Smish Wants to Help You Simplify Your Digital Life

SmishSmish is a new digital tool that allows people to manage and enjoy the apps they use on their iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries on their computers plus a bunch more designed specifically for the PC, netbooks and tablets.

Team Smish has put together a great video, that does a much better job than me, describing the Smishosphere.

Smish also announced that its software development kit (SDK) will soon be released publicly so third-party developers will be able to migrate mobile apps and create more apps specifically for the desktop.

I'm happy to see that the Smish team is based here in Orange County. Our local tech scene doesn't get as much press as our Silicon Valley peeps, so it's refreshing to see Smish getting some high profile attention and buzz.

You can connect with Smish on Twitter and on Facebook. I highly recommend you at least visit their Facebook page and check out the awesome Smish'd animals. All in all I'm pretty excited to take Smish for a spin and even more excited about the ways that Smish can be used in an educational setting.

So what are you waiting for, go get your Smish on!

Mind the (Generation) Gap

"The problem is that in most companies, the Web is considered a strange and unnatural thing, and the process of designing it is disconnected.

In fact, there's an age gap where many of the very senior people in companies, who are making decisions about these things, aren't online.

So they're approving, looking at, reviewing things that they're never accessing themselves, nor are they part of the culture of how people use the Web." | Bran Ferren

Trend Watch: Tim Stock on 'Culture Networks'

The idea is that there is a flattening of time and space and therefore a flattening of our traditional understanding of the relationship between subculture and pop culture. The new model of interaction is more ambiguous and requires a more expressive than reflexive view of how influence works.

This lecture on culture networks is part of Tim's Analyzing Trends class at Parsons the New School of Design.

Call for Participation: The Shortie Awards: Student Film and News Festival


The Shortie Awards: Film & News Festival is the premiere film festival for students ages 7 to 18 and their teachers!

Established in 2001, The Shortie Awards: Student Film and News Festival recognizes original digital media productions created by student filmmakers, ages 7-18, and their teachers. The Shortie Awards focuses on nurturing imagination and choice making in students.

The Shortie Awards is part of MHz Networks' Education Department. The event grew out of the Department's EAT (Education Arts and Technology) program for young filmmakers in the Washington D.C. area and has since blossomed into a national and even international event, featuring submissions from all over the world.

Last years competition received nearly 400 entries, created by close to 3,000 student filmmakers, from 23 states throughout the U.S. and 13 countries including: Canada, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Finland, Denmark, UK, UAE, India, Poland, France and Kenya. 

Many more of the Shortie Awards videos are also now available to view on YouTube.  You can watch past winners and finalists, filmmaking tips and tricks, the best broadcast news programs, and much more.

We're Just Not That Into You: Gen Y, Brand Marketing & Social Media

Social.montageArmando Samuels has written a really great guest post over on Next Great Generation titled, "Hey Brands, Get out of My Social Media Grill." I've swiped a few of my favorite quotes from the piece, but I hope you'll take the time to read the whole article. It's really spot on.

Armando raises some really good points in his article, but I think his most important lesson for youth marketers and brands is that there is a fine line between (buzz word alert!) engagement and alienating the very customer you are targeting with your message. Possibly forever!

And now, a few words of wisdom from Armando:

"I’m tired of dealing with brands all over social media, I need a minute of my day when brands are not all up on my shit. Is that possible?"

"The more that you try to be part of my life, the more turned off I get. If I love a brand, I will find you, and I’ll be your biggest fan. So instead of trying to be all up in my shit why don’t you act confident (I’ve heard chicks dig it). Act like you believe in your product and its quality and maybe I’ll give you a chance."

"So how about we make a pact, brands of the world, stop trying to be someone you are not (my friend) and be who you are (a confident brand that believes in your product). I know you are there and if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll see you on TV or every time I open a magazine – just please stay away from my social network."

Good stuff, eh? Now go read the whole thing.....

Weekly Wrap: Chegg Battle of the Bands, Oprah's Leno-CoCo PollGate, Social Data Revolution, Mattel Looks to AR, Gen X Stereotypes, Real Time UX, Rowling on Imagination & Failure, Mowtown Content Strategy & More!

Barking.robot.iconChegg Joins College Battle of the Bands: College Battle of the Bands is proud to announce its partnership with textbook rental service! Student bands and musicians can sign up for FREE and promote their music for a chance to play great venues and win amazing gear and cash prizes as part of the national series of events. []

Conan-Leno Mudslinging Continues With Poll Allegations: So how exactly does the source close to NBC figure that Team Coco flooded Oprah’s ballot box? By good old-fashioned ballot box stuffing, thanks to software designed by die hard Coco fans and advertised on one of the many Team Coco Facebook pages. (Really Team Jay? Why would Ms. Winfrey, or Conan for that matter, want to do that?) Related: Conan, Leno & The Tonight Show Debacle [MovieLine] [Barking Robot}

Augmented Reality Gives Lift to Kids Digital Space: Mattel was at the head of the line as the first major consumer products player to incorporate AR into a retail toy product. As the master toy licensee for James Cameron's film Avatar, the California-based toyco teamed up with an AR software solutions house Total Immersion to create a line of action figures. [Kidscreen]

The Social Data Revolution(s): In 2009, more data will be generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind through 2008. Information overload is more serious than ever. [Harvard Business Review]

Free Reality TV Show Debuts on Your PlayStation 3: Sony Computer Entertainment America is making good on its promise to expand original content offerings on its PlayStation Network distribution service. It will be bringing an original reality television series, The Tester, to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable consoles via the PSN as a free downloadable series starting February 18. [Mashable]

Study Finds Podcasts Reach Unreachable Consumers: Although podcasting has shown to be quite popular in niche markets, many marketers have not jumped into the fray. The results of a recent Edison Research and Association for Downloadable Media (ADM) study could change some marketers minds, however, because apparently consumers being reached by podcasting are unreachable in other formats. [Junta 42]

Tweet O' the Week: "At Chateau Marmont on a gorgeous day. Everyone here looks like they're on the verge of famous." via @TVBlogster

Get Real About Gen X Stereotypes: Much laudatory ink has been spilled on the Baby Boomers...usually by Boomers themselves. As for the Millennials, those born between 1982 and 1998, the quantity of reportage lauding their public-spiritedness has quickly become tiresome. But a new report casts doubt on the widely accepted stereotype of Gen X-ers as inferior to these other groups. [New Geography]

The Case for Content Strategy, Mowtown Style: how do you start humming the content strategy tune to your own team and to your prospective clients? Listen up and heed Aretha Franklin. No, really. [A List Apart]

UX of the Real Time Web: A major thing done by users on the real time web is the posting and recommending of external links. These links will often go to a story, website, picture, or video that could be of interest to people right now. One problem is that there is so much sharing being done on the real time web that it can become difficult to differentiate the legitimate links from the noise. [instantShift]

The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination: J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivers her Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. [Harvard Magazine]

Weekly Wrap: Yahoo's Social Strategy, TweSMS for South Africa, Little Passports, 3D TV Hype, 25 UX Videos, Brands As Media, Power of the Social Experience, Mobile Apps & More!

Derek.baird.barking.robotNielsen Preps TV, Online Video Report: Nielsen has set its schedule for reporting integrated TV and online audience viewing data. The initiative is called TVandPC, and the first "extended screen" estimates of the combined audiences will be available for the month of September as evaluation data, delivered to clients sometime in fourth quarter. The evaluation period will end in Feb. 2011.[Brand Week]

The 'Connect Wars': Not content to control only their own domains, social web sites are trying to conquer those of everyone else — by becoming the dominant log-in system for the web. Facebook, of course, is off to a quick and convincing start. [GigaOM] 

Yahoo's Social Strategy Takes Root in Asia: A series of deals with major social networks shows Yahoo moving away from its origins as a traditional portal, as it sets its sights on becoming a content-rich destination where people can interact with and navigate to all their favorite sites. [Asia Media Journal]

Twitter SMS Notifications for South Africa: TweSMS is a third party application that allows you to receive your twitter notifications and updates delivered straight to you phone via SMS message. [TweSMS]

Create Your Own Android or iPhone App in Minutes: Creating a self-branded iPhone or Android app just got a lot more accessible. iSites, a new service launching today, allows you to take your website’s RSS feed and data and quickly transform it into a full-fledged iPhone app. [Mashable]

Global Youth: Turn Kids Into Globetrotters: In an era dominated by electronic communication, people are embracing concepts from a slower age, like the company that transforms emails into paper letters and one that resurrected the classic telegram. Little Passports combines that nostalgia for 'real' mail and combines it with the convenience of a subscription service. [Little Passports] 

3D TV Is 'Mostly Hype': 3D has been getting boatloads of attention, especially during this week at CES where major electronics firms are unveiling their new 3D TVs, but while Sony and others would like you to believe that we'll all be playing video games and watching movies in glorious 3D this year, Forrester Research would tell you otherwise. Related: CES and Vegas 2010: Supersized Vulgarity [Industry Gamers] [Collaborative Creativity]

The Power of the Social Experience: This is why both employers and marketers interested in Generation Y need to realise that, while social technology is the new thing, just being on Facebook and Twitter won’t be as effective in attracting and retaining this cohort, as inviting Generation Y to experience the potential of what you have to offer with a friend or two. [Naked Generations] 

Social Marketing in Twenty Ten: As I believe, Social Media is not owned by any one department. The entire company will eventually socialize represented by each division that warrants an outward and participatory voice. Conversations always map to the activity that exists across multiple networks, spanning a multitude of subjects and potential outcomes. [Brian Solis]

All Brands Are Media: Why are brands choosing to become media companies? Because they can. Blogs, Web publishing, smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, netbooks and other tools providing access to the Internet allow firms to create media sites as easily as old-line publishers can. [IP Carrier]

Oprah's No Texing & Driving Campaign: It's the show that started Oprah's No Phone Zone movement. Watch a 15 minute clip or the entire episode about the dangers of distracted driving, then sign the No Phone Zone Pledge. Related: Buck Hollywood > No More Texting and Driving [Oprah Winfrey] [Buck Hollywood]

25 User Experience Videos That Are Worth Your Time: Rare are the opportunities to attend conferences or watch live shows on subjects that we’re interested in. That’s why we are presenting here phenomenal videos and related resources on the topic of user experience (UX) by different presenters at different events. [Smashing Magazine]

Barking Robot Mini: Be sure to also check out my Tumblr, Barking Robot Mini, for links, pictures and other stuff I've stumbled across during my digital walkabout!

Trend Watch: Mobile Phone As Companion

When PSFK was in Tokyo recently, we noticed how commonly people turned to the phone for entertainment, information and social connection. Above we have the photo of the typical subway ride: commuters looking at their phones to watch TV shows, read books and send email. 

One of the more curious sights was people sat at noodle bars with their phones cracked open as they ate. We noticed how lone eaters would monitor in realtime the baseball game or their friends social updates.

Clamshell design is still the norm in Japan so the format lends itself towards this behavior : a titling screen can face you as you sit solo and in some ways be your constant friend in the lonely metropolis.

As mobile internet speeds increase and we stay forever online through our phone, how long will it be until this is common place in places like New York?


Twoddler: Twitter for Toddlers

Twoddler is a prototype that has been created as part of a course on mobile and pervasive computing at Hasselt University, and was designed and implemented for the Innovative and Creative Applications (INCA) 2009 awards. It hooks into an existing community website: Twitter. I am a toddler and want my mommy and daddy to know how I am doing while in nursery. They are so busy, but are thinking of me all the time. I want to let them know I am also thinking about them.

I can't phone them, I can't mail them and I can't write letters, but I CAN Twitter!

They love to feel my presence and know that I am active. And that's not all: I can also Twoddler with my friends; we have our own way of communicating that is way cooler than sending text messages.

We are showing off what we are doing with our activity boards. When I play, my friends can see this! The best thing is: it doesn't have to make sense, no stupid boring grown-up logic -- just playing!

Twoddler is a prototype that has been created as part of a course on mobile and pervasive computing at Hasselt University, and was designed and implemented for the Innovative and Creative Applications (INCA) 2009 awards.


Weekly Wrap: 10 Social Media Commandments, 'Glee' Obsession, Life Without Facebook, Digital Content is the Future, PS3 Social Upgrade, Life After Oprah, Pakistani Youth & More!

Barking.robot.iconRyan Murphy full of 'Glee': Thanks to his breakout Fox hit "Glee," Ryan Murphy not only has his finger on the pulse of the youth market -- he has it firmly by the throat, so to speak. The exuberant song-and-dance comedy averages 8 million viewers a week (most in the highly desirable 18-49 demo) and has quickly gone from cult obsession to national phenom. [Variety | 2009 Youth Impact Report]

Ten Commandments of Social Media: There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to social media. People seem to think that every day standards and decency get tossed out the window because of the anonymity of the Internet.

There are Ten Commandments of Social Media that you should always try to follow. They will not only make you a better person but they will make your followers that much more appreciative of what you have to say. []

Life After Oprah: As the Queen of Talk Prepares to Depart for Cable, Clues as to How She'll Fill 24 Hours of Airtime, and More. Related: Here's What to Expect on Oprah's OWN cable network. (Check out the OWN promo video! Pretty cool, but not optimized for social sharing.) [AdAge] [USA Today]

Comcast-NBC Deal Shows Future is in Digital Content: While Comcast seems to be taking a different approach — marrying entertainment content with the largest cable TV system in the nation — it and Time Warner have arrived at the same conclusion: The future is in content, and the pipes that carry it matter less.

But the larger motivation is that Comcast wants more programming — particularly from NBC Universal's cable channels — to deliver to its subscribers and to sell to other distributors. [Yahoo! News]

Sesame Street Heads to Nigeria: Sesame Workshop is developing a new version of the long-running children's series Sesame Street to bring messages about staying in school, girl’s empowerment and HIV/AIDS to Nigeria. [AWN]

Hearst Plans Digital Service: Publisher Hearst Corp. plans to launch next year a service called Skiff to sell digital versions of newspapers and magazines on electronic readers and other devices, in a system it believes will be more visually appealing to readers and more lucrative for media companies. [WSJ]

NYU Student Goes A Week Without Facebook, Becomes Bored: Kelly had initially set out to go Amish and abandon all forms of technology, but pressure from her teacher to not create the suggestion that she had possibly died combined with an unawareness of just how many things constitute as technology prevented her from doing so. [NYU Local]

Designing Websites for Kids: Websites designed for children have been largely overlooked in web design articles and design roundups, but there are many beautiful and interesting design elements and layouts presented on children’s websites that are worthy of discussion and analysis.

There are also a number of best practices that are exclusive to web design for children’s sites — practices that should usually not be attempted on a typical website. [Smashing Magazine]

PS3 to Enhance Online Social Experience: The next firmware update will enable PlayStation 3 system gamers to share their gaming experiences with friends on Facebook, Including Trophies Won In-Game, PlayStation Network Game Purchases, and Game Events. [Sony]

Most Young Pakistanis See Nation Going in Wrong Direction: Despair among the young generation is rooted in the condition of their lives, the report found. Only a fifth of those interviewed had permanent full-time jobs. Half said they did not have sufficient skills to enter the workplace.

And one in four could not read or write, a legacy of the country’s abysmal public education system, in which less than 40% of children are enrolled in school, far below the South Asian average of 58%. [NYT]

Teens, TV & TV 2.0

If you believe everything you read, you’ll know that teens aren’t watching TV anymore. They are all watching online videos, downloading movies and file sharing the newest episode of Gossip Girl. Broadcast TV is dead to them.

The reality is probably a little less palatable. Teens are watching more TV than they ever have. They are also spending more and more of their daily lives online. We are all aware of teens ability to multi-task, but here we are talking about Media-Meshing.

Teens are able to consume more than two media at any one time. The best bit for us is that they cross-reference one with another. TV will deliver the scale, online delivers the immersion. It’s a beautiful thing. The point is simple, neither TV or the Internet are silos, they are intimately woven together. (via ThreeBillion)

TV 2.0, Convergence Culture and Social Networking

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Henry Jenkins---the MIT Media Lab guru, new media visionary and expert on convergence culture--poses the question "In a Social Networking World, What is the Future of TV." This is a really insightful essay and I encourage you to read the full text.

Dr. Jenkins starts his essay with a Jay Leno antidote from the LA Times. No, not the 11:35 pm former 'King of Late Night' from traditional (i.e. "old media) television. This quip comes from the 10:00 pm, slightly shell shocked and network proclaimed 'the future of TV' host of 'The Jay Leno Show.'

Meeting with reporters prior to his new show launch, Leno admits that "television is dying" and the business is changing so rapidly, with audiences scattering in all directions, "I don't know what TV is anymore."

Shift to Multiplatform Media Consumption

It's no secret that younger viewers are more inclined to watch their favorite television shows online rather than sit in front of the television. Remember, Millennials are a hyper-connected generation and to them merely sitting in front of the TV is a really passive, boring and disconnected media experience. 

Younger viewers are able to simultaneously watch TV, surf the web, exchange IM's with friends, participate in multiplayer online games related to their program (a la MTV & 'The Hills' Backchannel), do homework, download music they hear on a show, check text messages, Tweet and/or update their Facebook status.

The whole concept of "prime time" TV is a foreign concept--DVR and on-demand streaming video on the web allow them to watch TV on their own schedule and preferred media distribution platform--TV, computer or mobile phone.

These trends are no longer confined to younger generations. Increasingly, viewers of all ages are adopting multiplatform media consumption habits first seen by younger audience and incorporating them into their own lives.

Convergence of Social Networking & Television

As I blogged a few weeks ago, research from Park Associates found that over one-fourth of broadband users ages 18-24 are interested in having social media features integrated on their TV. The report, Social Media & User-Generated Content, found that  multiplayer gaming, in-program chat, and “most watched” lists were among the most desired social extensions sought out by Gen Y respondents.

According to Jenkins, there is an even bigger shift taking place:

Some call this a "post-network" era and are suggesting that it constitutes a change as dramatic as the shift from broadcasting to cable. Yet, actually, television may be in the hands of a different kind of network -- Facebook or Twitter rather than ABC or Fox.

Networks like MTV and CNN are keenly aware of these trends and have responded by creating interactive multi-platform opportunities for viewers to connect via social networking communities like Facebook or Twitter where they can simultaneously watch (and snark) together.

For example, CBS has created Social Rooms a virtual environment where viewers can "join family, friends and fellow fans and watch your favorite episodes of your favorite shows together." The hit CBS comedy, How I Met Your Mother weaves real blogs into their storyline, further blurring the lines between TV and the web.

But increasingly, as Henry Jenkins (and Jay Leno) point out, we aren't really sure what constitutes TV anymore. Is television the device where content is displayed? Or is TV the content, regardless of what device we use to view it?