This morning upon logging into Facebook, I was greeted with the following status at the top of my news feed:
I’m used to seeing statuses about my friends’ dogs urinating, not urinating, wearing sunglasses, and getting dog-shamed. I don’t mind it – in fact I usually find it at the very least amusing. What I’m not used to seeing is a MySpace infiltration of emoticons in my feed. That’s cool, I guess, but couldn’t I just do that with the standard emoticons on Facebook? I was doing just fine with happy, sad, really happy and the heart. Now I can be… great? Wonderful? Better? I’m riding a roller coaster of emotion, but Facebook only allows me to use one at once.
The fun doesn’t stop there, folks! You can also tell the world what you’re watching, listening to, drinking and eating (see what I did there?) – but only one at a time. So you can tell the world that you’re drinking an Old Speckled Hen, but you can’t simultaneously tell the world you’re happy about it. Unless, of course, you do it the old-fashioned way:
I even got an emoticon in there! I have to imagine that everything Facebook lets me tag gets sold to countless companies and will allow for even more targeted advertising. You’re eating ice cream, you say? Check out these new Ben & Jerry’s flavors! Reading Game of Thrones? Check out the HBO series! While many of us say what we “like” in our profiles, that information can get stale. For instance, if you joined Facebook as a college freshman in 2005 and said you love frat parties, it’s possible that you’ve lost interest in them since then. If you don’t update your likes regularly, however, it’s outdated information for advertisers. What you said you were listening to five minutes ago is an entirely different story.
Some folks get defensive about social networks selling their data to advertisers. While I don’t like the idea, I doubt much of my information is private any more. And as far as advertising is concerned, I’d much rather see ads for goods and services that I actually find interesting as opposed to, say, mail-order brides. Whether I actually use the feature is yet to be determined.
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Tyler Kizner, Erin Knapp, Amanda Nadile and Carrie Weiss. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Employers asking for Facebook passwords
Do you think certain employers should be allowed to ask potential employees for passwords to access their social media accounts?
Twitter’s video service has already been used to apply for jobs, what are some other possible uses for this platform?
Have you tried this new Chrome application that lets users insert hidden messages into their Facebook photos? Does it seem useful to you, or just another gimmick?
4. Zombie Apocalypse
TV shows like The Walking Dead and upcoming movies like World War Z seem to be quite popular these days – what do you think you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
By now, if you haven’t heard about what some are calling the “lip-synch-gate,” I would be quite surprised. In the few days since the presidential inauguration where Beyoncé either did or did not lip-synch (jury is still out), the news has spilled over from US Weekly and Gawker into CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. It seems like EVERYONE is talking about it. Which has got me wondering: why do we care so much?
I get it; it was disappointing to hear that such a wonderful performance may not have been live. When Beyoncé ripped that earpiece out of her ear at the climactic moment of the National Anthem, we as viewers wanted to believe that she was so into the song, that she said to herself “I’ve GOT this!” and belted out the end that moment, in her own way, live. Well, this may not be so. And not only does America feel duped (there’s just something about lip-synching that feels dishonest, even though it’s quite common), the news seems to be really bothering us beyond a fleeting thought of “ugh, that’s too bad.”
Why? I think it’s because as a society, we are ingrained with this idea of authenticity. Everything has to be real, true and exactly like “they” said it was going to be. Arguably, we value truth more than past generations – because now, we have the technology and the means to find out if an event, a person or a brand isn’t actually doing what it claims. Think there was a lip-synching mishap? Slow down the broadcast on your DVR and watch it back as many times as you want; zoom in on the HD-image of the singer to see if her lips really are moving exactly in synch with the sound. Think there was something fishy with a college football player’s famed girlfriend? Comb through tweets, articles, text message dates, call logs and obituaries to find holes in the story. Think your Subway sandwich isn’t really a “footlong”? Measure it against a ruler and create a social media campaign to attract the brand’s attention to that missing inch of grinder-goodness.
There’s nothing wrong with demanding authenticity and certainly nothing wrong with the truth. Consumers should be able to put faith in their favorite brand. They should be able to expect quality service when they walk into a retail store or to get their latte the way they like it. The onus is on brands and retailers to step up to the plate. They need to be even more aware that these days, consumers expect, are looking for and won’t settle for less than a real, and good, experience.
Did Beyoncé sing live? I think we’re all hoping for a yes — it would be a little victory in our search for authenticity. But brands and retailers beware, we’re holding you to that same standard; we hope you will deliver!
Let me be frank – I can get behind some folks’ desire to ban porn. It leads to moral depravity, tempts innocents down the road to corruption, [insert silly conservative reasons to ban porn here], blah blah blah. I get it. I don’t support it by any means, but I get it. But a ban on Food Porn (a.k.a. photos taken of food to be shared across the internet) is just redonkulous, for lack of a better word.
To what do I refer? Today Mashable reported in its article, “The Death of Foodstagram,” that some restaurants in NYC are banning patrons from taking pictures of food in restaurants, citing this increasingly-popular practice is, of all things, a distraction. To diners and to staff alike.
According to Moe Issa, owner of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, on why his restaurant has banned food photos, “Some people are arrogant about it. They don’t understand why. But we explain that it’s one big table and we want the people around you to enjoy their meal. They pay a lot of money for this meal. It became even a distraction for the chef.”
And at Chef’s Table, you will pay a lot of money for the meal – the current prix-fixe price is $225 per person plus tax and 20% service fee. Cheap, it ain’t.
To me this seems like shooting yourself in the foot. Or the cash register. Restaurants cater to Foodies – folks that live for food, to eat, to discuss, to share, and yes – to review. Foodies love taking photos of food – especially food that is elevated to a higher plane, food that is art itself due to composition and plating. The very best chefs (and probably some of the worst) know that we “eat with our eyes” first and that an artfully arranged plate can be jaw-dropping, and thus can demand higher prices. Why else would we pay outrageous sums for an appetizer that’s roughly the size of a small vole? As humans, we like to experience new sensations – and as a global community with instant connectivity through social networks and technology, many of us are compulsively driven to share with others.
How many of us have spied a delicious dish on Twitter and made plans to visit the restaurant that served up that dish because of the photo alone?
How many chefs have achieved celebrity status because pictures and word of their food artistry has spread to the masses via Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr?
Are we less moved to action by a tweet that simply talks about food vs. shares a photo of the culinary masterpiece in question? I argue yes, yes we are.
A ban on patrons taking pictures of food in restaurants is sheer ludicrousness on many fronts, and one can only imagine the restaurants banning the practice will suffer due to negative social backlash against the policy as well as a noticeable reduction in the number of patrons visiting the restaurant. It’s hard enough to launch and keep a restaurant successful, why handicap your efforts in such a manner?
I predict such bans will quickly fade into obscurity – and that patrons will take pictures of food regardless. Because this is the Age of Digital, and it permeates every aspect of our lives. The efforts of a handful of restaurateurs trying to stem the tide of progress are as silly as a ban on taking pictures of food in restaurants. What’s next: not allowing patrons to ask what’s in a dish that’s being served?
I know I’d rather eat at Arby’s before I’d eat at a restaurant that won’t allow me my God-given right to capture my palatable property in digital format and share it with my peeps. True story.
Just don’t make me eat my words. They’re ever-so filthy.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas isn’t just taking place on the ground anymore. It’s taking place on social media. In a way to inform and control messages, Twitter handles for the IDF and Hamas are providing real-time updates about attacks, damage and what they’ve been able to stop. An array of other social channels are also being used, including Instagram, which Israeli soldiers have been using to show a very personal side of war.
Social media has already changed our world in so many ways – but is it really making war more personal? Receiving direct information from the groups that are fighting is so strange – and gives us a combination of unfiltered information and a one-sided opinion on what’s taking place. It certainly difficult to look at a picture of soldiers (like the one below) and not humanize what’s going on.
This is a guest post by Nate Towne. Follow him on Twitter at @Fancy_Lad.
You may be seeing a lot of buzz regarding Pheed, the new “Twitter Killer” that launched on October 1st – it looks and acts a lot like Twitter, but gives users (a.k.a. Pheeders) the option to share content for free or at a premium, either by applying a monthly subscription fee to their channel or setting up a pay-per-view live broadcast event. Users can charge anywhere from $1.99 to $34.99 per view, or $1.99 to $34.99 per month. The platform offers standard sharing features such as text, photos and videos, but also incorporates “stuff” (its word, not mine) like voice-notes, audio clips and live-broadcasting.
Not only is Pheed is going for that premium-content-gotta-have-it feel, it’s also positioning itself as the edgy new social startup, featuring the backside of what looks like Adam Levine’s head from Maroon 5 on its homepage. (But sadly, it is not.) This in itself should scare many older, more conservative users away right off the bat, leaving us fresh young things with that MySpace experience we’ve been missing since that platform bombed many moons ago. (Though Justin Timberlake is doing his darnedest to revive it. Maybe. The jury’s still out on that one.)
So who cares about Pheed? Well, if you’re a celebrity trying to cash in on premium content, you just might – the site seems to be a magnet for hip hop moguls and mogulettes. Same if you’re an Instant YouTube Star like these guys – you might want to start up your own pheed feed to try to monetize your videos. Some brands, like record labels and other content-and-taste makers could also benefit. Case in point it looks like everyone’s trying to figure out the value; the “big names” of celebrity content producers like Slash and Chris Brown are on Pheed, but have activity levels just south of minimal. BUT, and here’s the big but, they’ll only stay on Pheed if YOU go there and start buying.
Otherwise you might as well just Pheed your time into the ol’ toilet because you just wasted precious resources on the next big social thing that never happened. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last.
But you’re probably here for deeper insights, so here goes:
You can make money – if Pheed attracts users who will open their wallets to digital content.
Pheed has more bells and whistles than Twitter.
You can position yourself as cooler-than-cool by eschewing Twitter for this new social channel, being the first on your block to start a Pheed.
You can easily share Pheed content on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Like any social network, you can gain insights into things.
The content is entertaining, though dubious.
Pheeds are rated for content and measured for level of activity, meaning users know what they’re getting into before they sign up for a pheed.
It’s an unknown and could become a big time suck if nobody is there to help you monetize your content.
Pheed is a ghost town compared to Twitter. Only 1 million users on Pheed vs. more than 500 million on Twitter.
There’s no ability to easily share content with Instagram or Tumblr – for now.
The content is dubious, though entertaining.
Not primetime ready for main stream brands.
Like any social network, you can gain insight into things. Mostly Paris Hilton’s things. *shudder*
Only time will tell if Pheed will get off the ground. With quality content producers including Big Sean, who has produced nothing, Spammers (that didn’t take long), and paparazzi’s putting up premium channels so they can get paid more for stalking your favorite celebs, you can count me out for now. When the Muppets start a Pheed, then I’ll consider joining. (I’d best not hold my breath.)
This past weekend I went camping just north of Conway, NH. As a self-proclaimed city girl, I had never been camping. Sleeping on the ground? An endless supply of bugs and wild animals? No cell phone service? I think I’ll stay in my air conditioned house and watch some Netflix, thanks.
But, I somehow found myself packing a sleeping bag, industrial bug spray and beef jerky for four days in the New Hampshire wilderness. Honestly, I had come to terms with the whole tent and fire part, but found myself in a sort of denial about having to digitally disengage for four days (four whole days!)
The spot where I was camping had no allusions of cell phone coverage. Not a speck of 3G was to be found, never mind a WiFi hotspot. My iPhone cheerily announced to me that it had “No Service” interspersed with brief periods of “E” (also known as the Edge network or, as I refer to it, “what is this Internet of which you speak?”)
Like most of my colleagues in public relations, my constant connection to the digital world has crossed from a professional necessity in to a personal reality. I find myself falling asleep to Pinterest and waking up to check my email. I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites on my mobile phone throughout the day and I’ve stopped carrying notebooks and cameras in favor of my compact iPhone.
So, how did I, a self-proclaimed Internet junkie, fare with four days of no digital connection to the outside world?
Pre-Day One: Unsure of what my Internet situation would be, I emailed my work colleagues and media contacts to let them know I might be out of pocket for the weekend. I apologized for any inconvenience and made jokes about my fears of bear attacks (who would know if I was attacked if I couldn’t updated my Facebook status?!).
Day One: As we drove up the White Mountain Highway, I saw my 4G bars slowly slip, turn to to 3G and then disappear for good. I fought the process, telling myself that “E” wouldn’t be so bad, of course I would still be able to tweet and check email! In my personal life, I’ve taken to using my mobile phone to track my meals daily, so after a BBQ lunch I found myself lost as to how many calories were in the chicken I just ate. Throughout the day, as we set up our tent, cooked dinner and swam by the lake, I stubbornly kept my phone with me, convinced that I’d be able to get any urgent calls or messages. Later, when I tried to send a text message to my family to let them know I was safe, it took a stunning three hours to go through.
Day Two: I carried my phone with me, but began using it less and less, relying on it as a camera more than as a phone. I stopped trying to access Facebook, and took three minutes to input my food for the day when I got a precious spot of signal in a nearby town.
Day Three: My phone magically stayed in my tent for the entire day. Instead of seeing everything through the lens of my camera phone, I took it in first hand. I stopped caring about how many calories I ate (what’s an extra s’more when you’re on vacation anyway?) and didn’t even think about Twitter or Facebook updates.
Day Four: On my way home, I hit the point where my signal returned and I was suddenly inundated with text messages, emails, calendar reminders and social media updates. I managed to put my phone down and not worry about any of it for the rest of the drive. It wasn’t until late that night that I sorted through to figure out what needed my immediate attention, everything else I left.
The verdict? Although tough at first, I think my digital diet was good for me. It reminded me that not everything begins and ends with my iPhone. Truth be told, not having it around left me surprisingly less stressed than I would have been otherwise.
Taking some time off, forced or not, made me realize how important it is to put the phone down every now and then. Yesterday was my first day back and I almost miss my digital intermission. But, so far I’ve found that I’ve been more cognizant of my phone usage. On my train ride home yesterday I opted to read a book (a real one!) instead of scanning through Tumblr.
Have you ever taken a break from being digitally connected? If so, what was your experience?
Taken with my iPhone in Glen, NH before abandoning it in my tent.
Social media has become the norm on the campaign trail, and is quickly becoming entrenched on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress and their staffers alike have taken to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and any number of other social media sites to interact with constituents, sway public opinion and counter political opponents.
Social media is even pushing traditional media aside as the venue for politicians and political parties alike to attack their opponents – often harshly. In recent months, both sides of the aisle have been engaged in an ongoing battle for women’s votes. Speaker John Boehner took this fight to Twitter, disputing Vice President Joe Biden’s recent claims of a Republican “war on women.” This month’s disappointing jobs numbers opened the window for yet more attacks by Republicans with Speaker Boehner tweeting to his 300,000 followers that “today’s #jobs report is more evidence President Obama’s policies aren’t working for families & small businesses.”
With new political battles being waged daily on social media, and political parties fighting to gain the upper hand, new opportunities are being created for citizens, companies and non-profits alike to engage legislators and their staffs through these same platforms. Because of security screening and volume, most mail and emails are not opened on Capitol Hill until well after a critical vote is taken. The immediacy of social media gives it an edge, and with so many Members and their staff taking part, this has become one of the best ways for getting your voice heard. It’s also increasingly effective because members of the media are now following Twitter discussions on Capitol Hill and watching discussions taking place.
For local citizens who need immediate assistance with an issue in their community, there has never been a better way to directly interact with their Senator and Member of Congress – and the same is also true for companies and non-profits who are looking for new ways to amplify their voice, or in the case of some small businesses, join the conversation. By interacting with elected representatives and their staffs in social media circles were they walk, companies are influencing media coverage, opinions and votes on legislation, and in some cases – election results.
In person meetings, mail and email will always play an important role in political offices. They remain an important way for constituents to get the services they need and deserve. However, those who adapt to these changing times effectively and adopt social media as a new tool will find new successes – while those who do not may pay the costly price of being left behind.
This article originally appeared in Racepoint Group’s Capital Ideas Newsletter. If you would like to receive subsequent issues, please use the following sign-up form.
This is a guest post by Sam Hamilton. Follow her on Twitter @SamJHamilton.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to sit on an alumni career panel at my alma mater, Roger Williams. As a former political science (and communications) major, I was put on the Government/Political Science/International Relations panel. Because of some of the work I’ve been doing with our public affairs practice, I felt comfortable talking about alternative, private-sector applications for a political science degree.
Here I was, sitting on a panel with a congressional candidate, a director of government affairs for a university, and a state government staffer and talking about the importance of networking to find your first job. While some of my fellow panelists were talking up the merits of networking events, cold calls and resume drops, I found it astounding that they were all missing SOCIAL networking. Traditional networking methods have strong merits, and I’m not knocking them, but for the current generation of entry-level job seekers, social networking has a tremendous value. A value, I found, that is greatly UNDER-valued in fields other than PR.
Time for a trip down memory lane. A year ago I was a college senior, completely terrified of joining the real world and completely lost on how to effectively look for a job. Sure, my school’s Career Center offered advice and training, but traditional methods just weren’t working for me. The prospect of graduating without ever even getting a response to my inquiries scared me to death.
So, I started job hunting my own way. I continued scouring job boards, attending networking events, and responding to advertisements. But on the side I digitally stalked every company I had an interest in (it’s less creepy than it sounds, I promise!). Then, I started following their employees and, ultimately, connecting with them (okay, this might have been a little weird). Within a month of employing this new strategy, I had connected with an employee of Racepoint Group and struck up a conversation. Ultimately, she passed along my resume and the rest, as we say, is history.
This little reminiscing interlude has a point, I promise. Networking through social channels really works and I’m living, working, RPGing proof! I’m also advocating, strongly, that social networking for your job hunt doesn’t have to be limited to just public relations. Don’t believe me? Here are 25 Twitter Chats that prove it. It’s also true that there are employers from every industry included in LinkedIn’s over 100 million users. So is your job hunt stagnating? Put yourself out there on social networks to rejuvenate your search.
What are your thoughts on using social networks for job searches?