Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

LinkedIn Jumps on the “Follow” Bandwagon

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

In a move that makes the professional networking site LinkedIn a bit more comparable to Facebook and Twitter, the site recently added a new feature that allows individuals to opt-in to “follow” companies.

Followers have the ability to customize the content they receive from companies – opting to get notifications about staffing changes, new job opportunities and company profile updates, and selecting how frequently these updates arrive.  Additionally, when I opted in to follow MWW Group’s page, I received an email alerting me about some of the most popular companies on LinkedIn, with prompts to follow.

While this has some implications in terms of ease of use for job seekers, former employees, partners and stakeholders  looking for a continuous stream of company information, I still think company profiles have a far way to go to reach their full potential.  Some other features I’d like to see:

  • Ability to customize company pages to include blog feed, twitter stream, photos and videos.
  • A list of affiliated groups and/or top groups in which current employees participate
  • An alert feature, that would allow companies to quickly and easily post new job openings or share big news (awards, mergers, earnings, etc).

What do you think? Are there other features you’d like to see on LinkedIn company pages?

Facebook didn’t invade our privacy; We already let Facebook in

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I was taught long ago that opening a paper with a definition is the easy way out when it comes to shaping your argument, so I apologize in advance to all of those former professors who may be offended. But alas this is a definition that has been twisted so much recently, that I had to look it up for myself.

Privacy(noun)

  1. the state of being private; retirement or seclusion.
  2. the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy.
  3. secrecy

Yes with the recent major changes quickly coming to the Facebook universe, its no surprise that privacy has again become a hot topic amongst bloggers, more bloggers and even the U.S. Senate.  And while this backlash isn’t unexpected, it certainly isn’t informed, needed, or even (in my opinion) right.  See I think it can boil down fairly easily:

  • We confuse the need for control with the right to  privacy. As it says in the definition we have the right to stay private. However this flies in the face of everything that we love about social networks.  How can we demand privacy when most people will constantly tell the world what they had for dinner? A social network is built by openness.  No, what we want is to feel secure about those updates. In this month’s Fast Company, Farhad Majoo does a much better discussing this problem going so far to say “We don’t give a flying tweet about privacy…we want some semblance of control over our personal data even if we likely can’t be bothered to manage it.”
  • We fear what we don’t understand. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not sure how my data is being handled by Facebook within the new system.  Of course I also don’t know how (don’t be evil) Google stores my recent searches, how much of my email is being scanned for advertising keywords or even how many times my FourSquare check-ins are being studied for accuracy.  At this point we have to admit that everything we do on the web, is being read by some system and can be accessed at any time. While it’s not a pleasant thought, why else do we protest angrily anytime a new change is made? We just got used to the last one!
  • We forget that at its core, Facebook is a business. Facebook has quickly become a communication portal that over 400 million people use across the world. While it’d be nice for Facebook to operate as an non-profit (I think having it be publicly funded would cause more issues), it’s just not going to happen. It’s costs millions of dollars to be the one of the most visited places on the web and it has to make money somewhere. We’ve all given our information to large companies in the past for lesser things than what Facebook offers, yet we always forget those instances.

It’s possible that Open Graph may make the web more powerful than it ever was before, but until we get through this privacy backlash, we won’t know. Instead of worrying about privacy, maybe we should think about why we are getting upset. If privacy is making you that concerned, Facebook will always let you delete your account!

What do you think about privacy issues within Facebook?  Are you concerned?

Check in to a New Pair of Jimmy Choos

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Although social media savvy brands are beginning to warm up to the idea of location based services, some brands remain skeptical of the benefits. This week London-based fashionistas who belong to Foursquare will have a chance to experience the marketing possibilities behind location based services.

Shoe giant Jimmy Choo is using Foursquare to organize a treasure hunt in real-time around London. With this contest, Foursquare followers can see where one pair of Jimmy Choo trainers check in. Once they’ve checked-in, campaign followers can show up at the trendy venue in hopes of catching the pair of shoes before they flee to their next, equally chic location. Once caught, winners are able to choose their size and style.

It’s interesting that this campaign is effectively using additional social media platforms such as a contest-specific Twitter handle (@CatchaChoo)  and Facebook fan page dedicated to the contest. Both accounts are updated in real-time along with Foursquare check-ins.

If this were a national or international contest, the accounts would be overwhelmed with interested parties. However, because of the London specific location, all accounts – including Foursquare – have less than 1,000 fans, followers and friends creating an intimate feel to this contest.

This contest is interesting to the social media industry for reasons other than shoes. Location based services and geo-tagging are already starting to be used by brands such as Time Out New York and the Financial Times but this is the first contest of its kind and while some may look at it as a cheeky marketing ploy, it also seems to be an effective brand building tool and a glimpse into the future of social media.

Links of the Week: April 23rd Edition

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Online Retailer’s Customer’s Credit Card Information Available on Google

Identity theft is a huge concern with the increased usage of computers for online banking and buying. It’s been found out that shoppers at the popular online retailer Blippy are at risk of having their credit card information shown live in Google searches.

Facebook Announces New Plan at f8

Facebook has launched a whole plan that integrates the web with the social networking site. Dialogue Media’s Alex Payne explains.

Foursquare Creates Business Page

Foursquare has created a space for businesses to engage their customers with specials. This also allows businesses to track the performance of the venue.

The New Face of Facebook: The Future

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Along with some of the immediate changes to Facebook, other changes will take a little bit of time for everyone to implement. The two new main changes will be in the form of Social Plugins and OpenGraph. Together these will replace the current Facebook Connect system that over 100 million people are already using.

Social Plugins Hook Facebook to the Web

Former FriendFeed CEO and current Facebook Product Director Bret Taylor was on hand to show off how Facebook is changing the way we connect with the web.  The first major change is how we visit the websites that we enjoy everyday. Facebook’s new Social Plugins are aimed at bringing the Facebook experience to the entire Internet and trying to do it in a simple way as possible.  Each of the social plugins that Facebook unveiled can be inserted into any website as each is one line of HTML. From a technical standpoint, the implementation is fairly simple.  Just drop the iFrame code into your site and voila! Instant connectivity.  You won’t have to login on each page and the plugins use cookies to tell you which of your friends:

  • Liked a specific article. Through this Like button, even if you have never visited the site before, Facebook will be able to tell you which friends liked an article on CNN, a movie on IMDB or a song on Pandora.
  • The Activity Stream plugin shows you what your friends are doing on the domain.
  • Recommendations will show users which pages they should check out on the site next.
  • With these plugins, Sign in with Facebook, will show you pictures of your friends who have signed in and if you want to bring Facebook chat to your site simply add the Social bar.

75 sites are currently partnered with Facebook through these new plug-ins and more are sure to follow soon.

OpenGraph Protocol

While Taylor’s unveiling of the plug-ins will change the way Facebook users will interact with sites, the OpenGraph Protocol he announced next will undoubtedly change the way that websites interact with Facebook. With the current Facebook system, if you linked to a new band or movie, that information would be passed through the News Stream and would be gone a day later.  Open Graph looks to change that throwaway interaction into a permanent one.

Open Graph runs on a type of code called semantic markers. When someone likes a certain movie on IMDB for example, this code will tell Facebook not only that Person X likes it but also that the film is of a certain genre, has a specific title and stars specific people.   Facebook will then automatically save this information on your profile page. That way if you like “The Godfather” on IMDB it will appear in your movies section.

But  a permanent mention is not the only goal of linking these profile pages.  Hovering over the link will pull in information from IMDB and clicking on it will send you to the page.  Perhaps more importantly is the fact that a site can update a user about their likes within the stream. For example if I am a fan of Ndamukong Suh on ESPN, when he is drafted by the Detroit Lions, ESPN will share that story with me in my Facebook stream.

This new API coupled with new features like the ability for developers to pull in Facebook searches, develop logins around OAuth and receive real-time instantaneous updates from Facebook will provide a whole new level of interaction on the web and on Facebook.

Closing

Zuckerberg closed his address with the idea that the web’s “default is social” and that these new tools will help all of the Internet become a more socially aware place.  Based on the ease of use and the capabilities that these changes may bring, I have to agree that the future does look a lot more social.