Sunday, March 27, 2011

where social media & PR collide

In chapters 3-6 of Engage, Brian Solis discusses our use of social media and the "next web" and their implications on our lives.

In our expanding world of social media, which most of us practically live our lives on, there exists many words, terms, and phrases having having to do with the practices of our online network activity. Solis brings to mind the fact that it is important that we not overuse or misconstrue such terms or they will lose their meaning or take on new ones.

The term "next web" refers to blogs, wikis, podcasts and the like. Far and wide people, corporations and organizations are mastering the fine art of the next web to their public relations advantage. Doing so can veil the fact that it is actually the person/corporation/organization behind the online project, like in cases of blogs that seem to personal to be corporate, or wikis that support a specific company or organization because it is actually their property and under their direction.

Engage has given us a lot to think about in our world of social media. I'm sure I will think twice next time I see a company-driven blog or wiki or misuse a word associated with networking.

Social Networking gets "Colorful"

A new social media application is causing quite a buzz, even though most people don't actually know what it is - or how to use it.

Color is the newest way to share and compare photos of what you're doing in real time. What sets this social network apart from others is that there is no "checking in" to a location, and it is not dependent on a friends list or followers; it revolves solely on where you are at the moment of your photo upload. Your photo is then shared with everyone in the vicinity. An interesting twist is that there are no privacy controls - whatever you share will be shared with everyone around you.

With Color, you can keep up with the happenings of those around you in real-time. However, what exactly is the point? In essence, it seems that you will only be sharing (bragging) your fun night to strangers who happen to be in the same geographic vicinity as you. That, or you will be checking your Color app only to find that everyone else around you is having a much better time than you are.

Something to think about: the advent of this technology causes us all to wonder about the effects it will have on our real lives. Much like people being fired due to questionable tweets or finding trouble getting hired after years of irresponsible Facebook use, won't Color's lack of privacy settings land you in hot water?

On the other more positive hand, this technology could in theory be extremely helpful and even groundbreaking for uses more serious than boasting about your fun night on the town or whatever silly antics you're currently getting into (not that those aren't enjoyable and post-worthy). Considering the recent social movements such as the uprising in Egypt or even the marches to support Planned Parenthood taking place across our nation, an application such as Color could be extremely useful in connecting and sharing to promote a common cause.

With so many possible consequences/exciting opportunities yet so little experience with this new application, it will be very interesting to see what will become of Color.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Word of Mouth

While reading the Groundswell chapters 7 & 8, I found myself reflecting a lot on my own personal experiences with the subject matter. The chapters discuss energizing the groundswell and the importance of word of mouth. I find this to be extremely true, especially in the last couple of years.

As new technology and websites have developed, it is easier than ever to share praises and warnings with other consumers. Yelp especially is coming to my mind. Other sites, such as Make Up Alley, have become little addictions of mine as well. Yelp provides rating systems and review comments for establishments while sites such as Make Up Alley provide a space for consumers to share reviews on specific brands and products. I find myself relying heavily on user reviews before I spend money on a product or dine out at a new restaurant. Most of the points made about energizing the groundswell and the importance of word of mouth really resonates with my personal outlook, and I feel it is safe to assume the same for my peers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

@CharlieSheen joins Twitter, world watches in excited horror

"America's Bad Boy", Charlie Sheen, has joined Twitter. If this doesn't interest to you, I'll assume you have been living under a rock in recent days/weeks/years.
Charlie Sheen's wild antics, rants, and less-than-sober lifestyle has landed him in the spotlight as well as in some hot water. Celebrity-obsessed America has been following his every move starting a wave of speculation and dialogue as to his drug use, at-home rehabilitation, and outrageous remarks on national television. His hit show "Two and a Half Men", for which he is now the highest paid TV actor in the nation, has even been shut down for the remainder of the season due to his recent escapades. So what's the best plan of action for Mr. Sheen? Probably not to start a Twitter account.

Earlier today, @CharlieSheen was verified thus confirming that the account is really him. According to Gawker, the Twitter account is "gaining followers at a rate of approximately 500/second" - even though he has yet to post a single tweet or set up any profile information, including a picture. The Huffington Post also reported that at one point, the account gained 4,812 followers in 60 seconds.

So I am wondering: why on earth would Charlie Sheen be allowed to create a Twitter account? Wouldn't his PR people stop that immediately considering his outlandish, ridiculous tendencies? Sure, it will be extremely entertaining to watch, but won't it likely lead to lots of embarrassment for him and possibly cause damage to his career?

Oh, his publicist quit on Monday. That explains it.