston
This was one mildly successful example that could’ve been improved. During the presentation, I thought it was great that it was critiqued so that others can learn about formatting and design when thinking of their viral efforts. The site showcases exciting tidbits about how the CIA used magic and trickery in their tactics.

Online Viral Marketing Catches Sports Fever in 2010

Doodle Jump and the World Cup
I’m not a huge sports fan, so I never got the fervor that fans feel during the finals, championships, etc… until this year! I’ve also been paying more attention to online viral marketing and internet memes that come from these events. Soccer is the most watched sport in the entire world and Doodle Jump is one of the most popular iPhone apps, so it’s no wonder that these would go hand in hand for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This addicting game features creatures that represent team Italy, Norway, Japan and more. Instead of shooting regular balls, our beloved Doodle shoots out a fountain of soccer balls.

Death to the Vuvuzela

If you tuned into the World Cup, you’ll notice a distinctly annoying horn noise in the background. Half-sheep baaa and half-bee swarming, the vuvuzela is a South African stadium horn. Fans like to use it to show their enthusiasm, distract the opposing team, or just to make A LOT of noise. Sports officials have even made attempts to ban the instrument as they are so loud it can even lead to hearing loss. Check out Mashable’s wrap up on the vuvuzela. Someone has created a Twitter account with updates that mimic the instrument’s sound while another vuvuzela-hater has even uploaded an Ewok remix.

Social Media Stats: Lakers vs. Celtics
With the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics tied at 3-3, it’s winner take all at Game 7 of the NBA Finals tomorrow. While the Celtics have home court advantage, Laker fans are sure to riot whether the team wins or loses. Let’s take a look at these long-time rivals and how their social media stats compare:

  • Facebook – Celtics: 827,550 fans | Lakers: 1,272,429 fans
  • Twitter – Celtics: 57,447 followers | Lakers: 1,559,464 followers
  • Twitter mentions via TweetVolume – Celtics: 1,620,000 times | Lakers: 4,130,000 times
  • Google search results – Celtics: 18,800,000 results | Lakers 26,600,000 results

With that in mind, we’ll see who the true winners are after tomorrow night … go Lakers!

Photo credit: Doodle Jump in the App Store

Glee and Social Media Advertising

“Gleeks” Love Social Media Advertising
Have you caught an episode of Glee? If not, you’re missing out on what tons of fans (self-proclaimed “Gleeks”) are watching. The show has been on Fox for a year now and has received critical praise from viewers and critics alike. The show basically follows fictional high school characters while incorporating reworked versions of songs like “Hello Goodbye”, “Halo” and “Like a Prayer”. Doesn’t everyone like a good cover song? Each episode boosts Glee’s single, as well as the original song, on the iTunes charts. After the homage episode to Madonna, the material girl saw a 44% increase in her catalog of songs! It doesn’t just stop at TV time though. A look at Glee’s social media advertising shows that they’re very active on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

A Haven for Online Viral Marketing
How can a simple song spark an online viral marketing fire? Let’s face it, people adore classic hits. Whether it’s a guilty pleasure or an old favorite, people are more likely to get attached to things that they’re familiar with. Check out the cast’s version of Journey’s hit. What do you think? These new renditions have inspired fans to record and upload their own versions of the songs. MySpace even held a Glee karaoke contest. But it doesn’t just stop there. Glee is one of the most tweeted about shows ever! As if they needed to gain more momentum, Glee held a contest for their die-hard fans last summer. Fans would register their social media accounts and gain points every time they mentioned Glee. The contest was a success and the fan with the most points won a trip to meet the cast.

Glee
and the Fox Network have done an amazing job at keeping fans happy this past year. Let’s see if they can keep people interested with the upcoming season!