All posts in “social media”

Social Media Roundup for October 7th, 2011

The Shift of Marketing

Marketing channels are shifting as more and more people are starting to realize where they can achieve the strongest effect on their target audience. Recent research conducted by Jonas Colliander and Micael Dahlen from the Stockholm School of Economics compared the publicity effectiveness of social media (blogs) vs. traditional media (online magazines). It was found that blogs can result in a special type of relationship between the blogger and the reader, called a parasocial relationship. This is the illusion of a face-to-face relationship, where readers have a feeling of closeness towards the blogger as if they were friends. On the other hand, magazine writers are seen to just be completing a job and so they are not as trusted.  It is clearly important for marketers to find bloggers that are honest about disclosure and genuine in what they write about brands and products because this is what will build that parasocial relationship and level of trust, making it more likely for readers to then build their own relationships with the brands the blogger has endorsed.

We know that agencies need to put time and effort into researching each blogger and what they are all about before pitching them to promote a product.  Build a relationship with them: get to know them, actually read their blog posts, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, send them an email to introduce yourselves and ask questions. If not, things could take a bad turn for your company and your client. Learn from “The Bloggess” about what not to do when pitching a blogger here or you could be very sorry, about 3 million people sorry. Caution: some of the language may not be SFW!

To further show the shift from traditional marketing channels to social media, check out this Infographic on the ROI of Social Media: Is social media marketing effective? Looks like companies are catching onto this shift in marketing channels, as we can see that 75% of companies plan to increase their use of blog marketing in the coming year!

Taking a closer look at the infographic, we can also see that the majority of marketers are integrating social media into their marketing plans. And not only does social media result in significant drops in marketing costs over the long term but 72% of the marketers researched said social media helped in closing business!

 

The Great Steve Jobs

This was a very sad week for Apple and everyone really, as we have lost the great innovator, Steve Jobs. My Twitter timeline was filled with tweets about Jobs, everyone tweeted, replied and retweeted until Twitter froze because it could not handle all of the updates! His products have changed our lives and I think he deserves some thanks for the growing numbers in the above Infographic of the ROI of social media because Apple products played a big role in the rise of social media. What are you using right now to read this? Your iPhone, iPad, Macbook? Of course he is not the only maker of this technology but without these devices, I don’t think I would spend as much time on social networks as I do. They definitely make checking your favorite blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts a lot more convenient! And when you like your device you want to spend more time on it.

Take a look at this incredible tribute to Jobs that Twitter employee Miguel Rios put together using all of our tweets expressing love, support and condolences.

Not only did he personally read the 1,000+ tweets in the image, he took the time to order them starting with the most retweeted ones at the top. View the original image on Flickr and  you can actually read the tweets yourself. It is quite amazing.

Facebook Rules, Rolls Changes: Social Media Round Up for September 16, 2011

This past week in the world of social media was all about Facebook

Facebook rules. Stats released this week show it continues to be the dominate social network. According to the latest Nielson Social Media Report (Q3, 20011) released this week, U.S netizens have spent over FIVE MILLION minutes (equivalent to approximately 102 years) on Facebook up until May, 2011. Time spent on Facebook is far more (100 times) than the time spent on Twitter, or any other websites.

This week, Facebook introduced several significant updates on their social network services in order to keep its crown as the top social social network in the world. From the Facebook blog:

#1 Improved  Friend Lists

Smart Lists are a new improvement to the existing friends list feature on Facebook. It helps to easily group friends into different lists, and receive updates from or share to different lists of friends. The best part is, Facebook even does the grouping for you!

  • You will see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you – like your school, work, family and city.

Facebook will also allow you to create your own Close Friends and Acquaintances lists, which allows you to see more updates from your best friends, and see less from the not-so-close ones.

The platform now makes Better Friend Suggestions for you to add friends into your  friend lists.

#2 Subscribe button

If the new friend lists are Facebook’s answer to the Circles from Google+, then the brand new Subscribe Button would be their move against Twitter. The Subscribe Button allows users to do three things:

  • To choose what type of content you want to see from your friends news feeds
  • To see certain types of updates from people whom you are not friends with
  • To share content with people whom you not friends with

Generally speaking, the Subscribe Button is very close to the functionality of  the “Follow” Button on Twitter.

#3 “View Share” button

The View Share option hasn’t been officially announced by Facebook yet, however, we heard that Facebook is currently conducting closed testing of this feature. The View Share option will appear on the comment box which allows user to see how people shared your content.

It is not hard to recognize that Facebook forward looking and gearing itself  up for the long haul . What do you think, should we now call it Facebook+?

Social Media Roundup for August 26th, 2011

August is certainly not a quiet month in the tech and social media worlds. This week was a busy one. On the 24th, Steve Jobs, again, successfully announced his latest “mind-blowing” product called “iQuit”… but I think everyone has already seen this news in their feeds and across the front pages, so we won’t spend too much time on that subject!

On the social network front, Facebook and Twitter both made announcements this week.

Lets take a look at Facebook first:

Facebook has made some significant changes to its privacy settings. Users now can now share to specific people or groups, essentially increasing user control over who see what.

Privacy

They also updated their location services. In addition to the existing Places check-ins, users can now add location information to wall posts and photos.

Facebook Location

From allfacebook.com

Here’s a list of the major improvements.

  • The privacy settings are moving toward individual post windows and profiles.
  • Users are gaining the ability to approve tags of themselves in others’ posts and photos.
  • All tags will include an attribution of the person who did the tagging.
  • Places no longer require physical check-ins, so people can add locations to posts, even from the desktop.
  • You don’t need to be friends with someone to tag them in a post or photo.
  • You don’t have to like a brand to tag it in a post or photo.
  • Facebook has changed the word “everyone” to “public” in privacy settings, for clarity.
  • You can customize privacy, or visibility of information, on a post-by-post basis.
  • Users can edit the visibility of individual bits of content anytime after they post.
  • The changes don’t affect mobile users, at least not for now.

Speaking of Twitter:

Twitter has begun its new photo sharing feature to its users. The new photo service allows users to attach photos with their tweets, which could pretty much replace the similar functions provided by 3rd party vendors such as TwitPic over the past years. It means that users can now generate richer content on Twitter than merely text. But on the other hand, the new function makes Twitter feeds resemble a Facebook wall post, which has always allowed users to share many types of media content.

Twitter photo

Are we forgetting about Google+?

Last week at a Social Media Today Webinar, Our CEO Maggie Fox presented some of the latest stats of Google+ as it approaches its two-month birthday. Instead of going into detail on people’s reaction to functionally, I think it is better to let the numbers do the talking.

From singlegrain.com

  • 74% of Google+ users are male

Top 10 Occupations of Google+ users

  1. 10.05% Software Engineer
  2. 10.77% Designer
  3. 13.57% Developer
  4. 24.56% Engineer
  5. 4.88% Writer
  6. 4.23% Web Developer
  7. 3.67% Software Developer
  8. 3.05% Programmer
  9. 3.05% Photographer
  10. 2.79% Artist

Google+ has gained over 25 million registered users in about two months. But the question is, how many active users are there?  Or let me ask you this, when was the last time you checked your Google+ account and saw new feeds from anyone of your circles?

It is not hard to recognize that some of the latest changes Facebook and Twitter made align to the aesthetics of Google+.  So do people really need Google+ if other platforms are offering the exact same services? I think we are all still looking forward to see what Google will do next in the social space battle.

What is Google+?

Recently I’ve been thinking that social networks are getting a little too messy. I’ve felt it’s time for another big shift in how people communicate, and I’d love to see companies start to pull all the small pieces together – That’s why I’m so interested in the new Google+ project.

Google + image

Google has attempted many things to encourage users to spend more time using Google products doing activities other than searching. While Gmail, Chrome and Android have been very successful, we all remember the flop known Google Wave. On Tuesday, June 26th, Google started a very limited field test for their latest social network project, Google+,and unveiled the first five features: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle.

Please see the video below for a quick tour:

>

Everyone is saying that the project is Google’s answer to Facebook. However, there are couple of signs showing that it could be much, much more than that. Google+ could be the centerpiece to Google’s entire strategic map to link search, social, and mobile together in a seamless and intuitive package.

Google+ was developed by Google’s internal team, unlike Google Wave, which was outsourced to an Australia-based team in 2009. Google+ is the result of a year-long project led by Google’s SVP of Social, Vic Gundotra, and hundreds of Google engineers. It involves almost EVERY Google product. Google is already showing a very strong commitment to this project.

Google made significant changes to its user interface (UI), likely in order to accommodate Google+.  And remember, historically Google has been really conservative in changing their minimalist webpage, adding a black navigation bar at the top is definitely a big step for them.

Google+ is also a mobile app. By making use of Android’s dominance in the mobile OS market, Google+ has the potential to become an integral part of the Android experience, and will easily end up in the hands of all the existing users.

The key for Google is to figure out how to leverage the huge number of Gmail users. They have to identify and focus on people’s real needs for a social network, while providing the best product experience that links social, search and mobile together.

Here is the question I’ll leave for everyone: Do you think you that you will ‘hang out’ more on Google than Facebook?

P.S. Check out the Google+ virtual tour to see more videos and experience it yourself !

 

RockMelt: A first look at the social web browser

When I first heard about RockMelt, the “social browser”, I was intrigued. When I found out that I could test a beta copy of it, overly excited would probably be a good measure of my reaction. For those of you who may not be familiar with RockMelt, basically it is a new web browser still in beta, that adds social media like Facebook directly to the sidebars of the window to make it easier to share web items through a user’s social media accounts. After using RockMelt for the last week and a half, here are some of my thoughts.

RockMelt: The Good

Have we met before?

For those familiar with Chrome, you may find yourself doing a double take. When I first launched RockMelt, I had actually thought I accidentally launched my copy of Google’s Chrome browser as RockMelt is almost identical to Chrome, upon first launch. This is because the core of RockMelt is the Chromium open source which Chrome is also built upon. In my opinion, this isn’t an issue as I like the simplicity of Chrome. I was also happy to find that the normal Mac shortcut keys, like CMD+T opening a new tab, worked out just fine without any tweaking.

RockMelt browser

Give that browser a speeding ticket

RockMelt is built using Chromium open source as it’s base. This means that the browser is really fast…like really fast. I like that RockMelt also takes this a step further and works to download/render websites based off the current page and links that you are on to speed up your surfing even more.

Move over Safari, you resource hog!

This is where the nerd in me completely comes out. One of the most impressive things to RockMelt so far has been its memory (RAM) and resource management. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like Safari as a web browser. But when using it for a day means that over a gig of my RAM is locked up in it, even if there are no open websites or windows, something has to change. The image below shows the memory that is taken up after freshly launching Safari and playing one YouTube video with it. In comparison, when the screenshot was taken, RockMelt had been open for 4 hours and had 4 tabs open, one being the same YouTube video. The low system resources needed to run this browser will make it especially appealing to those running devices that may have limited resources like laptops.

RockMelt - Resources

Didn’t your mother teach you to share?

If she did, then RockMelt is the browser for you. My Facebook friends and Twitter followers will attest to the fact that I share a lot of content throughout a day as I come across great articles, comics, and other media. I really like how simple RockMelt makes it to share items from the site that you are on as well as update statuses. From any web page, a user can click on the Share button an be given the option to share out the link or media to their Facebook friends or via a tweet on Twitter.

Similar to the Share button is the easy ability for a user to update either their Facebook or Twitter status by clicking on their avatar on the left edge. This is great, of course, since you don’t actually have to load up Facebook or Twitter in another browser tab to update your Facebook and Twitter statuses.

RockMelt - Share button RockMelt - Status Update

Plugged into the Matrix all the time

The right and left ‘edges’ of the RockMelt browser are the most notable features of the browser. The left side will show a user which of their Facebook friends are currently online and allow the user to chat with them directly from a small pop up window. Users can also create a favorite list of their friends who that actually care are online. The right edge contains an area for the user to put in whatever feeds they would like to keep track of. The top feed shows updates to the users’ Facebook news feed followed by, if enabled, the users’ Twitter feed. Users may also add in any site’s RSS feed for updating. For example, I love movie trailers, so I have the trailers.apple.com feed on my right edge. As new trailers are added to the feed, I’ll receive a small notification that there is something new to look at. When the feed is clicked on, a window pops open showing the latest updates. The user can then click on any update and load the page in the main browser. The right edge is also completely sortable, so users can sort their feeds in any order they like.

RockMelt - News Feed

RockMelt: The Bad

Holy plethora of distractions, Batman!

The most notable downside to RockMelt is one of its greatest strengths. Having access to Facebook, Twitter, and selected feed updates as they happen becomes a distraction that the user has to intentionally ignore. I used to reserve looking at feeds, Facebook, and Twitter to a few times a day such as when taking my lunch break. No joke, the first day I used RockMelt, I had to quit the program and go back to Firefox and Chrome as I was getting way to distracted as I tried to work. I’m much better now as I’ve forced myself to ignore the updates until a logical break point, but having your feeds constantly updated as it happens can be a very tempting thing to look at. If you’re like me and you have a lot of friends who use Facebook and Twitter all day… you can see how one could spend all day looking at the updates. I think for this reason alone, I don’t think we will see that many businesses, outside of the social space and monitoring departments, adopting RockMelt.

Sure, take over my Facebook account

One of the first things that a user is greeted with when installing RockMelt is the Facebook Connect screen before RockMelt will open. After entering my login details, my jaw dropped. I was shown what RockMelt would be given access to on my Facebook account and the short answer is “everything”. I literally almost stopped right there as I follow a pretty strict policy of not giving any application that kind of access to my social accounts due to hacking, bugs, and general concern for some sort of privacy online. In the spirit of testing, though, I made an exception to my rule and granted access. This is a major problem for me, though, as it brings in concerns of hacks or bugs in the system somehow opening my Facebook account up to those with less than pure motives. I would also imagine that this is a full stop, game ending requirement for some people. Unless RockMelt changes how it accesses a user profile on Facebook, I wonder if it will ever become widely adopted.

RockMelt - Privacy Request

No advanced preferences or extensions

Granted, it is still a brand new browser and it is still in beta, but one of the things that I always never was a big fan of Chrome for was being a little too simple. One could argue that simplicity is the point. Since it is built on Chromium, RockMelt can technically install any extensions that are created for Chrome but it basically hides those extensions after install. This becomes frustrating for a user like me as I use a lot of tools for monitoring and stat pulling that require the use of extensions. So it would appear that RockMelt will be a browser for the masses and pros like me will have to use something like Firefox.

RockMelt: The Summary

Overall, after using the browser for over a week now, I can say that I like the browser. Most notably, it is basically a version of the Chrome browser that performs just as fast and adds in some fun and useful social media capabilities. Since it can become quite distracting and doesn’t offer some of the more advanced extension capabilities like Firefox, I don’t see RockMelt becoming the go to browser for professionals who rely on those capabilities. That said, from a consumer/user perspective, RockMelt is a fantastic browser that makes it so you can surf the web and monitor all your favorite feeds and social networks without having to navigate over to other tabs or browser windows. I’m interested to see what features and fixes come with the full official version.

So what do you think? Have you tired RockMelt? Is it the browser for you?

Social Media Roundup for November 5, 2010

Yee haw! Calm yourselves, little doggies, it’s time for the weekly Social Media Roundup!

Over 50,000 people check-in to vote

This past Tuesday was the mid-term elections in the US and while races heated up, so did social media. There were a number of cool stories and studies like the New York Times showing how actively users were tweeting about different candidates or Mashable pulling in sentiment statistics for Republicans and Democrats. One of the things that caught our eye was Foursquare offering a special badge for people who checked-in in at a voting location and put #ivoted in their shout out. In the end, 50,416 users checked-in to Foursquare from 23,560 different voting locations. Of course this is a very small percentage of all the people that voted in the US on Tuesday, but could it be a sign of services and things to come? Did you get your iVOTED badge?

Foursquare iVOTED

Foursquare iVOTED via http://elections.foursquare.com/

The Big Tweet Off

Speaking of Foursquare, this Thursday saw debate come alive on Twitter via The Big Tweet Off. The site is the creation of Paul Sutton and Beth Carroll who thought of the idea after an afternoon going back and forth on whether or not Foursquare users were “the modern equivalent of stamp collectors”. The basic idea is that it will be a regular “tweet off” between two people with totally opposing views on a subject debating via Twitter using the hashtag #bigtweetoff. At the end of the debate, those watching the hashtag will be able to vote on who the winner is. What was the topic of the first Big Tweet Off? Foursquare and its ability to be social. After 550 tweets from 90 participants, Foursquare fell. If you’re interested, you can check out the whole debate transcript here. The next Big Tweet Off will be announced soon.

Facebook is your breakup Magic 8 Ball

Let’s face it, dating and relationships are hard work. Many end with a breakup that can sometimes feel like it comes at a completely random time. Or is it random? David McCandless data-mined almost 10,000 different statuses on Facebook and was able to map out the frequency of breakups to show when people are most likely to experience one. Unlucky for all of us, one of the biggest spikes happens about 2 weeks before Christmas. So according to the study, you might find yourself single in about 4 weeks. That said, during Christmas breakups drop down to almost nothing as David thinks it just might be “too cruel”.

Breakups on Facebook

Facebook breakup graph by David McCandless

(via InformationIsBeautiful)

It’s an ear trumpet, not a time traveler

Proving once again that they like to ruin people’s speculation with cold hard facts, scientists this week may have debunked the cell phone using, time traveler video originally posted by George Clarke. In case you missed the video, you can check it out below. Basically, in the video, George speculates that a woman walking in the background of a 1928 film showing the premiere of a Charlie Chaplin film was holding a cell phone. Seeing as it was 1928, his only conclusion was that the woman had to be a time traveler. The video went viral with over 49,000 comments and views approaching 5 million inside a few weeks. Scientists, however, said that the woman in the film was most likely using an ear trumpet which was the hearing aid in the 1920’s. As Gizmodo writer Kyle VanHemert put it, though, “maybe it was a time traveler from the future using an antique ear trumpet…”

(via Gizmodo and Life Science)

Sesame Street: There’s an App for That

Finally this week, Sesame Street proves that it is still cool and up with the times by releasing a song called “There’s an App for That”. The basic idea is that the characters all sing and dance around a really cool new tool called the iPogo that features useful apps for things like combing a cat and cutting butter. For certain, Apple was probably disappointed that it didn’t come out with the idea first. Of course, my first thought was “who really uses a pogo stick anymore?”

And that’s the Social Media Round up for this week. As a parting thought, there are only 50 days until Christmas, will you be checking-in on Foursquare at the mall soon?

Social Media Roundup for October 22, 2010

NASA Astronaut Checks-in from Space

That’s right,  NASA astronaut and Commander of the International Space Station, Doug Wheelock, has checked into Foursquare from Space! Normally most users check-in to their favorite venues, restaurants, and work places. Since the International Space Station technically qualifies as Wheelock’s work place, we’re all for it. In honor of the check-in, Foursquare has created a special badge for the occasion with the following description:

“You are now 220 miles above Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge! Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream.”

Of course, our default question becomes, “how close to the International Space Station do you technically have to be to check-in?”

(via TechCrunch)

Drag-n-Drop for Your Facebook Photos

This week Facebook continued to improve the photo services for users by now allowing for drag-n-drop organization of albums. This is a very welcome update as now users can simply drag photos in their albums to change their display order.

(via Mashable)

Startup Funded by Web Giants

Do you have the latest and greatest idea, service, or tool for social media? Getting help starting may have just gotten easier for you. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Zynga, and Comcast have joined forces to create the $250-million sFund to help entrepreneurs get started. The fund will help with costs and providing counseling for social media startups. Cafebots is the first startup that has taken advantage of the fund and received $5-million.

(via Montreal Gazette)

Happy Birthday from Google!

Have you ever noticed the special Google Doodles for various anniversaries and events on the Google homepage? Google now announced that if a user has a Google profile that contains their birthday they will now see a special Google Doodle on their special day. Of course, this is probably just a way for Google to get better demographic data on their users… but who doesn’t enjoy a good birthday wish?!?

(via Google Blog)

Viral Video Launches Atomic Tom to the Forefront

Last but not least this week, proof that with enough practice and creativity, you can achieve almost anything with technology and the Internet. By using the iPhone apps iShred, Drum Meister, Pocket Guitar, Virtuoso, and Microphone, 3 iPhones to shoot the video, and a surprised audience on a New York subway train, the band created a live performance video of their single “Take Me Out” that has had almost 2,456,000 views on YouTube to date. In addition to bringing the band almost instant stardom, the video has also persuaded enough people to head over to iTunes to purchase the single which made it to #86 on iTunes top 100 list this week.

Feel inspired by the creativity of the video? We’d love to hear what kind of creative things you like to do with your BlackBerry, iPhones, Androids.

Webinar: Leveraging Paid Social Media to Demonstrate ROI

I’m really excited to be able to share something really cutting edge with those of you who were unable to make my BlogWorld Expo session last week. I’m going to be delivering a webinar that shares our learnings in working with emerging social platforms to scale social media and demonstrate very serous ROI (especially around earned social). Please join me on Friday October 29th at 1pm EDT (it will also be available on demand) for a webinar being offered by Bulldog Reporter’s PR University. Here’s the official blurb:

Social media placements are great, but are they really helping you reach your PR and marketing objectives? Are they driving clicks to your web site, boosting awareness of your key messages and ultimately driving sales? If not, you may want to learn more about a fast-rising trend: paying for social media placements.

What are the do’s and don’ts of correctly—and cost-effectively—combining paid social media into your PR mix? Join PR University for an exclusive webinar with Maggie Fox to get all the answers you need to implement a wildly successful paid social media program

You can sign up here, and I hope you can join me!

Social Media Roundup for October 8, 2010

Social Networks Preferred Tool for Online News Distribution

This week, CNN, a Social Media Group client, announced the results of a study concerning how online news is shared. The preferred method for CNN’s online audience? Social media networks and tools accounted for 43% of shared news online. Email (30%), SMS (15%), and IM (12%) were also listed as preferred methods, but were not as popular as social media.

The study also indicated that a minority of users are responsible for the majority of sharing:

The study found that 27% of frequent sharers (those who share at least six stories per week) account for the online distribution of 87% of all news stories. The average consumer of online news content shares 13 stories per week and receives 26 stories via social media and/or e-mail.

(Via Mashable)

.LY Domain Shuts Down American Website

The .LY domain, administered by Libya Telecom and Technology shut down American Violet Blue’s website this week, citing an “offensive” image of the writer drinking a beer in a sleeveless shirt, among other reasons.

This may be a problem for other sites using the .LY domain, and there are many.

Libya actively encourages foreigners to register domains in the country, selling them in U.S. dollars on an English language website, and indeed the Libya Telecom representative told Blue “we pride ourselves on being the online destination for many well known websites internationally.” Indeed, one of the most popular URL shorteners on Twitter, bit.ly, uses a Libyan domain, as do a significant number of other popular websites and web applications created over the past few years.

(Via Gawker)

Google Translate Introduces Latin

Graduate students and historians had a reason to rejoice yesterday. Google Translate has added Latin to its list of supported languages. Thousands of books with Latin passages are available in Google Books and can now be translated, although the results seem to be a bit unreliable for now.

(Via Google Operating System)

The Art of Giving Up Control

Today, Maggie participated in a webinar with Charlene Li and Steve Rubel on the importance of supporting social media in organizations. Hopefully you were able to listen in!  If you missed it, check back on Monday, when the recording will be available here.