Posts Tagged ‘ facebook

Counterpoint: Google+ Is a Plus Size Flop Compared to Facebook

Google+ has launched to much fan-fare and hype. I think it’s just that – hype – and is destined to be another one of Google’s failed attempts at social media. While I’m intentionally being provocative here, and obviously can’t predict the future, I’m fairly confident in making such a bold claim. Here’s why:

Google+ has some neat features, which have been examined thoroughly by many people much smarter than I. Many marketers, such as my good friend Richard Melick, have great excitement for Google+ to change the face of social media marketing. Surely, features such as Circles & Hangouts are pretty slick. But other than a few bells & whistles, it’s fundamentally no different than the core purpose & functionality of Facebook – to share updates, pictures, videos & more with your friends. The major differences are just the location (facebook.com versus google.com) and the nomenclature (groups versus circles).

With so little differentiating the two, I don’t think Google+ has a chance at ever being a “Facebook Killer”

Here’s why I think Google+ is a flop:

Read more

Facebook’s EdgeRank and How to Stop it from Filtering Friends’ News & Updates

Update Feb. 2011: Facebook has changed the filtering options, and now provides an option to show posts from “All of your friends and pages.” This is exactly what I was asking for in my original post, which is awesome to see. Either someone was listening, or someone at Facebook arrived at the same conclusion as myself, but regardless of how it was done, it is much appreciated. Check this setting now!

Original Post: Have you ever looked at the Facebook app on your mobile phone and noticed updates from Friends or Pages that don’t appear in your feed when you log in the normal way through Facebook.com? Even if you click on the Most Recent tab, which is supposed to be a “Live Feed” of all status updates, you’ll notice some are being filtered out, despite you never telling Facebook to hide those friends or pages.

This may be partly due to EdgeRank, an algorithm Facebook uses to determine what News items you would find most interesting to display in your Top News feed. This algorithm ranks status updates according to how close you are to the person who posted the update by looking at how often you interact with the person (e.g. do you send them lots of messages, likes, and pokes?) and when the last time you interacted with that person was (if you used to message & poke a lot, but now don’t, say for an ex-girlfriend, then those interactions will be devalued since they happened so long ago). More on EdgeRank can be read at TechCrunch. But this post isn’t about Top News or EdgeRank, per say…

My gripe is that “Most Recent” doesn’t contain all of the status updates posted from my friends and Pages I like. For whatever reason, some are still being filtered out, even though the Most Recent tab is supposed to be a live feed. My theory is that either EdgeRank is being used to filter out those items that score very low – e.g. items from friends or Pages I’ve rarely interacted with, or some kind of different filtering mechanism that is being used to filter out those items Facebook thinks I wouldn’t be interested in. When I compare the Most Recent feed on Facebook.com and the unfiltered feed on my mobile or TweetDeck, it seems to be plausible that items that would have the lowest EdgeRank are being filtered out, as those items are generally from people I haven’t interacted with in a long time. However I can’t confirm the filtering is done using EdgeRank, and it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this article – what I can confirm is that items are being filtered out of “Most Recent” in one way or another.

I can see some merit to filtering out items from the Most Recent view, vis-a-vis the classic “Twitter is just people posting what they had for Breakfast” argument, and Facebook not wanting to be viewed as location of worthless status updates of distant friend’s breakfast menus.

My issue (and plea) is that I wish there was some option to display ALL status updates from all friends and pages with no filtering applied, be it a third option (e.g. Top News, Most Recent, View All) or a setting I can opt into in my Account Preferences section.

Part of what I do like about Facebook is the ability to keep in touch with a large number of people spread out across the world in many different stages of their life. The variety and mix of age, gender, sexual preferences, political affiliations and philosphies is good for getting a well rounded view of what people think, and I find opposing opinions interesting, even if I don’t always agree with them. By filtering out those people I don’t interact with often, or maybe those who I fell out of touch with, I don’t have an opportunity to get back in touch with them, or discover a mutual interest that we both share (perhaps even a breakfast item, but I digress…).

Another argument for an option to remove all filters and truly display ALL status updates is to satisfy those that are on Facebook A LOT, and have already read all of the “Most Recent” updates. You can call these people “Power Users” as they’re on Facebook constantly and reading every status update (or you could also call them people with too much time on their hands…). These “Power Users” would spend even more time on Facebook if they had more content to consume, such as adding an option to view ALL updates with no filtering applied. However these Power Users are better off using a third party client like Tweetdeck to view updates, as you’ll see in my tips below, than viewing status updates on Facebook.com.

Here are some tips if you are a “Power User” and want to view ALL updates with no filtering:

  1. Use the mobile application (e.g. Facebook for iPhone or Facebook for Android) – in my experience, there is no filtering here whatsoever, including no option for Top News
  2. Use a desktop client – TweetDeck, HootSuite and other 3rd party desktop clients will pull in your News Feed via an API, and again, as far as I can tell, no filtering is applied, and no semblence of EdgeRank or Top News is present.
  3. Edit your feed settings – At the bottom of your news feed click “edit options” in the right corner and a box pops up that says “number of friends.” Make sure that is set to a number larger than the total number of friends you have (I put in 1,000 as an arbitrary number) – hat tip to @AbbyGilmore for the tip!
  4. Interact more frequently with distant friends, or at least those friends that you want to ensure stay in your feed as much as possible. Perhaps the suggestion Facebook gives you to “reach out to Jane Smith and say hello” in the right sidebar is less of a suggestion, and more of a subtle warning that if you don’t reach out, Facebook will start filtering him or her out as you haven’t interacted with them in a while
  5. Encourage friends to interact with you – If you run a Facebook Page for your business or personal organization, try to encourage your fans to interact with your page as much as possible, or you may start to get filtered. Likewise your personal account will be getting filtered from distant friends’ “Most Recent” feed, which may or may not be a concern to you.
  6. View Individual Profile Pages – If you really want to know how a friend is doing, you can view the updates by going to their Profile Page – this isn’t feasible if you have hundreds of friends, but it is a work-around

Facebook is a rapidly changing platform and user feedback is frequently incorporated into future iterations and changes. I hope that those out in Facebook land hear this request and take it as constructive criticism. In fact, I’m such a Facebook super-fan I carved a pumpkin this Halloween to demonstrate how much I “like” their platform & service:

Facebook Pumpkin

I am a Certified Social Media Maven*

Great post at DotCult: Having 1000 Twitter Followers Doesn’t Make You a Social Media Guru

The core of the argument:

Engagement is what matters. How many of your followers actually reply to you? How many of them comment on your posts? What percentage click on links that you tweet? Go ahead and ask your social media person – I bet they don’t have any answers for you.

On a related side note, I’ve recently had a twitter epiphany. My former strategy was to follow people back and just ignore them, using tweetdeck lists to pay attention to those I deem worthy, while maybe occasionally skimming those not on a list, as explained here.

This was a horrible strategy. Not only was a promoting/helping spam-bots that were auto-following anyone and everyone, but it made the web feed (and more importantly, mobile phone feed) less useful. Even with the new lists feature, I was getting a lot of noise.

In the past week, I’ve unfollowed over 400 people. I’m now following less than 800, and plan to keep defollowing people as I see noise in my twitter feed. I’ve also lost ~100 or so followers, and I expect that number to keep dropping as I unfollow people – I’m guessing their software can detect when they’re not being followed back, or they’re using a service like friendorfollow (awesome, btw) to determine who isn’t following them back anymore.

Here are some other posts on “Social Media Experts” – as ranting about social media has been a consistent theme in this blog 🙂

Have a nice weekend!

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My Motorola Droid Phone Review

Motorola Droid Picture

Motorola Droid Picture

I purchased the new Motorola Droid phone the first weekend it came out after 2+ years of desirable smartphone neglect from Verizon. While all the cool kids had their iPhones, all I could do was complain tirelessly about my BlackBerry Pearl, only to purchase and nearly immediately return my BlackBerry Storm POS-brick-that-did-nothing-right-and-was-useless-as-a-phone-or-anything-else-phone. Additionally, the last cool phone Motorola made was the Razor (or is it RAZR?), which was eons ago.

So it was with much skepticism that I picked up the new Motorola Droid Phone. The initial reviews were overwhelmingly positive, but Verizon has had such a solid track record of disappointment I had to experience it to believe it.

And now, I’m a believer. This phone kicks ass!

I’ve spent the past few days trying to think of bad things to say about this phone, and to be honest it’s been a struggle. It works perfectly – no freezing, no bugs, quick response time, etc. Any complaint I could think of was usually just “user error.” Like any phone, there is a bit of a learning curve, especially to get used to the rather tiny buttons on the keyboard. I’ve seen a few reviews wishing that had eliminated the gold arrow pad and just made bigger keys and I probably agree, but that’s a rather minor complaint.

Now for the features that really “WOW” me.

– Easy & impressive integration with Facebook and Gmail contacts. Within seconds of getting the phone, I logged in to Gmail and Facebook. It pulled in all of my Gmail contacts, then updated them with their Facebook Profile pictures and most recent Facebook Status. No need to ever sync my phone with my computer, as everything is pretty much already synced across Google.

– Determination on Verizon’s (and Motorola and Google’s) behalf to make this phone a success. Within less than 2 weeks of launching the phone, they already have a firmware update on the way to address bugs many (including myself) didn’t even know existed. Compare that to the Storm which went months without a very desperately needed firmware update…that is commitment.

– Google Maps with Turn by Turn Navigation – I purchase the Car Mount (which didn’t come with an included charger as advertised and instead cost an added $30, WTF Verizon?). What’s great is I now have a Navigation system that is better than any OEM or Aftermarket In-Car Navigation system because it connects directly to the internet with traffic updates and detours from Google (traffic prediction isn’t all that accurate though). Here is my setup:

Motorola Droid in Car Mount Holder

Motorola Droid in Car Mount Holder

– Awesome apps – while maybe not as impressive as Apple’s App Store, the Android Market has some pretty damn cool offerings. For instance, the Key Ring app which uses your camera like a bar code scanner to capture your Membership Cards for various places like CVS, BevMo, etc., and can then display them for the cashier to scan, so you don’t have to carry them anymore (please dont steal my BevMo Rewards number, haha)

Key Ring App for Android

Key Ring App for Android

Another great app is Pandora – I can connect my phone to my car stereo and have streaming internet radio (something iPhone users probably have trouble with, since their network is so spotty). Also works great for podcasts, especially since this phone comes packed with 16GB of storage space! Check out Google Listen for a good app to find and listen to PodCasts. YouTube is also awesome on this phone…

– The Screen – although the phone is kinda big, its a little larger in size than an iPhone, the screen is extremely high quality and having a big screen like that makes the Google Maps Navigation & YouTube videos all the more useful & enjoyable. I don’t think I’d want a smaller phone, as I’d rather have the big screen, and this still fits in my pocket just fine. Below you can see the screen on this phone is almost bigger than the entire size of my Pearl.

Motorola Droid vs BlackBerry Pearl

Motorola Droid vs BlackBerry Pearl Size Comparison

– Google Search Bar – this widget on the home screen makes it super easy to search. Anything you want to know, just type it in from the home screen. It also acts as a sort of “desktop” search, because it will search data on the phone like your contacts, files, etc. So if I want to call someone, I can type their name into the Google Search Bar and it will return their contact file – very useful.

I’m sure I’m missing stuff, but at this point, I think you get it. I’d highly recommend you pick one up if you’re on the Verizon Network. It’s intuitive to use, works great, and is an awesome piece of machinery.

The inevitable question is, would I rather have an iPhone? The answer is nuanced, because I still think the iPhone has better apps and possibly a better user interface, but at the same time I think it would really depend on AT&T coverage in your area. I also think the Android Mobile OS will continue to grow rapidly in market share, as Google is basically giving that to any phone manufacturer (Motorola, HTC, etc) and across multiple networks (T-Mobile, Verizon, etc), whereas the iPhone OS will only be on Apple manufactured phones, and for the next year or so still only on the AT&T network. With the HTC Eris (a cheaper but still very capable Verizon Android Phone), as well as slew of other low cost Android Phones on multiple networks, the number of Android users will grow exponentially – and as it grows, more apps will be developed, which will inevitably close the gap between the iPhone App Store & Android Market. And I don’t expect Google to stop innovating and improving the Android OS either, as Google understands the Mobile Web is the future, and the Android System is so tightly integrated with Google Mobile Search that it will provide a huge opportunity in the future.

Finally, I think whether the Droid is an “iPhone Killer” is besides the point – while it may not be “better” than the iPhone, they both have their relative strengths and weaknesses. I think this is the first smartphone where one can say (with a straight face) that this is a serious iPhone contender (even if it’s not an outright killer).

Please leave me any questions or comments you may have. And sorry for the pictures, it’s really hard to snap a decent photo of an LCD screen…

UPDATE 12-03-09: Thanks to all my new visitors, I appreciate you checking out my blog. Here is a great follow up post by the Silicon Alley Insider today with 10 Things We Love And Hate about the Droid & Eris:

Blog & Tweet to #BeatCancer

I’m helping to raise funds to
#beatcancer, by blogging, tweeting
and posting Facebook status
updates.

Click here to join me!

MillerCoors & eBay/PayPal is donating 1 cent per tweet, facebook update, or blog post containing #beatcancer. Use it. More info at the official website: http://beatcancereverywhere.com/

While we’re on the topic of ways to #beatcancer, early detection is critical. This is why it’s important to maintain affordable health coverage in order to keep up on regular office visits. Low Insurance provides a way to compare insurance quotes for health insurance online.

Check out my dad’s websites for more information on cancer care in North Central Ohio.

North Coast Cancer Care: Northern Ohio’s Premier Oncology & Hematology Center, now in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility and one of the only cancer centers in the US offering RapidArc  technology, speeding up treatment and improving accuracy in radiology treatments. You can also check out my dad’s bio here.

North Coast Cancer Foundation: Working to provide payment support, education, and complimentary programs for cancer patients ranging from Art Therapy to healing gardens to improve the quality of life and treatment for patients at North Coast Cancer Care. Another goal of the foundation is research, including holding a breast cancer conference every year, which happens to be this weekend at the Kalahari resort in Sandusky, OH. You can donate here: http://www.northcoastcancerfoundation.org/giving.html

Posterous + Facebook = Smooth Integration

I’m still not crazy about Posterous, mostly because of its lack of features like a blog roll, Adsense integration, and more customization (although the recent rollout of Posterous theming is a step in the right direction), but one thing I really do like about is how nice the Facebook integration looks:

Posterous2Facebook

It links to my latest Posterous entry twice and really seems to encourage click-throughs, and it doesn’t look spammy or automated (even though it is, haha). WordPress will still be my blog platform of choice, but Posterous is carving out a nice little niche, IMO.

“Social Media Experts” Are Really Only Experts at Cliche

HanselSoHotRightNow
I saw a great post over on Conversational Marketing today called 10 Questions to Evaluate a Social Media Expert. It is a really funny, yet pretty useful blog post about all of the social media hacks out there that call themselves Social Media Experts (or Gurus). Calling yourself a Social Media Expert / Guru is like being Hansel from Zoolander – so hot right now. I’ve been meaning to do a similar post, so thanks Ian for inspiring this post – I encourage you to click the link and read his wonderfully sarcastic (yet amazingly insightful) post as well.

Here’s my list of warning signs that a person you are talking to isn’t really a social media expert:

  1. They call themselves a Social Media Expert or Social Media Guru. Seriously, that is total lame-sauce. If you really were an Expert or Guru (btw, Guru…seriously? Are we Harry Potter?), you wouldn’t have to tell us that you were one, we’d already know. Go cast social media spells at Hogwarts with your twitter buddies, I’m going to stay away from anyone who claims to be an expert in anything.
  2. They mention Twitter in the first 10 seconds, or talk about Twitter for over 25% of the conversation on Social Media. Twitter isn’t social media. Twitter is a media channel that works in some applications, and doesn’t in others. Twitter is not the end-all, be-all strategy for success on the internet.
  3. They call it “Social Media” over and over without explaining their definition of what that means. First of all, “social media” is a complete bullshit term. I challenge you to find me an example of online media that isn’t social in some aspect. The only thing I can think of is an old-school, Web 1.0 web page that is basically a flyer or brochure published on the web with no ability to interact with the site. If so, there are so few of these sites any more it would be easier to identify the anti-social media on the web. However, I’m okay with using this term, but you have to define it first. You can define the term however broadly or narrowly you want, but you need to define it otherwise you’ll never really make sense – everyone thinks a different thing when they hear the phrase social media.
  4. You say the phrase ‘so-and-so really gets it’ when referring to using social media effectively. AHHH! At least you’re consistent in your use of cliches. -1 additional point if you then talk about Zappos and Dell on Twitter…yes, anyone with a pulse and internet connection already knows this – they made money using social media – whoopee! Apparently you’re the one who doesn’t “get it” if that’s the best, most creative example you can give us.
  5. They see Social Media as a one size fits all strategy. It’s not. Each company has different goals and objectives, and what works for one client really well might work awful for another one. If it were as simple as applying a process over-and-over, there wouldn’t be a need for “social media experts,” as everyone could just do it yourself. You need someone who can understand the pros and cons and make thoughtful approaches to connect with customers and partners. Sometimes that means not doing any social media at all (gasp!) – some companies really do work best under the radar (besides Halliburton).
  6. They tweet, facebook, blog, digg, etc. more than 20 hours a day. You must really think you’re important if you feel the need to share your thoughts every 15 minutes from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Perhaps this explains how you’re so narcissistic as to call yourself a social media expert in the first place. News update, Hoss – if you don’t have a life outside of your social networks, then that’s scary. If you really have all that time to update your social networks 24/7, then do you have any time leftover to focus on your clients? If you have such little human interaction in your life, are you really the right person to help drive my brand? No, and No.
  7. You talk about twitter the whole time. Again, enough with the Twitter. We get it. It’s so hot right now.  Well, so was AOL 8 years ago. What’s your point? There always be a bigger, better thing right around the corner. You have to think long-term. If you focus your entire advertising around one channel, and that channel then slowly diminishes in importance (MySpace, anyone?), then what do you do?

Anyway, go check out the post at Conversational Marketing. Here are my favorite quotes:

If you know more than 5 people, chances are you now know someone who declares themselves a social media expert. How can you tell if someone’s claim of expertise is legit? Here’s my quick quiz. Ask each question and take the appropriate action:

3: What is social media?

“Blogging and Twitter and stuff”. Excuse yourself for a bathroom break and don’t come back.

“A trendy term to describe a new kind of mass media”. Totally acceptable.
4: What’s a social media campaign?

“Voting something to the front page of Digg using my proxy server and 35 computers”. Flee the scene, and get to a minimum safe distance as soon as possible.

“I have this great software that will put a link to your site on 21,000 forums and 10,000 blogs…”. Push them down the garbage chute. Don’t be seen with them in public.

7: How do you build an audience?

“I auto-follow 20,000 people on Twitter”. If you’re OK with it, kick them in the groin for me. If not, nod politely and move on.

“I follow interesting, relevant people on Twitter, comment on relevant blog posts and try to get into the conversation”. Home run. Try not to weep with joy.

10: How does social media impact SEO?

“It builds relationships that turn into links later”. HIRE THEM NOW.

Read more: http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2009/07/10-questions-for-social-media-experts.htm#ixzz0M2bHZrRh

MySpace still makes more ad money than Facebook!?

I’m a bit suprised by this, because I thought MySpace was pretty much dead – but apparently, they make more ad revenue than the more popular (and more user friendly) social networking site Facebook. Take a look at traffic for each site:

Compete shows ~122,000 unique visitors for Facebook last month but only about ~61,000 unique visitors for MySpace – so Facebook has double the visitors!

Yet, according to a new report on social media by eMarketer, Facebook isn’t expected to suprass MySpace in ad revenue until 2011 – still a solid two years away!

Penelope Haller-Roshon

What gives!? In my humble (and possibly misinformed) opinion, Facebook has a generally more wealthy, educated crowd than MySpace – the type of people who are more likely to spend money on products being advertised. When Facebook first launched (ahh, the good old days!), it was only open to Ivy League colleges (Zuck was a Harvard elitist, apparently), then it was opened to other top colleges that weren’t quite Ivys but still pretty darn good (yay, Northwestern), and then they opened the floodgates for 12 year olds, grandparents, and anyone else with an email address, even my dog Penelope!

The quickest growing demographic on Facebook is now older users, who also would presumably have more money to spend on the products being advertised. Here’s an interesting chart of Facebook Demographics during the first half of 2009:

My only guess is that these estimates by eMarketer are on the (very) conservative side – and that Facebook will beat out MySpace much quicker than 2011. If I were a betting man (and I am), I’d put my money on this occurring MUCH sooner – the demographics and growth of Facebook are too hard to ignore…and MySpace is a more or less a sinking ship! With Facebook ad revenue growing and MySpace ad revenue likely to shrink, it seems like the perfect storm. And with all the rage of Twitter these days (and Facebook redesigning to imitate it), MySpace gets less attention and new users, putting the nail in the coffin.

Update: Laurel Papworth’s “The Business of Being Social” blog has a great post on this topic that supposes MySpace still holds a commanding lead over Facebook for ad revenue because of the Google / Myspace ad deal that generates $2.17 per user for MySpace, as well as MySpace’s event planning services like product/album launches and etc. I bet she’s right, but I still wonder what is taking Facebook so long to find a way to arrange an even sweeter deal than MySpace, given their more favorable demographics, growth, and traffic. I know Facebook has their own ad channel as opposed to using an established channel like MySpace does with Google, which should mean more profit in the long run, but even then…c’mon guys! Quit poking each other and get on it 😉 Thanks for the linkback, Laurel!

Automatically Update your Facebook Status through Twitter without being Annoying

Selective-Facebook-Status

I’ve been using a new Facebook application called Selective Twitter Status that is a pretty smart solution, I think. Many users automate their facebook status to update anytime they tweet. The problem with this is that a lot of Twitter users send tons of tweets per day. In Twitter, this is totally normal and socially acceptable. In Facebook, if you’re updating multiple times a day, it can get annoying…very annoying.

While some of your Facebook friends might actually care about what you’re tweeting, chances are you have some Facebook friends who don’t: the person who lived down the hall from you Freshman year, your (extended) family members, coworkers, neighbors, your sibling’s significant other, etc. These are people you still want to stay in touch with on a basic level and be able to see where they are living and what they are up to these days, but you probably don’t need nor want to have daily updates as to what articles they are reading, what they are thinking/doing at the moment, etc. – and they feel the same way, it’s just TMI.

Enter Selective Twitter Status – it will automatically update your Facebook status based on your tweets, like a number of other automated twitter/facebook apps, but this one will only update facebook with the tweets you decide. Simply put #fb at the end of your tweet, or you can even modify the settings so you can put #fb anywhere in the tweet. And voila, only update Facebook with tweets you think all of your friends would be interested in.

Facebook-Selective-Status

The use of the hashtag #fb here isn’t technically a proper use of hashtags, but it’s not really a big deal. The more popular hashtag for Facebook would be #Facebook anyway, and I really think hashtags are a dying pheonmenos, as explained in this interesting article over at Search Engine Journal: The Slow Death of Twitter Hashtags.

Another nice feature is the link in each update to follow you on twitter – since so many people are now hopping on the Twitter bandwagon, but have already been on Facebook for a while, this provides an easy avenue for them to find you and connect via Twitter.

So check it out, let me know what you think!