3 quick reads: Excerpts


From The Guardian

It isn’t easy for a web-based music company to come up with a great, original idea, realise it effectively and then convince people they need it in their lives. … Yet a new service called mflow thinks it might just have cracked it. And from the growing buzz ahead of its full launch on April 15, it seems quite a few people agree.

Download the free mflow software and you’re presented with a desktop application/player not dissimilar to iTunes. Users can then search a large (but by no means exhaustive) catalogue of music, hear 30 second previews and buy high quality MP3s for 79p-99p per track.

The big twist is that mflow also closely resembles Twitter: you can follow other mflow users and they can follow you. If someone wants to recommend a track to their followers, they “flow” it, along with a tweet-sized comment. The followers then get one chance to stream the song in full via their “inbox,” which is essentially a continuous playlist of all the tracks flowed to them. To add further spice, if a follower decides to purchase a track, whoever flowed it is credited with 20% of the price paid, to put towards downloading tracks.

Coney Media note: A preview of the mflow service is not available outside the UK.


From Mashable

Search and social each provide different benefits to your business, so you should leverage their strengths instead of trying to get them to deliver results that aren’t suited to the medium.

Marketers usually participate in social media to create an active dialogue with consumers around their products and services, with the main goal of building brand value, and a secondary goal of driving sales. On the other hand, marketers use paid search primarily to drive sales, leads, and conversion, and don’t expect the short text of their paid search ads to do much for branding.


From the Buzz Machine

I constantly hear the fear that serendipity is among the many things we’re supposedly set to lose as news moves out of newsrooms and off print to online. … Serendipity, it is said, is something we get from that story we happen upon as we flip pages, the story we never would have searched for but find only or best in print. Serendipity, it is also said, is the province and value of editors, who pick the fluky and fortuitous for us. …

We can and do [get serendipity online] — mostly on Twitter and Facebook. Serendipity comes from friends who find that story and — like an editor — pass it on. If we share their judgment, we may like what they share and call that serendipity. But there’s plenty that passes me by on Twitter that I don’t like; it’s serendipitous by the usual definitions but it doesn’t work for me because it has no value; it’s not relevant.

Can an algorithm serve us serendipity? Maybe, if it has enough signals of what we and people we trust like, what interests us, what we need, our context. … Serendipity comes not from one-size-fits-all editing but from better targeting across a larger pool of possibilities. If Google can intuit intent, I think it can also serve surprise and serendipity.


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