Wednesday, June 29, 2011

5 Reasons Why Klout Perks Is a Great Marketing Tool

For those of you who've been here before, you'd recall my doubts and bashing (just a little) of this new social media metric system. But now I am reassured and actually finding myself quite happy with Klout.

Everyone loves to know how well they're doing quantified; whether it be a grade on an exam, business revenue reports, and more, people like to see the results and changes from their efforts. Many may not agree that social media, due to its "social" aspect, should be quantified, as it can never be properly quantified; however, just as psychology or sociology can be quantified through both qualitative and quantitative data, so can social media! You may say that there are a thousand variables and aspects to be taken account of and still it wouldn't be accurate... that's the same as psychology or psychiatry! (Or natural sciences for that matter... but we will not dive into the philosophy of "how we know what we know" right now.)

One of the super cool things happen to be Klout Perks. It is so far the most innovative and effective marketing tool I've seen this year. Here's why:

1. It puts the list of specific target audience straight in your palms
- Since it ranks users in terms of influential scores, topics of influence, social style and etc., Klout can pull up the very specific audience your company wants to target. It gives you how influential an individual is, the topics they are influential about, where they live, and many more. Whether it be mommy bloggers in the field of Food who are influential about #restaurants or #vegan, or students studying in the Boston area influential about #basketball, you name it, they can pull up a list for you.

2. Free Stuff
- Who doesn't like free stuff? Enough said.

3. Not only free, but COOL free stuff.
The Klout perks give out a variety of free things (and events!) ranging from free movie premiers, HP laptops, popchips and a bunch of cool things people would want to get for free!

4. They help cultivate EVANGELISTS!
- Since they help companies give free stuff out to the RIGHT people who are interested, they help companies empower evangelists. For example, a mommy blogger who has been given a free premier to KungFu Panda 2 would be ecstatic! She would bring her family, perhaps her friends' families, enjoy her time here, and tweet about it!

5. Brings themselves business
- Because it has cool free stuff, it helps attract more users = more companies to partner with = more free stuff = the awesome self-sustaining vicious cycle!

Any other reasons why you think Klout Perks are super cool? Do let me know :).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Elaborate Legislation for Blogging Needed: Blogger Jailed for Food Review

Blogging is most definitely not a new thing, but it is hard to keep up with its evolution even as an Internet-savvy college student. Internet as leisure; Internet as communication; Internet as a marketing tool; Internet technology is often defined and redefined to its ever changing nature.

Blogging- Mass Media or Not?

This is an important question to ask. As of February 2011, there are over 156,000,000 public blogs in existence. Bloggers are constantly commenting stories on the news, providing readers with reviews, as well as creating or delivering news themselves.

Traditionally, the mass media is defined as means of communication that reach and influence the mass audience, for example newspapers, radios, magazines or television. Internet is a fairly recent item on the list, but seems to only point to online newspaper outlets.

Social media, since the founding of Facebook, have become a large part of the populations' information distribution and sharing. 1 in every 13 people (about 500,000,000 people) are active users on Facebook, and almost 50% of its users check Facebook the first thing they wake up.

With this level of reach, the line between what's mass media and what's not begins to blur.

If You're Popular, What You Say Matters.

Blogging, as self-explained by its name Web Logging, began as a tool mainly for personal purposes, like a diary. With its rising popularity in the past decade, marketers have taken advantage of this seemingly simple tool as means of advertising, branding, and much more. With its immense use and audience reach,   blogs have a lot more power and influence than people imagined before, and hence what they express is slowly becoming a public matter.

Today, I came upon a blogging news in Taiwan:

Blogger jailed over critical restaurant review

The Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court on Tuesday sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 days in detention and two years of probation and ordered her to pay NT$200,000 in compensation to the restaurant.
The blogger, surnamed Liu (劉), writes about a variety of topics — including food, health, interior design and lifestyle topics — and has received more than 60,000 hits on her Web site.
After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a “bully” because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams. 
Let me recap the important parts of this article: 
...sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 days in detention and two years of probation and ordered her to pay NT$200,000 in compensation to the restaurant...


1. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and expression? (Mind you, Taiwan is NOT communist.)

2. I'm very sure it's very common someone walks out of a restaurant complaining about this or that. Too salty? Sounds like something my mom would say at almost any given dinner.

3. Cockroaches = Unhygienic. Sounds pretty fair to me.

It seems that the Taiwan legislation really took this seriously. Of course, the blogger has 60,000 hits on her page, but that's barely the reason to put her in jail for expressing her opinion.

Think about Yelp! Are they going to throw every influential reviewer in jail? How about Rotten Tomatoes? Or College Board?

Surely, this would not have happened a decade ago. Penalizing criticisms from someone's public diary online would have seemed ridiculous!

This example really calls to a few needs:
1. A more recent definition of mass media, what is included and what is not. (And constantly updating it.)

2. An elaborate legislations about Blogging, as well as other types of social media.

But how since social media itself is so vague, complex and volatile, how can anyone go about setting ANY rules to it?

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion.

From Huffington Post:
It's not rare for restaurants to sue reviewers in America, but they almost never win. A 1985 ruling by the 2nd Circuit Federal Appeals Court in New York, in the case Mr. Chow of New York v. Ste. Jour Azur S.A., gave critics extremely wide berth for their restaurant reviews. The judge in the case explained that American readers understand that reviews represent the opinion of the writer, and so should not be taken factually. Subsequent lawsuits in America have almost never been decided in favor of restaurants—our critics are too influential for punishment!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

3 reasons why the Jimmy Fund ScooperBowl is failureproof

Celebrating its 29th year this year, The Jimmy Fund brought to Boston 3 days worth of the finest ice-cream and gelato to over 500,000 ice-cream lovers from all over the nation. What's better is that while doing so, it also raised MILLIONS of dollars for cancer research and patient care.

They must have done something right. What could they be?

Not going to lie, I truly enjoyed inhaling the amazing ice-cream on that hot summer day. But what's more fruitful for me was reading about the Jimmy Fund campaign, missions, and execution, and here are a few things I made note of.

Kids Kids Kids
In a PR sense, kids are the best image a non-profit can use. Who can turn down kids? Its mission statement is crafted perfectly. Here, it has included kids, a local angle with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, AND a save-the-world motive.

The Jimmy Fund aims to "fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world."

Even its logo is a cute kid's face, how can you resist that.

The irresistible - ICE-CREAM!
WHO DOESN'T LOVE ICE-CREAM? Just seeing this ice-cream hub in the middle of the city on a hot summer day makes you want to have a scoop. People who have done the research in advance knows that the event will bring all their favorite ice-cream brands such as Ben & Jerry's, Ciao bella, Dryers and many more. What's better is that it's all you can eat, all day.

Even though there are 1 out of 10 individuals in the United States who are Lactose intolerant, I can bet many of them still eat ice-cream once in a while.

(**EDIT** As a helpful commenter pointed out, there were also dairy free options! Lactose intolerant problem all gone.)

The Ice-Cream Social
The Scooper-bowl, as evident by its name, is much more than just a food convention type of event. It has become a social event that families, schools, companies, go to. Friends go to compete how many scoops they can eat, or just enjoy a hot summer day together. Since Boston doesn't have many carnivals, this outdoor event almost serves as one with live bands performing, yummy food, free water, and CROWDS.

#Scooperbowl love.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Google's attempt to be more social with the +1 button - The Pros and Cons

As many of you may have noticed, a strange new button appeared in your blog's sharing bar - the new Google +1 button!

What in the world is this?
This is Google's attempt to be more social and to tune in to the social media network. It's kind of like another version of the Facebook "Like" button. It allows you to give the thumbs up for content and whatever you +1'd will show up on your Google account, (which can be made public or private). In other words, a sharing network where you can see what your friends +1'd.

Since it's unexpected early launch in March, the +1 button has appeared in blogger and been imported to other non-Google blogging sites (like Mashable) through embedded coding. The button itself is in full function, but other features such as +1 for Google search engine is yet in place.

Many people take no interest yet in this new gadget, since many of Google's recent attempts such as Buzz have slowly gone into the dark. A few concerns seem to arise:

- How is it different from all the other recommendation buttons such as the Facebook "Like" or the Tweet counts?

- Why bother going through all that to share content while we are trying to keep up with the gazillion other social media tools such as Twitter and Tumblr?

Here's some pros and cons I see so far:


1.) It's overwhelming my buttons! 
- It adds to the gazillion buttons there are already in the share/recommend bar in every blog. It's not that we're lazy, but when there are 5 buttons all on the same page, Tweet, Like, E-mail, Reblog, Buzz, are you really going to click ALL OF THEM? Personally, I'd stick with one, or at most two.

2.) It doesn't show you who +1'd your content 
- I'm not sure if Google doesn't have it up and running yet or just doesn't intend to have this function at all, but it makes me anxious. It's the same concept as re-tweeting- when you get a retweet, it's nice to know who did and thank them/return the favor.

1.) It integrates with the Google search engine 
- This is something the Facebook like button has yet to do. The audience will be so much larger since it's not restricted to friends. I'm guessing this will intervene with the search engine rankings. If this is the case, I'm sure people will start gaming the system but that's a different story I'll blog about when +1 is in full throttle.

2.) It has elaborate analytics (or so I read online saying that it will...) - 
I'm not sure how this works if indeed they aren't going to show you who +1'd you. But, if everything is in place, the analytics would provide a pretty decent analytics of who likes and recommend your content for targeting your audience.

With this said, I'm anxious to see where the +1 button will take us. Give it a try, wait a little, maybe it'll be the next biggest thing!

Friday, June 3, 2011

6 Reasons Why Internet/Social Media Should be Used in Classrooms

It's no secret that students with laptops in class, with the excuse of "I type notes faster on my computer," are surfing away on the Internet while trying to look focused (or in some cases they won't even bother.)  Many professors, or parents even, have long debated whether Internet use in class is distracting or helpful at all.

Of course, very soon professors realize that students are IM-ing or Facebook-ing more often than typing down everything they say, so some professors have gone as far as to prohibit laptop use AT ALL, (or try to ;) ).

But here's how I see it. If put to good use, as most over-achieving college students or at least ones with a tiny sense of pride do, Internet actually facilitates learning in the classroom. I mean who enjoys being embarrassed in front of the class when asked a question you don't know the answer to?

1. Internet can be your quick tutor
Unfortunately, not every student are prepared for class every single time. Some oversleep their alarm clock for the early 30 minutes read before class; some too wasted from last night to care until the embarrassment of class discussion; some honestly just forgot about it.

But as a good college class should be, the content covered is always beyond the textbook. The textbook is the basis of class discussion/analysis, so I didn't read what?

I can either
1.) Sit here and day dream to the gibberish in the background, 
2.) leave, or 
3.) I can quickly sparknotes/google it. 

Option 3 allows me to have the basic understanding to what the professor is going on about. I mean my parents DID pay god knows how much money for me to be here.

2. Participation in Class
Don't you hate that kid on your left that just rambles on and on about nothing hoping that the teacher won't notice that he didn't read the material? Yeah, some would prefer to be silent than to be him With the aid of Internet however as mentioned above, you get the gist of the material you didn't read, and if you listened really carefully to what your professor said, it's much easier to join in with some useful comments. i.e. Internet can help encourage participation (apart from the scenario where you're just completely indulged in last night's pictures someone just posted on Facebook.)

3. Imagination and room for debate
Many students like to look up topics or controversial arguments online brought up by the professor during class. What then happens is you find a completely opposite view, feel smart, and challenge the professor on what he just said. This usually prompts a fairly insightful debate in class that helps you use information you already know at hand.

4. Keeping my attention
Personally, I have quite a short attention span. I have to be doing quite a few things at the same time for me not to fall asleep, so staring attentively at the professor isn't a choice for me. Random clicks on Facebook or Google actually helps me focus in class. Anyone feel the same way?

5. Information sharing
Many professors actually provide relevant, timely, or funny materials that students enjoy. I've tweeted many inspiring quotes, videos, and food-for-thought type content I got from class. This helps share the knowledge to fellow students and encourage learning.

6. Calming my worried mother who still forgets the time difference
Relevant to most international students. Many times my mother who lives in Hong Kong forgets the time difference and decides to Skype me while I'm in class. She hasn't reached me for a while and types "pick up! where are you!" And you know how mothers are when they can't reach with Internet in class, you can easily answer the call, turn on the webcam to show her you're listening attentively in class and thus calm her and have her feel safe for another week or two (i.e. she won't call you.)