It was girls gone virtually wild on Facebook yesterday, as a ‘tell us your bra colour’ meme quickly infected the rest of the world from some patient zeros in Detroit. I heard about it on a New York ladies’ forum before I saw it in action, with the rationale that it was for breast cancer awareness. When it popped up amongst my Facebook friends, the ‘awareness’ mechanism became clear: each highly descriptive, cryptic colour was like a wink, forcing you to pause a moment and picture each friend in her skivvies.
So how does that steamy little moment promote breast cancer awareness? Jaded females wondered if they were being pwned by the internet and giving up the goods for free. But think about it: there are a couple approaches to marketing a cause*. Show people the disaster that looms without their support, or make them think about the great thing they already have & threaten to take it away. In the case of boobs, you’ve got a great product to call to mind! Taking a moment (or several, depending on the size of friends list) to reflect on the glory of boobs certainly makes you appreciate them. You’d hate to see any lost to breast cancer. (more…)
When I was youngster, our house was on a party line with another house across the dusty gravel road. The phone would ring one long for our house, two short for theirs. You answered it if it was for you. You could pick it up at any time and hear—heck, participate in—the conversation of anyone else on the line. Party lines functioned on respect, the honour system, and general good-neighbourliness.
My 8-year-old conversations didn’t have a whole lot of scandalous content such as might impact my future personal brand, but it was a pretty weird situation. That level of personal space invasion would be intolerable today. Within the same household, within the same family we all have our own phones. We hold our communications cards close to our chest. I squint with suspicion when my iPod picks up next door’s wifi network. What kind of person names their network Afrosizzle?
Facebook’s been making some big headlines with their new privacy settings, which include forced exposure of some previously private stats (name, gender, home town, your list of friends). This is ostensibly to appease Canada’s Privacy Commission, although completely removing the ability to hide your associations and personal details can’t be what the ole’ CPC had in mind. (more…)
For the record, I like Speak Up Wpg’s use of social media. The opportunity it presents to speak to policymakers makes me feel like I come from a very with-it city. Their case study provides a jumping off point for talking about transparency. Go Peg.
Speak Up Winnipeg, a social media-driven public consultation city planning initiative here in the Peg, has just released its first report along with participation numbers. The blog/vlog-driven site boasts 535 registered users with over 1,600 posted comments. For a city of three quarters of a million, 535 users sounds low, but the quantity of comments of this vocal few speaks of passionate participation. The subject matter—the future of our city—is one of those contentious cans of worms that can make for great, if heated, public discourse, seemingly perfect for the social media milieu. More on that later.
On the participation side of things, I was dismayed initially that the the site required registration to comment, and indeed found login laziness to be an insurmountable barrier when I later lost my password. I’d recommend opening up comments; metrics could still be obtained from IP addresses. I realize misbehaviour rises in direct proportion with anonymity, but all conversational roadblocks should be removed if Speak Up is to “grow the number of people involved” as Mayor Sam Katz requests. (more…)
Metrics—the ability to definitively measure the performance of your online endeavours (while peeking under the hood to see how many people are suffering on dialup with Internet Explorer, kill me)—are the funnest part of using and making new media. (If you’re working with a web marketing company and they don’t start out the strategic planning by determining your business goals and devising metrics to show how you’re going to meet them, run for the hills.)
You can imagine my delight to learn from my Google Analytics that some troubled, loser spirit reached my site by searching “pain of unfriending”. I hope my red-faced confession eased your suffering just a little, my socially awkward visitor!
Gird yourself for a mortifying tale of techno treachery, friends. Girded?
Ok. In my weekly perusal of Facebook friend’s friends to see who I might be missing being friends with (it’s an orgy of friendship up in here), I came across an ex-coworker who I just adore. We’ve been Facebook friends forever, since that first blissful wave of friendings back in the 1980′s. I thought “I shall be sociable and leave him a wall howdy!”, and scrolled through my friend list to find him. How nice of me, spreading wall sunshine. Scroll scroll. Wait. What the heck. He. Wasn’t. There.
Like dropping your laptop in the bathtub (both personally dismaying and electrically imprudent), a cold shock of disbelief rippled through my being. It appeared, I cringed, that I had been UNFRIENDED.
Now, I could have assimilated the sting of rejection and got on with my life had this been your run of the mill Facebook-friend-you-don’t-really-know-but-they-know-your-other-friend-and-you-met-them-once-outside-Starbucks kind of thing, but this was an actual capital-F Friend. Someone I like! Someone whose positivity and energy shines through their status updates like the glint off a unicorn’s horn! What went so very wrong that he couldn’t at least just “hide” me? (more…)
So, while the eventual goal will be search results that are local and profile-based to some extent (your friends talking about what you’re interested in), the first deals between Twitter, Facebook, Bing* and Google will focus on real time trending topics and authority, meaning someone with a lot of followers (or fans, or friends, presumably) will come in at the top of the results, and people’s interactions with brands (good and bad) will spread like so much melted Cheez Whiz**.
For brands, companies, and organizations, this means less direct control over messaging than ever. Your own site pages will not necessarily be the most important results when the real-time web is elevated to equal status with the “brochure web”. The opinions tweeted by your customers/users/whoever wants to say anything about you will be very visible when people search you. Customer service is your new brand experience and the resulting word-of-mouth is your new advertising.
A moment to ponder Heather Locklear, here.
So what’s a poor org to do? How do we “make sure” people are saying nice things about us? (more…)
Doesn't he just look like he can barely contain his brilliant tweet?
There’s a tweet in there somewhere! If you need a lovely blue bird to illustrate a pithy blog post you’re writing about Twitter, or something, feel free to download a big version of this illustration here.
Do you start your work day with Facebook and a coffee? Drop a tweet or two after lunch? You should. And your boss should eagerly foot the bill, because your social life lines can (positively!) affect his/her bottom line.
A recent study found that nearly 2/3 of employees hang out on social sites during work hours. These “time wasters” are thought to cost billions ($2.45 billion CDN, it has somehow been determined) in lost wages or revenue. Well over half (and some count it up to 70%) of employers block social network use at work, presumably to stymie these loafing time bandits.
Were they out? Lazy? Afraid of H1N1? Trying to encourage H1N1? Photo by Winnipegger & social networking star Ken Bond.
Did anyone else have, like, a really communal experience on Halloween? Not being a religious or family-get-together-heavy holiday (ie one parent at least has to stay home and be on candy duty), a lot of my social network were online. In the days of yore when we lived with our extended families and knew all our neighbours, that might not have mattered so much (and also would have been impossible, because the days of yore didn’t have the internet). But the solo urban existence we’ve got going now can be kind of isolating. Facebook broke down that barrier for me this year. (more…)
Tactica’s looking for an interactive developer who hearts Flash or Unity, and a senior web developer willing to bust some funky Droople moves. If you’d like to get busy building creative online stuff, check out these career opportunities and blast your resume over here.
Search engines like Google and Bing are racing to include real-time, “social” search results in their products. This means when you search for something, results connected to your friends will be displayed along with the kind of results you’re used to. The idea is you might find the opinions and resources of your friends more pertinent, or equally interesting, at least, as results from around the general web.
This will probably prove to be pretty neat, ultimately connecting us to our networks a little bit more. You’ll find out who among your friends is a good photographer, or writer, or really opinionated online and maybe where to get good coffee or the scoop on a shoe sale. On a local level that could be quite useful. It’s natural for people to trust peer recommendations – PR giant Edelman determined that “trust in “a person like me” increased from 20% in 2003 to 68% today”. Customer experience may adjust upwards accordingly, because word-of-mouth will be even more quickly and widely disseminated. Social proof—what “everybody’s” doing or saying—is awfully influential stuff, as marketers know. (more…)
Washing your hands: it’s the next best thing to getting vaccinated. Social networking IRL can be a dangerous, snotty business. Help prevent the spread of H1N1 this winter, among other narsty germs, by downloading this poster, printing it, and putting it up next to the grossest offenders at your workplace (or home, if things are really bad). Designed for & courtesy of Tactica Interactive Communications.
So went the status update of my brother-in-law, as his wall swelled with “Facebook told me to take pity on you and throw you a few crumbs of human contact” messages. I saw these olive branches when I, too, went there to leave him a little virtual high-five. I also noticed my great aunt is only “70% active”, whatever that might mean, and I wondered what social activity graph was being attached to my name out there in the ether. What’s the sweet spot between “I just come here to check my birthday wishes” and “I post 300 links a day because I’m 17 and work retail”? Am I a “100%” supernerd, my sad eagerness for conversation now painfully transparent? (more…)
Is aggregating your product’s lifestream the new brand website? Is Twitter the new black?
Witness Windows 7’s “what people are saying” social media mashup. Yep, someone’s even chronicling the OS’s debut on Flickr.You can’t get more wisdom-of-the-crowdsy, peer-influenced, he-said-she-said-recommendy than just aggregating your product’s lifestream & letting the users do the talking. What’s going to become of copywriters?
Of course Skittles kinda bombed with this approach last year when it was discovered that given the opportunity to mess with an intrusive brand, Twitterers will gladly take your hash tag on a terrifying unauthorized branding adventure. It helps to have a long awaited product like Windows 7 to get users excited, rather than having them focus on the execution as in the Skittles experiment.
Way to go, Microsoft – this is pretty darn useful! Blog posts, reviews, quick 140-char impressions. Having just got my latest Dell Vostro in July, I think I’m eligible for the free Windows 7 upgrade, and all this chatter is actually serving to get me excited!
Update: I’ve just learned the term for “aggregating your brand’s lifestream”: storystreaming. As in, telling your brand’s story by pulling in real time testimonials from the cloud.
These are strong validations of the worth of social media as information & marketing communication, and point to a future where our ambient networks will have even more influence over our decision making, from what brands to buy to where to vacation and what wine to drink while you’re there. (more…)