When thinking of social media, it’s important to remember that it’s a tool adapted by businesses. Pillar 6, of the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing is included because of its marketing potential. Like the other forms of communication within the 7 Pillars, Social Media’s rise to prominence is due to its success in a personal user environment.
A great reminder of why social media was a success to begin with, is AnnMarie Walsh, a homeless woman from Chicago. She recently used Twitter to tweet to over 4,800 followers about her experiences in being homeless. Her insights allowed her to offer pieces of advice for others that may be suffering as well.
AnnMarie currently has over 5,800 followers.
How did a homeless woman manage to tweet? She used her cell phone and computers from a local library. She was intrigued by Twitter as it enabled her to interact with people that would not normally listen to her. People were moved by her situation and even offered her as much as two laptops, to pay her cell phone bill, and bus passes.
As this was taking place, a filmmaker reached out to her via Twitter and asked her to be part of his documentary about the homeless. This was just the beginning of her positive experiences, as AnnMarie was invited to some of Twitter’s, 140 Characters Conferences as a guest speaker regarding her homelessness experiences. During one of these sessions, she encountered a case worker who was able to help her find temporary residence.
This is just one recent example. Many will remember the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man whose unique voice went viral on YouTube. He was soon able to find a job and residence after his story made headlines.
The trend seems to just be catching on. A charity in New York aims to give the homeless another chance at life, by giving them pre-paid cell phones and setting them up with Twitter accounts. This organization helps the homeless stay in touch with a world that sometimes forgets them, through Social Media.
These are just some examples of Social Media reinforcing the position that its level of interaction can be used to solve real life problems and effectively communicates the needs to one to another, enabling an action. Within the 7 Pillars, social media is integrated with other forms of communication to replicate this pattern, and enable conversions, whatever that may mean for each business or individual.
In this case, social media allowed individuals were overlooked or looked down upon on the streets, passed by thousands each day, and gave them a voice on a level playing field, where her residential status didn’t matter; where her class or appearance didn’t matter. Social media allows the world to take in a message and to grab onto it – to spread the word for the benefit for the source, in a world where we sometimes forget that the message may be all that matters.
Ever since its introduction last year, Lamar Smith’s Stop Online Piracy Act (better known as SOPA) has created quite the stir on the internet, setting the stage for the battle of large media companies who aim to protect their assets and the tech industry who oppose the bill on claims that it overreaches and fails to solve the problem. As many are confused as to the nature of this bill or to why it is significant, let’s take a look at SOPA from both perspectives.
SOPA’s stated intent is to protect copyrighted property from being pirated online. The media industry claims that piracy leads to a loss of profits and comes back to haunt the consumer in the end. Many that pirate media justify their actions with qualms of excessive pricing and the disbelief that their indiscretion could have any affect on a fiscally successful company.
Media, be it music, movies, games, etc will feel the burden in different areas, concurrent with their industry model of fiscal responsibilities. Across all boards, piracy widens the gap between the reach and influence of a product to the profits gained by said product. Companies can have a popular title without seeing the financial compensation to cover their costs of that production. With lower expected returns for their investment, companies are forced to raise the cost of that product to the consumer. The raise in cost allows profit margins to retain original or close to original percentages on a particular title. Going further down the chain, retail outlets cannot compete with pirated pricing, thus selling less of that product, and see a decrease in business which results in them hiring less people (fewer jobs).
It’s hard not to understand why companies want to crack down on piracy, regardless of your stance on it. Among the bill’s top proponents are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and media giants, the Motion Pictures Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). SOPA aims to protect industry products and industry jobs by allowing the government and private companies to shut down websites that hold copyright infringements.
Criticism of SOPA has been heard loud and strong from the tech industry, particularly in New York City where several tech startups have thrived. Among the bill’s top opponents are LinkedIn, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Reddit. These companies have voiced concerned about 1st Amendment rights and censorship, among others.
What do all these sites have in common and what are they seeing that Congress is not? It requires us to dig into SOPA just a little more. The websites that oppose SOPA are those that are run on user-generated material. Under SOPA, user generated content would become to responsibility of the website itself. Let’s use the example of Pirate Bay. If someone were to post directions on Reddit or Facebook on how to log into Pirate Bay and how to download their favorite movies, Reddit would be accountable for the transgression and held responsible for enabling copyright infringement. The fear is that user generated websites could legally tampered with or worst case scenario, shut down within a few weeks of the bill’s passing.
Sites that rely on user generated content simply cannot exist in their current state under these laws. They are currently not responsible for information uploaded by a user. SOPA changes that. Users fear is that these websites will be replaced with commercialized versions of themselves or be removed/blocked all together.
With millions of pieces of content synchronously being made available, content has become hard to manage in real time. With existing laws in place (Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998), an ISP must remove material from web sites that appear to constitute copyright infringement. This can be requested or flagged by the copyright owner or their representative. Under SOPA, websites could be shut down or blocked by simply being accused of enabling copyright infringement.
The tech industry – specifically those sites running on user generated content have created thousands of jobs in the past few years. Slowing down on innovation is not something the country can afford to do, and not something these young companies want to see happen. They claim Congress will seek to end piracy and hurt the tech industry as collateral damage.
For many, it’s hard to garner support for the RIAA. They’re known for being ruthless in their pursuit of those that illegally download music. SOPA however, is not just about piracy, it’s about property. Including intellectual property.
Aside from tangible products and goods that are protected under SOPA, the bill also addresses the issue of intellectual property. A foreign website selling knock-off purses would be covered under the bill. This is considered intellectual property theft.
This is important for companies, specifically those that pride themselves on providing high quality often high price point goods. Buying bad quality, imposter goods presents a bad image of that company to the buyer, in opposition to the image they have developed and portray and in many cases, in direct opposition to the goods they manufacture. Associating a supposed ‘high end’ brand with bad quality will damage a company’s image, in turn; damage their brand and their profits.
As the United States cannot do anything to shut down a foreign site, the most they can do is block access to it, under the moniker of protecting Americans into not paying for fake goods. This raises all kinds of questions on censorship, government interference and has even drawn the ire of those that claim this violates the principles of a free market.
Amongst the loudest of SOPA opponents, the Reddit community has displayed the true power of the internet and has collectively raised their voices in protest. They’ve managed to raise awareness to the general population, and have made their feeling felt in the pockets of supporting corporations.
Among the top proponents of SOPA was GoDaddy.com. Having faced public backlash for their involvement, they have since backed off. The backlash? A Reddit user called for a national, ‘Change your Provider Day’ in opposition to GoDaddy’s stance. Within 5 days, GoDaddy lost 74,000 domains due to the Reddit-driven campaign.
As GoDaddy hasn’t been getting a break about this lately, let’s give them one and look at why they’ve supported this. The company was being sued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which produces the Oscars each year) for facilitating trademark infringement by allowing domains to be registered by individuals that used it to promote the Oscars (ie. 2011oscars.com), without the consent of the Academy. If SOPA passes, GoDaddy is alleviated of responsibility and those sites can just be taken down or blocked.
Another major concern with the bill is that it does very little to actually target piracy. Taking a closer look, SOPA only targets http, or the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (one of many internet protocols) and does nothing to target the BitTorrent protocol. This protocol which uses neither http nor DNS accounts for approximately 95% of piracy. Thus, the bill does nothing to actually stop piracy where it thrives and only has a negative impact on the structure of the internet which has prospered in the past two decades under the free exchange of information.
In the game of combating piracy, companies are left to wonder to who to blame. Several tech companies have expressed their desire to see the private sector tackle piracy on their own and resist the idea of government regulation of the internet. The comedian, Louis CK is an example of the private sector taking on this issue. The comedian abstained from the production assistance of a larger corporation and opted to film a comedy special, set up his website, and produce the event by himself.
He promoted the special to his fans and admitted that they could pirate it if they want to, but asked for their support and spend $5 to download the special. The low price countered any claims that it would be too expensive for fans to manage. This honest and genuine request resonated with his fan base and others seeking to support the cause. People forewent on downloading a pirated copy of the event, and opted to pay the $5. All profits went to him and covered his production costs. This social test was a stellar success, and Louis CK made over $1 million dollars in sales off the comedy special.
The question becomes if the private sector can tackle this problem on their own by restructuring their own businesses that have seen financial success in the past, or if a heavy handed government ruling that threatens to ‘break’ the internet is necessary. SOPA draws ire from what it fails to do. Fear of SOPA comes from not what it threatens to take away, but from what is can be used to do. As a law is only as good as its interpretation of those regulating it, SOPA can be used to not only protect the intellectual and tangible property of business owners, but to limit free speech and the free flow of information to and from American citizens.
Like the VCR recorder upon its launch, the mp3 player when introduced, and YouTube even today – the answer of large corporations has always been to stifle innovations that can potentially interfere with their business models and profits by trying to get them banned/blocked. Their latest attempt to censor the internet is no different. Think what the world would be like if it weren’t for those tech innovations. SOPA goes beyond protecting the right of copyright owners and takes a dangerous step into government intervention in the flow of information and freedom of speech guaranteed to American citizens.
The Federal Trade Commission has dropped a hammer that has long been expected. The headline from The New York Times delves into the ramifications. The content is quite benign, stating that the search and online advertising titan has not been accused of malpractice at this point in time. It merely echoes the showdown between Microsoft and the U.S. government in the 1990s. Buckle your search goggles.
We have more Facebook news. This one is pertinent for web developers. They will now have to pay 30% of their proceedings from games like Farmville to Facebook. The article notes, importantly, that Credits will be used to pay for other digital content forms. As we already know in the tech world, content is the new king. Hardware is loved, but it’s value is fading.
Copious is looking to enter the e-commerce marketplace of auctions where EBay has long held reign. They, however, are doing it with the integration of Facebook users. Online auction vendors should be able to construct interesting strategies for demographics. Nowadays, items can be critiqued and shared through social networks before a purchase is considered. This engagement can be quite influential regardless of the flow. The mission is intriguing.
PC Magazine gives a positive review on the release of Final Cut Pro X. They claim that the interface upgraded will make the editing experience smoother once professionals adjust to the changes. Conan O’Brien has already lampooned the changes, and even online communities did the same today. Time will tell. It could portend for digital developers looking enter an online advertising sector which is slowly growing scale.
In the world of blog, you may not necessarily be what you post. Righthaven, a Las Vegas-based copyright litigation company, met with the Las Vegas Review-Journal over some of the publisher’s content. As a firm in the business of lawsuit protection, these cases have not garnered as much publicity. The democratization of written content by uncredible posters can only spread to other mediums like video and sound. In fact, content is becoming more than king. It is becoming a tasty hot potato.
That’s the Blue news for now. Enjoy the weekend.
I noticed the article in my headlines from Netted, a digital media treasure chest of content which I discovered during Internet Week. Intrigued, I took the browser for a spin. I am liking the drive thus far. I’m talking about the browser coming from the developers of RockMelt. RockMelt is a browser that smoothly integrates the UI experience on many levels. The interface can be navigated with simple drags across to your Application Feed, where you can upload your social media accounts. This panel, known as the Feed Edge, updates your content stream similar to an RSS aggregator. One swipe and click leads you into a new tab for page views. The browser application is available for PC or Mac, completing a Beta 3 relaunch today. Users may be reminded of Google Chrome and Firefox in their navigation, but this one is much more streamlined.
It’s link shortener is better than Bre.ad as well, who now has my scorn for poor account integration. I’ve had trouble loggin in using a Facebook account and using my email account. Their smart brand strategy is being wasted right now. Hopefully they can make adjustments.
My one caveat with RockMelt is the close integration with Facebook could annoy users who use other content distributors. The Developers vouch for Facebook because of its endless personal data reservoir. Fair enough. I also thought the search query box was a little cumbersome as you have to open a new tab to enter Google and see content clearly.
Those quibbles aside, RockMelt is a social media browser perfect for those who push endless content around the web. Click on the image for a download and test drive. Over here, CEO Eric Vishria talks with Bloomberg Radio about the experience.
Influences breed a variable set of emotions in the human experience and our global economy. Some people are influenced by the style of certain fashion designers or someone in their family. Others are influenced by a particular set of media presentation, such as a television series, periodical piece, and the like. The world of interactive marketing, however, shaves the definition to a unique level. Brian Solis gives you a guide at this link.
Social media exploded to an influential level of communication over the last couple of years. This is undeniable. In the beginnings of 2011, companies are emerging to identify and rank influencers in the cybersphere. As this article on ClickZ reports, digital marketers and social media web developers will hear a lot more soon about Klout, MBlast, and other influencers in the near future. It is yet another branch of web analytics that can measure quantifiably the activity of consumers. But the science is hobbled by its lack of experience in business technology. The companies are neophytes and so are the staff. As a result, they simply have a limited scope of data which can be accurately measured.
As with all new media, the marketplace needs some corporate influence and maybe some federal involvement to set the tone. Everyone is influenced somehow, but not everyone knows the motivations or methodologies. Only then will influence firms become a tool of social media measurement.
Yesterday, NBA Digital announced the development of a new location-based mobile application that rewards the fans for their attendance at NBA games. The NBA Turnstile is a solid step for a league that has a lot of interactive outreach but remains disconnected from the general public due to exorbitant ticket prices. The league also still suffers some in public goodwill from years of shoddy play, gambling referees, and pampered athletes that use college basketball as a vacation stop for an undeserved contract. The teams and players remain compelling, however, and the continued development of social media will endear fans once again to the greatest athletes in the world. Fans that have NBA All-Access accounts can use NBA Gametime to use this portfolio of features.
Fans can also virtually check-in with their existing location accounts (Foursquare, Gowalla) to receive points toward special discounts on apparel and concessions, along with unlocking secret prizes. Facebook and Twitter accounts can also be integrated to spread further love about the game in real-time. NBA Turnstile also allows fans to check in while watching live games regardless of channel. The NBA League Pass has a reasonable deal for the moment where one can watch the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, or their favorite team anywhere.
Clearly, the league is looking to manifest their young customer base into scores of advertising opportunities. With a roster of loyal partnerships, the ball should bounce their way.
Online advertising is coming back with strength. According to this note from paidContent.org via Magna Global, web advertising revenues will reach $25.6B, an increase of 12%. Display advertising has led the charge, as e-commerce merchants gear up for the holiday spending season, which starts in earnest after Thanksgiving. Strangely, however, analysts have noticed the decrease in market share of direct media. Direct media is the umbrella term given to lead generation, pay per click advertising, online yellow pages, and e-mail marketing. Large technology firms nevertheless continue to integrate websites in order to generate click-throughs and collect personal data for web analytics.
Yahoo aims to emulate the Facebook Connect module of multiple site integration with Y! Connect. An opportunity exists for Yahoo! to present the module as a potential boom for small and mid-size businesses looking to organize their interactive marketing services. Philanthropic organizations can use Yahoo! for their e-mail marketing campaigns. E-mail marketing involves gathering extensive data on donors’ web activities to observe behavior, then tailoring your message using a hybrid of images and text to elicit the desired feedback: revenue. If a campaign has an extensive reach with quality content, then traffic flows. The Y! Connect hopes to deliver on this elusive adage.
Yahoo!, despite its management uncertainty, remains credible with the public as an e-mail provider. Facebook’s continual privacy issues have left the door open. Can Yahoo! step in and yodel? Only if they can step up their security protocols, and the market is always kind to those with capital.
The social networking site made some changes this week to their dashboard, Groups section, and added a new feature called “Download Your Information”. This feature lets you download supposedly every single bit of communication, whether it be quotes, images, or statistics that you posted into the website. Click here to discover the value of these new features for your account.
The shooting of John Lennon was heard around the world in 1980. I was an infant, but my mother remembers where she stood at that moment in time. On Google’s main site, the developers will create a playful design for the logo, and today, they debut the Video Doodle and remember John Lennon on his 70th birthday. John Lennon’s work as a musician and ambassador to the world still remains poignant to this day, and Google gives it up. Imagine here.
According to this report, the seminal retailer of denim and basics changed their logo, and the feedback has not been kind. Gap management has defended the change as a new reflection of the brand while honoring its past. My first impression is that of a salon or spa products, not a classic American retailer. It doesn’t befit their image, although they have attempted to modernize their collections with new designers such as Patrick Robinson. As Tropicana found out last year, reinventing an iconic brand is a tricky proposition in today’s endless media spiral. Once an image is panned, it makes product development more than a moot point. Product development becomes impossible. A multichannel campaign is planned, but depending on the criticism, whether it occurs is unknown.
This transition had been buzzed about in media circle for a long time, but now with production by Apple on the schedule docket, it will become a reality. Some have purchased the phone and unlocked it on the black market, but now Apple can compete with rising sales of Android-operated phones, which have residency on more carriers. A CDMA (code division multiple access) version will be developed for Verizon, although Apple originally wanted to keep its GSM version for AT&T and other worldwide carriers. For mobile marketers and application developers, it’s a win for everyone. Verizon has the superior network technology, especially in the Northeast, and many were loath to give that up for AT&T. Sprint now has a chance to muscle the iPhone into its portfolio.
In only seven months after the iPad’s release, Samsung prepares to launch the Galaxy Tab, and publishers are lining up for the new device. Buzz for the new tablet is slowly generating due to the promise of it containing Google’s Android operating system. Mobile developers could benefit as many forthcoming tablets promise to use the OS, allowing for flexible data transfer between devices. The Journal weighs in with more depth on the topic.
That’s the Blue news this week. Enjoy the long holiday.
A longtime purveyor of leather business cases and travel luggage for the sophisticated professional, Jack Georges teamed with Blueliner to bring the collection alive at Anar Studios. Anar Studios, located in Jersey City, is an integral part of the digital marketing strategy for our clients. We have a resident photographer, Eric Giovon, who took the lead on this shoot. Eric handles our portfolio of services ranging from podcast production to digital photography with leading camera equipment.
The photo shoot with Jack Georges took place last weekend at Anar Studios. Collection staples were featured with some unexpected surprises. Credit must be given to Virginie Molle, Riyaad Edoo, and especially Amit Mallya. He was the visionary in designing feature concepts, collaborating with the stylists, and organizing the model roster while keeping them motivated. He states, “We wanted to take Jack Georges into a different league. We wanted to keep the business element but add some edge to it, some exclusiveness. I think with Espirit and Eric (Giovon), we were able to do that.” Here’s another look behind the scenes.
The leaves have yet to change colors, but retailers are starting to ramp their advertising campaigns for the holiday season. Although the economy is at a higher level than 2009, when retailers had to cut inventory due to consumers closing their wallets, caution still hangs in the air. Luxury goods, however, are starting to generate sales revenue. One venerable patron has a vision of penetrating with many channels.
Neiman Marcus has been popular with mothers of upper-middle incomes and the divorced for years. eMarketer interviewed Michael Crotty, Neiman’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Programs and Customer Insight. Despite the statistics of his customer demographic, his staff sees a different story on the floor. “Our customer likes to shop on both channels depending on what they’re looking for and how much time they have. In markets where we don’t have stores, the customer doesn’t look that much different. In general, though, like a lot of other retailers, the online customer’s a little younger–not dramatically, but younger.”
The website design has a mix of traditional Neiman Marcus photography, with evening wear and classic formal pieces. Every section is crisply organized on the homepage, accented by a silver dashboard that highlights with soft shadows, exhibiting swift navigability. Their desire for a multichannel reach is best exemplified with their mobile applications that bring their images first to your imagination, then to life. The Editions application for iPad bursts with stills of classic editions, e-commerce, and The Christmas Book. Editions is also available for the iPhone consumer, with the same bouquet of digital features. The ladies who start browsing early should experience the Flipbook here. At the moment, online shoppers get free shipping regardless of order total.