Five of the most addicting Facebook applications your friends want you to play.
Bejeweled Blitz may be the most addictive game on Facebook. It’s a common internet game that you’ve probably played before. You get one minute to match up three of the same kind of jewel in a row to clear them for points, getting bonuses for speed and for four or five gems in a row. As is standard for Facebook apps, it keeps a high score list of all your friends and sends you notifications when someone tops your score. The most addicting part of this is that it’s only a minute to play. It takes almost no time, until you repeat to yourself It’s just one more minute 30 times and before you know it you’ve been playing for an hour. The high scores reset every Tuesday morning so even if you’ve set a comfortable score and have stopped playing, as soon as you see your friends setting new scores, you’ll be right back at it.
2. Mafia Wars
Mafia Wars is a popular game, and it’s title basically tells you what it is. You create a mobster and have a long list of jobs you can do as well as fight other mobsters. As you gain levels you can do more complex jobs, put hits on people, or expand your empire to Cuba. Your mob is basically your Facebook friends that also play Mafia Wars, and like every other app, it publishes to your news feed to alert your friends you need help with a mission, or gain a level, or reach a new kill total. The game is less demanding than others because you have energy and strength meters that can really only be refilled over time. You likely won’t be able to sit there and play it non-stop for an hour, and can have fun just checking in occasionally and doing jobs with your refreshed energy. The game will continually exploit peer pressure to get you to return. It’ll send you notifications whenever one of your mob reaches a milestone that you haven’t, and will offer little rewards for you to claim when your character is used in a fight by one of your friends.
Farmville by the makers of Mafia Wars is another addicting game. It’s a guilty pleasure type of game though, as many that play it feel ashamed that they do so. It’s also one of the more annoying games for your friends, because it publishes updates and requests to your wall more often than most. The game itself is very simple; you run a farm. You need to do nothing more complicated than click. You set up the ground, pick crops to grow, plant trees and buy animals. Then after a set amount of time you can sell your crops or harvest milk or apples to gain money which you can then use to turn around and buy more. Your friends become your neighbors, and after a while you can make your farm bigger. It almost becomes a decorating game of arranging your farm and trees and animals and fences to look nice. It’s one of the few applications with music playing. You’ll find the music becomes both irritating and catchy as you are playing.
MindJolt Games is a collection of hundreds of different games. Most of them are quick and easy games, and some of them aren’t even very good. Most of them are simple, fun, and addicting. They are always adding more games as well, and they’re all simple enough to be intriguing without having to learn a lot of rules. Today I played Smiley Collapse, a game where you have a smiley that you have to navigate downwards past rising platforms. There are strategy games and card games and solitaire games and pretty much anything you can think of. It keeps track of all the high scores of your friends so you can follow them to their best games and try to beat them. There are reflex games like SplodeyMan where you simply have to hit the space as fast as possible upon command. While you are in the application, it’s always suggesting five or six different games for you to play on the sidebar, and it’s very easy to get drawn in to check out another game that sounds interesting.
Farkle is a dice game. In each of 10 rounds you roll six dice and try to make combinations that score points. Three of the same number score points, as do one of each number and three pairs of numbers. A one or a five can score points on its own. After you pick up the dice to score, you have the option of holding your score for that round or rolling the remaining dice. If at any time there is no scoring opportunities, you get a Farkle and don’t score any points for that round. The game is mostly luck, but there is just enough decision in when to hold and when to roll that keeps you coming back to try to beat your, or your friend’s, high score.
When Twitter was first created many people couldn’t understand the point and proclaimed, Twitter sucks!. Many still don’t see the point of it. It’s ridiculed as lazy blogging, pointless drivel, a waste of time, and the end of the world as we know it. With things like potted plants and grocery stores tweeting, the derision of Twitter grows.
Many things that break new ground are often misunderstood or greeted with skepticism. Twitter has begun to evolve into a huge part of the web, and more and more people are using it for all kinds of things. The skeptics just haven’t found their niche yet, or are too stubborn to open their eyes and see what’s evolving. They’re distracted by the noise, spam and useless information; All common problems across the Internet. There have been polls that suggest 40% of all Twitter traffic is basically useless information. Is this out of character for the Internet? Look at all your emails for a day; how many of them are spam, newsletters you never read, and forwarded chain letters? Poke into any random forum post about any topic and you’ll likely find 40% of it is just reiterating what’s already said, unrelated tangents, and one line agreements with the the original post. If you just take a quick glance at a couple of twitter pages and don’t find the information to your liking doesn’t mean that there is no value there. Tweets are fleeting, and they reflect present time much more than they provide any archival value.
Even what’s deemed useless information or a waste of time might be helpful to someone. Maybe checking out what others are having for lunch will help you make your own decision about what to eat. Maybe you’re in a basement somewhere but noticing tweets from people you know are nearby about the crazy thunderstorm that just rolled in reminds you to bring an umbrella when you go out. Other people’s meaningless tweets could serve as restaurant reviews, traffic alerts, or a note about a nice sale at the mall. Twitter is by no means the be all and end all of social media. However it’s an important first step in what will eventually be one big integrated redevelopment of how we use the web.
Twitter reflects the stream of consciousness of the Internet, and sometimes the Internet contains noise, spam, and junk. There is also value if you know where to look. If you are tuned into Twitter, news will come to you without having to search it out. Once you build a solid group of followers with a diverse subset of interests stories and news and information that is actually pertinent to you will come across your Twitter screen. Instead of having to hunt down information, often when you don’t even know that something has happened, you check Twitter and everything is there for you. Rather than have to listen to news reports or radio stations, news and events that may be relevant to you or your day can be accessed via Twitter.
Twitter is just like what you would discuss at the water cooler in the office, except you’re discussing it with everyone, at every water cooler, at every office, in every part of the world. If a major sporting story, such as a no-hitter in baseball or a player getting traded, chances are you’ll first hear about it on Twitter. If a celebrity dies, a new movie trailer comes out, or a band adds a tour date to their schedule it makes it’s way around the world via Twitter and everyone that’s interested finds out about it. For those further interested, a simple search on Twitter will reveal all sorts of chatter and discussion around the topic. You can here anything anyone has to say about it, instantly. You’ll see statistics mentioned, highlight plays, discussion on the player’s attitude, and just about anything anyone has to say. On a broader scope, you could follow big events like the NFL draft, a presidential press conference, or the World Series of Poker as they are happening. This is what’s called trending topics, which are basically the hot news of the hour. If you search for these trends you’ll see a continually updated stream of people weighing in on the topic. Some of it will be from experts or authorities on the topic, and others will just be the thoughts and word of mouth of other people that are interested in what’s happening. Instead of tuning to a news channel or going to one news website, you’ll be tuned into the stream of consciousness from interested parties around the world. If someone 3000 miles away happens to hear a tidbit of information in his own corner of the world, he can instantly tweet that data and suddenly everyone knows it. This information gets propagated and retweeted throughout Twitter until the insight of one individual is carried across the globe.
From a marketing standpoint, Twitter can provide some instant feedback on your product. You can conduct surveys and interview people and find out what people are thinking, or you can type in your product’s name into Twitter and find out what people are saying. One quick search can tell you what people think about a new movie release, a new commercial, or a new piece of software. Faster than any RSS reader Twitter can alert followers to a new post on a blog.
Twitter is a part of the future of the Web. Even people that don’t tweet are affected by Twitter because it’s become a concept more than any one site. It’s about the propagation of information, and that propagation continues beyond the website when users repost what they’ve learned into IM away messages, email, IRC chat rooms, Facebook, or by word of mouth to the person sitting next to them. This concept has been there all along, and Twitter just streamlined it. As more and more people and companies start using Twitter it’s only going to continue to redefine how we use the web.
He calls himself a Social Marketing Rock Star! His web site was designed for “successfools” like himself. He runs a Ustream broadcast on a regular basis and has amassed over 13,000 (and counting) followers on Twitter. His profile proclaims that he is “ADDICTED to people, their passions, and teaching them to use Social Media Marketing to get Internet Famous! He’s a blogger, a speaker, a coach (a puppet, a poet, a pawn and a king!). He’s Internet Famous and has a story to tell.
In a recent interview I conducted with Alejandro Reyes, he confessed that Internet fame was not something he sought out, but was more about something he “knew he could leverage.” He believes in social marketing and feels that this platform gives him latitude to “entertain and inspire people,” something he is very passionate about.
Alejandro credits the birth of his daughter as one of the initial triggering events that created a buzz about about his persona and its impact on the Internet. On April 24, 2008, utilizing Ustream as a media tool to communicate, Alejandro conducted a broadcast to brag online about the birth of his daughter to his wife’s family who resided in another state. While transmitting the live stream titled “Social Media’s First Baby,” he decided to tweet it out to his Twitter followers at the same time, and in one of the first simulcasted communiques combining streaming video with tweeting, he was pleasantly surprised when he received 60+ tweets from his modest (at the time) fan base.
It was at this moment, he began to understand the power of the Internet and the connection he could make in people’s lives. Today, simulcasts of this nature are conducted regularly by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and P.Diddy when they want to broadcast to their fan base. And consequently Ustream has since integrated Twitter into their chatrooms.
This intimate entree’ into people’s lives ‘positioned’ Alejandro as someone who was willing to share personal stories with total strangers. In the Web 2.0 environment we all reside, here was a guy who was willing not only to be upfront and personal, but also one who was transparent in a very honest and forthright manner. Dissimilar to the self-promoting “online celebs” or “snake oil” netizens that abound online, Alejandro displayed substance and delivered advice that was consequential. He found his soap box, and as an online town crier, the Internet community was willing to listen.
After this event, Alejandro indicates that things really began to ramp up. While the live Ustream involving the birth of his daughter gave him a jump start, it’s what Alejandro was able to do with the buzz thereafter that was critical. He cautiously warns others that this is where many often drop the ball: “A lot of people miss the boat. They do something that creates a buzz, and then they don’t capitalize on it. When you secure momentum, you gotta keep it or it will die quickly and get lost in all the Internet ‘noise’” that continually competes for our everyday attention.
It was at this tipping point, that Alejandro changed up the game. Differing from others that often rely on the status quo, he decided to transform the way people saw “entrepreneurship” by making it a fun thing to manage. And while he continues to offer human interest life examples (e.g dancing with his daughter) he balances these vignettes with inspirational success training. In this way, he works collaboratively with his audience. He collaborates with them in creating his personal brand… the “successfool” brand…a process he calls “collaborate or die.”
Collaboration is the key. Without involving his audience, Alejandro would not be the success he is today. For him ‘branding’ is really all about listening to your followers and building your persona around one’s passion. To further illustrate his point, Alejandro cites an analogy that underscores brand management: “your brand is like a ‘jetliner’ and your passion is the ‘jet fuel’ that jettisons that brand forward. “You and your brand can only go as far as your fuel and passion will last.” He sees a direct correlation with this and the age-old tried and true philosophy that if “you love what you are doing, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”
Today, Alejandro conducts a Successfool.tv Ustream broadcast every Wednesday night at 6pm Pacific time. The focus of the show is to motivate, inspire, and entertain entrepreneurs through live skype interviews, success tips and tools of the week, and accompanied by some weekly rants. While monetizing Successfool.com is a goal, for Alejandro, it’s more important to “build a brand that people trust, love, and know that they’re not going to get some cheezeball marketing pitch every week with tons of advertisements.” Presently his website receives 10-15K hits per month, according to Compete.com.
As a result of the success of Successfool.com, he’s created a coaching program, hosted a conference, and launched a local marketing company that is quickly generating a ton of buzz in the Sacramento market area. Alejandro’s Social Marketing Rock Star Webinar series provides an 8-week video training course that helps users learn how to use social media marketing as a tool and how it can boost one’s website traffic.
The series teaches people how to develop a long lasting Internet business by building their brand online through Social Media. The webinar modules include, Branding, Blogging and Advanced Blogging Strategies, Social Networking with a focus on Twitter and Facebook, Video/Live Streaming, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Properties and How to use Social Media to become a local hero. Since its success in ’08, a new Social Marketing Rock Star series will launch again this July.
Alejandro’s life journey revolves around his ongoing quest to determine “what success really is?” As we all know, success means different things to different people. When asked if he feels successful and whether he has reached his goals, Alejandro admits to only just getting started…and that his life long dream is to enter the entertainment field. Whether “that’s hosting a TV or radio show, that’s yet to be determined,” states Alejandro. So if Oprah, Ellen or Conan are reading this…you might want to give this “successfool” a call. He is in a passionate over-drive mode to take his social marketing rock star fame to another level.
Alejandro Reyes is one “successfool” that doesn’t fool around with success!
P.S: If you are thinking about contacting Alejandro on Twitter, you might want to congratulate him on the upcoming birth of his 2nd baby...Social Baby #2!
For other stories on the Internet Famous, check out my previous interviews with Nick Thune, Marina Orlova and Julia Allison… and stay tuned for more stories of the the Internet Famous in the weeks to come.
Remember the political refrain “it’s the economy, stupid!” first uttered in the 90′s and probably more applicable today then it was then? Well, while we are all wringing our hands trying to survive the financial ills that have blanketed our land, there is another economy sapping up just as much of our energy as the monetary one. And I’m not talking about the Information Economy. By definition, economics is the study of how a society uses its scarce resources. And information is no longer scarce. To the contrary…it is not only abundant, but its cup is forever running over. The Internet took care of that!
What is more scarce today however than the world’s diminishing oil reserves… is man’s attention.
So in case nobody formally informed you, welcome to the Attention Economy, where value is based on drawing attention to oneself. To understand this better, let’s contrast the Attention Economy to that of other economy: the wallet economy. In the wallet economy, instead of competing for a share of people’s attention, you’re seeking a percentage of their disposable income. Capital One built a whole advertising campaign around the value of not only carrying hard currency, but the clout that comes from credit cards… hence, the “what’s in your wallet?” ad nauseum TV ads.
The term Attention Economy was invented by the first introduced by Michael Goldhaber, who wrote a remarkably prescient piece in December 1997 in which he described a new arrangement in which the “flow of attention” metaphorically replaced money as the currency of the Internet. A book on this topic has since been written by Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck, with some of the basic principles laid down by Goldhaber.
In the Attention Economy, your value is no longer determined by your net worth… but more importantly…by your NET worth. Since the Internet encompassed our lives, think about how inexpensive it is for an individual or a corporation to disseminate their message to the masses. The paradigm has shifted. All of sudden talk is cheap, and it’s listening that garners significant value. Man needs interaction to determine his or her self worth. And no fat wallet is going to make us feel better about ourselves unless it is coupled with a little ‘attention currency.’
If this is a hard concept to swallow, just think about a world where you receive no acknowledgment from your fellow man. As Goldhaber puts it: “Living without feedback, even in the lap of luxury, would be for all (but a few recluses) barely living at all.” And that statement was made over ten years ago when the Internet was barely coming out of its digital womb. So how much cheaper is it to get your word out today and why is it so much harder to be heard. Because of the information explosion online, we no longer read – we skim. The news that lasted days now becomes old news in just a few hours.
Attention Economics is primarily concerned in getting consumers to consume advertising. Traditional media advertisers retained a model that follows consumers through a linear process called AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Attention is therefore the primary first step in the process of converting non-consumers. Since the cost to channel advertising to consumers is now sufficiently low and more ads can be transmitted to a consumer than the consumer can process, our attention becomes the scarce commodity to be allocated.
When information is abundant, the false positives are very costly and basically deal breakers. Web-surfers happily leave web sites, knowing they have plenty of alternatives. Unfortunately, this becomes a lose-lose situation, because if potential customers are not satisfied then sellers lose revenue. The idea behind the Attention Economy is to create a marketplace where sellers make buyers happy by providing them with relevant information.
It is important to realize that the key ingredient in the attention game is relevancy. As long as consumers see relevant content, they are going to keep coming back – creating more opportunities for sellers to sell. Statistics show that the longer a user stays on a web site absorbing content, the greater the odds they will be swayed by one’s brand message or sale of product.
Twitter with its medieval-like armies of “followers and followed” is a fitting example of how the Attention Economy works. The value of one’s fiefdom on Twitter is based on how many followers we have and thus how many people read our words. In essence we grow our power base as digital feudal lords by winning the attention of a huge army of followers. In place of food and shelter provided in the days of feudalism, we exchange information for one’s loyalty.
To put this in perspective, think about how many articles have been written about the “monetization” of Twitter, and the reluctance of the Twitter brass to roll out a business model just yet. I believe one of the reasons for this hesitation is based on the current state of Twitter. Since attention is the valuable commodity Twitter can offer its users, its enrollment growth has exploded exponentially. And the fiefdom of the Twitterverse continues to be a marketplace for the attention-deprived to thrive and connect.
According to Goldhaber, “if money becomes less reliable or less useful to prop up our standard of living, we would could be heading fast for a pure Attention Economy, whereby goods and services would flow directly to those who have attention from those who can provide the goods and services.”
While all of this is very abstract, how does this work in the real world? Well
some companies have been hard at work trying to hit the mark. Goldhaber offers up Apple and Google as two role models that have captured our imagination for years. But lesser known is the Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division that recently announced the launch of a new Facebook application called “Harmonize.” Here you have a platform that provides instrumentalists with the ability to connect with other artists worldwide in addition to presenting interactive advice from Yamaha artists, technique tips and performance opportunities.
Developed in a collaborative effort with R2Integrated, a leading creative digital marketing firm, CEO Matt Goddard noted that the goal of this application was predicated on “developing a tool that was not a time taker? The ability to share wisdom and tips with other artists quickly using the efficiency of the web was targeted as a time saver.”
So in an attention-deprived milieu, Harmonize was not trying to change behavior but rather provide another set of tools for an already existing behavior. According to Goddard, “our goals were long term. Not to try and create a one-and-done viral campaign, but for Harmonize to be the foundation for many customer related engagement activities, over the long-haul.”
Goddard believes, “the only way to overcome any distraction in our Attention Economy is to find the things that matter to your customers and get that piece right. Tools will come and go, mobile will soon take over and then something else. Getting people’s attention is going to be harder and harder over time.”
In a recent NY Magazine article,”In Defense of Distraction,” Sam Anderson notes that “Focus is a paradox¢â‚¬â€it has distraction built into it. The two are symbiotic; they’re the systole and diastole of consciousness. Attention comes from the Latin to stretch out or reach toward, distraction from to pull apart. We need both. In their extreme forms, focus and attention may even circle back around and bleed into one other.”
David Meyer, one of the world’s reigning experts on multitasking, says there’s a subset of Buddhists who believe that the most advanced monks become essentially world-class multi-taskers ¢â‚¬â€that all those years of meditation might actually speed up their mental processes enough to handle the kind of information overload the rest of us find crippling.
Anderson also underscored this point by noting that, “we recently elected the first-ever BlackBerry president, able to flit between sixteen national crises while focusing at a world-class level.”
According Goldhaber, Obama, in addition to managing the nation’s financial economy is also a master at managing the Attention Economy. “His whole campaign was strategic, where it netted him money, volunteers, and much loyalty. “There’s No One As Irish As Barack O’Bama” is a humorous folk song written in 2008 by the Corrigan Brothers. “The adulatory quality of this video, coming from Ireland, made Obama’s fan base seem that much larger, which also helped expand audience loyalty further, and win new fans for Obama domestically and internationally,” noted Goldhaber.
Similar to the Buddhist monks ability to multi-task, it appears that we are evolving as the Attention Economy matures. The next generation will have an easier time adapting to the ebb and flow of this phenomenon. Our kids will be able to juggle multi-levels of challenges while also conducting mindful web-surfing, dedicated Twittering and perhaps as Anderson sees it, the ability to live in syn ch with a world that offers a “zen-like state of focused distraction.”
Well, if you’ve made it to the end of this article, I give you props for providing me your undivided attention. Now if I can impose on you for comments and feedback, I promise I will give it my utmost attention as well. Also I welcome you to follow me on Twitter, where I run my own little fiefdom of presently 3334 followers!
I have been a regular member of social media networks such as MySpace, Orkut and more. I always knew about Facebook and I had a lot of friends who were using it, and they recommended that I join. I did join, but never used it. It’s probably because I find it hard to switch from one platform to another.
When I left my job and started blogging full time, I actually got the time to explore and learn more about Facebook and today, I’m more than happy to be a part of it. I can definitely tell you that there is no way you can compare Facebook with any other social media website. It offers the most unique and attractive features with maximum comfort and security.
To make things a bit easier, developers are experimenting with Facebook and trying to produce new browser extensions that promise to make things much easier for you. Recently, I confronted a Firefox add-on that allows you to download an entire Facebook album with just a click of a button. I really find it hard to download pictures one by one but I guess that is not going to happen anymore. With FacePad, I can easily download any photo album I want in hardly a few minutes and, more importantly, I can do my work while it downloads all pictures on its own.
Upon Installation, you will be able to see an extra link that says “Download Album with FacePad”. Simply click on it and wait for FacePad to download the entire album for you.
The best feature of Facepad is that it doesn’t limit itself to your profile only. That means that you can download your friends’ Facebook albums, Events albums, and Group Albums with the click of a button.
Check out FacePad
Today I received a curious tweet from Peter Cashmore, Mashable’s founder and CEO, pertaining to an ABC announcement and a somewhat biased story angle about social networking.
What seemed odd was ABC using one medium (the Internet) to solicit information for another medium (TV). As I read the tweet, the obvious irony was not lost on me!
Mashable founded in 2005 is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news. When I hyperlinked from the tweet to the ABC website, it brought me to a “contributor pitch page” entitled: “Enough Already! Sick of Social Networking?”
The pitch read as follows:
Have you had enough of social networks? Are you weary of the constant stream of photos and status updates and friend requests? Do you want your privacy back? Or are you one of the last holdouts? Do you feel pressure to join social networks but don’t want to? Tell ABC News how you really feel. Share your story with us, and a producer may contact you.
Now, doesn’t it seem a little bit incongruous that an organization as large as ABC needs “social networks” like Mashable to get their message out to the masses. And then subsequently soliciting those same masses to ask them to turn on their own “social networks?” And when ABC talks about social networks, they are specifically targeting Twitter and Facebook subscribers.(note: while the ABC pitch speaks generically about “social networks” as a whole, the photo posted on the pitch page graphically depicts the “Twitter” and “Facebook” logos).
While Mashable has presently accumulated over 361,000 followers on Twitter and notes that their website has attracted over 5 million pageviews, I can only imagine how many 1000s of stories ABC will receive. Tales will flow in from the attention-deficit digerati waiting to bite the social networking hand that feeds, so they can move on to the next “shiny thing” that offers more topical “geek cred!”
People like Jeri Cartwright, President of Cartwright Communications might also agree with ABC, as she indicates she is unable to fight off “digital exhaustion” when she is inundated with “friend” requests on Facebook and LinkedIn.
On the flip side, it is very possible that ABC will receive a good number of positive responses that speak favorably about the advantages of social networking. There will be those who commend its ability to break news faster than any mainstream media could shake a stick at (sorry about that ABC!). Others might note that Twitter and Facebook have provided them with the opportunity to conduct business, build a brand image, provide hands-on customer service, and communicate regularly with a truly international melting pot of people, from all walks of life. Still others might shed some light on how social networking breaks down racial, political and religious barriers and how many of us feel we have become members of a global society who appreciate our similarities but can also address our differences, and relish in our diversity.
Or perhaps ABC will receive a humorous anecdote similar to one emailed to me from Lauren Turner, an interactive marketing manager at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and a member of my LinkedIn network, who when asked the question if she thought social networking was “overexposed,” responded with,”I don’t feel like I am ahead of the curve anymore. My 72 year old grandmother just added me on Facebook!”
Or maybe they will be enlightened similarly to what I learned from Mike Sosin, an associate health & benefits agent in Chicago, who marvels at social networking as a space where “so many people never before connected can share ideas and perspectives with (just) a few keystrokes.”
We also could be just making too much out of this topic. As Corinna Martinez, senior technical project manager at the Department of Fish and Game states: “Cool tools are just tools!” They get us from point A to point B. However, she was also quick to add that “these apps give more power to the people…because they link PCs, mobile phones…and marketing in many exciting new ways.”
It just so happens that even while the “geek cred” of Twitter and Facebook is starting to fade, tens of thousands are still subscribing to Twitter and Facebook daily. At last count, five-year-old Facebook has tallied 175 millions while Twitter, two years its junior is closing in at 7 million!
So “NO,” Mr. ABC journalist, we haven’t had enough! We are just getting started. And if you want to learn more about our breaking social networking stories, all you have to do is tweet us. Not to say you were ‘scooped, but my best bet is as result of this blog and others like it, this topic will be searched, researched, tweeted, retweeted, commented on and discussed ad nauseum, before yours’ hits the airwaves. Social Networking may be a little bit “overexposed,’ and perhaps it doesn’t move at the speed of light, but it sure does move a lot faster than a TV news story!
So in closing, I wouldn’t be so impertinent or worse, “unsocial”… by telling this TV network that they are a little LOST in taking on this misguided story angle…. because I just realized… that’s one of the things ABC does best!
Today’s ‘have to have it’ flavor of the day in the marketing and advertising industry is the need for a social networking strategy.
With the proliferation of sites like Facebook and MySpace and the creation of methods and philosophies to strip the bones clean of all the information therein, it appears that all that is lacking to complete this cycle of the next big thing (after User Generated Content) is a short, but sweet, acronym a la UGC, of course.
But kidding aside, one need only to look at who is actually using these social networking sites to realize how deep the impact may run. Obviously there are high school and college kids, but the users go on to include their parents, teachers and the business community. While these communities have come to encompass nearly all of us, perhaps we have too quickly developed a case of social tunnel vision.
These social platforms gained their popularity because they were sites of the people; often very smart, observant people. The masses have noticed these networks being taken over pixel by pixel by ad space and drop-downs and they are being vocal in their disapproval.
The social networking phenomena popped up rather suddenly and, if marketers and advertisers aren’t careful, can disappear just as quickly. Part of the allure of these sites is the ease and quickness with which they can be inhabited. It is with the same ease and quickness that they can be left and created elsewhere.
It is true that brand loyalty is not completely dead and once enough people have joined the brand it will not disappear overnight. But the heartbeat that marketers and advertisers want to tap into is not something that can be walled off and contained. This is why, with the rise of all of the agencies aimed specifically at social networking sites, there is very little action in way of effective execution and insights.
The key, in this creative’s humble opinion, is not to approach this field with the media planner’s arsenal of banners, drop-downs and sky scrapers, but to focus instead on the account planner with their ears to the ground listening to the drums telling of what’s to come in order to create for that.
This afternoon, I had the privilege of interviewing Charles Darling, the president and COO of ABD3. Charles was very excited about YellowPin, which he wants users to know is not another new social networking site, but a new social networking application.
So what exactly is YellowPin? It is a way of turning your social network into a real world experience. Of course, social networks are offering real-time information all the time, especially since Facebook’s new format got Twitter-pated.
However, YellowPin makes it easy to link to your social network by using SMS. For example, if you want to let a group of friends know exactly where you are and what you are doing, all you need to do is leave a text message at 555-8888 and tell them. You are not required to have a smartphone for this application, as any old version of a cellular phone with SMS texting capability can be used.
A user’s privacy is valued greatly on YellowPin. There is no GPS following you at any time in the process. The only people that will know where you are will be your YellowPin friends, and they will only know if you send them the update. There are other updates that YellowPin will give you, such as entering in pop will let you know where all your yellow friends are hanging out. This is an excellent way to invite and be invited to places. YellowPin will let others know the exact activity you are doing, not just their the longitude and latitude of a GPS location.
Telling your friends your location can also be done at a Wi-Fi connected laptop as well. YellowPin is designed as a Facebook application, and it is designed to work for other social networking groups as well. The first month is free, and then it is $0.99 after that.
So, is YellowPin going to be the wave of the future when it comes to social networking? It is possible. I mean, I heard that Jennifer Aniston broke up with John Mayer because he twittered too much. I suppose we are at a point where social networking is sort of like Big Brother, without all the threat and invasion of privacy issues that were talked about in 1984.
No, YellowPin is helping usher in the era where social networking keeps tabs on us, because that is the way that we want it! Yes, it is a kinder, gentler Big Brother. Let’s just call it Little Brother. So, thank you, YellowPin, for setting us up for a good relationship with Little Brother. I suppose that more is to come in the future of social networking.
There was a time, many years ago, when I joined a Facebook that was uncluttered and mature. Some would say that this dignified Facebook is withering away, some would say it’s been gone for a long time. Facebook has just updated their website with a new look. Rounded edges have replaced the old right angle standard and more crap is being shoved on your screen and in your face.
MySpace was the first social network I joined, and at the time I thought it was one of the most amazing things on the web. I could connect with all of my friends, share photos, and listen to some music. Some time later I caught wind of the Facebook bandwagon and hopped on. What I found on Facebook was MySpace without the clutter and 8th grade drama. Facebook became my true stomping grounds and I eventually deleted my MySpace account because I didn’t need it anymore; Facebook satisfied all of my needs.
Years have passed and Facebook has updated numerous times, becoming less appealing with each new transition. I’ve become a passive Facebook user these days. My profile is rarely ever updated and I have an enormous stockpile of other requests (game, quiz, movie, and hundreds of other annoying applications) that just sit on my page, waiting for me to accept or deny them.
Over time, my main page has morphed into the MySpace mess that I thought I had escaped. My attention has become scattered between the newsfeed, pokes, sidebar updates, and all the other crap. My profile itself is fairly clean, but whenever I stop by a friend’s page I get so damn confused as to what the hell is going on with all the apps they have everywhere and all the different updates scrolling through their scattered wall. It reminds me of the MySpace pages I hated to visit because they were so muddled with unorganized messages, quizzes, links, videos, and graphics that the page would never load and I’d have to struggle through all the hideousness just to leave a damn comment.
That’s not to say that all of Facebook is bad. Facebook has some redeeming qualities that haven’t been lost…yet. I’m happy that I can at least keep my profile fairly clean and not have a million different things forced onto it. I like the way groups work too, they’re a very popular way for political activists or the average Joe to have their voice heard and gain a following. Facebook also gives you the opportunity to edit your settings and rid yourself of some of the clutter, but there is still plenty of it that squeaks by no matter how vigilant you are.
Facebook’s high point for me was during my younger college years, and now I’m a year out of school. Maybe that means I’m turning into an old fogy who just can’t comprehend the modern styling of Facebook anymore. I used to love having some sort of connection to my old friends (I guess I still do since I still have my Facebook account), but I feel like the need for that connection is fading away. Perhaps my age is catching up with me and I’m getting my first inklings that I just cant keep up with the young guns anymore.
Maybe it’s not because I’m an old fogy, but because the Internet is evolving. Twitter is the new hot thing at the moment and it brings back a lot of what Facebook originally offered me. Twitter is a quick and easy way to keep in touch with friends without all of the mess that most other social networks have. Twitter is literally Facebook stripped down to it’s bare bones, as simple as it gets. You can read about how much I enjoyed registering a Twitter account and discovering what it was all about in my previous post. Simplicity is what I desire in a social network, but it seems that they all grow more complex with age, eventually scaring me off with the threat of too many options and applications to choose from.
Am I asking too much? I hope not. I enjoy my time online and using the Internet to communicate with friends. I just don’t want all the extra.
Is Facebook too little, too much, or just right? We’ve all seen the Yahoo vs. Google comparisons- is Facebook going the way of Yahoo?
And it is so simple. There is nothing to it! I always thought Twitter was a website dedicated to nothing but a Facebook-style status update marquee, and I turned out to be right. I also thought it was a dull concept, but this is where I was completely wrong.
Ok, so I’m a little late to this whole Twitter thing. The website has been going for years and is now receiving a lot of attention from the mainstream media (a few nods on hip TV shows and the flocks of reporters wetting themselves over being an early adapter to the new Internet fad). 90% of you reading this probably have had a Twitter account for awhile now and have melded it into your daily lifestyle.
I can already see who the Twitterheads are on my follower/following lists, they’re filling up my tweet pages with one-liners. It’s great that upon creating my account I was able to add in contacts from various other networks. I felt right at home as soon as I was logged in for the first time, welcomed by many familiar faces and a veritable cornucopia of thoughts, ideas, and other random content. Why did I hold out for so long before joining?
This is just another one of those Web 2.0 creations that is changing the way the Internet works. We’re sharing what we find interesting with our tweets. We’re discovering new information and link destinations through the tweets of others. I’ve already found some new music, a few cool websites, and a great place to get a haircut through Twitter. We’re communicating with each other on a completely different level than we were just a few years ago. It’s all more streamlined and somehow more personal.
But let’s get back to the simplicity factor, it’s true…there is almost nothing here. My profile, all profiles are minuscule compared to most any other social network or web forum out there. Other than your tweets, the only aspects of yourself the world gets to see is your name, a tiny picture, and a bio that condenses the entirety of yourself into a single line. The tweets themselves can be no longer than your average post-it note.
All of that simplicity is just a veil though, hiding a social network that is as deep and addictive as any other. Privacy is thrown out the window as people write on twitter to share their lives and promote themselves and the creativity and beauty they find in their everyday lives. Looking at the tweets of my friends, of celebrities, of random people…it’s all a mash up of lives that are expressed in what I can only call art. It’s beautiful in its own deranged, monotonous, and creative way.
Am I getting a little too reflective for you? I see something with Twitter that I don’t with MySpace, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, blogs, etc.. In Twitter’s simplicity and restriction to expression, we are creating something unique and interesting that the world hasn’t seen before. I’ll leave it at that and let you ponder on those thoughts.
I’ve been a Twitter user for under two hours and I think I may already be addicted (between this and StumbleUpon, I don’t know when I’ll get my writing done!). The Twitterverse is still new to me and there may still be some secrets left to explore; I might be compelled to do a followup article.