Is a Social Network on Your Foot?

The social networking capabilities of Web 2.0 technologies provide numerous opportunities for product and service providers to engage customers. Two interesting examples of companies reaching out to engage their customers come from the footwear industry, specifically Nike and adidas. Some of you may already know about these two examples. However, the difference in social networking strategy between the two is worth thinking about.

Nike initiated a collaboration with Apple a couple of years ago to take advantage of ubiquitous computing as a Web 2.0 application, supporting a social networking initiative that offers a good example of how to engage customers. Nike allows customers to track their runs using an RFID sensor placed inside one shoe and, either a SportBand or an iPod + a Sport Kit that includes an RFID sensor and an iPod nano receiver.

Nike + Sportband    Nike + iPod nano

Nike + Sportband Nike + iPod nano

As the Nike+ site indicates:

Nike+ is designed for athletes who like to run with music and who want to measure and monitor their progress toward their goals. To get instant workout feedback, you’ll need Nike+ ready shoes and either a Nike+ SportBand or an iPod® nano and Nike + iPod Sport Kit nano (which includes a sensor and iPod nano receiver). When placed under the sockliner of the left Nike+ ready shoe, the sensor measures your pace, distance, time elapsed and calories burned. This information is transmitted wirelessly to the receiver for real-time audio feedback while you listen to your favorite workout music. Learn more at

Using a somewhat different set of Web 2.0 technologies, adidas integrates social media with its products by taking advantage of visual tags, or 2d barcodes, to support a social networking site for Japanese enthusiasts wanting to celebrate  adidas shoes. In this instance, the adidas logo is transformed into a visual tag, or 2d barcode (in this instance using a QR Code).

Adidas logo as 2d Barcode

adidas logo as 2d barcode

The celebrate adidas website takes a while to load and doesn’t really provide much opportunity for the enthusiasts to connect. However, it does allow each person to upload an image of themselves and attach a nickname to it.

Adidas Celebration

adidas Celebration

You can then search by nickname and embed an enthusiast into your blog, perhaps your own, though WordPress doesn’t allow javascript so I can’t do it here. Apparently, adidas also embeds a visual tag into its running shorts.

Thanks to Roger over at 2d code for pointing to the adidas celebration.

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6 Responses to Is a Social Network on Your Foot?

  1. For a Amateur, I’m often searching on the internet to get content which could help me. Many thanks

  2. Susan says:

    Excellent Article!

    If I could write like this I would be well chuffed 😉

    The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there might be a future for the Web. Keep it up, as it were.

  3. Oops mate you have a few strange bugs on your web site that says parse error unexpected T String in line 18

  4. What a great idea. I am not totally sure if that is going to happen, but who knows. Would you be kind enough to write another post, but from the opposite viewpoint.

    • Larry Irons says:

      Hi Arleen, I’m not sure what you mean by the “opposite viewpoint.” However, if you want a case example where the approach taken by Nike was not developed, even though the company possessed the technology to support it, take a look at the Nokia Sports Tracker project described recently by Adam Greenfield.

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