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Microsoft and Facebook Join Forces To Take On Google Docs

Yesterday, Facebook’s F8 conference created quite a wave of buzz when they announced the release of the Open Graph API. Personally, I’m very excited about this from a marketing point of view. But, there was another announcement that was just as exciting to me that didn’t get nearly the same coverage as Open Graph: Facebook and Microsoft have become unlikely bedfellows, rolling out the new Docs.com site.

The short version: a personalized document sharing site that lets you create, upload and share Office files with your Facebook friends. I haven’t seen a more obvious shot across the bow of Google Docs, and I think this site will only pick up speed as more people discover it.

The site is slick and simple, with headers that will let you see your docs, your friends docs, or add a new doc. The “Add a Doc” section offers to ways to share: either you can upload an existing document from your computer, or you can create a new document using the online version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

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Facebook Rolls Out More Robust Insights

Facebook announced at F8 They Will Roll Out More Robust Insights and AnalyticsI’m not at the F8 conference today, but I have been reading the news and keeping up with the announcements.  So far, the most exciting stories I have read have to do with Facebook Insights, the dashboard for page admins. If you run a fan page (now called a “like” page, I suppose) for a brand, agency or just for yourself, this is important information.

To date, the Insights have been underwhelming.  They have covered only the most basic information, and as somebody who works with big brands to engage and guide the community, I’ve got to say they have been less than helpful.  It seems that all of that changes today, however.  Facebook has announced “Facebook for Web Sites” and have already published full documentation about it.  The insight to user behavior should be interesting, as Facebook says:

“Once your app is up-and-running, you can get detailed analytics about the demographics of your users and how users are sharing from your application with Insights.

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Facebook Now Allows You To Like A Page (Updated)

(UPDATE AT END OF POST)

Well, it’s finally happened.  Facebook has changed “Become A Fan” to “Like” on their fan pages.  People have been talking about this for a while, and speculating as to what the implications will be. Of course, when I say “people” I mean marketers and social media types…the other 99% of the world probably couldn’t care less.

I’ll wait to reserve commentary until I really see how it all plays out, but for now, here are the details of what you need to know, straight from the horse’s mouth. Of course, after you read this you should now go “like” my Facebook Fan Page.  Or is it now called a Facebook Like Page?

“Liking” a Page

Why did “Become a Fan” change to “Like”?

To improve your experience and promote consistency across the site, we’ve changed the language for Pages from “Fan” to “Like.” We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested. http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=17167

What does it mean to “Like” a Page?

When you click “Like” on a Page, you are making a connection to that Page. The Page will be displayed in your profile, and in turn, you will be displayed on the Page as a person who likes that Page. The Page will also be able to post content into your News Feed. http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=17115

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Mediagazer Aggregates Today’s Must-See Media

Mediagazer media aggregator siteI’m been looking over a new media aggregation site called Mediagazer.  My initial thought was, “great…another aggregator that will simply clutter up a lot of content and put it in a needle-in-the-haystack format”, but those thoughts were dismissed as soon as I really started looking at it closely.

Mediagazer is a new effort from the uber-popular tech sharing community Techmeme, and is their first news vertical in almost four years. It bills itself as a site, “which will focus on the content production and distribution business, organizing topics as wide as journalism, blogging, video production, e-books, and digital distribution technologies”, and sure enough it does all of that.  There are a lot of good content assimilation sites, but I think Mediagazer will stand out as a leader if it can get enough good press early to build momentum.

Mediagazer allows you to share with Twitter or Facebook easilyI really like it’s easy-to-share buttons, with the ability to send information linked to either Mediagazer directly, or the original source of the story.  I think that is a brave and noble feature, most aggregators are trying their very best to drive as much traffic as possible directly to their own site (increase in traffic = increase in ad revenue), so the ability to link directly out is a fairly cool and risky idea. They do have sponsored news aggregation prominently displayed in the right column and halfway down the main page with no signs of traditional banner and display ads…yet. I also like the sharing simplicity, obviously aimed at social networks as the only two options are Twitter and Facebook.  Honestly, those are the only two places I ever share news anyway. Naturally, Mediagazer is also on Twitter, although thus far it appears to simply be a feed from their headlines as opposed to an interactive, engaging account.

I like the navigation and sharing potential from this site, so I’ll give it a try as a news source for a couple of weeks to see if it makes it into my regular lineup.  If you try it out, let me know what you think: is Mediagazer just another news aggregator, or a useful service for finding and sharing information?

Renewing The Line Between Public And Private

When Is Public Info TOO Public?I’ve been thinking about the ever-increasing blurry line between public and private lives now that social media is mainstream.  I’ve personally been opening myself up to the world for about a decade; I started blogging by developing my own (very basic) blogging platform before the term “blog” was popular…and I haven’t looked back since then.

There have been a couple of times that I was alarmed by what people are capable of thinking or doing.  A few years ago I started getting anonymous comments on various videos of my children, asking me to pose them in certain ways or have them do certain things.  Naturally I deleted all traces of the videos online (yes it is possible) and became very aware of what I was posting after that.  Although I was always careful to never name them or reveal the location of my children even before this incident, I became very protective after that and have been quite conscious of what I would and would not publish.  Over the years I have become more widely known because of my marketing and social media work, and although I’m certainly a small fish in a big pond, I do have a lot of connections with people that I’ve never met face to face.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my social media life.  I’ve turned so many of my digital-first relationships into real-life relationships, and I love social media and the way it connects the world. But, and there is always a but…

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Social Media Responsibility, Fact Checking (and Racism!)

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., and as such I intended to not post anything about social media, instead choosing to focus on the hope and vision that Dr. King believed in. That has changed after reading today’s blog post by Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist; I have now decided to write about both social media and racism.  After reading her inflammatory post about what she considers to be a “racist rodeo” I got to the kicker…her very last line incites her users to publicly lambaste the McDonald’s corporation on Twitter, telling them that we won’t put up with racism and hate. The obvious inference here is that McDonald’s does indeed support both racism and hate by supporting the All-Star Rodeo, and event that Ms. Trunk determined to be full of racist clowns and cowgirls that are only interested in threesomes. My big problem with all of this? She didn’t bother to fact check before calling up an angry mob. I brought this to her attention in the comments section, but she seemed to shrugs it off as if facts had nothing to do with it.

In this day and age of social media people can, and do, often write and publish opinion as if it were fact. As I write this, I still do not know if McDonald’s does officially sponsor the rodeo or not, but I have reached out to them for comment. Taking a step back, to so broadly describe the rodeo as racist because of one person’s obviously emotional blog post is, in my opinion, a mistake. Social Media allows anybody to publish anything at anytime. Most people that do this have small audiences, but some, like Ms. Trunk, actually get a pretty big following. I don’t know where the breaking point is, but certainly it must be acknowledged that at a certain point a person does have a certain amount of social responsibility when they have such a large audience.

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Channels

This is part 4 of 6 in the series “6 Things You Need to Know About Running A Social Media Program”. You can read part 1 “The Client” here, it has a full introduction. Part 2 “The Product” is here, part 3 “Your Audiences” is here.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do.  This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those.  Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

Know The Channels

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Ustream, blogs, forums and all of the other communities in social media each have a different feel, and as such have different rules and therefore different results should be expected.  I’m going to go on record as saying that, in my opinion, trying to target all areas is a big mistake unless you have an incredibly well resourced team.  For most of the Fortune 500 companies that I work with we target a handful of channels based upon the brand needs and expectations…I don’t think there is such a thing as a cookie cutter social media program.  Why?  Because the need of every client is different (remember that part I wrote about knowing your customer?)  That said, there are a few basics that should be covered, but once you have established those you’ll want to match specific needs with specific communities.  If you try to be all things to all people you’re going to get spread too thin.

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6 Things You Need To Know About Running A Social Media Program: The Audience

2306001896_7e0ce6e0f5This is part 3 of 6 in the series “6 Things You Need to Know About Running A Social Media Program”. You can read part 1 “The Client” here, it has a full introduction. Part 2 “The Product” is here.

I’ve created this list of “things you must know” mostly based upon very positive experiences I’ve had, but also from negative ones…things that I’ve either experienced myself or seen others do.  This isn’t a tactical post, I think I write plenty of those.  Instead, this is my advice to those that are going to lend their expertise to others, and hopefully by checking these off you will avoid some common mistakes that often result in unmet expectations, from one side or the other…or both.

Know Your Audience

Your audience is not “everybody” unless you are selling oxygen or religion…and even then there are plenty of people that don’t want either.  If you really think you can reach everybody, you are sorely mistaken.  You’re also going to be working 24/7 and going broke, because you cannot target everybody.  Now that we have established that, this is another great conversation to have with your client.  They probably have a pretty good idea of who their target audience is; make sure you understand who they are going after.  If you’ve done your homework (by knowing the product) then you can and should add to this conversation.  Once you understand the person that you are trying to reach you can start developing a strategy that will include some social media channels but not others.  Your strategy should also tell you when you should be active online (based upon when the target audience is), how often to engage them  and what sort of external resources you should link to that will add value to the community. If your client has no idea who they are targeting, I would suggest that you consider working this out with them before you start, it will prevent a lot of frustration from both sides.

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The Internet Is Dead

The-Internet-Is-DeadOkay, the title of this post may be a bit dramatic and sensational…it’s not that The Internet is dead, it’s just that it doesn’t exist the way it used to.  Instead of being a destination, it is now a container.  No longer do you “get on the internet”, although technically speaking of course you are connecting to the network of computers that does comprise what we call The Internet, but that event is no longer an event itself.  Instead, most people are going to a smaller internet inside the larger container called “The Internet”, and these smaller internets are now destinations of their own.

I recall sitting in a meeting just over a decade ago where I was discussing (okay, arguing) the merits of Th Internet and having a presence there.  The topic du jour was whether or not this company should spend “ridiculous” amounts of money to build a website.  “After all,” said one particular stodgy gentleman, “we could take all of that money and instead spend it on a larger yellow pages ad.  THAT would be a good use of advertising, and bring us more people”.  You know what?  He meant that, sincerely.  He truly thought that a big, full page ad in the Yellow Pages would bring more business in than some silly, new fangled, johnny-come-lately web site.  The Internet, in his mind (and many others around the table) was a silly place for kids to play, not a place for serious business.  “The Internet” was still a destination, but not one to be taken seriously.

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Zune HD Goes Social

Zune HD deviceZune, the mobile music device from Microsoft, is starting to heat up in the world of social media with the Zune HD giveway sweepstakes.  Considering the very social nature of the Zune track sharing, it’s good to see this happening.

If you’re been around these parts for long, at some point or another you’ve heard me talk about my love of the Zune.  I’m usually met with responses like, “oh, so you’re the guy that bought one!” and other cheeky remarks.

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