Why Can't Google Fix #GoogleGlass?

I am a #GoogleGlassExplorer

Yes, I coughed up $1,500 to be a Google beta guinea pig for Google Glass.  I was very excited at the privilege of doing so, after all, one even had to be invited to join the Google Glass Explorer Program and the invitation came with the opportunity to test a really cool, disruptive tech product months before the rest of the world.

It's a Very Expensive Camera...

I'll cut to the chase:  it's a very expensive, goofy-looking camera.  Oh, the video works all the time, too, but, I really don't fancy the notion of taking a video as I am walking...just about anywhere.

Saturday Night Live Got it Right

Saturday Night Live had a news skit where a guest was showing how cool Glass is:  the only problem, nothing worked.  Well, when I muster the "let's-try-it-again" spirit and don my Google Glass in public, scores of people (truly) will stop me to say, "Whoa, 'Google Glass' - how cool are they?!"'  I always want to say, "Really cool!!!"  I can't.  They're not even close to cool.

Why Can't Google Fix Google Glass?

I went through wearing version one of Glass and then got version two, with a build up from Glass that made me think that what I was going to get in version two was everything I had hoped would be in version one.  Not.

"The time is nigh for your new Glass," the message I received from Google intoned when it informed me that I would be getting a box to exchange my version one of Google Glass for the updated version.  The difference in the two?  I did get an ear bud with my updated version of Glass, but, beyond that, I can't point to anything with version two that made me say "wow" or "finally" or "thank you!"  Even the earbud didn't seem to really improve the phone's sound.

This week I received another (I have received several in the past) survey request from Glass.  Though I dutifully completed the previous surveys, this time, I am not going to bother to even fill it out, because I hate having to repeat myself.  This speaks volumes about the state of my relationship with Google Glass.

What Don't I Like About "Google Glass"?
  • Connectivity is a problem.
  • Connectivity is a problem.  (Did I mention that before?)
  • CONNECTIVITY IS A PROBLEM.  I even bought myself an AT&T mobile wifi device after an AT&T rep told me that the hotspot activation from my iPhone really didn't have the strongest signal and the mobile device should address any connectivity problems I might have; it's made little difference.  "OK Glass, get me directions to...." "OK Glass, get me directions to..."  Whips out iPhone and maps it.  (Now, I did have it give me directions in San Francisco and it worked and it was cool...That was once.)
  • "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"  It tells me.  Cool.  "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?"  It ignores me.  Not cool.
  • Wink app.  Cool.  I'm on a trolley in SanFrancisco.  No cameras or smartphones allowed to be used while on the outside seats to take pictures.  I've got the wink app.  I wink.  It takes a picture...But, then it takes a bunch  pictures - and I'm not winking!
  • Real-time translation of text?  It's there as an app, but, I'll be darned if I can get it to work sitting down patiently at my desk, in slow motion - don't think I'll be trying it in a foreign county.
  • Play music.  When it works, you just ask it for music by...and it plays.  When it plays, the sound, even with the ear bud, isn't very good...But, too often, the only thing it wants to let me do is take pictures or record a video.
  • Google Glass is not a smart phone that you can discreetly, comfortably fit in a pocket, which means that you have to pay close attention to the weather, as an unexpected rainy day means you're stuck with you Glass tucked in your shirt.
You get the idea.  I could go on, but, for what purpose if Google isn't making progress on the basics.  

To borrow a phrase from Google, "the time is nigh."

P.S.  Google, if it's just too big a task, mind handing it over to Apple!

Please feel free to join me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore

#myNYPD – More Than a "Twitter Fail"

Never Underestimate the Power of a Single Tweet
The social media PR campaign started innocently enough, with a single tweet, asking readers on Twitter to share of photo of the NYPD and include the branded hashtag, #myNYPD.  Viewers were told that their tweet might even find its way to the Department's Facebook page:

Branded Hashtags Can Quickly Become "Bashtags"
The Twitter campaign quickly turned ugly, with scores of people using the NYPD’s Twitter hashtag, #myNYPD, to share stories, often with photos, that spun a very unflattering picture of New York City’s finest. 
Even the staid New Yorker joined the fray, sharing a tweet and story on the subject.  It included one of the most frequently shared photos associated with the hashtag:

While there were those who did use #myNYPD to share stories and pictures expressing positive experiences with the NYPD, most took to the Twitter stream to share stories that were not a positive reflection of the many fine and brave men and women of the NYPD. 
As the NYPD learned, social media is a place where PR can quickly and unexpectedly spin out of control.  The branded hashtag can quickly become a “bashtag.”
In a World that Uses Social Media to Communicate, You Can’t Back Away from Transparency or Social Media

In a candid comment to the Associated Press, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton acknowledged “the Twitter campaign may not have been fully thought through.”  
To his credit, the Commissioner went on to say, “it’s not going to cause us to change any of our efforts to be very active on social media….It is what it is. It’s an open, transparent world.”
Address a Social Media Crisis Where It's Taking Place
Having braved the world of social media transparency, it would have been a positive step for the Commissioner to send a tweet or two sharing from his own official Twitter account his promise that the Department would continue its investment in social media and transparency.  Twitter is, after all, where the firestorm began.

Instead, the Commissioner’s Twitter stream has remained silent on the entire subject, missing an opportunity to demonstrate the transparency and positive use of social media that the Commissioner talked about in his conversation with the AP.  (His Twitter account did find time to post some other standard PR pieces.)   

"It is a Transparent World"

It bears repeating, though, that the Commissioner has pledged to not back away from the Department’s use of social media.  As the Commissioner observed, “It is what it is.  It is a transparent world.”

"A moment to take stock...."

Taken from the perspective of a PR campaign, the #myNYPD Twitter campaign has already joined the annals of epic Twitter PR failures.  But, it is here where one should look for the opportunity that comes with a “failed” marketing campaign – the opportunity to use the torrents of information that have flooded the social media stream to consider how to turn around a powerful discontent with a significant part of one's community.  It is, as The New Yorker observed in its tweet, “a moment to take stock…”

A Recap of Some Lessons Learned:

  1. Do market research before launching any social media marketing campaign.
  2. Conduct brand sentiment analysis as part of your pre-launch review.  (Ask, "What are people saying/tweeting about our brand."  Listen actively.)
  3. Consider the timing of your social media campaign.  (#QuantasLuxury during a company labor dispute?  No.  #AskJPMorgan when massive numbers are still facing foreclosures and unemployment?  No.)
  4. Be prepared for your PR spin to spin out of control.  "My story" may not be your story, or the one you are hoping I will share.
  5. Be willing to address your failed social media marketing campaign in the forum where it failed.
  6. Don't back away from transparency or social media - you can't afford to in a world that places a premium on both.
  7. When a social media campaign spins into a viral negative..."take stock."
Share and Connect

Please feel free to share your thoughts on the subject and connect with me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore

(DISCLOSURE:  For eight years, I served as a "Public Safety Director", aka "Police Director," while serving as mayor of NJ's eighth-largest city.)