Sony, Digital Paper, and Social Media

Kudos for participating in the conversation.

January 15, 2015
Kudos to Sony for leveraging their social media platforms and community to share my review of the DPTS1 Digital Paper System.
My review was positive about the potential of Sony’s Digital Paper System, as I noted strengths in the ability of the device to handle handwriting, its great size, thinness, light weight, and long battery life. I also was clear about the limitations of the first version of the DPTS1, arguing that Sony needs to do much more to integrate with cloud services such as Evernote and Google Drive in order to make working on documents as seamless experience. I also concluded that Sony’s $999 price is too high, and that the company needs to find ways to rapidly lower the price while adding features such as a screen light and a faster processor.
In short, my review was not a rave - nor was it a rant. I think that it is a great development that Sony is investing in an e-ink / digital paper platform that is not yet another e-book reader, but instead is an attempt to offer a credible alternative to all the printing and copying that we do in our professional lives. The Sony DPTS1 Digital Paper System represents a new device category, the paper replacement, and higher ed (which uses lots of paper and printer cartridges and toner and paper) should pay attention.
So good for Sony for being willing to share my (critical but balanced) review with their online communities.  Sony posted links to the review on:
It is good to see that Sony has the confidence to be part of a dialogue about their products. These sorts of long-term sustained conversations are much more effective than traditional sales and marketing. By inviting an existing Sony community to read a critical review, Sony is signaling that they are listening to their potential customers and hearing what they are saying.
What else could have Sony done?  I think that Sony should have responded to my critiques in the Comments section. I also think that Sony could have done more in their social media places to encourage discussion of the review amongst their online community, perhaps by asking for responses and other reviews. But give Sony credit for making an effort to share the review, even if they are not doing enough to join the dialogue themselves. 
I’m continually surprised how challenges both companies (and schools) are in the social media space.  There is a strong bias towards avoiding any discussions that may point to gaps and needed improvements. Any authentic conversation will necessarily involve a discussion of pros and cons. Sony is smart to understand that it is far worse to be ignored in social media than to be exposed to any criticism.  
The key to effectively leveraging the potential of social media is the understanding that community and trust are built over a long period of time. The more people talking about Sony’s Digital Paper system the more the potential market will engage with the product, and the better chance the product has to evolve to meet the needs of its users. Sony should welcome as many voices as possible talking about what they would want in a technology that tries to replace paper. 
Can anyone imagine Tim Cook (891K followers) ever tweeting my critical piece on 9 Signals of Apple’s Coming Higher Ed Problems


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