Social Media Support With a Smile

Computer SmileConsumers praise and promote brands they believe in. They also complain, condemn and criticize as soon as a transaction turns sour. Focusing on the latter issue keeps many companies on the fence about social media. Are the benefits of supporting global, Internet-based discussion systems great enough? Can they offset the risk of openly dealing with troubled customers? Taking the time to fully understand the proper integration of social media into marketing and customer service strategies makes the choice more obvious. After obtaining the appropriate tools and know-how, business owners soon figure out that ignoring social media is clearly the destructive decision. Learn how to support social media and reach out to your customers in their online social spaces. Don’t forget your smile. Continue reading

Millennial Market Coming of Age

MillennialsBack off Baby Boomers, move over Generation X – clear the aisles for Generation Y, also known as the Millennials. Based on consumer spending trends, they are set to gain a significant amount of purchasing power. In roughly five years, America’s first “always connected” cohort of consumers will start joining Generation X as the nation’s top spenders. The digital natives have always known life with broadband Internet, cell phones and other technical forms of communication – the tools are natural and integral parts of their lives. When they walked into grade school, the World Wide Web was just revving up. During middle school, Palm Pilots and iMacs began filling store shelves. While many attended high school, Napster was battling record companies. As they looked up colleges, it seemed like everyone was sharing music on MP3 players and transferring apps across smartphones. Millennials are a group of networked learners who know the potential of online communities, especially those formed around celebrities, brands, products and services. Continue reading

Alaskans Top States in Facebook Use

Connected familyWhile they’re hiking around Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, or fishing in the colorful Yukon River watersheds, or sailing along the more than 33,000 miles of mainland and island shorelines, Alaskans aren’t too removed within their vast wilderness. They’re also widely enjoying the latest in social networking technologies. Alaska contains the most Facebook users per capita, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2011) and Facebook (2012). With all age groups considered, nearly three out of five residents (58 percent) of the northern state access Facebook. The following review of statistics demonstrates that social media is a powerful marketing tool for reaching people dispersed over remote areas. Continue reading

Study Says a Bad Experience Often Reaches 156,000 People

Shocked on computerBefore the mounting use of social media, marketing managers warned: if customers have a good experience they’ll tell one person; if they have a bad one, they’ll tell 10. According to a new Pew study, Facebook users who share with a “Friends of Friends” feature enabled will explain their consumer experiences to a mean average of 156,569 people (2012). The less inflated median average is also far reaching, spreading across a network of 31,170 people through friends of friends. The study, combining server logs and survey data, proves that people who allow lax privacy settings for two degrees of separation have a voice that could carry across a population the size of Springfield, Mass. And that’s just Facebook. Anyone invested in a company’s reputation must understand the power participatory media affords consumers. Continue reading

Offline Behaviors Online

Why do people do what they do, online?

There are numerous motivations behind the behaviors people exhibit in participatory media. Many follow long-held concepts that scientists recognize as common among all nations. In a survey of national cultures, sociologists in the mid 20th century highlighted three key issues imposing consequences on the integrity of societies (Inkeles & Levinson, 1997, pp. 45-51): relation to authority, conception of self, primary dilemmas and conflicts, and ways of dealing with them. Building on that milestone in culture-personality literature, Geert Hofstede published a highly-praised study that identified the values of people dealing with common problems, covering more than 50 countries. Hofstede’s conclusions were strikingly similar (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010, p. 30). I’ll review their central themes, as they relate to online behaviors. Continue reading


Social media: Globalized material culture

Social-media-culturesA growing number of people around the world are participating in online social media platforms, where floods of information are eroding barriers once imposed by national borders, religious convictions and governmental pressures. Nearly 4 out of 5 active Internet users visit online social networks and blogs, according to Nielsen (2011a). In business transactions, purchase decisions today rely more on consumer ratings and reviews than company sales pitches (Nielsen, 2011b). People are collaborating online about issues ranging from spending a dollar to the enforcement of policies. While sharing opinions in virtual venues, they’re rewriting definitions for socially acceptable beliefs, principles and activities. Mankind is distilling a kaleidoscope of data, discarding some elements, while debating and merging others. Controversial topics in online communities often explore concepts relevant to all of humanity, thereby programming minds with instructions formulated from a collective conscious. Social media is a participatory technology that’s rapidly consuming data, mixing ideas and homogenizing cultures. Continue reading


Fundamentalists in social media

Fundamentalists in Social MediaIn a globalized media landscape, the concepts of religious fundamentalism and legislative rights seem to be clashing in similar sacred places, online. Virtual battles between beliefs are occurring within contradictions in public policies and moral values. Resistance to change is sometimes expressed through various kinds of fundamentalism, when interpretations of one’s faith consumes them. Religious leaders and adamant atheists have been spreading their values for thousands of years, and many work passionately to preserve them. Extremists have committed violent attacks, while other fundamentalists recited scriptures and laws encouraging tolerance and upholding civil rights, whenever barraged by adversity. Social media has become a powerful platform for hosting both collaboration and disagreements. Continue reading

Military-First Web Publishing

Department of Defense officials are consistently undecided about embracing the latest Web technology. Proponents mention its strengths in supporting public affairs, recruiting efforts and family readiness, while protesters cite issues with operations and network security, as well as bandwidth drain. It’s the position of this author that military Web-first publishing leads to greater benefits than risks. This report combines public opinion research, open-source government information, Internet use surveys, newspaper circulation statistics and experience in Army external information programs. This report does not offer official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. government. Continue reading