Category: Social Media

The new Connected Society

I just attended Dreamforce, the annual conference for Salesforce, where the topic was all about “cloud, cloud, cloud.”  The whole conference was exhilarating and motivating which got me thinking about the future in a virtual sense.

Marc Benioff’s keynote was a continuous thread of customer success stories featuring Salesforce software through the cloud.  Coca Cola presented a video of the futuristic way of ordering a Coke (walking up to machine and scanning your phone).  Toyota showcased how a car will soon be like a “friend” who drives for you.

Coca Cola’s presentation: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsBeKQ7h9R0>

Alex Williams of TechCrunch reported on the conference“Here’s the switch we are seeing. We are starting to see how society will some day interact more with software than people. Everything will be a node. That future is emerging now as we see how the cloud is used to direct machines. Like the self-driving car Benioff featured in his keynote this morning.”

While everything about cloud communication is exciting and thrilling, it concerns me we may become a society that is too connected to our devices.  The internet, social media and our mobile devices should enable our connection to others at all times.  We plug into our devices everyday so when do we really log off? We are constantly connecting to people online but are we really closer to people now?

The answer is that we are constantly in communication whether it be through nonverbal language , written language or speaking.  Communicating with someone involves some type of common understanding of the issue or topic at hand.  When you are behind a computer screen or on the telephone, so much is lost in that message. Feelings of a topic are lost when all you have to do is answer questions on a computer screen.  As the receiver of information, we do not get to see how that person felt about a certain issue.

This is why communication through email, text or social media is so easy for everyone but does it really mean we are more connected now than ever?

I would have to disagree and say we are un-connected more than ever.  Everything we say is changed, cleaned-up or sugar-coded through an email, text message or facebook post.  It is so easy to portray yourself as anything you’d like behind a screen but getting in front of someone is a whole nother’ ball game.

I don’t think a “car-friend” can offer much to me when I have a bad day.

IO (Information Overload) Stressing you out?

After reading the PR Daily article titled “This is your brain on Social Media” and seeing the too familiar graphic below, I was having a hard time admitting this is my day-to-day life! PR professionals dealing with IO (information overload), take note.

 

The article continues to explain how we are becoming dumber, less satisfied and unable to handle stress due to our amount of consuming information.

Another article written by Tony Dokoupil of The Daily Beast suggests the web is driving us mad, literally. Tony says, “The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.”

The article continues to point out that more than a third of mobile users get online before getting out of bed (I’m guilty). The average teen processes an astounding 3,700 texts a month, double the 2007 figure, and more than two-thirds of these people report feeling their phone vibrate when in fact nothing is happening (guilty again!). Researchers call it “phantom-vibration syndrome.”

So, what is the cure to this problem? Unfortunately, I do not have that answer but some apps are trying to help us with our IO problem. Instead of juggling 10 apps for our multi information gathering efforts, developers are creating one app to serve as our one-stop hub for all outlets. Barrett Sheridan of Businessweek recently wrote an article about the new app called Cue, formerly called Greplin, which aims to be the first thing you check in the morning and return to throughout your day.

Say for instance you’re meeting with a new client, Cue will try to find the contact’s latest tweets and Facebook updates. The idea is that if you’re running behind schedule, you can pull up Cue to instantly see where you need to be next, who to call to let them know you’ll be late, and catch up on the other person’s latest Facebook photos, so you can have something intelligent to talk about once you get there.

The app eventually wants to answer the question for us, “Give me the guy I met last week with long hair.” Now, doesn’t that sound nice for us PR multi-tasking pros, slowly making us dumber!

How many times have your checked your phone, email and twitter since reading the beginning of this article? And no lying!

To Pin or not to Pin

A Social media debate by myself and my co-worker, Kristina.

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site with 11.7 million monthly U.S. visitors and 10 million new members in the quickest amount of time.  In February, Pinterest accumulated more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, according to CNNMoney.

For those of you that don’t know, Pinterest is the social site that enables users to post images from the web to their personal “pinboards.” Users can categorize their “pinboards” according to personal tastes; for example, favorite foods, adorable pets, wedding plans or future purchases. According to a recent article by TechCrunch, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site and it ranks among the top 30 U.S. sites by total page views.

What do Emily & Kristina think of Pinterest?

Emily: I think Pinterest users have real potential to gain numerous benefits from the site.  The potential was especially clear when the magazine, Real Simple, recently said Pinterest had sent more traffic than Facebook to its site. Real Simple, which has about 206,000 likes on Facebook, already has almost 60,000 followers on Pinterest.  Real Simple’s pinboards consist of images relating to recipes, fashion and do-it-yourself home and work related projects.

Kristina: I’d like to preface my responses with the fact that I do, in fact, have a Pinterest and enjoy browsing the site about 2-3 times per month. However, I’m still not sold on all the benefits. The personal benefits to Pinterest are undeniable. In one location, I am able to house my shopping impulses, obsessions and, my personal favorite, ‘For the Home’ board. Although I partake in this community, I’m struggling to find its novelty and usefulness beyond collecting images.

My first qualm with Pinterest is that some businesses treat it as a means to increase SEO. Businesses and companies need to remember that Pinterest is a community, not a tool.  As outlined in an article from Search Engine Land, the reason businesses are failing with using Pinterest is because they are forgetting the golden rule of social media: “in order to succeed on a social network, you’ve got to give as much as you try to take.”

What about its value?

Emily: I find Pinterest most valuable when searching for specific images relating to fashion, food and interior decorating.  Pinterest can spark creativity and inspiration while writing, brainstorming, decorating or organizing.  TIME magazine has also developed many “pinboards” which archives past editorial covers.

For instance, if you were to research past publications from TIME, you could come across a cover of Grace Kelly, which could lead to wedding dress ideas, guiding you to an online store that sells the particular wedding dress to fit your preference. Pinners utilize the site in order to find something unique and memorable which is important to businesses able to sell a particular item or idea.

Kristina: Ok, TIME magazine’s Vintage TIME Covers pinboad is cool, but what value does this provide to the magazine? It’s basically just an online archive of old images that users can re-pin to their own boards. If it linked back to TIME’s archives and users were able to view and/or purchase the old issue that would really provide value to its Pinterest page.

Who benefits from Pinterest?

 Kristina: I actually believe that Pinterest is beneficial for the visual community including professionals like photographers, interior designers or architects.  The visual element caters to their industry, but again, it is only really creating an online archive and yet another social media outlet they will have to manage. And these take time. It also begs to question personal property issues. Now, these professional artist’s works are re-pinned and easily downloaded without their knowledge and used by others.

Emily: The site is most beneficial to visual leaners and idea seekers.  Investors and businesses are still figuring out how the site will essentially benefit their company in the long-run, but in the mean time I find the site enjoyable and time well spent. Or as Reese Witherspoon expressed to Conan O’Brien, “a collection of the most amazing, wonderful craftiness on the earth!”

The Hottest Drug of 2011

The hottest new drug on the market is………..drum role please……………….Facebook.  Ok, ok, it’s not actually a drug and its been on the market for years.  But, it is enhancing and becoming more addictive than ever.  The amount of FB users has increased tremendously to a total of 800 million users.  It is now the place to “hang out” for your older relatives, stay at home moms, and CEOs.  Twitter was the competitor of FB this year but in my opinion, FB will remain strong.  FB is more personal and we like to gather information from our friends and relatives vs. the daily news.

Admit it, you would probably have a serious breakdown if you could not check your FB page for over a week.  FB is now a necessity for our everyday lives and it is only getting stronger.  How were we able to survive without it?  Like a drug, we continue to use FB because we like the feeling it gives us.  Life at our fingertips.  Bored? Get on FB.  Feeling lonely? Get on FB.  It is more than a drug because it helps us track our own lives and connect with ourselves as well as others.  Look at what you wrote on FB in 2008?  Probably not the same topics concerning your life today.  We evolve and FB has decided to evolve with us.

Because life starts with Facebook

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