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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The future of Facebook

Someone posed this question during a j-school lecture not long ago:

“Will Facebook ever die?”

My answer? Of course it will. We can’t expect the way we use technology will stay the same 100 years from now or what social circumstances will shape our preferences. It’s possible, however, that no other challenger will replace Facebook the way Facebook replaced other peer-to-peer sites like MySpace.

But Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon because of fragmentation and linking. Right now, Facebook’s colossal popularity is due to its all-inclusive features. For example, users post photos on their pages — specifically, all their photos. Personal photos can range from weddings to embarrassing night-before parties, and they’re in the same few clicks as more professional photos. On top of that, finding someone on Facebook is almost guaranteed, so users will turn to Facebook to find someone even before LinkedIn or Twitter.

That’s not to say there are other sites available for specialization already. Let’s take the example of photos. Photojournalists tend to make up Flickr’s demographics with more sophisticated albums. Even if Flickr improves from its current clunky and slow-loading version, most users prefer posting photos to Facebook. Why? People post to Facebook because they know more people will see those photos while their friends are checking status updates or writing on other friends’ walls.

Eventually, users will be bored with Facebook. In fact, they have been, which is why Facebook rolls out new changes every few months.

But the key to Facebook’s success is the “share” button.

Posting links funny cat pictures hosting in Imgur happens on friends’ Facebook walls. Videos are uploaded onto YouTube and shared on Facebook rather than posted straight to a profile’s videos section on Facebook. That’s the fragmentation: more effective features on competitors’ websites. Those links are posted back to home base on Facebook simply because we know everyone’s on Facebook — that’s the linking.

And that’s why social media has been so sustainable thus far. Users know there isn’t a monopoly on one website; if you can’t tweet someone, at least you know you can find them somewhere else. For the time being, that somewhere else is probably Facebook.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Blog

 

Social media sites to watch

There was a fair bit of hype following the release of Google+ and Foursquare, but as of yet they haven’t proved to be significantly influential on their own for marketers in social media. These sites still have potential; however, in terms of their power at the moment I would only mention them in the same breath as some Facebook apps.

On the other side, Pinterest came out of nowhere (according to me). Here are a few social media sites to keep an eye on:

1) DailyBooth: Seems like a mash-up of Twitter and Pinterest. The emphasis is on photos as instantaneous messaging. The main demographic is apparently teenagers, according to TechCrunch.

2) Quora: I like to hope this one’s an upgraded version of Yahoo! Answers or r/AskReddit. Not as valuable to marketers as it is to journalists, in my opinion.

3) Management systems: Hootsuite is the trendy version now, but Hearsay Social is one to watch as well, especially because of their ties to Facebook and LinkedIn.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Blog

 

Personal blog: Graduation

I can’t help but compare what I’m feeling now with what I was feeling around June of 2008. When I was graduating high school, grown-ups making small talk would say to me, “Graduation, huh? That’s exciting! Are you excited?” My university plans were the follow-up question.

Well, now I’m something of a grown-up, and the small talk has changed to, “You’re graduating? Well, what are you gonna do now?” with a hint of “Impress me, young grasshopper, and do not disappoint.”

On my part, the mood has changed as well. There’s still the nagging nostalgia every time I walk past the residence area or a favourite study space I felt when I walked by favourite spots in my last few days of high school. I also have had those restless butterflies come back, which flutter in anticipation of what my new stage in life is going to be. However, now I’ve acquired a much stronger sense of dread, knowing I have been building such high expectations for this time and I haven’t met them yet.

I guess, though, I bring this on myself. Rather than putting so much finality on my last few days of classes, I should start thinking about new ways I can continue my hobbies and build on my dreams. For example, I won’t be able to play the French horn with the Chamber Music Ensemble at Carleton anymore. Does this mean I should take the leap and start auditioning for professional orchestras?

At any rate, I should still congratulate myself. I’m finishing my undergrad in four years, with no breaks or frantic races to catch up on my courses. And — if my last few assignments go well — I’m ending my academic career with an A or an A-. It’s not the A+ I maintained in high school, but I’ll take it.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Blog

 

Pinterest for social media strategists

When did this happen?

Somehow, Pinterest has wedged itself into one of the most influential social media. As of March 10th, it’s the fourth-most visited social media site (after Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, respectively). The website offers its users to “pin” images and items they see online to their virtual boards — think like an online scrapbook — to create an online identity of their interests. For example, a photographer might pin photos and other visual art to their board, which reflects not only his style but how he rates his peers, as well.

Here’s what you should know about Pinterest.

1) More so than other social media sites, Pinterest is image-driven.

Whereas Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google Plus are primarily text-based and YouTube is composed of videos, Pinterest is a photo-sharing site, notes Chas Edwards. And while Flickr is mostly original photography, Pinterest shares and re-shares photos, often to represent a greater idea. This visual component should change marketers’ approach.

2) A highly visible pinboard means your followers are more visible.

Social media is ideal for companies to not only be present for their audience but also for its audience to be present for companies. What does that mean? Twitter’s and Facebook’s users’ interactivity through comments and wall posts are useful, but their accounts are often private (for good reason). With Pinterest, users are sharing more with a larger audience — specifically, what’s relevant to companies. So while a private Facebook account hides contact information and drunk status updates, an unblocked Pinterest board can share exactly what those users are as consumers: what they like, what they need, and what they would follow up on. For more tips, see what Teena Gomes has to say.

3) Pinterest’s users are overwhelmingly female.

Just a thought to keep in mind when establishing a target audience.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Blog