The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Posts Tagged ‘Olympic

Zeebox – co-viewing the Socialympics

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Image courtesy www. zeebox.com

At 8.45 on July 27th, like one billion other people, I switched on the TV and sat with my family watching the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. I was also one of the many “second-screeners” following events on Twitter at the same time. You can follow the events in Twitter using something like Hootsuite or Tweetdesk but there are also apps designed for the occasion. They group together the relevant hashtags and add content to enhance the experience. One of the most popular is Zeebox. I hadn’t used it for a while and the Opening Ceremony was a perfect opportunity to put it through its paces.

The application runs on smartphones, tablets and PCs. When you set it up initially it asks for the country you are in, the TV system you are using (Sky, Freesat, Freeview, Virgin) and then the region you are watching in as well. It brings up the display above to show you what is currently on TV. Against each listing you can see the volume of viewers – presumably people who have selected the option in Zeebox – and also the volume of activity so that you can easily see where the social buzz  is.

When you choose the TV programme it switches into a display with an information panel on the left showing details of the programme and related news items as well as things such as related opinion polls. The default centre column has a steadily ticking display of Tweets. This aggregates all related hashtags and word searches. Given the sheer volume of tweets on the Opening Ceremony this was going very steadily but you can scroll up and down to look at particular posts. A great feature here is the context sensitive options which appear at the top of the feed. During the Ceremony one option was “Funny commentary” which had all the tweet using the hashtag for the purpose created by Zeebox. There are also options to just see Tweets from athletes or celebrities as well as the main tweet. This is a really fun option, especially with the Opening Ceremony, making it easy to see what the athletes themselves were making of it as well as hearing where Billy Bragg was watching (in a hotel room with beer and curry).

On the right hand side are “Live Zeetags”; a constantly updating set of regularly linked topics. These indicate what the flavour of the conversation is and give a different dimension. As I write this the Olympic stream the zeetags include The Netherlands, Sweden, “Peloton”, Betting and some pithy quotes from competing cyclists. Overall the interface is really slick and fun and with something like the Olympics it adds a dimension to viewing – nothing gets missed and there’s plenty of funny twittering going on. I dare say its less entertaining watching a repeat on one of the more obscure digital channels and very confusing if someone is watching a +1 channel.

From a business perspective the advertising opportunities are clear, the audience is a tight demographic defined by the TV programme they are watching and the level of social media awareness they have.

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Written by greencontact

July 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

It’s all about meme

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I’ve talked previously about the underlying force beneath social networking. The timeless glue that unites communities: common beliefs, values, ideas and culture. It’s this uniting force which makes social media such a powerful force and why people embrace it so easily – it’s just a technology which speeds up and magnifies what we are all already doing.

Thinking through history there are examples of groundswells which predated Facebook and Twitter – the collapse of Communism in the Soviet bloc, the outpouring of national grief after the death of Diana, popular music culture, the rise of the ‘permissive society’, attitudes to the welfare state etc. It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly what triggers the ‘feeling’ but most people can put into words what the event itself looks like. In previous times a court case, a newspaper column or a TV show would have an impact that no-one could have predicted because it is magnified by prevailing economic or political events. Some pillars of our society ebb and flow on this ‘tide’ – attitudes to monarchy or Scottish nationalism are examples which have had varying strengths of feeling over centuries.

Underpinning this is the concept of memes. About.com has a tidy historical context to its definition: “A meme is a discrete “package of culture” that would travel via word of mouth, usually as a mesmerizing story, a fable/parable, a joke, or an expression of speech.”

To me there are  two relevant aspects of memes in the social networking world:

1. How memes form

2. How memes travel

Memes are undoubtedly powerful – much of our day-to-day life and decision-making is governed by memes. Because of their complexity, they are impossible to create: it would be like trying to single handledy create a Mexican wave in a stadium. Social media creates a global melting pot for meme creation – faster and more powerful. The global element is important because social media fuels celebrity, and particularly in the UK, we are more exposed to American-generated memes than ever before. There is no point in trying to create memes but it is vitally important to try to understand them. This isn’t as easy as it might seem. Trending hashtags in Twitter are examples of meme formation but many of them are indecipherable without reading a good few tweets. Thankfully there are websites to make the identification easier – e.g. http://knowyourmeme.com/ but these merely identify – not necessarily explain. the importance of understanding is that this is the essence of what your market, your employees, and your competition are “feeling”. Your communications can lock into the zeitgeist by careful choice of single words. Analysis can identify potential opportunities or, more often, potential pitfalls to be avoided. The most obvious pitfall is to place naked commercialism alongside heartfelt sentiment at the wrong time as with Kenneth Cole and the Arab Spring (if you are not familiar with the story here is a great Washington Post blog about it: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/blog-post/2011/02/kenneth_coles_egypt_tweet_the.html .

Secondly, the method of transmission of a meme is fascinating and there to be exploited. There are words and phrases which develop and, from nowhere, become the everyday currency. As I write this Bradley Wiggins has just won the Tour De France and is being lauded for his performance. There are a number of other elements to the story which have gathered around it:

  • Mark Cavendish’s role as a supporting member of the team and hopes that he will get the limelight at the Olympics
  • Chris Froome’s role in the victory
  • Bradley’s upbringing and relationship with his father
  • An undercurrent to get Bradley Wiggins to light the Olympic flame
  • The phrase Allez Wiggo
  • Sideburns as a style icon
  • The style of his victory after he showed sportsmanship

These could all die away as the Olympics ensue and other issues get the coverage but maybe, just maybe there is a meme brewing. If I was going to guess which one it was? The sideburns have all the right characteristics – around the story (but not the story), actionable, unowned and transferrable. Undoubtedly the first stick-on sideburns in red, white and blue are on the production line somewhere. What a difference it would make if David Beckham and Prince William were inspired to grow them too.

 

Written by greencontact

July 23, 2012 at 9:45 am