Social Media Matters: Blogs, Facebook, & Twitter

Blogs, Facebook, & Twitter

A Social Media Strategy Story

A few weeks ago, I met with some people from a local organization to discuss how to use the web and social media to share some of their stories.  The goal of phase 1 was to connect with others and obtain good placement in search engine results from Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  Here is the situation:

  • Little Time
  • No Money
  • Minimal Tech Skills

A quick analysis of the situation lead us to Google Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and the creation of Children of Humble School Africa Blog.  Most of the people in the organization were already familiar with these Social Networking Services.  These Social Media tools are free and can be activated in minutes.  These tools don’t require a Computer Science degree to use, in fact they are simple enough to be used by a child, grandparent, or anyone in-between.

Social Media Gets Results

Using Social Media to share stories and connect with others has a positive effect in top search engines.  Here are the results after 14 days.

Google: Search Engine results for our site after 14 days was top four results out of 13.2 Million.

 

Google: Search Engine results for our site after 14 days was the top result out of 29.2 Million.

 

Bing: Search Engine results for our site after 14 days was two of the top four results out of 4.2 Million.

 

Yahoo: Search Engine results for our site after 14 days was two of the top four results out of 4.3 Million.

 

Social Media for Small Businesses & Non-Profits

The Social Business of Web 2.0

Once upon a time, the power to reach out and connect with others beyond your local community was reserved an exclusive group of people.  Social Media extends this ability to all people and bursts open the door of new opportunities.

Google Blogger

I was not as familiar with Google Blogger compared to other types of Social Media tools, but was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get started.  The ability to integrate other social media is also very simple.

Blogger is a web-based tool that helps you publish to the web instantly – whenever the urge strikes. It’s the leading tool in the rapidly growing area of web publishing known as weblogs, or “blogs.”  Google Blogger gives you a way to automate (and greatly accelerate) the blog publishing process without writing any code or worrying about installing any sort of server software or scripts. And yet, it still gives you total control over the look and location of your blog.  Details on how to get started are available in this video.

Web Gadgets, Widgets, & Apps

There are countless gadgets, widgets, and apps to support social media integration.  Some of these for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Social Networks can be found in these collections, “25 Great Blogger Widgets“, “Google Gadgets Directory, Collection of Google Blogger Plugins, and people can easily create their custom social gadgets with the Google Blogger API.

Mobile Device Support

The ability to support displaying your content in “app-like” format on multiple mobile devices at the flip of a switch is one of the main strengths of this free service.

Photo Walls

You can also add interactive photo walls to your blog, created with pictures from Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, YouTube, and RSS.  You can share these photo walls on web sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, and more.  You can create and share amazing photo walls for your web sites and blogs using Cooliris.

Social Media Engagement

The Children of Humble School Africa Blog with Social Media integration is just a tiny example of the real possibilities.  There are many great people that share helpful tips about how small businesses and non-profits can leverage the power of social media. Some of these very talented people include:

[twitterusers @goodlaura @scedmonds @JessicaNorthey @Philanthropy @kanter @rosettathurman @briansolis @2morrowknight @chrisbrogan]

 

Empire Avenue: Social Media Influence or Network Activity Game?

Empire Avenue: The Social Media Exchange

Empire Avenue is the Social Media Exchange, where you can invest in any social media profile by buying their shares, meet new people, unlock Achievement badges, and earn boatloads of virtual cash by being active and social online! Buy shares in your friends, your followers, people with similar interests, brands you love, celebrities – anyone! All using a virtual currency and all for free!

Discover new levels of value within each of your social networks, and learn how to be more effective in social media with others on Empire Avenue.   You can experience the fun of connecting with others now and get a Bonus Reward of 2,000e by clicking here: Get Instant Rewards on Empire Avenue.

The Social Stock Market: Empire Avenue

In the beginning of Empire Avenue, Dups Wijayawardhana shares his thoughts about creating empire avenue with Robert Scoble in this video.

Why Should You Join this Social Media Exchange?

Chris Prillo enthusiastically shares several reasons for why you should join empire avenue in this video. You can accelerate your growth on empire avenue with the strategy and tips by Chris here.

Social Media Influence or Network Activity Game?

I believe empire avenue offers something for everyone.

The Ford Motor Company is well respected for their Social Media Strategies and Ford’s empire avenue account is part of this strategy.  A complete strategy can help leaders discover the business benefits of this platform and harness the real value of empire avenue. Instead of treating this as a  facebook game and using it as a Thinking Person’s Farmville, organizations can use this platform to unlock deeper levels of engagement.  Get started, join Empire Avenue now with this special link to receive a Bonus of 2,000).

Empire Avenue empowers people to better understand their value in a market.  The strategy of following a few simple Do’s and Don’ts can help people discover real long-term value.  Online Influence is more than just Social Media Activity so this should be used with twitter, facebook, linkedIn, Google YouTube along with other social media channels supporting your brand communication strategy.

Current Empire Avenue Twitter Game Board

Diversity fuels innovation.  Sports fanatics have their fantasy football teams. This is my fantasy innovation team. This current empire avenue twitter game board represents people focused on helping others with discovering the value of Empire Avenue and Social Media.  You can quickly discover the value of Social Business beyond empire avenue by connecting with them through Twitter, Facebook, and their other Social Networks.
[twitterusers @ChrisPirillo @nicheprof @marismith @Hal_Good @adrielhampton @ChrisRecord @Scobleizer @2morrowknight @problogger]

Empire Avenue’s Growth Trends

Alexa’s Audience Demographics for Empire Avenue

Empireavenue.com’s three-month global Alexa traffic, as of June 12, 2011: rank is 3,862. Roughly 3% of visits to the site are referred by search engines. About 17% of visits to the site consist of only one pageview (i.e., are bounces). The time spent in a typical visit to Empireavenue.com is about 23 minutes, with 42 seconds spent on each pageview. Compared with the overall internet population, the site’s audience tends to be between the ages of 25 and 55; they are also disproportionately childless women earning over $60,000 who browse from work. [more]

Alexa’s Growth Chart for Empire Avenue

The traffic on empire avenue has exploded over the last 60 days.  Using the Empire Avenue Stats Advisors now can help you prepare for the next growth spurt.  The next growth explosion will be fueled by current adoption rate and many new tools expected on multiple devices and environments, created with the empire avenue API.  This API can share interactive data in apps, widgets, and gadgets on blogs, web sites, and mobile devices.  Facebook’s API played a key role in facebook’s plan to dominate the social media/network market.  The new API could have very similar results for empire avenue.

Empire Avenue’s Growth Prediction

Empire Avenue is in position for another monumental growth spurt.  Real long-term value can be captured by joining now.

The Royal Wedding of Location & Results – Groupon: Lessons of the Social Business Game

The Royal Wedding

Friday 29 April 2011 marked a special day, the Royal Wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton, the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.  This gallant affair broke records as people leveraged the power of the web to connect to this event.  This is another example of how we are living in a “connected world”.  I recently attended a funeral with a very non-tech group of friends.  I was a bit surprised to see how they used video conference technology to connect family and friends from all around the world to the service.  Businesses and non-profit organizations are also using this astonishing web-based technology to reduce our carbon footprint on this beautiful planet on which we live.  Technology is changing how we live, work, and play, it is transforming our ideas of space and time.

The Social Business Game

Capitalizing on the Union of Location & Results

Businesses of all types need to know the results of efforts to attract customers, regardless of their size.  Typical target marketing methods of emailing, bulk snail mail, ads, and coupons usually included some type of special code to help measure results.  These codes identify the campaign and can be as simple as “Department Number” or “Redeem Code”.  This need to attract customers and measure results has not changed, but the tools have.  There has been a trend of moving marketing dollars from these old models into the web for quite some time.  Today we see tremendous success in new social business models like Groupon.  Similar businesses seem to be popping up daily, these other business models include: “livingsocial” and “Facebook Deals“.  These type of social businesses are drawing on two major trends—hyperlocalism and budget consciousness.  Location and Results seems to be a “match made in heaven”,    Groupon claims to have over 38 million subscribers, over 42 million groupons sold, and saved people over $1.5 billion dollars.

Social Business Lessons of Groupon

Seven simple lessons to help grow your social business.

  1. Create a Sustainable Business Model
  2. Seek to Understand Your Audience
  3. Build Trust
  4. Clear the Path to Participation
  5. Deliver Added Value
  6. Offer Opportunities
  7. Make it Social

How Location-Based Social Games, Apps and Services Work

Most mobile devices and modern web browsers can transmit your geographic coordinates (location) that is eventually expressed in latitude and longitude, a process known as Geocoding.  This location information can be used by a service to identify other people and places in the surrounding area of the person.  Capturing locations of a person over a period of time can be used to map behavior patterns.  This type of behavior engine is used for things like unlocking the mayor badge on the Social Game Foursquare.  If President Obama “checked-in” to the White House, his geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) could be “38.897614,-77.036515″  These coordinates on a Google Map would look like the image below.

An area such as Washington, DC can be expressed in a Geospatial Polygon for functions and visualizations in mapping services .  The Geospatial Polygon is created by a multitude of points (latitudes and longitudes) that form a shape of the identified area.  This list of latitudes and longitudes can reach great levels of complexity and size, even for small areas.  This complexity is simplified through the Minimum Bounding Rectangle (MBR).  The general area of location can be easily identified and processed though MBR.  A simple example of MBR can be seen on Google Maps in the image below.  This Geospatial polygon is (38.898712,-77.037984 38.898741,-77.035098 38.896403,-77.035098 38.896399,-77.03799 38.898712,-77.037984).

The service can now check if the person’s location is within the geospatial polygon (MBR) with an open-source API like “JTS Topology Suite“.  This process can be used to support real world location-based social games and services.  Check the resources below for additional support.

Thoughts on Privacy and Location

How critical is your exact location for location-based games and services?  What if these popular social games and services offered multiple options for protecting people’s privacy?   These options could provide people with choices in privacy levels that offer exact location or a range of areas.  These areas could be a range of geospatial polygons in the simple shape of a triangle.  This idea is based on how the same concept of how law enforcement identifies an area though “Triangulation“.  These levels of privacy could start with the person’s exact location (latitude and longitude) followed by an option for a 3 mile radius in the shape of a triangle.  Each level of privacy would multiply the previous by three.  This idea can also be supported with the use of Hexagons or MBR.

  • Level 1 (red dot in the image below): Person’s exact location (latitude and longitude)
  • Level 2: 3 mile radius
  • Level 3: 9 mile radius
  • Level 4: 27 mile radius

Where 2.0 2011, Diann Eisnor, “Game Mechanics and LBS: Crossing the LBS Chasm” in this video

She covers some very important topics in this video about the value of game mechanics removing barriers and much more.  This Where 2.0 video is worth watching a few times.

There is a priceless collection of resources available at the O’Reilly where 2.0 conference web site.

Resources for Creating Location-Based Games & Services

Geospatial Open-Source Tools & Services

Google Map Charts can help you can create a map with various countries or states highlighted in custom colors. You can let the map zoom to the proper level to display your selected countries properly, or you can zoom in or out to a custom level using latitude and longitude values.

Google Maps has a wide array of APIs that let you embed the robust functionality and everyday usefulness of Google Maps into your own website and applications, and overlay your own data on top of them.

Experiments with Google Maps – a very interesting collection of examples using the Google Map API.

OpenLayers:Free Maps for the Web – OpenLayers makes it easy to put a dynamic map in any web page. It can display map tiles and markers loaded from any source. OpenLayers has been developed to further the use of geographic information of all kinds. OpenLayers is completely free, Open Source JavaScript, released under a BSD-style License (also known as the Clear BSD).

The District of Columbia Geographic Information System (DC GIS) is coordinated by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and provides District agencies and the public a “one-stop shop” for geospatial data and enterprise applications.

SpatiaLite is just a small sized SQLite extension. Once you have installed SpatiaLite (a very simple and elementary task), the SQLite DBMS is enable to load, store and manipulate Spatial Data (aka Geographic Data, GIS Data, Cartographic Data, GeoSpatial Data, Geometry Data and alike). SpatiaLite implements spatial extensions following the specification of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international consortium of companies, agencies, and universities participating in the development of publicly available conceptual solutions that can be useful with all kinds of applications that manage spatial data.

Government 2.0 Peanut Butter & Jelly Time

“It Takes A Village”

During a camping trip in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains my friends and I talked about our childhoods while walking through the wilderness.  When I was a child, my friends and I would play outside all day on Saturday.  When we needed something (usually food), we would just go to a friend’s house nearby.  It was nice to have several “home bases” to get what we needed for our mission of the day.  I liked stopping by Steve’s home the most.  His mom made the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  These amazing BP&J sandwiches were made with loving hands and had just the right amount of my favorite peanut butter and jelly.  She would cut these tasty sandwiches into triangles of delicious goodness and I would savor every bite. The recipe is pretty simple, but there was something magical about how Steve’s mom put it together.  Our neighborhood was more like a village where everyone pitched in to help keep the community healthy. productive, and strong, as in “It Takes a Village” ~Hillary Rodham Clinton. United States Secretary of State

Gov 2.0 Peanut Butter & Jelly Time

There is something magic about Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches.  Anyone can make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich and the ingredients are readily available.  This is similar to Government 2.0 Apps, anyone can make one and the ingredients are readily available.  Examples of this can be seen at Code for America. Their Data Camps are attracting people from all walks of life that are interested in improving the neighborhoods and cities in which they live. New apps, widgets, and gadgets were created from http://data.seattle.gov and can be reviewed at “Data Camp Seattle: Northwest Gov 2.0 Geeks Make it Look Easy“.  These type of events are happening all around the country and around the world.  Creating a Gov 2.0 App is now easier than making a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.

Government 2.0 PB&J: Portable, Better, & Just-in-time Gov 2.0

PB&J Sandwich PB&J Gov 2.0
Peanut Butter: The meat in this tasty goodness. Data: The meat in this tasty goodness. http://www.data.gov, http://www.usa.gov, http://www.census.gov, …
Jelly: The sweetness that makes the Peanut Butter more enjoyable. Available in multiple flavors: Grape, Strawberry, Raspberry, … User Interface: The sweetness that makes the Data more enjoyable. Available in multiple flavors: jQuery, Ext JS, YUI, GWT, Scriptaculous, Prototype, ZK,  …
Bread: The Portable Container baked with various types of flour: Whole-wheat, Spelt, Gluten, … Allows grabbing this tasty goodness on-the-run & sharing with others. Apps, Widgets, Gadgets, and Plug-ins: The Portable Container baked with various types of programming languages, APIs, & Frameworks: Java, PHP, ASP, Presto Cloud, Yahoo Pipes, Grails, … Allows grabbing this tasty goodness on-the-run & sharing with others.

Learn more about Web 2.0 Apps, Gadgets and Widgets Specifications here, “Web 2.0 Apps, Gadgets, & Widgets in the Enterprise”.

Tim Berners-Lee: Get Data on the Web

http://www.ted.com 20 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee ( @timberners_lee ) invented the World Wide Web. For his next project, he’s building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together.

Washington, DC Increases Government Transparency with Google Apps

Vivek Kundra, United States Chief Information Officer (CIO) makes some good points about government technology and apps in this video.  Learn more about Google Apps for Government here and about secure applications to meet the needs of government (FISMA certification) here.

Better Living One City at a Time

Code for America: Leaders from technology and government, including Mark Zuckerberg, Biz Stone, Aneesh Chopra, Caterina Fake, and Tim O’Reilly, ask you to apply to be a Code for America fellow and help bring the innovation and culture of the tech industry to city government.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Time

Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine Tim O’Reilly ( @timoreilly ) on stage wearing a “Banana Suit” and singing the “Peanut Butter & Jelly Time” song at the next Gov 2.0 Summit event or the next Gov 2.0 Expo event?  The funny thing is, I think he would do it, if it would get more people to adopt the strategy of “Government as a Platform“. What do you think? Lets make more PB&J Gov 2.0!

Can One Idea Change the World?

How can one idea make a difference?  Blake Mycoskie of Tom’s Shoes is a good example of how one idea can change the world.  He and his network have provided shoes for about a million children around the world.  He is one of the Keynote Speakers at this year’s South by Southwest (#SXSW) Conference.  This event jam packs the best of the best, just look at this amazing schedule.  Here are a few events that stand out:

South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive

SXSW’s original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or the internet. And Austin continues to be the perfect location.  This is a huge event where beautiful people will be sharing amazing ideas, so here are a few tips to make it more enjoyable.

20 Tips You Must Know Before SXSW 2011

These great tips for enjoying the pleasures of SXSW were provided by Dave Delaney ( @davedelaney ).

It Does “Take a Village”

People are discovering the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Networks is rapidly decreasing the degrees of separation.  The “six degrees of separation” is now looking more like “four degrees of separation“.  People have more power now, than ever before to work together in new innovative ways to solve every day problems.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” ~Gandhi

(See the Gandhi link for a very interesting story display of Wikipedia’s information, powered by Qwiki)