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Companies using social media to connect to people and places need to support the multiple tools and methods that their audiences use. However, if you were to ask 10 media savvy users how they send an update with a photo attachment, you’d probably get more than 10 answers.

LocaModa now supports even more interaction models via mobile or web using email, txt, Twitter and more….

For example, we support all the strange things that mobile phone email clients do, such as unusual MIME structures, or including the numeric mumbo-jumo that many carriers have implemented and include in their email subject lines. So friendly.

If a message includes a URL or short URL which looks like it might point to an image, we can display that image (assuming the message passes our filters and the image is moderated).

We also support a whole host of photo sharing apps on Twitter clients including yFrog (which also supports video), TwitPic, Lockerz, TweetPhoto, Instagram, img.ly, Lightbox and can display JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF and GIF images.

We also get requests from customers that want their audiences to be able to email directly to local screens. Every LocaModa-enabled screen has a unique address such as JOESBAR. This address can also be used as an email address for example JOESBAR@Wiffiti.com. In this case, any text in the email’s subject line can be copied into the body of the Wiffiti message. That method can also be used to email a photo to a screen, with the photo’s caption being the email subject line.

Some of this might seem a little geeky, but we now enable networks with over 30,000 venues and our platform has also enabled 80,000 Wiffiti screens for events, as well schools and churches, so we’ve given up being surprised by what our customers want to do with our platform.

If there’s a feature that you want and we don’t support, we’d be happy to consider it for our roadmap (but if it’s too esoteric you might need to bring your checkbook!).


Interactive screens, mobile technology and Shakespeare are unlikely bedfellows.

‘Tis true, but Scholastic, the global education and media company, focused on helping children around the world to read and learn, is using LocaModa’s Wiffiti to make learning Shakespeare more fun.

In their Lesson Plan 5: Summarizing by Text-Messaging Shakespeare, they set out how teachers can safely use mobile technology and interactive screens to engage students.

I’ve taken the following excerpt from their website (the link above is well visiting – they do an excellent job of clearly explaining how to set up an interactive screen experience.):

1. The teacher goes over mobile safety and appropriate use before beginning this lesson.
2. Before students begin reading Romeo and Juliet, the teacher reads the opening prologue. The teacher may also want students to be looking at the words as it is being read by projecting them on an overhead.
3. The teacher asks students to think about the prologue, and to summarize it in 140 characters by using their cell phones to send a text message to the Wiffiti screen that the teacher previously set up.
4. The teacher projects the Wiffiti screen along with the information on how to text to the screen (this automatically shows up on each Wiffiti screen).
5. The students begin to send their summaries to the Wiffiti screen via their cell phones.
6. Once the summaries are all up on the screen, the teacher reads through them and asks the students to vote on which one they think best summarized the prologue.
7. The teacher then selects a piece of dialogue or a scene from Romeo and Juliet, reads it, and has the students summarize the same way as above.

I find this so inspiring – not only in terms of the innovation in education (I wish I had such interesting classes when I was force-fed the Bard) but also because every day it is more and more obvious that media professionals HAVE to embrace technologies that enable dialogues with their audiences.

DOOH pros, where art thou?


So few Location-Based Marketing platforms have been built for real-world applications.

As location-based applications from Foursquare, Facebook, Google and others have gained attention, most locations have been somewhat frustrated by how much effort is needed to embrace these platforms.

Limited functionality and/or complexity has thus far led to results that have not lived up to the red hot hype. For example, it is really difficult to create messages and/or deals for multiple locations without having to go into each location’s account – which can be too time consuming for larger retail groups. And in a business where 15 minutes spent on a website is 15 minutes not spent stocking shelves or hiring a waiter, simplicity and RoI count for more than “cool.”

So it’s good news that this week saw both Foursquare and Facebook update their interfaces for merchants.

Foursquare has been on a roll – raising $50 million, partnering with AMEX for deals, and this week, opening up their API for locations to be able to create their own deals via any platform (LocaModa for example – shameless plug). So now venues can use one interface (LocaModa for example – another shameless plug) – to create/edit/monitor their offers. More info via Foursquare here.

Facebook updated Facebook Pages with a Location feature and introduced a Deals API. The new Facebook Locations tab displays the “parent/child” relationship of claimed Facebook Places locations in one place. This means that large groups of stores (Parents) can change all their pages in one interface while still enabling a single store (child) to control their own messaging. More info via Facebook here.

This is all welcome news BUT it’s still likely that for the foreseeable future, brands and location owners won’t quite know what to put on their location pages or Facebook walls. The experience greeting many users may therefore still be rather underwhelming at best. A blank wall at worst.


We know how much time and effort has been spent on creating local content and information for screens in the locations – menus in cafes, announcements in health-clubs, deals in stores etc. This content can now more easily flow back to Foursquare and Facebook – as well as enabling any content created on those platforms finding its way to the location signage.

From a DOOH perspective, I like to say that screens need to have a range of miles, not feet. With a screen connected to Facebook or Foursquare (or Twitter et al), a screen can reach many more people and be more contextually interesting to the local audience, an on-line audience and advertisers. And connected DOOH screens are ever more measurable via the interactions of these audiences.

Thinking about a “Build or Buy” decision for a DOOH-ready social-media platform? It should more obvious than ever that this is a full time business with API changes from social media companies happening almost in real time – and in order to monetize the technology, the solution not only needs to be robust, extensible and scalable, but also needs to be network agnostic to attract brands who need to be wherever their target audience is.

As locations join the social graph, their technologies – not least the screens hanging on their walls – simply have to become more socially connected.


A client just sent us their creative for a call to action on a forthcoming LocaModa campaign. Without giving away any names or clues, their call to action was something like “Text AYT9Q31628ZB for a chance to win…” To make matters worse – this CTA is to be displayed for 8 seconds.

Coincidently, at the same time as people here were pulling their hair out and trying to jump off ledges, I was reading this line in a blog post “Anybody who has looked at their customer acquisition funnel knows how even minor usability problems can drive away vast swaths of people.”

Sometimes I want to shoot myself in the head. It usually happens around the time a client is shooting themselves in the foot.


The integration of place-based media with mobile and social technologies is consistently in the top five predictions for the future of our industry. Yet very few companies have wrestled with the realities of integrating these technologies at scale.

Even the simplest social media application can trip up inexperienced companies hoping to leverage user-generated content or streams publicly.

For example, a user might be delighted to check-in to a place using a location-based service such as Foursquare and receive “offers nearby” but the location owner will not be so happy!

Similarly, Tweets that can be displayed on a location’s screen should not have URLs that can’t be clicked on, multiple retweets of the same message or messages that are offensive.

Place-based versions of such apps have to benefit the location as well as the consumer – for example, only displaying appropriate offers for the specific location and displaying filtered and localized tweets.

Solving such problems for single locations is waaaay easier than solving the problem for 100’s or 1,000’s of venues, each with different engagement rules – but all expecting real time media and responsiveness.

At this years Digital Signage Expo, in Las Vegas, Feb 22-25th, LocaModa will be releasing LocaModa 4.0 which builds on our company’s experience delivering the world’s first place-based versions of Twitter, Facebook Places and Foursquare for global brands, place-based networks and advertising agencies. And as you might expect, it specifically addresses the above challenges for licensees with a few venues or a few thousand venues to manage.

LocaModa’s booth is 1032. We hope to see you there!