Social Media

The Bagels with Berky Year in Review

January 5, 2011

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Through this blog, we share a lot about how we educate our clients and others in the industry, such as through POVs, reports, conferences, and interviews with the press. There’s one proud biweekly ritual that generates a lot of discussion within our agency, but we haven’t discussed much here: Bagels with Berky.

Started during the summer of 2009, Bagels with Berky brings the Emerging Media team together for breakfast every other week to discuss the latest trends, technologies, and topics that are holding our interest. None of it has to be directly applicable to clients, but sometimes it does inspire ideas for clients on the fly. As the eponymous host, I’ve had the pleasure of providing some thought starters for the sessions, but it’s an open forum; anyone with ideas contributes, and I learn far more from an hour with the team than I do from a week of reading blogs.

At the final Bagels with Berky of 2010, we compiled a long list of our favorite updates from the year. We started as we usually do, looking at what debuted since the previous BwB, such as: personal and professional homepage About.me (see mine here for an example); Swipegood, which bumps up purchase amounts to make charitable donations; and Word Lens, the amazing augmented reality-based instant translation application.

Then we went on to the highlights of 2010:

Mobile

Marco: share locations with a friend to easily find one another (read more in The New York Times)
Google Goggles: image recognition layered into its search technology
iButterfly: an augmented reality game from Japan built by Dentsu
Flipboard: the favorite among iPad apps, but we’ll table the discussion on whether that truly fits in to the mobile category
Angry Birds: yes, we’re as obsessed with the game as much as everyone else

Technologies

Video in general made major strides in 2010, and many on the team changed their media consumption behavior considerably. The biggest driver of this was Netflix, whether consumed through the Wii, mobile devices, or Apple TV. There are also some Boxee fans here, but nothing touches the accessibility of Netflix across screens big and small.

FaceTime, one of the most touted features of the iPhone 4, seemed to be one of the most hyped technologies of the year, but not one anyone here actively used. Video calls should become more popular now that Skype’s new iPhone app also allows for video calls over 3G, while FaceTime only works on WiFi.

The iPad was of course a game changer, more than many (myself included) imagined it would be. For many here, it’s most often seen as a way to take notes during meetings and then watch Netflix movies at home, but clearly its impact is far greater than that.

Will other tablets break through in 2011? One announced technology we’re eager to see roll out this year is Google’s Chrome operating system, so we can finally figure out how it differs from Android.

The best new addition to 360i’s Emerging Media Lab this year was Xbox Kinect. Until you play with it, it’s hard to fully appreciate how truly a transformative a technology it is. Going hands free, you jump, kick, and head butt your way to victory in a way you never can with a controller. And then it records images and videos that you can share on Facebook so you can show all your friends how goofy you look.

Around the Web

Everyone here has their favorite daily deal site. Of course Groupon is the biggest. Other favorites here include Yipit, Gilt, Jetsetter, and Zagat Exclusives.

Crowdsourced fundraising also became far more feasible thanks to Kickstarter. Meanwhile, Crowdrise empowers anyone to raise funds for a cause. If you want to see it in action, check out how 360i SVP Sarah Hofstetter’s daughter has raised over $10,000 to feed the hungry.

HTML5 enabled new creative possibilities in 2010. See it in action with Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown, Japanese band Sour Mirror, and Google Browser Pong.

Google scored another hit with Demo Slam, which could make you lose hours watching tech demos. Submissions by celebrities such as Weezer and Jimmy Kimmel have helped to keep us hooked.

Beyond the tech world, the whole world seemed transfixed by the WikiLeaks revelations, or lack thereof. The favorite source here for analysis was Rap News, which some found far more insightful than the nightly news.

Brands are Awesome Too

Brands found a number of creative ways to use emerging technologies.

Gap had a landmark year as a first mover with players such as Groupon and Facebook Places, though its approach tended to hinge on giving away or deeply discounting product to make these promotions work.

Also in the retail world, JCPenney debuted one of our favorite uses of augmented reality with its virtual dressing room, in partnership with Seventeen.com (read more here).

Airwalk offered a digital twist on an ongoing retail trend with its virtual pop-up store, featuring limited edition shoes for sale, if you knew where to find them.

Hoping for More in 2011

There were some launches that gained a lot of buzz in 2010 but now need to live up to the hype. Some we’re keeping an eye on include:

  • Location-based services such as SCVNGR, which turns check-ins into a game
  • Apps that let you have fun with barcodes such as Stickybits and Barcode Hero
  • iTunes Ping, the music social network that managed to have a tougher 2010 than MySpace
  • Digg, with its relaunch that proved even more disastrous for its brand than Gap’s logo redesign
  • Rockmelt, a social browser that had most social media addicts here racing back to Chrome and Firefox
  • In-store check-in apps like Shopkick and Checkpoints which need to better explain how they add value for consumers during their visits to retailers

Most of the 2010 favorites came up during a rapid-fire hour-long discussion, with a few other favorites shared via email afterward. Each year, we get even more excited about the ways emerging media and technologies meet the needs of consumers and marketers alike, and we can’t wait to keep sharing more with you throughout 2011 and beyond.