Archive | September, 2010
What’s the point of Foursquare Badges?

What’s the point of Foursquare Badges?

There is no value in Foursquare badges.  Badges provide no immediate or long term value to users, they don’t tell anything about your skills, and aren’t even actual things.  Sure they look cute, and they are fun to earn in the moment, but what do they do for you besides show off you use a location service?

Location services need to figure out something beyond badges if they want users to keep using them.  We see some value with deals for check-ins and mayorships, but there’s not nearly enough of that.  We need more of those real things rather than worthless images we unlock.

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Parents: Don’t make Facebook Profiles for your Children

Parents: Don’t make Facebook Profiles for your Children

Parents who make and update Facebook profiles for their children drive me nuts. Why does your infant need a profile separate from your own when s/he cannot even update it on their own?

You don’t need to secure a domain for your unborn baby.  You don’t need to start building their personal brand.  Let them live their own life.  Let them build their own online presence.  Be there to guide them. Help them through the mistakes.  But whatever you do, don’t do the work for them while they are still in the womb.

Your kids will not learn if you hold their hand through all aspects of navigating the online world.  I built my own website when I was ten.  My parents didn’t help me at all.  They were absolutely amazed by what I had done.  They told me what they liked and didn’t like, and what they thought was safe.  My parents have never been web savvy, but they were able to keep tabs on me while still letting me explore and build my own presence.

You need to keep an eye on what your child does online for their security. But you don’t need to start feeding all their information into Facebook, Google, and any other database willing to build a profile until their ready to get online for them self.

And please, don’t sacrifice their eternal data to Facebook until they can make the choice to do so.  By then, it will probably be like Myspace or Friendster.

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How Not to Participate in Social Media

How Not to Participate in Social Media

This is your brand on social media

There’s more to participating in social media than getting an official account on a social network.  If you treat social media like any other advertisement, you’ll get traffic, but you’ll never get the die-hard fanatics that can really drive your brand.

You’ve got the account, now think of a strategy of producing great content that people will want to share and talk about. Talk to your customers. Find out what they are saying about your company. Think of how you can be different in social spaces. Don’t just start throwing out random updates and tweets because you can. A true content and interactive strategy will create lasting results beyond simply throwing up whatever marketing and PR information you’ve sent out before.

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We Can Make Social Media Better

I’m bored with social media and telling you how to behave on social networks. There’s only so many ways I can tell you stop being creepy on Facebook. Either you get it, or you’ve got a browser tab open so you can see when your “friend” posts his next update.

Part of my boredom is I’m seeing social media as too much business.  For marketers, advertisers, and PR people, social media is the wild west of modern communication.  There is great potential and untapped gold veins, but also a lot of danger and people looking for how to do it better.

I’ve somehow fallen in line with the people looking to make a quick dime. These people don’t see the avatars and users they connect with as actual human beings, but rather conversions and metrics to report. These people don’t get The Anti-Social Media, and are probably looking at me wondering why I don’t run any ads on my site.

Here’s the problem with the social media marketing. The average person, like my Mom, doesn’t go on Facebook to look at ads or even to interact with whatever Facebook wants her to like.  Sure the ads and brands are there, but she goes to stay in touch with her friends and family and see new photos of her grandkids. No brand, however awesome, can replace or communicate on a level as one photo of those grandkids does.

This is where social marketing currently fails. Social networks should enhance the current relationships we have, rather than trying to get us to communicate with nameless and faceless corporatations.

Are there companies and people that do things better? Yes. But marketing needs to take a step back away from the case studies of Zappos and Dell and rethink the actual relationships they are building, if any.  The best social networks enhance (or seemingly enhance) our current relationships.

Social media is all about communication and relationships. We can do better than having people try to communicate with logos.  Our ancestors communicated with people, we can do it too.

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How do You Help Your Readers?

I am a firm believer that people will read your blog or visit your website for one of two reasons:

  • They want to learn.
  • They want to be entertained.

If you can do one of these well, you will build an audience.  If you can do both well, you can build an empire.

Stop writing or tweeting or whatever because you feel obligated to, and start to think of ways to help people. Can you make them laugh or smile?  Can you teach something? Can you do both?

Stop thinking of your greedy self. How are you helping?

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Ping, Game Center, and Apple’s Big Social Networks

Ping, Game Center, and Apple’s Big Social Networks

Apple is joining the social network game in two big ways.  The first one is Game Center, which will be launching next week on iPhones and iPod touches with the next updates of iOS.  The second is Ping, which launched today as part of iTunes 10 and will come into iOS as well.

I’ll be bring a full Ping and Game Center review in the coming weeks.  How often do we have a social network launch that’s already tied into hundreds of millions of people?  I like Ping so far, but all I’ve done is set up a profile and connected with one friend.  It’s hard to judge a social network based on one connection and a half hour’s worth of using it.Ping Logo

Still, Apple brings social networks into its fold in a big way.  It’s worth arguing that the great feature of iOS 4 won’t be that Apple finally brought multi-tasking to it’s devices, but rather it brought social to it’s two biggest services, Apps and Music.

Ping is music based right now, but it’s easy to see it scale up to the other iTunes commodities such as TV episodes, movies, and books. That’s probably why the name is so generic rather than music focused.  It’s no surprise they launched Ping the same day they launched the redesigned the Apple TV product.

Ping could easily steal the thunder from Facebook credits and the virtual commerce Facebook is building.  Imagine one place where you can easily see what media your friends and peers consume, what they recommend and criticize, and buy to your heart’s content. It’s hard to imagine a future where Ping doesn’t do all this.  Ping will pay for itself very quickly.

Apple Game CenterGame Center will revolutionize mobile gaming. It will be the Xbox LIVE for iOS and set the standard for mobile gaming networks.  Similarly to being able to play the games you already have with your friends, just imagine the power Game Center has to recommend. See all your friends are playing Farmville 2, but you don’t have it?  Hop over to the app store, buy it, and then challenge your friends.  The ways to monetize and sell apps are huge.

Both of these social networks will be tied into over a hundred million devices.  Nearly every one of those devices is tied to a credit card.  If they are relatively useful and easy to use in any way, the potential for them to grow and make money is huge.

Apple has come up with a model for social networks that pay for themselves out of purchases, rather than advertising.  Do you think they will last?  Will they be the next big thing from Apple?  I want to know if you think you’ll even use them.

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What would you do for a Foursquare Badge?

What would you do for a Foursquare Badge?

MTV and Foursquare GYT Badge

Yesterday, MTV and Foursquare they were teaming up as part of MTV’s Get Yourself Tested campaign.

The idea behind the campaign is that when you check into a clinic, you get the GYT badge (seen above).  It also enters you in a sweepstakes to win a bunch of crap.

People already check into the dumbest places on Foursquare, and STDs are on the rise because people can’t keep their pants on when they use Facebook. Still, are people that interested in getting a small virtual graphic to display?  There is no real value behind any Foursquare badge.  Do people really need to have one displaying that they got tested to STDs?  I understand collecting things, but collecting virtual badges that will never have any monetary value doesn’t make sense to me.

I realize there shouldn’t be any shame or stigma behind getting tested.  Anyone can get tested, and we should focus on disease prevention as a society.  But is a Foursquare badge and a contest really going to solve this problem?

Also, what if someone’s results are positive?  Now someone has to carry a constant Foursquare badge of shame every time they use Foursquare.  It’s a virtual Scarlet Letter.

What do you think of this promotion?  Does it make you feel weird and icky, or do you think it’s a good idea?  Will you be getting this Foursquare badge?  I want to know if I’m going to be getting a Foursquare badge every time I go to the doctor.

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