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People love to share mashups

December 4, 2007

The term ‘mashup’ originally comes from hip-hop. A classic (though admittedly old) mashup is Run DMC’s take on Aerosmith’s Walk this Way.

Online, the term mashup applies in the same way: it means taking content, mixing it and shifting it to create something new.

Larry Lessig, professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society, says in a brilliant (but 20 minute long) TED talk, that ‘we’ should embrace this, nurture it, and work hard to enhance it. (TED talks are often excellent)

When he says we, he’s not talking about us, the marketers. He’s talking about ‘we’ as in everyone. But we marketers might be smart to listen. He thinks this is where we’re headed.

So does Nokia. Nokia, a camera company as well as a phone company is thinking hard about mashups.

“The trends we are seeing show us that people will have a genuine desire not only to create and share their own content, but also to remix it, mash it up and pass it on within their peer groups – a form of collaborative social media,” said Mark Selby, Nokia’s Vice President of Multimedia.”

“We think it will work something like this; someone shares video footage they shot on their mobile device from a night out with a friend, that friend takes that footage and adds an MP3 file – the soundtrack of the evening – then passes it to another friend. That friend edits the footage by adding some photographs and passes it on to another friend and so on. The content keeps circulating between friends, who may or may not be geographically close, and becomes part of the group’s entertainment.”

Nokia clearly wants a bigger role than just the tool. Indeed, the brand that can truly build on this insight will generate forge ahead.

Fact is, people are comfortable generating content. YouTube, Flickr, blogs, Yelp, outside.in, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc are all thriving because of content delivered by people.

The next step will be more creative and technically brilliant mashups. A couple of the brands we work with are testing the mashup waters — it will be interesting to see how they make it all work.

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