Sunday, February 27, 2011

tap listen & talk

In chapters 4-6 of Groundswell, the authors discuss three important keys to success and strategies to achieve it. The topics covered include "tapping the groundswell", "listening to the groundswell," and finally "talking to the groundswell". Each is important, yet you will be stronger and more effective having a knowledge of all three skills.
 Once you have tapped the groundswell, considered your strategy and looked at the important objectives, it is time to pursue your success. I fully agree with the authors' view on listening to the groundswell, because your company is only as good as the consumer believes it to be. Listening to consumers by monitoring response to your brand is important not only because it provides feedback but because it allows you to create dialogue with the community and emerge yourself in the groundswell. This is where "talking" comes in.

When I read chapter 6, all I could think of was Facebook and the interaction I have with clients and users of the company I intern for. Every day I connect with them through Facebook and often on Twitter as well. This is has already become common practice for many companies and will only continue to do so with time. If a brand wants to be successful, especially with today's tech-savvy consumers, they must learn the importance of communicating with their audience and potential audience, giving themselves another way to expand and strengthen their business.

"Great Firewall of China" blocks LinkedIn

It's no secret that in recent years the Chinese government has put into place several blocks on social networking sites that would allow citizens to communicate and share information on an online community. The two largest and most internationally used websites that have been blocked throughout the nation for a while now are Facebook and Twitter. However, access to Twitter has been managed by those who have the skills and knowledge to hack in through private networks. According to CNN, the most popular way to access Twitter in China was through a loophole involving the very popular professional business-geared social networking site LinkedIn.
 The Government shutting down access to LinkedIn in order to prevent access to Twitter is yet another jab at the Chinese civilians who are being kept from communicating, sharing, and receiving news and information on the internet. Moreover, search engines such as Google are so heavily censored that it seems practically useless to use them in the first place.

Since the blocking, news of planned revolution protests are sprouting up regarding Chinese political activists eager to change the government. Any thoughts or predictions on the matter?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"new influencers" in the new world

In this ever-evolving world of social media, we are constantly finding new ways to find and share information. Many of us, myself included, get a large portion of their news from online sources, usually through links on Facebook and Twitter.
So how do you find sources of information? For starters, these people who are referred to as the "new influencers" in Brian Solis' article on the subject are not only sharers but listeners. They have a weighted network and a large following - popularity being an obvious marker of an online influencer. He or she must be an expert of sorts on their subject. For example, you wouldn't turn to Paris Hilton's Twitter account for information on interesting political matters just as you wouldn't trust an opinionated status update from John McCane about summer 2011's expected fashion trends.

The influencer may only be considered so when they have established themselves in their online community, doing so by two-way communication and networking with followers and those that they follow back. The ratio of followers-to-following is a good indicator that this is someone who not only shares but listens.

What makes these new influencers so important is the fact that we are in an age of opportunity and information. We are not just being fed the news; we are creating it, finding it, sharing it, and most importantly - discussing it. I myself have been inspired to become more influential in my web presence, though only time will tell if my skills and motivation to do so are up to par.

Reward for @MayorEmanuel

As is often the case these days with large companies or people in the public eye, Rahm Emanuel has a Twitter impostor causing a bit of a stir on the web. Over 31,000 followers read the mysterious tweeter's frequent posts displaying the possibly soon-to-be mayor of Chicago's inner monologue, complete with rampant cursing and political satire.
What sets this story apart from the rest is that Emanuel is taking action - he has offered an award in return for the identity of the impostor. While most politicians would likely be upset over the joke that is being played on him, Emanuel is taking it in stride and using it as a PR tactic to present himself in a positive light. The award won't be in cash - it will be a donation of $2,500 to the charity of the impersonators' choice, should he or she come forward to identify themself. With elections just around the corner this is the perfect time and the perfect scenario for the former White House chief of staff to show his human side and his sense of humor. He even claims to enjoy the impersonators tweets in an interview on the "Roe & Roeper" show.

The account is being run by a person with a knowledge of Emanuel's campaign agenda and schedule, as well as his notoriety for being a bit of a bad-mouth himself.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Facebook pages: hits & misses

In response to the chapter titled "Strategies for tapping the groundswell" in Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies, I found myself thinking about the sorts of interactions I have with businesses and companies through their Facebook pages.

For many companies, Facebook has been a priceless blessing. For instance, I am constantly intrigued by Facebook posts published by businesses which I am a fan of and often times interact with the posts. This works in their favor by ultimately getting me more involved in their business, i.e. spending money on their products or services. For instance, just yesterday I saw a post about a great happy hour deal at Shangri La and ended up meeting there with friends for the evening.

However, as mentioned in the chapter, Facebook pages can often backfire on a company and result in money lost and poor publicity. As in the case of Walmart, their Facebook page was meant to attract young people and promote their dorm room decor line. Unfortunately for the company, their Facebook page became a soapbox for a disgruntled community unhappy with the Walmart's business practices.

These sorts of hits and misses occur daily in the ever-evolving world of social networks. What is most important for companies is that they choose the appropriate channel and online format to engage in communication with their customers or audience and remember that this sort of communication on the internet is two-way. What the audience says will not always be what the company wants to hear.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The (new) News

Even though the percentage of the population who even has access to interactive tablets such as iPads is very small, companies are scrambling and spending millions to get their hands on the market of electronic tablet newspapers.

Last week, Rupert Murdoch spent $30 million dollars to launch The Daily, an iPad-only newspaper, says Julianne Pepitone of It will cost an annual $26 million dollars to keep it running. That's a lot of money for a newspaper with a fairly small potential audience, right? Well, according to industry forecasts, the ownership of tablets such as iPads is about to sky rocket. "Apple sold 14.8 million iPads last year, and its nearest rival, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, shipped 2 million devices" says Peptitone. A research firm called eMarketer predicts that in 2012, sales of tablets will reach over 81 million.

That's quite a leap, considering it is just now early 2011. However, with over 100 competitors of the iPad set to release their own tablet models by that time, it's certainly a possibility. With all of this change and flux in the digital age, what is to become of paper news? And for that matter, magazines? I thought Kindle was a silly idea when I first heard of it. Surely, no one would prefer a reading literature from a screen over the feeling of a good old fashioned hardcover book. Man, is my face red.


Facebook and Twitter have done a lot for me in recent years. They've kept me in touch with my friends around the country, reminded me of the names of people I met over the weekend, kept me up-to-date with birthdays, and led me to interesting websites through the help of friends' links. But has a social network site ever persuaded me to partake in a radical social revolution? No, and I doubt it ever could.

I fully agree with Malcom Gladwell's stance on social media's role in social change: while it may help to spread the word, online networks lack the trusting relationships and personal investments required of a social revolution. I can't tell you how many groups I've joined or online petitions I've signed for all sorts of worthwhile causes, from helping Darfur to supporting gay marriage. These are extremely important causes that are fully deserving of our time and energy, and my awareness of them has certainly been impacted by and benefited from social media. However, I cannot say that I would ever take my beliefs to the streets for a potentially dangerous protest or unorganized sit-in just because someone on Twitter who I met last year at a Christmas party invited me to do so.

I realize I may be coming off as abrasive, but the truth is nearly all of us are on the same boat. As Malcom Gladwell discusses in "Small Change," without the strong ties of interpersonal relationships that energize us to make a difference in the world, we are weak and divided in our attempts. We can thank social media for the endless opportunities it provides us with and the voice we are capable of finding on the internet, however, Twitter and Facebook can do little more than help us share our views, beliefs, and ideas. And of course, allow us a place to share links to the breaking news about social change breaking out and taking charge due to the energy of real human contact.