Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online advertising, online community, television, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business, Webkinz, z friends

Proactive online content for kids

Those of us who understand the positive aspects of online play need to help shape the climate online in the next couple years. Gone are the days of bragging about how your child knows so much more about technology/computers/internet than you do. More and more of our lives are being spent online. Let’s treat that sea change with a bit more respect than simple awe/wonder.

If we don’t want EVERY brand space online to be blatant consumerism with no message or goal, we have to be proactive about preventing that from happening. We must work toward not just calling out the bad sites, but creating and commending the good sites. And not just ones that give lip-service to more holistic goals – ones that actually step up and do it.

I ducked out of the Kids and Teens talk at the Virtual Worlds conference last week in order to see a young girl doll brand case study. Oy vey, was that a hard one to sit through. The developer giving the talk continually talked sarcastically about the girly brand that he developed, which showed me that he didn’t respect the audience and community the site was trying to develop. How can you create a great community if you don’t care about them?

Through his talk, he talked a couple times about the core values of “Empowerment” etc that the site’s founders wanted to convey in the virtual world. But almost in the same breath, he would reiterate multiple times that the only purpose for the site was to “sell more dolls.” Makes you wonder if the brand managers of those dolls know and care how their brand is being conveyed to conference audiences and their online community.

If “to sell more dolls” is truly the reason that the parent company wanted to launch this world, fine. They certainly are not alone. But that doesn’t mean all the other sites that will be developed in this category have to be like that.

Sesame Street’s Panwapa world is a cool approach to get into a space that is bound to be crowded in the next 2 years – preschool to early readers, 4-7 year olds. Kudos to them for being there before anyone else with a solid idea for a world (and not just the mindless wandering and silly games that make up almost every world in this space).

Whether we like it or not, a child is assimilated into the tech space earlier and earlier as the years go by. To pretend that this isn’t happening or block the kids from sites on a micro level is not the way to improve the situation. It’s the ostrich effect and doesn’t improve anything for anyone, especially the kids.

People who grew up with technology are now having kids. These younger generation parents have less or no aversion to introducing their kids to the online/tech coolness that they have grown up with. As producers of content (be it for a marketing purpose or pure creative), we have to develop for the parents AND the kids. These younger parents will still want the educational aspects that the past decade of attentive parents wanted, but the younger parents understand all of this on another level. Many of them understand that you can have fun, build relationships, and develop as a human online. They also understand the importance of design, navigation and user interface in your online experience. AND they will, directly or indirectly, teach these concepts to their kids.

Hopefully the content will start to catch up with paradigm shift that is happening world-wide as I type. Is your content up to the task?

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , ,

Advertisement
Posted in kids, marketing, mobile, online community, trends, tween, virtual worlds, web business

Virtual Worlds 2007 Visionaries Panel

Visionary Panel – Where the Platforms Are Going Next
The media has been largely dominated by one virtual worlds platform but innovation is coming fast and furious on multiple fronts from multiple vendors. This one-of-a-kind session brings together the visionaries of the major platform companies for an interactive discussion on the future of the virtual worlds platform.  Join us for a session you won’t want to miss.
– Christopher Klaus, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kaneva
– Raph Koster, President, Areae, Inc.
– Michael Wilson, CEO, Makena Technologies
– Hui Xu, Founder & CEO, HiPiHi Co., Ltd
– Stephen Lawler, General Manager of Virtual Earth, Microsoft
– Corey Bridges, Co-founder, Executive Producer, & Marketing Director, The Multiverse Network
– Mark Wallace, blogger , 3pointD.com (moderator)

What does the future look like?
– A Common App is needed – so that all the worlds are not so compartmentalized and there is greater portabilty
– More incorporation of Social Networking features and games
– Usability hurdles need to be dealt with – the average person still finds most VWs to be too difficult and there is little being done for the mobile platform
– Controlled Identity management to all you to manage all of your identities in all of your worlds, with your own criteria for privacy and transparency

3D/Social Search Fans
    – “3D is a red herring” Raph Koster
        – we should be talking about 3D not as the next big thing, but as an aspect
        – More important question is regarding what we are using these space for and ding inside of them
        – 3D doesn’t work for everything – shopping market

Hui Xu, HiPiHi CEO, brought up how non-multiculti the crowd was
– he felt that culture blending and learning form other cultures was the biggest potential for these worlds
– No standard language exists to discuss these spaces yet, we don’t have a multi-lingual tool to bridge the gaps and we don’t have the world view mind set to talk theoretically yet.

The web migrated monetization models
= Subscription > Commerce/Ads
– vws have to do the same
– Migration needs to be Ads > Goods > Services
    – new toys are helping this transition
   
QQ (?) service – IM, Virtual E-commerce

Mobile Phone banking is very big overseas now

Local search is an opportunity to monetize
– ads need to excel in AI to raise relavancy

Mirror worlds will be the link to the Mass market
– Education contexts
– MS Live maps – Accurate to 4 inches
– Real versus Imaginary
– Melt content – reenact a bank robbery from earlier

“We are in the bookstore business – not the fiction or non-fiction business” – need to stop seeing everything as mutually exclusive

“Blogging in 3D is dumb” – Raph Koster

Representationally Agnostic
– data will show up how the user want it

3D is hard form many populations to grasp
– kids, older, etc
– it is not the holy grail

We need to jump over the now and next and think about later

Wii-mote and Hardware is helping innovation
– 3D mouse

Multiverse is sketchup compatible

Language – vulcanization of cultures
– there are translators for vws

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , , ,

Posted in Club Penguin, kids, marketing, online community, tween, virtual worlds, Webkinz

Virtual wrolds 2007: TyGirlz.com case study

Case Study: TyGirlz.com – Building the First Virtual World for Girls
What does it take to develop a kids virtual world from the ground up? From concept, to design to ongoing updates and user community issues: come find out how to develop a highly scaleable web-based virtual world. Animax Entertainment, the developers of the TyGirlz.com virtual world for toy company Ty, Inc.’s Ty Girlz brand will share best practices established during the development of the TyGirlz.com web site and virtual world.
– Michael Bellavia, Managing Director, Animax Entertainment

– creates character driven content and experiences for all screens
– founded in 2001
– hq: LA/Toronto & Kiev
– staff of 95
– 2005 winner of first ever broadband emmy
– 2006 nominated for another family
– webbys, web awards, LA Ad club

– lean back – broadcast animation
– lean forward – websites, games, vws, interatcive learning
– clients: ty, film roman, kodak, abc family, bet,
– white label apprach to vw developemnt

producers guild new media council
american film institue new media

Were charged to produce a kid safe, girl focused vw for a new product intro in a crowded competitive makrtet…
– they took it as simply “sell more dolls”

rfp was recieved in january
– finished in 2 months
– partnered with tokenzo (?)

others in space (that I haven’t explored yet)
– maple story
– horseland
– shinging stars
– kookeys
– t-works

rather inappropriate presenter
– dissed some of his competitor and had very sarcastic tone with client
– said that when users ask about boys in the world it “gets the girls all titilated” (?!)
– said 3D avs are creepy in this space/demo

must haves:
– focus on kids and specifically girls
– focus on safety – clised-end, controlled, moderated environment
– no ads
– simple
– lo-fi vs hi-fi
– browser based, no downloads
– virtual economy
– virtual rewards
– no subscription fees
– tiers

– pure flash front end
– as2 transitioning to as3
– mult development teams in mutl time zones

topics he think are still not resolved:
– can you launch a toy without web presence
– does a toy have value?
– is there value in being the indoctrinator of virtual world play patterns?
– can you transition kids to more age appropriate worlds as they grow older? can you “own” them?
– how many profiles will kids maintian? is there an opportunity for cooperation across species?
– does kid fickle factor ovrcome switching costs
– do kids get as jazzed as adults by new technologies wll they prefer smart toys or even playful devices over toys are toys dead?
– will parents get fed up?

question: size of support team?
– initally had moderators that were visible
– now moderators are not visible
– moderation is contracted out. didn’t say who by

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, trends, tween, web business, Webkinz

Virtual Worlds Forum Interview

Lizzie: What do you think draws children towards immersive environments and virtual worlds?

Joi: I think role playing, that playset, that play house thing and
that play pattern has always been there. And I think what’s happening
now is that technology is just allowing that experience to be played
out in a different way…Allowing them to go into those virtual worlds
and actually be that character, be the doll, be whoever they were going
to be as opposed to just holding the dolls and playing so….

Lizzie: This is a natural extension?

Joi: I would say so…I think virtual worlds are very much at the
beginning and of course kids are always right there in all the stuff.
Kids are always right there, right at the beginning when something
comes out. I don’t think the virtual worlds that are out right now have
really figured it out. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Lizzie: What needs to be there to get children going?

Joi: I definitely think games…I think the video games right now,
especially the first person, real time, strategy type of things? Those
ones are really hitting it…If you need that complete immersion you
definitely have to have game play, you definitely have to have
interaction between the users, they have to communicate with each other
and not be hindered by a specific list of words or pre-defined chat.

Lizzie: Should businesses launch their own virtual worlds?

Joi: Is your audience, you know, screaming they want to get to that next level or is it just because it’s in the news right now? I think there’s a lot of those really basic questions that people have skipped over. Do you need a virtual world? How are you going to justify the costs? These are questions…I don’t see people having those kinds of conversations. I think the hype is making people skip some basic strategy questions.

Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » Interview with Joi Podgorny

Even though my name is spelled wrong (the “r n” DOES look like a “m”) and I have a tendency to say “you know” way to much, still fun to show off another interview.  🙂

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, kids, marketing, mobile, online community, tween, web business, Webkinz

Day 2 OCS 2007 Notes

Demos:
– Forum One – Live Interviews
– Telligent
– Sun- Java forum
– Youtube for Nonprofits
– Online Community Research Network
– Liveworld’s Moderation tools (and Digital Korea book plug)
– Groupswim
– Community Services Platform

Breakouts I have been to
– Social Media Stratgeies
– Youth Communities

——

Presidential Campaigns and Online Communities
Description: Every four years the presidential campaigns get way out ahead of everyone else in the use of interactive technologies. What is their experience to date?
Introductory comments: Michael Slaby / Obama for America
Introductory comments: Stuart Trevelyan / NGP Software

my.barackobama.com
– timeline on presidential campaigns is very different
– myspace, facebook
– eventful
– glee, faithbased, blackplanet, xanga
– not pandering to everyone, but find them where they are
– tailor your message to the audience you are talking to
– guidelines involve not just play, we need help
– even internal/external support
– can track offline participation
– no message boards

NGP Software
– works with all the campaigns
– climate of the campaigns has changed dramatically in the past decade, or even still 2004
– used to be tech or marketing people, now they are the commmunity
– tons of experimentation
– ROI on social networks friend gathering is still hazy
– using them as a launch pad
– Working Assets module

——-

Now What?
Description: What are the most significant trends and opportunities looking forward?
Introductory comments: David Forrest / Motley Fool
Introductory comments: Bill Johnston / Forum One Communications
Discussion

supernova of social media
– building the platform
– allow for reputation to be built
– provide sustainable incentiv
– solve a problem

prediction
– the novelty of contribution will diminsh
– implicit collaboration will explode

3 calls to action
– use what we are learning – expereiment with welcome emails, look at Mech turk
– always answer both questions – how is this good for the customer and org?
– lets be bff and kit 🙂 rfh – request for help

book:
5 elements of user design

ROI Survey results
– dimensions of value – results on wiki
– corporate communities
    – roi iis expected soon
    – comm is in flux (ownership, roles, funding)
    – comps struggling with strategy
    – corp web is evoloving – audienc eis expecting bi-directional communication
    – attention is saturated

what are the big take aways
– recognition programs
– building the confidence to defend
– comm profs having to wear so many hats
– 3rd party apps/sites and whether they are going to remain in the limelight

technorati tags:, , ,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, television, traveling, trends, tween, web business, Webkinz

Unedited YPulse Mashup notes

ypulse mashup

Kyra Reppen, SVP and GM Neopets

5 keys to tweendom
– control
– social
– safety
– self expresion
– fun

JAX is toy partner with special codes that unlock things

trends to watch for
– media convergence
– hybrid business
– mobile is everything
– shared entertainment experiences

expanding into neo studios
– developing new vws

Question re: where did learning go from neopets now that viacom bought
– handled well – talked about how the games are more covert learning – web design, html, critical thinking, etc

—-

Old School to New School

Byron Cahill, Editor, read Mag

—-

Tweens Online: Permission is Key

Denise Tayloe, CEO, Privo, Privacy Vaults Online

YAY!  I Love her

—-

Kajeet

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, television, tween, web business, Webkinz

OCR Interview

This month’s Online Community Expert interview is with Joi Podgorny of Ludorum, Inc. Joi’s area of expertise is the post-Facebook crowd, Tweens and Children.

OC Expert Interview: Joi Podgorny, Ludorum, Inc. – Online Community Report

Wanted to post a link to an interview I did with Bill Johnston at the Online Community Report. I was able to talk about tons of different areas that I am interested in, in our industry.

Also, working on finishing Izzy and I’s first podcast. I will post when we are done with that – audio editing is hard! 🙂 Big week!

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, television, tween, web business, Webkinz

Kids online podcast

I’m jumping the gun– but I’m giving ya’ll a weekend heads up. Ms. Joi Podgorny and I will be starting a podcast regarding kid communities, kid media, online media, and entertainment. Why? Because I strong arm her into thoughtful chats nearly every day (or vice versa)– and (if you’ve followed this blog at all you’d know–>) I love to ramble, and she does too. So, between me & joi, you’re gonna get a HUGE dose of everything-ness (and yes, that’s my new technical term).If you are interested in participating in our adventure, let us know.

We’ve already started a “wish list” of contibutors (and if you and I have previously spoken, or you’ve ever come into contact with this blog –> you’re probably already on that wish list).

Podcast. Modcast. Tween Cast. Kid cast. Us-cast? « Izzy Neis

Brilliant Suess-esque title of this post from Izzy and of course wanted to alert everyone that this is what we are thinking. I am a podcasting junkie and thought it was high time I added my (and Izzy’s) voice to the dull murmur of voices online. Plus, I have yet to find a good podcast about the kids online business. If you know of one, please let me know.

So, starting this week, Izzy and I are going to record one of our weekly chats about kids online and share it via rss with all of you. Like Izzy said, the format we want to try is the two of us, a guest and a online-kid-centric topic, so if you are interested in also being recorded talking about kids online, let one or both of us know.

Wish us luck and stay tuned!

technorati tags:,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in Club Penguin, Disney, gaming, marketing, mobile, MySpace, Nick, online community, television, tween, web business, Webkinz

Interactive Entertainment is evolving

I was thinking about something a bit this week and thought that I would share it on my blog.  Apologies in advance if the ideas are still in the less than solid state.  Basically I have been thinking about the future – that the web, emerging technologies, cell phones, social networks are not really trends, as some people think of them as.  They ARE trends, in that when a new example of one comes around, it’s all anyone talks about for a while (can you say iPhone? Facebook? Club Penguin? Webkinz?).  But the fact that the larger population is even paying attention to these sorts of things, let alone the amount of attention those people are paying, in greater numbers is the phenomenal thing.

It’s this move, from trend to habit, that I have been thinking about lately.  No longer is it only the early adopters using new technology, websites and gadgets.  Now, in ever-increasing numbers, the rest of the population is starting to early adopt as well.  Trends are assimilating themselves into peoples daily lives.  I received multiple emails and messages today from friends that claimed the only way they remembered my birthday was via Facebook or MySpace alerts.

It’s because of this assimilation that we, as producers, need to move ahead in our thinking.  We have to have innovation of product and service on our minds at all times.  Me-too products and services are too old the second they come out.  We have to think about cool ways to take this new tech culture our societies are adopting and make new ways of learning, entertaining and existing. 

One example is mobile.  Mobile has come to mean cell phones.  But the new iPod Touch released yesterday has a wifi browser on it.  Still a small screen, but browser capabilities.  Many people are adopting this portable, surf anywhere mentality – but the devices and sites aren’t keeping up.  We need to think about how that switch will affect our content offerings and how we design.  Normal cell interfaces that access online are still around and will be for a while.  We have to design for that as well. 

But we also have to think about how the future users will use it.  Are the users using their phone browser for different activities than their normal browsers?  If they are watching video, is it certain kinds of videos?  Are there demographic differences in the kind of content consumed?  What are new ways that we can use this more portable means of accessing the Internet that will work for any phone interface that the user uses?  International cell users can give great insight here, as can pre-existing, albeit small US cell content networks. 

How can we move past simply identifying the next trends and start predicting habits?  How will we help future users to push the boundaries of how they are communicating?  What are you doing to this end?

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, mobile, online advertising, online community, television, traveling, tween, web business

Can you say – travel?

Lord knows I will be able to this month and next. And I am not complaining, far from it. I have always wanted to travel, both professionally and personally. Whoa, am I getting my wish now.

So, I wanted to put my travel schedule up so that if any of you were in any of the towns when I am there we can grab a coffee or beer (or any other beverage you like). I love company and if it keeps me from watching the local news in my hotel room – even better!

London – 9/16-9/24
– Various meetings

NYC – 9/26-9/30
Tween Mashup, co-paneling with Erin Reilly

SF/Bay Area – 10/3-10/11
Online Community Summit in Sonoma
Virtual Worlds 2007 in San Jose

Shanghai – 10/31-11/5 (? actual dates)
– various meetings

If you are in any of those places (or within rental car driving distance) let me know! (joipodgorny at gmail.com)

And because I am a google apps fangirl lately, I made a google calendar with my “Joi is not in Chicago” schedule. I know, I know – but it’s handy for friends and family! 🙂

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock