Wacky Wednesday: People Pin Puppies on Pinterest

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Ok, so I don’t mean that they literally pin them with clothes pins on Pinterest. Instead, people are using this new social media site to categorize and collect images, blog posts, how-to ideas and many other things from around the web by “pinning” them to digital bulletin boards.  These boards allow you to gather your ideas, and then your friends can follow the board to get updates when you add new stuff! The boards are not set-in-stone categories, but instead you can create boards for whatever you want. For a single, 22-year-old girl who has been planning her wedding to an unknown Prince Charming since the age of two, this means a future wedding ideas board! My extreme love of shoes also inspired its own board . . . Regardless of your interests–wedding planning, shoes, soul food, crafts or puppies— you can pin them on Pinterest! To sign up for an account, visit the invite website here and enter your email address. After a few days to a week, you should receive an invite to join. Just try not to spend all week and weekend on the site. It can be addictive!

Happy Pinning,

Rebekah

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Will Google+ be worth all the hype?

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Like many of my tech savvy friends, I have been eagerly awaiting an invitation to sign up for Google+. I did not understand what it was and I already have a plethora of social media accounts. Why then would I be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to join another site? Two reasons rise to the top as causes for my impatience: pure old curiousity and a {possibly} unhealthy addiction to anything Google. I was very excited to receive my invitation today from a good friends of mine named Andrea! {Thanks Andrea!!!} After logging in, however, I wasn’t able to realize at first what was so special about Google+ over any other site. I still have not exactly figured it out, but hope to over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I plan to try to keep up with what other people have to say about the new service and its features. Below is a link to a great story on Mashable sharing others’ input on Google+.

10 Top Google+ Users Weigh In on the Web’s Newest Social Network.

After reading the story above and/or trying out Google+, what are your opinions about the newest addition to the social media world?

Please let us know in the comments box below and vote in our Google+ poll!

TOMS Next Chapter: From Shoes to Eyewear

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For several months now, TOMS has been building anticipation about their upcoming #NextChapter in the TOMS company. After several years of successfully executing their well known One-for-One model with cute, comfy shoes,  the company has decided to branch out into uncharted territory. They put mystery boxes in locations worldwide which will be opened today to reveal the next chapter in TOMS One-For-One program.

The event takes front and center on their website , inspired a nice spread on their Facebook page, and has been the talk for weeks via their Twitter account (see below).

They created videos for YouTube to incite anticipation among the avid TOMS fans (such as the one below) as well as encouraging people to check-in via Gowalla at the opening events for TOMS Mystery Boxes.

Today is the day for the unveiling and fans are eagerly anticipating #TOMSNextChapter!   The unveiling takes place at 10:30 a.m. PST … That’s about 1:30 for us East Coast dwellers!  I’m excited to see what the #NextChapter is that Blake Mycoskie will be sharing with us! If you want to know more about TOMS, read my April blog post here

Note: After the release, I will update this post with the exciting news! Check back to find out what the new chapter is!!!!

And the Next Chapter is . . .*drumroll* . . .

TOMS  EYEWEAR!!!!

 

 

Mark Schaefer’s “The Tao of Twitter”: A Twitter Guide for Beginners and Experts

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My first knowledge of Mark Schaefer came through a classmate, Aaron Sachs (@AaronSachs), who had worked with Mark on some social media stuff for Aaron’s business Symply Social . Aaron sang Mark’s praises to our Advertising 490: Social Media class, and when he mentioned Social Slam tickets were going on sale, I was one of the first in our class (except for Aaron, of course!) to sign up. I was eager to see what this social media conference was all about. I considered the cost of $40 kind of expensive until I realized that attendees also received free food and free books! Included with registration was a copy of Mark Schaeffer’s The Tao of Twitter and Jay Baer’s The Now Revolution. I decided that even if the conference was boring (which of course it wasn’t!), I would still have two free books. Needless to say, Social Slam was an amazing opportunity and I even got my free books signed by Mark and Jay!

Earlier this week, I had time to sit down and read Mark’s book. While I was reading it, I kept finding myself nodding in agreement with Mark’s points. Because I loved the book so much, I wanted to share some of its key lessons with you—or at least what I thought was key. Mark hits on several ideas that I myself have thought of but not been able to put into words. Below are quotes from the book that I will be referencing in many future conversations with friends about how to best utilize twitter.

“Business benefits are created through three elements: targeted connections + meaningful content + authentic helpfulness.” (pg. 11)

These three elements make up the core of Mark’s The Tao of Twitter, and he offers great explanations for the importance of each. I especially like his emphasis on the importance of authentic helpfulness. Just this week, I wrote a blog post about books I wanted to read for summer to beef up on my social media knowledge. Someone over at Wiley Business Books (@WileyBiz) was kind enough to send over a list of social media books they had recently published, 3 or 4 of which I had listed. I was reminded by the list of a few more books I wanted to read, but had temporarily forgotten about. Whoever was Tweeting for @WileyBiz that day had no guarantee that I would buy any of their books or mention them anywhere, but they tried to be helpful and perhaps promote their products a bit. 😉

“ . . . Under normal conditions, Twitter is about engaging, not broadcasting, so it probably does not make sense to just broadcast on a regular basis.” (pg. 40)

This one hit home because of my extreme frustration with some social media specialisists who simply post and repost and re-repost links to their blogs, which contain only information which I already read when I read their books. (Obviously, Mark isn’t one of these people. His blog, {grow}, is an amazing source of fresh, insightful content!) While HootSuite and other services can help you schedule tweets if you will be away for a while, I strongly believe in the need for interaction. While a little shameless self-promotion can go a long way, you need to be sharing good, new content that can actually help your followers learn something that they don’t already know from reading your books. Which leads to our third point . . .

“If somebody only takes about themselves, their business and how great they are, you’re going to want to get away fast! But, if a person shows genuine interest in you, and offers help without regard for their own personal benefit, you will like that person and connect with them.”(pg. 47)

I LOVE following and being followed by people who are willing to interact on Twitter, even if they don’t have an idea in the world about how they “met” you on Twitter. A random Tweet by @AaronSachs introduced me to Kaarina Dillabough (@KDillabough) who lives in Canada and posts some very interesting things about social media on her blog, Decide2Do. As Mark says on page 32, the rule of creating relationships on Twitter is “You just never know!” There may come a day when I could be helpful to Kaarina or she to me. If she ever needs a place to camp out in Georgia, at least she would have an inside contact. 😉 Which brings us to the final quote I selected . . .

“At the end of the day, as long as you are satisfied with the business benefits you are receiving from Twitter, what anyone else thinks is irrelevant.” (pg. 73)

Some people probably think I spend way too much time hanging out on my computer—or my Android powered smartphone—tweeting away to people I’ve never even met in person. But, I find benefit and think that Twitter is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to learn from people that are the experts in the field. No expensive classrooms for me! I’m learning the ins-and-outs of social media from the pros who are out in the field working on it. And, the best of them are following Mark’s guidelines! Shouldn’t you read The Tao of Twitter and get a head start on your future as a member of the Twitter Tribe?

If you are interested in reading a more traditional style review of Mark’s amazing book, you can read some of these great video reviews below or visit the Tao of Twitter site to see a round-up of great reviews here.

Note: There were some minor typos and grammar issues which prevented a five out of five star ranking. I’m sure, however, that Mark is working on these and will have them all fixed for the second printing. Overall, an amazing book!

Good Reads for the Summer: Social Media Edition

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Some great books I plan to read this summer to increase my knowledge of social media! Look for Book Reviews throughout the next few weeks!

  1. The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer
  2. Socialnomics by Erik Qualman
  3. The NOW Revolution by Jay Baer
  4. The Social Media Bible: Second Edition by Lon Safko
  5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
  6. The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
  7. Engage by Brian Solis
  8. Content Rules by C. C. Chapman & Ann Handley
  9. Twitter Power 2.0 by Joel Comm
  10. Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
I’m always open to new book to add to this list! Please leave comments about any of these books you have read or if you have a great book to add to my list!
Note: You can click on the book link to buy it on Amazon or the author link to follow them on Twitter!

Augmented Reality: The Next Big Thing or a Springboard to Something Bigger?

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To stay on the cutting edge of social media, it is important for us to keep up with what new technologies are on the horizon and to keep an eye on the technologies which we believe might be the “next big thing” in social media. It was rumoured a few years ago that the next big thing for 2009-2010 would be Foursquare. While Foursquare has attracted a fair sized following, I would argue that Foursquare acted as a springboard to launch us into the new era of location-based marketing and applications. Similarly, there is a lot of buzz in the social media world that identifies Augmented Reality and Mobile Augmented Reality as the next big thing for social media for 2011-2012. But, I can’t help but ask myself if that will really be the case. Before determining my opinion, however, I felt that it was necessary to explore a bit more about Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is defined as “a  type of virtual reality that combines real and imagined images in a real-time session” (PC Mag). AR has also been defined as “a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery” (Coolhunting). In plain English, this means that you can now use your cell phone camera to see things that aren’t physically there, but are placed there by digital/virtual markers. This could have some very positive implications for marketers who want to reach potential customers in the areas near their stores. It could also provide a great deal of added value to people who are already using location-based applications or are looking for deals, reviews or specific venues in a city.

How does it work?
So, how does augmented reality work? Since I’m not a technically gifted person, I looked around for some dynamic, visual explenations of how Augmented Reality works from a technical perspective. The best videos I found were by Common Craft and Hitlab who explain in pretty understandable terms how the technology behind AR really works.

It seems that there are several technologies involved and that there are lots of ways augmented reality can work. For Mobile Augmented Reality, the application on your cell phone reads a digital marker and is able to provide you with a secondary visual layer of information super-imposed over the actual reality. When AR is used with books or other physical objects, the objects usually has a card that transmits the information to your web camera or phone camera.

Will it catch on?
As you will notice from the videos above, it has taken a bit longer than expected for augmented reality to catch on . . . But, catch on it has! We are beginning to see Augmented Reality in cereal box toys, children’s books, mobile apps, zombie infested streets and location-based marketing. One of the most intriguing usages of AR that I found while researching the topic was the Axe Fallen Angels campaign. You may remember this ad from the Super Bowl featuring beautiful angels who fell from heaven because of the irresistible scent of Axe’s new body spray. What does this have to do with AR? Well, Axe brought their “fallen angels” to a train station via Augmented Reality.

People in the station could stand on the card which was stationary on the station floor and trigger the Augmented Reality on a screen above. While unsuspecting travelers watched, an “angel” falls and is within reach of people, but not quite close enough to touch. While I don’t intend to go out and buy Axe, I do believe that this is a very interesting example of what is possible with Augmented Reality in the next few years.

What do you think? Is AR here to stay or is it just a springboard for bigger and better technology in the near future? Will we be using AR for everything in a few years? Please share your opinions in the comments box below!

Thanks for reading!
Rebekah Bowen

Presidential Klout: Will social media give Obama the edge in 2012?

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“And they’re off!” President Obama launched his re-election campaign today, marking what is definitely going to be a wild ride for social media in the 2012 election campaign. Obama’s launch video gives the appearance of a  highly grassroots support group. in essence, he is using the people to reach out to the people. An interesting move on the part of Obama campaign managers. Obama seems determined to stay ahead of the other possible candidates in the social media arena. His campaign has already launched a Facebook application and asks if you are “in”. Obama also has an active Facebook page with 18,991,226 likes. His Twitter account has quite a following.

But, does this mean that social media is all about helping out Obama campaign? Not necessarily. It will be extremely important for the campaign managers of all candidates this election year to make sure they monitor social media as well as using it as a platform to distribute information. For instance, sites such as social mention can help them keep up with the sentiment about the campaign.

While simply having a social media presence gave Obama a bit of an edge in the 2008 campaign, the Obama social media campaign will prove much more of a challenge for the campaign managers. As seen from the social search above, not all of the comments about Mr. Obama are positive ones. Obama does have a good bit of influence in the social media arena (see Klout score below), but it will be very important that this influence be leveraged correctly. Otherwise, the magnitude of amplification for Obama’s Tweets and updates could cost him the public’s support.

We can’t help but wonder, though, how candidates from the GOP will be able to also leverage social media in their favor. Several Republican politicians who are being thrown into the pool of possible candidates are also gaining Klout.

On the Republican front, the issue with social media is very likely going to be the need for a unified front. Since President Obama is the incumbent, he is the most likely Democratic candidate. In the GOP, however, there hasn’t been a clearly identified front-runner yet and there may not be for a while. It will be interesting to see how this year will play out.  🙂

If you would like to read more about social media and the 2012 election, check out these stories:

2012 Will Be The First And Last Social Media Election

Social Media & the 2012 Election

Sarah Palin Leads Election 2012 GOP Field In Twitter & Facebook Followings

New Red Blue Covers Social Media in the 2012 Election Cycle   
 GOP Uses Social Media to Respond to Obama 2012 Campaign Launch