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Does Social Media Make Us Anti-Social?

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

“We are accessible 24/7,” Elliott says. “Having a cell phone in your pocket you can be called or texted or video chatted at any point. With Facebook you are updating all time. You have friends on Facebook that you have never met, and they know more about what’s going on in your life than your mother does who is not on Facebook.”

Norine puts herself out there in a way that would make the most avid Twitterer or Facebook addict suffer an attack of shyness.

I view this as more of a publicity stunt than anything else, but it does raise the question of how beneficial social media is. I’ll admit sometimes I’m drawn to check emails and Facebook updates even when I’m with people. However social media doesn’t replace social contact.

Social media tools are simply ways to get us in contact with more people in real life. They also allow us to stay in contact with or “catch up” with people who aren’t physically close to us.

Even if you’re a complete introvert and use social media to connect more than you normally would, isn’t that an improvement? From a business perspective I think this hits home the concept you need to be where your customers are. On which platforms can you really shine? That’s where you need to be.

Google Instant Makes SEO Irrelevant?

September 8, 2010 2 comments

Here’s what this means: no two people will see the same web. Once a single search would do the trick – and everyone saw the same results. That’s what made search engine optimization work. Now, with this, everyone is going to start tweaking their searches in real-time. The reason this is a game changer is feedback. When you get feedback, you change your behaviors. 

Think about it. When you push a door and it doesn’t open quickly, you push harder. When you try to drive a car up a hill and it doesn’t go as fast as you would like, you step on the gas. Feedback changes your behavior. 

Google Instant means no one will see the same web anymore, making optimizing it virtually impossible. Real-time feedback will change and personalize people’s search behaviors.

I’m going to have to disagree with the author on this one. We don’t all see the same search results right now! I’ve discussed this before, but Google results fluctuate on where you’re located, if you personalize your browsing experience and even if you’re logged into Gmail.

I played around with Google Instant a bit earlier today. In my estimation all it does is show results as you type out each letter. It’s much like “search suggest” except you can see the search results instantly. It’s slick and catchy, but certainly no game changer and it won’t affect SEO. There are already too many other factors that affect SEO for this to be the final nail in the coffin.

Why I No Longer Care About Foursquare Points

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

In a blog post, Foursquare reminds us how mayorships work, writing that “you need to have checked in more days than anyone else over the last two months (60 days), so only one check-in per day counts.” Earlier this year, the service also introduced some new features to prevent so-called “gaming” of the mayorship system, an increasingly important issue as more brands begin to offer real world rewards for checkins.

After complaints from friends, I’ve finally decided to quit checking into my house or my work. At first I notified everybody of all my check ins, then I got unfriended. Then I decided I’d still check in to those places just for the points, but not tell anyone. Then I realized the utility of checking in for points just wasn’t worth it.

Now I only check in when I’m actually out and about and I do it for the mayorships. I noticed Radio Shack has a foursquare offer, 10% off just for checking in and 20% off for the mayor. Those are the levels of discounts they used to give employees and stock holders.

Foursquare now has a tool that will tell you when you’ll become mayor of a venue. No more visiting bogged down third parties for that info. Cool!

Boise St. coach bans Twitter

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Boise State coach bans Twitter postings by players

BOISE (AP) — The Idaho Statesman is reporting that Boise State coach Chris Petersen has banned players from posting on Twitter for the duration of the football season.

Petersen says posting on the social networking site is a distraction the team doesn’t need as the Broncos enter the season as favorites to win another Western Athletic Conference title.

About a dozen players have been regular users of Twitter, but they tell the Statesman they understand the Twitter ban.

Safety Jeron Johnson says he’ll set aside his Twitter habit because it’s time to focus on football.

Don’t know how “right” I think this is. It’s like the coach telling players they can’t talk to their friends. Certainly not tweeting at practice, games or in class would be appropriate. It goes without saying that talking about practice or plays should be forbidden, but banning Twitter? Coach Peterson might as well take away their cell phones too!

Ignite Salt Lake 5

August 5, 2010 1 comment

Ignite Salt Lake 5 is coming August 18th and I’m excited to be on the speaker’s list!  Many of you know I do presentations and classes locally, but the Ignite experience is completely different.

Unlike a regular presentation where the speaker has  a bit of time to make the speech, Ignite style talks are extremely regimented with only 20 slides being allowed, with 15 seconds per slide.  The total presentation is 5 minutes!

My topic is “How I got involved with the stupidest man on Earth and emerged unscathed (mostly).”  It’s a lesson in many things including reputation management and Internet transparency.

Tuesday night was the speaker’s dinner and orientation.  I learned a few things and met a bunch of people I’m eager to hear their talk!  Everyone is passionate about what they’re speaking about so I know this will be a great round of speakers.

I attended the event in March and was really pleased with the event.  So much so that I aspired to present myself.  When new speakers were solicited, I knew I wanted to be a part.  Thanks to help from Janet Thaeler, we came up with a winning idea that I’ll be presenting in a few short weeks.

Attending Ignite Salt Lake is free.  Be sure to get to the State Room early as the venue fills up quickly.

Foursquare for Real – Day 10

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Interesting enough, the teens who are active online are also social in other parts of their life. They are not nerds whose social skills are slowly eroding as they type away at their computers. These teens have active social lives and they are engaged in many ways (listening to music, reading newspapers, etc). They also buy more and like to share what they purchase with their friends (a brand’s dream come true, right?)

Here are some key points from the study:

  • online influencers more likely than the average teen to participate in social media activities, such as updating their status at least once per day or sending 3,000 texts per month
  • they also spend more time socializing and influencing their peers offline – in other words overall they are more social than their peers (going to parties, hanging out with friends in real life)
  • teen influencers were surveyed from the myYearbook community and are defined as the top 15% most active an engaged on that site
  • 97% spend 2 hours a day on social networking sites and 91% have more than 500 friends on those sites
  • teens aged 15 to 17 are the most engaged online

Here’s the kicker (that could be bad for Foursquare): they’re not hip on checking in. According to the study “only 16 percent report using a mobile application that allows them to check in at a given location, such as either Foursquare or Gowalla.”

This actually doesn’t surprise me, but it may surprise a lot of you. Certain social media sites just don’t work with teens because of technology. Myspace is the place for kids and then they move up to Facebook when they enter college. Teenagers and young adults don’t use Twitter…or foursquare for a couple reasons. The biggest is most of them can’t afford the smartphones and data plans required to run them. When those prices come down, look for higher adoption rates.

The second reason I suggest is those kids that can afford smart phones won’t because their friends aren’t using Twitter and foursquare. Assuming the most social kids that age are female, factors like this will certainly come into play – http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123726&page=1. Regardless of gender, if your friends aren’t on a social network, even if you are, adoption rates are going to be low. It isn’t fun to be Mayor of a place when there’s no competition.

A few months ago the reality of this hit me quite hard. I went to a Social Media Club event that was hosted at Cottonwood High School. When I checked in, there was a Mayor, but they had only checked in a few times. It told me that high school students recognized foursquare existed, but they didn’t care. Hand every kid a smart phone and I guarantee the competition increases.

Foursquare Etiquette at Weddings

July 27, 2010 6 comments

As with any new and hip social media trend there can be some side effects such as addiction and annoying your friends. There are times when Foursquare check-ins may be just a bit obnoxious. A funeral comes to mind. Or a wedding.*

Some brides aren’t happy with someone live tweeting or checking in to their weddings. Although right now I’m not sure that’s a huge issue when it comes to Foursquare I can see how live tweeting a wedding could get annoying. (Note: According to Forrester: 84% of respondents aren’t familiar with location-based apps like Foursquare & Gowalla).

Today’s foursquare article comes from Janet who suggests you don’t “check-in” or tweet at your friend’s weddings. It turns out the bride’s don’t like the running commentary online of their special day.

An interesting side note is only 16% of respondents knew what foursquare was, but that’s another story.

I’ll be attending a wedding in two months for a bride that is an active foursquare user, so it will be interesting to see what she thinks.

Here’s a bigger question. What about tweeting or updating Facebook with photos of the event while it’s happening? It would certainly benefit interested parties who couldn’t attend wouldn’t it?

Foursquare for Fun – Six Flags

July 21, 2010 Leave a comment

To earn a Six Flags Funatic foursquare badge you need to check in 10x at the same park (there are locations throughout the world).  When you do you’ll be entered to win a 2011 “Exit Pass.”  The badge will be available to fans until Sept. 7, 2010. Those who earn the badge will also be entered into a drawing to win a season pass for the winner and a guest. That means it’s free but also no waiting in lines for an entire year.

Here’s the fun part – each park’s present Six Flags foursquare “Mayor” on Sept. 7 will also win a 2011 Season Pass.

Think that will drive more visits to the parks? Yes, so do I!

This is post number three in our series on using foursquare in real life. Six Flags has some pretty good offers. Hey Lagoon…take note.

We’ll be talking about more foursquare for businesses on today’s Web Marketing Weekly Show, the podcast we do each week on marketing topics. See more here: http://webmarketingweeklyshow.com

Foursquare for Real: 14 Days of How Real Life Businesses Use Foursquare

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

14 Days of Foursquare Series

I’ve partnered with Nigel Swaby and our podcast the Web Marketing Weekly Show for this series. Each business day for the next 2 weeks I will post a new update on how a brand or organization is using Foursquare for their business. I’ll feature everyone from nonprofits to sports teams.

These stories are told almost exclusively through press releases on PRNewswire (link goes to their small business toolkit + special pricing) sent by the companies or organizations themselves.

Where possible I looked for updates on how the campaigns performed. At the end of the series I’ll link to each story. The last post will be a summary post with the best Foursquare tips. There’s something for everyone so don’t miss a day!

Actually, we’re going to cross post, but no matter. Check out Janet’s post today about some quick foursquare facts like they’re growing faster than Twitter and how the state of Pennsylvania is using foursquare to increase tourism. Like being the home state of The Office isn’t enough?

I’ll be writing about foursquare and sports tomorrow on this site.

Ben & Jerry’s Drops Email in Favor of Social Media

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(Source: New Media Age)trackingBen & Jerry’s will become one of the first big brands to abandon regular email marketing. It will instead focus on social media.

The ice cream brand has decided to cut its monthly newsletter because the feedback it received from customers suggested that the majority would prefer to be contacted on social media sites.

Email marketing has long been established as one of the most effective digital marketing channels and has become a standard marketing channel for most brands.

In a move away from established practice, Ben & Jerry’s plans only one email update to customers each year. Instead, Facebook and Twitter profiles will be used to engage with customers on an ongoing basis, both in-house and through its PR agency Mischief.

I had this discussion with an email marketer a few weeks ago. He reminded me that I wrote last Fall Twitter would replace email. I was wrong. It’s Facebook that will replace email.

The reason is, I can directly contact my fan list through Facebook and those emails are 100% deliverable. Email is a useful tool. It probably will be for quite some time. What isn’t practical is a monthly newsletter. We don’t look for news on a monthly basis, we look for it when we want it. For some of us, that’s every second!

Having put together monthly newsletters for several companies, I know the amount of work that goes into it. It’s just not worth it. Having an up to date forum where your brands fans can ask questions and learn about your products is much better than a newsletter. Social media solves that challenge.

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