After watching a video about Google Goggles, I was reminded of its potential.. and was motivated to give it a whirl. However, as I walked through the activation steps in the app, the final screen asked if I wanted to Enable Search History.
It read “With search history, you’ll be able to view and manage saved copies of the pictures you take. Your images will also be retained by Google to help improve our service.” The finer print explained my IP address, and all my information available through my Google Account will also be retained by Google, in association with the picture, for up to 5 weeks.
Knowing that, which would you choose: Disable or Enable?
The trouble with this is I can’t know how I will use Goggles. I don’t expect there would be any reason not to enable this setting, but then, might I regret that some day? How could I know? How does anybody know?
I suppose, if in doubt, I should choose Disable. But then I’m not contributing to the enhancement of a tool I’m using. Seems a bit contradictory, no?
What’s at issue here is the false appearance of empowerment that companies like Google give us. They’re telling us we are in control by choosing privacy settings such as the one stated above, but when we can’t possibly comprehend the impact of those choices, how empowered are we?
To explore how Google Goggles works, simply click on this picture below to launch a video.
How many Twitter profiles are too many? The same question may be applied to Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, etc.
The decision about whether to have one main Twitter profile or to create several profiles, each speaking to a specific audience, is a tough one. This question is particularly relevant for organizations or businesses that serve multiple audiences.
On the one hand, there is so much noise on Twitter and clutter across all social media, multiple accounts run the risk of diluting, confusing and possibly even losing, an audience. On the other hand, trying to be ‘all things to all people’ on a single profile risks hitting the mark and creating deep engagement with any audience.
I once heard this referred to as centralization versus decentralization. Centralizing is focusing all efforts into one profile. Decentralizing involves creating different profiles on each platform (e.g. Twitter) and targeting content to specific audiences. Done well, decentralizing can be highly effective and provide deeply engaging content for each audience. However, if the accounts do not connect to each another, if the visual branding is inconsistent, and/or if one or more account become dormant, decentralization will be less effective.
Think of a news outlet serving many different audiences: business/finance, arts, local news, real estate, fashion, and tech. It would be difficult to effectively group this range of content under one social media profile.
This question comes up a lot with our client base at Magnify Digital. A solid argument can be made for each approach. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that most often, targeted social media conversations are best, PROVIDING decentralization is done well with clear target audiences, editorial content and interconnectedness between channels.
I see the take-away as such:
- There must be one “main” channel established, that points to, aside from the main website URL, a URL that lists all the sub-brand social media accounts. Likewise, each sub-brand account must clearly link to the “main” channel… as this drawing is attempting to illustrate (don’t judge me – I’m not an artist). This way, if someone starts to follow a sub-brand mistaking it for the main brand, and begins to grow disenchanted with the niche messaging that doesn’t interest them, they can migrate to the main profile, which of course, lists other sub-brand accounts that may be of more interest to the individual.
- The organization must have the resources, the willingness (by all parties) and the depth of content to sustain multiple accounts. Nothing hurts a brand more than public profiles that were once started with grand intentions, only to be abandoned within a few short months.
- All accounts must be consistently branded and clearly marked as all from the same family.
Do you work at, or are you affiliated with a bigger organization with a widespread online presence? How are you handling your approach to social media? Are you using a centralized or decentralized approach?
“Need to attract more fans to your Facebook page?”
“ Offer more engaging content.”
Hmm.. I don’t know about you, but for me something about that solution doesn’t quite feel satisfying.
Oh.. I know why. Because it’s vague and not very actionable.
Yet time and time again, this is the leading advice you’ll find for solving the problem of sluggish fan uptake on a Facebook Page.
It’s not that the advice is wrong… it’s just hard to apply if you don’t know how to engage your fans, or in which way they want to be engaged. Certainly, trial and error is a big piece of the puzzle. But I think the key is finding a way to be engaging that is unique to your company or organization AND that is innovative enough to stand out from the pack. Let’s face it. A Facebook Page, while once a rare and forward-thinking component of a company’s online offering, is now commonplace. Just two short years ago, it was hard to find a company that had a Facebook Page. Now it’s hard to find one that doesn’t.
People need a reason to flock to your Facebook Page in the first place. And then they need a reason to return. If they get a laugh the first time… and see from past activity that this is what they can expect, they might be hooked. If they see that every Wednesday morning you stream live video from your office in which you have show dogs performing tricks, they might be back next week for a second look.
The bottom line is this. If you have a Facebook Page, have an objective. What is the reason you’re there? What is it that you want your fans to do or get? Then measure the performance of that objective using Facebook Insights or web analytics or both.
It may take some experimentation. When you find an approach that works, feels right for you and your fans, commit to it and keep delivering.
What Facebook Pages do you ‘like’ and why?
A reporter from CTV News came to Magnify Digital today to ask what advice we could offer to people with social media burnout. Turns out, managing time spent on these all-consuming networks is a popular new year’s resolution. You can see why it would be. The problem is there’s no on/off switch for social media. It’s always on. And we have more and more ways to connect to it. Through our computers, our phones, other handheld devices. Never before has social media been so prevalent and accessible.
Here are some tips on how you can reclaim some of your personal time:
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social networks. Even go as far as setting timers, to remind you when to step away.
- If you’re spreading yourself too thin trying to maintain multiple profiles across several networks, ditch one or two. Focus on fewer channels; maybe even just one.
- Consider dropping a friend or acqaintence if they’re too chatty and constantly require too much of your social time online. If that feels too harsh, then resist always giving him/her a response. You’ll train them to stop expecting it… and hopefully, asking for it too.
- On Facebook, turn off your chat function. That way, if you’ve limited yourself to ten minutes on Facebook, you won’t get caught using 8 of those 10 minutes on a chat. To find this function, look to the bottom right of your personal profile page. If the circle beside chat is green, you’re open for business. Simply click on this to open the chat function, select ‘options’ and ‘go offline’.
- If having a daily presence on social networks is important to you, use tools that can post your content for you. You can pre-schedule messages using tools like Hootsuite to populate your Twitter profile, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many others.
- Likewise, Ping.fm & Friendfeed are two examples of tools that give you the “one-stop-shop” option. If you want to post a message to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace all at the same time – these tools will do that for you.
- Even location-based tools like Foursquare and Gowalla can be managed simultaneously. Gowalla recently integrated Foursquare, Tumblr, and Facebook into its platform.
- If you’re feeling burnt out from too many messages on Twitter – also referred to as a congested stream – free tools like Tweetdeck allow you to organize who you’re following into columns (like friend tweets only, tech tweets, foodie tweets, etc.). That way, you can limit how much you see without having to drop friends or people you like to follow.
- And finally, this post would not be complete without mentioning mobile apps! These little gems can be a friend or foe when it comes to helping manage burnout. Apps can simplify access to social media – but perhaps too much. Limit your use of applications just as you would the social networks they’re enabling.
What do you do to manage a threat of burnout online?
I have a few predictions for 2011 with specific regard to online tools and trends. Here are my top five.
1. Scanning will be all the rave in 2011. Scanning items, events, people, vehicles – using mobile devices. Mark my words. It will be big next year.
2. Facebook Places will go the way of Google Wave. Facebook will learn a lot from FB Places.. but will ultimately take that learning and make something else. Bigger? Better? Who knows.. but something other than Facebook Places’ current form and functionality.
3. Klout will go the way of Delicious. Future = uncertain, but not looking bright. In my opinion, Klout had an enviable start: widespread word-of-mouth buzz, and a prestigious real-world exemplification of Klout’s relevance (re: Palms Hotel in Las Vegas), but fast forward a few months and already we’re sensing non-acceptance of Klout’s rating system. Part of the problem may be due to the fact that the majority have low Klout.. which may result in resentment, followed by outright dismissal of Klout’s clout.
4. The number of new blogs will begin to drop off. We’re already starting to see blogging lose it’s popularity. Perhaps the saturation point has finally been achieved.
5. We’ll begin seeing more crowd-sourced websites & services like 99 Designs and Crowd Spring. The reason: simplicity and a lot of choice. Services like these also offer a way to sidestep the personal baggage or politics that sometimes accompany artistic work.
What do you predict?