In The News

"Always On," Consumers Expect Businesses to Embrace Technology Even More

In this new iPhone world, where consumers can download an app at the press of a button, businesses must embrace technology or risk being left behind.  When I say embrace technology, I'm not talking about just having an Internet presence or just using social media for marketing.  I mean using technology to create new apps, tools or games that let you instantly connect and engage with your customers.

Brian X. Chen, a writer for Wired Magazine, was recently interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air from WHYY.  Here's a link to the story and the interview.  In the interview, he discussed his new book, Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future -- and Locked Us In.

From a business perspective, the most fascinating part of the book is Chen's comment on how consumers' expectations have changed in light of the way the iPhone lets them unlock worlds of knowledge in the swipe of their phone screen.  In an excerpt from his book, he writes: "The iPhone changed our standards for what we expect from technology, and as a result, businesses are being forced to give us more for our money. We don't want seven pieces of hardware to perform seven different tasks; we want a single gadget capable of doing anything-anytime-anywhere. Soon, manufacturers will no longer be able to sell single-function gadgets lacking an internet connection because those gadgets will soon be obsolete. Consequently, a large number of companies and industries find themselves threatened because a downloadable app can easily replace nearly any dedicated, single-use product."

How is your business using technology to satisfy consumer expectations?  What app could you develop to keep your customers engaged?  Are you thinking from the mindset of a customer who owns an iPhone, and who expects information immediately? No matter your industry -- entertainment, publishing, banking, technology, professional services, arts, health care, environmental -- customers want more from you, and they expect it in the form of instantly accessed technology.

"Always On," Consumers Expect Businesses to Embrace Technology Even More

In this new iPhone world, where consumers can download an app at the press of a button, businesses must embrace technology or risk being left behind.  When I say embrace technology, I'm not talking about just having an Internet presence or just using social media for marketing.  I mean using technology to create new apps, tools or games that let you instantly connect and engage with your customers.

Brian X. Chen, a writer for Wired Magazine, was recently interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air from WHYY.  Here's a link to the story and the interview.  In the interview, he discussed his new book, Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future -- and Locked Us In.

From a business perspective, the most fascinating part of the book is Chen's comment on how consumers' expectations have changed in light of the way the iPhone lets them unlock worlds of knowledge in the swipe of their phone screen.  In an excerpt from his book, he writes: "The iPhone changed our standards for what we expect from technology, and as a result, businesses are being forced to give us more for our money. We don't want seven pieces of hardware to perform seven different tasks; we want a single gadget capable of doing anything-anytime-anywhere. Soon, manufacturers will no longer be able to sell single-function gadgets lacking an internet connection because those gadgets will soon be obsolete. Consequently, a large number of companies and industries find themselves threatened because a downloadable app can easily replace nearly any dedicated, single-use product."

How is your business using technology to satisfy consumer expectations?  What app could you develop to keep your customers engaged?  Are you thinking from the mindset of a customer who owns an iPhone, and who expects information immediately? No matter your industry -- entertainment, publishing, banking, technology, professional services, arts, health care, environmental -- customers want more from you, and they expect it in the form of instantly accessed technology.

Privacy? Anyone Remember What That Is?

Does privacy really exist any more?  Sure it does, but sometimes it's easy to forget. 

Take the story's in today's Tennessean: "Nashville Residents Take on Google Wi-Spy, Join Privacy Lawsuit."  Google is accused of tapping into wireless networks while it drove by individuals' houses to capture a copy of their homes for placement on Google Earth.  According to the article, the wire tapping had nothing to do with capturing images of the homes; rather, it was done to improve Google's LBS -- location based services.

What's LBS? It's new technology that allows us consumers to get more accurate information at our fingertips when we log into a new app.  For example, when you go to TripAdvisor's App, if you allow it to track your location, it can send you a map showing you restaurants, parks, hotels, and music venues -- all tailored to your location.  When I go on vacation this fall, I can open up my iPad, tap on the app, and it will move with me, knowing I'm in another location, and providing me with the same instant information -- I don't have to key in the location, because the app does it for me. 

Are there privacy concerns in this?  Of course there are.  And that's ignoring Google's alleged wire tapping.  The concerns are that we give up some privacy when our smart phones know our location.  Who else knows our location?  Surely someone's finding a way to sell that information and make money -- this is called "monetization."

As I explained while recently speaking on a panel at Lipscomb University, our free Internet, and our incredibly tech savvy tools, are not truly free, even though they appear to be.  They come at a price and, as a society, we're just beginning to see what that price is: our privacy.

The lawyers at Covington & Burling have compiled a great summary of privacy bills pending before Congress.  As Congress wades through these bills, it is faced with the same tensions we all face: how much privacy are we willing to give up in exchange for the luxuries of information technology?  To protect our privacy, we may decide it's time to pay to protect ourselves, and we may begin to realize that things that seem too good to be true (an Internet without a price tag) really might be.

Privacy? Anyone Remember What That Is?

Does privacy really exist any more?  Sure it does, but sometimes it's easy to forget. 

Take the story's in today's Tennessean: "Nashville Residents Take on Google Wi-Spy, Join Privacy Lawsuit."  Google is accused of tapping into wireless networks while it drove by individuals' houses to capture a copy of their homes for placement on Google Earth.  According to the article, the wire tapping had nothing to do with capturing images of the homes; rather, it was done to improve Google's LBS -- location based services.

What's LBS? It's new technology that allows us consumers to get more accurate information at our fingertips when we log into a new app.  For example, when you go to TripAdvisor's App, if you allow it to track your location, it can send you a map showing you restaurants, parks, hotels, and music venues -- all tailored to your location.  When I go on vacation this fall, I can open up my iPad, tap on the app, and it will move with me, knowing I'm in another location, and providing me with the same instant information -- I don't have to key in the location, because the app does it for me. 

Are there privacy concerns in this?  Of course there are.  And that's ignoring Google's alleged wire tapping.  The concerns are that we give up some privacy when our smart phones know our location.  Who else knows our location?  Surely someone's finding a way to sell that information and make money -- this is called "monetization."

As I explained while recently speaking on a panel at Lipscomb University, our free Internet, and our incredibly tech savvy tools, are not truly free, even though they appear to be.  They come at a price and, as a society, we're just beginning to see what that price is: our privacy.

The lawyers at Covington & Burling have compiled a great summary of privacy bills pending before Congress.  As Congress wades through these bills, it is faced with the same tensions we all face: how much privacy are we willing to give up in exchange for the luxuries of information technology?  To protect our privacy, we may decide it's time to pay to protect ourselves, and we may begin to realize that things that seem too good to be true (an Internet without a price tag) really might be.

The Next Tidal Wave in Social Media: Video, Apps, QR Codes and Location-based Software

Video, apps, QR Codes and LBS (for location based software, not pounds) are about to be the next tidal wave in social media. It's not that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are losing any prominence (yet), but more and more businesses are waking up to see new ways to connect with their audiences. When law firms and banks (conservative by nature) start adding video to their home pages, you know something's catching on.

As these forms of social media become more popular, they raise new issues for the law to grapple with. Who owns the content? Did you get permission to include an image of that person or that song in your video? Have you informed your users that you plan to sell information about their visiting patterns whenever they view your site? Thoughts for businesses, legislatures and the courts to consider...

The Next Tidal Wave in Social Media: Video, Apps, QR Codes and Location-based Software

Video, apps, QR Codes and LBS (for location based software, not pounds) are about to be the next tidal wave in social media. It's not that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are losing any prominence (yet), but more and more businesses are waking up to see new ways to connect with their audiences. When law firms and banks (conservative by nature) start adding video to their home pages, you know something's catching on.

As these forms of social media become more popular, they raise new issues for the law to grapple with. Who owns the content? Did you get permission to include an image of that person or that song in your video? Have you informed your users that you plan to sell information about their visiting patterns whenever they view your site? Thoughts for businesses, legislatures and the courts to consider...

Conexion Americas hosts WaterCooler

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Video: Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media

I was recently invited to speak on "Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment" at The Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age speaker series, presented by Lipscomb University’s Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and Department of Communication and Journalism and by Centerstone.  My friend Debi Tate, a former commissioner on the FCC, invited me to join First Amendment scholar Gene Policinsky on the panel. 

Typically when I speak on legal issues in social media, it is to an audience of business leaders or marketing professionals.  Last night was an opportunity to look at these issues from the perspective of the individual consumer and citizen.  With that in mind, I titled my talk "Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media."  We had a great crowd and a good conversation.  For a link to the video, go here





Video: Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media

I was recently invited to speak on "Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment" at The Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age speaker series, presented by Lipscomb University’s Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and Department of Communication and Journalism and by Centerstone.  My friend Debi Tate, a former commissioner on the FCC, invited me to join First Amendment scholar Gene Policinsky on the panel. 

Typically when I speak on legal issues in social media, it is to an audience of business leaders or marketing professionals.  Last night was an opportunity to look at these issues from the perspective of the individual consumer and citizen.  With that in mind, I titled my talk "Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media."  We had a great crowd and a good conversation.  For a link to the video, go here





WaterCooler goes to Corsair Distillery for Exclusive Tasting & Tour

 
If you missed the last WaterCooler, you missed a great event!  Nashville's only distillery, Corsair, gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of how they make and distill what is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after small batch liquors in the U.S. when they hosted us in April 2011.
Located in Marathon Village, which used to house Yazoo Brewery, Corsair had to work mighty hard to even get up and running in Tennessee.
Darek Bell

Because Tennessee's laws and Nashville's laws were so onerous, Corsair actually began in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Only after they were able to convince the state and local lawmakers to allow them to "manufacture intoxicating liquors" were they able to come back home.
As part of a private event for WaterCooler, co-owners Darek Bell and Andrew Webber showed us around, told the story behind Corsair, and gave us samples in their tasting room.  The Tennessean just reported that members of the public won't get this same opportunity until the laws are changed.
Andrew Webber
To join the invitation list and receive news about upcoming WaterCooler events, shoot me an email. Thanks to everyone who showed up.  See you at the next on on May 9 at Conexion Americas!

Here are some photos from WaterCooler at Corsair:












Video on Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media

I was recently invited to speak on "Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment" at The Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age speaker series, presented by Lipscomb University’s Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and Department of Communication and Journalism and by Centerstone. My friend Debi Tate, a former commissioner on the FCC, invited me to join First Amendment scholar Gene Policinsky on the panel.

Typically when I speak on legal issues in social media, it is to an audience of business leaders or marketing professionals.  Speaking at Lipscomb was an opportunity to look at these issues from the perspective of the individual consumer and citizen. With that in mind, I titled my talk "Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media." We had a great crowd and a good conversation. Here's a few minutes from my presentation that we recorded.



Video on Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media

I was recently invited to speak on "Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment" at The Leadership and Civility in a Digital Age speaker series, presented by Lipscomb University’s Nelson & Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and Department of Communication and Journalism and by Centerstone. My friend Debi Tate, a former commissioner on the FCC, invited me to join First Amendment scholar Gene Policinsky on the panel.

Typically when I speak on legal issues in social media, it is to an audience of business leaders or marketing professionals.  Speaking at Lipscomb was an opportunity to look at these issues from the perspective of the individual consumer and citizen. With that in mind, I titled my talk "Protecting Your Family & Your Reputation when Using Social Media." We had a great crowd and a good conversation. Here's a few minutes from my presentation that we recorded.



Music & Margaritas: Preview Party for Conexion Americas' Annual Breakfast

How lucky was it to stumble upon the first night of incredible weather in early April when we held a garden party kicking off the annual breakfast for my favorite non-profit in town Conexion Americas?

We called it "Music & Margaritas."

Everyone expected a good margarita and some great conversation, but no one expected to hear "Rumba," the number one band in Nashville's corporate band challenge, hosted by the Arts & Business Council!  When my friend Leon said he would take care of the music, we thought he meant he and another guy would bring their guitars, but he showed up with an entire Latino rock band.  Incredible.

Conexion Americas serves as a bridge between the established community in Nashville and the recently-arriving Latino community.  Its mission is to promote the social, economic and civic advancement of Latino families in Middle Tennessee.  It was a great chance for friends to learn about the amazing work of Conexion Americas, and a great opportunity for Conexion Americas to make some new friends.

Mark your calendars for the annual breakfast on May 26 at 7:30am at Loews Vanderbilt!

Here are some photos from Music & Margaritas:











Music & Margaritas: Preview Party for Conexion Americas' Annual Breakfast

How lucky was it to stumble upon the first night of incredible weather in early April when we held a garden party kicking off the annual breakfast for my favorite non-profit in town Conexion Americas?

We called it "Music & Margaritas."

Everyone expected a good margarita and some great conversation, but no one expected to hear "Rumba," the number one band in Nashville's corporate band challenge, hosted by the Arts & Business Council!  When my friend Leon said he would take care of the music, we thought he meant he and another guy would bring their guitars, but he showed up with an entire Latino rock band.  Incredible.

Conexion Americas serves as a bridge between the established community in Nashville and the recently-arriving Latino community.  Its mission is to promote the social, economic and civic advancement of Latino families in Middle Tennessee.  It was a great chance for friends to learn about the amazing work of Conexion Americas, and a great opportunity for Conexion Americas to make some new friends.

Mark your calendars for the annual breakfast on May 26 at 7:30am at Loews Vanderbilt!

Here are some photos from Music & Margaritas:











Want to Limit Liability Against Copyright Infringement Claims when Hosting User Content on your Website?

If you host a website that invites the public to submit content, often called UGC (or User Generated Content), you may want to read the recent summary judgment decision in Arista Records LLC v. Myxer Inc. and stay tuned to the final outcome at trial.  Website hosts that allow UGC run the risk of being sued for copyright infringement, among other claims, because users sometimes submit material whose copyright belongs to someone else.  If a copyright owner sues you for copyright infringement in your role as a website host, one of the most common defenses asserted is that the web hosting is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). 

On April 1, 2011, a federal court in California issued the above decision in a case pitting content owners against website hosts.  UMG Records and other music companies sued Myxer and its principals for copyright infringement because Myxer hosts a website that invites the public to upload music and then download it as ring tones on cell phones.  Myxer doesn't pay UMG anything, and UMG argues that it loses money every time a ring tone is downloaded through Myxer.

Myxer asserted two primary defenses: that its use was fair use and that it was protected by the DMCA's "safe harbors."  On summary judgment, the court rejected Myxer's fair use defense, finding that converting the songs into ring tones did not qualify as a "transformative" use and finding that Myxer's business model likely cut into UMG's market. 

But the court kept alive Myxer's DMCA defense.  It found that genuine issues of fact existed regarding Myxer's implementation of a DMCA policy and regarding the speed with which it removed allegedly infringing material.  Now it will be up to Myxer to prevail on this defense at trial.

Just like Myxer is hoping to do, businesses that allow the public to post content on their websites may limit their liability against copyright infringement lawsuits by following some steps under the DMCA.  As a ground rule, if you create or direct content on your website that infringes on another's copyright, you can't turn to the DMCA for help.  But if all you do is host content created by others, to get the benefits of DMCA protection you need to (1) adopt a  DMCA policy and communicate it to your users, (2) appoint a DMCA agent, (3) follow the DMCA steps of quickly responding to accusations of hosting material that infringes another's copyright, (4) permanently remove repeat infringers, and (5) receive no financial benefit directly attributable to any infringing activity on your site. 

To read more about how to protect your business under the DMCA, check out this great resource from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), or contact an attorney with experience in copyrights and intellectual property law.

Griffin Technology Hosts WaterCooler

WaterCooler is a monthly networking event for "young" entrepreneurs.  (I take liberty with use of the word "young" since my co-founder and I are pushing 40, and since we'd like to stay involved for a while.  With that in mind, we include anyone in their 20s, 30s and 40s.)  We started this fun venture in September 2009 and highlight a different local business or expert each time.  Lately we've been enjoying the field trips, visiting Yazoo Brewery, Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., and (coming up on April 18) Corsair Distillery.  It's a casual way to meet others who are active in the business, cultural and philanthropic worlds of Nashville.  Hopefully connections will be made at WaterCooler that spur new entrepreneurial and community collaborations. Griffin Technology graciously hosted us on April 23.  Jackie Ballinger, its Marketing and PR guru, welcomed each guest and provided us with an incredible array of food and drink.  Also greeting guests as they arrived was this VW bus, which employees use for impromptu meetings, and which Griffin has traveled in for marketing at SXSW and Bonnaroo, to name a few:
Photo courtesy of Griffin Technology

Mark Rowan, Griffin's President, spoke about its background, its international reach and its commitment to Nashville.
Photo courtesy of Griffin Technology

It was clear that Griffin is a dominant player in the global tech scene, and we're lucky to have it right here in our own backyard.

After, Jackie led us on a tour of their new work space.  We saw the wall of awesome accessory covers, the vending machine stocked with beer, and the work station decked out in action figures -- none of which is a regular feature where most of us work:



In the highest form of flattery (jealousy), everyone decided to ditch their current job and apply to work at Griffin.

Here are some photos of the event:









Two Easy Ways Social Media Experts can Improve Philanthropy

Many people are ashamed of their birthdays, ashamed of growing older.  Not my mom -- she's lived a rich life and dedicated it to serving others.  We're having a birthday party for her soon, and 40 or 50 friends will be there to help her celebrate.  That's because she's given of herself and made deep connections in her community.  Happy birthday, Mom!  My mother,  my father and countless others are examples of how selfless acts of community involvement provide unbelievable personal returns. I had lunch yesterday with the Head of Cabedge himself, Chris Blanz.  (That's the best job title I've ever seen!)  We had a lot of fun and let a ton of ideas fly all around the room.  One of the best issues we discussed was: "How can social media experts/users get involved in the philanthropy of our city?"  Here's two easy ways:1.  Use social media to spread the word about non-profits.  You do this all day every day about other topics, any way.  For many of you, social media is your job.  Find those non-profits in town that interest you, follow them, and help spread the word about their events and needs.  Big fundraiser coming up?  Think of how many extra people might attend all because you tweet about it.  Cool People Care has a great resource that lets you follow and friend your favorite non-profits.  Facebook has a Causes app to raise funds and awareness of your favorite charities, and SixDegrees.org lets you place donation links on your social networks that directs funds to the charity of your choice.  Easy stuff.  Big results.

2.  Join the board/volunteer your skills with a non-profit.  This is where face-to-face human interaction is invaluable.  Here in Nashville I'm on the board of an organization that I love, where the time I spend feels like sheer fun: Conexion Americas, which serves as a bridge between the recently arriving Latino community and the community of people who have been here a while.  Every non-profit needs help from social media experts to help build bridges to the people they serve and to funders, friends and decision-makers.  These boards need your expertise.  Choose one that interests you.  Don't have any experience on a board?  Then call the CEO and say you want to volunteer for a year.  I promise they'll plug you in.  If you're under 40, apply for the Young Leaders program, which trains you how to sit on a board.  Or contact Hands On Nashville, which offers similar classes.

Two Easy Ways Social Media Experts can Improve Philanthropy

Many people are ashamed of their birthdays, ashamed of growing older.  Not my mom -- she's lived a rich life and dedicated it to serving others.  We're having a birthday party for her soon, and 40 or 50 friends will be there to help her celebrate.  That's because she's given of herself and made deep connections in her community.  Happy birthday, Mom!  My mother,  my father and countless others are examples of how selfless acts of community involvement provide unbelievable personal returns. I had lunch yesterday with the Head of Cabedge himself, Chris Blanz.  (That's the best job title I've ever seen!)  We had a lot of fun and let a ton of ideas fly all around the room.  One of the best issues we discussed was: "How can social media experts/users get involved in the philanthropy of our city?"  Here's two easy ways:1.  Use social media to spread the word about non-profits.  You do this all day every day about other topics, any way.  For many of you, social media is your job.  Find those non-profits in town that interest you, follow them, and help spread the word about their events and needs.  Big fundraiser coming up?  Think of how many extra people might attend all because you tweet about it.  Cool People Care has a great resource that lets you follow and friend your favorite non-profits.  Facebook has a Causes app to raise funds and awareness of your favorite charities, and SixDegrees.org lets you place donation links on your social networks that directs funds to the charity of your choice.  Easy stuff.  Big results.

2.  Join the board/volunteer your skills with a non-profit.  This is where face-to-face human interaction is invaluable.  Here in Nashville I'm on the board of an organization that I love, where the time I spend feels like sheer fun: Conexion Americas, which serves as a bridge between the recently arriving Latino community and the community of people who have been here a while.  Every non-profit needs help from social media experts to help build bridges to the people they serve and to funders, friends and decision-makers.  These boards need your expertise.  Choose one that interests you.  Don't have any experience on a board?  Then call the CEO and say you want to volunteer for a year.  I promise they'll plug you in.  If you're under 40, apply for the Young Leaders program, which trains you how to sit on a board.  Or contact Hands On Nashville, which offers similar classes.

It Takes only one Expletive in a Tweet to Lose your Job

Chrysler did exactly what it should have done: immediately terminated its relationship with its social media agency New Media Strategies after the agency used the F-Bomb in a tweet on Chrysler's behalf.  Here's the tweet (with my redactions): "“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f****** drive.”  Even more ironic is that Eminem (who cusses like a sailor) is Chrysler's new spokesman.  (Props to him for an awesome Superbowl ad!)  Still, this was not exactly the image Chrysler was going for. As reported in Automotive News, the social media agency immediately fired the employee.  And Chrysler is ending its relationship with the agency on account of the tweet.  No surprise here on either move. Michael Humphreys said it best in his Forbes blog: "Twitter is not a private room.  It's not a quiet corner in a public square.  It is THE public square."

It Takes only one Expletive in a Tweet to Lose your Job

Chrysler did exactly what it should have done: immediately terminated its relationship with its social media agency New Media Strategies after the agency used the F-Bomb in a tweet on Chrysler's behalf.  Here's the tweet (with my redactions): "“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f****** drive.”  Even more ironic is that Eminem (who cusses like a sailor) is Chrysler's new spokesman.  (Props to him for an awesome Superbowl ad!)  Still, this was not exactly the image Chrysler was going for. As reported in Automotive News, the social media agency immediately fired the employee.  And Chrysler is ending its relationship with the agency on account of the tweet.  No surprise here on either move. Michael Humphreys said it best in his Forbes blog: "Twitter is not a private room.  It's not a quiet corner in a public square.  It is THE public square."