Archive for October, 2010
By Ben Haber
When I was walking through Target last week I saw a product stand filled with little blue cards. As I walked closer to the stand I realized that it was filled with hundreds of Facebook credits, which immediately made me wonder who was buying them. And for the people that are actually buying Facebook credits, who is purchasing them at Target?
Facebook credits aren’t actual currency. It’s money that can be used for games, virtual gifts, etc. but has no real value. Are people so into Farmville and other virtual games that they’re paying money to get extra cows? (Disclaimer: I’ve never played Farmville so please excuse my ignorance as to how it works).
Maybe I don’t understand the thrill of winning a virtual game, but this Facebook credit system seems like such a waste. Instead of sending your friend a virtual cake or flowers for their birthday, how about you go get a real cake or flowers. Unless Facebook credits turn into an actual currency that’s good for real purchases I don’t see how they are valuable in any way.
A good way to see if people are in fact ‘into’ these Facebook credits will be this holiday season when your family or office is doing a Yankee swap. Will they appear in the pile of gifts being exchanged? Let’s home people leave that gift on the shelves at Target.
October 29th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Are your Facebook friends the same people as your Twitter followers? If the answer is no (and let’s be honest, it probably is) then please unlink your Twitter and Facebook accounts! Here are the two main reasons why:
- Most of your Facebook friends probably don’t care about the content you post on Twitter.
- The signs for @replies, re-tweets and hash tags that you use on Twitter don’t correlate to Facebook. They can’t be clicked on like hyperlinks and probably confuse at least half of your Facebook friends.
The picture below shows one person’s stream of posts on Facebook. As you can see, they were all made through TweetDeck and use re-tweets that don’t link to the original poster’s Twitter page. It also has short links instead of an attached link that gives Facebook friends a preview of the content you’re sharing, usually containing the headline and an image or a video.
The value of an actual Facebook post (rather then a tweet syndicated on Facebook) shouldn’t be underestimated. Your Facebook friends will pay attention to the post instead of scanning through it because it makes no sense and is simply doesn’t fit. So improve your social media presence and make it easier on your Facebook friends – please, please unlink your Facebook and Twitter page!
October 27th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Monday, October 18th was registration day for the 115th Boston Marathon. Everyone expected the race to fill up fast, but few expected all 21,000 spots to be full in just 8 hours a 3 minutes. Nevertheless, when registration opened at 9:00am ET, I went on the B.A.A. site to register myself and my wife for the race. After entering all of the information I pressed submit and the page went blank. I did it again, and again, and again, but the same thing happened.
A few minutes later I got a text message from a friend having the exact same issue. Runners were beginning to get worried. No one wanted to miss out on the race, and it appeared a lot of people were trying to access the site.
Then I went to Twitter and performed a search for the Boston Marathon. Suddenly, I found a lot of tweets pointing runners towards a new link for the registration page. Apparently, when the B.A.A. site re-directed runners to the registration page they put in some extra code in the URL that prevented the application from going through. This new link had the correct code. I quickly typed in the information and pressed submit, and then got a confirmation email moments later. It had worked, and I took a deep breath. Then I re-tweeted the link for other runners to see.
Unfortunately, there were many runners who tried registering in the morning and ultimately missed when the site did not work. Instead of turning to Twitter, they took a break and planned to revisit the site later – but by then the race was full. That, my friends, shows the value of social media.
This post is a way of personally thanking Twitter and other Twitter users out there, who used the social network to share information about this registration link. Without it, I very well may not have registered in time.
October 20th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Last week Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) made national news when he accidentally publicly tweeted something that was supposed to be a DM: The Patriots were on the verge of trading Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Simmons’ tweet only stated “Moss vikings” but as soon as it appeared in 1,200,000+ Twitter feeds of his followers, reaction was strong and sports reporters throughout the industry started digging for information.
In Simmons’ latest article, he explains exactly what happened, and gives an inside look at ESPN’s Twitter policy for breaking news.
First, the brief version of what happened: Someone close to Simmons told him that the Patriots and Vikings were working on a trade for Randy Moss. He was shocked (as a Patriots fan) and wanted to confirm this information with someone else before he shared anything. However, he was in the middle of taping a TV episode and was frazzled. Therefore, what was supposed to be a DM went public.
Now, a look at ESPN’s Twitter breaking news policy:
We have a rule at ESPN that all breaking news must be filtered through our news desk (not tweeted). That’s why our reporters (Schefter, Stein, Bucher, whoever) tweet things like, “JUST FILED TO ESPN: Timberwolves sign Frederic Weis to $35 million deal.” Even if I wanted to tweet something like the Moss scoop, technically, I couldn’t do it without flagrantly violating company rules. You never want to be in the same sentence with the words “flagrantly” and “violating.” A great rule of thumb.
Basically, ESPN requires its reporters to file all breaking news, and their breaking news tweets must mention that fact. It makes things a bit more complicated, but also keeps reporters honest and encourages solid leads rather then unsubstantiated rumors make it to Twitter.
If you have time to read the full article, it provides a great inside look at the process and stress that sports reporters must go through when breaking a story.
October 14th, 2010
By Molly Galler
This morning Leena Rao reported for Tech Crunch that Skype has launched Skype 5.0 with new features, most signifcantly, intergration with Facebook. While Skype has become the standard go-to for video calling, there was no social aspect to the service. Rao described the new integration:
“After logging in via Facebook Connect, you’ll be able to see your Facebook News Feed with the Skype interface, post status updates that can be synced with your Skype mood message and comment and like friends’ updates and wall posts.”
As a Skype user, I am thrilled to know that I can now access my entire Facebook social network and enjoy the free Skype services (phone calls and video calling) with all my Facebook friends. It will be interesting if the two companies collaborate to add new dimensions to this partnership for their joint users.
In addition to integrating with Facebook, the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Skype has also struck a deal with Avaya to intergrate with corporte phone systems. Verne Kopytoff detailed the news:
“Hoping to make inroads into big businesses, Skype joined on Wednesday with Avaya, a major seller of corporate phone systems. As part of the deal, Avaya will integrate Skype into its bundle of products for customers in the United States. . . Skype and Avaya both say that Skype could be used in calls centers and by sales staff. The technology would reduce corporate phone bills and allow consumers who use Skype to call companies free from a computer.“
While the Skype products may seem simple, their strategic decisions to align with the largest social network and a major telecommunications provider for businesses is nothing short of genius.
Hear that? It’s your Facebook friends calling!
October 14th, 2010
By Ben Haber
How does Groupon keep its subscribers? Besides offering them a great product, they have managed to put any people who unsubscribe on a guilt trip.
The image above was part of a co-worker’s unsubscribe process for Chicago’s Groupon (note: they selected this following a vacation, not because they didn’t like Groupon).
Groupon has showed that it’s focused on personalizing the user experience, as they’ve recently launched a survey so people can be sent offers that better meet the exact deals that they’re looking for. This unsubscribe notice says a lot about the company’s desire to create a personal connection with users, and their overall creative approach.
October 13th, 2010
By Molly Galler
This week USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz reported that McDonald’s has taken their social media strategy to a new level of engagement by planting their own, branded farm via Facebook’s incredibly popular application, FarmVille.
McDonald’s recently dominated headlines for their effective use of the mobile check-in application, Foursquare, which increased foot traffic to McDonald’s stores by 33% in one day.
For the past24 hours, McDonald’s sponsored FarmVille’s first-ever branded farm. For the full day Thursday October 7th, users who interacted with the McDonald’s farm were rewarded with virtual prizes to decorate their personal FarmVille empires. Rewards included items like virtual, McDonald’s branded hot air balloons.
Why FarmVille you may ask? How many FarmVille users could there really be? Answer? 18 million.
McDonald’s director of media, Anja Carroll, told USA Today, “This is all part of a larger social-media strategy. It’s difficult to ignore the sheer volume of the audience that FarmVille brings.”
McDonald’s is a superb example of a company taking their Facebook activity beyond their corporate page and continuing to strategize new and effective ways to target their ideal audience. I’m lovin it.
October 8th, 2010
By Ben Haber
On December 17th, the NBA will take a major technological step, broadcasting a game in 3D, for the first time ever. The game will be between the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat and will be broadcast by ESPN. The worldwide leader in sports will show a total of eight regular-season games in 3D this season, and another six 3D games during the 2011 playoffs.
Of course, in order to watch these games in 3D, viewers will need to have 3D televisions, which are still very new to the market. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, only 500,000 3-D television sets have been shipped to dealers to-date.
Is 3D television something that can catch on and make it big? Unlike the upgrade to HD, plasma and LCD televisions, 3D is something that viewers will likely spend a lot of time investigating and trying out before purchasing. 3D is such a major change – that can alter the entire viewing experience – that viewers must be sure they like it and want to use it, before committing to purchasing a new TV, especially when they probably already have a really nice HDTV in their living room already. However, if the popularity of 3D at the movies is any preview for what will happen, it should catch on.
Furthermore, this move by ESPN and the NBA shows that there will be a major push in delivering 3D technology to viewers. But will this be something that’s limited to sports and movies, or will prime-time television shows jump into 3D also? It’s something to keep a close eye on.
October 7th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Back in March 2008 we wrote about how SunChips was taking steps to make it’s production process more environmentally friendly. Well, today SunChips’ priorities are changing, as noise pollution is apparently a larger issue then actual pollution.
Apparently, SunChips has received complaints that their chip bags make too much noise when people opened them, and the company has decided to switch bags from a “green” version to a new one, which will sit in the earth for a very long time. While it’s great they are listening to their customers, it’s shocking that SunChips would actually switch to a bag that’s worse for the earth, rather then finding another alternative.
October 6th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Over the weekend Rick Sanchez was fired from CNN after making very strong and negative comments about Jon Stewart and CNN. During a radio interview Sanchez called Stewart a bigot and criticized the executives at CNN, among other bold and inappropriate statements.
Sanchez was one of the first mainstream media personalities to adopt Twitter, using the service for a show he debut in in September 2008. In November 2008 RaceTalk interviewed Sanchez about his use of Twitter. At the time, Sanchez told us that Twitter makes his show more or of a conversation, as opposed to a speech, and called a Twitter-based show the ‘next generation’ of news broadcasting.
Since that time many shows have added content from social media, including ESPN’s SportsNation, which incorporates real-time tweets into the program.
For your entertainment, take a look at Jon Stewart’s criticism of Sanchez, which took place last night when he returned to the air. The highlight is Stewart comparing Sanchez to Michael Scott in The Office.
October 5th, 2010