Pinterest

Why Facebook Keeps Carving Itself Up

Facebook Camera Has Branding Issues
Facebook Camera has branding issues

The successful release of the Facebook Camera app two weeks ago marked the second major application launch by the social network focused on a singular feature. Joining Messenger, Camera allows users to enjoy functionality without the baggage of Facebook’s leviathan social networks as experienced through the iPhone, iPad, Android and mobile web versions.

For the past few years, Facebook dominated the social network marketplace by absorbing every feature from all of its competitor. In doing so, it became the McDonalds of social networks. However, with mobile revolution, tactile input changes the way we interact online, and Facebook’s girth makes it unwieldy for tablets and smartphones in spite of experience-controlled applications.

At every corner now, there seems to be a niche mobile competitor.
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Google Puts Feet on the Street

Lovebugs
Google’s DC Office Featured Love Bugs on Valentine’s Day

The Wall Street Journal slammed Google last week for launching another social network when one wasn’t needed (um, yeah, that’s why Pinterest is doing so poorly, right?). Meanwhile, Google has quietly been deploying its local offices to meet with businesses and internet aficionados. The company wants to humanize the Google brand, and personally help people use Google+ and other products.

This is a smart move, one that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have yet to match. Google is literally investing in relationships one by one, and putting faces to what has often seemed a distant and monolithic company.

So many of today’s untrained marketers believe that social media is the primary form of grassroots communications. In reality, they form just one component of a strong word of mouth strategy. Great word of mouth includes personal interactions through meetings like these, small events, local outreach, strong email management, and core stakeholder loyalty development programs.
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New Flickr Brings Questions about the Visual Media Era

Flickr
New Flickr Interface image via Geeky Gadgets

Flickr will unveil its much-needed new interface today, revamping one of the oldest and still prescient social networks. This significant change comes to a network that features more than 3.5 million photos uploaded everyday, and one of the most popular APIs on the Internet. Flickr’s new interface seeks to make the network relevant to smartphone and tablet users.

As a long term power user on Flickr with more than 4000 photos and 325,000 photo views on my photo blog, I welcome this change. It’s refreshing, and makes the most powerful network for sharing videos not only stronger, but more attractive, too.

For a long time, Flickr’s primary value to me was housing images in a very accessible Creative Commons library. This allowed widespread dissemination of images in a host of online journals, blogs, and in some cases traditional media. Now Flickr could become more than that, competing with personal photo network favorite Instagram for commenting and interacting with other photographers and visually oriented minds.

Invariably, those that don’t understand the difference between a content publishing-based social network and a bookmarking-based network will compare the new Flickr to Pinterest. Ironic, as Flickr just incorporated Pinterest’s opt-out code for photographers who don’t want their original content repinned without credit or payment. In reality, Instagram and Tumblr are much closer competitors because the users are primarily content creators.
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What’s the ROI of Pinterest?

PinROI

Well known social media experts like to slough off tough questions about return on investment (ROI) with flip phrases like, “What’s the ROI of your mom?” Now it’s time to turn the tables and ask social media experts, “What’s the ROI of Pinterest?”

For the past few weeks we have experienced a deluge of Pinterest hype across the social media sphere, marketing media, and the periodic mainstream news piece. Pinterest is touted as the next hot thing, and we see a ton of suggestions from “experts” on how to market using Pinterest.

What is rarely offered is demonstrative evidence of ROI. And shared case studies are often sandbox level successes that produce light outcomes like follower counts, but not actual financial results. Here are some examples:

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The Inevitable Pinterest Post

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Image by Social Graphics

Sigh. If you are a social media pundit, you had better be posting about Pinterest these days or as Ike says, you’ll have your expert card pulled (the horror). So here it is, my inevitable Pinterest post.

What Pinterest has done right is significantly change the way we interface with social media. By making posts picture-centric, we see ideas and concepts rather than have to read about them. In a mobile, portable media world dominated by tactile input methods (touch screens), this is an undeniable future.

This movement towards visualizing information is also typified by Instagram and Tumblr. You can point to the popularity of Facebook pics, Facebook’s new timeline interface, and Twitpics as further evidence. Finally the infographic movement towards visualizing data as opposed to blogging or writing about a topic is yet another bellwether towards pics instead of words.

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Social Photography: Thoughts and 4 Tips

Ride the Sunset!
Taken mid-air last night with an iPhone 4s.

You may not love Flickr, Instagram or Pinterest, but you can’t deny the continuing rise of social photography. Photos dominate social media. Even on Facebook, the king of networks, people spend 17 percent of their time perusing photos according to a recent ComScore/BuddyMedia study.

Facebook time spent seg

Whether they are retail pics “pinned” on Pinterest, food shots discussed on any social site (25 percent of foodie photo creators do so as part of a daily food diary), or a happenstance shared on Instagram or via TwitPic, photos are a universal staple of the online social world. As such, social photography should be a part of your communications strategy.

The results have been fantastic for me. While this blog has a decent following, in the four years I have written here regularly (some of the old 2007-8 posts were imported from my now defunct Now Is Gone blog), my photo blog on Flickr has generated roughly 50% more page views.

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The Great Fracture

Petermann Glacier September 2008 [High Res]
Image by NASA

Every mature market experiences rising competition that carves off specialized pieces of the leaders’ established footprint. It’s how Southwest, JetBlue and others brought the major traditional airlines to their knees (and bankruptcy). For social networking leaders, the great fracture is upon them. Those of us on the front line are left to pick networks and tools.

Facebook has run away with the race. Twitter, LinkedIn, and a host of smaller social networks have taken their seats behind the leader. Yet as time continues, more and more niche networks like Tumblr, Instagram, shiny object du jour Pinterest, Reddit and others carve off their piece of the pie.

The phenomena of so many social media choices has moved from creating to social media fatigue for the most faithful to full-on overload. Even the most tech savvy people find themselves making tough choices.

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