Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Facebook slowly becoming an Ad spam?

"More than three-quarters of Facebook users think that there is a problem with spam on the site." 
- SC Magazine UK.

Facebook, since it's debut in 2004 has been holding strong. With 500 million active users and 900 million objects people can interact with, it has become much more than just profile pages (a.k.a stalking tool), but a favorite pass time with games and applications. Companies in the recent years have joined this massive community by posting events, ads, promotions and what not, but when do all this cross the line?

Some basic statistics of Facebook as of 2011:
  • More than 70 translations available on the site.
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
  • Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites.
  •  There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. 
     This seems like a great marketing opportunity for companies no?

    Statistics of social media use and e-commerce

    • 61 percent of respondents indicated that they never visit a retailers Facebook page
    • 86 percent of online retailers had a Facebook page
    • 23 percent said they visit retailer pages less than once a month
    • Among consumers who are fans of retailers on Facebook, 68 percent are fans of 3 or fewer retailers
    Information from

    "How come you didn't show up on my event last week? I invited you on Facebook!"

    This seems to be a line I hear very often lately. The truth is, I stopped checking my events, or event notifications for that matter. I am no longer addicted to updating all the time, but resort to it when I need to check birthdays, or catch up on a friend's life before I meet him/her (oh shush, I'm sure you do that too).

    My question is:
    On average how many times do you actually read the event invitations, (now that they've added "you've been invited to..." as notifications).

    How often do you check your favorite companies' Facebook page for promotion updates?

    And how many times have you clicked on the ads on the sidebars?

    To my feeling, the advertising and marketing side of Facebook is slowly becoming like traditional advertising, like posters on the wall or flyers laying around the dinning hall table.  

    We are tuning out of it. We barely see them anymore.

    There are also bogus companies faking Facebook notification e-mails, that's slowly going out of the way. So unless companies/facebook come up with some innovative/interactive way for companies to reach out to their audience, the marketing is heading towards decay.

    Facebook Tetris - Rank up your brain

    Look around the classroom, the study lounges, your friends' laptop screens; Facebook Tetris Battle is the new in thing for Asians. My friends and I have been Tetris battling each other at night for hours (...sad, I know, but that’s what addiction is.) So I decided to do a little research this addictive game I’m fighting against, and what I found was that playing Tetris increases brain efficiency!

    Using brain imaging technology, researchers from Mind Research Network investigated 26 teenage girls playing Tetris. For 30 minutes a day for three months, these girls played Tetris (gr, I wonder if they get paid for doing it too.) There was also a control group of girls that didn't play Tetris to maintain a fair test. These girls had both structural (for assessing cortical thickness) and functional (to assess efficient activity) MRI scans before and after the three-months period.

    To cut a long story short, what they found was that after three months, the brain efficiency and cortical thickness of the girls that did play Tetris were higher than those of the girls that didn't.

    Dr. Richard Haier explains, "what we found was a change in the brain after playing Tetris, the thickness of the cerebral cortex actually increased, by less than half a millimetre." He continued to say how it was once thought that the number of brain cells in the brain was fixed by a certain age, but this now appears not to be true.

    The cerebral cortex plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness, so I'm guessing, with the thickening of it, Tetris increases ALL THAT.

    So, it's not that bad to be addicted to Tetris after all then? Stop telling me to stop playing Tetris, it's good for me.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness

    Positive impressions are like seeds, and negative ones are like germs
    - Thaler and Koval in The Power of Nice

    Over the summer, my PR professor recommend us to read "The Power of Nice - How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness." It is short, concise, and worth the 20 minutes of your very busy life. Many people choose who to be nice to, or even when they "need" to be nice, but what they don't realize is that the effect of kindness rarely comes directly and almost never takes effect right away. Being kind to people can get you far, very far.

    Here are some points I want to share from the book along with my personal experiences:

    You never know
    - The security officers at the bottom of your building could be the owner of your favorite restaurant taking a side job for fun.

    - The nerd you make fun of at school can be (usually very likely to be) your future boss.

    - The old man having trouble with bags of groceries you pretend not to see could be your next HR recruiter.

    I'm not to say that every person you meet is going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Think about the world as one big high school classroom. When you make a negative impression, what happens? The story evolves and spreads like a wild forest fire. When you do something nice, you may not be commended right away, but the memory sticks and somehow comes back to support you when you most need it.

    Last summer I was working on my photography portfolio and had some time to do volunteer work. To cut a long story short, I had a chance to help the Samaritans Boston take pictures for its 5K run, as well as help them create some promotional graphics. This year, I was looking for possible internships in non-profits and the manager I worked with helped me create a PR internship! I am super excited to be able to do some PR work for them, and couldn't help but think whether this could have happened if I didn't volunteer for them to start with.

    Everyone needs some kindness and appreciates smiles
    I personally think security guards have the most boring and frustrated job ever. You sit there all day, harass people to sign in, ask them if they made an appointment, yell at people, stare at the security camera screens, and wait until you clock out.

    Everyone is busy. People walk by them without saying hi, gets angry or threatens to get them fired when the guard interrogates suspicious individuals - i.e. doing his job. 

    The least I could do is greet them when I pass by with a short hello and a bright smile, which is usually reciprocated. When I have the time, I tend to make small-talk. Ask them about their day! Bring them a red bull or something. Imagine 12 hours where you are restricted to talk, to call, to use the computer (how many of you can stay off social media for that long?), or even go to the bathroom!

    Many times I had a bunch of people watching the game, or just partying in the living room. My apartment building is known to be pretty intolerable with noise since the walls are made very thin. Every time I had more than 10 people over, I would make sure to let the security guard know that if we were to get too loud, feel free to knock on my door. One time, I watched a police officer alongside the security guard yell at my neighbor few doors down while I was having a loud party. My door was opened since I was taking out the trash. As I was about to quiet down the crowd in my apartment, the security and officer walked straight pass me and said "Having a party hm?" and kept walking!

    Of course I can come up with a thousand examples where being nice helped me out, but the general idea is everybody needs kindness, and kindness can get you to places you never thought it could. Always be nice.
    Treat others as you wish others to treat you!