Archives for posts with tag: Social media

Search engines are an odd field. Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t a unified term when you needed to search the internet for something. Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Google, and many other sites acted as a way to bring order to the internet by placing it into meaningful categories. Google won the battle by a landslide. It’s name even became a verb meaning to search the internet for something. Bing popped up a few years ago, and it is slowly adding features that allow it to do things that Google cannot. A few years ago, Bing started to integrate with Facebook to help users get their friends suggestions when going to a restaurant. Now Bing is fusing with Twitter to create a very different searching experience.

As of today, Bing has expanded it’s functionality to add Twitter searching to its growing list of tools. Anyone can search a Twitter handle or a hashtag to see what is all trending in Bing. You may be wondering why this could be even remotely useful, since Twitter already has its own searching system. This is speculation, but I can see this being useful in SEO, especially businesses that have an active social presence.

Let us say that someone starts tweeting at a business, and the business responds. Instead of that interaction being left only inside of Twitter, that now brings the company higher in search engine rankings. Because of the new search algorithm, the time a business now spends talking with their consumers online has a direct impact on how they will appear when people try to search them. This could be monumental in showing the impact of social media on a larger scale. This is bringing a way to categorize and display how a business interacts and helps its consumers, as well as bringing a documentation on how past problems were handled. However, this could be a double edged sword as well. If a business doesn’t have a strong following online, there is less a reason for consumers to interact with them, lowering their SEO rankings.

Overall, I’m curious to see what this new functionality will bring. It’s hard to take on the biggest search engine in the world, but given enough reason, there is a possibility that Bing could catch up, update by update.

 

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I realize I haven’t posted anything in awhile, and I really need to change that.  I shot myself in the foot by not trying to keep up on trends, and it took a post about curation to get me exciting about sharing again.  Mashable is excellent in stirring up thought, and one of today’s articles has done that quite well.  People don’t have to become a leader in writing original content to be relevant in the job market; sometimes they just need to know who and what is going on.  Posting original articles are useful, but that curation is still king.

Social media is cluttered by the me Me ME mentality.  Giving posts that are about sharing information or trends is seen as a way of helping others, as well as showing your expertise.  Sharing these articles helps to get you connected with the people who are making history in the industry, be it a thought leader or someone with a new ground breaking idea.  The constant barrage of updates can show innovation.  The curator knows what is going on, as well as who is trending.  Even without adding their own input, the curator helps to filter out not as relevant articles in favor of the new exciting ones.  By connecting with them, it helps to build a network which could be more valuable than the information they are sharing.  These connections may even get an invite to a Google Hangout or someone asking for input on a blog post.  There is nothing but gain with curating content, besides maybe friends asking why there are no pictures of cats in status updates.

Many have tried to document and categorize features for what it means to go viral.  These documentations include pictures, catch phrases, and how easy it is to share the object.  However, Mashable is rolling out something that may shake the very foundation on how things go viral.  They just released an app that claims to predict what internet trends will go viral and will email the user.  What does this mean for something going viral and the social media users?

 

Timing is one large aspect that many users gain if they are notified as something goes viral.  Usually an article or a video takes time to reach critical mass, but if the predictor works as intended, each user will be notified right as the application determines if an object will be viral.  Summing that up, we can reduce time for everyone to understand a trend and for it to become an internet meme.  This could bode well for places like Reddit where /r/adviceanimals constantly hit the front page, or even on Facebook in helping understand what people are posting or commenting.

 

However, something this amazing cannot come without a con.  Because it will be run by an algorithm, there will be ways to game the system to get articles artificially inflated and maybe give something exposure it does not deserve.  If people figure out how to abuse the algorithm, they can bring linkbacks to their sites in order to increase viewership and ad revenue from application emails instead of genuine shares. 

 

Due to a partnership with Samsung, the Mashable app is available on Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note 2.  It may extend out to other devices soon, but as it initially rolls out, these devices will be the prototypes that could pave the way of the future.  What are your thoughts on a program that can turn the future of viral into a system?

 

(Original article can be found here http://mashable.com/2013/08/15/mashable-velocity-android/ )

Why do people resist change?  No one really knows.  However, there are a few things we do know.  People are comfortable with what they know, and very uncomfortable with something new or something they don’t understand.  This mentality stifles innovation, and slows down progress in any major kind of department.

Looking at this through the social media lens, it is very easy to see why Google+ has seen such dramatic resistance.  Google+ entered the social media market at the peak of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  People had no way of describing Google+ as its own entity, so they did the only thing they could think of; compare it to other existing social networks.  It was seen as a fight toward Facebook for fans, not as professional as LinkedIn, and too content heavy for Twitter.  In the social media world, people only know what they are shown, and it is incredibly difficult to explain concepts we don’t even know we want yet.  Over the last year, Google+ has started to show its true colors; not as a social network, but as an integration with search and social.

Remember when Bing collaborated with Facebook to get social suggestions?  Google is looking to do that on an entire new level.  Making a Google+ account adds a place for a business, as well as reviews on the spot.  It compiles reviews from other sites, and marks on Google Maps where the business is.  It then allows you to talk to people about whatever you need.  Have an interest in something mainstream or something so eclectic that barely anyone knows about it?  Join a circle and message them, or even join a hangout where you can talk in real time.  Hangouts can even be used to record a long conversation, have it posted to YouTube, and have the conversation ready to be shared.

Small businesses fare well from Google+, but big businesses are even jumping on board and endorsing it.  Dorie Clark, CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and writer for the Forbes website, endorses Google+ as the next generation of social media; fusing search and social to create a one stop location for any potential need. Google+ offers other kinds of engagement found in few places.  Linda Sherman, the past CEO of ClubMed quoted “Google+ can give you access to influencers who might not notice you elsewhere…There is a nice spirit of camaraderie that people seldom feel with well-established platforms. Source” Three time entrepreneur Dave Llorens even vowed to stake his reputation that Google+ will prevail Source

What is stopping you from using Google+?  With it being from Google, it can only help your search rankings, and it is free to use.  Take five minutes, go to https://plus.google.com and set up your profile.  You will be happily surprised how easy it is to use, and make your mark in the growing thought leadership realm on Google.

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In doing my normal internet browsing, an article from a few years ago resurfaced itself on the Reddit front page and it caught my eye.  The article explains how playing action games video games brings a statistically significant increase in correct decision making skills, as compared to control games.  Here are the results of the study if anyone is interested http://phys.org/news203599948.html .  In any case, seeing this article got me thinking a little more on other results that can be gleamed from gaming.  Today I would like to extrapolate a bit further to explain why gamers make excellent analysts instead of simply basement dwellers.

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Pattern solving like a boss

Throughout most of the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 era, many successful games were action platforming games.  Because of the lack of memory the cartridges and compact discs had, bosses needed to be difficult with a specific method to finishing them.  Castlevania was extremely iconic with creating neigh impossible bosses at the end of each level…until you saw the pattern of their attacks.  Devil May Cry was absolutely grueling with bosses until you learned each and every one of their attacks and how to counter them.  Gamers can be very good at picking up patterns quickly, then finding what they can do to fight against the pattern.  Every three attacks he jumps?  Run under him and hit him in the back.  This applies to the business world as well.  Gamers are able to notice patterns and trends in data, and then quickly evaluate and figure out why that pattern exists.  We will then try new solutions until we find a working one without giving up. 

Grinding to that level up

Most anyone who has played a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game or a Final Fantasy title understands the need to do the same repetitive tasks over and over in order to gain experience for that next level.  Some people have even made careers doing this for gold to sell on eBay or get the best weapon drops for online auctions.  However, this translates to business settings too.  There is a reason for doing many tasks over and over; you get really good at them really quick and they prepare you for something later.  Paperwork becomes a breeze after practicing for a few hours, and gamers understand that.  We may gripe about having to do the same thing, but it would be hypocritical if we then went home to grind the same level for 3 hours in hopes of that one rare item drop or that next level.  Work is no different, do something well enough for long enough and you get noticed to level up or be promoted. 

While the negative perception of gaming fading due to the breaking down of hardcore and casual gaming, the negative stereotype of gamers still exists.  Television shows are starting to demonstrate successful people playing video games without being addicted, like Kevin Spacey playing Call of Duty in House of Cards.  Some shows maintain consistent inconsistency in how they portray gamers, like Big Bang Theory, in which the writers flip flop on positives and negatives of gaming.  In any case, pop culture has made gaming more acceptable, and I believe that gaming can create transferrable skills to the business setting. 

What are your thoughts in regards to gaming?  Can skills from games be transferred to the workplace, or are they just a hobby that many enjoy?

What is better than creating a product that people are willing to purchase?  Creating a free product that people get so attached to that they want to give money back to the creator.  The concept of freemium has been around for quite some time, but has taken some new steps to getting into the limelight.  With companies creating free blogs around their material and some games adopting a freemium concept to increase profits, I would like to argue that freemium is a viable business model that can work in many circumstances.

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Freemium plays well with the “try before you buy” mantra.  You have a chance to see what someone is offering and see if you like it before you dedicate to the product.  This can be done with a company’s service, like looking at Steve Van Remortel’s blog with Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream.  He uses his blog to help share his insights with business strategy in a no commitment setting, but also offers a book and strategic management services for anyone who is interested past his free advice.  Credibility is built by seeing the product offering and catching glimpses on how it work and from comments the post generates.  Overall it is a strong strategy for trying to push a name out to the greater populace.

Freemium is even better known in the gaming realm.  Facebook has helped to host many freemium games, with Farmville being one of the most successful.  While Farmville may be popular and have people wanting use their hard earned money to buy in game features, it does not quite generate the same momentum as a different internet sensation.  Riot Games has one of the strongest freemium models with their signature game League of Legends.  League is a multiplayer online battle arena game where players face off against each other to try to destroy the opposing team’s nexus.  It has over 100 different choices of playable champions, with ten free ones rotating each week.  Players can use in game points to unlock champions for good, or players can purchase champions to permanently add them to the roster.  Players can also purchase alternate arts or skins for the champions they love.  The entire game can be played by anyone for free, yet Riot has created a product in which people willingly pay money for things they could have gotten for free.  If that isn’t dedication and love for a product, I’m not sure what is.

What are your thoughts on freemium?  Do you see it as a marketing fad that will die off in a few years or a viable strategy that more companies will adopt in the future?

While the little pew pew of lasers from Galaga or the wonga wonga noise of Pac-Man may no longer be echoing through every arcade, the legacy of high scores remains.  People love seeing their name on the leaderboards and feeling like they have earned their place.  Gamification is a relatively new marketing phenomenon that takes basic actions that people do and assigns a point value to them, then allows users to compete for the high score.  Gamification is a growing trend and is claimed by Hubspot to be one of the 100 ideas that have changed marketing forever (source: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33689/10-Genius-Ideas-That-Changed-Marketing-Forever.aspx). 

Gamification draws down to some of the roots of human psychology and the science of sharing.  Why ask someone to share your content if they can create self-rewards for doing so?  The rewards only encourage more interactivity and engagement, building on the power of gamification.  Foursquare is an excellent app and example of usages of gamification.  Companies have started to use Foursquare as a means of rewarding their ambitious customers.  Starbucks gives discounts to whoever is the current mayor in that location, which is obtained by checking in the most and spending the most time in that location.  Starbucks also gives rewards for checking into multiple locations, which increases the likelihood of people wanting to check in.  Commenting on the drinks earns the user even more points, and sharing photos racks up more rewards as well.  Rewards can be virtual or physical.  Foursquare uses a badge system to show off everything you have earned, and companies can offer deals to customers who frequently check in or share their content. 

Gamification is not limited to apps like Foursquare.  Facebook and Twitter have forms as well.  One of the more recent ones done by Riot Games was the Mundo Face challenge.  Riot had people tweet in different pictures of people doing the Mundo pose, which is tongue out and eyes rolled back while mentioning Riot Games and using the hashtag #mundoface (if you want a good laugh, search #mundoface on Twitter).  It generated significant follows, as well as other gamers having a chance to connect with each other over fun pictures.  The winners were selected by Riot and given gift cards toward the game.  Overall it was a very successful campaign.

What are your thoughts on gamification?  Do you see it as a new way to encourage engagement or a gimmick that will die out in a few years?