Graph Search is officially here! That is, it’s available for individual users, but we know that won’t stop you, the savvy marketer, from thinking about how you can use it. We know you’re ready to take advantage of the next biggest thing since the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.
It’s important to note that because Graph Search is connected to a your personal profile, results are ordered by the connections closest to you or by the number of fans of the pages.
Facebook created the dynamic, long-tail, natural language search tool so that users can find people and pages with nearly infinite combinations of variables. For example, you could use Graph Search to find oxymoronic results like “People who like Beer and joined Alcoholics Anonymous” or “Christian Males who like Fifty Shades of Grey,” but that’s probably only good for a few laughs (or if you’re a troll, a few weeks worth of amusement). Putting self-amusement aside, Graph Search has serious implications for your brand.
Now that Graph Search has launched, consider cleaning up your social media policy as soon as possible. The last thing you want anyone to find is that your brand is listed under “Places where people who like Racism work.” But how far you go as an employer to tell your employees what they can and cannot like is an ethical issue you’ll need to work out in your own company.
The real value of Graph Search lies in its ability to support your marketing research. The easiest and most obvious way to use this functionality is to find out who likes the brand and what their interests are. Search for “People who like [your brand]” and click on “More pages they like” on the right column of the screen to learn more about your fans. After figuring out their common interests in brand page, combine multiple brand pages in your long-tail search to find which brands are similar to both. This can have great insight to complementary brands. Now try selecting “Activities they like” in the right column and you may find a few sponsorship opportunities.
By going through these steps you can find a broad pool of people you can potentially convert into fans based on the brand correlations you found above. You may even include geographical constraints to see where in the world you should concentrate marketing efforts.
Finally, another way to use Graph Search is to research your competitors using the same steps. Where are their fans located? What do they like? Which activities do they do? See, we knew you weren’t going to be deterred by the fact that Graph Search is only open to individuals, not brands. You savvy marketer, you!
In his short story “The Aleph,” Jorge Luis Borges recalls an experience he had gazing into an aleph. He describes it as “one point in space that contains all other points. The only place on earth where all places are—seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.” This fictional story regards the aleph as a both a gift and a curse because it gives the gazer a chance to see and know everything on earth. That is what social media has developed into today. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other sites, we now have the opportunity to see all—to see into people’s lives and to see the world like never before. Social media has opened up the unimaginable universe. Like peering into the aleph, checking your newsfeed or your Twitter timeline provides insight into everything in our world, from every angle—simultaneously, infinitely.
The aleph is significant beyond Borges’ short story. Its symbol is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is literally a part of the word “alphabet.” It is venerated by Kabala and other mystic traditions that put value on an aleph as the pursuit of truth. Like the aleph in these ancient traditions, social media is the means by which we seek truth in modern times. From companies to customers, from artists to fans, from friends to family, and from your PC to mine, we can now paint a more accurate, “truer” picture of the people we interact with via social channels. Social media offers us an endless amount of communication that is continuous and extremely transparent. Through following people, companies, bands, etc. on social media, we can see who their friends are, what interests them, where the have been, where they plan to go, their religious, and political stances and a plethora of other information that we otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.
"Aleph Sanctuary" - Mati Klarwein
Thanks to the advances of social media technology and the massive amounts of information these sites are processing, we have transitioned into the age of the “recommendation.” There are logarithms, programs and software that can now introduce you to more people, places, and things based on what you already like and your physical location. You can discover when concerts and art festivals are happening in your area, what news is breaking, and what song will go well with your mood for the day. Other sites will recommend vacations spots, restaurants, lawyers, and doctors. Heck, these sites can find you a job or an employee—all out of the comfort of your living room! This age of “recommendation” is giving us options like never before and it is shocking how incredibly accurate the recommendations are.
As our technologies grow and progress, we must accept that our lives are no longer veiled in secrecy. You can be a pessimist and see this as an intrusion on your privacy, but if you are receptive to this information exchange, the possibilities are endless. The more you share, the more people will share with you. The more you follow, the better recommendations you will get and the more useful social media will be for you. So instead of being wary of this connectivity, you could revel in the endless possibilities of this aleph. It will undoubtedly open your world to bigger and brighter things while introducing you to more people and experiences you would have never had an opportunity to access before.
— Jake Annear
A few weeks ago, I was introduced to Old People Writing on a Restaurant's Facebook Page, a blog compiling screenshots of members of the older generation leaving posts on different restaurant Facebook brand pages. Scrolling through each page gave me a great laugh, but it also made me wonder if this generation really belongs online. We’ve got Bud posting a photo of his dog to Red Robin’s wall; Ian wishing Steak n’ Shake good luck in college; Sydney posting about the life of Jesus to Quiznos’ wall; Frank asking Jack in the Box to call him; and Debra congratulating Waffle House on a new baby (see below).
My conclusion? The Internet is a powerful tool that everyone should be able to use, and social media outlets are no exception. These folks may not have the hang of it just yet, but the rise of the older generation on social media platforms is undeniable, and it’s an important trend to follow.
According to Pew Internet, social networking activity among Internet users ages 50 and up has nearly doubled in the past year. Additionally, this same age group is growing faster than the younger generation, with Internet users aged 50-64 growing on social media sites by 88% and users aged 65 and up growing 100%. With stats like these, it’s hard to ignore such a booming and active demographic.
What’s in it for them?
Pew gives us a few reasons as to why social media is so attractive to this age group. First, the older generation finally has the capability to reconnect with past relationships. Back then, it wasn't as easy to look up and reconnect with a high school friend you made forty years back. Second, chronic disease support is easily attainable. With blogs and discussion threads at their fingertips, folks with similar health issues can reach out for help simply and comfortably. Finally, undeniable generation gaps are being bridged online. This older age group isn’t much different from any other when it comes to social media. They want to keep up with their grandkids like I keep up with my friends and family. LeadingAge online magazine interviewed a few senior citizens about their social media presence to give us a better understanding of their online benefits. Randy Eilts, a director of public relations for a senior living marketing firm, says that he likes to be among the first to see his granddaughter’s prom pictures or photos of his children’s Hawaiian vacation. These are opportunities that weren’t as available just a few years ago.
What does this mean for businesses?
Reaching out to this age group isn’t limited to television, newspaper or radio anymore. Marketers can and should freely jump on the digital bandwagon to get to their not-so-niche market. Older folks are making their appearances on Facebook and Twitter, but there are also social media platforms that cater to them specifically. These sites include Gransnet, a network for grandparents with discussion board covering topics that range from childhood games to difficult daughter-in-laws, and Active Empty Nesters, a site with large font and an emphasis on the joys of being free from the duties of raising a family.
One more for good measure:
How do your parents or grandparents use social media, and exactly how do you feel about it?
-- Jaime Cheng, @Rochambeaux
To the chagrin of many users, Facebook has given itself yet another facelift. The latest changes include a Top Stories feature, a real-time chat and comment tool and a revamped album view.
Top Stories is an enhanced version of Facebook’s tailored news feed, which now features blue tabs, indicating which stories have occurred since the user’s last login. The new ticker tool shows real-time updates in a small corner on the upper right side of the homepage. When the chat box is opened, the ticker attaches itself at the top. (Please note: this feature does not appear active on my account at publishing time). Among the other changes are a Friends lists (‘Circles,’ anyone?) and subscribe buttons. The full details of the new settings and tools are posted to Facebook’s FAQ page.
While many of us are still adjusting to the new features, even bigger plans are underway for a complete renovation— one that will make past nips and snips seem inconsequential. As Mashable’s Ben Parr reports, “The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed.”
Before this social czar becomes unrecognizable, here’s a stroll down memory lane of previous (and often equally infuriating) changes. If you’re still longing for the simple Facebook of yesteryear, The Social Network briefly showcases several past versions.
2004: Fresh, streamlined an innovative. It was a time when college students were asking their distant friends, “Has your school signed up for the Facebook?”
2006: The homepage gets its first major overhaul with news feed. Facebook groups with names like, “Bring the Old Facebook Back!” crop up. This was also the year the floodgates opened to the public, not just students.
2008: Perhaps taking a page from Google’s Gmail, the social network adds a chat feature. If you’re like me, you haven’t been signed in since then.
2010: What had started as an intimate webpage now feels like an overcrowded party. Privacy concerns soar while the The Social Network paints a less-than-flattering picture of founder Mark Zuckerberg.
2012: Facebook takes over the Internet? Everyone jumps ship to Google+? Share your thoughts in our comments section.
— Nicole Duncan
Somewhere along the way to smartphone ubiquity and tablet trendiness, offline became an unsavory word. Not as repugnant as dial-up or spam, but certainly not magnanimous like 3G. Social networks, web searches and general connectivity became more important than offline activities like word processing and Minesweep. The short-lived popularity of netbooks is a testament to the notion that if you’re not connected, you might as well turn your [insert device] off.
But what if you’re in a cafe that has no wireless? What if your Aunt Elsie’s house is out of range of your 3G network? Unless you had the foresight to download your work beforehand, such situations serve as flashbacks to pre-2008 computing. The only difference is that now your choice of activities is even more limited as offline has been left to the wayside by many digital innovators.
One of the tech behemoths that started this shift was Google: It introduced free programs like Gmail and Google Docs much to the chagrin of software developers. This May the company released its own netbook, the Chromebook, which seemed to solidify its commitment to the online occult.
You can imagine my surprise when I learned that Google was rolling out an offline version of Gmail. The application, which can be downloaded through the Chrome Web Store, is similar to its tablet version in appearance and functionality. As a dumbphone user who loves frequenting wifi-free cafes with my laptop, the ability to read, respond and sort through old e-mails without a connection is a major boon. Traditional mail servers like Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail have worked offline for years, but their mobility limitations, screwy settings and bland appearance kept them from reaching Gmail rock star status.
Google announced that it plans to extend this capability to Google Calendars and Docs as well— the latter of which will prove tricky given its collaborative nature. And if the search-engine-turned-tech-giant decrees “offline” to be an option for the 3G world, others may soon follow in its path.
— Nicole Duncan
Mother Nature seems to have it in for the East Coast this week, which began with an unusually strong earthquake and will end with an unusually far-reaching hurricane. In moments of crises and bizarre weather, being in the loop is not just comforting, it can also be crucial to staying safe.
While the four major wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) are preparing for high activity levels and potential outages, Hurricane Irene could knock out electricity, Wifi and wireless towers. Shortly after the earthquake Tuesday, many carriers (especially Verizon) were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of calls and texts. Even Washingtonpost.com failed to load for several minutes, presumably due to extreme amounts of traffic, although a shaken server could also be to blame.
If the default sources of communication including cell phones, landlines, e-mail and social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc., were down, what would you do? Granted, the chances of an Armageddon-like outage is highly unlikely, but it still begs the question.
PC Magazine has a roundup of the best devices and apps for disasters. While some of their recommendations like the weather apps and FEMA Twitter feed would require some wireless waves, others like the hand-crank radio work regardless of connectivity.
Not to say that you should blow your savings on a solar-powered oven, but if the past week is any indication of natural disasters to come, a couple of Walkie-talkies might be a worthwhile investment.
— Nicole Duncan
Internet Addiction is nothing new. As far back as the late 1990s, psychologists and academics were mulling over the perils of long hours spent playing online games or typing away in anonymous chat rooms. Despite the innovative appeal, certain factors like limited web functioning, lack of organized social networks and cringe-worthy dial-up prevented most users from going overboard. Now that the Internet has permeated most aspects of everyday life, those days of crackling modems and restrained usage seem almost naive. The idea of going without inter-connectivity isn’t merely inconvenient, it’s also downright impractical.
Although long hours spent online has become the standard, some people feel the need to scale back. As part of its 30-Day Challenge series, GOOD Magazine has rallied its staffers and readers to a month-long Internet fast. “Unplug at Eight” points to various studies and the recent opening of an Internet Addiction therapy center as signs that we could all use a little less web time. The challenge isn’t unreasonable as it allows participants to access their smartphones, laptops, etc., until 8 p.m. each night (a wise caveat for a web-based publication). Similarly, a growing number of people have begun to give up Facebook for religious holidays such as Lent.
Would you participate in one of these challenges? Do you think you could handle a month without your favorite gadgets or rationed Internet time? Would you rediscover an old hobby or would you find yourself hopelessly bored and hosting a block party in your bathroom a la comedian Mark Malkoff?
Personally, I couldn’t give up the Internet or restrict my hours, at least not right now. I have a personal blog to maintain, news sites to read and television shows to watch. Maybe I’ll try the challenge in the autumn, but there’s no rush.
It’s not like I’m addicted or anything...
— Nicole Duncan
||There have always been certain dances that everyone knows. The Hokie Pokie. The Twist. The Macarena. The Roger Rabbit. And nowadays, itsSoulja Boy’s Superman. With the upcoming launch of DanceJam, anyone will be able to share their dance skills for the online world to see. This UGC-driven site will allow people to film themselves dancing to any song and load it to their personalized homepage. Viewers will be able to leave comments and even watch the video in slow motion to catch every step.
Now here is the best part: MC Hammer has joined on to promote the site and even host online tutorials. He did say he was too legit to quit.
$30,000. A pretty good pay day for a few hours of work. The job? Camp outside Best Buy the night before Sony’s Playstation 3 is released, buy the system (if you’re lucky) and hock it on Ebay.
Today, November 17th, 2006, is the day of the PS3. It’s also the pay day many people have been waiting for. You see, for some time now people have not been buying video game systems on ‘launch day’ for personal use, but for the sole purpose of re-selling them on Ebay. It started with the Playstation 2 over six years ago and today a new record has been set.
This morning, a PS3 sold for over $30,000 on Ebay. The retail price of this gaming system is $599. Lucky day for the seller. Can I say the same for the buyer? What drives consumers to such madness? Ebay has once again proven they are the definitive hype-meter for what is hot in the Holiday season.
[adverblog ] Adobe has just launched copydetected a sort of viral marketing initiative to fight software piracy. A video
presents the misadventures of Kevin, a creative type hooked on pirating
The site is cool and there will be a new video uploaded each week. Check it out!