Teenage Web-Land

Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead a focus group  with a bunch of superstar girls and talk about how they use the web … what I discovered was a Teenage Web-Land  that was both Very Different and The Same as what I thought.   Here’s the highlights:

Asked to name their top websites.

  1. Facebook
  2. You Tube
  3. Google
  4. Flicker
  5. Addicting Games
  6. Perez Hilton
  7. Stumbled Upon
  8. Tumblr
  9. Sporcle
  10. My Space Music
  11. Text from Last Night
  12. Post Secret
  13. FML
  14. Hypem
  15. Local Newspaper (Marin I.J.)

Facebook, You Tube, Google …. no brainers, right? Where’s Yahoo? MTV? Hulu? imdb?  And what’s Sporcle? I might not be the coolest mom on the block, but as a marketer it seems important to know these things! Here’s a quick recap.

Obviously I know about Perez Hilton, but who would think that a bunch of educated teenage girls would admit to reading this stuff? At least do it in secret.

This may be my favorite new find on the web. It’s basically Addicting Games for people who like intellectual challenges. There are over 86,000 user generated games including my personal favorite “The Mary Poppins Challenge”. Very cool!

Texts From Last Night is laugh-out-loud funny. If you’ve ever re-read your texts sent or received after a long night on the town you’ve probably wondered “what was I thinking?” . This site shares these text messages – anonymously.  It reinforces the Don’t Drink and Text campaign.  Readers can vote on “Good Night” or “Bad Night”. Here’s a sample.

I can’t say too much about FML because this is a family blog, but users post stories about all kind of bad stuff that happens to them in love, work, school, or other settings. Like Texts  from Last Night , readers get to vote on how “F’d” your life really is.   Surprisingly compelling and if you get seriously hooked you can receive these stories delivered to your phone. Bite sized stories from hell. Here’s a sample.

StumbleUpon is one of those sites I loved from day one. If you’re like me and interested in Knitting, Bloggers, Lobsters, Annapolis, Politics, Fashion, Disco, Movies, Jane Austen  and Blue Grass Music, it’s amazing what interesting stuff StumbleUpon finds for me on the web

I have heard My Space is dead, but this group of kids swears by My Space music pages. “The single best place to really find out what’s going on with the band and the fans on a global basis”.

Finally, the last site mentioned was also from the music world and new to me – Hypem.  It’s a great place to read all kinds of blogs about music, check out tour dates, and find out what’s new.

See if there’s anything new for you on this list – and if you can think of any others your local teenager’s addicted to, please post here.    Now I’m off to figure out how to create a new website that can make next year’s Teenage Web-land list!

Unintended Benefits

Those of you following my journey know that I’ve been advising some small companies in the world of product and marketing.   I’ve literally worked my way through the last 20 years with virtually no time off from corporate America  for “exploration”. (Unless you count two maternity leaves and a hip replacement).

People have been asking me what I’m actually doing for them. Well…. It depends. Product Roadmaps. Marketing Plans. Creative Review. Websites. Customer Acquisition. Partner Pitches. Investor Prep. Competitive Strategy.  Introductions.

I’ve been blown away by the energy, passion, and joy that the many entrepreneurs I’ve met are bringing to the party.   I know that I’m supposed to be advising them, but I find that they’re advising me …. Without even knowing it. Today’s entry is dedicated to them.

To Marilou and Kathy at Vivo Girl Sports. You are so optimistic, but not afraid to ask for help. You make me proud to work on a project that will improve the lives of teenage girls.

To Brian at Kidlandia.  Your optimism is infectious, you’ve built a great product and a great team.  Way to share your vision.

To Geoff at Unnamed New Company.   You know no boundaries, but you’re realistic. You debate, but listen. You’re always looking for answers.

To David at Unnamed New Company #2.   You’ve got a great product, but  you never lose sight of the business model.

To  another David at Company I Want to Start Advising.  Amazing ideas, great ability to tell a story.  Laser focus.

Wish us luck!

Become a Fan of …..

Seems like every day I get asked to “become a fan” of something on  Facebook. It started simply enough.  Three seasons ago Ryan Seacrest announced “become a fan” of American Idol to get the real scoop. So I did. Today I’m a fan of dozens of companies, groups, causes, people and the “news” generated by my fandom has begun to dominate my newsfeed. Sometimes I even just “become a fan” because I want to feel like I’m in the in-crowd, such  as “Tam High  Prom Dress Decisions 2010”  This got me thinking about the great lengths the folks manning the fan pages must go to create messages that will cut through the clutter and make me “click and engage” rather than “hide and forget”.

Here’s a sample of the posts on my newsfeed  this week. All delivered to me because I am a fan of ….”

  1. Check it out DAWG.
  2. How do you feel about Spankings?
  3. For people who are out of shape.
  4. Still want to join together in Private?
  5. Everything you ever wanted to know about tattoos on our staff.
  6. Fill out and win big.
  7. Don’t make these 5 mistakes.
  8. Get a  big  gun.
  9. Cost of laundry is too high.
  10. Did you hit up the farmers market today?

Clearly the marketer in charge wants to deliver a compelling post that gets me to click. I don’t know if it’s working, but I do have to commend some of them for at least getting my attention. There’s a lesson here about the use of the fan page and getting consumers to engage and ultimately to share with their friends.  (Or at very least read the newsfeed).  Clearly the fan page is a different tool in the arsenal than the website, twitter feed, or blog, but how to use it effectively is trickier.

My personal favorite is #6.  That’s because  I do want to know about the tattoos on your staff. Very engaging stuff.  Thanks for that Ad Freak.  See if you can match the logos with the posts and post it in the comment section.   Then you can become a Fan of Nancy MacIntyre… (Just kidding)

Ad Freak

The Lost Buzz

I was driving into work at my consulting job at a hot social gaming company this morning and thinking about last night’s episode of Lost.  For those of you who aren’t devotees, you should know it’s the last season and the producers have promised to answer all the big questions.  The season’s been great so far and the buzz has just been amazing. So what’s this have to do with anything?

I watched the show last night while surfing the web on my Mac. I was reading the speculation posted by East Coast viewers of the show as well as official commentary from the likes of Entertainment Weekly.   I was pondering the questions raised by bloggers while actually watching the show ….. and shockingly, this really added to my experience. It was kind of like having an experienced tour guide take you through the Louvre  or a sports commentator during  a football game.

Fast forward to this morning. Still thinking about Lost,  I got into the car and heard two radio DJ’s discussing the show. They had obviously read the same blogs and reviews that I had and were talking about it on air like it was their original ideas.  Their discussion raised even more questions for me. I needed to know. Was that actually Willy Wonka music at the end of the episode? So I called my friend Kevin. Kevin was  actually listening to a podcast about Lost when he answered.  Kevin started giving his theories, which were the same as the Blogs , EW, and the Radio DJs earlier that day (and attributed it to the podcast)   We hung up and I received a text from my son from college. It read “Desmond is new Jacob”.   I checked Facebook. My friend J had started a thread “Desmond = Jacob 2.0”  How did this happen? Was this message planted?  What an amazing phenomenon. Viewers posting theories, discussed online, then expounded by “real” members of the press as if it was unique thought.

This got me thinking about the role of marketing and message management  in this environment. Do the marketing folks working on Lost at ABC manage all the communication? Do they anticipate what fans are going to think (and post) and message accordingly?  Feed the message so that fans and press start speculating en masse?  Does all this speculation change viewers involvement and engagement in the property? Does the instantaneous, multi-channel communication  change the marketing approach ?  The answer is probably yes to all these questions.

And these questions are likely relevant to any consumer brands with passionate, engaged customer bases. Video Games? check. Books? check. American Idol? check. Politicians? check. Southwest Airlines? check.   Yet another data point that social marketing skills are more important than ever and for all brands.  And speaking of social marketing …… you can follow me on twitter at  nancymacintyre ,  so you won’t be Lost 🙂