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This blog has been the result of a class assignment for my Emerging Media course.  I must admit that I’ve learned a great deal from my participation in this course.  Mostly, I’ve learned how blogs work and the impact they can create.  In the past I had considered blogs merely as “online diaries” written by wannabe writers, however, apparently I must be one of these wannabe writers as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the blogging process. 

One of the things I’ve learned is that for a blog to be successful, one must try and post regularly.  I think that many start blogs and may post for a few weeks but then they lose interest or don’t have the time for frequent posts. Then when someone does stumble upon their blog, the visitor is likely to be disappointed to find the most recent post to be months old. 

When blogging to create interest in a product or service this could be devastating.  What customer is going to have faith in a business who can’t manage to keep their blog fresh and relevant?  It would be better to not have a blog at all than to take that risk.

During this course I’ve also learned the importance of networking through social media sites like Facebook or MySpace.  These sites are attracting more members daily and it looks as if their membership will continue to grow.   Even Oprah has jumped on board hosting Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, for a recent show where all things Facebook were discussed.

oprah

I still need to figure out Facebook and MySpace–I guess I’m just a bit leary of posting something that may somehow be used against me!  The things Photoshop can do are amazing!

I think people and businesses will continue to use blogs to express themselves and to build brand relationships.  I do think that the format may change somewhat as technology seems to always be improving on the basics.  Twitter seems to be a blog spin-off in that people are sharing what they’re doing, but in 140 words or less and without the graphics.  I’m sure as digital capabilities continue to evolve, then our methods of communicating whether it be blogs or Twitterspeak will also continue to evolve.  For the IMC practitioner the challenge will be to try and stay as current and up to date as possible.

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about social media.  First a quick definition–see if you agree with it. I like this one as it makes more sense than others I’ve read.  It was written by Joseph Thornley, CEO of Thornley Fallis a full-service communications and public relations firm.

Social media are online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author. To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests.

Some examples of popular social media sites are on line discussion forums like those available at Weightwatchers.com; networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace; and social messaging services like Twitter

Chris Crumhas blogged about some ways that businesses around his hometown of Lexington, Ky. have utilized social media–along with suggestions for others to jump on board.  His post can be read here–Real Life Examples: Local Social Media Marketing in Action.  Seeing how businesses are putting social media marketing techniques into use is a great way of gaining an insight into just what can be done with today’s technologies.afaceatwti1

 Taking a look at Facebook, I’m amazed at its continued growth.  Facebook has now outpaced MySpace with a registered user base of over 180 million.  Smart businesses can use this huge community to their advantage by using just a few simple ideas.  One thing a business can do is to watch what people are saying about your business and use that to build and improve on your brand’s reputation.  By having a Facebook presence your company will increase brand awareness and chances for interacting with customers.  Facebook also has many ways of targeting ads through user profile information.  Because people can opt in to be your friend, you can target messages specifically to those who have already shown an interest in your business.

This semester my class has revolved around types of new media and how IMC (integrated marketing communications) can use these media to connect with consumers.  But what exactly is new media?  A simple definition is that new media is a general term for all forms of communication that are a result of the use of computer technologies.  This is contrary to old media which is represented by print, magazines and any other communications that are static in their presentation.  The main identifying element of new media is that it has the capability of being interactive.  So what are some examples of new media?  Here’s a few of the more popular, but of course, this list grows almost daily. 

  • Web sites
  • streaming audio and video
  • chat rooms
  • e-mail
  • online communities
  • Web advertising
  • DVD and CD-ROM media
  • virtual reality environments
  • integration of digital data with the telephone, such as Internet telephony
  • digital cameras
  • mobile computing
  • Naturally, all of these new technologies have put a serious crimp in the print business.  I’ve posted before about the demise of the newspaper business and it doesn’t seem like its going to get any better.

    amed

     So of these, which is the most important to those who practice IMC?  The actual question is which of these is of no value to IMC practitioners?  The answer is none.  All of these methods of communication are important and useful to interact and build a relationship with consumers.  As more and more become plugged in and logged on, the importance of staying digitally fresh and up to date becomes apparent. 

    The most valued consumer relationship is one that is interactive.  This means that the consumer knows they can communicate with a business and be heard.  Whether this is through a corporate blog where consumers can post their product opinions or through twittering with representatives of Barack Obama, people want to interact and they want to do it digitally.

    atwit

    Twitter is continuing its wildfire like spread–now showing up in courts around the world.  Journalists are  seeking and gaining permission to Twitter about cases they’re covering so that those interested can follow the proceedings live.   While the debate about this continues, more and more judges are permitting Twitter in the courtroom.  Check out the discussion about the Pirate Bay case in Sweden.

    apirate1

    Follow Pirate Bay twitters here

    Twitter continues to grow with an estimated 7 million who now consider themselves Twitterers.  What started as a simple idea–that of asking “what are you doing” to fellow twitterers,  has turned into a serious social phenomena .  President Obama used Twitter to promote fund-raising for his campaign and had a staff member producing Twitters for him at an astounding pace.  Mr. Obama has apparently ceased twittering since the inauguration and there are some who would like to know why.   A recent post by Paul Bouton in the New York Times is one who wants this question answered.

    Barack Obama’s online presence drove his campaign’s early fund-raising and his primary victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton. His campaign’s use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube proved that he was part of the Web 2.0 generation. In the run-up to November’s election, Senator Obama – or one of his staff members – typed more than 250 updates to his Twitter account at twitter.com/barackobama.

    Some think Obama supporters have been “pumped and dumped” now that the election is over. Others believe that as president, Mr. Obama has been restricted from thumb-typing tweets on his BlackBerry because of federal restrictions on presidential communications. But that shouldn’t stop an eager intern from taking over.

    What is most interesting about Twitter is its ability to yeild an extensive amount of marketing data directly from the consumer.  Twitter allows businesses to know when consumers are talking about them and what they’re saying.  It allows companies like Zappos.com to respond quickly to customer concerns and to encourage an interactive relationship.

    Interviewed by  USA Today, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says that he uses Twitter to maintain contact with the public.

    For people who follow us on Twitter, it gives them more depth into what we’re like, and my own personality,” he says.

    Zappos  tested a new site, zeta.zappos.com, recently on Twitter, “and we were able to make some improvements based on the comments,” says Hsieh.

    Jefferson Graham from USA Today quotes CEO Mike Hudak of Blip.tv as follows:

    “In the past, companies would hire a market research firm to understand their audience,” says Mike Hudack, CEO of Blip.tv, a New York-based video website.

    “Now we use Twitter to get the fastest, most honest research any company ever heard – the good, bad and ugly – and it doesn’t cost a cent,” he says.
    What could be more important to those in marketing than honest, fast, up to date research coming  directly from the consumer?  And Twitter is free!

    I said I was going to try and learn what I can about all of the new media available now.  One buzzword I keep seeing is Twitter.  This is one I didn’t have a clue about, so I’m now trying to become educated in Twitterspeak.

    I found this video that gives a great basic description of just what Twitter does and how it works.  Check it out!    I posted this link  before,  but I wanted to mention it again–it’s that good.

    Recently we’ve been discussing traditional media vs. new media.   Primarily,  how has the way we receive messages and information changed?  It used to be that the top dogs were radio, TV,  newspapers and magazines.  Those types of media have recently seen their followers surfing off to the internet for information and entertainment.

    And why not?  No more do we have to wait to watch a favorite show–often it will be available online whenever we want.  Or else, we can Tivo the program to watch whenever–with the bonus of no commercials.   Add to that the number of amazing videos uploaded daily dealing with any interest imaginable and its no wonder offline TV viewing is down.

    From Zatz Not Funny

    The Hollywood Reporter:

    The survey said 80 million Americans watched a TV show online last year. This number accounts for 43% of the online population, up from 25% who said they watched a TV show on the Web last year.

    BroadcastEngineering:

    The Nielsen ratings organization found that U.S. viewership for the opening of the 2008 TV season was down 21 percent compared with the same time last year.

    With the internet, we have fingertip power to search and find just about anything we want and when we want.  We can find videos on how to change a tire, fix a turkey or one that explains just exactly what Twitter is.

    Radio is also available online.  With sites like Live365, a seemingly unlimited number of stations and genres are available at a click.  Of course with this site, there are numerous commercials that disappear when you sign on to be a VIP.

    Newspapers have been seeing a continuing downward trend in their readership.  An article in the online New York Times from October, 2008 discusses this trend.

    Newspaper Circulation Continues to Decline Rapidly

    The long decline in newspaper circulation over the years continues to accelerate, with sales in the spring and summer falling almost 5 percent from the previous year, figures released on Monday show, deepening the financial strain on the industry.

    The drop occurred nearly across the board during the six months that ended Sept. 30; weekday circulation for the largest metropolitan dailies fell anywhere from 1.9 percent for The Washington Post, to 13.6 percent for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, compared with the period a year earlier.

    The figures, released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations based on reports filed by the individual papers, show that circulation at The Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Star-Ledger of Newark, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Orange County Register and The Detroit News fell 10 percent or more.

    What does this mean for marketing?

    What does all this mean for those in marketing?  Well, for one, it means that marketers have got to give those traditional media horses a break and jump on the new media thoroughbreds.  This means tackling the internet, mobile phones, Bluetooth and all the other up and coming technologies head on.  Integrated communications is becoming even more integrated each day and marketers need to stay current with what’s out there in cyberspace and beyond.  In order to develop relationships with our consumers, we have to know their interests, what they rely on for information, and how best to distribute the message that they want to hear, when they want to hear it.

    This is surely a difficult feat to manage, though, as we cannot just jump in and use these technologies for mass message distribution.  This is quite easily the best way to turn our consumers away.  Isolating our target market and then devising the best way to deliver our message when wanted is where we need to focus our attentions. That’s  the reason behind the success of some viral campaigns.  They manage to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people using the right method.  The trick is to not become associated with that baaaad word, “SPAM.”

    Check out the some of the negativity expressed against a software developer who produced a package aimed at mass-messaging those who use Twitter.

    First the video:

    Now some  comments  from readers of Adam Ostrow’s post from Februray 4, 2009 on Mashable titled:

    Tweettornado: Twitter Spamming Software We Won’t Tolerate

    @Livecrunch Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    I wish all spammers would be blocked. I so hate ‘em all!

    Diana Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    thankyou for bringing us such up-to-date info that is helpful, in not only alerting us to new threats, but educates us about using the internet in an ethical way for business and socialisation.

    I was almost drawn in by a new company last night but a fellow twitterer send a warning about the spam potential of the program so i pulled out, until I have more information on them.

    well done!

    Diana

    Nicole Simon Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I disagree slightly. I would love to have a tool to manage several accounts, and yes even create them automatically for a real purpose. It is throwing out the kid with the bathwater – because banning these tools will make sure that the useful purposes get attacked as well. Back to pen and paper anyone?

    Instead people should really head over to forums like digitalpoint / warriorforum and such where these tools are given out with instructions how awesome for spamming (excuse me: advertising and huge amounts of traffic) is – only if you tell them that we do infact watch and react on it there might be a chance to not stop them, but make their life more miserable.

    It does not stop there. Spamming is an issue in every system and it is no wonder that they pop up so fast, accompanied by gurus who really are successful in this game – but only because they know how to play it.

    I am not saying to give up, just react in a way we know it works. )

    Jason Moffatt Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I’m not sure how much good it does to even publish this story to be honest. Just giving these guys more attention is probably having them jump with joy.

    And let’s face it, tons of spamming marketers read the stuff here, and they are probably off buying the crap right now because of this and other stories condemning the software.

    Agreed, the software is another pollutant.

    Telling people about it probably ain’t the wisest move if you ask me.

    One thing is a given.  People are always going to want to learn new things and buy new things.  Maybe that’s 2 givens.  What we need to do as marketing messengers is to stay with our consumers as they and we learn about the new media that’s here now and that which is to come.  In the past TV, radio and newspapers have been our common ground.  Now and in the future we’re going to be playing in an electronic field that is constantly changing and we’re going to have to keep changing, too.

    What ways do you use to stay current and electronically up to date?  Do you have favorite blogs, web sites or newsletters you won’t miss?  And what technological device could you absolutely not give up?