Online Market World 2008 Oct 1-3 in San Francisco, CA

June 26, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Events
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I’m looking forward to Online Market World 2008 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on October 1-3.  Aside from speaking at the show, I’m looking forward to seeing the Keynotes – Kathy Ireland, Tony Hsieh (the CEO of, and Marsha Collier (Author of the eBay for Dummies series) are all speaking. It should be an interesting event.

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Girl Geek Dinner: Facebook Developer Garage

June 26, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Events, Social Media
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Posted by ShoZu

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Facebook Meets MySpace at the Top of the Charts

June 13, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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And the number one social network in the world is…IT’S A TIE!  Facebook just caught up to MySpace.  The race to the top gets more and more interesting.  Stay tuned…

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Honda Nails Viral Advertising in the UK with Live Skydiving Spectacular (Well, Sort Of)

May 30, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Advertising, Social Media
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Last night, Honda was the first to air a live ad on Channel 4 in the UK.  The ad was nothing short of spectacular – a skydiving feat that no doubt left most of Britain and some of the rest of us talking: Honda Skydiving Video.

I woke up this morning to see links to the YouTube footage of the ad all over the Twitter feeds I follow and in email exchanges between my friends.  Honda’s agency, Widen + Kennedy (which is also an agency for Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Nike, Nokia, Visa, Target, Heineken, and many other large brands) talks about how they executed this socially successful viral campaign on its blog and documented the process of creating the ad in the Difficult is Worth Doing blog.

There’s no doubt that the TV ad itself is spectacular and raises the profile/ brand awareness of Honda.  My only criticism of the TV spot (at least how I saw it on YouTube) is that by the end, I still had no idea what the Honda Accord (which the ad supposed to be pushing) looks like or what makes it amazing.  And, I wasn’t left with the desire to find out.  I was, however, tempted to try skydiving – that is until I remembered seeing this.  Sure, the online campaign that ran on the internet in the weeks before the live TV spot (i.e. the Difficult is Worth Doing blog, etc.) does feature a story or two about the Honda Accord and a small amount of footage showing the Accord racing through the desert, but the impression I was left with at the end of looking at both the blog and the TV ad was of skydivers, not of the Accord.  If the objective of the TV and online campaign was to get people talking about Honda, they nailed it, and proved that “difficult is worth doing”.  If the objective was to get people rushing to the dealership to buy the Accord, I think the ad campaign fell a little short.

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Nothing Funnier than Art Imitating Life on Facebook

May 29, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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Imagine what would happen if the guy that you sat next to in high school math class and barely spoke to randomly arrived at your house one morning, 15 years after graduation, ringing your doorbell, and screaming, “POOOOOOOOOKKKKKKEEEE! Remember me? Want to be my friend?!” Then, imagine opening the door and being jabbed in the chest by his index finger.

Sound familiar?  If you’re a Facebook user, it should.  On Facebook, this sort of moronic behavior happens all of the time, and for some reason, because it’s happening on-line, it’s deemed socially appropriate.  Today, a friend sent me the funniest YouTube video I’ve seen all year.  It’s an Idiots of Ants (BBC Three) spoof of what the above Facebook interaction might look like in real life.

The video made me wonder why what seems like a relatively mundane interaction on a social networking site would mortify you or make you laugh or cry out loud, if it were to happen in real life?  Imagine breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend and immediately sending paper-based notification letters (adorn with broken heart icons) to all of your friends and co-workers letting them know what happened and that “it’s complicated”.  Sounds silly, so why do people do it online?  My theory is that either they don’t know that they’re doing it (i.e. they haven’t set their profile up to notify their peers of personal changes), or they don’t care (because they can’t see their “friends” reactions and therefore assume that no one is laughing at them).

With all of the recent talk of data portability and the recent announcement of Facebook Connect, it never hurts to have a reminder that Facebook is a bit like to Vegas with a large group of friends… What goes on inside Facebook doesn’t necessarily stay inside Facebook.  And, let’s face it – Facebook interactions aren’t quite as graceful as the interactions most of us are having with each other face-to-face in real life.

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Xobni for MS Outlook Opened to the Public Yesterday… I Think I’m in Love.

May 7, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Enterprise, Social Media
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Xobni (Inbox spelled backwards), officially opened to the public yesterday.  If you use Microsoft Outlook, it will change your life…  Xobni is a utility for Outlook that analizes your email – things like:

  • Who emails you most and when
  • Who responds fastest to your emails
  • Who you respond to fastest

Xobni makes it easy for you to find files you’ve exchanged via email – regardless of where they’re buried within the thousands of emails in your inbox.

Besides being a really valuable productivity tool, it turns your inbox into a social network.  Without having to type a thing, in two clicks, you can initiate and send an email to anyone in your “network” (i.e. anyone you’ve exchanged email with).  There are also pre-populated notes that enable you to:

  • Ask a friend/colleague for their phone number, or
  • Request time on a friend/colleague’s calendar – Xobni pulls down data from your calendar and inserts your availability into an email… You can even customize what days/times you want Xobni to search for your availability.

Downsides?  I hate to admit it, but Xobni is actually making me like using Outlook!  The only thing I dislike about Xobni is that it’s not available in more places.  You can’t use it on a Mac or or web-based mail systems like Gmail (sigh).  There is no mobile application or WAP compatability, so it doesn’t work on a mobile phone.

What would I like to see in the future besides broader availability on other email platforms?

  • More control over email templates… I’d love to be able to create my own email templates.  For example… “Thank you” emails that I can send to people that, say, had me to dinner, or who I invited to a party.
  • Integrations to my favorite web sites. For example… I’d like to be able to set-up an evite from within Xobni and send it out to everyone on my network.  Even better, I’d like Xobni to track my interactions on all of my favorite social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) AND multiple email accounts AND IM AND phone calls (i.e. with a mobile integration)
  • Group/ List functionality – that is – the ability to set up groups of people and have the ability to email them all at the same time. (i.e. my “best friend group” my “project X group”, etc.)
  • Greater integration with Calendars and Address Books.  For example, I’d love to see the scheduling template be more interactive and actually allow a user to book time on my calendar, without me having to enter the time into the calendar, upon receiving their reply to my email.  I’d love it to work like Outlook invites work… Allow recipients to click on one of the available times listed in an email and automatically book it.

Yep – I think I’m love.  Get it, and it will change the way you look at your inbox.

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Trying Blog IT

April 25, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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At Ryan Kruder‘s suggestion, I decided to give “Blog It” a try. Blog It is SixApart’s Facebook app that allows you to update your various blogs, Twitter, and Facebook Status.

BlogIt is an interesting idea… Being able to broadcast your thoughts from one place outward is great. And, yet, doing it from within Facebook is a painful proposition on several fronts – mainly because Facebook itself is slow but also because the app lacks the WYSIWYG functionality of the blogging sites I’ve used before. Sure, I could use HTML, but why bother, when Blog It says, “Some services may remove tags that are not allowed.”? I also haven’t figured out how to tag posts from Blog It.

Ryan brings up a great question in his most recent post, “Do you think of Facebook as a destination for things other than interacting with your friends? What makes something a good FB app v. a stand alone destination site? Would you think of going to Facebook as the place where you write your blog posts?”

I’ve tried to use Facebook as a destination for other things before. When I consulted for SocialMedia Networks, I loaded and played with a ton of Facebook apps. The more apps I added, the slower Facebook got. And, it seems like the more apps I have on my profile, the more regularly the apps crash (which could be perception as opposed to reality). Regardless, performance probably won’t always be the case… As with all web services, I’m sure Facebook will only get faster as it evolves towards improved scalability.

For now, believe that any complex web services/ apps should remain stand alone destinations with the ability to somehow link to Facebook and other social sites. I’d like to see a bookmark mechanism within Facebook that allows me to click to my favorite sites and, ideally, add a button to them that I can press (or an automatic setting that I can establish) to let my friends know when I’ve been active on those sites. Having to go into Facebook to post a note that lets my friends know that I’ve updated my blog is one more step that I’d rather not go through.

Speaking of steps I’d rather not go through… BlogIt has gotten me to thinking… If SixApart can create a Facebook app that can simultaneously publish to Vox and TypePad, why can’t it create an upgrade mechanism that allows me to transfer my Vox blog into TypePad? I’ve been asking about this for a while, and no one has been able to suggest a way forward besides manual cut and paste, which would, after a year and a half of blogging, take forever. When I started blogging, I didn’t care who was reading or what posts generated the most interest. Now, I’m curious. I would love to transfer my account to TypePad and pay for extra features, but I don’t want to lose my existing posts or my URL.

Fingers crossed that since SixApart has demonstrated that it can push text up to multiple blog sites at once, they’ll soon offer vox users the opportunity to transfer/ upgrade their existing content to new platforms.

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Social Media Club SF Event Recap… It’s Web 2.0 Expo this Week!

April 21, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Events, Social Media
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Posted by ShoZu

Last night, I went to the San Francisco chapter Social Media Club event featuring the authors of Now Is Gone, Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis.  It was a great event – pizza, beer, interesting conversation… What more could a fan of social media ask for?

Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs

A couple of topics of conversations sparked my interest…

For starters, Brian and Geoff talked about the important role blogging plays in getting people involved in social media.  The general feeling among the group is that blogs are the first port of call for those who become interested in social media.  I agree blogs fuel the online social ecosystem, but are they really the main “gateway drug” for other forms of social media?  I’m curious to know whether this is the case or whether it’s the perception of early social media adopters.  I certainly got started by blogging/ reading blogs, but I wonder – Will the next generation of social media fans get their start with blogs or through participation in online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter?

Speaking of Twitter – the other thing that I found interesting is how many people are obsessed Twittering.  I’ve not been a big Twitterer, but I’m going to give it more of a try (lisawhelan is my handle if anyone wants to follow).

Everyone I met last night was really looking forward to the Web 2.0 Expo in SF this week… It should be a great show.  I’ll be there, so if you see me at the Expo, say hello.

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The Power of Ever-Evolving Social Media

March 31, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media
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The power of social media (including social networking) constantly amazes me. It keeps people in touch with each other, facilitates introductions that may otherwise never have happened, and so much more.  Since I first started writing this blog a year and a half ago, I’ve received emails and introductions from all sorts of interesting people – entrepreneurs, techies, mobile industry followers, media agencies, etc. – some famous in tech circles, others not.  Several of these introductions have remained electronic ‘friendships’ over email or Facebook.  Others have resulted in ‘real life’ friendships, when one of us realizes we have friends in common or we meet face-to-face at an industry event.  Today, I got to thinking about how amazing this really is when social media faciltated yet another interesting introduction….

A man who works in the Business Development Agency for a European country, pinged me on LinkedIn.  He wanted to know whether I would be interested in consulting for companies in his country that are expanding to the US.  In the course of our email conversation, he wrote:

I’ve known for a long time [about] the many different forms of social media interaction, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, etc., but I never thought of it as something more than personal interaction… kid’s stuff that made a few people very rich. I guess I was quite wrong. So, I’ve returned a few times to your blog, searched a few other related blogs and started researching that issue more extensively. I feel, in fact, that there may be a much more around that concept than I thought.

His email made me pause.  Living in San Francisco, a stones throw from Silicon Valley, where “social media” is pre-printed on everyone’s “buzz word bingo” card, it’s easy to forget that most people – especially those outside of America are still just beginning to understand the potential of social media.  Five years ago, when I was living in the UK, I would have never anticipated that I’d be writing a blog or (gasp) meeting people over the internet.  My British friends all thought I was crazy and looked at me strangely when I first mentioned that I was writing a blog.  Today, at least one of them has a blog, and most of the others are on Facebook.  And, that’s the tip of the iceberg. The world is only just beginning to see the potential of social media, and social networking is just the start.

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Demo of ShoZu 4.0 on the BBC & What I Like About ShoZu’s Mobile Ads

March 5, 2008 by Lisa Oshima | Advertising, Consulting, Mobile, Social Media
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Jen Grenz, who leads marketing for one of my clients, ShoZu, recently showed ShoZu’s re-vamped mobile application to the BBC.  Check out the video.

ShoZu 4.0, is much more robust than previous versions.  It allows you to update your status on various social networking sites from your phone, reply to comments (and read friend’s comments) from your phone, and download your friends’s Flickr feeds to your phone.  And, it’s easier to use than the last version, which itself is simple (and I’m not just saying that because they’re one of my clients).  It makes social networking from your phone simple and it aggregates social networking interactions so that you don’t have to jump from WAP site to WAP site or from on mobile application to the next. The newest version of the ShoZu app is even better from a useability perspective.

In this major new release, ShoZu started showing ads.  While ads normally annoy me, the ads ShoZu shows are (so far anyway) good.  Unlike ads on websites, I’m seeing ads from a small number of companies that are the type of companies people like me want to learn about… companies that have products/services that actually appeal to advanced mobile users and mobile social networkers.

From a useability perspective, what’s interesting and unique about the way ShoZu displays ads is that those ads are kept entirely within the ShoZu experience.  So, when you click on a banner ad, it doesn’t take you to a WAP site, it takes you to a splash page within the ShoZu application that gives you more information.  And, it’s much easier to navigate away from the splash screen on Shozu than it is to interact with some other mobile ad types like WAP.  With WAP ads, you’re navigated away from the task you’re participating in and loading is slow.  ShoZu’s ads are lightning fast and can be opened and closed in fractions of seconds.

You can download the new version of ShoZu by clicking here.

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