Archive for December, 2011

December 22, 2011

5 great Christmas Hashtags

‘Tis the holiday season, and most of us are off to Christmas parties, holiday networking events, family gatherings, and neighbourhood gift exchanges. All of this human interaction creates fertile grounds for discussion, commentary, and sharing complaints not just in person, but also on social media networks.  Over the past week, I’ve been on the hunt for some of this year’s twitter hashtags. I came across a number of the old-standards, but a few also stood out. Here are 5 hashtags to check out this year.

1. #FilltheKettle This one from the @SalvationArmy has to be my favourite. This organization stands for what the season is all about; giving, compassion, and caring. Their bell ringers and fundraising collection kettles are a Christmas tradition and they’re using social media to help spread the word. Along with visiting their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr pages, you can also make online donations to the “iKettle“.  Individuals and businesses can host their own “iKettle” and compete against other teams to be at the top of the leaderboard.

2. #ThingsNotToDoAtChristmasParty Most people have to go to awkward professional functions at work, so why not organize it with a hashtag? This one has some funny posts and good tips, but the big ones are, “don’t drink too much and make a fool of yourself”, and “don’t abuse the mistletoe concept…it’s not funny”.

3. #Istoppedbelievinginsantawhen I first noticed this one trending in Toronto, Canada, and it features some funny, and some heartbreaking, stories about when people first found out that Santa wasn’t real.

4. In the UK, people are using #Replacea1Dsongwithsanta and #ReplaceATWSongWithReindeer. I had to do a little research on what  a “1d” and a “tw” were. Wiki to the rescue –  “1d” means One Direction and “tw” means The Wanted, which are the names of two UK-based boy-bands. I think these are kind of interesting, but some people are less than impressed (@CharleyHarris). Perhaps a #ReplaceAJustinBieberSongwithChristmas” is in order for Canada?

5. #Scrooge This one is for those who like to chuckle at the frustrating side of Christmas. Often you will find people venting about Christmas music, shopping, inlaws, food, bad gifts, having to work long hours, etc. Ironically, the laughs I got from reading these tweets helped to get me into Christmas mood, so if you’re lacking some Christmas spirit, this is the hashtag for you.

If you’re looking for more holiday hashtag fun, here are a few of the standards:

Do you have  a good holiday hashtag this season? Share and let us know.

December 14, 2011

Implications of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) explained [Infographic]

I LOVE the internet. If you’re a regular reader, chances are you love it too. I’ve loved it since I first logged on in the mid-1990s on a borrowed machine (with a 14.4 kbps modem) set up in the dining room of my childhood home. It gave us access to new things like emails, discussion boards, and ICQ. But it also gave us free and easy access to copyrighted material like never before. We could now download warez, appz, images, wavs, mp3s, video clips, etc., for FREE! This availability of content has allowed us to explore different genres of music, artists, types of film, new ideas, make new connections, and meet new people that would have been out of our reach before the internet.

Much of this discovery was done with a disregard for copyright, but not because we wanted to break the law. It was done in the interest of sharing. Sharing things we loved, sharing things we found pleasure in, sharing with strangers.  Sharing is critical to the very DNA of the internet .

But the entertainment industry in the US doesn’t like this perceived “sharing” threat. Enter the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) – A Bill that will allow the United States Government to block citizens from viewing websites – The infographic below provides a good summary of the background and arguments for and against the Bill. Big thanks to Muhammad Saleem, social media blogger extraordinaire, for sharing this infographic with me courtesy of Business Insurance Quotes. .

To me, SOPA has got it all wrong. In the past, if we purchased a record, tape, or CD, we were free to lend it to a friend. If we shared similar tastes in movies, we could arrange a DVD swap, right? But if I buy a song on iTunes, I can’t share a copy with my friends. Huh? The flow of information on the internet doesn’t mesh with the archaic revenue model for the large entertainment industry, but instead of updating the model, a government-run censorship of the internet is what we may be faced with.

Perhaps comedian Louis C.K. has the right idea. He recently hired his own TV crew to capture his latest stand-up routine. He then sold it on the internet, himself, for $5 a piece. Users who downloaded were free to use the video how they liked. They could share it with friends, post on their website, make DVDs, etc. Louis went broke right? Nope, he claims that he made $200,000 in just 4 days. More on this story at Mashable.

Should we protect IP at all costs or empower open collaboration? What do you think about SOPA?

December 6, 2011

The (sad) state of social media use in small business [Infographic]

Sure, we can all think of great examples of small businesses using social media to connect with customers in new and engaging ways using social media – I’ve blogged about some of them. But earlier this week I came across the infographic below from the good folks at Socialnomics about the feelings some small businesses have when it comes to the social frontier, and a few things jumped out at me:

1. Almost all of the respondents (88%) indicated that social media does or will have an impact on their business. Though small businesses seems to be aware of the impact, the majority (70%) of them will not be making additional investments in social media next year. So they seem to know what’s going on, but are unable, or unwilling, to leverage it.

2. Where’s Foursquare? Of the 63% who reported that they have a social media footprint, only 6% report report using Foursquare. This past year, Foursquare has been reporting booming growth, and they even have the Foursquare Merchant Platform that is designed specifically to help businesses create, track, and manage their customer outreach and rewards programs.

3. Why are you so LinkedIn? This one baffles me. Small businesses report that they use LinkedIn (48%) more than Twitter (37%) and Foursquare (6%) combined. After being baffled for a moment, I began to think through WHY small business are gravitating towards LinkenIn. Perhaps because it is comfortable, it is one of the most “traditional” forms of social media – it’s an online resume surrounded by professional conversations. They may be after some best practices as there are many B2B conversations and information sharing going on the LinkedIn blog and on-page discussion groups. But when you look further down on the infographic, you will notice that businesses report that the top three uses they have for social media are: brand awareness, lead generation, and customer service….not best practices. This could be an example of the actions of business not being in sync with their goals.

There are plenty of other interesting nuggets of information in this infographic, so take a look and feel free to share what really jumps out at you. I’d also be very interested in some more examples of good social media use in small businesses.


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