Friday, February 26, 2010

Podcasting Tips

In the SXSW Podcasting Tips podcast that was posted, several key points were made about having a successful podcast. The podcast features Steve Mack and Jose Castillo who are responsible for The Lame Podcast. Both of them have a large amount of experience in podcasting as well as digital media. According to them the number one tip for making your podcast listable is to know your audience. Of course this seems like a simple step, but it's often over looked. For instance, if you're making a sports podcast there is no need to mention gas prices, the weather, or any other topic that does not pertain to the sport that is being mentioned. In order to connect with your audience it is important that a blog is linked to your podcast, so that people can leave comments about the show. Mack and Castillo believe it is vital to connect with your audience so that you're not lame.

After checking out their website I liked their motivation for the site

Don’t be lame.

Simple words… but something we live by. We have all been involved in lame projects but we want to fight the urge to be mediocre. Our collective knowledge of what to do (and a lot of what not to do) is something we want to share with you. So if you are building a podcast, resist the urge to be boring. Check out our stories and learn from our lameness (and others).

Trust your gut, you know when something is lame - don’t do it!

If more people listened to their gut about something being lame when it came to podcasting I might actually listen to podcasts on a regular basis. I have attempted to listen to podcasts in the past and I have yet to listen to the same podcast more than twice. They have either been too long, off topic, or just plain bad. There's nothing more irritating than listening to someone ramble about nothing with constant umm's and hmm's throughout the podcast.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creation of

When deciding what site to buy my domain from as well as to host my website, I was a bit overwhelmed. The first company that came to mind was Sure the commercials are cheesy and racy, but obviously the company has done a good job with the campaign if Go Daddy comes to mind when buying a website. Go Daddy was the first site I checked out, but after itemizing everything I need (domain, host, 6 + pages, a site builder, etc.) it became clear that Go Daddy was not made for me.
So then I googled top 10 web hosts and several top 10 lists appeared.This list was the most helpful. From there I was able to compare several hosts with Just Host being the winner. Just Host seemed to be the most budget friendly for what I needed. For $41.23 I was able to get my website up and running for a full year. Several sites advertised $3.50/month, however to get that rate you had to pay for 2-3 years of service at once, resulting in a large amount. This is not the case with Just Host. With a one-time payment I received account setup, instant activation, domain registration, $250 in marketing credits for Google/ Yahoo, as well as a free site builder. Go Daddy on the other hand wanted to charge per month for the site builder depending on how many pages I wanted to have on my website.
I suggest that once you decide who to host your site with to attempt to exit out of the browser, because most web host sites will offer a coupon to stay and do business with them. Just Host received my business after a 50% off coupon. Other sites offered to waive sign up fees, 20% off, or a free domain for life.

Free Pancakes

The annual national pancake day at IHOP received extra buzz this year, due to the company's ability to spread the word using social media. This year the event was pushed back a week, but that did not stop the masses from venturing out for a free short stack. The International House of Pancakes offered three of their delicious buttermilk pancakes and encouraged diners to donate to The Children's Miracle Network. The pancake house hopes to raise $1.75 million this year to reach their $5 million goal in five years since the first annual pancake day.

Word spread through as well as Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook. Multiple groups and events were created for the fundraiser on Facebook, all with the same memo... come get some free pancakes while giving back to your community.

One invite that I personally received on Facebook had invited over 160,000 people with over 38,000 choosing to attend. I'm no mathematician but if everyone that attends the event donates $2-$3 the amount of money raised could make a huge difference.

In the past seven minutes that I have been writing this post, over 2450 tweets mentioned IHOP.

Several of the tweets are the same
It's National Pancake Day! Head over to IHOP and get your free short stack (and contribute to Children's Miracle Network via donation).

The company in my opinion, was able to create a large amount of publicity without spending a large amount of money on advertising. Through the help of citizen marketers the message was delivered to people all across the country.

For those of you who are interested in getting a free short stack, some IHOPs will be offering free short stacks until 10 p.m. even though the national campaign was only supposed to run from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Upset Facebookers Vent on Twitter

This past weekend while most of us were enjoying the lovely weather in Austin, a number of Facebook users were experiencing issues Saturday. Users that were effected were unable to login, upload pictures, and experienced slow connections. The United States experienced the most problems, but other countries including the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Mexico had difficulties with the site.

Those that were upset took out their frustration on Twitter.

One upset user wrote “I mean, come on! Don’t waste my time-wasting time!”

Another later in the day tweeted "Facebook account is disabled for reasons not explained to me. :( ."

As a result, upset users were successful in creating a twitter storm for the social media site. Facebook responded to the complaints by issuing a tweet
Some people are having trouble accessing Facebook and site features because of an isolated server issue. We are working to fix this ASAP.

Web 2.0

This week's reading of Citizen Marketers covered the evolution of the Internet. Since it was first developed, the internet has transformed in many ways. The number of users has grown exponentially, especially since the 1990's. The internet has evolved from boring static pages to pages that are updated often and are more appealing to the eyes. This change has been referred to as Web 2.0. McConnell and Huba define Web 2.0 as, "creating collaborative Web experiences when information is shared multilaterally... Web 2.0 is a multiple-way communication between Web-site owner and visitor, and visitors with other visitors" (57). Web 2.0 has become very user friendly and has led to an abundance of information being dispersed over the World Wide Web.

Web 2.0 and XML have led to the creation of Mashups. Mashups occur when two or more data sources are combined. Yelp and City Search are two popular mashups that operate on user content. Both websites provide a map and reader reviews for whatever company someone searches for. If someone searches for a spa on Yelp, the site provides them with the spa they searched as well as other spas located near that spa. Yelp has helped successful companies generate business as a result of positive reviews. The user reviews has helped prevent people from wasting their money on places that receive negative reviews. Without the development of Web 2.0 and the creation of sites like Yelp and City Search, dare I say it... people might actually still be using phone books.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Word of Mouth Becoming a Reliable Source

In Citizen Marketers the authors claim "People are the message when people say "word of mouth" is the most influential form of media on their decision making" (26). As a college student who is often on a budget, I am an advocate of word of mouth advice. This includes my newest guilty pleasure Bump It. At first I used to laugh at the ridiculous infomercials, but then one of my friend's bought it for New Year's Eve. The woman now swears by this product and wears it at least four or five times a week. After seeing it in person and how simple it was to use, I decided to buy one. In the past three weeks I have developed a love for my Bump It and now I am trying to con all my friends in to buying one as well. I love the simplicity of the product, because it allows me to do something different with my hair in less than five minutes. Had Bump It have hired some celebrity to endorse the product, I highly doubt I would have purchased one. It seems that commercials with celebrities attempting to sell the product are becoming harder and harder to believe. Especially when it is a beauty related product, because we all know they had hair and make-up people to make them look like that. Companies forget that the majority of us are on the go and often need to beautify ourselves for the world on our own in a short amount of time.

Chapter one also mentions that "more than half of Americans avoid anything from a company that overwhelms them with advertising" (26). Can somebody please send Geico a memo that running commercials at least once a commercial break during my favorite shows is not going to convince me to give them a try. Instead it makes me cringe when I think about them and would rather go without car insurance if they were the last car company on the planet! Their current campaign with the money that is watching you has sent me over the edge and encourages me to change the channel whenever I hear the song being played.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Google Creating More Negative Buzz Than Expected

On Tuesday Google introduced their new service, Buzz, in hopes of coming one step closer to taking over the Internet. Google seemed to fight back against Facebook and Twitter with Buzz, but unfortunately for Google according to a Twitter search, there are more negative comments about Buzz than positive.

In an attempt to make Buzz more user friendly, Google automatically set up their users with a network of connections that they have interacted with before through their email and chat services (Gmail and Gchat). These connections are displayed in one's Google public profile. This has raised concerns over privacy as many people did not want their contacts out in the open.

Michael Helft of the New York Times on Friday wrote about the concerns of privacy:

"E-mail, it turns out, can hold many secrets, from the names of personal physicians and illicit lovers to the identities of whistle-blowers and antigovernment activists. And Google, so recently a hero to many people for threatening to leave China after hacking attempts against the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, now finds itself being pilloried as a clumsy violator of privacy"

Google has responded to the criticism by creating an easier to find button to allow users to edit who they follow and who is able to follow them. When Buzz was first launched, users were only able to block followers if they had a public profile. Now, they will be able to block anyone from following them. Google is also making changes to allow users to control which connections appear in their public profile.

It seems that in the past week, with this new tool introduced many people are almost unwilling to try Buzz. It's not the identical twin of their Facebook and Twitter, so why bother to learn a new social media tool that has the potential to make one's life easier. I believe that if Google is able to fix the general Google public's concerns about Buzz in the next month, that with time more people will be willing to use the service.

I myself have yet to find time to play with the service. After attempting to become a Google Wave user with no success, I am not motivated to take on Buzz. Once all the kinks are out of the system I may revisit Buzz, but until then I shall stay in my Web 1.5 (Yes I know 1.5 doesn't exactly exist) stage where I am stuck between having mastered Facebook and still learning how to tweet.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Social bookmarking making life more accessible

As someone who is relatively new to social media outside of blogging for previous classes and Facebook, the how-to guide has been helpful. Until social bookmarking had been brought up in class, I had no idea such a thing existed.

Deltina Hay puts it in simplest terms and defines social bookmarking as, " a way for you to save your favorite blogs and websites in a public space the same way you might save them using your own web browser" (177).

The idea of using the bookmarking sites, as a yelp-version of google is pure genius. Often people only view the first few pages of google results before giving up. This limits them to popular websites that may not always have the information that they are looking for. However, this new technology allows uses to look at other sites that google may not have offered them in the first few pages.

Hay defines folksonomy as being able to, "not only see the comments other people have made on a particular site, you also get the additional terms they used to tag it" (179). This would be very helpful for people who are trying to research a topic but have hit a dead end. Often this is the case for students who are unaware of synonyms associated with their topic. By searching these additional terms, users are able to find more information that could be useful without wasting a large amount of time.

After setting up an account with delicious, I became addicted within half an hour of navigating through the site. It seems that the site could be very beneficial to me and students everywhere, who often feel like research for projects and papers can be overwhelming. Social bookmarking allows us to complete our homework at multiple locations without having to print out our sources, which can run up to 40 pages just to provide us with a few quotes for our papers. With this technology, there is no longer a need to spend unwanted hours in the library working on papers that could easily be finished at home.

Friday, February 5, 2010

OCNN launched for Super Bowl festivities. Reputable News Organizations Say Child Please

"Ochocinco News Network. Where news is given and you can kiss the baby, and if you don't like us, child please." -Chad Ochocinco

For those that do not follow football or follow Mr. Ochocinco on twitter, that quote leaves you puzzled. For those of us who created a spot for Chad Ochocinco (formally Chad Johnson) in our hearts after following him on the popular HBO series Hardknocks in 2009, it's just another crazy saying out of the Bengals receiver's mouth.

Determined to find a way to connect with his fans, Ochocinco began tweeting about his daily life and all the hard work he puts in to getting ready for games. Previous to Hardknocks, he had 17,000 followers in July 2009 and has since increased his following to 736,267 (as of 02/06/10). His popularity among twitter and Facebook has made him very marketable, which is why Motorola has teamed up with the Bengals wide receiver to promote OCNN.

According to OCNN's Facebook company overview:

"OCNN is the brainchild of the NFL's reigning king of social networking and his partners at Motorola. With the Motorola Cliq phone in hand, powered by MOTOBLUR technology, Ocho Cinco is transformed 'into a one-man social news network. OCNN brings you all the news you need from on and off the field, from the most exciting mind in the NFL."

Motorola has chosen Ochocinco to help promote Motoblur, a social media software that allows users to view their social networking sites all at once, while at the Super Bowl. Ochocinco is not alone as Redskins Chris Cooley, Ravens Ray Rice, and Cardinals Darnell Dockett are also part of the OCNN campaign. The three other reporters chosen are also popular on twitter, and interact with their fans on social media sites on a regular basis. Throughout the week leading up to the game the four OCNN reporters will tweet, update the OCNN website, and add to the OCNN Facebook.

OCNN will cover media day for both teams as well as the hottest parties hosted in the week before the game. Motoblur will allow the news crew to update their social media sites simultaneously while providing fans with the latest news in Miami. OCNN plans to ask questions that fans wouldn't get from any other news source, including asking Colts DE Dwight Freeney to "give it to him real" about his injured ankle. Ray Rice continued to get the real story by asking Colts DE Robert Mathis "why did ya'll have to hit me so hard during that game" (referring to Week 19 where the Colts beat the Baltimore Ravens 20-3).

ESPN did a story on the OCNN network while at media day, and it was entertaining to watch Ochocinco to be treated like a media personnel who was forced to wait in line to ask questions, as well as being limited in the number of questions asked. OCNN however did not air this footage, but instead opted to run footage of all four reporters interviewing key players from both teams.

Photo courtesy of OCNN's facebook.