Thursday, August 27, 2009

How the Pixel is Evolving as Real Human Sentiment

We’re witnessing this on a mass scale – the adoption of social technologies that are helping to transform communication in incredible ways.

Perhaps something that we may overlook at times, as well as be shocked by, is how the pixel is evolving as a means for real human sentiment. Sure, we can monitor sentiment and analyze conversational topics online, but patterns of advocacy and tribal interaction are indicating that a great new phenomenon is afoot, and building with its own intelligence that seems to suggest that these lifestreams are more organic than artificial in nature. Expression clouds are just the tip of the iceberg.

Maybe artificial intelligence (what we have defined as the ‘semantic web’) is giving way to a new kind of organic offspring. Maybe there is a rise in human growth, not just the machines.

Well, for now, we should probably ground ourselves in practical application. So let’s take a top-level look at what the components are and how they function together.

APIs are creating more and more relevancy in the marketplace. Not only do they provide functional utility, but they actually connect people. We’re seeing this with brands, both big and small, and particularly with cause-related initiatives.

Aggregation feeds the retargeting or remarketing beast. Now we have the ability to drop pixels on people and follow them everywhere they go. They might not like this idea, but the argument can be made that there is possibility of not feeding them useless or irrelevant content. What’s even more striking is that in following people, we’re not bound to web real estate or pre-set inventory; you can bid on impressions within an ad exchange and move that real estate if it doesn’t fit the user profile, or more importantly, the market.

Which leads us back to application. Sure, apps can be regenerated as APIs, but what we’re really talking about here is building suggestion engines that aren’t just automated, but adaptable and in a larger sense, predictive. Imagine being put into a dynamic environment in which competing brands play in the same sandbox, all for your sake – your desires, your wishes, your preferences. The thinking is that if the market segment expands, everyone stands to gain because the shares of the pie are bigger. And what we can take from that experience are real affinities that are market based, not brand based.

The larger takeaway is that we can’t control brand affinities just like we can’t really control markets. But we can cater to them, and we can empower them.

Just imagine what Nostradamus might think if he were alive today...

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dominic said...

I wonder if iPhone and alike could transport these pixels in the real world.

As we move from towards information finds you and services and product find you and as relevance becomes a pre-requisite in commerce, I can imagine walking that physical shops could hang on banners that adapt to the pixels transported in an iPhone.

Gunther Sonnenfeld said...

Interesting perspective, Dominic.

I think the portability of sentiment as it relates to changing messages or conversations in just about any environment is imminent. The issue will be whether or not people want these interactions, no matter how seamless or subtle they may feel.