Try As You Might, Facebook- You’re Not the New Twitter…Yet.

March 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Social Network Sites, Web 2.0 Strategies | Leave a comment
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Last night, I had my first run-in with the new Facebook. I must have looked like a child who lost her mother in the mall. I was frantically clicking tabs, just trying to find my profile. Every looks different, and I still can’t figure out how to find the newest tagged photos.

There’s this new “Highlights” section which has a mumbo-jumbo of information listed: new photos, applications that people are using, advertisements…I don’t get it, what’s it for? Isn’t that what the news feed section is?

What does look familiar is the publisher featured on the top of each page, asking “What’s On My Mind?” I can’t seem to place my finger on it. Where have I seen this before? I feel like I’ve answered a similar question in 140 characters…oh yes, it’s Twitter. Facebook is a Twitter wannabe. Yeah, I said it.

The new Facebook looks awfully familiar, yet uncomfortably overwhelming.

The new Facebook looks awfully familiar, yet uncomfortably overwhelming.

Let’s put my obvious bias  on hold for a minute, and answer some real questions about the site. Mainly- why? Why did Facebook change, yet again?

According to an article in the March 9th issue of Ad Age Daily, Mark Zuckerberg explained the new stream of information that Facebook would feature. The stream will be updated in near real time, and allows users to filter out specific members to retrieve info on. For example, if you only want to see a stream of your college alums’ activity you can choose to sort by that network.

In addition to the changes for users, there are changes in store for marketers. Before March 11, companies create “pages” which do not look like a normal profile page and do not have the same features that a regular Facebook user has. Now, these pages actually look like profiles and allow companies to interact with their fans on a more personal level. As companies update their information on their profile (update their status, upload pics and videos, etc.), these updates can be seen in their fans’ streams, keeping their brand at the forefront of their customers’ minds.

It’s a really interesting shift to see. Obviously Twitter has made quite an impression on the world (or the Internet…or are those interchangeable yet?). I think we will see many more social networking sites using the live-stream model to increase their relevance in a world ever-concerned with immediate results and instant information.

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Taste the Rainbow in Wiki-Land

March 7, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Social Network Sites, Web 2.0 Strategies | Leave a comment
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Skittles released their new website recently, and I believe I’ve seen it before.

That’s because http://www.skittles.com is really Wikipedia…wait, what? Ok, it’s not really Wikipedia’s site, it’s an overlay which “lives on top” of popular Web 2.0 sites. Depending on when you check their site, you might wind up on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

How's the Interweb Taste?

The overlay part is a red box (which can be minimized) which allows you to navigate to other “sections” of the website, which in fact brings you to other Web 2.0 sites (i.e. click on friends and you’re taken to Skittles’ Facebook page, click on chatter and you’ll see the Twitter feed for Skittles).

Visitors are also able to “Contact the Rainbow” through the only Skittles-branded page on their site.

As quirky as it is, you have to realize how much control the company has given up with this new site. They are essentially relying on their customers to do their marketing, using their pictures, reviews, videos, and Tweets…unfiltered. This means good, bad, or ugly- everyone can see what’s going on in Internet-land for Skittles.

What happens when an inappropriate picture is tagged with Skittles on Flickr, or someone starts badmouthing the company on Twitter? Will the company be forced to pull the plug? I would assume they have an elaborate crisis communication plan lined up for potential situations like this, and I would be curious to find out what it entailed.

If anyone has opinions about the site, I’d like to hear them. Is the Skittles web development team onto the next big thing? Are they just lazy? Is this marketing suicide, or absolutely genius? Bring on the comments!

Calling All Designers!

February 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Web 2.0 Strategies | 5 Comments
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Need a website designed? Want a new logo? Not sure who you want to work with?

Put the job out for bid on 99designs.com!

99-designs-quote199designs utilizes the latest R&D method available: crowdsourcing. According to Wikipedia, “crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.” In laymen’s terms: it’s allowing the public to help a company in research, development and product design.

Using Web 2.0 For New Ideas

How would you like that gentleman in the front to design a new logo for you?

Companies like 99designs take full advantage of the concept that the world is flat by allowing people all over the world to connect and collaborate. Coordinating with people all over the globe means that the most creative ideas can finally come together in one place: the Internet.

But how do the creatives feel about the ability to collaborate like this?

99designs, founded by some SitePoint guys, uses inane web 2.0 vernacular (“crowdsourcing”), deceivingly open-armed design (“oh look, it’s a paper airplane icon! tee-hee!”), and the thin veil of “contests” to come across as a legit alternative to traditional business practices.

According to this post by Kevin Potts on graphicPush, 99designs is the anti-christ who steals the blood, sweat and tears from real graphic designers for a measly $200. His argument is valid: sites like 99designs cheapens the art of graphic design for everyone. The designs submitted are based on a creative brief created by the client, but the designer never has the chance to meet the client, learn about the business, and get a feel for the company’s brand.

As we’re learning in the IMC Program, cohesiveness in a brand is imperitive. So maybe these sites ARE the anti-christ? Or maybe they’re a great alternative for a start-up company without much expendible cash? The jury is still out.

What are your thoughts on crowdsourcing design work? Is it the next big thing, or is it destined to strip the world of talent as Potts argues?

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