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Facebook’s New Sharing Changes: What They Are, And Why They Are Awesome

Facebook has been going through a lot of changes recently because of the direct competition felt by Google+. We’ve entered a bidding war in which the prize is the social media crown. Google+ has flaws that will stunt its ability to grow, but some of the features have a lot of potential. Circles is one of those features. While primitive at the moment (you have to constantly update and maintain the circles manually, and drag and drop hundreds of people into the correct circles on your own), they give users the ability to share content to very specific groups of people. And this is where G+ really is attempting to one-up Facebook: sharing. Combining Circles with a real-time stream that is similar to Twitter, Google+ is attempting to make simple what Facebook could not. Until now.

Facebook has recently released their new sharing tools that allow users the sharing capabilities they have always wanted. Rather than explain it all to you, scroll down through the screenshots of the tutorial Facebook (very wisely) set up to explain the new changes:

1)

For the first time ever, Facebook prompts users about a change!

2)

You can now tag people you're with more easily.

3)

Tagging your location has never been easier, and you can even tag specific venues.

4)

Create groups and lists that make it easy to share with specific people.

 

The biggest change is #4, the inline audience selector, that allows you to choose who sees your post right from the status box. I see this as a direct response to Google+ Circles, albeit a less pleasing version (aesthetically speaking). However, the ability to create these lists that are so similar to circles has existed on Facebook for awhile, but hasn’t been visible. Facebook finally making this option easy to use, and find, is a huge step forward for the social network. This, along with a more streamlined, easier to use privacy page makes the privacy concerns of Facebook seem like a much smaller issue.

For more information on Facebook’s sharing changes feel free to click through here.

What do you think of Facebook’s changes? Are they trying to be too similar to Google+ or are they a step in the right direction?

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East Coast Officials Implementing Drastic New Safety Procedures

As a result of today’s terrible quake on the East Coast, officials are becoming desperate and have implemented new safety procedures for individuals caught in a quake. Studies show that the new procedures are safer, and will result in fewer casualties and injuries during earthquakes registering up to 7.0 on the Richter Scale. A full explanation of the procedures can be found through the link below:

Visual Guide On What To Do In An Earthquake

Scoutmob’s #Revelmob Party Is A Genius Idea

This post is part praise, part a shameless attempt at a blog post getting seen by Scoutmob so I can get an invitation to the #Revelmob event this week. I just want to get that out there quickly and directly. Anyways…

Scoutmob is a unique deals site in that, unlike the Groupon’s and LivingSocials of the world, you don’t buy a Scoutmob deal ahead of time. The deals are always (or a vast, vast majority of the time) 50% off at a certain establishment. The deals don’t expire a day or two from when they go live either, they last for months. I can’t say how many times I’ve found a new restaurant because of Scoutmob…and loved every single one of them. Frequently, many of the establishments also have return deals for a percentage off your next bill for your second trip back.

So Scoutmob is a great company, with a great mobile app and website, and great mustaches…and now they are great at building, and riding the hype train apparently.


In the last couple of months they sent emails out to their users about a new VIP-type service called Revel that will have invite-only secret events, special deals, etc. It just so happens that first such deal in Atlanta is this weekend, best known as the #Revelmob Party.

Since I am on the outside looking in I know very little about the event, only that it’s supposed to be super cool. The Scoutmob team has put together the perfect formula of secrecy, emerging trends, and the right niche group to create a maelstrom of awesome that everyone wants to go to, but nobody seems to know where or when it is.

What happens when you tell a child that they can’t have that ONE toy? They will do anything to get it. What happens when you tell social-savvy, tech-savvy people that there’s a secret party that they can’t know anything about and won’t be able to go to? They will do anything to get an invite. Welcome to the game Revel. You’re winning it already.

Does anybody have details on this event and/or an invite they’d let me be the +1 for?

APRIL FOOLS

Lebron’s Emotions Triggered By More Than Just Late-Game Non-Heroics

The lovely (see: devilishly hilarious) people at Tauntr excel at the art of schadenfreude (that’s my SAT word of the day) with a focus on recent sports events. This week they have succeeded in once again producing a hilarious video about the recent troubles of the “Big Three” down in Miami, specificically Lebron James’ trouble at closing the deal at the end of games. If you’d like a less comical summary of Lebron’s issues just click any of the following results from this search on DuckDuckGo.

And without further introduction, the hilarity:

Jennifer Aniston’s Sex Tape

Made you look didn’t I?

That’s exactly what Smart Water is going for in their newest video, a two minute and forty-six second long sarcastic take on the “viral video” phenomenon that continues to grow almost daily. Looking through the comments for the video a lot of people think Smart Water is trying too hard with this, but I disagree. Why? Read below:

1) Viral Video isn’t going away – this video takes jabs at the concept of videos going viral because of a few “essential” types of humor or sex appeal (if you haven’t watched the video yet, you’ll see what I mean).

2) Talking about viral video IN a viral video will MAKE it go viral – If you disagree, then look at your Twitter feed or the trending tweets of the day and it’s obvious that Twitter itself is one of the most popular topics ON Twitter. The same goes for Facebook. It has been shown (will attempt to find the source, it’s from a webinar that I have to find)  that posts that mention Facebook in some way will actual reach more users and will be more successful if the post is on Facebook. The same people that post comments that disapprove of the video are the same ones showing their friends how “bad” the video is…but they are helping it go viral at the same time they are complaining about it.

3) Jennifer Aniston is still incredibly attractive – if I need to explain more here…well, I’m not going to explain why that makes the video better.

4) So few companies have the cojones to attempt a video like this – a video like this is rare. Yes, similar things have been done before to help a company gain “free” advertising by producing a viral video…but for every success there are hundreds, if not thousands, of videos that fail. Smart Water succeeded because it made a video longer than the usual viral video advertisement, chose to be direct yet cynical in their humor and attitude within the video, and risked a total failure but instead succeeded.

5) The line “I can’t just do that” symbolizes the complete evolution of advertising in the modern world – Not being able to “just say” why a product is great is exactly where we have ended up. Social media and viral video has made it impossible to advertise a product just by saying why the product is good. In order to succeed you need to have more content. No, you don’t have to have physical pain, adorable dogs, or lip-syncing child YouTube celebrities in order to succeed…but you need some sort of intangible that will get people TALKING about your advertisement. Think of it this way, the Super Bowl has always had commercials that people talk about for the next couple weeks. Well, now advertisers need to make Super Bowl calibur advertisements an every day thing…like Smart Water has done.

I just don’t see where Smart Water has done anything wrong here, or done something that can be seen as “trying too hard.” They didn’t try to create a video that ripped off a successful campaign, or even tried to produce their own original viral content. They simply called out everything that is true about the modern state of advertising and the internet. I see nothing wrong with that, and I personally believe that this is a job well done.

What do you think? Is this video a reach or a hit? Post thoughts in the comments. Would you have tried anything different?

How Marketers Can Fully Utilize The New Facebook Pages

I recently had the privilege of sitting in on a Facebook Q&A Marketing webinar, made possible through Social Fresh and HubSpot. Facebook recently released a whole boatload of updates for their Pages, possibly the largest update ever. This Q&A gave us an opportunity to ask questions about the new Page layouts and what it means for businesses who use Facebook as a marketing medium in 2011.

The presentation was incredibly informative and gave some insight into how Facebook Pages can be utilized to their full potential. It was an hour-long presentation with constantly great information and advice so I’ve condensed it into a handful (or two) of key takeaways for Facebook marketers to pay attention to:

  • Posting videos and photos, rather than text or links, will get your post on more walls –> and therefore get more views
  • The best times to post (on average) are on weekends and in the mornings during the week. Obviously this doesn’t apply to all brands but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • The optimal frequency for posting on Facebook is once every other day. It keeps up consistency but has not been found to inundate the audience.
  • Posts that mention Facebook, and off-FB blogs and articles mentioning Facebbok (that are shared) will appear on more Facebook walls, and more frequently.
  • Since tabs are no longer as prominent on the new page layout, they should be used to maintain branding. The wall is to maintain interaction and engagement.
  • All pages should have a custom Welcome tab. It’s been shown that a welcome tab with good information doubles the likeability of your page, leading to more fans.
  • Additionally, a fan/non-fan welcome tab that lets non-fans know what they will be getting access to after becoming a fan is the best type of welcome tab.
  • The #1 reason people become a fan: because they get an email from the brand, or see an advertisement for it. The #2 reason is word-of-mouth through a friend.
  • To maintain brand voice while still achieving one’s business goals is very difficult. The best way to achieve this: look at what’s engaging and what gets fans to interact, look at these things from your business perspective, then produce brand content from what you see. All posts don’t need to be brand related, getting engagement is the most important, not getting your brand up as much as possible. If they are on your page chances are they like the brand already so content doesn’t always need to be brand focused.
  • Jump on the cross-brand promotions and campaigns with the new “Sign-in as page” feature. This isn’t being done so doing this early is a great way to take advantage of the new feature.
  • Use the FB ad platform to find out if your target audience is on Facebook. The ad setup allows you to search demographics, interests, etc. without running the ad. Take advantage of this.

Now, this is not nearly everything that was presented…it’s just a small part of the whole thing. If you’d like to view the entire transcript head right here to see the whole thing. I’d just like to say thanks to Jason Keath, Justin Levy (@justinlevy), Justin Kistner (@justinkistner), and Ellie Mirman (@ellieeille) for a great presentation!

Also, if you’d like more info on the new changes Facebook has made, feel free to check out this great blog post on 5 Unique Features Of The New Facebook Pages.

What do you think about the new Pages layout? If you have any advice on how to use Facebook Pages post it in the comments.

Why Quora (Really) Is The Next Big Thing

Last July I wrote a post covering Quora titled “Quora: A Social Wikipedia” in which I expressed my belief that Quora had a lot of potential, but was still rough around the edges and was suspect to the apparent randomness in which success is awarded in the online and social worlds. A little more than half a year later and Quora exploded into the mainstream since the end of December. Need more proof? Reports are now showing the existence of a Quora button right up alongside the familiar Facebook and Twitter buttons.

With all of this news about Quora becoming much bigger than the small Q&A site it was less than a year ago (nobody really knows how big it is now, since the usage statistics are kept private), it seems that Quora is making a push to be the next Twitter.

I’m not really sure how I feel about everyone saying Quora is becoming the next big thing. Yes, it has a needed service. Yes, it has the hype. But that’s my problem with it. I believe it’s becoming something bigger simply because of the hype, not because it’s providing a service that people actually want; rather, people will force themselves to want it in order to jump on the hype-train. Do I realize that this is how many things become big on the internet? Yes. Do I have a problem with it? Of course. While this may seem petty, at least let me explain myself.

Over-hyped websites, services, videos, songs, etc. that become mainstream so quickly have one fatal flaw: being super successful after so little time creates an atmosphere that says “keep doing this, and you’ll be awesome! Improvement is optional!” I tend to relate a lot of this to the Youtube generation (yes, my generation). Back in the day videos like Numa Numa and Star Wars Kid were making their initial splashes into viral video. In fact, they really helped make viral video what it is today. However, these two ‘celebrities’ failed to create much success for themselves after the initial ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. If you look at their other videos, they are really just the same thing over and over again, with small things changed. Even Numa Numa guy was in a Geico commercial that used the exact same formula as his original hit, he even wore the exact same headphones and shirt.

Where am I going with this? I’m saying that hype that occurs because people not involved with providing the service, or video, or whatever is hype that doesn’t encourage adaptation and development. I’m sure the Quora founders are smart (fyi, they are…they, along with many employees are former employees of Facebook) and won’t just level off without improving their product, but I am allowed to worry. Quora hasn’t changed at all since I first joined six months ago, and while that doesn’t seem that far in the past, six months in the social world is an incredibly long time to not have a significant update to a new-ish website. With all of the media and attention they’ve been receiving the past few weeks, isn’t it safe to say that a huge influx of users and traffic, coupled with a website that hasn’t had to deal with traffic of that magnitude, might cause problems?

I wish all the best for Quora, because they definitely have the right idea…I am just hoping that they deserve the hype and media attention, as well as the influx of curious users who are joining just because they are told it’s cool. That’s what media does, tells the masses they should join something…but then what? It doesn’t tell them what to do, or how to optimize the service. My hat’s off to Quora and their recent success, I just hope it is able to continue.

Business E-Cards: The Natural Next Step?

I may be completely out of touch and be posting about this way too late, but are business cards in the form of quick videos the next step? I’ve heard of video resumes before, but with the natural progression of business card becoming more socially oriented (check out these social media friendly business cards) this does seem like a very easy next step that should take off. What do you guys think? Check out the video below for Emma McKee’s video business card.

Anybody else think this is going to catch on? Because I think it will be huge in the coming months. The amount of content you can post in a 15 second video is limitless compared to what you can put on a physical business card. With internet capable phones and tablets becoming more mainstream, these cards are still “carried” around without being a physical copy. Not only is contact info easily displayable, but also how talented of a designer, videographer, visionary, photographer, etc you are all on your business “card.”

Any good ideas with what is capable in this new phenomenon?

Facebook Should Follow Twitter

Twitter's new user homepage

Earlier today Twitter announced that they were on the verge of releasing an all new Twitter experience. If you’d like to read more about it go to Twitter’s homepage . In a nutshell this overhaul brings in features like tabbed browsing (through the feed, mentions, retweets, etc), videos and pictures directly in your feed, mini profiles, and more. It is a completely new way to Tweet, Follow, and is an incredible update that I predict, and in agreement with Mashable’s recent post on the subject, will make the website insanely more popular and easily monetized for businesses.

This is how you will view Twitter vids and pics in the feed...live.

That’s not what this post is about. This post is about how Facebook should “follow” (get it?) in Twitter’s footsteps about how to update/change a website layout, and functionality. Facebook has angered plenty of people with their somewhat frequent home page, profile, and news feed changes over the years…I myself have been very angry about this since Facebook hasn’t even perfected basic features on their site such as Search and Chat. Why update things without warning, angering your users (aka your monetary value), without fixing the things that actually need fixing?

Twitter is doing something extraordinary when you compare the process to Facebook’s lack of notifications, customer service habits, and apparent lack of hearing when it comes to user feedback. Twitter is slowly rolling out the new website in a preview mode that will allow all users to switch back and forth between the old and new sites at will. This will allow users to get accustomed to the features and layout of the new site at their own pace. Eventually everyone will only have access to the new site…but at least Twitter is doing what Facebook has never done, letting users know what’s happening well before it happens. Maybe they learned a few things from Facebook’s mistakes as well. It always sucks being the big man on campus when trying new things doesn’t it FB?