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she likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on…

By on Mar 14, 2007 in blogging, online community, online dating, social software | 2 comments

Toronto based fashion and shopping blog I want – I got picks up on a rather strange advertising campaign for Calvin Klein’s new in2u scent. “We have envisioned this as the first fragrance for the technosexual generation,” said Mr. Murry, using a term the company made up to describe its intended audience of thumb-texting young people whose romantic lives are defined in part by the casual hookup.
Last year, the company went so far as to trademark “technosexual,” anticipating it could become a buzzword for marketing to millennials, the roughly 80 million Americans born from 1982 to 1995. A typical line from the press materials for CK in2u goes like this: “She likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. It’s intense. For right now.” I never thought I’d live to see the day when txt sex was deemed to be cool enough for an advertising campaign, even if Beckham does it. In a NY Times article about the advertising for the fragrance, Lory Singer at marketing agency Coty, says that “technosexuals” are open to marketing messages that other age groups wouldn’t respond favourably to by explaining that technosexuals: “… are much more empowered, but they are unshockable. They have seen everything from 9/11 to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears without underwear. They see everything instantaneously that goes on in the world.” Well, if you’ve seen Britney and Paris without knickers… Now I’ve got to try to crowbar this post back into cybersoc.com… The NY Times article doesn’t just quote people from established marketing agencies and Calvin Klein fragrances, but goes to several bloggers and presents them as experts: “Youngna Park, 24, a freelance photographer, would seem to be just this kind of individual and consumer. She has been interviewed by companies looking to tap into the millennial mind-set (though not by the researchers for CK in2u). Ms. Park moved to New York two and a half years ago and began taking pictures in restaurants and writing an online food column for Gothamist, a blog for urban markets. Her network of friends and professional contacts was forged partly through the Internet, and she has occasionally dated people she met online. She would seem an ideal candidate to illustrate the term “technosexual,” if the idea did not immediately turn her off. “That’s such a weird phrase,” she said. “I just imagine kids putting on cologne to sit behind their computers. That’s really weird.” They also interviewed Zach Klein (no relation) who was a partner in CollegeHumor.com. He told the New York Times, “What’s most interesting about our generation is that it is very obvious when brands are attempting to market down to us when they use our own vernacular or types of personal technology. It’s very transparent, and I tend to shy away… abbreviating in2u like that is lame,to put it simply.” It’s nice to see the NY Times using blogs and bloggers as a source of content and context within their articles. Calvin Klein, however, has fallen back on that old build, manage and own model: “To seem more authentic, Calvin Klein is trying to reach consumers on their own turf by creating an online community, whatareyouin2.com, patterned after sites like MySpace and Facebook. The company has invited students at film schools around the country to submit shorts addressing the theme of “what are you into?” and their clips can be found on the site.” Instead, they could axe a few of those hardcore web developers who like to build complex social software systems and instead use their site to showcase and link out to third party services like myspace, facebook, youtube and flickr – along the way giving users the tools they are used to using and that work, embracing the audiences of those service, and reducing technical, editorial and moderation costs...

casual encounters participants exposed

By on Sep 11, 2006 in online community, online dating, social software | 1 comment

If you’re seeking a no-strings attached sexual encounter – and thousands of people are – then there are worse places to look than the casual encounters section of sites like Craigslist or Gumtree. They offer anonymous users to post and respond to ads and, one gathers from the huge number of ads looking for the widest range of partners, pairings and “activities” imagineable, are quite popular. It also seemed like, up until last week, quite a safe and discreet way for people to pursue their sexual fantasies, affairs and casual encounters. What changed? Last week, Jason Fortuny started an “experiment” of posting ads as bait then republishing the responses he gets, along with email addresses, contact telephone numbers and photos. A number of the people who emailed him in response to his ads are married or in relationships and most of the others I’d suspect don’t really want their friends, families, and colleagues knowing they were posting or replying to sex wanted ads. And there’s the rub – most of the people that Jason has exposed for whatever reason it is he did this (looking at his LiveJournal site, I reckon it’s simply to get some attention) are likely to be completely innocent of any legal or, so long as you’re fairly liberal and open minded about the idea that people can and do have casual sexual encounters, moral wrongdoing. What Fortuny has done is attack the trust between users that is necessary for sites like craigslist to function as a community. It will be interesting to see how the casual encounters communities defend themselves against what they probably view as unfair attacks like this in future. [Meanwhile… Craigslist saw it’s traffic increase by 99% on last year.] (There’s more on this story at waxy.org) bookmark this post: del.icio.us l Digg l Furl l ma.gnolia l Newsvine l reddit l Yahoo MyWeb l Track with...

online dating, murdoch on future of newspapers, wifi hotspot chat

By on May 29, 2006 in location based services, online community, online dating, social software | 1 comment

I knew that a lot of people were meeting on internet dating sites but, in all honesty, I had no idea exactly how huge the numbers have become. EHarmony, but one of the main US dating sites, reckons that “over 33,000 members” got married over a 12 month period. Now that is a lot. See Mark Brook’s post on Online Personals Watch for details. Speaking of Mark, he’s also posted about Rupert Murdoch’s belief that the future of his newspaper businesses depends on their successful integration with myspace. And for those of you who use wifi hotspots, why not have a chat with other people using the same hotspot? Mark’s got details of that...

guest blogger Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org

By on Apr 4, 2006 in internet libel, law, online community, online dating, social software | 3 comments

Craig Newmark started Craigslist.org over 11 years ago. Since that time, it’s emerged, almost by stealth, to become one of the 10 busiest websites on the internet. Craigslist’s 10 million unique users a month post 5 million, generating 2.5 billion page views. The site currently has a presence in 175 cities across 34 countries. Not bad for a quirky site that’s still based on a functional, all text design and run by a team of 19 from a livingroom in San Francisco. Craig’s blog can be found at http://www.cnewmark.com. [this guest post is also available as a podcast] Bad stuff on the ‘net: it’s there, but greatly exaggerated We’re seeing a lot of buzz about problems on the ‘net, like scams and predators of different kinds. It really happens, but it’s a very small part of what you see on the ‘net. The Internet is a microcosm of society, extremely beneficial, but sometimes abused. We need to be careful not to overreact. I’ve been doing customer service for over eleven years on craigslist.org, and I’ve seen a lot of stuff. Overwhelmingly, what’s on the ‘net is a combination of people just doing their job, or doing what they need to do to get through the day. Sometimes people sell their stuff, or buy more, or maybe they just have something to say, and can’t get heard elsewhere. However, the bad guys got onto the ‘net pretty early, to run scams or to advertise illegal activities where they had previously used other media. For example, scams involving fake goods have always been around, and are as much of a problem, or more, for traditional media. However, there are far more citizens than crooks, and more citizens are getting online, driving the percentage of crooks very low. On the ‘net, however, you tend to leave trace evidence, and people can work together to find and stop many of the bad guys. On our site, people flag away most of the bad stuff, and that works pretty well. In persistent cases, people send us tips, and then we track ’em down and reason with them, and block them as necessary. We also spend a lot of time educating people and working with law enforcement. Sometimes it means that people in law enforcement need to work together with people in the community to solve problems. For example, we’ll work with ISPs, and sometimes the cops, to deal with problems that we can’t solve ourselves. In some cases, we’ll get them all to work out specific problems with each other. Even the biggest ISPs have understaffed abuse departments. However, there are bigger problems that get no buzz. Perhaps the biggest predators on the ‘net are people who post disinformation, particularly swiftboaters, using that term in the generic sense. We have a significant problem with ’em, which will hit a peak in October and early November. Even Jimmy from Wikipedia has a similar problem, citing the occasional situations with “jerks”. We don’t know how to solve this yet, working on it, but this is the priority. (thanks to Ed Wes and Jim Buckmaster for suggestions!)...

online dating market – down in US, up in EU

By on Feb 13, 2006 in online dating | 1 comment

isJupiter Research has released the results of two studies of the online dating industry. While the online dating market in the US appears to have saturated, with the value of the market actually declining by 1% in 2005, the European market increased by 43% in 2005. That’s less than in 2004, when the European online dating market increased by 80%, but there is still significant room for growth: whilst in America 20% of internet users used dating sites, only 4% in Europe did. The author of the studies told BBC News Online that social networking and community sites like myspace "don’t have the tools or the right audience" to help people find a date (Instead, he points to high subscription charges as the key barrier to users becoming members.) Really?! So posting a photo, having a profile, joining groups and finding other users who share your interests, making friends, meeting up with other users, etc – none of that helps people find a date? Sure, it doesn’t say "online dating" at the top of myspace or flickr or craigslist but the tools are there and surely people are using them. No matter how many times we hear about a couple meeting on an online dating website, or read industry press releases telling us how normal it is to meet on one, the fact of the matter is that many still feel there is a stigma attached to online dating sites. Less so for online community and social networking sites where dating does happen but more discreetly – and it’s those users who aren’t quite sure about online dating, but who are at ease with sharing content and being a part of online communities, that dating sites need to attract to continue the market growth of recent...

Belarus outlaws “online dating” sites

By on Dec 15, 2005 in online dating | 1 comment

The Parliament of Belarus has reportedly outlawed online dating in an attempt to stop human trafficking in the former Soviet state. Although the media is likely to call this a ban on "online dating", it seems to me that the legislation is primarily targeting websites offering women as brides for Western men and other forms of human trafficking.