Category Archives: social object

Detroit Lions as Social Object…

Like most places nowadays, my work requires employees to display an id. I wear mine on a Detroit Lions lanyard. People here mainly support the Redskins or Ravens so I get some grief for being a Lions fan. Sometimes, however, I get the question, “Are you from Michigan?” This is then followed by the obligatory holding up our hands to show on our palms exactly which part of the state we grew up. That person then knows me as “the other Michigan guy” and thus our relationship is established. Pretty cool if you ask me.

What’s your social object?

Xbox 360

I was watching my son play his new game, Ace Combat 6, from Gamefly. As he played, little messages would pop up in the right hand corner letting him know a friend was online or another friend had just sent him a message. I asked him if they were all friends from school or guys he met while playing Halo online. He said it was a mix.

It dawned on me that this is his social network. Instead of using Twitter or Facebook to hook up with friends, he uses Xbox 360. He has friends from all over and they all “meet up” to play Halo or any other game.

He uses his Xbox as a social object, too. Besides belong to a gaming club at school, he uses it as an ice-breaker of sorts with kids he meets at swim meets or other places. It doesn’t take long for him and other 12- and 13-year-olds to engross themselves in discussions about everything xbox. They then exchange handles before they leave in order to meet later online.

Gary V talked yesterday (he’s on fire right now, by the way) about how we are in the early hip hop stage of the Tech movement. He’s right. As we move along it is going to be less “separated,” accessed only through a computer or handheld device, and more embedded as things like televisions or refridgerators or picture frames get connected to the internet. I can see one day, uploading pictures straight from your camera to a digital frame that has a wireless modem built in that would allow you to share them straight from the frame. No logging on to a laptop or desktop or to Flickr or Photobucket required. Who knows how we’ll all be connected in ten or fifteen years. What we are doing now will look as archaic as talking on rotary dial phones do now.

Just my humble opinion on a Wednesday morning.

(photo courtesy of Louder via Flickr)


Every night before bed I like to take about 20 or 30 minutes to read something not work or school related, something just for me. I am reading Seth Godin’s
“Big is the New Small.” The book is amazing and I am learning a lot from it. I can’t wait to make my way through his other ones.

Turning out the light, it suddenly dawned on me on how much I have discovered in the last month to six weeks. From stumbling on to Hugh MacLeod’s Gaping Void blog posting about social objects. This led to reading other blogs and getting inspired to write my own and to even take the risk of approaching a local shop to jump into the Web 2.0, hopefully, leading to a nice little side consulting business.

It’s amazing what you can do when you are bored.

Social Objects Again…

I mentioned my 26.2 tattoo and how it starts conversations with other runners,and even some non-runners (“What does 26.2 mean?”). This past weekend I timed with a dad from the other team at my son’s swim meet. Being the middle of winter, my tattoo was covered but I did wear a fleece from the 2006 Annapolis 10-mile race. Immediately after introducing ourselves, he asked if I had run that race. Turns out he has also run it several times and the same years as I. As the meet progressed, we discovered that we both had run the Baltimore Marathon (and that we both did not like it) and that I had run the JFK 50 mile race the same year as his wife.
Our shared running experiences served as nice icebreaker and I am sure if we run into each other at other swim meets we will talk for at least a minute or two. Our shared social object has established our relationship.

The Music Store…

We are friends with the husband and wife owners of a music store here in town. It is pretty successful. They provide instruments to the band students for the schools in the town and most likely the county. They also get some business from those who keep playing various instruments into adulthood.

The other day, we received a bulk email from the store advertising a bluegrass guitarist appearing at the store. I did not think much about it until I saw a follow-up email today rehashing the appearance. That got me to thinking. The email updates are great. Up until now, the only way they got the word out was through advertising in the local paper and merchandiser plus they get pretty good word of mouth. So, the emails are a great way to promote events, sales, new shipments, etc.

I looked on their website to see if maybe they have a blog, which the did not. Ideas started flowing. A blog could have promoted the guitarist’s appearance before and then have an employee blog during with an update after with pictures. The blog could link to a Facebook page or to a Squidoo page that could have ads for special deals on instruments. I wondered, “What would the social object for the store be?”

My wife is good friends with the wife. She is going to approach her about my ideas. Maybe we can help each other. I can bring them into the Web 2.0 and they can be my first marketing client.

The possibilities are great…

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