Archive for ‘Facebook’

February 1, 2012

Women share less information about themselves online [Infographic]

In a recent survey by uSamp, it was found that women are more guarded about the information they share online when compared to the habits of men. What I found the most interesting about this study is that men were MUCH more likely to share personal information such as telephone number, mailing address, email address, physical location, education, and even salary.

For me, this infographic raises more questions than provides answers. I want to know:

  • Are men disregarding risk involved in sharing personal information? Or are they less aware of it?
  • Are women more concerned about privacy? Could this be a personal safety issue?
  • Why are women more likely to share their real name, but less likely to share contact information?
  • Why are both men and women still using Myspace?

What do you think? Does your sharing behaviour mirror what this infographic suggests about your gender?

January 17, 2012

Give me wi-fi or I ain’t coming: 60% of college students demand free wi-fi from their schools [Infographic]

With a freshly-minted semester just underway at thousands of post-secondary institutions around the world, www.onlinecolleges.net takes a look at technology usage and the expectations of students walking the hallways of higher-learning this year.  There’s a lot of information in the infographic below, so grab a coffee and settle in for a few minutes. Here are a few things that caught my eye:

Wi-fi internet access is critically important. And so it should be…Here are the numbers:

  • 90% of students feel that wi-fi is as essential to an education as a classroom or a computer
  • 75% of college students say that wi-fi access on college campus helps them get better grades
  • 60% of students would NOT attend an institution unless it had free wi-fi.

The availability of free wi-fi is more often becoming the expectation, not the exception.  I’m always on the prowl for free wi-fi, whether it’s college or university campuses, private businesses who offer a free guest connection, coffee shops, pubs, etc. I consider if a restaurant has free wi-fi when I’m contemplating places to dine. I’ve even emailed to ask about wi-fi so I can blog, watch the game, and perhaps enjoy some hot wings.

In the not-so-distant future, we will see more emphasis on college campus wi-fi performance speeds and up-time. Nothing frustrates me more than when I get an email advising of an “unplanned outage on campus”. Unplanned outages are major inconveniences for college students and faculty, and these outages are a cost of billions of dollars in lost revenue in the private sector, so it should be taken seriously.

Google and Wikipedia are essential sites. 47% of students named Google or Wikipedia as their “one site they can’t do without.” That makes sense. What I find more interesting is that only 8% of students listed Blackboard as their top site. Blackboard is a learning management system that allows professors and students to connect online.  The challenge with Blackboard is that it is only as good as the professor can make it. Sure, a few can really make the tool shine, but I would wager that most students would describe their blackboard experience as a place to view grades and look at old PowerPoints posted by the professor.

Most students don’t want to connect with their professors on social media, but it’s a close split three ways. 39% of students felt that it was not appropriate to friend their instructor, 31% thought it was OK, and 30% didn’t seem to care either way. I imagine that students are choosing to mitigate the risk of sharing their online image with their professor rather than displaying a genuine disinterest in their professor’s content. Perhaps a subscription would work better  in this case.  In the next study, I would be  interested to know how many professors want to connect with their students via social media. That figure may be even more telling.

Technology Use on the College campus
Via: Online Colleges Guide

January 4, 2012

3.5 social media trends to watch for in 2012

I began 2011 with a post of social media trends to watch for the year. In that post, I spoke about monetization, community buying, geo-tagging, and the rise in the interest of international networks. 2012 is a bit of a different animal, so here it is again for the 12 months ahead of us; 3.5 trends to watch for this year.

1. Better use of the “second screen”. This is the one that excites me the most.  According to Wikipedia, the second screen is  “the electronic device that a television watcher uses to interact with the content they are consuming.” Over 75% of Americans use the internet and watch TV simultaneously.  This means we’re on the couch with our laptops, smartphones, tablets googling actors, tweeting and interacting with personalities, voting on reality TV outcomes, and so on.

The Toronto Blue Jays are one of my favourite examples of using social media to enhance the game experience. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you need to use social media to make baseball more exciting?” But it’s a great feature of Blue Jays telecasts. Tweeting Tuesdays allows fans at the game, and at home, to connect with broadcasters and other fans, ask questions, answer trivia, and win prizes. Originally (2010), the Jays had only planned on doing this about once a month, but by the end of the 2011 season they were doing this every week. For more on the Blue Jays’ social media efforts, check out their “Social Media Clubhouse“.

The second screen goes further than just using your laptop to interact with and google content. Enter Apple TV and Google TV.  These products are already available and serve to further integrate your TV, online, and smartphone experience. They allow you to access on demand content, are similar to many digital cable offerings, record programs, share with your other devices, etc. Download the Buddy TV app and you can control your entire experience from your smartphone including personalized channel guides, TV time reminders, and recommendations. Are you watching this?! is a great app for the sports fan that helps to keep tabs on your favourite teams and will let you know when other great games are underway. You can then use your smartphone to switch between the games.

2. Continued decline in quality of social deals. In 2011, I predicted that we would see an increase in the number of social deals, but a decrease in the quality of the offerings. This trend will continue in 2012. When community buying started to get big, customers were being offered 70%, 80%, and 90% off quality merchandise, services, and restaurants. Now, things have changed, and will continue to degrade. Example: The Groupon for January 3rd, 2012, was 53% off two singing Justin Beiber toothbrushes. There will still be good deals to be had, you just have to be diligent in finding the worthy ones.

3. Growth in social media measurement tools, but no winner established.  This has been the elephant in in the room of community managers for years. We’ve been able to make due by clustering together a variety of analytics, influence measurement, and link tracking to get a good idea of active audience size and engagement.  Several companies are competing for this space (Radian 6, Klout, PeerIndex, Twitalyzer, Crowdbooster, Sysomos, etc.) Some are free, some cost thousands of dollars a year, but nobody can paint the complete picture. Unfortunately, solving the social media measurement problem won’t come in 2012.

3.5 More IPOs. We saw 19 social media IPOs in 2011, and over 80% of them are trading below their opening price as we start 2012…not a good track-record (more on that story from Mashable). This year will certainly see it’s share of IPOs, perhaps the anticipated Facebook IPO will be the largest in history, but the viability of these properties will continue to be called into question. It’s hard to predict who will to what with whom, but if you do decide to invest, history tells us that you will be losing money. This one only gets 0.5 because the Facebook IPO is an easy one to call, but we also can anticipate others going public this year, including Livingsocial, Dropbox, and Yelp.

October 26, 2011

MOvember social media strategy from CKDJ 107.9 [Video + Interview]

The idea for this post first struck me when I saw this YouTube video:

Pretty great, right? As you can see, CKDJ 107.9 Ottawa’s New Music (a station run by Algonquin College’s Radio Broadcasting students) is once again joining the Movember campaign to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. Their hook? Get Canada’s Prime Minister to grow a mustache and be a “MoBro”.

After watching CKDJ’s campaign unfold over a few days, I noticed that it relied heavily on social media to get the word out. Given that this is a student group whose primary focus is NOT marketing or communications, I thought the campaign was being handled quite well.

I wanted to talk strategy, so I tracked down the man in the video (@RyanPaulGibson) for a quick discussion. We had a great conversation, and I was rather impressed by the thought and effort that went into this campaign. Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation.

Q1. Before we talk about your strategy, what are your goals?

First of all it’s about raising awareness for a good cause. My family has been impacted by prostate cancer, and it’s something that is not talked about enough. If we can raise a little money along the way, all the better.

Q2. What metrics determine your success?

We want:

Even if we don’t get the Prime Minister to grow a mo, we would have still raised awareness by creating content that engages our audience.

Q3. Did you really create a social media strategy, or is this stuff just common sense for CKDJ?

Absolutely we created a social media strategy. If I just posted the video on YouTube, I don’t think it would have done much. It would have gotten lost within the thousands of hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every second. If we didn’t use social media to promote it, it would not have been picked up by mainstream media, and the dominoes wouldn’t have fallen into place. If you want to get your message heard, you need to find a way to get it out there to the people who will get it on another channel.  Sometimes you just have to light the fire a little bit.

Q4. Boil down your strategy and tactical approach for me

Well, step one was make the video, and then promote it on Twitter. I tweeted (and emailed) 40-50 news organizations and around 100 journalists that I follow or knew existed. I also tweeted key cultural figures, such as George Stroumboulopoulos (@Strombo), Alan Cross (@AlanCross), or Algonquin College graduate Tom Green (@TomGreenLive), in hopes that they would retweet the message and share the video. I even sent our news release to some press secretaries on Parliament Hill.

Within our Twitter strategy, we created a hashtag (#MoHarper), and added the hashtag for #Movember. Then we made sure that every single tweet was sent with our station’s handle (@CKDJ1079) and the @MovemberCanada handle so that everything we did was noticed by Movember Canada. Next thing I knew, the phone rang and it was one of the head organizers of Movember Canada calling me from Toronto. He thanked me for being involved and gave us the heads-up on some things that they were doing this week to help build momentum. But if I didn’t use social media to reach out in the first place, the video would have just sat on YouTube with a couple dozen views.

Ryan Gibson and his 2010 "Mo"

Ryan Gibson and his 2010 "Mo"

We’ve also created a Facebook page where we share our events, media coverage, and news about the campaign. It’s turning out to be a great place to connect with our audience.

Once I had the social media structure and protocols established to manage our brand, I then looked to other students in the program to leverage their social networks and share our message about Movember beyond just the social media properties owned by CKDJ.

Q5. Did you look at social media and traditional media as separate, or complementary?

This is the first time I’ve tried anything like this; I’ve never even run a campaign before. At first I saw them as separate, but as I started to implement the plan, I saw for the first time how those properties overlap.

Q6. Tell me about the YouTube video

It stemmed from the professors here at Algonquin College telling us that the skill-sets needed to succeed in a career in media require expertise in a variety of sectors including video, audio, writing, social, and web. With that in mind, this was done very quickly, very guerrilla, and very unsophisticated. It was shot in one take with big signs and fake mustaches. We wanted to keep it simple and include a call to action to sign our petition and visit our Facebook page. Ninety seconds is all the time you have to deliver your message online; a video any longer than that often drags.

Q7. How can people can get involved?

It’s easy:

There you have it, a quick behind-the-scenes look at how some Canadian students are leveraging social media to raise money and awareness on men’s health.  During our conversation, Ryan and I touched on a number of best practices, but his understanding of where social media fits in an organization was spot on. Social media strategies are not something you create for campaigns; they should be created and integrated into your everyday business operations.  Using social media needs to be baked into everything your business does.

Are you a “MoBro” or “MoSista”? Let us know if/how you are getting involved in Movember this year.

September 28, 2011

New Facebook timeline: Love it or hate it? [screenshots]

Substantive changes have been made to Facebook, and at first glance it looks like an improvement. I’ve spent the last week or so experimenting with the developers’ release of Facebook timeline to get a sense of what’s new, and what works. With this update going Facebook-wide at the end of this week (September 30, 2011), here are a few things that caught my eye.

Unbalanced three-column view: Before, we were faced with a three-column view, each column given roughly one third of the page, that featured left-navigation with your content in the middle and advertisements on the right. Your content, and daily interactions were concentrated in the centre and only given about 40% of the screen. The new timeline layout expands the content section and drastically reduces the emphasis given to navigation and advertisements.

Old:

New timeline:

When I first saw the layout I thought “Where are the ads?” and it took me a little while to notice they are now much smaller and tucked away in the bottom corner on the right-side of the page.

The timeline: A logical design move, with a long memory. Not only can you interact with latest and popular news from others, but you can also easily “creep” your own content by scrolling back through your timeline. You won’t just see the posts and friends you have made over the years; the timeline uses much of the other information you have trusted to Facebook to extend your timeline back to the day you were born. It’s fun to see what you were up to a few years ago, what music you were listening to, and how disappointed you were when the Toronto Maple Leafs lost.

I also like the “featured post option” in the timeline. You can now give certain items greater visual prominence while hiding others. Just click that little star in the corner of one of your posts and you can feature the items you think will be of most interest to your friends.

The cover: This spot for a large photo at the top of your profile is the first thing you will notice. My initial reaction to seeing this big, open area, was “this is great!” Then I quickly thought…”what the heck am I going to put there?” You can choose to display a photo that is currently in one of your albums, or you can upload a new one.

Be careful what photos you choose to include as your cover. If you use one of the previously uploaded photos you have shared with just friends, the privacy settings are automatically changed to public. If you are designing something custom for this space, 1030px  x 380px is your best bet for sizing.

Surrender more personal information: Now with a couple of clicks you can easily share many more personal details.  They are now asking for information about when a loved one died, when you got your driver’s licence, when you bought a home, when you broke your arm, when you had surgery, when you completed your military service, etc.

I chuckle each time I see these fields come into play, but knowing this type of information is important for Facebook. With these details, advertisers can now display better ads that are most likely to be of interest to you. Improving the success of these ads helps to keep Facebook free. Before I surrender any information to my social networks, I always ask myself “How does sharing this information enhance my experience?” If I don’t have a good answer, I often pass.

Facebook gets my  for this update, but what do you think?

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September 14, 2011

Don’t make anonymous online posts, you drunks!

Do you ever get frustrated when you come across a posting that you passionately agree, or disagree, with and want to find out more about the poster, but you can’t? The problem doesn’t lie with your research skills, it lies with the fact that the post was made anonymously. Now, because that person used a pseudonym, and didn’t enter any additional information, it is almost impossible to find out more about that user to establish credibility, connect with them socially, or follow-up on other related topics.

I can just picture this “anonymous” person sitting behind the keyboard thinking “I don’t want the whole world to know my name” or “why would I ever want to add a ‘profile picture'” or “I’m not telling you who I am: what if my boss see this?” But this person goes ahead and shares his/her opinion thinking that “the world NEEDS to hear my opinion!”

If you don’t tie your individual comments back to your own personality, it’s very difficult to establish credibility on the subject you are commenting about. Without credibility, comments and subsequent replies have the tendency to turn into a virtual bar-room shouting match rather than a productive conversation between opinion leaders, experts, industry, educators, students (I use the term students to include anybody wanting to learn more about a topic), etc.

In my view, anonymous posts not only provide the ideal conditions for people to aggressively (offensively) broadcast their opinion and pick fights, but also they effectively stifle the conversation by polluting it with a lot of words with little substance.

A lot of academic research was conducted around the turn of the millennium (1997-2003) on anonymous postings on the internet. Most of the research suggested that this anonymity is a good thing and should be protected – after all it was the “natural state of the internet”, they thought. But this was over a decade ago, and things have changed.

The biggest change is the introduction of social networks. Many of these networks require users to provide a real name to participate (Google+) or to get the best value out of the service (Facebook). Now, the “natural state of the internet” is a place where many of our accounts are linked, creating a consistent online footprint that aggregates and tracks much of the content we have generated or interacted with. If I am intrigued by a comment you make, I can usually follow a series of links and get a general understanding of who you are, which helps contextualize your comments and posts.

Another significant change is that “online worlds” and “offline worlds” are now so interconnected that they can be considered one, and not two separate places. Instead of splitting our personalities into several different performances based on work, home, family, friends, online, and offline, we are recognizing that who we are in one element of our lives should be reflected in others.

Current research paints a very different picture from the research conducted just a decade ago. In a recent study from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, researchers concluded that the thrill people get when making anonymous online postings can lead to impaired judgement similar to that experienced by those who get a kick out of abusing their power or are intoxicated by alcohol. This mask of anonymity lowers the users’ inhibitions, ulitmatly encouraging them to pay less attention to social norms, and act more impulsively.

Here’s a brief overview from the Kellogg School of Management’s news release:

“When people lose their inhibitions — from being drunk, powerful, or acting anonymously — there can be significant behavioral consequences. In effect, disinhibition can both reveal and shape the person, as contradictory as that may sound…[this] disinhibition can lead to behavior more consistent with one’s true underlying motives or dispositions…”

These researchers stop short of saying that we should eliminate anonymous postings, but that is exactly what I’m suggesting. Let’s get rid of the option to post anonymously and ensure that all content is properly attributed to the content creator. We would then be able to view all comments, discussions, blogs, and posts in a context related to the users’ experiences, employment, education, post history, and so on. Reducing, or eliminating, these “impaired” comments would enhance our online experience.

If you have an opinion you feel strongly about, why not have it attributed to you? What are you worried about? Let’s take responsibility and stand behind what we say online and offline – If you’re not willing to share your name, don’t bother sharing your opinion.

Now the question is over to you.…Should we work towards eliminating anonymous postings? Or is it something that should be preserved as it is vital to your internet experience?

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