It’s no surprise that Facebook has issued another change to the hugely popular social media platform. I admit, I’m usually one of those “resistant to change – don’t touch my facebook layout” types, but I can completely get behind the recent changes Facebook has implemented. Mainly, because it gives Facebook Pages a broader reach, more options and the ability to interact with other pages and some personal users.
One of the key new features for a Facebook Page will make things a whole lot easier for Page owners and administrators. Basically, facebook page owners will be able to interact in ways previously only personal users could. Facebook Page owners and admins can comment on other pages as the page itself. This will increase Facebook Page interaction with users and allow a Page to make known their existence on Facebook in new ways.
Where before, a Facebook Page seemed to be just an abstract, bureaucratic company posting on various promotions, now Facebook Pages can feature their admins and put a face behind the Facebook Page. This will add depth and a personal touch will add to user interaction. Facebook Page admins will also be able to receive live notifications which will help with real-time interaction .
Page Owners will be able to “like” other pages and view their own news-feed similar to personal user pages. This will make it easier to keep current on what is going on on similar pages, pages of business partners or even competitors.
Photos and Layout. Since the new Facebook Pages layouts are similar to personal user accounts, you’ll notice that photos are at the top. This will prompt an opportunity for page admins to upload photos more often and change the scenery on their Page more often.
Since the layout is different, you’ll notice the “tabs” are now in the left margin. This does make them less noticeable to see, but the tab names will be able to be a bit longer.
Facebook Fan Appreciation
Now, when you look at a Facebook Page for a business and such, the feed automatically defaults to “Everyone”. So, instead of just showing what the Page/Organization has been up to, the new default settings show fan comments and posts as well.
The added variety and noticeable interaction lets other fans see how peers engage with your Facebook Page. High levels of interaction show an organizations efforts to be involved and how users view the organization in turn.
Overall, adding personal touches to Facebook Pages will ultimately increase a page’s views, fan base and promote user interaction – these are all great things for businesses and I’m happy about the changes.
As we come to the end of 2010, I’d like to take a look at the fastest growing segment of social media this year, Location.
There are 3 you should know, but you only need 2
Location is dominated by three major companies, Foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR. You only really need Gowalla and SCVNGR. Gowalla now allows you to check-in on Foursquare. All that means is you no longer have to choose between the two, and Gowalla has always been more fun and had more functionality, although Foursquare’s recent update evened that playing field.
As for SCVNGR, I see it becoming the eventual winner of all three. It gives users more freedom to create ways to interact with different locations, and is just more fun to use.
It will NEVER be okay to check-in to your house
Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, add your home to any of these services. This would also include never checking into your apartment complex or building. It’s irresponsible, dangerous and just plain STUPID. Get your home off these services ASAP if you were ignorant enough to create the location. It should go without saying that you should never add your friend’s home either.
Seriously, don’t be an idiot.
Privacy shouldn’t be an issue
Of course, you don’t want everyone to know where you are at all times of the day. Using these services effectively does not require you check in EVERYWHERE. The whole point of these of the check-in is to share an experience at or with a particular location. If you’re not in the sharing mood, don’t check in! 🙂
Share on Facebook and Twitter . . . sparingly
All of the apps will allow you to share your activity via Facebook and Twitter. #1 thing to know is you should turn off ALL automatic updates. Everything you do one these services is of interest to your friends and followers. Generally speaking, you only want to share those instances where there is a point to you being at a particular location. This is a really gray area, and one that even I don’t really get right all of the time. However, you need to go into using these apps with the understanding that sometimes the activity is for these apps only. Common sense should be enough for you to figure this out on your own.
Those people annoy me too
You, I, someone we all know are one of those people from time to time. And that makes the thought of checking in everywhere you go another opportunity to be one of those people. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I have started using Gowalla and SCVNGR more and more. My tip for you here is to check in BEFORE you walk into somewhere. Before leaving your car, do all of your checking in.
One of the goals of these services is to provide insider information for different locations like bars and restaurants. What to order, what to drink, etc. If you take the time to peruse this information BEFORE you walk in, you look that much better when you walk in like you own the joint.
Always remember, Location, Location, Location
The purpose of these services is to share your experiences at a particular location. Use them when those stories happen. Have a great meal? Share a special memory? Share it with your friends! And as always, HAVE FUN!
It seems there may be a storm a brewingâ€¦ or maybe (hopefully) a change in the nonprofit donation policy from Apple.
With Beth Kanter’srecentblogposts shining a light on Apple’ s policy barring solicitations of donations by nonprofits groups’ many nonprofit focused individuals as well as plain ol’ big heart-ed folks are getting behind a campaign asking Steve Jobs and Apple to change their ways. In fact, donation lovers to the tune of 6000+ (at time of post) have already signed a care2 petition asking Apple to ‘Support Our Great Nonprofits.â€
A Little Background
Jake Shapiro kicked the hornet’s nest a few months back with what Beth calls a ‘must-read editorialâ€ outlining his position that Apple’s reasons for not allowing nonprofit donations aren’t reasons at all, but rather just excuses. Next, Beth threw down the gauntlet announcing when her contract is up she is switching to the more nonprofit friendly Android, where none of the in-App donation challenges apply (I, for one, am certainly in love with mine.) Finally, with the help of Sue Ann Reed from Care2, a petition was created and Beth is rallying the troopsâ€¦ ‘Send Steve Jobs A Message: Let Us Give Donations on the iPhone.â€
Soâ€¦ What’s Next?
Well, if you are like most of the folks out there whose smartphone is becoming more and more a part of their lives and you would like yours to help you connect to the causes you care aboutâ€¦ go sign the petition here >>
Thenâ€¦ we wait and observe. It will be interesting to see if a group of users can use the social media tools of today to make a company change their product and the way they do business. We keep saying in our social media trainings that marketing has changed to a two-way streetâ€¦ the power is now truly in the hands of the people. I am curious to see just how this one turns out?
1. exemplifies a unique quality; awesome; incredible
2. An expression from the mid 1950s, which fell from favor by the early 1960sâ€¦.until now…
What does August mean to you? If you said football season, well I’d say you just earned yourself a gold star. Simply put, the world is a better place when you spend 10 consecutive hours, every Sunday, watching the gridiron madness.
This year more than ever, we have the ability to be a part of the game via Twitter- witnessing a player’s thoughts pre-huddle, during the 60 and after the stadium has cleared. We are not just following bloggers who love the sport; we are following the guys down on the grass, feeling the pressure in the red zone. You will find that some players will inspire, others will talk trash and the majority will misspell common wordsâ€¦but collectively, their micro blogs Twitter streams are most definitely boss.
Terrill is the Defensive Tackle for the Seattle Seahawksâ€¦and let’s not kid ourselves, he’s a whole lotta’ man. While he is not on the football field, he plays in a band surprisingly called, The Craig Terrill Band.
Seahawk bowling day. I am on track for a perfect 300 right now. Poundsâ€¦that is.
If Sanchez doesn’t pull this game out he always has ‘Entourage’ to fall back on.
If you loved him on Dancing with the Stars then you will most certainly love following Ochocinco – a lover, fighter and designer shoe connoisseur. While I commend his efforts, there will never come a day where I will take a man seriously with a reality show called, “The Ultimate Catch.” Get it? He’s a wide receiver and he catches the ball…you’re so clever Chad.
If you are living in Houston and want to literally follow a local player – Brian Cushing is your man. He will keep you up-to-date on exactly where he is at all times which leads me to believe he is unaware of his 10,777 followers . Come on Cushing, we all know there is only one bowling alley in Bellaire (Palace Lanes).
Bowling w/ the team over in Bellaire.
Ok, your turn – tell me about an NFL player that keeps you entertained via Twitter!
Wind insurance in coastal counties is difficult to get. Alternatives include obtaining a homeowner policy excluding wind, then applying for wind insurance through organizations like the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
*Expert Tip: 45-35% of hurricanes happen in areas that aren’t expected to have them. Once an area is under threat from a storm, insurance companies issue a moratorium and halt the purchase of policies. It’s important to stay current on your payments as you may not be able to reinstate your policy during a moratorium.
Expect power outages during Hurricane and Tropical Storms
Have a plan that anticipates extended power outages from Severe Weather
*Expert Tip: Air conditioning accounts for about 70% of electric bill. To reduce your bill, raise the thermostat or turn off the a/c when you’re not home. Also, change filter every month and use ceiling fans to keep air flowing freely.
Think Ahead for Emergency Planning
Have an actual road atlas in case you need to evacuate. Map applications on your phone may not work due to communication overload and the need to preserve power.
Consider services like Yammer.com that allows you to communicate via mass text message for communicating with employees.
Families may consider Geni.com for locating loved ones following a disaster. It’s not uncommon to lack important details about family members, neighbors or loved ones.
*Expert Tip: Cell towers have their own power generators that permit text messages to work when data packages on cell phones don’t. If you can’t access social media sites via mobile web apps, you can communicate by texting to sites like Twitter. This will alert people outside your area who can use the web interface that you’re ok.
For more information, contact the Schipul offices for help with your social media consulting for your small business or family plans.
The Bill White for Texas campaign has created a Bill White birthday card for the former Houston mayor posted Wednesday (happy belated, Bill!). The idea is that visitors can ‘give Bill hairâ€’ add famous hairdos to a smiling photo of Bill.
The more people who signed the card by filling out a form (email, name, zip code, message for Bill)’ the more hairdos the community ‘unlocked.â€ Hairdos include Texas celebs Ross Perot, Yao Ming, Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Beyonce, and… once the card reaches the goal of 25,000 signatures, you can add the one and only coiffure of Rick Perry to Bill’s bald head. Don’t forget that Rick’s hair infamously has its own Twitter account @govperryshair.
I love this campaign because it’s a great way to encourage people to share the website with their friends, and for the White team to connect with thousands of potential voters in a fun way. Mad props to the Bill White team!
I think Bill might just have inspired me to get a haircut myself this weekend… Happy Friday to all!
There has been a LOT of discussion about Facebook’s policies regarding your personal information on the web. The web site ReclaimPrivacy.org has launched a privacy scanner for you to use to see if any of your personal information is vulnerable on the web.
These directions on how to scan your profile are also available on the website:
A series of six scans will be run on your profile.
Anything that rates below Good (green) will be flagged and will provide you links to those relevant privacy settings to change.
I initially received two Cautions (yellow) that I was able to tweak to attain Good ratings across the board. It is advisable you make the same tweaks to your settings to maintain the same level of security. We also recommend you encourage all of your friends to scan their own profiles.
Facebook, for right or for wrong, has taken a lot of flack for not protecting users’ personal information. However, all of these issues can be resolved if users take personal responsibility for their privacy settings. If you fail to take proper care of your privacy settings, you are leaving you and your friends’ personal information vulnerable on the web.
Well, Twitter is all a-twitter this morning about their big announcement to finally make some money via ‘Promoted Tweets.â€ In a casual (if a bit vague) blog post, co-founder Biz Stone lays out the high level points of the program Q&A style with promises of more info today from COO Dick Costolo at the AdAge Digital Conference. So while we all wait in eager anticipation for more specific information about the program, here are the bullet points:
The program will be introduced in phases. As Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle’s TechBlog points out, phase one will leverage Twitter’s most valuable asset’ the data of its more than 20 million users, ‘Twitter’s real value lies in the aggregated information of its estimated 22.3 million users, surfaced by search, so it makes sense that the company would turn to this strength to make money.â€
In phase one ‘Promoted Tweetsâ€ will show up only for searches on Twitter itself. No Promoted Tweets on Twitter apps yet.
If you perform a search on a particular term that is relevant to one of the companies paying for the Promoted Tweet service, like those Google Sponsored Links at the top of a Google search, a tweet from the paying company will be displayed at the top of the search page. The New York Times article ‘Twitter Unveils Plans to Draw Money From Adsâ€ has a pretty fleshed out example of this using Starbucks,
Starbucks, for instance, often publishes Twitter posts about its promotions, like free pastries. But the messages quickly get lost in the thousands of posts from users who happen to mention meeting at Starbucks.
‘When people are searching on Starbucks, what we really want to show them is that something is happening at Starbucks right now, and Promoted Tweets will give us a chance to do that,â€ said Chris Bruzzo, vice president of brand, content and online at Starbucks.
In order for a Promoted Tweet to hold its ground at the top of the search page, it’s gotta resonate babyâ€¦ people don’t click it, retweet it, engage with itâ€¦ it’s outta there. And Twitter will be following the results in order to tweak the programâ€¦ again like Google with its ever evolving, mysterious, and infamous algorithm.
Twitter says these are not ads’ ‘Since all Promoted Tweets are organic Tweets, there is not a single ‘ad’ in our Promoted Tweets platform that isn’t already an organic part of Twitter. This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising. Promoted Tweets will also be timely. Like any other Tweet, the connection between you and a Promoted Tweet in real-time provides a powerful means of delivering information relevant to you at the moment.â€
First takers, or ‘partnersâ€ include: Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America
Next up? According to the Times, ‘[Twitter] will show promoted posts in a user’s Twitter stream, even if a user did not perform a search and does not follow the advertiser.â€ This leaves me wondering if a post to Twitter about the overwhelming Houston pollen count induced allergies this season will elicit a Claritin tweet inserted into my stream. Twitter is the most vague about phase 2 stating, ‘Before we roll out more phases, we want to get a better understanding of the resonance of Promoted Tweets, user experience and advertiser value.â€
So there it is folksâ€¦ I reserve final judgment until I actually see it IRLâ€¦ (Update: I couldn’t post to the blog fast enough and Mashable reports Promoted Tweets are already showing up for limited searches) I think phase 1 will go by with lots of initial fan fare, may even trend for a bit, and then will fall into the obscurity of the already accepted and ignored ads that float in the periphery of the likes of sites such as Google, Facebook, The New York Times and even National Geographic. I am curious to see how much traction Promoted Tweets will actually gain. I myself don’t spend much time on a search.twitter.com‘ though over coffee in the break room this morning I learned of few co-workers who do use twitter search as their almost exclusive local search tool.
Phase 2 however, has me itching already to get my feathers all ruffled up. I am trying to maintain my calm composure, with a ‘wait and seeâ€ attitudeâ€¦ but I gotta letcha know I feel pretty dang partial to my twitter stream being my own. I don’t really have much love for the bullying bull-horn approach of most advertising campaigns and I feel like in the world of social media – where personal brands are more important than big brand loyalty and famous personalities have more followers than global news organizations – there is not going to be a great big love fest should Twitter choose to place paid tweets from mega-brands into the streams of its users.
For more on Twitter Promoted Tweets take your eye-balls on over to:
Unless you are a huge, die-hard fan of our favorite search engine, you probably had no idea Google was creating a new software product. And that it would take over our inboxes and (inadvertently) share our lives with everyone. Welcome to Google Buzz.
WTF is this Buzz thing?
Google Buzz is a new product from Google that lets you share things. If you use Google Reader, then you will likely recognize the interface. The two both include a list of posts with information like who it’s from, when it was shared, and a list of comments below each item. It is strikingly familiar in design to FriendFeed, your Facebook Newsfeed, and in some ways, Twitter. All include shared updates from friends with the option for additional feeds and pictures/video.
Buzz is almost identical to Friendfeed in the way it allows you to merge outside services like Blog Feeds, Twitter updates, and Google Reader shared items into one constant stream of sharing. To add these settings in Buzz, you must first have configured a Google Profile (you have that setup, right?). Then, after your feeds are added there, Google Buzz will allow you to add them to Buzz by selecting them from the Connected Sites link in Buzz. While allowing you to share things and see your friends’ shared things, you can also add comments on anything. You can follow along with the conversation and even have new comments show up in your Gmail inbox.
The big difference in the Google service is that you already start out following everyone in your Google Contacts, which often includes people you may have emailed once or twice in the past few years. For most of us, this is a huge concern because we are now sharing things with people we never intended to share with.
If you have a phone like the iPhone or an Android phone, then Google Buzz will also share your location. This has been done by other services, but it is a major privacy concern for this opt-out service.
The Opt-Out and Privacy Concerns
Opt-out services, where you are automatically signed up, are usually not great for you (with the exception of 401ks). You get hooked into something that you never chose to use. Instead of giving Buzz it’s own URL and special place on the web, Google just stuck it in your Gmail inbox. Everyone was signed up without a great explanation of Buzz. You have to manually go in a either remove people from your contacts or block them.
Lets use an analogy. Imagine if, when you first signed up for Facebook and entered in your high school and class year, you automatically became friends with everyone else from your class. Except Facebook didn’t tell you or give you an option to opt-out of this. Facebook wants to get you started building friends so it adds some for you. They think they are helping. And now, you have to un-friend hundreds of people that you don’t care to share your life with anymore.
Google thinks they are doing us a favor, but I don’t feel helped very much. The privacy settings on Google Buzz are granular, meaning everything can be set to private, but you have to hunt and search to find out where. Harriet at Fungitivus ran into this problem. All of her Google Reader shared items were instantly exposed to anyone in her “recent contacts”, which contained many old email addresses from random past emails. Google Reader is public by default, but no one may have been viewing it if you were using it on a private email account. Buzz now exposes this to all of your recent contacts.
The privacy settings are all available to be turned off or configured specifically, but the notion of being set to public by default is not cool. Facebook has run into troublelike this before and has had to scramble to fix things. I have faith that Google is already working on a better all-out admin interface for settings, but nothing like that has been released yet.
Getting rid of the Buzz
You can set all of your Connected sites to be private by setting them as such when adding them. To update your Google Reader settings, you have to open the sidebar, click the + on the People you follow list, and click sharing settings. Chances are your shared items are set to Public (the default). You can view a list of people following you and Block them by default if you wish. But, you must do this individually. Business Insider has a nice walk-through to make some things private.
You can also set anything you do to private, and select a group of people to share with. These groups come from Google Contacts, which many people may not use unless they sync them with a mobile device. They are editable within Gmail. By not connecting any sites, blocking all of your “followers”, and unfollowing everyone, you can effectively get off of Google Buzz. But it will still exist right next to your inbox in Gmail, at least for the time being. UPDATE: Mark from the comments tell us that you can simply turn off Buzz in the Gmail footer. Thanks for the tip!
Implications of Buzz
With Buzz, I see Google trying to be the central hub for online human interaction. It’s the place you email, chat, use documents, share pictures and links, and now bring in some of your outside services. Google is very late to the party, as many of these kinds of services have been done by other companies. The idea of having everything in one place is wonderful, but even that has been done before to limited success.
Google is a bit different, though. They already have many of us hooked into their services. If you were on Twitter two years ago, or joined facebook three years ago, then I’d bet money you are using Gmail. If you know how to subscribe to RSS feeds, then you are likely using Google Reader. Google already has us using their services, and they are betting with Buzz that we will choose to use Google for even more.
However, not everything can be done with Buzz, which is the beginning of the problem. I recently moved to Tumblr for sharing things online, and I can’t find a way to bring that feed into Buzz. You also can’t bring in Facebook updates, but that is due to Facebook’s sharing policies and not Buzz. People that are already using other sites like Friendfeed will not come over willingly, since Buzz only replicates that service and doesn’t add much visible value. The hidden change is in using the data power of Google to decide what is Signal and what is Noise, and how that distinction is different for everyone. That will take some time to come through, which is why I’m not yet buying into Buzz.
Final Thoughts on Buzz
One of the reasons that Facebook is successful is that it connects you with Real People, not just with online personas. Almost all other services allow people to create personas and hide behind them. Facebook strips most of that away, so that who you are on Facebook is closely related to who you are offline. By tying users to their email address, Google has the opportunity to do the same with Buzz. I can “follow” celebrities and such in Buzz, but seeing the enormous string of comments will be overwhelming and unhelpful. Instead, I will follow people that I know in the real world.
This online persona/offline Real Person is a big distinction. You may be a fan of a teeny-bopper pop singer, but you probably don’t want to send them pictures of you grandkids. The privacy settings in Buzz can be used to share different things with different people, which is a great feature once you setup your groups. And after some time of seeing what your Buzz friends share, you can parse your list into a readable stream of interesting information.
I am generally a big fan of Google, but Buzz may take some time to get used to.