Category Archives: Social Media

Delicious Del.icio.us

I’ve been alternating between Firefox 2 and 3 for a few weeks now and I have to say, it’s really frustrating.

I love Firefox, and especially version 3… unfortunately I also love my addons.

One of the issues I’ve run into through the beta of Firefox 3 is that most of my addons wouldn’t work… I found a hack, but it causes some stability issues :) So I’d rather the makers of these addons would update them!

Am I being demanding? :)

The Frustrating

I realized today that Del.icio.us has finally updated their Firefox plugin to be compatible with Firefox 3. They may have done this a while ago for all I know, unfortunately, for some reason, the automatic update addon function wasn’t finding the new version.

I don’t know why it was released in this way, but despite already having the older version installed I had to go to the Firefox addon site and search for the new version and install it manually. Not a big deal really, but if Firefox (or del.icio.us for that matter) had informed me that I may have to reinstall the newest version manually, I would have done it long before now and been less frustrated (the Product Manager in me would like to take this time to explain Usability 101… Don’t make the customer think! Make it EASY to get upgrades and new products and hard to leave!)

On the other hand, now that I know (.5 of the battle my childhood hero used to say), there is a beacon of hope for all the other addons I have installed that aren’t currently working with Firefox 3. But now I’m going to have to go down my addon list and check one-by-one… not a big deal… but frustrating.

The Good

The good news is that Del.icio.us wins in a big way. Once I recovered from the frustrating realization that there really was a new plugin available, and spent some time poking around the new features I have to say I’m really happy!

1 – Speed

This is what it’s all about now-a-days right? In our clones of clones online world there’s often little to distinguish one service from another… So if you can’t make it unique, make it fast! Maybe it’s just me (I work off two monitors and a laptop; and rarely visit myspace or facebook because they are in the annoyingly slow to load category), but I leave sites if they take too long to load, and the del.icio.us plugin in FF2 was, at times, painful.

I have a system to naming my del.icio.us bookmarks (likely one only I would understand at a glance, but it works for me!) and I found typing in categories in the old plugin tended to take a loooong time to filter.

Not so on the FF3 version! Type in your category and the expanded results appear instantly! No waiting, no frustration, awesome!

2 – Sidebar Bookmarks

I reference my Del.icio.us bookmarks all the time and this is the first FF sidebar that I’ve really found useful; sortable, searchable bookmark results – by both category and individual bookmark – I doubt I’ll have to visit my del.icio.us account again!

3 – Status Bar Icons

Del.icio.us drops a few useful icons down in the status bar. I listed this as good, because it was a good idea, but for me, it falls into ‘the bad’ for a couple of reasons (see below)

The Bad

1 – A Toolbar!?

A toolbar!? for 2 buttons? Arg – kill it! Thanks but no thanks Del.icio.us! If you only use Del.icio.us periodically, you could just turn the toolbar on and off when you are ready for it, but I bookmark everything! toolbars take up valuable real estate and this one is frivilous. Using the Customize feature (right-click your toolbar and click ‘Customize’) I just dragged the new Del.icio.us buttons to another toolbar I already have open and then turned of the Del.icio.us toolbar (right click the toolbar again and choose “Delicious toolbar”)

2 – Status Bar

While I applaud the use of Status bar icons, I would prefer the ability to customize them. I use the Del.icio.us ‘Tag’ icon most frequently and that’s the one I would want in my status bar… but I can’t do that (yet anyway… anyone from Del.icio.us read me blog?! :)

The Score

The Toolbar is silly, but easily thrown out and the status bar additions were a good idea, but not flexible enough.

Realistically though, I use the Del.icio.us addon mostly for tagging and in this Del.icio.us has seriously improved (in my opinion). And I’m pretty sure I will be making use of the new sidebar in the near future!

Verdict : If you use Firefox, have upgraded to FF 3, and you use Del.icio.us (even once-in-a-while) you NEED to get the new plugin!

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Building – or is that growing!? – Sprouts

I love what the team at sproutbuilder.com has put together. They’ve barely launched and have been struggling with server-load issues but the product is incredible (or remarkable as Seth Godin may say)

Basically, if you know what you’re doing (and I don’t!) you can jump in and create great flash widgets for your site in just minutes… it took me an hour to do the widget below!


There are a few things I really wanted to do, and the functionality simply isn’t there yet, but OMG! I am amazed at what these guys have accomplished with this…

It’s times like this that make me sit back and spend a couple minutes thinking about how I likely would have reacted if I could go back and tell myself (around 1980-85) about this product…

A time when I was using a Tandy 1000TX with 24 meg hard drive (I’d convinced my dad to upgrade from the 12 meg hd despite the salesman insisting we’d never need more than 12 megs of space!) and struggling to get my first 1200bd modem working so I could access a local BBS that had great .gif based games :)I never would have believed myself…

Go check out sproutbuilder today! (or take a look at their blog)

** update – having issues displaying the flash within wordpress… wondering if it’s just me :)

Twitter and Social Media

A new friend on Twitter, Christine Taylor, or MouseWords as I know her on Twitter (if you are on Twitter you should friend Christine!), recently asked me a few questions after I live-Twittered the birth of my third kid…

A Baby Girl!

A daughter, born January 11!

I’m going to dig (that’s dig with a single ‘g’) into the whole social media question more in the coming weeks and thought these questions were as good a place as any for me to get started…

Why Twitter our child’s birth:

This was our third child and one of the things that we noticed the first two times through was that there were always people we forgot to phone right away.

Social media provided a great way to remedy the problem.

From my cell phone I uploaded images to my flickr account, and sent regular updates via twitter.

I also setup my twitter account to forward to my facebook profile status.

It turned out to be a great way to include our family and friends (new and old) through the whole process without having to worry about who to call next!

An unexpected side benefit was the fact that it was really exciting for us to read the real-time encouragement and congratulations sent back to us via facebook and twitter (funnelled back to my phone via text messaging).

We were really happy with how it turned out and happy to share with everyone!

What is your opinion of Social Media’s influence on society in general?

For the general public, Social Media provides a variety of great and fun tools to stay connected with friends and family as well as connect with lost friends and acquaintances. I think SM services are getting more savvy all the time and we’re going to see more and more platforms that ‘do it all’, which will be a good thing; preventing us from having to log into 10 different sites to check up on all our friends.

From a business point of view, Social Media is becoming more and more valuable as more of the general public integrates their lives in the social web. SM is quickly changing the way we look at and think about media and its influence on our buyers.

Look at it this way… When most people make a purchase, it’s an emotional decision, and logic generally only enters to justify the transaction. As a company, we need to connect with our customers more powerfully than our competitors have in order to create a brand loyalty that will see people through a transaction. The better the connection we’ve made, the greater the emotional tie people have to our brands; and social media provides incredible ways to communicate and connect directly with the people who are already looking for us.

I like to tell people that in the wild pre-internet days companies would communicate with their customers via ads, in print, TV or radio; a communication style that isn’t unlike standing on top of a soapbox and yelling through a bullhorn, hoping your voice will be heard by the right people. All the advances, and globalization of TV and Radio that occurred by the end of the last century didn’t change any of that… they just provided bigger and bigger bullhorns to yell at audiences through.

But SM HAS changed all that. Social networks and social media and the internet in general allow us to find the people who are already interested in us and our products; talk to our customers one-on-one; and even proactively find disgruntled or dissatisfied customers instantly!

SM will likely never replace the 30 second spot (TV commercial), but any company that doesn’t invest a little time and energy to at least BE where their customers are, are going to find themselves losing out to their more savvy competition who realize Social media is an increasingly integral part of any marketers toolbox.

 

 

 

Future of the Press Release

My mini-holiday is quickly coming to an end (will be back in the office on monday) and I’m trying to get my brain back in the game tonight by catching up on some RSS reading (shhh. Don’t tell my wife!)

Unfortunately, typical to my partially type-A personality, my light reading quickly became heavy research on a couple of fasinating topic and I find myself not wanting to turn off my computer at 2:30 AM.

Where am I going with that?  The fact that I don’t have enough time (or energy) for a long post for starters…

Second, my brain has been almost completely occupied with Social Media related topics since I attended the BigSeminar last week and I know it’s going to be difficult getting back into my irregular groove in the office on Monday.  Meaning, in part, that I’ll have to use this blog to get some thoughts out of the way this week.

One of the big ones that has been bugging me and you should therefore expect to read more about, (I suppose that’s a bit presumptuous of me – you will come back and read more won’t you?) is the whole concept of a Social Media Press Release.

I’ve seen both good (both long and shorter examples) and bad ones recently.

One of the questions that I am interested in is what is the core of the future Press Release.  Is it something that demands conversation and interaction?   Something that caters to Social Media outlets? Something that delivers traditional Press Release speak in a flashier document?

Don’t overthink this!  I think the better approach is simply the same direction I see marketing, advertising etc heading in general.

That is, to stop force feeding a general audience marketing and business propeganda using a very particular channel and start offering specific audiences access to great free content via the channels they already prefer using.

The result will foster conversations between the right people and groups while providing the toolbox full of goodies they need.  It’s a slam dunk and lightyears better than a traditional Press Release.

I think one of my favourite aspects is the fact that, while a lot more work to compile, it could become a destination all on it’s own.  Unlike a traditional Press Release that you have to get right once then send it out, the future Press Release could be an evolving and dynamic entity that could be released early and evolve along with the associated product (or whatever the PR is about).  Of course a robust RSS feed would be mandatory and enable interested parties to follow the progression/release/evolution of your product.

Food for thought.

I want to discuss this more in the coming weeks and would love to know your thoughts on the future of Press Releases!  Where do you think their going? What will work, and what won’t?  Have you seen any good, or bad examples lately?