Monthly Archives: February 2011

Red Cross Twitter Gaffe

Once again, a social media lesson to learn from. And avoid at all costs.

A Red Cross employee accidentally sent out a personal tweet, via the official @redcross account. The tweet? “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”

Seriously. This employee, Gloria Huang, uses Hootsuite, a social media tool that lets you manage all of your social media profiles in one place. So, she accidentally submitted this personal tweet through both her personal and work (Red Cross) accounts.

Here’s the difference between this and the other gaffes we’ve reported lately. Red Cross responded awesomely. Made light of the situation. And turned this temporary heart attack scare into an amazing online PR opportunity that really humanized their brand.

So, don’t try to do stuff like this. But, know that these situations can have happy endings if you manage them right.

Google Social Search Vaults Them Back to Market Leader

I’ll be honest. With the way things were going, I would have put money down on Facebook being worth more than Google in 10 years. Crazy? Maybe. But, here was my line of thinking. That you value product and service recommendations from your friends far above product and service recommendations from random sources found through Google search results.

This can’t even be disputed, can it? So, I thought it was reasonable to believe that Facebook would figure out how to become a search engine as well.

Here was my short-sightedness. I didn’t realize that it was probably much easier for Google to incorporate this social data within its search results. To be fair (to me), that could be because Google wasn’t doing this. Until now, with the release of Google Social Search.

Now your social circle activity is marked with Google search returns. If your friend has “liked” that page, you’ll know, and be much more likely to click through. Granted, this only incorporates off-Facebook social – webpages that have a Facebook “like” button incorporated within it. But, it’s a big jump forward. And now with my money back on Google, they have 10 years to figure out the rest.

Do You Trust Amazon Reviews?

Do you trust Amazon reviews? Sometimes it’s hard to know if you should. The idea of crowdsourcing recommendations is an amazing one. It’s so amazing that every business has a vested interest in gaming the system.

And you can tell when a book has 3 recommendations, all that feel like they came off the book jacket themselves, that it’s probably the author and his friends doing that. And you’ve probably also spotted the opposite – people dogging competitive products. Getting those same people to write negative reviews about the products your competitors offer.

But there’s a new tactic that’s becoming more widespread lately. The subtle plug. Referencing your product within a related product’s review. “I liked this product, but I actually ended up going with X”. This is a powerful testimonial. False or not. And scammers are starting to take advantage of it. We’ll see if Amazon acts, or can even figure out how to?

Is Google Music Getting Close to a Reality?

The idea of Google Music has been pervasive in the music world for such a long time now, that it’s hard to remember what parts of it are actually possible, and what parts we just made up on our own.

The idea of your music collection, living in the cloud, and having the ability to stream it on demand from any device is the dream. But it’s also the reality, right? This is not just possible. It would be insane if we don’t get to that point really soon.

And really soon could be just 2 months away. Sanjay Jha, the CEO of Motorola Mobility slipped at Mobile World Congress, talking about a Google music service as it if existed, then quickly said, “that is, there will be a music service.”

The best part is? He didn’t even try to pull it back. He just corrected the context. It’s almost here. And it’s really exciting to see exactly how much of everything it’s going to change.

Is YouTube on the Verge of Replacing Television

Do you ever choose what movie you’re going to see based on its feature length? 2 and 1/2 hours!??! Nah, let’s go see the comedy.

We are an A.D.D. culture. We desire to be entertained more quickly than ever before. And grow weary when we are not. Before you accuse of me of hypocritically preaching Luddite messages while blogging, let me clarify that I think this dissatisfaction is, in general, a good thing.

We have become pickier. And this causes the level of entertainment as a whole to rise. But I want to know how close we are to getting sick of the 30 minute sitcom.  Because YouTube keeps getting bigger and bigger. And more and more celebrities (aka Justin Bieber) are finding their starts there.

And now it looks like YouTube might pay celebrities to come back. With super talented, but no-name video innovators making 6-figure salaries through ad revenue alone on their YouTube channels, imagine the kind of audience that real celebrities could get?

The strategy? Celebrities create and own 3-minute long shows. And get $5 million for it. That’s right. So, imagine what YouTube must think their presence is worth?

Could your favorite TV channels in the future end up being ones living on YouTube?

Klout Chrome Extension Helps Social Media Focus

The world of social media metrics is simply fascinating. And since we at Windy City Strategies specialize in evidence-based marketing, we were excited when Klout came out. One of the first Twitter rankers, providing you with your Klout score – a measurement of your online influence. This Klout score is based on the number of people who follow you, the number of people you follow, how often your tweets are re-tweeted, and how often your followers engage with your tweets in general.

So, it was fun to sign up for Klout and see that you are a…..42. Ok. So, what do I do with that number? Nothing. Until now.

Klout has released a Chrome Extension that, once installed, lets you see every single Twitterer’s Klout score, directly within the Twitter timeline itself.

So now you can see your most valuable followers and prospects, and work even harder to connect with the online mavens in your market. It’s pretty awesome.

What Does Watson’s Jeopardy Win Mean for A.I.

I’ll have to admit. I watched IBM’s Watson tear apart a couple of geniuses the other day on Jeopardy, and didn’t really understand all the fuss. Frankly, I didn’t understand why Watson had to be so huge. Just hook up a laptop to Wikipedia. They’ll know everything, too.

But, there’s something I wasn’t considering.

Watson is thinking at the speed of genius. Watson is listening, just like we are. Not reading. Racing through his giant computer brain and coming back with the right answer, in less than 2.5 seconds.

It’s wild. And just goes to show you how powerful the human brain is. But the real question is, what’s next for this technology? Well, it looks like Watson will be taking his talents to South Beach… or Nuance Healthcare rather, to help doctors diagnose based on tremendous amounts of data.

This is the exciting stuff.

Privacy is Yours For the Opt-Out’ing

Spokeo is looking to create a global database of everything about you and everyone you know.

And like any practical database, they’re creating it with an opt-out format. Your name, e-mail, phone number, address, friends. If Spokeo can find the information on y0u, it’s going to post it. And even more if people are willing to pay for it.

Yes, this is simply an in-depth Yellow Pages, which they call a people-search engine. And yes, it can be used to help people “keep up with their friends more easily”. But here’s the reality. People aren’t going to like this. Companies want people to find them. Hence, Google is awesome. People want their privacy. And Spokeo is about to get a backlash.

Would Facebook-Baidu Be a Google Beater?

It’s fun to think about the tech future – and what it will look like 10 years from now. As impossible as that is to do in reality.

But you know what might be almost as scary a thought as Facebook and Google merging? Facebook and the company that’s destroying Google in China. That’s right. Baidu.

Now, it’s probably silly to think ‘merger’ here. But perhaps a partnership similar to the heavily integrated Microsoft-Facebook slow dance we’ve seen lately. Rumors say that Baidu execs are visiting Facebook’s corporate offices in California in order to discuss such a deal. And Zuckerberg has been playing nice with Baidu over the last couple years.

It might be about to pay off with a green-light into the holy grail of future profits – China.

Google Chrome Plans to Lose Their Address Bar

For a Web browser that continues to break new grounds in terms of speed, security and style, it’s no wonder they’re looking to minimize. But, getting rid of the address bar altogether?

Yes, apparently, that feature is in the works for a future Chrome update. It is called “compact navigation”. And the goal is to save screen real estate for Web content. It’s the same reason the channel number on your TV fades away a couple seconds after landing on your channel. It’s just in the way at that point.

But how will users navigate this new compact navigation from Google Chrome? It’s one of those things where we’ll have to see it before knowing it’s going to require a learning curve.