You may or may not have been one of the lucky first or second round of invites to Google’s newest attempt at social. I happened to catch the second train to somewhere-other-than-Facebook, and even with the search giant’s former attempts at social in mind (Wave, Buzz), I’m quite impressed with what I’ve seen so far.
With that said, there are plenty of places and articles floating around the web outlining some of the features now available in the still-in-beta “project” from Google, so I’ll spare you the rehash. Instead, I’d rather focus on what you can be doing right to get ready for when your Google+ invite arrives.
First and foremost, it’s important to keep in mind that you already have a major portion of your Google+ profile filled out if you’re using an @gmail.com email address. Remember those changes that Google’s been rolling out over the past few years? Your YouTube address was associated with your gmail address, if you had hosted images at blogger, they were all moved to Picasa, etc. All of these are now tied to your Google+ account, if you join the network with your primary gmail address.
Now for me, I have a pretty obscure and outdated email address. It held relevance when I first ventured away from Hotmail, but today, it’s a jumble of numbers and letters that, to be honest, is a bit difficult to remember. So with that said, I’m currently testing Google Plus with my old account details, but once the invite button goes live again, I’m going to switch over to an address I’ve had kicking around for some time, but haven’t really utilized. Why you might ask? Well, as we all know, branding is everything. And normally, I could care less about my email address, given that it’s most probably copy/pasted, and very rarely needs to be remembered. All that changes with Google+.
Remember that mad “land grab” when Facebook custom URL’s went live? I for one was up at 6am Central European Time in order to grab facebook.com/dantaylor, only to be beaten to the punch by another Dan Taylor. Ok, so I ended up with dantaylor1. Certainly better than dantaylor253 or some other derivative, but you start to see the importance of your custom URL. With Google+ your custom URL is directly tied to your Google profile name. And with that name, comes along your entire Google identity.
As with any writer, I had to cut my teeth somewhere, and waaaaay back in the day, I too had a blogspot.com blog in operation, tied to my Google account. Since launching turnthescrew.com some 4 years ago, I hadn’t really touched that old blog. In fact, I pretty much forgot that it was still in existence. Needless to say, Google+ dragged all those “My god…what a piece of garbage. Did I really write that?” memories out of the closet, and suddenly at my feet yesterday. So much so that I took the drastic step of exporting the blog (safety first) and deleting it altogether.
Why? Well, first and foremost, the content was by no means focused. Posts ranged from, literally, what I had for dinner last night, to found humor images, to YouTube repeats. Not awful, but certainly not the way I’d choose to represent myself today.
Likewise, a quick poke around the “Your Albums” section brought up a host of images that I’d virtually forgotten about, and as with the blog, didn’t necessarily want to have linked to me. Thankfully, there’s a feature within G+ that allows you to completely hide the albums from public view. As with the blog, I’m not 100% ready to delete this album, but I’d rather lock it down.
So…to get prepped for the day when your Google Plus invite arrives:
- Ensure that the account you want associated with your Google Plus identity is one that is memorable and speaks to who you are. Yaddabla184 is probably not the best representation. No, that’s not the account I used.
- Login to Picasa and Blogger under this account, and double check that you’re not confronted with mountains of yesteryear images and text. Unless of course you’re 100% happy/comfortable with your archives being on display.
- Head on over to your Account Overview and start adding the details about yourself that you’d like to be on display to the world
Speaking of your Account Overview, one thing I found particularly interesting was how search results will be affected my Google Plus. From Google:
Your name and any other fields you make public in your profile are searchable on the web and may appear in Google Search results.
This is a crucial bit of information that I believe will truly change the way people present themselves on the internet. As you can see from my screenshot (I’ve blocked out the specific URL, and you’ll see why in a second), my location, work title, bio, and the top three links I’ve added to my profile are displayed. For me, the links are the most crucial of the entire bit. Bios and titles are one thing, but pointing to other examples of your internet presence is huge.
And as I draw to a close, I myself am at a bit of a crossroads. As stated above, the email address that I entered Google Plus with holds no particular relevance to me (or anyone else) any longer, and it’s time to phase it out. With that said, as soon as the invite switch is returned to the ‘On’ position, I think I’ll invite my other, more meaningful @gmail account to the project, and then repeat the process of adding people to my circles – which might be a whole lot easier thanks to Google Takeout. A grind, for sure, but in the long run, a wiser, more focused approach to what I believe is the first service to give Facebook a run for it’s money in quite some time.
Former CPL head Angel Muñoz is back at it again, this time bringing detailed branding and metrics services to corporate partners in the technology, entertainment, and video game industries.
Mass Luminosity has already received a seal of approval via Singapore based WoLong Ventures, Pte. Ltd., who recently announced their first round financing of Muñoz’s venture to the tune of $1.5 million.
“We are excited to be part of this new venture,” says WoLong Ventures Chairman of the Board Frank Yong. “Mass Luminosity is developing an impressive array of social media technologies that will assist companies in effectively marketing their brands in the growing environment of social networks.”
Building on his expertise and experience in the gaming world, Muñoz says that one of Mass Luminosity’s initial projects will involve assisting the global resurgence of PC video gaming. Through Mass Luminosity’s efforts, Munoz also wants to help democratize information, thereby facilitation the transformation of content consumers to content providers.
“We are working on a number of technologies to power advance analysis on social media and networking interactions with corporate brands. We are starting from basic formats that power online promotions (giveaways), online media (podcasts, etc.), online TV and Facebook and Twitter interfaces,” comments Muñoz.
Always the visionary, Muñoz also said an in email that iDevices are at the forefront of the Mass Luminosity development schedule. A particularly strong motion, considering that Apple recently announced record Q4 profits, a strong sign that mobility without sacrificing power are quickly becoming derringer for today’s gaming, entertainment, and/or technology professional.
“The greatness of what we are working on is behind the scenes, a multi-platform integrated system that will offer us a wealth of information to offer our audiences exactly what they want,” adds Muñoz.
Kicking things off with a bang, Mass Luminosity has partnered with Play N Trade, Adrenaline Vault, and Immerz in an exclusive Call of Duty: Black Ops Giveaway. Hailed as one of the hottest titles in the EA arsenal, entrants have the chance to win one of three stellar Call of Duty: Black Ops prizes:
- One (1) GRAND PRIZE winner will receive: one (1) Xbox 360 Slim AND one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops Xbox game AND one (1) KOR-fx from Immerz AND one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops apparel item.
- One (1) first prize winner will receive one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops game (choice PS3 or Xbox) and one (1) KOR-fx from Immerz and and one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops apparel item.
- One (1) runner up winner will receive one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops game (choice PS3 or Xbox) and one (1) Call of Duty: Black Ops apparel item.
For the record, yes that Grand Prize includes an Xbox 360 Slim. Wow!
The giveaway expires on November 3, 2010, or about 10 days from this posting. Winners will be announced by Turks and Co. on the Avault Podcast on Friday, November 5, 2010.
According to a new report released by leading metric provider comScore, social networking sites reach more woman than men globally. Part of their Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet in-depth analysis, comScore found that 75.8 percent of all online ladies visited a social networking site in May 2010. Conversely, the study found that only 69.7 percent of all men engaged in the same activity.
“Understanding gender-specific differences in Web usage is valuable to any digital stakeholder looking to successfully reach and engage both women and men in the online environment,” said Linda Boland Abraham, comScore chief marketing officer and executive vice president for global development. “We have seen that women across the globe share some similar usage patterns online, such as strong engagement with social networking sites, but it’s also important to understand gender differences on a regional, country and local level, where cultural differences are continually shaping online usage and content consumption.”
In a bit of a paradox, comScore found that while women have higher levels of engagement with social networking sites when compared to their male counterparts, they only account for 47.9 percent of the total unique visitors in the social networking category. However…females consume 57 percent of all social networking pages, and 57 percent of all minutes spent on these sites. When viewed in hours and seconds, on average, females spend 5.5 hours per month with a social networking site, men, on average 4 hours.
Since comScore conducted a global survey, they’re able to pinpoint where the social networking ladies lie. They survey found that the highest concentration of social networking females can be found in Latin America, where a staggering 94.1 percent of females are engaged in online activities. Just slightly behind are North American women, showing with 91 percent. Europe takes 3rd, with 85.6 percent of its female population visiting a social networking site in May 2010. Ending up in last place is the Asian Pacific female with only 54.9 percent, however comScore does point to the limited broadband penetration in this region of the globe
- Although men are in the majority across the global Internet, women spend about 8 percent more time online, averaging 25 hours per month on the Web.
- Globally, women spend 20 percent more time on Retail sites overall than men. Among the various retail sub-categories, Comparison Shopping and Apparel sites reached the highest percentage of women at 24.8 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, in May 2010.
- In the U.S., women are more avid online buyers than men, with 12.5 percent of female Internet users making an online purchase in February 2010, compared to 9.3 percent of men.
- Health sites show some of the largest overall differences in reach between female and male, with a nearly 6-point gap between global women and men.
- In most countries women spend far less time watching online video than men, but women spend a much higher share of their time watching videos on YouTube than men.
- In both the U.S. and Europe, smartphone usage is dominated by men with both markets experiencing close to a 60/40 split in smartphone adoption between the genders.
For a complete copy of the Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet, please visit:
In a recent poll conducted by Zogby International Americans were asked to rate the news sources that they trusted most. At the very bottom of the list? Traditional Media.
Traditional Media scored lower than social media including Facebook and Twitter. Almost half of the 2,100 adults surveyed indicated that they trusted big tech firms such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft, 13 percent said they trust Facebook. Twitter scored an 8 percent on the trust scale, tying it with the same trust level American adults place in traditional media. Of the young adults surveyed (18-29), only 6 percent indicated that traditional media was their choice for trust.
John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International said that companies like Facebook and Twitter have not had the time to build a brand identity. I might argue that point. However, Google and Apple garner more of Americans’ trust as they’ve been around longer and have had the opportunity to build a brand and position themselves in the market.
Looking further into the Zogby survey with find that young adults have higher levels of trust in Facebook and Twitter with 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
When asked in a telephone interview with Reuters, Zogby commented that online privacy was tantamount to users, “I think to a great degree, its all about privacy.” And therein lies the irony. As more and more Americans begin to put more trust in Tech than Traditional Media, does the average consumer really know just what/where/and by whom their personal data is being displayed/read by?
Google has taken some heat as of late due to their Street View cars that collected private information on unencrypted WiFi networks while snapping pics for the online mapping software. WEP wha?
Every week I hear from Marketing and PR folks that their ‘official’ company policy blocks access to Facebook, YouTube, and a host of other social networking-esque sites. While the concept boggles my mind, as to date, I’ve been hard pressed to find solid numbers to present to upper management, making the case for this epic fail.
Thanks to a new report issued by Network Box, management might have to block out a few hours this week to review/rethink this policy. The Network Box report indicates that more business traffic lands on Facebook that any other website.
The report analyzed over 13 billion URLs used by businesses in Q1 2010, and found that 6.8 percent of all business internet traffic ended up at Facebook, indicating a 1 percent growth from Q4 2009. In terms of bandwidth pull, video sharing Goliath YouTube garnered 10 percent of all corporate bandwidth, a 2 percent jump from Q4 2009.
250 IT managers were surveyed, no data was provided as to their geography or professional sector, about their biggest security concerns in the year ahead. 43 percent reported “employees using applications on social networks” as their biggest headache.
In a separate question, 36 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were concerned about malware passed via networks such as LinkedIn or Twitter, as employees are likely to trust links sent by those they’re connected to on the aforementioned platforms.
It’s been my experience that there’s often a great disconnect between the IT department, the HR staff, and the Marketing and Sales folks. While I certainly don’t critique the IT professionals from wanting to keep their systems free and clear of troubles (it’s their job, after all), I do believe that many companies could benefit from a “know the internetz” series of regular in-house trainings. I.e., how to spot a phish, how to check a shortened URL, etc. Remember, it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people.
In today’s rapidly changing face of business, cutting off your marketing and sales engagement, is exactly like that age old adage, Cutting off your nose to spite your face. Or more clearly, by restricting access, are employers, thus, restricting innovation?
With a little bit of personal internet security training, I’d imagine that those IT managers might find themselves with a few more problems; balancing server load do to the landslide of inbound company interest – thanks to social media engagement, for example.
Additional stats from the Network Box report:
The top five websites visited by businesses in Q1 2010 were:
- Facebook – 6.8 per cent of all traffic
- Google – 3.4 per cent of all traffic
- Yimg (Yahoo!’s image server) – 2.8 per cent of all traffic
- Yahoo! – 2.4 per cent of all traffic
- Doubleclick – 1.7 per cent of all traffic.
The top five websites using the most bandwidth in Q1 2010 were:
- YouTube – 10 per cent of all bandwidth used
- Facebook – 4.5 per cent of all bandwidth used
- Windows Update – 3.3 per cent of all bandwidth used
- Yimg (Yahoo!’s image server) – 2.7 per cent of all bandwidth used
- Google – 2.5 per cent of all bandwidth used.
Bonus thought: With the inclusion of Google’s Buzz, are IT professionals planning on restricting access to Google as well? Score for Bing?
Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research, have recently published the results of their The Infinite Dial 2010: Digital Platforms and the Future of Radio report, revealing a number of useful statistics in regards to today’s digital lifestyle. The survey includes data not only on MP3 and iPod usage and interest in digital radio, but also consumers’ relationship with traditional television media, as well as valuable social media usage.
Arbitron/Edison Research’s survey found that almost half (48 percent) of Americans aged 12 and older have a profile on one or more social networking platforms. The number effectively doubles the number from two years ago, where 24 percent had responded with the same information.
78 percent of teens and 77 percent of 18 – 24 year olds have a personal profile page, but that’s not to say that the older demographic isn’t in on the fun as well. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of 25 – 34’s have a profile page, and the 35 – 44’s indicated that more than half (51 percent) are ‘in’ social networking (profile page included).
“The use of social networking sites has expanded beyond younger consumers, with substantial numbers of Americans over the age of 35 now using social media,” said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc.
Mobile Digital Radio
The study found that nearly 25 percent of all Americans had listened to audio from an iPod or other MP3 device connected to the car stereo. Even though users must overcome a sometimes confusing myriad of adaptors and cables to route their audio through a car system, 54 percent of iPod/MP3 player owners have listened to their device in the car. The number equates to 24 percent of all those surveyed age 12 or older.
“Younger consumers show interest in radio on mobile phones,” said Tom Webster from Edison Research. “More than four in ten mobile phone owners age 12 to 24 say they would listen more to FM radio if a tuner were built into those phones.”
And while users are listening behind the wheel, on the Advertising front, survey respondents indicated that local TV and Newspaper websites are their go-to’s, and not the radio station website, which currently garners only 16 percent of their listening audience. Nearly half of those aged 12 and older admit that radio station websites have improved over the past few years, while 17 percent said that these sites have become worse or less interesting.
The survey, which included 1,753 people, found that most Americans between the ages of 12 – 44 now consider the Internet “most essential” in their lives when asked to choose just one information/entertainment media. 42 percent responded with “Internet”, and 37 with “Television”. Radio saw 14 percent, print media, 5 percent.
62 percent of homes with internet access also have wireless networks set up in their homes. The survey also found that 84 percent of homes with internet access have a broadband connection. Arbitron and Edison Research believe that the residential broadband adoption has leveled off, with little change year over year in weekly usage of online radio (17 percent) and online video (29 percent). They believe that the next wave of growth is likely to spark from use of mobile and in-car internet devices.
Thousands of South Carolinians are expected to capitalize on and use the power of social networking tools to stage an online rally aimed at voicing their opinions to state legislators, particularly in regards to the importance of sex education and access to publically funded counseling and clinical services.
Organized by the 6,000 advocacy group ‘Tell Them’, South Carolinians will use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to tell politicos what’s what, and what they want. This rally format will be the first of it’s kind in South Carolina.
“We were looking for a modern way to engage citizens in the political process. This virtual event gives voters a convenient way to demonstrate their shared beliefs on these issues and to ask their legislators to support and fund responsible public health policies,” said Emma Davidson, Tell Them program manager.
The rally stems from a growing health issue in the state. Teen pregnancy rates in South Carolina are up for the fourth year in a row. Add to this growing issue the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have listed South Carolina as one of the Top Ten HIV “hot spots” in the United States. And while being listed as a “hot spot” on the HIV chart, South Carolina also has a number of other notable statistics:
- #2 in cases of Gonorrhea
- #3 in cases of Chlamydia
- #8 in pregnancies among 15-to-19 year olds
“With lawmakers looking to reconcile budget shortfalls, it’s more important than ever that they understand the social and economic implications of the state’s health policies. For example, here in South Carolina one-third of publicly funded family planning clinics have been closed over the last few years due to budget cuts. This makes no sense when we have epidemic-level rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV,” said Bonnie Adams Kapp, Executive Director of the New Morning Foundation.
And it’s not just South Carolina that’s hurting, literally. Research from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa found that family planning services to teenagers can save more than $17 for every tax dollar invested over a five-year period.
“So many of our state’s challenges, issues like poverty and poor education, are rooted in inadequate health policies that hinder our young people. We must move beyond abstinence-only programs and provide age-appropriate sexual education and access to clinical services for our youth,” said Tell Them member Deborah Billings, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health; Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina.
The online-social-media rally will commence at 12:00 PM EST, March 23rd, and run for 24 hours. Naturally, all residents of the Great State of South Carolina are encouraged to voice their opinions, pro or con.
What could prove to be either a highly effective “Pro” rally, may however, be overshadowed by yesterday’s historic (like it, or hate it…it’s historic) passage of the Health Care Bill in the American Capitol yesterday. Those in favor of the may feel the sense of relief; a win, while those opposed may make the South Carolinian initiative as a platform to air their grievances.
Whatever the outcome, it’s interesting to see these types of grassroots organizations and movements using the power of social media to bring people together in an open and honest discussion, all the while, making sure that those that have the power to make the changes are listening.
Google officially admitted yesterday that it’s testing procedure surrounding their new offering Buzz was less than sufficient. Since it’s February 9th appearance, Google has had to do some serious retooling of the product, amid privacy concerns that sprang up almost immediately. Google says that they’re working “extremely hard” to fix the problem. “We’re very early in this space. This was one of our first big attempts,” Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, told BBC News.
But how could one of the world’s largest online service providers overlook such a detail? It comes down to a simple lack of widespread testing. Buzz was only tested internally at Google, something the company normally does NOT do. Most often, when Google wants to bring a new product to market, they’ll tap into their unofficial “Google Trusted Tester” program, a network of family and friends of Google employees who have proven track records and are trusted with a high degree of confidentiality. These “Trusted Testers” are in exchange, given early access to a soon to be launched Google product. Unfortunately, Buzz did not receive the same treatment. “We’ve been testing Buzz internally at Google for a while. Of course, getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn’t quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild,” comments Jackson.
To battle the negative buzz now surrounding Buzz, Google has set up a “war room” at their Mountain View, CA. headquarters that is strictly devoted to sorting out the Buzz issues.
“If it becomes clear that people don’t think we’ve done enough, we’ll make more changes,” said Jackson.
He acknowledged that many of the networks “tens of millions” of users were “rightfully upset” and that the firm was “very, very sorry”.
“We know we need to improve things.”
Only three days after launch, Google team members called a meeting to make the quick fixes. With obvious holes open in the “who do they communicate with the most?” format, Google pulled the plug on the “friend” matching process, and is now only suggesting friends that the Buzz user may be interested in following back (how they determine this, like all things Google, remains a mystery). They’ve also announced that they’re implementing a feature that should make it easier for Buzz users to shut the service off entirely. Jackson says that “transparency and control” are “top priorities” and that users will “continue to see improvements”. And while it seems “transparency” is top priority on paper at Google, that isn’t always the case in the physical world.
Additional changes that Buzz users can look forward to include a better preferences menu that should allow users more control over what’s arriving in their inbox, as well as a more prominent “Mute” button that would switch the service off altogether. Further illustrating the flub at Google, Jackson adds that the idea has been discussed to make Buzz a service independent from Gmail.
“We think that integration with Gmail was absolutely the right way to go – we wanted to make Buzz easily accessible to people,” Jackson said.
“We also want to give people who don’t use Gmail the ability to use Buzz, so we’re exploring the idea of offering a separate destination site.”
Google reps expect the changes to Buzz to go live sometime this week.
It looks like Google has heard what the audience has said, and is making the appropriate changes. However, with the recent ‘what is this? I don’t get it.’ crash-n-burn surrounding Wave, coupled with the Buzz ‘wanna know who I talk to most?’ blowup, Google’s going to have to pull some magic out of the proverbial hat to get me excited about a new product launch.