kids and their crazy social sites

December 28, 2008 at 9:27 pm (1) (, , )

Over a year ago I wrote a post about Zwinky, and people still read it and leave comments on it – most of them either demanding some kind of cheat code, or offering up some kind of cheat code which others later comment back saying they don’t work. *sigh*

But I’ve been thinking about this latest development in online social networking and online worlds, and monetizing the Internet, and i think I see a pattern emerging, which will form a bubble, which will eventually pop, leaving many people devastated and a few companies stronger and wealthier for it.

So, Webkinz is one that I’m familiar with – it seems to be the MySpace of kids gaming networks, in that it really took off, and integrated realworld product placement in an effective way, etc. Basically, kids get stuffed animals called Webkinz. They can be any shape and type – think beanie babies. With each purchase, you get a code, which you take to the Webkinz site. You set up an account there, put in your codes, and get access to games, areas of the world, and new and interesting objects, which you use to populate your house. More than stuffed animals, there are clothes for your pets, charms, and cards. Each one has a code, and each code unlocks more stuff. So kids have a big incentive to want to buy these things that are already things that they might have wanted just for the cuteness factor, but which now have added value.

There are other familiar real-world orgs that are following suit, hoping to sell more product to our impressionable youth – Build-a-bear and Beanie Babies, Barbie and Disney all have online worlds where kids can play games and spend their valuable attention.

I keep waiting for a really valid adult model of the same type of system to pop up – us grownups spend our time on facebook and stuff like that, but there’s no tie-in to real world stuff.

So I was thinking that this might be a way for the recording industry to adapt a bit – make a virtual world populated by their bands and artists. You buy cds, dvds, gear, cards, stickers, and assorted schwag, which have unique unlock codes in them. Fans plug in the codes to get free song downloads, more schwag, chances at tickets, autographed garbage, drawings for back stage passes, and all that jazz. Plus, they could play games and populate their virtual pad with virtual furniture and do all the things that adults already do on Webkinz, signed in as children. Oh, and whatever up and coming executive of musical mumbo jumbo who takes this idea and runs with it, I’ll take that first million in cash, thanks.


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Library Commons

October 31, 2007 at 12:17 am (conference notes, Library 2.0) (, , , , , )

The first i wrote this post i had a bunch of great ideas generated during the session, which i wrote down in a stream of consciousness sort of way. When i went to publish it, i discovered that there was no wifi, and so it just kind of went away. AAAAAAAAAARGH.

Now that i’ve relaxed a little, i can write down a few things that came back to me. Mostly, it was about how libraries need to have a physical place in the community and a digital place in the community, and whenever possible, we need to integrate those two spaces together – sounds crazy, right? But, with meeting and study rooms that have hardware and wifi enabled, we’re encouraging our users to take advantage of our digital and physical resources. Having terminals located throughout the library, is a start, too. But also making our online presence a similar type of common area for our patron base – what do our users do online, and can we help them do it better? I think my MySpace band gathering project could be an example of that. With a little set-up, a little promo, maybe i can make my site a good place for people to go if they want to see what’s going on with music in Vancouver – so far there’s lots of metal bands and Christian bands in Vancouver, at least on MySpace. I know there are more local bands than I’ve found, so I’ll have to try some different methods of searching in order to track them down. I haven’t decided if i want to add Portland bands – that’s a much larger number, and the Vancouver music might get lost in the shuffle. This is assuming that the people find it valuable to them.

Blah blah blah. There’s more than just MySpace – our patrons are creating all kinds of content for the web. We collect artifacts of people’s creative impulses already, and have a NW focused collection of those artifacts – books, dvds and video, mainly. But couldn’t we start gathering and encourage the submission of locally created music, video, blogs, photos, podcasts, etc.? The technology is out there that allows for the gathering together of various media from different sources – for example, with one service you can collect links to video from any other video service on the web, so you’re not restricted to YouTube. So, gather locally produced video together, and create a collection. Same with photos – find flickr users from our cities and connect with them, then advertise that the library is a hub for local photographers, and encourage locals to use a common tag to add photos to flickr – a tag that we can easily subscribe to and grab. So if they’re taking pictures of local places or events, encourage them to use that tag, etc. Same with YouTube or any other site where people upload and tag things – when our patrons do things online, we can gather it together. I think this is one way that our library could add value in an online setting, and still stay local – one thing about the Inter

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October 30, 2007 at 7:33 pm (conference notes, Library 2.0) (, , , )

After Joe Janes did his keynote speech this morning at Internet Librarian, I had an idea for something to do with MySpace, beyond or in addition to or separate from the regualr connect with your users issue – MySpace started as a music site for bands, right? So why not create a library site that collects bands and venues and labels and so forth from your local service area, join groups or create a group for your local bands, and then be a hub for information about shows, opportunities, and news relating to the local music scene? This might be something that is done well by other media if you happen to be in a major metropolitan area, but if you’re in a midsized or smaller city, it might be an excellent way to connect with people that don’t regularly use the library. Our library does a battle of the bands competition every year for teens – i bet we could help the bands develop their myspace profiles, connect with other local bands and fans, etc. Librarians rock at organizing and repackaging information, let’s take on the pell mell world of myspace and make a valuable resource out of it for our patrons! I’m going to try it out, and see what i can organize – you never know what you can do until you try, right?

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