I’m the Mayor, now what?

7 Oct

I have always been an avid user of Foursquare. I have been now for almost year now. I check in, make new locations, oust people as mayor, leave hints and I’ve even redeemed some special offers. I can honestly say that I would have never considered using it if it weren’t for my friends circle. A majority of whom all already used it. It became a big a competition for us. Who had the most points, who was mayor of the library, who was mayor of them gym, etc. After awhile though, it got old. Cool I had some neat virtual badges and I checked into one spot more than my friends. Other than that what was the point?

To be honest I think that is what Foursquare’s biggest problem is: I’ve checked in, now what to I do? There are certain locations I will always check into because of loyalty rewards that I knew about beforehand. Unfortunately, if I don’t know about before hand I will most likely forget to check in. Foursquare users need something more than just virtual rewards.

I recently read a couple articles by blogger Mark Schaefer. His articles Foursquare or Bore-square and Foursquare makeover: 5 ways to make check-ins exciting give great tips on ways to engage and keep users happy.  His five solutions are as follow:

  1. Get more establishments on the Foursquare train.
  2. Jazz it up.
  3. No more cheaters.
  4. Actually get the establishment involved.
  5. More social friendly.

His five solutions all have one thing in common, it wants more! More restaurants, more prizes, more social! How ca Foursquare expect to keep its users coming back if it can’t give them anything else than a virtual experience.  Everything Schaefer suggests gives Foursquare a more human touch. It gives us more interaction with other people. This might take away from the whole mobile aspect of Foursquare, but there is only so much virtual a person can handle. We are social beings. We can put up with only so much virtual excitement before we need social engagement as well. If Foursquare could find some techniques and strategies that they could translate from the virtual world to the real world, they’d be in the best shape for success.

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Go Pack Go?

1 Oct

Lets be real, how could I not write about the Packer game. I am not even from Wisconsin but I was still enraged when I saw that call. Now I’m not here to discuss the NFL’s integrity or the lack of knowledge from the replacement refs. I am here to talk about how social media allowed fans and players to snap back at the NFL and the lack of damage control the NFL put out.

The number one rule in social media today is that it serves as a tool for 2-way communication between a business and its consumers. It is a way for consumers to get their opinions heard about the product a business is selling.  The NFL forgot about this rule.  We saw this on Twitter literally seconds after the infamous play occurred. Everyone I was around, including myself, went directly to their smart phones to Tweet away.  The tweeting wasn’t strictly for fans either. Players, politicians, celebrities and athletes in different industries took to the Twitterverse as well to publicize their disappointment.  The NFL’s major stakeholders were firing back. They were unhappy with the product the NFL was putting out. To make matters worse the NFL’s actions following that night continued to set off fans. The official NFL statement supported the refs call which continued to aggravate the world.  It didn’t take time for people to begin to question the integrity of the game and the NFL as an industry. So what should the NFL done?

They should have realized that the game is their product and if people are questioning the game then they are in turn questioning the product. The normal reaction when a customer complains about a product is to fix it, whether it be on Twitter,  Facebook, or email. It is your responsibility to communicate to your customer that you have heard their complaint.  You do everything you can to make up for the disappointing product and apologize. The NFL did not apologize to their fans or players. They did nothing to restore faith in the organization.  The fans reactions in the social media world should have been a clue to the NFL to realize they were doing something wrong.  They could have used social media to communicate back to their fans that they heard the concerns. But they didn’t. The only thing they did was fix the initial problem immediately following the game.  They fixed their product by ending the lockout with the official referees. But it is a shame it took such a scandal to get their attention. The NFL did not realize what an emotional attachment their stakeholders had to the game. They should have been more prepared for the backlash. They also should have done everything in the power to reach out to the people they upset the most, their fans.

Watcha Say ;)

24 Sep

Last week I re tweeted an online article called Emoticons: The History of Digital Sarcasm 😉. To be honest it was the “winky” face that initially caught my attention and got me to read the article. I was also intrigued by the idea of digital sarcasm. The article credited computer scientist Scott Fahlman as the first to document the use of Emoticons. Fahlman said:

The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried….This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.

The rest is history. Soon Emoticons were being used to describe every feeling: happy :-], sad :-[, worried :-/, angry >:-|, the list goes on and on. They became embedded in every day digital communication. Emoticons can be found on Facebook, cell phones, Twitter, emails and basically any other online medium. I know there is not a day that goes by where I do not send or receive some time of Emoticon. Sometimes all I send is an Emoticon as a message. In a world of such advanced digital communication we still resort to symbols to get the true meaning of our message across. We have spent centuries studying and developing languages all across the world, but now a colon, a hyphen and a parenthesis is the new universal symbol of happiness :-).

This article got me thinking about a serious problem that comes with this new era of digital communication. There is a serious inability to properly communicate our emotions.  An email cannot emote for you. A text message cannot properly transmit the witty tone  in which you intended for the message to sound like. We do not get to see the body language or hear the tone of voice that comes with communicating in person or over the phone. People have lost  jobs and relationship have been ruined over misinterpreted emails and text messages. This just serves as a reminder that our writing must be as clear and precise as ever. We as writers have to set the tone  of our messages solely with our words. As PR professional it also serves a reminder to remember who my audience is. Who am I telling my story to? Am I using the right language to make sure my message sounds the way I want it to? There is a lot of thinking that needs to be done before we let our fingers hit the keyboard. But hey if all else fails a little smiley never hurt anyone ;).

Age is just a Number

17 Sep

After reading the article “Why Every Social Media Manager should be under 25” I initially could not agree more. I like the author’s initial points of growing up in a world pre and post social media. I also thought she brought up a good point of how our generation learned how to use social media socially before professionally. I think if any generation knows how to properly engage and converse within this new medium  it is us. That is what we initially used it for, to talk to each other. And isn’t that what the new marketing world is about, having a conversation with your consumer?  I don’t think I have gone through a PR, media, B2B or marketing class where I haven’t heard about customer relationship marketing being the new way to market to your customers. So in this regard, yes. Who else would be better at talking with your consumer and engaging them through this channel than the people who use it to communicate themselves.

However the rebuttal articles and comments that professionals brought up had valid points too.  There is a general lack of experience my generation has compared to the professionals that came before us. We still have plenty of mistakes to make and lessons to learn before we can call ourselves experts. I can also say that as a 20 something year old hopeful PR professional I do still have a lot of maturing to do. There is a level of maturity that comes naturally with getting older. That is something that cannot be learned or rushed, it just happens. So in this regard yes, older professionals who have more experience, wisdom and maturity should be in charge of the content that reaches your consumers. They have a better grasp on what messages should be sent out and which ones should not.

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My personal opinion on the issue is why are we making this a competition. I feel that this issue has turned into an us against them. This social media explosion had turned into a battle of who knows better and who has more experience. But my question is why are we making this a competition when it should be a chance for both sides of the argument to learn. I’m sure my age group could learn from the experts and the experts could learn some new tricks from us. Granted a lot of companies don’t have the resources to currently have multiple people as their social media experts but it is something companies could grow into. The industry should see this movement towards social media as a chance to learn. In the end I don’t think age should be   a criteria in deciding who should be the next big social media manager. It should be based off the common criteria of experience, skill and basic work ethic.

Hello world!

5 Sep

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

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