Using Technology to Save Global Languages

We’re taking a quick break from our usual social media and communications strategy posts to look at an amazingly cool use of technology.

Today I stumbled across Endangered Languages – an effort by the folks at Google to help preserve the over 3,000 languages around the world that are on the verge of going extinct, threatened with extinction, or at risk or becoming extinct. According to Google, 50% of the languages that are in use today are expected to vanish off the face of the Earth by 2100 – silent forever, echoing in the past. And these languages aren’t just located where people might expect them to be, in small third world nations (though this is just as true there), but throughout the United States and Europe as well.

Check out Google’s video about the importance of a project like this, and then check out Endangered Languages for more info.

The Death Of “Death Of …” Posts

Just a quick post to get this off of my chest.

Public Relations... not dead

Advertising… not dead

RSS Technology… not dead

Newspapers… not dead, just evolving (the smart ones are)

OK, these things are not dead. Let’s all get over the fact that despite everyone’s best bet, they aren’t dead.

What might qualify as “dead”

  • Friendster
  • MySpace
  • Kirk Cameron as some kind of religious leader

Before we all jump on the easy linkbait stories about the death of RSS, or Public Relations, or JR Ewing, or whatever, let’s all take a step back and think about what ever is being touted as dead and if it’s really useless to business needs, instead of our needs.

That’s what should be an overarching theme in social media, business and public relations for 2011. Is there going to be a shift back from the “social media” expert to an incorporation of social media into your communications plan?

Final Cut Pro X – Is This Finally Adobe’s Moment?

Recently, and to much early acclaim, Apple released the newest edition of their professional video editing market standard Final Cut Pro editing suite, Final Cut Pro X. A long needed update to the Final Cut product line, it was eagerly anticipated by video editors for what it might provide for the next generation of projects.

What editors got was, apparently, a steroid-ramped version of iMovie. Don’t get me wrong, iMovie is a nice little video program, and well worth the money you don’t have to spend to get it (when you get a Mac). To state that video geeks were upset is putting it mildly, with so many people complaining about the new product, and doing something really out of character for rabid Mac fans, rating the product one star on the Apple App Store. (a large number of ratings for this product are currently one star).  And no less a video blogging master, and Apple fan, than Robert Scoble has come out stating that heads need to roll for leaving out basics from Final Cut Pro X, such as removing the ability for multi-camera projects. (and the discussion on his blog has been lively, to say the least)

(As I’ve pointed out in the past, there are programs on the PC end that do what iMovie does – some take a little more work to get there, but you have a better editing experience (aka – they are a couple of steps above grandmaware). Primarily Sony’s Vegas Studio suite, and maybe Avid. But Vegas is only available on the Windows platform)

So where does Adobe fit into this?

Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS 5.5 is fairly comparable to Final Cut Pro, and has the added benefit of working on Mac and PC systems. As part of Adobe’s Production Premium Creative Suite, it comes bundled with After Effects, Adobe’s visual effects graphics program, Photoshop, a newly-revamped Adobe Audition audio editing software and many other programs.

Could Adobe fill in the gap now left open by Apple, who’s response to the Final Cut Pro X outcry has been, in typical Apple fashion, to state that

How dare you question the glowing Apple? You’ll take your Final Cut Pro X and like it, or you can stick with Final Cut Pro 7 for your old projects. For your questioning, you must purchase two Macbook Pros, an iPad and an Apple TV (for the hell of it). Now go forth and sin no more…

If Adobe’s smart, they’ll leap at the chance to point out how Premiere Pro will allow you to continue multi-camera projects and other details that Apple left out of Final Cut Pro X. Apple has left some wondering if they are willing to slow their support for the professional market, which they have done in the past, and if another company will step up to the plate and take advantage of this opening.

Technology is Nice, but You Have To Walk the Walk

Tonight, political junkies like me kept tabs on the Coakley-Brown special election to replace the deceased Ted Kennedy as Massachusetts’ U.S. Senator. Attorney General Martha Coakley – as the Democratic candidate who had the backing of the DNC, White House, Kennedy family, your old crazy uncle, my dog, etc – was expected to be the runaway victor, as the Democratic candidate running for the seat of one of the Democrats most honored members. So she didn’t really campaign after the primary election, instead she was content to go on vacation and relax, waiting for her due reward.

Her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, on the other hand treated this campaign like any other race. Getting online with greater urgency than his opponent was a definite benefit (see “Obama, Barack” for another example of great technology use in politics) but another thing Brown did was act like an old-fashioned candidate. Holding events, meeting people, walking from house to house (in the snow, with no shoes, uphill both ways…), and introducing himself to his potential constituents.  In other words, he engaged in community relations to an extent that Coakley didn’t even attempt. (there are other elements as well, this is just a quick take)

Her expectations of a coronation blinded her and her team to a surging Brown campaign that ran a good show.  Why mention this now, when pundits all over the country (with more skin in the game – no pun to Mr. Brown’s … “special pictorial” mentioned in the campaign) are talking about this far more in depth than I?

Because there is an important lesson here for businesses CEOs and organizational leaders.

All of the technology in the world sometimes can’t make up for a lack of wanting to get involved with people on a personal level.  It’s about community relations and personal interaction.  “Boots on the ground,” and listening to people’s concerns over a cup of coffee before you act, whether in politics or business, can never be understated.

Remember, people want to be able to look you in the eye, or ask you a question and feel they are being heard and their problems taken to heart. There are a lot of strengths from social media communications that you can benefit from as well – open discussion, ability to take criticism well, being up front and honest with your stakeholders, promises to do the best that you can and try to live up to them.

But really, aren’t these virtues that you should have anyway? “Mad social media skills” or no “mad social media skills?”

Getting in the Game?

Greeting again from sunny (during the day, it’s 1 a.m. as I write this) Disney World. It’ll be a few days later when y’all read this, but I’m getting the thought down now before I forget them and will have them up and running back when I get to ABQ and have reliable wireless again.

(Can you believe that after paying a bucket of cash, Disney still charges for Internet access? They have a good thing going here and know not to kill it.)

While the above paragraph sounded like some random ramblings, it makes the point I wanted to make in today’s piece. This idea of putting a message up when you want to, and allowing people to see it in their own time frame. And the medium I want to talk about today is the idea of advertising in video games.

Video game advertising? Really? Are people going to want to see this?

“Want?” Probably not. But advertising is already more and more prevalent in the video game world.  It probably started with the Madden NFL franchise (as many things in the video game world do) promoting various products with the “announcers” in the game (all real NFL Network and NBC talent). The “Old Spice Red Zone Report” when either team is within the 20-yard line (known in football as the “Red Zone,” which is also an Old Spice brand of deodorant I believe), or “this game is brought to you by EA Sports” mentioned at various times throughout the game, or the recreation of advertising actually located in each team’s stadium.

If football’s not your thing, the new “Need For Speed” allows for billboard advertising by companies or organizations that you can target to selected times and places. One organization that took advantage of this to a great benefit was Barack Obama for President. They were able to target ads for gamers in selected battleground states. Even if they did not notice the ads right away, or at all, they were still in the background adding to the subliminal message to vote for (or have more positive feelings for) President Obama.

As games and platforms continue to advance, you can expect to see game companies allow for advertising in their games. Think about it, you could place an ad for your organization on a bulletin board read by players in the upcoming Fable 3 game, or on a TV screen in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  And of course in any game which XBOX Live players can download (or even on the online games page itself).  Some platforms might even work out deals for players on their platform to get cheaper games if there is advertising allowed in the game, or might charge more to allow players to get “premium games” free of advertising.

It’s all up to you or your organization to think of new and creative ways to tap into this growing market. How would you like to present a consistent message to your audience in this medium? Would you even try to present more than a few seconds of a message? Would this be a great way to target a message to a potential audience in a selected location? – Probably, because you can selected which parts of the country these messages would go to, and they would be available to an audience that might TIVO ads away, if they even watch TV on a TV set, but can later get the message from their video game, still reading the message, only in their own time frame. (I would think that this would be a great way for a university to reach potential students.)

Then of course there are some opportunities for video game makers to offer games for a little higher price if they come with a “No Advertising” guarantee.