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The RAAKonteur #62 – Man United goes for social, paying by just saying & other Magic

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8 November 2011

He Pokes, he scores!

Brand Republic reports that Manchester United is planning to launch a social network for its 350 million plus supporters worldwide. If only 50% of them sign up, it will rival the current size of LinkedIn. Not all businesses or organisations have what it takes to launch a social network. These networks are best nurtured in certain conditions, for example if your customers or fans feel some special bond, often some shared sense of identity. Sports and especially football clubs tick this box quite neatly. If they design this right, we predict the start of a trend.

Paying by Saying

That incredibly disruptive company founded by Jack Dorsey, Square, has just rebooted reality again. And this time you're bound to notice it. Enter Card Case – Square's latest product. How does it work? You enter a store (with your mobile phone in your pocket). You pick up what you want to buy, and say your name at the checkout point. That's it!

How on earth does it work?

Stores will have to integrate Card Case into their point of sale. Users add stores where they want to buy on their mobile phones. When they're within 100 meters of the store (measured by their mobiles), the system allows them to buy there. When they say their name, the cash register attendant enters it, and their photo pops up. The attendant verifies this. This is brilliant, because not only is it way more usable than credit cards, it is also more secure. Voila!

Weekend workers

A new study suggests that marketeers are often engaging when the moment is least opportune. Social Media, especially B2C is often best done out of work hours:

  • B2B marketers get 14% better engagement on Twitter during the week
  • B2C marketers get 32% more engagement on Facebook during the weekend

Moleskine apologizes

Last week we reported on how Moleskine angered the design community, who claimed the brand's efforts to crowdsource their new logo would generate hours of work at a fraction of the cost. Moleskine has responded by way of an apology on their blog. An apology that will go some way to mollify some designers – but not all. One comment on the incident makes a telling point:

I think where the dichotomy comes for most of us is that while yes, in the past you have stood for quality, consumer relationships and authenticity – creating a contest in which we (your consumers) spend hours of our time creating a logo for which we may or may not be paid that may or may not be used, all the while having the handicap of being unable to communicate with you directly about your specific needs … that's neither quality nor good for your consumer relationships, and it feels pretty inauthentic.

Science proves: Work Sucks

Sentiment Analysis on Twitter has had its ups and downs. Well, more like, a BIG up and then a BIG down. The reason for this is obvious: sentiment analysis cannot take into account more subtle uses of language, like irony or sarcasm, which abounds on Twitter. Despite the fact, a recent analysis by sociologists at Cornell University has revealed very interesting sentiment graphs. According to that, we use the most positive words around breakfast time. This tapers down to a low late afternoon, and then picks up from there until bed-time. Furthermore, we're supposedly more perky over weekends.

Peer Review goes Crowdsourced

If there's one place where one would expect open access to information, its in the realm of academic research and publishing. But until now what we've had is what George Monbiot describes as a form of rentier capitalism. Remember back in September, some scientists at CERN caused headlines by measuring neutrinos travelling faster than light? And then, less than a month later, some random guy pointed out the mistake on an online platform called arXiv? This could be the new future of online review. Instead of letting new discoveries be peer-reviewed for extended periods of time before publishing it, the scientific community is increasingly adopting an approach of "release early, release often". By letting peer review happen freely online, both the quality and speed goes up tremendously. Which is the effect of Crowdsourcing at is best.

Smart Phones are Exploding

No-one disagrees with the fact that mobile is the next big thing anymore. That argument has changed. The question is, how many of these mobile platforms can qualify as smart phones, thus unlocking all the potential that comes with it (apps, geolocation, cameras, movement sensors, etc)? Nielsen has the answer. At least for the US – 43% percent of mobile users below the age of 44, and 62% of those between 25 and 34 have the smarts in their pockets. There you go – now chew on that over the weekend …

Creative of the Week – Andy Baio

One thing that YouTube has enabled, is to give bedroom creatives the chance to mash-up existing videos into new remixes. One sub-genre of that phenomenon is the 'supercut': fast-paced edits that combine short clips, all around the same subject. Think: all the 'Dudes' from the Big Lebowski, cut together in one 2-minute video. Andy Baio is the supercut-nerd extraordinaire. Earlier this year, he worked with artist Michael Bell-Smith on a randomized supercut browser called SuperSupercut and now the Supercut.org URL has been developed into the be-all-and-end-all home of the supercut database.

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