Retail Is Dead Long Live Retail. December 2012. More than ever this Christmas season, the news is full of stories about the death of "brick and mortar" retail and the triumph of online retail. Best Buy and JC Penny's have been singled out as examples of companies fighting for survival, and Amazon is everyone's clear winner. While I agree with the assessment of winners and losers, I disagree about the cause. It isn't brick and mortar versus online. Its an information battle between consumer and retailer, and the consumer is winning. At least that's my personal experience. Read more.
Kid Memes. October 2012. The Internet meme - those viral photos, videos, or sly bits of humor that spread through social networks. We think of the Internet meme as strictly the province of adults and teenagers online. But what happens now that we have children who were born into the social networking world? What happens when kids are online even before they can read? Is the meme even possible for this demographic? If you think the answer is "no" then either you don't have kids, or you aren't paying much attention to their online activity. Read more.
White Listing the Web. November 2011. I had just stepped out of the room for a moment, but when I returned Nathan had a look of terror on his face and his hands clamped firmly over his ears. On the screen was a great white shark, bursting out of frothing water. Nathan is five. He doesn't know any better. The charming whale video we had been watching had ended, and he had simply clicked on a link for another "related" video. Such are the risks of letting your kids watch YouTube unsupervised, even briefly.Read more.
Family Identity Online. October 2010. Traditionally marketers place enormous emphasis on youth marketing. Youth are early adopters, trend setters, and still in a stage of preference formation rather than entrenched brand loyalty. A quick look at some centers of digital life (Apple products, Twitter, FaceBook, Living Social) seems to confirm the youth focus in both marketing and products/services offered. With the occaisional nod to boomers and other "older" generations, these companies seem hyper-fosued on appealing to a the new digitally hip. Yet today's youth lack the purchasing power of older generations. They also now share their online world with the first generation of parents who have raised kids in an entirely Internet-defined era. There's a double tension here: youth vs. age, but also individual vs. family. I'll comment on the former, but its that latter I on which I really want to focus. Read more.
Where FaceBook and I Disagree. August 8, 2010. Good to see some progress today from FaceBook on the privacy front. I certainly have no idea how to get half a billion people to show up, much less make them happy enough to come back regularly, so I try not to be too critical. But it really frustrates me to see my own approach to privacy undermined by changes that are almost invisible to me. So today's news looks like real progress. Also, I found in Zukerberg's post the real disconnect between the way I (and many of my friends) think about privacy, and the way FaceBook thinks about it. Read more.