Category Archives: Social Media

A Few Thoughts on Facebook Places

Tonight, Facebook unveiled its new geo-location feature: Facebook Places. Here’s a quick video the company has put out to explain the new feature.

Now, for my thoughts:

  • I’m pretty excited for the unveiling of Facebook places. I’ve used Foursquare, a niche geo-location social network since March 2009 and I’ve definitely found it useful and fun. I think that many more people will be exposed to the concept of sharing their physical locations with their online social networks which will only add richness and value to all users.
  • I do think that there will be a backlash regarding privacy concerns. I don’t think that the general population is really ready to embrace this type of online/offline interaction. I give Facebook kudos by being proactive and explaining the privacy settings up front. Clearly, the company has learned its mistake of being too open with users’ data.
  • A huge win for Facebook places is its ability to also check users into Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp. This helps ensure that the early adopters who have built a community on those sites can migrate to Facebook and know that they will still be able to engage with those services.
  • Where are the women project managers in the video above? The video makes sure that the Facebook spokespeople are all culturally diverse but gender equality seems to be missing…

So, what do you think? Are you excited to try out Facebook Places? Concerned about how it may erode privacy?

An Interview on New Media (Part Three)

I was recently interviewed by Alexa Lee of The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, for an article she was writing about twentysomethings who are successful at using new media as business ventures. I have provided a sneak peak of the article below. (Please note: This is the last of a three part series –  Read part one and part two.)

What do you recommend for those trying to break into and incorporate web 2.0 and other technologies?

I have three tips that can help both individuals and organizations be successful in adopting these new tools:

First and foremost, don’t try to do everything and be everywhere right away. Start off small, perhaps by setting up a Facebook profile. Once you’ve really mastered one platform add something to your “regime” and then once you have a handle on the two, add another component, and so on.

Be consistent across all platforms. For example, pick one picture to represent you online and use that anywhere you are asked for a picture. Choose one form of your name – don’t go by Billy in one place and William in another. In essence, you are building an online identity. (This is easier for organizations – they should already have a brand identity established.)

Be aware that everything you put on the web can be found, so be on your best behavior at all times. That may seem like common sense, but when we’re typing on a computer and not talking to a person, we forget how much of our online activity is public. There was a recent case where a Ketchum VP insulted his Fedex Client through a Tweet and consequently tarnished his personal reputation as well as that of his firm. (A summary of the incident can be found here.)

Why does new media matter?

We used to have a physical water cooler around which we shared news, caught up on the latest gossip, and provided recommendations. With today’s distributed workforce and the resulting dispersed personal and professional networks, that activity has shifted online and the conversations we have are being facilitated by new media. In order to participate in the conversation, in order to provide your input, in order to raise awareness about you as a person, the organization you represent, or the cause you fight for, you have no choice but to use these new tools.

An Interview on New Media (Part Two)

I was recently interviewed by Alexa Lee of The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, for an article she was writing about twentysomethings who are successful at using new media as business ventures. I have provided a sneak peak of the article below.

(Please note: This is the second in a three part series – Read part one and come back next week to read two more questions that I was asked along with my answers.)

What do consumers want from new media?

New media has without a doubt shifted the consumer to corporation relationship. Before the emergence and, now, the continuing widespread adoption of new media, consumers were not empowered to speak about their experiences with different companies and their respective brands. Now, everyone is a journalist, a food critic, a photographer… Consumers want to be, as a whole, more active in their relationships with brands. If they don’t like something, they now expect that the company will listen to their complaint and do something about it.

A recent example of this was AT&T’s pricing structure when the new iPhone 3GS was released. AT&T customers thought the proposed prices were unfair and protested – through Twitter and blog posts. In the end, AT&T relented and modified its structure. That sort of interaction would not have been possible in the pre-new media era. (An example of the Twitter petition I referenced can be found here: http://twitition.com/f96aq.)

How is today’s communications environment different from even a year ago?

A year ago, the general public was becoming increasingly more aware that these new online tools existed, but I think the overall consensus was that it was just for the “youngsters”. There are a number of reasons why new media has exploded recently, but I think that the role of President Obama’s campaign in this revolution cannot be underestimated. The campaign did a great job of leveraging these new tools to create a community of active and vocal supporters. The resulting tangible, quantifiable success forced those working in marketing and PR roles to stop and consider integrating new media into their overall strategy.

Before, an online communications strategy most likely included creating content for a website and sending out periodic e-mails to an organization’s customers or constituents. It was very much just a “push strategy”, the thinking being, “we’re putting out the information we want and we think is valuable”. Now, it’s much more of a two-way street. The organizations that are seeing results from new media are those that are actively engaging their supporters – and even their critics.