Social Media Week Bingo - Play NOW!

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It's Social Media Week! To celebrate, we've put together this very special print-out-then-cut-out-then-keep-then-throw-away-after-a-few-days SMW bingo card. The rules are pretty simple:

1. Click to enlarge the image below.

2. Print out then cut out then... you get the idea.

3. Attend as many events as possible at your friendly neighbourhood conference.

4. When you see things, tick them off on your card. Not any old things though - just the things featured on the card. Don't tick off a pretty rainbow or a worrying mole on your forehead.

5. As soon as you've ticked off all 16 things on the card, shout "I'm a winner!"

6. Feel very good about yourself.

7. Contact us about about your prize.

8. Feel sad about there not being a prize.

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Enjoy, and we'll see you down the front, moshing to Gartner's keynote on big data.


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2014: the year shopping becomes a game

2014: the year shopping becomes a game

This is our third prediction for 2014. For our other predictions, click here.

The internet has always been about competition. I'm the Foursquare Mayor of this kebab shop. Her cute kittens blog just jumped up 1,000 places in the Alexa rankings. You have 934 unread emails in your inbox since the Christmas break (yeah, we know - painfully true). And these things have massively benefitted the bewildering growth of the 'net.

But the one aspect of the internet which hasn't - until now - profited by man's inherent need to compete is shopping. Don't get me wrong - we all like to brag about how we bought our house for £Xk less than the asking price, or how we jumped in and 'won' an auction seconds before it closed. But there's only ever one winner in those scenarios. Competition (until now) has never helped promote growth; it's never benefitted the masses.

That's going to change in 2014.

Up until now, when you said "Social-Commerce" people would think "f-commerce" and remember those terrible store-fronts bolted onto brands' Facebook Pages. Now, there's nothing wrong with aspiring to sell to a billion people on Facebook but, if you're going to distract people


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Analysis: Paddy Power are favourites to revolutionise social

Paddy Power In-Play

"Every man", said Paddy Power CEO Patrick Kennedy on a recent call with city analysts, "over the age of 18 on Facebook in the UK is connected to at least one Paddy Power fan."

Them's fighting words and, being a) a man, b) in the UK and c) waaaay older than 18 (weep), I thought I'd give it a go. Guess what? I'm connected to three Paddy Power fans. Turns out that hot air wasn't nearly hot enough.

The important thing, though, is that Paddy Power aren't simply sitting back on their laurels and enjoying their place at social's top table. It's not enough for them to have over a million people listening to them on Facebook, they've got people talking about them, too. In fact, if you compare them with other brands who have similar a number of Fans, they generate six times as much conversation as Costa Coffee, 48 times as much as Pringles and 83 times as much as Blackberry. And Blackberry are in the conversation business.

All this is because, 18 months ago, Paddy Power totally reassessed their growth strategy. As underdogs, they were in no position to compete on level terms with the likes of


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Is Social Commerce about to transform the betting industry?

Is Social Commerce about to transform the betting industry?

I spend a lot of my time working with clients, figuring out the best way to apply Social Commerce to their calendar, to their brand and to their industry. Sometimes, everything just adds up and it's a super-easy fit: retail, travel, pharma, FMCGs. Sometimes, it's not so simple (I'm recalling an interesting discussion with a sewerage wholesaler here - it might have been viable, but the project just smelled a bit 'off').

But one of the things I've always figured would be a real no-brainer is betting. What does Social Commerce excel at? Replicating the thrill of offline shopping online, adding value as people come together, ceding control to the customer in exchange for more and better business. And what does betting excel at? It's thrilling, it's about getting the most value for your stake and it's about getting one over on the house and increasing your chances of a win. Ladies and gentlemen - we have a perfect match.

So it was very cool to read this morning about Paddy Power's forthcoming real-money sports betting app, which has just started beta-ing its way through Facebook's test-tubes. The concept is simple and clever, adding: "social engagement to online betting, enabling


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Five ways gamification can ignite your retail sales

Five ways gamification can transform retail

I have no idea how fruit machines work. Sure, I get the 'line up three bunches of cherries to win' classic, but the all-singing-all-blinking monstrosity that mocked me in the pub yesterday? Absolutely clueless. And yet, somehow, its combination of twinkly lights, bashy buttons and blippy noises had me chucking coins into it like owning money was going out of fashion.

That's because, as a species, we're far more likely to engage with something if there's an element of gaming involved. I'm sure there's an evolutionary imperative behind all this: if you took a chance on the lady monkey with the weirdy, opposable thumbs, there was a better chance your offspring would survive the great banana famine of 7,000,000 years BC. That kind of thing. Don't ask me, ask Richard Dawkins.

Anyway, we love gaming (and its sidekick, competition), and the introduction of these elements - conceptually known as 'gamification' - into any environment works wonders. The LinkedIn profile completeness bar is a famous example, and rightly so: users fill in more and more info to achieve a 100% complete 'score' and, in so doing, provide mountains more data back to LI, its users and, of course, its


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