Archive of ‘Social Media’ category

Google Music

Discover. Shop. Listen. Organize. Share.

Google Music is the pixie dust that Google needed to sprinkle over their products to take them to the next level. Although it’s not yet available in Canada, Canadians are able to take a virtual tour of the product. I had a look through today and I am really liking what they have to offer.  It made me swoon all over again for Google. I had/have a bit of a love/indifferent relationship with Google+. I understand that it has its place in the market and I see the value that its integration with other products like Google Docs has.  But, today is the first day that I was actually excited about Google+ because music was the deal maker…

The consumption of music via radio is declining (many would argue that this is because radio has turned into a device that replays the top 10 most annoying songs over and over…but that’s besides the point ). People, including myself, now flock to services like Pandora and Jango to help them come across new bands and musicians. I actually prefer this type of service to something like GrooveShark, where you create your own playlist. If it weren’t for Jango, I may have completely missed the boat on Bon Iver, Soko and Kate Nash. Google Music promises to recommend you music that you’ll like and this adds a lot of valuable people like me, who are old school radio fans and who have now become jaded because we’re sick of what traditional radio has turned into.

The shop and listen features seem to work like iTunes, only Google Music tells users that there is no need for syncing or wires…This could be interesting, only I don’t have an Android device so it may not have any effect on me. When it comes to organizing, you can upload and store your music library (up to 20,000 songs). You can also share selected songs with your Google+ followers and they can listen to the track once (for free) or purchase it. This is a really nice feature because as much as I love iTunes sometimes I feel like Michael Scott from The Office when he keeps replaying that 30-second preview clip of “Goodbye my Lover” because he only wants a taste…

Well done Google. Now please come to Canada so that we can rock out.

- Sarah

 

To tweet or not to tweet…

I want to know what your take is on live tweeting at events and conferences. Do you tweet at these events? Do you think it’s rude to the presenter? Are you too lazy? Do you think it’s valuable?

Recently, I was at a social media conference and the topic of live tweeting came up. Although this practice isn’t new, it seems like people are still pretty split on whether it is useful/beneficial or not. I’m very interested to hear feedback on this, because to be honest, I’m still undecided on how I feel about it. When I attend an event, I’ll almost  always “check in” via Twitter, Foursquare or Facebook. I then check to see what the word is on Twitter by looking up the hashtag and scanning the comments. That’s usually when I decide if I will be actively tweeting or not… I see it like a party.  If I see a lot of people dancing and it looks like fun then I’ll join in BUT, I don’t want to be the crazy lady who’s busting a move by myself on the dance floor while everyone else looks on…

My usual approach as an audience member is to tweet once in a while. I’ll usually highlight an aspect that surprised me, or I’ll single out a speaker that I was impressed by, or submit questions (if they are accepting questions via Twitter). I don’t usually tweet all of the facts and info that is communicated because I feel like I may miss out on what’s actually going on in the room.

I’ve often come across interesting facts on Twitter and clicked on the hashtag only to see that there is an awesome conference/webinar that I was missing. I appreciate when attendees live tweet content because I can benefit from the information (without being there). These types of people have a very special skill and fast fingers for typing so fast!… The other side of the argument is, can you really benefit from these tweets if you don’t have the full context of the presentation? Do 140-character facts really provide value? Or is it perpetuating a world where we overuse buzz words that no one really understands (except for the lovely folks who contribute to Wikipedia).

As a presenter, I don’t think that it’s rude if someone live tweets during my presentation. It can be a little distracting at first when you see so many audience members “playing” on their phones, but it’s always nice to read the feedback after on Twitter.

So…what’s the word?…

- Sarah

 

Social Media in the Public Sector

Hope that you can join me for this special webinar, that’s being presented by the Conference Board of Canada.

We’ll be touching on the following topics:

  • What is social media
  • Trends
  • Core tools
  • How to develop your strategy – goals, tactics, monitoring
  • Top 5 reasons for failure and how to safeguard your plan
  • Supporting special initiatives
  • Setting the rules

Feel free to send over your questions before hand.

Cheers,

Sarah

WINDdecoder

I’ve been in a bit of a “blah” mood lately. Most people are, with the end of summer here at our doorstep. This morning I came across a Facebook application that is making me excited to go online again! The app is : WindDecoder by Wind Mobile.

The concept is simple. The application translates ‘new school’ lingo into ‘old school’ definitions. Users can also add their favorite phrases and definitions within seconds. I like to call this app the PG/texting version of the urban dictionary.

Fun and relevant apps are a great way to “energize” your fans and audience. It’s also a great way to increase traffic to your respective sites and build brand awareness. The key items that many companies overlook when developing an app are:

  1. Simplicity:  Is it simple enough for someone with little or no knowledge of your brand/company to use?
  2. Does it serve the purpose that it was created for? Is it useful? Fun?
  3. Can you explain the concept of the app in under 20 seconds? Make sure that the vision is clear.
  4. Accessible: Is it accessible? Can it be used on a variety of operating systems? Languages? Browsers?

Due to the specialized skills required for developing apps, I find that many companies choose to use external professionals.  Whether you use someone in-house or external, make sure that you are clear when you  communicate your vision with them.  Encourage your team to offer suggestions and ask questions, because these can really help improve your overall product.

How private is too private?

I once had a Sociology prof who regardless of what the question/problem was, always found a way to blame it on the media. Today, we have a new scapegoat : Social Media. Social media and BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) are being credited with helping rioters mobilize in the UK. Research in Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry, are now in the spotlight while people debate whether or not they should turn over their customer’s chat logs and records to the police so that they can use them to assist in tracking down looters. To make matters even more volatile, one of RIM’s blogs was hacked by a group warning the company not to cooperate with the police.

How private is too private? Should RIM turn over their customer’s private information? Or, should they “protect” their customer’s right to privacy by not offering up this information?

While I’m not familiar with the laws in the UK, if this were to happen in Canada the general rule of thumb for companies is that they require legal authorities to submit a production order or warrant. A production order requires the owner of documents to make available specified documents to persons such as law enforcement officials within a specified period. This request needs to be very specific and include what information is needed and why it is required. This request goes before a  Justice of the peace and is evaluated. Once a decision has been made, the company must comply otherwise they will be impeding an investigation, which can result in heavy fines or jail time.  Believe it or not, there is actually a portion of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that recognizes individual’s rights against self-incrimination.

Ning may be on the market

The World’s largest platform for creating social websites may soon be sold. Word has it that Ning has been talking recently to a large pool of companies about selling itself. Potential buyers include Google, Groupon and who knows…maybe even Justin Timberlake after his recent co-purchase of MySpace.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ning, here is the lowdown: Ning is very popular, because the platform allows people, companies and bands to launch their very own social network (known as Ning Networks). Often it is personalized with the company or artist’s branding so you probably won’t even realize that you’re using it. Among the users are: Linkin Park, Twilight Saga, and the Dallas Mavericks. The service also allows customers to charge for membership or monetize off of advertising.

Needless to say, you put all of these Ning Networks together and you wind up with a widely used platform that includes users from a variety of different demographics. Although management has had to evolve with the market, it seems as though they had found their “happy place” in a somewhat saturated market.

Google+

Whether you love it,  hate it or just don’t understand it Google+ is creating waves in the social media industry.  Many are calling it the “game changer” that social media needs that will take it to the next level.  Although, Google states that it’s purpose is not to compete with Facebook or Twitter a part of me disagrees. Yes, it’s true that the purpose of the tool is different but Google+ is competing against other social networking tools for your attention.

So far, Google+ has a lot going for them:

  • Accessibility: Many businesses still ban Facebook at the office. Also, many small to medium sized businesses have started using Google Apps for email, communication and collaboration.
  • Integration with GoogleDocs: If you have ever had to track changes and then lost track of what the latest version of the document is that you’re working on is, then you will love GoogleDocs. I began using several years ago, while working on a group project for my PR certificate and fell in love. You can access, share and edit projects simultaneously. You also have a lot of exporting options. Think about how easy this will make working on projects when you can collaborate so easily.
  • Video Conferencing: Would you like a cost effective way to video conference people in far away lands? What makes this even more intriguing is that you don’t have to install anything on your system, so your IT colleagues won’t have a fit.
  • Google+ and Latitudes: I never installed Latitudes on my iPhone or BB because it was a little too “Big Brother-esque”  for my liking. Essentially, it allows people to see exactly where you are and tracks your phone’s movement.  You don’t have to “check-in” like on Foursquare or Facebook Places.

Just some food for thought… Keep an open mind and always make sure that whatever you share is ok for public consumption!…

- Sarah

 

Facebook Video Chat

Although summer is well underway, the world of technology and social media has been busy with launches, acquisitions and a healthy dose of drama.

Yesterday, Facebook released in a very anticlimactic fashion that yes – they were launching video chatting à la Skype. Twitter has been buzzing with rumours about this for the last month or two, so when Facebook confirmed that this was the topic of their very “Awesome Announcement” I was a little disappointed. Partially, because it felt a little like old news and also because video chatting is already a service that is available. The only thing cool is that it’s now integrated into Facebook…and even that doesn’t wow my socks off. I don’t think that this will change my video chatting habits, but only time and social media market researchers will be able to tell.

Despite this, I was very excited to read Facebook’s 5 Rules Of Etiquette For Facebook Video Chat. This just about made my day and almost ignited a new found excitement for me about Facebook’s video chatting launch. Aside from being great tips for video chatting on Facebook, they’re important life lessons… ;) Enjoy!

Among the suggestions, are:

  • If someone isn’t interested in video chatting, lay off!
  • Try to be camera-ready and don’t look as if you’ve been bobbing for fries. No one wants to sit and chat with someone who gives them the heebie jeebies.
  • Keep your clothes on unless the other party asks you to take them off! And don’t disrobe if you don’t want to!

Senuti

Although style differs among us, most designers, editors,  and artists can agree on one thing – Go MAC or go home!

Last week, I upgraded my loyal G4 to the latest iMac (27″!). Fast, sleek, sexy and easy on the eyes…  The transition has been smooth sailing. Before packing up my G4, I wiped off the hard drive while doing some diagnostic testing. I always save my video projects to an external drive, but what I neglected to do was transfer my iTunes music folders. The horror!… Luckily enough, I came across this great tool called Senuti. It lets you transfer your music from your iPhone or iPod to your MAC.

The nice thing is that they give you a free 30-day/1,000 song trial. Within minutes, I was rebuilding my iTunes Library. To the Senuti developers out there: Thank you for saving my weekend! I can now go back to playing with my new machine!

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