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Engage: Chapter 6 and 7

9 Feb

In chapter 6 of Engage!, Brian Solis discussed the importance of images in social media.  I agree that photo uploading is an integral part of any online communication.  The ubiquity of smart phones and their ability of upload images to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr on the go have completely changed the way we interact.  No longer do we need to describe where we are, what we’re doing or how much fun we’re having.  We can SHOW everyone, instantly.

I thought the number of how many photos are uploaded to Facebook was ASTOUNDING.  One billion a month!  But then I think about how often I upload pictures–at least 10 from my trip to Bell’s Brewery this weekend–and it’s totally believable.

I also thought that JetBlue’s use of their Flickr account was innovative and efficient.  A great way to get the word out about upcoming events and news… A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

In chapter 7, Solis talked about dashboards and social networks.  While I fully understand the concept of a social network, the dashboard is a little confusing to me.  Looking at the image provided for the Chevy VoltAge dashboard, I do not see any difference between a dashboard and a regular webpage.  Maybe these days websites are so interactive that they all follow the dashboard model?

Solis did give EXCELLENT advice in this chapter: “Do not make users create new login credentials.”  I tend to stay away from logging into accounts from my Facebook because I don’t like all of the connections, but when I want to log into a news website quickly to post a comment, it’s great when I don’t have to create an entirely new account.  I think it’s important for brands and businesses to remember that the easier it is for users to contribute to their content, with convenience and quickness, the more success they will have.

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Engage: Chapter 4

31 Jan

In chapter four of Brian Solis’s Engage!, “The New Media University 101,” he discusses the influence of blogs, podcasts and wikis.

The interesting thing about blogs, as he points out, is that people severely underestimate the amount of effort a successful blog requires.  Many assume that just because their blog is out there, people are reading it. Many companies also assume that consumers are reading their corporate blogs.

The facts about the lacking credibility of corporate blogs (pg 26) were interesting, but not surprising.  As a consumer and very active user of the internet, I can relate to the skepticism.  I would much rather read a blog where I know the information is honest and not simply pushing a particular agenda or product.  Much like how newspapers really have to strive for objectivity, corporate bloggers need to maintain their dignity and keep their blogs informative rather than persuasive if they wish to be taken seriously.

Another thing that I’ve noticed in my personal experience with blogs is the language (not something discussed in this chapter, but still important to be mindful of).  I think a successful blog should read professionally.  Sure, they can have more of a conversational rhetoric, but they still need to maintain their formality as a business.  The writing style within a blog should reflect the public’s perception of their brand.  For example, references to popular internet memes would complement a geeky tech blog quite nicely–they  would not fare as well if referenced within the blog of popular outdoor equipment giant, Patagonia.

When it comes to wikis (pg 31), Solis discussed appropriately the user-based content control of Wikipedia pages.  As far as credibility goes, I generally accept the information on Wikipedia as accurate.  As Judy Breck discusses in her “golden swamp” concept, open-content is self-vetting.  Companies need to be fully aware of the public’s perception of their brand for this reason–it is inevitable that in a consumer-generated ecosystem, consumer opinion and experience will prevail.

Engage: Chapter One

29 Jan

The first chapter of Brian Solis’s Engage! focuses on the necessity of businesses and PR specialists to make the switch to social media.  His message is clear:

According to Solis, for those who do not adapt to the changing way that we communicate (publicly, openly, rapidly),  the future is dismal.  The one-way road of communication has now been opened up, into a multi-lane two-directional expressway.

Throughout the chapter he uses strong, symbolic language to stress his point and I can’t help but scoff at it.  Maybe I am “old fashioned” but I still haven’t accepted that this gravitation to social media is anything more than a phase.

Solis states that a “fundamental shift in our culture is under way.”  He also says that businesses will evolve and brands will humanize–“with or without you.”

I understand where he is coming from but I just can’t believe that the only way to survive in this world is by abandoning all of the old “tried and true” methods of customer service and marketing and focusing your efforts into 140 character messages and clever hash tags.

Twitter marketing does not always end up the way companies might hope.  McDonalds, for example, just realized this with their recent #McDStories trend.  For at least the next couple months, people will enjoy looking at the fast food giant’s social media faux pas as the perfect example of what not to do.  For a huge brand like McDonalds, a little (or even, in this case, a lot) of bad publicity is not going to mean much in the grand scheme of things.

For the little guys, however, some sort of social media gaffe could mean the end.

As discussed in my previous blog, social media as a tool is still a foreign concept to me.  Brian Solis, as of chapter one, has yet to win me over.  Maybe, of course, I am just stubborn.