Riding the Facebook publicity train

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When Tyra Banks’ produces several episodes of her talk show devoted to Facebook, you know that the craze is about to end. After all, how much longer can we collectively go on poking one another, playing Farmville, and designing our own flare? Apparently, forever.  Social networking cynics expected Facebook to have a Myspace-like descent into humility when the nation momentarily went Tweet crazy. After all, this seems to be the Internets version of natural selection: the weak get swallowed up or become extinct while the strong continue to evolve.  Facebook falls into the latter catagory much to the delight of folks like Tyra Banks, Time magazine, and every reporter in the country.  In fact, stories about how Facebook can effect a legal verdict, fuel a feud between coach and athlete, and help the US Embassy connect with Iraquis all surfaced within the last week. Even moviegoers won’t be able to avoid the “F” word when the film The Social Network, which chronicles the lives of Facebook’s founders, heads into theaters this October.  While many of us are experiencing a FB OD (Facebook overdose), there is still no reason not  to use the social networking giant’s never ending publicity to our own advantage.
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Dad, stop tweeting! You’re embarrassing me.

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I read an interesting Twitter article in the New York Times written by Claire Cain Miller regarding the rise of the social media site that everyone is talking about, including me. The piece suggests that older folks, not younger ones, are responsible for the popularity of Twitter. In fact, the article goes on to say, “just 11 percent of users are between the ages of 12 and 17” and, “Twitter”™s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology”™s success has proved to be largely a myth.” Perhaps. But considering that Twitter is largely used on-the-go and entries are often made whilst hacking away on a smart phone, you can kind of understand how the Miley Cyrus set may not consider embracing the technology. When I tweet (oh God, did I just write that, I”™m dating myself) I tend to be doing it from either an iPhone app or from my ultra-portable Mactop computer whilst nibbling on blueberry scone and sucklint on a Pikes Place coffee. O.K., having a portable computer is not out of the question for teens. But slightly contrary to the article, I believe kids find Twitter “lame” not because it isn”™t cool, but because most 7-17 year olds get their cell phones from their parents and their parents pay for their cell plans”“which usually means the cheapest, lamest plan possible. Even if you had a “cool-kid” cell phone plan with smart phone capabilities you need the latest and greatest “cool-kid” hardware to go with it. No kid would be caught dead using an early model clamshell, the kind most parents feel comfortable supplying to their kids. To use Youtube and Facebook all you need is a desktop computer, hence, more younger people use services like those. I”™m not surprised that the tween and teen set find Twitter unfriendly to their world of pay as you go cell phone plans. In my opinion Twitter means you have to have the latest greatest hardware to really take advantage of the power it affords. Even better, it doesn”™t hurt to own a company and use Twitter as a marketing tool by broadcasting deals throughout the day. Not too many teens I know run their own companies. The ones I know rely on an income provided by a summer job at Hot Dog on a stick. It”™s no wonder older farts are responsible for the rise of Twitter”“they”™re the only ones who can afford it.

Social networking site gets facelift. Renames itself “discovery engine” .

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As everyone knows, Twitter is the hot new social networking site that has both regular Joe and businesses all excited. Recently, a Twitter Blog Post announced a freshly painted front page. Big deal, you might think if you’re an avid Tweeter, because you rarely interface with the front page. But when you think about it, it could be a big deal to a newbie coming to the site for the first time. You’ll notice that the “what are you doing” tagline has been replaced with a much more direct, “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the word.” And just above a search-like query box, there sits “See what people are saying about…”  Also, at the bottom of the main content area we see icons and feeds that list search, hot trends, and popular topics. This all leads to how Twitter is repositioning itself as a “discovery engine for what is happening right now”. This new strategy is aimed at newbies and businesses who want to get in on the gotta-have-it-right-now user base. So now Twitter is a discovery engine? I can’t keep up with all these new terms. I thought Wolfram Alpha was the discovery engine. Or, wait, was that Bing?

Branding your company with micro blogging

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According to a recent New York Times article small businesses are utilizing micro blog technology like Twitter in lieu of advertising and marketing campaigns. According to the article, “small businesses typically get more than half of their customers through word of mouth, he said, and Twitter is the digital manifestation of that.” By microblogging, small businesses can broadcast deals and offers to loyal customers and those just interested in their business. Location based services like LA based Kogi and Coolhaus can tell their customers where they will be on any given summer day in the city of angels. I think the increase of small businesses is also due to the fact that business owners often don’t have time to think about marketing strategies; Twitter facilitates getting the word out. Plus, a business owner can tweet by phone app whilst ringing you up for that sushi sampler you just ordered. No need for fancy ad or flyer when you can tweet at your hearts content.