Social Media: A Fatal Distraction

It’s normal for many of us to have numerous emails a day that we need to check constantly, especially if we work in an office or for a business that requires us to be glued to our Gmail or Yahoo accounts 40 hours or more a week. But, how many of us are distracted from our work by social media sites?

I’ve noticed how many people are signed onto these social media networks each day by how many posts my friends are commenting on or posting and by how much my newsfeed is constantly being updated. And I obviously notice that this is going on because I too find myself being distracted by sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on a daily basis.

Not saying that these people aren’t getting done or are on these sites all day long, but it’s very common these days to walk by a co-workers desk to see them looking at a funny picture or a friends post on one of these sites. Roughly 60% of wasted-time at work now involves being sucked in to the digital world of social media in one way or another.

Even by just navigating through the multiple tabs and or open windows is a major distraction. Infact, in a survey taken with more than 500 employees of U.S businesses of various sizes, concluded that a company with over 1,000 employees can waste more than $10 million every year due to these digital distractions.

We are living in the digital and social world and because of that I doubt that the use of these sites, along with checking personal emails and text messages, will ever fully be banned from businesses. Even if banned, I don’t think employers will be able to completely control the use (or lack thereof) of these online networks.

Pictures Trump Words in Our Visual Society

A picture is worth a thousand words and so much more.  Our society has grown to be such a visual culture that photo sharing has become our way of communicating.  Camera phones have made capturing unexpected memories easier over the years but now we have a way our actually sending those photos out to tell your friends and family stories: social media.

No matter where you are, you can always check and update your social media sites thanks to our improved technologies of laptops, tablets and smart phones.  While the quality of these devices increases, so does amount of content that people put on their sites as well as the competition between different social sites such as Facebook and Google.  These social networks look for new ways to make their sites more unique and easier to use than the other.

Now, when we look at our Facebook accounts, much of what we see is pictures rather than statuses.  Our friends post pictures as a way of telling us where they are and who they are with.  That friend can tag the location and other people in the photo as a way of attaching quick information rather than a long explanation of the picture.  It seems that picture posting is snowballing as our society has become so visually based. Pinterest shows the evidence in this.

Pinterest is a social media site that has grown to be one of the top rated and used sites in the world.  This site features pictures to tell about new products, home décor, travel and fashion, rather than detailed wordy descriptions.  It features these photos in a classy way and as studies show that consumers are more likely to shop on Pinterest than Facebook, it is obvious that a picture is all we need to sell us.

Facebook and Google + have both recently updated their layouts to include larger photos or ‘cover photos’ which allows its’ users to select a picture that they think would best represent their social networking page.  Looking at pictures is obviously a lot quicker and easier than reading; however, everyone sees things differently.  This poses the question: how can we be sure that our pictures will mean the correct thousand words to everyone who sees them?


New 3D Mapping Technology Comes at a Price: Your Privacy

Imagine laying out in the privacy of your own backyard while airplanes are overhead, secretly filming you.

Well, no need to imagine.  Google and Apple have employed “hi-tech mapping airplanes” fashioned with military-grade cameras to produce aerial images of towns, cities, and your own home.  According to the Daily Mail, these high tech cameras will be able to film through windows and anywhere else on any type of property for the sake of new and improved virtual maps.

How is this any different from Google Earth, you might ask?

Unlike Google Earth, which utilizes satellite imaging, these privacy-infringing cameras are said to be similar to those used by the military.   They can be installed onto airplanes, helicopters, and drones.  The photographs can be taken at a height of 1,600 ft., and are capable of photographing objects that are merely just four inches wide.  Additionally, these “spy planes” allow for high quality and detailed imaging of…anything.

“Google has admitted to having sent planes over cities, while Apple has acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations, including London.”

We seem to think 3D maps are cool and convenient, right?  We can see our own house, our neighbor’s house, even a town on the other side of the globe.  We can virtually visit any country on the planet without ever having touched feet to ground.  If we drive into uncharted territory, we can just whip out our iPhones and open a map app.  The world has become smaller with social media marketing sites like Facebook bringing different cultures together without ever having to meet.

Like any new technology, the good is sometimes outweighed by the bad. At what cost will these aerial spies come?  Will we forfeit our own physical privacy with the adaptation of these spy planes?  What do you think?

Protecting Your Brand and Online Rep

These days, anything can be searched and posted on the Internet, whether true or not. In order for your brand to survive in the digital world, you need to make sure you safeguard it from any untrue stories or even information that you don’t want leaked for the public.

Creating social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is crucial and completely beneficial if you want to start promoting your brand and build a strong online presence. That’s just a start. Of course a comment on a social media site is easily removed and you control what your company or business publishes on your own website, but what about an annoyed customer or disgruntled former employee creating a nasty blog about your brand and launching it across the Internet?

Something you could use to be made aware of anything posted on the Internet about you is to set up Google Alerts that can notify you via email about anytime your name or brand name appears on the web. You could also create and post some interesting and informative YouTube videos since they rank pretty high on Google search. These types of posts can easily push any negative feedback about your brand off of the first and second pages of Google.

Responding to any comments posted by happy customers or clients on your social media accounts or website always helps and reinforces positive feedback any day of the week. Engaging is always a way to push negative posts down. If an apology needs to be made, posting it on one of these sites or in response to an angry comment shows how loyal your brand is to its customers and that you take responsibility for your actions and any mistakes made.

Of course you won’t be able to control or fix every negative rant that is posted about you or your business on the Internet. Not everyone is going to like you or what your brand promotes and stands for. IF you can catch most of the harsh feedback early on, one or two bad comments or blogs won’t destroy your entire brand.

The NBA Revolutionizing Sports and Social Media

As we all know social media sites have become extremely popular over the past few years and the impact from these sites is being felt in many different industries. Since the emergence of social media sites the world has really changed. Everywhere you go you are basically guaranteed to see something that has to do with social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other site. Social media has also had a very big impact on the sports world as well. These social media sites have also contributed greatly to the growing popularity of the smart phone, because people enjoy using their phone to access their social media accounts.

Every night on ESPN’s SportsCenter they have a segment where fans can tweet them their favorite plays of the night to air on that nights “Top 10.” Since Twitter has become extremely popular there are so many prominent sports figures with twitter accounts and a lot of them tweet daily. These social media sites have also began to serve as a news source for sports fans as well. Every time there is a major transaction, trade, injury, or anything else news worthy the quickest way to find out about it is by checking your twitter timeline.

The NBA has really bought into the whole idea of social media and they have been marketing social media as a big aspect of this past season. They are also encouraging all people associated with the league to join the social media world. Right now the NBA has the most recognizable and marketable superstars of any of the four major sports, and all of these superstars are very much involved in social media. In the NBA its announcers, pregame and postgame casts, and even the commissioner all have twitter handles and they can be seen on the screen below the person’s name.

Tonight the NBA is hosting its first ever “Social Media Awards.” This is not only a first for the NBA but this is the first time there has ever been an award show based strictly off of social media. In tonight’s show the NBA will be rewarding the amazing plays shared most on Facebook, the most tweeted about moments, and the highlights that blew up the digital stratosphere. They will also offer a list of the most trended NBA topics throughout the season and the most popular photos found on social media sites from this past season. The NBA has officially begun the revolution of social media in sports, and it is just a matter of time until other professional leagues follow in the footsteps of the NBA.

Tune in to NBA TV tonight at 9 pm to see the first ever “Social Media Awards!”

Social Media Saves a Friendship

If someone had told me that when I met my best friend in 8th grade, we would one day have a friendship based on the internet, I would have believed them just as much as I didn’t want to believe her when she told me at the end of junior year that she would be moving from New York to Utah.  My best friend in the entire world was moving across the country; the only person that knew more about me than I did myself. The girl who for the past three and a half years had been my shoulder to cry on, my favorite person to laugh with and my “partner in crime,” would no longer be living just around the block from me.  There was no one in the world that could replace her, so how was I supposed to get through what was supposed to be the best year of my life – my senior year of high school – without her?  Social Media.

Connecting with people online is easy. Social media creates virtual friendships so that you have someone to talk to at any given time. I always used social networking sites to talk to my classmates that I already saw in school every day, but it was never an absolute necessity in my life until I suddenly needed to keep in touch with my new Utahan best friend, Ashley. Could social media keep our long-distance friendship alive?

I can honestly say, yes. Three years later, I am still closer with my friend who lives across the country than with any person who lives in my own neighborhood. If we had lived decades ago, in the age of mail and telephone calls for communication, I don’t think that my answer would have been the same. With today’s technology, we can look at each other’s pictures and stay updated on what is going on within our lives every day.  No matter the social media medium – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest – Ashley and I are always connected in so many ways at all times.

We now see one another two weeks out of the year, when she comes to New York and I go to Utah.  One might think that a close friendship couldn’t actually be maintained on just two weeks of face-to-face communication a year, but surprisingly it has. As social media has taken over all other types of communication, I think that our friendship is better off existing in the online world than if we were waiting to send letters back and forth. Call me lazy, but I find it so much easier to check her status update to see how her day was than it is to pick up the phone and call her after I’ve had a long day at school and work.  I am able to visit her vicariously through pictures and videos and we can even “hang out” using Facetime on our iPhones. No, this isn’t a traditional friendship, but this modern long-distance relationship works.

In today’s society, we are always rushing.  There isn’t always time to preserve a long-distance relationship like ours but social media definitely makes it a whole lot easier. Social media is easy to use on-the-go due to its accessibility and ability to use whenever we want. Since Utah is two hours behind Eastern Time, it isn’t always conventional to have a conversation at the same time. Often times, she will send me a Facebook message when I’m already asleep and I can just answer it in the morning before school at my own convenience. We still share our most important pieces of information with each other without having to rely on the U.S. Postal Service or wait for the right time to return a phone call. Ten or even five years ago, a friendship like ours may not have survived, but I truly believe that in this situation, social media has saved us.

You’ll Never Have Another: Why I’ll Have Another is a Once in a Lifetime Occurrence

With the close of the Belmont Stakes this past weekend, there are still many people buzzing about the future of the iconic I’ll Have Another. After being removed from the Belmont Stakes at the last minute, millions of people wonder if the celebrity horse might have swept the series and claimed title as the first Triple Crown winner in over 25 years. However there is something more than just a winning horse that made I’ll Have Another special. I’ll Have Another was a celebrity.

Unlike Secretariat or Seabiscuit, I’ll Have Another has impacted the world of Twitter and Facebook and reached the lives of millions personally (Well, maybe not personally: Horses can’t really type). Holding press conferences and tweeting about them has shown that even a horse can reach the same level as Justin Beiber.

“Social media has done something unprecedented within the sport; it’s literally given the horse a voice and opened up his fan base to millions of people who normally might not have paid attention to the Triple Crown, let alone the individual races. Social media has assisted in not only breaking and sharing out news, but also creating a community for fans to commiserate and express their disappointment,” says Justin Maas, Social Media Account Manager.

Will the world ever see another horse like I’ll Have Another? My answer is no. Will there ever be a horse that has touched the hearts of millions? I’ve seen enough Disney films to know that the answer to that question is #youbetyoura$$.

ICANN and General Top Level Domains: A Primer

ICANN and the grab for General Top Level Domains have been in the news for months now, but the lingo may be hard to follow for some. Here’s a quick overview for those of you who are have not been following the story closely.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is nonprofit organization that has legal authority to coordinate and oversee many different internet functions including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and General Top Level Domains (gTLDs). gTLDs are the part of a URL that comes after the period (.com, .org, .gov, etc). In the past gTLDs were limited to just over twenty predetermined words. However, ICANN has decided to open up the registration of other gTLDs through an application process that costs $185,000 per domain. The application period closed May 30 and there have been around 2,000 submissions.

Online marketing firms will love getting creative with gTLDs and many large companies and brands have been bidding for words. Organizations with trademarked domains, like Google, will have the right to claim their own gTLD (.google) without having to worry about competing bids. However, non-trademarked gTLDs are fair game for everyone. In a recent blog post, Google revealed that they were also going after .lol and .docs. Many people believe there will be a huge rush to obtain gTLDs of commonly used words like .cars, .hotels, .games, etc.

On Wednesday, June 13th, ICANN will release who has submitted an application and which domains they are requesting. Due to the prohibitive cost of the application, there will not be a massive shift in URLs in the near future. However, you may begin to see large organizations make the switch soon.

Supporters argue that opening gTLDs will diversify the crowded domain naming space, while opponents argue that it will only be beneficial for organizations with deep pockets and domain name registrars like GoDaddy. Don’t worry, though – for the common internet user, the only thing that changes is the string of words you type into your address bar.

Facebook Wins, Google Loses; Apple Always Wins

Sorry Google; you just got ousted!

If you haven’t heard already, Apple has relieved Google of their duties as the primary map provider for IOS. It’s about time! The Google Map app was great for finding addresses and such and knowing your own location. However, there was no turn by turn navigation! Regardless of whether or not my car has navigation, I would like to know that my phone has the capability of doing so just in case my friend drives, for example. Call me a worry-wart, but it’s something worth worrying about. So, Google lost in that respect.

Facebook on the other hand, scored BIG TIME. Much like when Twitter was integrated into the IOS platform, Facebook will now be doing the same. Users will be able to post directly to the wall, import friend information into their contacts, import events from Facebook into your calendar, or ask Siri to post for you. It is kind of ridiculous the amount of stuff that the new IOS will offer, but for Facebook we can call it an epic win.

For the social media marketing world as a whole, this Facebook iPhone integration is huge. If you have an iPhone, it will almost be essential to have Facebook as it is a major part of the device as a whole. The amount of people on Facebook will grow, even though it constantly does. For us community managers, it is important that we embrace these new users with valuable content on our clients’ pages for them to find and “Like.”

In the end, any Apple advancement benefits not only Apple but everything it comes into contact with. It makes life easier, more accessible, and even more fun and social. It is important that people take part in their social media activities and with Apple, it is becoming easier and easier.

Your thoughts?

Facebook has Taken Over the World

We know that it’s rare to come across a person who doesn’t have some sort of social media account. A social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza has even said that if Facebook was a virus, nearly the whole world would have succumbed to it already. And he’s not wrong.

Cosenza analyzed 137 countries to see how many people are on Facebook and put together a world map of social networks that shows just what the most popular social network is, as a result of a combination of Alexa and Google Trends for Websites Traffic data. According to this data, Facebook is in 126 of the 137 countries that were taken into account.

Surprisingly, America wasn’t the country that showed to have the most users on Facebook, but rather it was Europe that came out on top with 232 million users compared to North America’s 222 million users. According to research performed on comScore, America’s unique Facebook visitors only increased by 5% from April 2011 to April 2012, which lists Facebook as the lowest U.S growth rate. This data also lets us see that 71% of the 221 million U.S Internet users are on Facebook.

Of course other social media networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, QZone and Zing still remain in full effect by millions of users in the U.S and other countries. Twitter, for example is the second most popular site in countries such as the U.S, Sweden and the U.K and LinkedIn is the second in Australia, Denmark, India, Finland and Canada.

Although research shows that the spread of Zuckerberg’s creation has been slowing, I don’t think that the worldwide social media network will be outranked anytime soon, even by popular upcoming social sites.