Today, Facebook rolled out Timeline for business (fan) pages. This is a remarkable advancement in social branding pages. Facebook is now enabling companies to greatly enhance their Facebook profiles with key milestone "events" in their timeline, such as the date they were "Founded." Think about all the cool old companies out there that can really leverage this visual timeline, e.g. the New York Times, Starbucks and Coca-Cola are a few that definitely come to mind. Do you have a favorite page? I'd love to hear about it - share those links in the comments below!
Here's my blog post today over on Dell's corporate blog, Direct2Dell.com, about Dell's Facebook pages - http://dell.to/TimelineFBpages. Dell does have a LOT of Facebook pages, so I had to be quite selective in showing off just a few noteworthy pages that were really spruced up. The main Dell page is my favorite as it has nostalgic elements like an old handwritten invoice by Michael Dell when he was in college, the first Dell laptop, an old company photo celebrating the fifth year and a number of other fun "milestone" events on the timeline. Look for old photos you might have of Dell products and post those photos on the wall - do share!
What do you think of timeline for Facebook pages? An for that matter, what about your own personal profile? I have timeline enabled on mine (in fact I got it early thanks to a TechCrunch article with the hack!), so I am a big fan of timeline, obviously. I welcome your insights and take on timeline.
Get around SXSW with my handy web application (useful for desktop, tablet and smartphone).
[caption id="attachment_1505" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="SXSW 2012 custom venue map"][/caption] SXSW is next week, so guess who is going a million miles an hour to prepare? Yep, you guessed it, yours truly. One of the hardest things about going to SXSW is that it is a conference that is spreadout all over downtown; so, if you're not a local, it's very challenging to find your way around to make your schedule without losing your mind. So, I know I needed to solve this problem and develop a solution fast. I've only been in Austin a little over a year and half and live about 30 minutes NW of the city and don't have the exact map in my mind just yet.
Well, this is where I needed a quick and easy map on my phone to help me in a pinch, without having to type in every address as I am avoiding throngs of people and trying to focus on what's next. My first thought was to develop a schedule in evernote or a google spreadsheet with a link out to the google map url for each venue, which is nice, but i needed something visual so I could quickly assess feasibility of any last minute changes to my plans (this always! happens at sxsw for a variety of reasons, so be flexible and ready to go at a moments notice).
In order to solve my map dilema, I googled for a solution but nothing turned up. There are no SXSW maps for this mobile-attendee-looking-at-all-options purpose, so I developed my own today and am now sharing it with you so you can use it too! There are two "views" of my SXSW Map (web and mobile). First, a view via web browser of Google Maps to use on your laptop. Second, a mobile version optimized to display nicely on your smartphone or tablet. My phone always wants to open up the Google Maps application and doesn't allow me to access Google Maps directly via the web, so there was a huge problem right away with trying to view my new custom SXSW map that way.
So next, I found a solution to address that very issue. That was all I needed to develop a highly useful mobile version of my custom SXSW venue map, so here it is: Custom Google Map designed just for SXSW - list of Austin venues / mapped locations
1. Web browser - SXSW Map (good for your laptop, see image above elow)
2. Mobile view - SXSW Map (good for your smartphone or tablet, see both images below)
Using #2 Mobile view above, select the venue location you want to go to then the Google Maps application will pop up with on your device with the map, from there you know the drill, see the visual map, select the button to do more options like "get directions from here" (tip: select the pedestrian icon if you're walking!).
Here are some screenshots below from my phone so you can see what the experience is like. Let me know if you have any feedback or ideas for improvements. I hope this is useful for you - let me know. Perhaps I will bump into you while you're navigating your way around SXSW with my map on your phone! Happy mapping.
[caption id="attachment_1508" align="alignleft" width="433" caption="SXSW Venue Map - Mobile version (TIP: Click arrow, set Bookmark on Home Screen)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1430" align="alignnone" width="433" caption="SXSW map google app (appears after you select a venue above)"][/caption]
See the MAP here as well... Feel free to re-use / embed on your site; of course, please attribute back to me and link to this blog post here. Thank you.
View SXSW 2012 in a larger map
I published this blog post over on Direct2Dell.com, Dell's corporate blog: Today, we’re pumped to be a part of Twitter’s new “Enhanced Profile Pages” (EPP), a new feature Twitter is launching today with a select handful of partners, including Dell.
Key features of Twitter’s *new* Enhanced Profile Pages:
- “Pinned Tweet”: Ability to choose what Tweet appears at the top of your timeline. (think sticky tweet - great way to feature content!)
- Expandable Media: If the pinned Tweet contains a photo or video, it will auto-expand [as shown below]... rich, in-line media really adds punch to your twitter profile, and
- More branding: via banner @ top of page.
Exclusive partners like Dell will have early access to upcoming product enhancements, features, custom Twitter-produced events and marketing programs. Additionally, Twitter will provide custom 2012 analytics roadmap including online behavior impact studies, sentiment analysis and value of a follower.
Wow, that’s a ton of new, great features! For businesses, these improvements are fantastic. Now we can highlight featured content with rich media clearly displayed at the top of the stream.
For Dell, you’ll see these improvements across the following Dell twitter accounts, starting today:
Here’s a sample mock-up of how our @Dell page could look with these new twitter features (once the page is live, I'll update this post with a screenshot of it):
Notice how the pinned tweet at top includes an embedded YouTube video, which is playable right on your business profile (great way to keep traffic on your page and drive up engagement).
I think these enhanced profile page features really up the game when it comes to publishing social business content. No longer do we just see a stream of tweets, now we see vibrant content that is much more engaging!
What do you think of these new features? How do you anticipate businesses will put these new features to work?
More importantly, what do you want to see from Dell for the pinned tweet (featured content)? Do you want to see videos? photos? slideshare decks? whitepapers?
Let us know, we’re listening!! As always, your comments and feedback are welcome here.
Good news... Google+ now allows you to share your circles! Check out the Google+ video here for more details on how to share circles with your friends:
Here's how a "shared circle" will appear in your Google+ stream:
I am thinking of sharing these circles: Dell, Social Media Smarties (like my twitter list!), Entrepreneurs, Photographers and Austin, TX. I have many more lists I could share... pondering options. If you think I have a list I should be sharing, let me know! :)
What circles will you share first? Leave comments / links to those in the comments below so we can see your shared circles. Thanks!
Tune in on Thursday, 9/22, for Live coverage of the Facebook f8 event. Starting at 9:30am PST / 11:30am CST / 12:30pm EST
Here's an excerpt directly from Facebook regarding f8:
For those who can't make it to f8 in person, we're streaming the entire day including keynotes, sessions and interviews with partners, developers and Facebook product teams. We’ll have a full day of engaging content live from the Concourse on Thursday. Tune in to the Livestream on the f8 Page or at f8.facebook.com. This will be your main hub for connecting to the event and interacting with the Facebook team and other developers from around the world. Be sure to like the f8 Page and follow regularly, including Thursday during the event. Join the f8 conversation by status tagging the f8 Page in posts on Facebook, commenting in f8 Live, and using the #f8 hashtag on Twitter. We'll be checking all of these channels throughout the day for your input. We are counting down the hours and look forward to seeing you on Thursday!
Watch on your Mobile Device: www.livestream.com/f8live
I just got the new facebook "News Ticker" and "Top Stories" features rolled out to my profile this evening. I just took a screenshot and annotated it a bit so you could easily spot the changes. Do you have the new features? What do you think of it so far? This new design will replace the prior "Recent News" drop down menu style.
Here's facebook's page to "learn more" about the news update feature.
Check out this helpful video from the folks at Facebook which explains it very nicely. Let me know what you think of it.
Also, did you notice all the buzz with the new "Subscriptions" feature? I turned it FULLY ON so everyone can subscribe and chime in on my profile. Are you finding the subscription feature useful? Who did you follow right away? Oh, and did they automatically add Zuck to our subscribe lists - like everybody is now subscribed to him? pretty funny, if you ask me. Tell me what you think...
Here's the evolution of SEO - Search Engine Optimization - a nice visual of the SEO historical timeline. I remember lots of these early search websites and web directories. I even remember SEO developments like metatags, keywords and link-back strategies. What do you remember? Any SEO tips you care to share?
[caption id="attachment_1082" align="aligncenter" width="550" caption="Click to Enlarge"][/caption] Today, I stumbled upon a really cool social network graphing tool from the creative folks over at LinkedIn (part of the LinkedIn labs projects).
Basically, once you connect your account with this LinkedIn web application, you'll see a visual rendering of your LinkedIn network, neatly organized by colorful groups of your network connections you've created over time.
So, for example, my connections relating to my 10 years in New York and my Social Media Club group in Rochester, NY are grouped together. Not only are physical connections like these obvious, but also virtual connections, such as "social media" connections. My largest network is comprised of my Technology industry connections; no surprise there as technology permeates my entire career.
To get started go here: http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/network and allow LinkedIn labs to connect with your profile.
When complete, you can view the social graph rendered and then "label"your networks.
TIP: Use the magnifier tool in to zoom in and read the names in each color area. Then begin labeling accordingly.
I find this sort of visual rendering to be very appealing, not only because I am a visual learner, but because it allows one to see how their career connections are related. You can also easily spot key influencials and people who are very connected to the same circles of friends and industry connections you have. Some of those folks are the same ones who helped me make connections... very interesting data!!
What do you think of this? Do you find this useful and intriguing like I do? Does this kind of tool make it easier or harder to group your network of friends and professional connections?
Here's a visual step-by-step of the screens you'll see as you generate your very own LinkedIn network social graph:
It's the best social platform I've seen from Google so far; in fact, it's better than nearly every social platform out on the web today. Clearly, Google absorbed the painful lessons learned from prior experiments like Google Wave, Buzz and even Orkut, and applied that wisdom to building Google + into a very robust, solid experience. I'm very impressed and thoroughly enjoying this new application.
Accordingly, I am being flooded with requests for invites to help others join Google+ (Plus) http://Google.com/+. I've invited well over 200 people so far. Now, I want to share how to send Google+ invites with you.
Follow these steps below to begin sending Google+ invitations to your friends too:
Step 1. First, you must already have access to Google +. I know that might seem kinda obvious, but a few folks have tried and asked for my help who didn't already have access?! Be sure you're already logged in to Google+ on your desktop computer or laptop. (The invite process is similar using the Google+ android app.)
Step 2. Using the web Google + desktop application, select the "Share" button in the upper right.
Step 3. Write a note to your friend, e.g. Google+ invite for you! (this becomes the subject line of your invite email).
Step 4. Important! Remove the circles that appear by default, i.e. Public, Your circles, Extended circles. Select each one and click the little "x" that appears on the right. Now that you've removed all three, progress to the next step.
Step 5. Select "+ Add more people" to type in your friend(s) email address(es). Each time you enter an email address, it will appear in a small gray box (select that to confirm). Then it will appear as a blue button (similar to how "Your circles" appears below as a blue button. Once you've entered all the email addresses you want to send invites to, then click the "Share" button to send. You'll get a confirmation for successful send. That's it!
Be aware that Google + is gradually adding people. So your friends, may not gain immediate access. Be persistent and keep trying! It works eventually.
Now that you've sent your friends Google+ invites, you'll see them adding you to their circles (see notification area) after they login. Add them to your circles to "follow" them back. Next send them this blog post so they know how to send invites too! Oh, and connect with me on Google+ too.
Let me know if you have any problems following these steps above. I want to update it if there's anything that needs clarification. Be sure to leave a comment if you tried this and have any feedback.
Update 1 - based on reader feedback (thanks): You need to only send the invite 1 time. Recipients of your invites my get an email message back from Google indicating that they are limiting access, which means they won't be able to login just yet. KEEP TRYING anyway, it works eventually! :)
Update 2. It looks like Google might be holding invite emails back? Just got feedback from a Google+ user Nilay Shah -- "I tried a test post just now. No email received. But i guess the invite still gets listed with google. Some of my family members and friends didnt received an email but were able to login after sometime using their gmail ids."
Here's what a Google+ email invite looks like (mine).
So, I heard all the buzz -pun fully intended- about Google's new social platform site Google + https://plus.google.com. First of all, where's my invite?! Second, why on earth am I getting a 404 error when I attempt to follow the project by clicking on the "Keep me posted" button?! Seriously, if Google can't serve up the "Keep me posted" page, why on earth do I think they'll invest in this new toy, erm, social site? We all saw what happened with Google Buzz (yawn) and now this odd attempt at launching a new site. I am also surprised at the lack of news and information about the site. It fails to connect with me at this point. Curious what the experience will be, that is if I can ever secure a login. ;)
So, instead of experiencing the new Google + site, I only see this (#FAIL):
I am seriously a skeptic when it comes to Google and social. It's just not in their DNA. Afterall, remember, this is a company that spends countless hours on shaving off milliseconds from server load times. Think about that for a second... that's engineering, NOT social social user interaction or design folks.
Don't even get me started on the concept of Google and "community." That just doesn't exist. And therein lies the core of the problem. Google can't engineer its way out of this social conundrum.
This is yet another lame attempt by the search engine to grab a space in the social realm, because it knows the web is shrinking. They could hope to expand their reach, but it's too late for that. In 3 years, Google will be a tumbleweed of a brand, unless they can place their bots inside the social realm, which is quickly carving up the web as we know it. And that... is a whole other blog post!! More to come...
Disclaimer: I have not yet had the opportunity to evaluate Google + https://plus.google.com. I will try out the Google + tour link. Not sure my opinion would change much, but I could be swayed if I saw something innovative from Google; not getting my hopes up though.
Love to know your thoughts, reactions, debates and arguments on this topic. If you were Google, what would you do? Jarvis, anyone?
UPDATE: Remarkably, I now have access to the "Keep me posted" form (screenshot below). So, I've now completed that step and am waiting for the official invite to arrive.
Around 12 midnight, I downloaded the Android Google+ app to give it a shot. And lucky me, my login worked and I now have access to Google + which is really different. Google + looks terrific on my Dell Streak 5" tablet running Android 2.2.
I am still poking around and learning all the features (it's not a simple 1-2 layer deep app). There are numerous features and deep integration with Google products, which is a welcome change.
So, now I must confess, I was too hasty with my initial opinion and this blog post. Kudos to Scott Monty who first got me thinking I was being unfair, and he was right.
I just posted this on Google + here
"Just added a Google +1 button to my WordPress blog to show my support!
I have to admit, I was too hasty with my initial blog post (apologies for that). I will be sharing my updated views which are very supportive and positive... nice job Google!!
So many features, so little time!"
I will do a follow up post with more information. In the meanwhile, be sure to read Louis Gray's blog post which covers many of the features
SXSW Chaos Management Central SXSW is a one crazy puppy of a conference. This is my irrational attempt to bring order to the insidious onslaught of chaos coming my way. Well any way… here’s my calendar of possible events I’ll be attempting run around and attend.
I will be doing a blog post soon with some tips on how I am planning to keep my sanity, avoid crazed zombies, find and attend the most awesome and *relevant* events/panels/parties; also, do some good ol’ fashioned networking to solidify connections with all kinds of “smarties”. Throughout this marathon conference, I will do my best to blog with photos/video content in real-time so I can share all this SXSW goodness with you guys.
Social networks and microblogs have in recent years nudged blogging off the social media pedestal. For some consumers, who have more communication tools at their fingertips than they did a few years ago, Facebook and Twitter have supplanted blogging as life-streaming outlets.
But blogs continue to be important. eMarketer estimates that this year more than half of internet users will read blogs at least monthly. By 2014, readership will rise to more than 150 million Americans, or 60% of the internet population in the US. One reason for the rise in readership is that blogs have become an accepted part of the online media landscape.
“Trends in blog reading are expected to maintain an upward course as blogs continue to gain influence in the mainstream media,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “The Blogosphere: Colliding with Social and Mainstream Media.” “But there is a caveat to this forecast: Over time, blogs will continue to become indistinguishable from other media channels.”
Blog writing, by contrast, is a more niche activity. Just under 12% of the online population will update a blog at least monthly this year, eMarketer estimates. By 2014 that proportion will inch upward to 13.3%.
There are several factors driving the growth of blogging, including the ease of use of personal blogging platforms and the growing comfort level with blogs as a form of media. At the same time, social media like Twitter and Facebook are giving consumers an alternative, less-intensive way to communicate their thoughts to the world. Blogging is no longer a primary way for people to express themselves online.
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