How I Met Your Mother (in World of Warcraft)

In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted introduces a girl he had met online to the rest of his friends. Now this girl was no ordinary girl—this girl was hot. Of course, you’d think that Barney would back Ted up with this girl. But instead, he sees this as a warning signal, telling Ted that you never meet a hot girl looking for a date, online. Chances are, this girl is crazy. Haha.

Now as the episode progresses, you eventually find out that Ted met this girl while playing an online game. As for whether the girl is crazy or not, you can just go ahead and judge that for yourself. :)

I’ve personally never tried playing a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft (the game where Ted and the girl met) or Ragnarok Online. The closest thing I’ve ever played to something like it is online Counter-Strike and Boxhead Multiplayer—which are great and addicting games, by the way. Granted that, still we find that even the gaming industry is continuing to change given the presence of the Internet.

In the past, the most that Internet games have done is to post high scores of online players worldwide. Today, players don’t just see their scores online; players now talk to each other about their scores, discuss the game, share tips in real time, and so much more! Even gaming consoles such as the XBOX Live, Playstation 3, PSP, and the Nintendo Wii allow users to connect to the Internet, and in turn connect with other players.

We find now that even gaming has become a form of social activity that has transcended geographic and social boundaries. Below is a picture posted by Online MBA on April 2010 entitled, Online Gaming Statistics:

Click on the image to read the whole article

Given those statistics, today, just like Ted and the girl, it is no longer rare for players who meet online to eventually decide to meet each other in person.

The role of gaming companies now is to know how best to provide players with an experience that doesn’t just involve the playing of the game but to enrich this experience by exploring more ways in which players can share this experience with each other. On the other hand, the role of online gamers is to know how issues such as ethics and privacy now have greater impact on them. In short, gamers should now no longer just be good players skill-wise but good players ethics-wise as well.

There is no doubt that the gaming industry and community will continue to change as the Internet continues to play a significant role in the way players connect with each other. But for as long as we know how to make the best out of the situation in order to enrich the gaming experience as a social activity, connecting people together will continue to become something fun and entertaining.

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Training Log: Good Practices in Online Advertising

Last time we talked about how the Internet is changing the advertising scene. And as promised, in this post we’ll be talking about a few good practices in online advertising. Now allow me to say that I am not an online advertising expert. What I can say however, is that I am an avid “consumer” when it comes to advertisements. Based on my experience and a few things I’ve picked up myself from others, online, and from my OrCom mentors, below are some of the practices I find are most relevant in the online advertising scene:

1. Target an audience, and know where they are online.

Your target audience is looking for you – they just don’t know it yet.” says Wendy Boswell who wrote an online article on Internet Marketing Strategy, entitled Who is Your Target Audience? Now the difference in the field of advertising is that in here, we’re not coming up with a strategy simply to pull our audience in; this time, we’re going directly to them. That’s why it’s important for us to have a targeted audience and know in which communities online we can find them. As mentioned in the previous post, when you know where you can find your audience  online, it is likely for you to know as well the things that engage them to meet in those communities. When we find out what that is, designing and coming up with an advertisement that will cater exactly to the interests of these people will be a lot easier.

2. Engage in conversation.

What separates online advertising from traditional advertising over TV, print, and radio, is that you have the opportunity to interact with your audience. If online advertising were not to take advantage of this, what then would separate it from traditional advertising? Talk to your audience. When they give their feedback, respond right away–and respond in a personal way. We don’t want to be setting up a front that gives the impression that the audience is talking to a robot. Be personal in your response. When your audience knows you care enough not just to simply get their attention but to actually hear what they have to say, you build your credibility to your audience. (Now, I think that means I should also start replying to the comments on this page.)

3. Don’t resort to spam.

Oh, dear me. How I hate spam! Whenever I see spam over YouTube comments, Facebook posts, and others, I quickly ignore the ad. Spamming sure may be effective sometimes, but the message it really sends out is “I’m too lazy to think of a better advertising strategy so why don’t we just flood the Internet and find out who responds.” That’s crazy. On top of that, spamming is almost always associated with malware. Do you really want your brand to be associated with something like that? And didn’t we just talk about building your credibility online?

Now of course, there are other good practices when it comes to online advertising. The list does not end here. But the bottomline is providing your audience a pleasant experience that they would not have had the opportunity of in traditional advertising.

For more information on topics such as this, you can check out some of the links below:

The Google User Experience: Ten principles that contribute to a Googley User Experience

Know Thy Audience Members. (That means thinking like them.)

Wiki: What’s a Quality Score?

The New Advertising Experience

Remember when billboards used to look like this?

I never developed the habit of sleeping when I’m in a moving vehicle. And I think it’s probably because when I was younger, I could never get myself to sleep during long night drives–thanks to neon billboards that used to plague the streets of Manila.

You see, I was born at the time when the setting up of neon billboards along national highways was at its peak. I still remember the flashy billboards, the “animation” of a San Miguel Beer being poured into a glass and the “dead” letters that would make URATEX read like RATEX. Back then, one would think of EDSA as the Philippine version of the Vegas Strip.

But today, advertising in general is taking a new face. After huge neon billboards came in tarpaulins which paved the way for more creative copywriting. But it doesn’t end there; what’s really changing the world of advertising today is the Internet. In the past, traditional media used to dominate the advertising field. Today, online advertising is getting a better grip on the market–and for good reason.

First, online advertising is targeted. Online communities make it possible for advertising firms and companies to find their target audience, know what the people in these communities want, and how they want to get what they want! Whether the advertisement comes in the form of a flash game, a witty text, or sent through e-mail, online advertising paired with good practice promises better results for practitioners and a better experience for the consumer.

Second, online advertising is creative. Gone are the days of the neon billboard that only showed the brand name. Today, audiences watch videos, play games, and even interact with each other! On top of that, they can be redirected straight to the company website to know more about the company, the product and/or the service they offer. One of my favorite online ads is this one from Tipp-Ex:

(Seriously, wouldn’t you want future ads to be just like this? Go ahead get crazy with your keyboard on this ad. I suggest typing in “eats.” Haha.)

Lastly, online advertising can save you a LOT of money. You can advertise by writing a blog, by posting a video on YouTube, by creating a page on Facebook, or even by posting a good Tweet. Yes, online advertising can and will still cost you, but if you know how to make good use of what’s available online, truth is you don’t need to spend as much as you would on a 1-minute TVC to get the job done. :)

Today, I still can’t sleep when I’m in a moving vehicle. But now, neither can I sleep early when I’m at home. Truth is, most of the time it’s because I’m on the Internet. And some of that time I should spend on sleeping is honestly being spent on what online advertising would call “engaging the audience”–and boy am I heavily engaged! Hahaha.

For now, wait for my next blog post where I’ll be talking about a few good practices in online advertising. :)

The Communication Experiment of the Future

Hello Prometeus!

The video is entitled The Future of Communication. It’s a video I found a couple of years ago, back when I had just gotten started with my OrCom majors. At the time, I had just regarded this video as some freakish depiction of the future of communication. But now with all this study of the new social media, some of the things in this video actually “interest” me. And while I suppose this is one extreme depiction of what the world could be like in a few years given the new technology available to us today, I also think that there are some things in the video that may very well come true in the years to come. What do you think?

(And if by next year “plastic paper” is created, I’d seriously freak out.)

Mission: Social Media Release

This mission was a pretty tough one but well worth it.

I signed up for a free account on www.pitchengine.com It’s a website where you can make your own social media release. This is where I created mine. The only problem is that with a free account, the release will expire in 30 days. Nonetheless, since I made the release on pitchengine.com, you’ll be able to freely use the media release, share it on Facebook, reTweet it, watch the slideshows and the video, or even leave your own comment there! :)

Anyway, here’s the link to the social media release:

Perthman Records: Perthman Records Looks Forward To A Great Last Quarter of 2010

To my friend, Perth Salva, thank you for your time. Your studio is amazing. :) I hope this social media release will do your business even more good. :)

Virtual Birthday Present

I’m posting this mission log a couple of kilometers away from home base.

I’m at a friend’s house and I decided to write today’s entry here. Why, you ask? Well, today is her birthday and everyone has decided to throw her a surprise birthday party tonight. Part of the whole surprise was making her a Facebook group page. This group page was created by her mum who wanted to get greetings from people from all over the world.

Pauline is one of my good friends in church, and we wanted to get as much people to send their greetings out to her before tonight. Aside from the people who are physically here tonight, a couple more people were able to send their greetings in video through Facebook. One of them, Carl, sent his greeting from all over Alaska.

It’s amazing when I think about how new social media is currently changing the way we even celebrate birthdays! Today is Pauline’s 18th birthday and everybody who wanted to be part of it but couldn’t physically go to tonight’s party was still able to “share” in the experience.

I imagine how in the past, people must have read letters instead in events such as this. After the kids opened their presents under the Christmas tree, I imagine their mum pulling out a letter from dad who’s working in Japan. She reads it to them as the final surprise for the night.

Today, I have about twelve cousins living abroad. My titos and titas live in San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto, and San Diego. In the past, the only way for us to get updated with their lives was to wait for their emails and the pictures they’d attach to them. At present, our exchanges involve “Buzzing”, the tagging of photos over Facebook, and video conferencing over Skype.

I must say, being able to stay in touch with them in this way is one of the reasons why I love the Internet. And I’m sure this is the same for many more people who also have loved ones living in places very far away.

Well, here’s to the Internet and the ability to send virtual gifts online. Perhaps the only thing Pauline and I need to figure out now is how to share to Carl that delicious cake we’re now about to eat–which by the way, I must now get back to. :)

Short Mission Logs

In the previous entry, I talked about all the choices we now have when it comes to different ways of communicating.

There is one point that I haven’t mentioned yet but one that my mom and I was able to talk about a few days ago when she was asking me how to start her own blog. But before I talk about that point, allow me to let you in on what we talked about.

Our discussion revolved mainly around blogs, what it is, how to start one, and where to read interesting ones. We got to the topic of making your blogs interesting. I remembered talking to her about how in the past, people tended to write very long blog entries. I myself wrote very long ones when I started. And I talked to her about how now, writing very long blogs is no longer advisable if she wants people (especially those of the younger demographic) to read and follow her posts. She asked why, and I answered her with that point I was talking about earlier.

I told her about how  TV has trained us to have selective attention given the ability we have of simply switching from one channel to another. In the same way, all these choices we have now in communicating over the internet are slowly developing in us “selective attention” to any content online. If we don’t like what we see, we go to another site. If we feel that the website is sloppy, we search for the same content in another website. And with the advent of micro-blogging sites such as Twitter and Plurk, and “The rise of the Friendster status”, this generation is now being “trained” to” say much in as little as possible.”

Today, it is no longer unusual to have a blog post where a picture is attached and a YouTube video is embedded. In this age of communication, your chances of survival lie in the way you produce online content that’s either short, interesting, or better yet, both. About 5 years ago, friends of mine would write about all their angst in the world in a 20-paragaraph blog entry. Today, they’ve learned to condense all that emotion in a 140-character Tweet.

Honestly, as of yet, I have no means of judging whether such a thing is doing this generation good or not. On one side, I think about how “efficient” we’ve become in using words to express ourselves, and yet on another side, it also think about how that takes away from us the appreciation for what might be considered “lenghty” works of art.

Either way, such a phenomenon still allows for some learning and adapting on our side. But for now, let me go back, as I always do, to what our role is given this present situation. I believe that in this age where most information can now be accessed online, our responsibility is to be able to discern first what is of good content, and second, what content was presented in the most interesting way possible. For our ability to do so may very well determine how we also post content of our own.