It’s a small world afterall

14 07 2011

It’s hard to believe that week 9 of this class has already arrived.  Throughout the past 9 weeks we’ve discussed all different types of emerging media within the marketplace, ranging from Skype to UStream, Facebook to Fandango.  To close out the semester, I’d like this final blog post to discuss the world of blogging – the pros and cons.  On last week’s poll, I asked “How many blogs do you follow?”  Of the poll respondents:

  • Just this one!  Received 14.29% of the vote
  • 2-3 blogs.  Received 57.14% of the vote
  • 4-5 blogs.  Received 14.29% of the vote
  • More than 5 blogs.  Received 14.29% of the vote

A majority of the poll’s respondents follow more than just one blog.  Not surprising since there is an estimated 50+ million blogs on the Internet.  According to Cyber Journalist, “there are more than 2 blogs created each second of each day.”   You name it, there is a blog for it: Starbucks,  LARP (Live Action Role Playing), Motorcycling, and not to forget corporate blogs such as Disney,  Coca-Cola, etc.  

So who blogs and why?  Below is a great infographic from David Risley’s blog titled “How we are blogging.”

According to the above infographic, a majority of bloggers are hobbyists (Starbucks enthusiasts, etc), while only 1% of bloggers are from the corporate world.  As many companies, both large and small, begin to understand the importance of blogging, that 1% will surely increase.  Mashable  provides great tips for corporate bloggers:

  1. “Establish a content theme and editorial guidelines
  2. Choose a blogging team and process
  3. Humanize your company
  4. Avoid PR and Marketing
  5. Welcome criticism
  6. Outline a comment policy
  7. Get social
  8. Promote your blog
  9. Monitor mentions and feedback
  10. Track everything”

Tip #4, I agree/disagree.  A blog should not be an advertisement for your company’s products and services (much like one you would see on TV); however, if a crisis occurs, the blog is one of the quickest ways to disseminate public relations crisis communication messages.  The incredible success and interest in blogging also creates another important aspect – to make sure your ideas, products, services are protected – copyright, trademark, and privacy laws. 

The world of blogging provides a great opportunity for individuals to access others who have similar interests world-wide.  Through the Internet and blogging, our world is now a much smaller place – a rollercoaster blogger in Detroit,Michigan can link up with another enthusiast in Hong Kong to share stories and information. 

What type of blogs do you follow?  (Besides this one).  

Also, I wanted to thank everyone who has followed this blog.  It has been a great experience and I appreciate everyone’s feedback, comments, and poll responses. 

 





7 07 2011




The ultimate partnership?

7 07 2011

The creators of Facebook revealed yesterday that they will release a video chat, powered by Skype, on the website.  Before digging into the benefits of the Skype and Facebook partnership, let’s look into current Skype use.  Last week’s poll asked “Have you used Skype?”  Results from this poll indicate the following Skype usage:

  • Yes – 44.44%
  • No – 44.44%
  • Not Skype, but a similar product – 11.11%

According to TechRadar, Skype has over 171 million registered users and with over a billion downloads.  If you aren’t familiar, Skype provides individuals the ability to make and receive domestic and international phone calls over the Internet for free which includes video conferencing, call forwarding, and text messaging.  Below is a great infographic (slightly outdated when referencing Facebook) about Skype’s history, “Skype from conception to acquisition:”

As a military spouse, I was first introduced to Skype when my husband deployed to Iraq.  Skype has helped improve the lives of military families and their deployed loved ones while they are overseas. Skype has been used for everything from fashion shows to the introduction of a child to the father who missed their birth – all to keep the deployed service member in the loop with family.

The king of social networking, Facebook, continues to increase their value to users with Skyping features.  Now users can shop, talk (text chat or video chat), email, post pictures, play games, and much more on Facebook.  What can’t you do on Facebook?  What will Facebook think of next?

This new edition, however, has Facebook critics talking, consider Joe Romaine:

“What Mark Zuckerberg and Tony Bates (Skype CEO) seemed to have ignored is that many people don’t want to use video chat.  In fact, they don’t even want to speak on the telephone.  Make whatever overarching sociological commentary you want, but that’s the truth.

Ever since text messaging became ubiquitous on the cell phone, I’ve been calling people less and less.  I even have an avant-garde friend who exclusively uses texts and shuns the phone.  As for communicating on the Internet, text communication (i.e. chats) is by far my favorite medium.”

Are you for or against the new Facebook Skype feature?  Do you think that you will use Skype on Facebook?





Poll Results: Social Networking Use

28 06 2011

Last week’s poll asked the question “do/have you use(d) any of the following social networking sites?”  I’m impressed that the poll results match up very closely with the Quantcast, Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank results for most popular sites.  Below are the ranked social networking sites, from most popular to least popular, among poll respondents from my blog:

  1. Facebook.  50% of respondents
  2. Twitter.  18.75% of respondents
  3. MySpace.  12.5% of respondents
  4. LinkedIn.  12.5% of respondents
  5. Foursquare.  6.25% of respondents
  6. Other.  No respondents.

It’s no surprise that in this ever-growing technology friendly world that social media sites are widely becoming accepted by multiple generations spanning from teenagers to Baby Boomers.  Social media sites afford users the ability to stay in contact with networks of friends and family members, as well as find and connect with link-minded individuals within special interest groups.  Like to knit?  There are groups for that in social networking sites.  Interested in celebrity gossip?  Join the TMZ Facebook page or Twitter feed.

What are some of your favorite groups/pages that you follow on social networking sites?





27 06 2011




The Unemployable

27 06 2011

Social media websites are a great way to connect with friends and family, as well as network with professionals, potential employers.   There are so many websites available on the Internet that increases our ability to communicate with others worldwide.

However, there is a dark side to social media… creating the unemployable!  College students beware.  Job seekers beware.  Employers are watching your Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn accounts, etc.  The groups you join, comments you’ve posted, and pictures you’ve published could come back to haunt you!

Facebook spokesperson, Chris Hughes :

Using Facebook as a method of background-checking is certainly not what Facebook was designed to be used for… but there’s not much we can do about it.

Red and Black provides some tips in keeping your Facebook account “employer-friendly:”

1. Avoid putting up pictures of you funneling beer or doing keg stands

2. Make sure all the pictures of you depict you as someone who enjoys clothes

3. Under no circumstances should you post a picture of yourself engaging in illegal activities

4. Untag embarrassing (or incriminating) photographs

5. Make sure your wall has more comments than ‘Hope you enjoyed last night as much as I did’

6. Steer away from groups such as ‘North American Man-Boy Love Association’ and ‘Dead Baby Enthusiasts’

7. Have more interests than ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’

8. Remember, ‘alcoholic’ is not an occupation

9. Don’t link to pornographic Web sites, even if you did start them

10. If you really have to, just make a fake account – no one will ever know it’s you. That is, unless they look up your e-mail in the UGA Directory.”

Already employed?  Improper social media use can lead to you losing your job.  Employers can monitor Internet usage from work computers.  Using a “sick” day? “This is not the place to post pictures of yourself partying in the Caymans when you’re supposed to be out sick,” MonsterThinking.  Ranters and venters beware “you can be fired for your speech in the workplace or outside the workplace if you work for a private employer. The First Amendment doesn’t protect you at work.”

Do you think the First Amendment should protect you within the workplace for comments made on your personal social media site?





Poll Results: Viral Videos

23 06 2011

Last week, I posted the poll “Which of the following viral videos have you watched (prior to now)?”  Of the 4 videos, I posted one of the most watched viral videos (Evolution of Dance) and three popular videos from 2010.  Results from the poll showed that each of the videos received similar numbers of votes.  I strategically picked these videos because I think they encompass elements of “The 5 Traits of Popular Viral Videos” by Paul Suggett, discussed below:

Low Budget.  Generally, but not all of the time, viral videos are taped on a cell phone or recording device due to spontaneity, just like all four of the videos I’ve selected.  According to Suggett, “most viral videos did not blow the budget on fancy effects, big actors and lavish locations.”  Some viral videos do have higher budgets or involve celebrities to generate buzz.  For example, FunnyorDie.com uses celebrities in almost all of their viral videos, which generates immediate buzz.  For example, “The Landlord” with Will Ferrell:

Humor.   Suggett explains, “whether planned or not, most viral videos are funny in some way.”  Noted in his article, another recent, popular method is auto-tuning video sounds, similar to the “Hide Your Kids” video I posted in the poll.  Humor (combined with provocative/unexpected content) is typically what makes videos viral.

Topicality. “Staying current is important with viral videos. If not with current trends, news, politics, music, films or gaming, then at least current with the viral videos that are trending high,” Suggett.

Provocation.  As previously mentioned, humor alone doesn’t necessarily make a viral video.  Provocative themes increase the likeliness to go viral – parodies, sex tapes, effects of drugs (legal/illegal) such as the “Is This Real Life” video with the child coming out of sedation.
“Viral videos go viral because they say or do something that gets the public’s attention in some way,” Suggett.

Surprises.  Surprises, even if planned (such as the “Dancing Down the Aisle” video) can shock and awe bystanders and millions of YouTube watchers.

A combination of these elements increases a video’s likeliness to go viral; however, few videos go viral – it takes something special to achieve mass success.

What viral videos are your favorite?

 





21 06 2011




Too Soon? Twitter Backlash.

21 06 2011

In class this week we’re discussing buzz – how to build it and using it to your advantage.  Buzz building needs to be strategic and well planned.  Unfortunately, negative attention/information can quickly build buzz, and create a backlash.  Yesterday (June 20th) Ryan Dunn, a favorite of the daredevils in the Jackass episodes and movies, died in a horrible car accident.  Hours before the accident, Dunn posted pictures of him and friends drinking at a bar before climbing behind the wheel.  The poor decision to get behind the wheel after drinking occurred, and unfortunately Dunn and his passenger did not make it home.  Hours after the accident, film critic, Roger Ebert tweeted “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.”  Too soon?

Backlash attention quickly targeted Ebert for his tweet.  Celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton, came to Dunn’s defense:

We certainly agree that driving after drinking is wrong, we think there’s no reason– especially RIGHT NOW– that anyone should be pointing fingers or poking fun at a truly tragic situation. Everyone makes mistake, and this is somebody’s son. Too soon, Roger.

Ebert isn’t the first celebrity to witness a massive Twitter backlash.  In March 2011, 50 Cent tweeted, “Wave will hit 8am them crazy white boys gonna try to go surfing. Look this is very serious people I had to evacuate all my hoe’s from LA, Hawaii and Japan. I had to do it. Lol”  A series of insensitive jokes were posted by 50 Cent regarding the Tsunami that hit Japan, and feared to hit the west coast of the United States.  There are many, many more examples of celebrities posting content creating public outrage.

And of course, there is the current king of Twitter controversies… Representative Weiner.   According to TG Daily, Weiner’s scandal is creating a Twitter backlash among politicians.  The week after “Weinergate” hit the mainstream, lawmakers tweeted 28% less than before the scandal broke, as displayed in the below infographic.

Not all celebrity tweets are scandalous or controversial.  In fact, many celebrities use Twitter as a means for social change, product endorsement, and to touch base with their fans.  Eva Longoria used the TwitChange platform to auction off their celebrity through Twitter to raise money for Haiti.

Every time Kim Kardashian tweets about a  product, she makes bank.  New PR sites that in 2010 alone, Kim made $6 million for product endorsements on Twitter (cupcake mixes, DVD’s, Kotex, etc.).

Most celebrities tweet to stay in touch with their fans, such as Ashton Kutcher (almost 7 million followers) and Justin Bieber (almost 10.5 million followers).  For companies, Twitter opens the door to increase corporate social responsibility (CSR) providing consumers access to products, brands, and celebrities.

Celebrities, politicians, and companies who are embracing Twitter to spread “real-time” information to their followers need to understand there are “real-time” consequences attached to the platform.  The below infographic displays the incredible growth and popularity of Twitter.

Do you feel that celebrities are expressing their right to freedom of speech via tweets or does fame put celebrities under an unrealistic microscope of scrutiny?





Poll Results: Fandango

16 06 2011

Based on last week’s poll regarding Fandango usage, 54.55% of poll respondents have used Fandango to purchase movie tickets.  In 2009, Fandango sold over 24 million  movie tickets!  Fandango’s success is due to the marketing formula, the 4Ps (product, price, place, and promotion).

Product.  Moviegoers no longer need to wait in long ticket lines, for hours at a time, to ensure they have a seat inside the theater for the opening weekend of the latest blockbuster.  Instead, consumers can purchase tickets in advance from the comfort of their own home or phone, and show up to the theater just before the movie starts!

Price.  For an additional $1.25 per ticket, marketed as a “convenience fee,” moviegoers’ worries are put to ease knowing they can catch the flick, without having to leave early or wait in long lines.  A reasonable price vs. waiting around in lines.

Place.  Purchasing tickets has never been easier… Fandango tickets can be purchased online, on a mobile phone, and through Fandango’s app.  A representative from Fandango said:

By using our iPad app, film fans can check out the early buzz on an upcoming movie—between the early reviews and tweets—and also see how well it is selling—before it opens—by checking out Fandango’s Pulse.

It only gets better… when Fandango users get to the movie theater they don’t have to wait in line to get their tickets.  There is a line dedicated solely to Fandango ticket purchasers.  Ease and convenience.

How easy?  Check out the video below to see how easy Fandango works on an Android phone:

Promotion.  Fandango’s commercials are addictive.  I’ve caught myself singing and humming the tune hours after watching the commercial.

Outside of their catchy tunes, Fandango uses a variety of traditional and non-traditional tactics to grab the audiences attention about their services.

What was the last movie you purchased a movie ticket at the theater?  What was the last movie you purchased a movie ticket through Fandango?

 





14 06 2011




The future of advertising in ShapeShifting & Green Police?

14 06 2011

Last week I discussed the growing trend of UStream, a free broadcasting website where users can post information live to the world.  Based on last week’s poll, 71% of respondents who read this blog have not used or watched videos on UStream.  Interesting, but not surprising – UStream is a relatively new site… how about a more established site like YouTube?

Have you ever watched a YouTube video?

Have you ever posted a video on YouTube?

YouTube, similar to UStream, is an online information sharing website where users can upload videos for free.  Also similar to UStream, videos can be posted by both amateurs and professionals, and has even sparked the careers of some celebrities:

Take Justin Bieber:

How about Jackie Evancho from the 2010 “America’s Got Talent” show:

YouTube also extends the 15 minutes of fame for many “non-celebrities”…

With over 40 MILLION hits:

My personal favorite, with over 174 MILLION hits:

In 2010, YouTube views exceeded two billion views a day! YouTube’s wild success has not only provided the opportunity for the “average Joe” to share videos, but potentially spark their career. From a marketing standpoint, YouTube opens the door for consumers to have access to brands 24/7.  Armed with smart phones, laptops, iPads, etc. consumers now have access to view content within the palm of their hands whenever and wherever they’d like.  Since YouTube is a free site, companies can share information and product lines with consumers at little to no cost. Companies can set up their own YouTube channel, such as the following example for the White House.

The advantages of YouTube are endless, companies can: post customer testimonials; upload product explanations; demonstrate results from product use; promote events/services; introduce new ideas, products or services; embed YouTube video links into social networking sites; spread viral videos for maximum exposure; promote and drive call-to-action messages (i.e. visit, donate, etc.); post television commercials, and much more.

The most recent trend from an advertising standpoint are short-film commercials, such as Audi’s “Green Police.”

You may have just watched the future of advertising… short-films.  This 2010 Super Bowl advertisement is just one example of companies embracing new media techniques to reach their current/potential customers by developing short-films.  This short-film, just over 1 minute in duration, uses humor to capture the audience.

More and more corporations are disguising their advertisements as short-films in both traditional (television, movie theaters) and non-traditional formats (YouTube). ScreenRant.com  explains:

“some advertisements find a way to do that [capture an audience, become memorable] in just 30 seconds, but advertising is a mind game, and there are no real rules.  In my opinion, we should promote long form, subtle advertising like ShapeShifter and usher in a new era of intriguing and engaging commercialism.”

Below is the ShapeShifter video mentioned in the above quote:

This short-film captured my attention because of its action and aesthetics.  Interestingly, I watched this film over and over to figure out what brand this short-film promotes.  Oddly enough, it does not appear to promote any specific brand (if I am wrong, please let me know!).  Regardless, this short-film is a great example of a short-film advertisement, potentially for Jaguar.  This film promotes the product without “shoving” the brand in the viewers face.  Instead products need to be integrated into the film, yet remain visible to the audience which brand the film relates.

Do you find short-film advertising as a more effective method in capturing an audience’s attention than just 30-second commercials?  Does this type of commercial help you build a better relationship to a brand more than a 30-second commercial?





7 06 2011




What do Charlie Sheen and “Pigeon Peeping” have in Common?

7 06 2011

The rise and fall of Charlie Sheen’s star has been quite the spectacle as an outsider looking in, if you haven’t heard about it or even quoted one of his catchy one-liners (Winning…DUH!) in the past few months, you must be living under a rock.  In early March, Sheen took his antics to UStream, a live web video broadcast service, for a live experience titled, “Sheen’s Korner.”  Outside of creating a media frenzy, “Sheen’s Korner,” according to USA Today had over 333,050 unique viewers and 597k+ recorded views for his first show!  UStream’s live functionality provides users the ability to capture live energy and interaction with those who “attend” their broadcast.  Videos recorded on UStream are easily shared on social networking sites and other online platforms.

Recently on my blog, I polled viewers with “Have you used or watched anything on UStream?”  Interestingly enough, 25% of respondents have used UStream, while 75% have not.

UStream is a free, popular video posting website where users can broadcast information live to the world.   According to Mobile Marketing Watch, UStream has over 60 million monthly users and witnesses a 45% monthly growth!  Although UStream has 60 million monthly users, 75% of my viewers report that they have not used UStream.  I find that interesting (although, it’s not a representative sample).  Charlie Sheen is not the only celebrity on UStream – so are Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus, and Perez Hilton.  A meteorologist, in Alabama, recently turned to UStream to broadcast live information regarding tornado coverage – this information was also posted on Facebook and Twitter.

A friend of mine, who lives in New York City, has a balcony where a pigeon has decided to lay an egg.  How weird?  What are the chances?  What a neat experience!  How can my friend share this bizarre experience with his friends, and the world for that matter, a live video feed on UStream.  Introducing “Pigeon Peeper” on UStream:

Pigeon Peeper  

Click the link to check out what the pigeons are doing and if

mom or dad pigeon is on nesting duty!

Day or night, fellow pigeon peepers can watch the mom- and dad-to-be pigeons nest and when the time comes the baby pigeons hatch from their shell.  Posted on June 3rd, “Pigeon Peeper” already has 487 views and an on-going conversation in the “social stream.”  I’m slightly enchanted by these pigeons and catch myself once a day “checking in” on them.  Never would I have imagined that I would be watching a live video feed from North Carolina of a pigeon sitting on a nest in New York City.

Some consider UStream the next YouTube.  UStream’s ability to post live video feeds on the Internet stretches everyone’s 15-minutes of fame – ANYONE can post live video feeds.  From pigeon nesting to celebrity meltdowns, UStream encourages individuals to post video content that is informational, educational, and/or entertaining.

What kind of interesting UStream videos have you encountered?  Please share links if possible.





5 06 2011




Poll Results: DVR Usage

5 06 2011

The poll that I issued this week, “Typically, how often do you use a DVR to record shows on TV?” tallied interesting statistics from those who responded. Of respondents:

  • 33.33% use a DVR daily
  • 0% use a DVR 5 days a week
  • 22.22% use a DVR 2-3 days a week
  • 44.44% never use a DVR

Granted these results are not a representative sample of the United States, they do, however, provide valuable insight on DVR usage. I, personally, use my DVR daily – and really, I don’t know what I used to do without it! According to eMarketer, “DVR usage is steadily growing and penetration will reach 30.8% in 2009, 34.3% in 2010 and 37.8% in 2011.” According to Nielsen, more than one-third of US households have DVR technology in place.

The days before DVR-use, if there were a show that I’m addicted to and just can’t miss, I’d have to make sure I was home or near a TV to catch it. Now, I can live my life worry-free because I know I will not miss any of my shows anymore. In fact, I can watch them when I’m ready – and even pause, rewind and replay the episodes. My reason for DVR-use is not the statistically proven “norm.” In fact, most owners purchase DVR technology so they can skip commercials. Leichtman Research Group found that DVR owners, 84% of them, rate the ability to skip commercials as “very important.”

As DVR’s become more and more popular in the U.S. household, television advertising is beginning to take a hit from this technology.

Do you think that DVR’s will ultimately lead to the decline of television advertising?





Warning… you may experience logo overload!

31 05 2011

For our class discussion this week, we are discussing the importance of “great” website design.  We’ve found examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly that break all principles of design (to include Gestalt theories) and those that obey – aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.  One of the most important aspects of a “great” website, in my opinion, is one that represents and looks like the brand itself.   Corporations spend big marketing dollars to develop a brand identity among consumers; therefore, their website should be an extension of these branding initiatives.

Whether it’s a company’s website, advertisements, or their product packaging – one of the most important and recognizable elements of any company’s image is their logo.  LogoRange discusses the importance of the logo:

Company logos can help a business cement its brand in the market place by differentiating your products from others that are similar.

In 2009, “Logorama,” a clever, innovative short-animation was nominated for an Oscar.  This short film displays over 2,000 household named logos that, literally, build the scenes within the movie – buildings are in the shape of logos, vehicles are logos, characters are logos.    

Warning: Foul language and mild violence, this video may not be suitable for work.

Which logo(s) did you enjoy the most  (clever, creative, funny) in the video and why?  Did you notice any common/popular logos that were missing from the film?