Currently, Google isn’t so good at providing people with local content in smaller markets and particular geographic areas. They’re at least beginning to understand and working to improve on it.
Instead of search messaging, Google’s new goal is to predict what you want to know about before you even ask.
Marissa Mayer, consumer products chief at Google, said in an interview, “We’re looking at a lot of things in this geographic area, but we’re also doing some things in the area of contextual discovery. And that’s, can we take location and user’s context and basically figure out what pieces of information they need. It’s kind of search without search - without you saying anything in voice search, or typing anything - can we figure out, you haven’t been to this place in Paris before, and you were just doing this, so we’ll give you information abut this place, when it was built, and what was important about it. If you walk past it every day we’ll give you the news. So we’re trying to play around with some new concepts on how to find information.”
Google in thinking more in the context of mobile devices and location, which I think is a good thing. For example, when using a smart phone with GPS, the data will be able to tell where you are. Using this data, Google will be able to tell if you’ve just arrived somewhere new and then give you information about the place automatically.
What if you’re on a PC? Google has that covered too. Google knows all of the websites you’ve visited in the past, so what they will be able to do is give you recommendations for new sites based on your web history.
I think these new developments are interesting and have potential for marketers too, but I think that there might be privacy issues involved here. What if you don’t want Google to know where you’re at? Will there be a feature that allows you to turn off your GPS tracking system? I guess we’ll find out soon!
Educators are constantly looking for new and creative ways to communicate with their students. More and more teachers are embracing social media as a way to keep in touch with students, posting homework assignments on Facebook, or answering homework questions via text message. But is it appropriate for teachers to contact students outside of the classroom using these tools?
On December 26th, new state laws go into effect for Texas that say educators must refrain from inappropriate communication with a student including cell phones, text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, blogging and other social networking sites. Any teacher that violates this rule will result in various sanctions.
Staffers at the Texas Education Agency proposed the changes because teachers were being referred for discipline by school district administrators for sending students “thousands” of text messages. Although the content of these messages were not inappropriate, the volume of messages and the time of day they were sent was considered to be unethical.
This is a situation where technology has outpaced the laws. The digital space is growing and changing so rapidly that people (teachers) haven’t had enough time to figure out how to use them.
I understand how this issue could be a concern for parents and teachers. Parents may not want their children to have a cell phone or be on Facebook. Would the parent to forced to give in to pressure if a teacher decided Facebook would their primary way of communicating with the students? However, I think the law goes too far when it mentions e-mail as being inappropriate communication. E-mail is generally more formal and is a convenient way to communicate. I don’t think that crosses any boundaries.
Whatever your view is, I think it is important that everyone fully understands the usefulness of these digital tools and how appropriately to utilize them before implementing them into everyday life situations.
When tools like Myspace and Facebook made social media more readily available to average people, no one could have predicted how it would vastly change the way people communicate. Many people may have thought that social media sites were just fads. They were wrong. Social media has changed and is continuing to change the way people communicate with each other and the way businesses communicate with their consumers. This social media phenomenon doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. Businesses are adapting to these changes and people are getting even more savvy with the way they get their messages out and receive messages.
In chapter 4 of Socialnomics, Erik Qualman talks about how social media played a big role in Obama’s presidential campaign. He strategically used tools like YouTube to give his talking points to the people. Just before the election, his YouTube channel had over 20 million views. The Obama Campaign’s savvy social media skills may have been what earned him the youth vote and eventually the office of the presidency.
President Obama isn’t the only political figure to benefit from social media. Take Sarah Palin for example. If she wants to get a message out to her constituency, she doesn’t need to hold a press conference or go on 60 Minutes. All she needs to do is update her Facebook status and the media will broadcast it. This new form of communicating has completely changed the way the media functions and operates.
Remember the show Jack Ass? No need for that anymore. All you have to do today to see a bunch of amateur guys doing stupid things is do a YouTube search. You’ll get tons of hits that will get keep you entertained for hours.
In chapter 2, Qualman trys to make the argument that people are behaving themselves more in public because of the probability of them being recorded and posting the recording on the internet. This may be true for some people but I think other people do the opposite. Some people will go out of their way to do outrageous things because they want their videos to go viral. People want their 15 minutes of fame and will go to great lengths to get noticed, even if it means making fools of themselves. Social media and the internet make it much easier for people to get attention. Everyone has a voice and many want to be heard. Social media has made it possible for people to be heard and get noticed.
T.V. On The Internet
Social media sites are keeping people on the internet longer and away from their T.V. Audiences are slowly moving from T.V. to internet. YouTube and Hulu have made easier for people to view video content online and people are getting more and more used to the idea of watching entire shows on the computer. Many network T.V. stations are posting their sitcoms, dramas, and soap operas online. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for networks. The internet makes it easier for them to track how is watching and it’s cost effective. Another sign of the times indeed.
Ad Age has listed it as the #1 viral ad campaign ever. All of their videos combined have approximatively 135,000,000 hits on YouTube and other sites. So what is this campaign exactly? An odd blender company called Blendtec released a series of digital videos where a man in a white jacket attempts blending some unlikely objects. These objects range from iPhones to golf balls. Blendtec launched this campaign back in 2006 when YouTube was still something new. They are perhaps one of the first companies to effectively harness the power of social media and digital interaction with a product. The campaign was a huge success which earned Blendtec and their blenders lots of attention. The entire campaign effort can be viewed at willitblend.com.
Evian’s Live Young Campaign was an instant viral sensation with the release of their Roller Babies ad. The commercial launched on June 4, 2009 and today has over 30,000,000 hits on YouTube. Ad Age has listed the Roller Babies ad as the #2 most viral ad ever. The Evian Babies Facebook page has over 500,000 followers. The ad was aired on television media outlets around the world and over a year later people are still talking about it. The campaign was intended to promote the idea that Evian water helps keep people feeling young and healthy. This was a very successful and memorable digital campaign.
People in today’s day and age are impatient. The same holds true when it comes to using websites. Businesses need to be mindful of the fact that people want to be able to find what it is they’re looking for in the easiest way possible or they’ll leave. The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better by Seth Godin , gives some great examples bad user experiences and poorly designed websites. Listed below are some of the those examples in no particular order:
- Creating an account or signing-up for something on a website can be a hassle. Website engineers love to use drop-down boxes but most people hate. In the country box, people have to scroll all the down to the bottom to find United States. Why can’t you just type in U.S.?
- Sometimes when people go to a website they don’t really know what they’re looking for. Many websites have their own search engines to help people navigate better. Unfortunately, these search engines are usually hard to find on a site. Also, most searches end in failure which can be frustrating for the user.
- Purchasing an item on a website should never be difficult. Many times people have to jump through hoops to figure out where on the site to go in order to purchase an item. When they finally figure it out, a glitch happens or they get redirected to the wrong page.
- Some websites will ask for your email address every time you go to sign-up for something or purchase something even though you already gave it to them. Why?
- Amazon.com asks users to create an account before they go to purchase any items which makes sense for Amazon but it is unnecessary for some websites to make such a request. You shouldn’t have to make a user account on a website that does not specialize in selling goods.
- The process of checking-out of an online store can be so complicated at times that buyer’s remorse sets in before people are even finished checking-out. This should be a fast and easy process.
- Some websites are so fancy that you need to download the latest flash players before you can even log on. Many of these websites don’t need to be fancy and shouldn’t be. It just needs to be easy for the user.
- Text on a site should not be hard to read. How aggravating is that? The font style, color, and background should all be easy on the eyes.
- A pop-up every now and then might be okay as long as it is useful to the user but too many pop-ups will just force the user of out a sire to another one.
- Websites should be easy to use. It’s that simple. Companies all too often make the mistake of thinking that they’ll hang around a website for a long time just because you’re there. This isn’t true. People want to get whatever information they need and leave.