Mashable Monday: 53,457,258,000 minutes of Facebook


53,457,258,000 minutes of Facebook . . . Such a startling number it is, but a recent study showed that Americans now spend 23% of their online time visiting social network sites. 

These numbers of course draw the questions, “Who is spending all this time online?” and “How are we taking advantage of this information?”. Well, those questions are already being answered by researchers and marketers alike. The Nielsen study showed some interesting insights about the online user landscape (see chart below) which we can combine with other great information already available via the Pew Internet and American Life Project

As far as how we will utilize this knowledge for marketing, PR, advertising, and so on, there are a multitude of ways including:

1. Crowd-sourcing fashion shows

2. Promoting new TV shows directly to their top viewing audience

3. Finally making people pay for their news (Or not…)

4. Targeting special niche audiences to support causes

and, last but not least . . . 

5. Saving the planet! Captain Planet style, of course! 😉

Overall, it looks like social media is here to stay and it is up to us to decide how we want to use it. Good luck figuring out which of the many outlets to use and how to use them, and make sure you don’t get confused by Google’s name changes on products!


p.s. Consider the story links your Friday Fives for last week since I didn’t get one posted! 🙂

TOMS Next Chapter: From Shoes to Eyewear


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* . . .




Stuck Like Glue on GetGlue!



A few months ago in a blog post, I first mentioned a new check-in application called GetGlue. By the time I blogged about it again a bit later, I was becoming obsessed.  Now, I’m a frequent GetGlue user. I find it very cool to be able to share quickly to Facebook and Twitter as well as my friends on GetGlue. I also love that they actually send you your stickers!!! I got my first stickers in the mail this week (see below).



Everyone who’s anyone is talking about the new application or at least some cool people are talking, including PopWatch Inc. , ReadWriteWebAdWeek , Reuters , Forbes , Social Times , Ogilvy Public Relations , ClickZ and many more sites (click links to read stories). They gained a major milestone earlier this year by reaching 1 million registered users!  See their success graphically represented by the GetGlue infographic below!



We can see that this application is beginning to gain a notable following, but what are we expecting from them in the future?  Well, they are beginning to add value and interactivity to their check-ins by working with sponsors to give away concert tickets, pairing with nonprofits, sharing user photos and many other creative tactics. This has greatly helped them to increase user numbers in the past few months, according to their GetGlue blog and the chart below.



We can also see that there is a strong correlation between the highest grossing box office hits and the movies people are checking in to in theaters(see first chart below). Keep in mind that correlation does not imply cause-and-effect; however, it does show that the people who are actively checking in are many of the same people who are avid movie attendees. Based on this data, we can begin to analyze what movies people are enjoying and what movies don’t go over as well as expected as GetGlue begins to analyze the data they gain (see second chart below).



So, as I said months ago, you should GetGlue! . . . If you haven’t already, of course.  😉 If you’re not familiar with the application by now, watch the video review below for more information! Happy Check-ins!


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



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


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!

Dare To Share: Social Sharing On The Rise in Social Media


Would you care to share? Your favorite news, your blog posts, favorite photos, funny mash-ups from YouTube, illustrations of your favorite TV characters? Well, apparently a large percentage of internet users are catching “Share Fever” (WARNING: This is almost as contagious as Beiber Fever!). While blogs allow us to share ideas, information and content, they are archaically slow to the younger generations who want everything quicker and more directly. Twitter is a quick way to share, but is limited in reach and character usage. Facebook–well, let’s face it, Facebook is becoming more like email. We use Facebook to tell our sister we’re coming home for the weekend or congratulate a friend on her new baby. Other than that, we’re using other social media sites to fill our time. So, what are these new sharing sites and how do they operate? Let’s take a look at some of the top services as shown in the infographic above and see what the Buzz is all about.

1. Tumblr

One of my personal favorites, Tumblr is part blog, part micro-blog, part Flickster, part YouTube and part Facebook. At least it is in my opinion. You can write traditional long-form blog posts. You can post quick text updates or  favorite quotes. Do you think a picture’s worth 1000 words? Well, you can share those too! Tumblr even allows you to embed YouTube videos, add your own comments and send it into the Tumblr-verse to be reblogged by all of your friends. You can even keep up with friends through following their Tumblr feed, using the “Ask a question…” feature, and adding comments to shared posts. Oh, and did I mention you could integrate your Twitter feed to update to your Tumblr feed and that you can post to your Twitter account by signing in to Tumblr?

Some people use Tumblr as a blog (Figure 1) while others use it as a more integrated service with Tweets, traditional blog posts, and lots of photos (Figure 2).You can get as crafty, artsy or crazy as you wish with your Tumblr account. Or, you can keep it plain and simple. Either way, you should give Tumblr a try and I’m sure you’ll become as addicted as I am! Head on over here to register!

2. Weibo

Um…Since, I’m not in China, I can’t really provide much input here. If you want  to see it compared to Twitter though, you can read this article or this article.

3. Reddit

Reddit is based on sharing and is quite similar to of yesteryear (or was that yesterday?). The site allows users to share any random website, blog post, photo, video or other content that they want to by simply filling out a short form or clicking on the Reddit share button straight from the site you are visiting. I personally think it is a useless, cluttered mess. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to what you see when you pull up the page. Maybe I am wrong. I don’t have personal experience with it, so I can’t definitively state that it is useless, but to me it doesn’t even offer a high entertainment element. If there are some Reddit users out there who can explain to me why it is “awesome”, I would GREATLY welcome your comments and explanations!

4. StumbleUpon

How do I describe StumbleUpon? Well, pretty much you sign up for an account, check boxes for all the crazy categories you are interested in, then Stumble (literally) around the internet looking at randomly generated content. I signed up for an account out of curiousity and entered all of my interests. My first three results (posted below) were a guy doing spray paint art, a sad poem and an announcement about a new species. Random, huh? But, I guess it could be a great way to pass the time and stumble across new information! We will see if I keep “Stumble-ing” after a few days.

There are other social sharing sites out there, and others might classify these services differently than I have. The interesting thing, however, is the level to which people are willing to be highly interactive and share with their fellow internet browsers. The “lurkers” out there who don’t necessarily won’t to post their own content, but love to look at other people’s posts, are loving these services. A fun look at the users of social media sites by shows us who participates in each social media service and it’s community.

I leave you with one final question: “Where do you share?” 

Nicholas Sparks and the danger of too much information


Nicholas Sparks. We’ve read his books, watched the movies . . . and cried obsessively over each heartwarming love story. Obviously, this guy with his amazing successfulness would be someone to be admired and looked up to in the literary world. Right?

In 2008, I was tasked with doing an informative speech on anyone or anything I found interesting in order to showcase my speaking skills for my Human Communication 1100 class. I chose Nicholas Sparks–not his plethora of romance novels, but his actual life. I had recently read Three Weeks with My Brother and was touched by how many of his beloved characters actually were echoes of real life heroines he had encountered.  A Walk to Remember was written for his sister who passed away at a young age due to a terminal disease. I remember crying as I read about his life and realized that in many ways Jayme wasn’t make-believe. She was as real as a fictional character could get.

But, even while I am one of the biggest fans of Nicholas Sparks you will ever find, I give him a definite C+ for his social media strategy. In a world where you are always combating critics (like the ones who created the graphic below), you should be working hard to maintain your fan base. Not bore them to death and discourage them from purchasing your future books.

I recently began following @SparksNicholas on Twitter. As an aspiring writer, I was excited to see if he would share some amazing tips and tricks of the trade. I was disappointed. While he spends a great deal of time tweeting out the word count of his current novel-in-progress, he very rarely actually tweets helpful hints for future writers. He also tends to over-share, tweeting about plot elements and future famous quotes from his soon to be finished novel. Frankly, I feel much less inclined to read his upcoming novel because I’ve already heard so much about it! So, after keeping a close watch on the @SparksNicholas twitter feed for the last few weeks, I have a few suggestions for Mr. Sparks. Obviously, I’m only one fan out of millions, but my opinion counts for something. SO, here are my three tips for Nicholas Sparks about how to stop killing our curiosity and our desire to read his new novels.

1. Stop over-tweeting old quotes. Yes your devoted fans love Noah best. They also have half the lines in each book memorized, and will argue vehemently over which ones are the “most memorable”. This raises engagement, but I gauruntee it isn’t bringing you any new fans. With a Klout score of 81, it’s obvious that there are a lot of fans re-tweeting. But, it’s mainly because they are too lazy to type the quotes themselves. Not because they think that they are reading a cool idea or concept. An occasional quote identification trivia question to keep fans engaged is nice, but in this case it is way overdone.

2. Don’t overshare about works-in-progress. When I pick up a book off the shelf, I like to start fresh. Don’t tell me ahead of time who the heroine is, what her major struggle will be about, or worst of all how much trouble you had talking yourself into writing that last 1000 words. I want to believe that the story wound itself effortlessly from an idea into the masterpiece of a love story I hold within my hands. It’s hard to view storytelling as magical, when each new day is filled with three quotes from the book, your word count for the day and any issues you are having with the plot.

3. Be Yourself. Finally, but arguably most importantly, is to be yourself whenever using social media. If Pew Internet Research were to poll the world about why the follow celebrities on Facebook, Twitter and other social medias, I can almost guarantee that the response would be: to see the real person. Social media outlets give us a chance to see, in essence, “the man behind the mask”. If we follow a celebrity, it is out of curiosity about their thoughts, ideas and feelings as a person. It is not because we wish to volunteer ourselves as an easily targeted audience for a daily marketing effort. We want to know the real person behind who we see reflected in traditional media reports.

Overall, this leaves me with three questions for Mr. Sparks:

1. How will your upcoming works differ from the pattern we see developing in your previous works?

2. What advice could you give young, beginning writers who aspire to be like you?

3. What can you tell us about yourself that makes you who you are and helped you become the                  amazing writer and speaker you are today?

Answering those questions should take up a few days of tweeting and give us a rest from “Which character has the best eyes?”.