The social space online changes rapidly. Feedback stays on top of emerging media news so you don’t have to. Here are the must-read social media articles of the week of September 4, 2011.
The social space online changes rapidly. Feedback stays on top of emerging media news so you don’t have to. Here are the must-read social media articles of the week of August 14, 2011. Read More »
So, ever wonder what $41 million gets you these days?
Apparently – if the Color app’s recent announcement is any indication – it gets you quite a bit of hype. The concept behind Color is important. But its execution is nothing to write home about.
Color offers what it claims is a breakthrough new social networking application for geo-tagged pictures. With the free app for iPhone, you take photos as a group, and anyone within 150 feet of one another can see the photos that others have taken on their device. Photos are posted without any sort of authentication. The makers of Color recommend that users not use the app alone.
And by alone, what they really meant to say is “don’t use Color unless you are hanging out with your anti-social friends in a public place” or perhaps, “don’t use Color unless you would otherwise tweet what is happening, while it’s happening, with people besides those within 150 feet of where it’s happening.”
Not only is every photo you upload to the service sent free and clear to whatever cloud Color is using to store the photos on, but there are no restrictions on who can see or join groups while you’re at locations. There’s even a well-published workaround to being able to eavesdrop on groups formed at any location, no matter where you are.
What’s more, photos can even be selected from the iPhone’s camera roll, enabling users to break from the spirit of the app, which is taking pictures based on the place you’re currently located.
My initial thoughts on being able to take pictures with a handful of people at once is that Color is more of a toy than a realistic tool for most users’ social media arsenal, but there are some advantages a product like this could have after it has been more refined.
However, Color falls short of being able to claim any sort of victory in the location space, despite the claims by the tech press. In the end, combining a sub-par and confusing application, numerous privacy concerns and a poorly executed though unique idea seems to do nothing but feed the tech bubble trolls of the media.
Excerpt below from a feature on geolocation apps, popularity and more from Feedback, Inc’s Dean Browell (@dbrowell).
So who’s in your pocket these days – Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Facebook Places, or other? Why one over the other?
So what’s the deal with Facebook Places? Plan to use it, screw it, or could you care less about those knuckleheads in Palo Alto.
It’s important to not get distracted by just the check-in aspect. Geo-location and even Facebook Places‘ role in it will be just as important for what it does for any of the 500 million + average users who never check in but nevertheless ends up impacted by the check-in data of others, such as choosing a restaurant or hospital based on who has been there or seeking the testimonial of a friend who they’ve seen has been there.
Who do you hope prevails in the geo wars?
For Foursquare and all the more geo-dedicated apps, there’s a long and storied history of innovating specialists having a place in the discerning consumer’s mind. Just ask Apple or the entire craft brewing industry.
If you were sitting in the captain’s chair over at Foursquare or Gowalla, what would you say to Zuck?
“You were supposed to just take Microsoft’s money.”
Harrisburg University blocks students and faculty from using all forms of social media for one week (on computers):
Inside Higher Ed reports on Harrisburg University’s plan to shut down all forms of social media on campus for one week. Provost, Eric Darr has decided to block student and faculty access to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and AOL instant messenger. He is also disabling wiki and chat features which will make it impossible for students and teachers to communicate and collaborate using the campus’ intranet system, even from off-campus computers.
Darr says, “It’s not that, as an institution, we hate Facebook,” Darr told Inside Higher Ed. Instead, he wanted to see what would happen if colleagues and classmates were forced to talk instead of IM, to walk to offices and dorm rooms instead of emailing. He wondered if people had forgotten how to communicate face-to-face rather than online.
Mr. Darr, how are you going to block access to social media through cell phone usage? Are the cell towers clipped for the week? Dean Browell with Feedack comments on the article,
“There’s a disturbing angle to all of this that smacks of assumptions. Two of the four channels they propose to shut down are in drastic decline among their demographic (AOL, MySpace) and as other commenters have pointed out, the other two channels don’t require the campus system at all to operate. They sell $100 iPhones at Wal-Mart people, they haven’t needed your computer labs to get on Facebook for years. Twitter is utilized by a diverse demographic even through an inexpensive, non-smart-phone via text messaging.”
We look forward to the results of this experiment.
iPads in the Classroom:
Notre Dame’s assistant professor Corey Angst is taking his class paperless, and in a pretty fun way. His class is first and only class taught with Apple iPads. All 40 students get to use iPads in place of textbooks and other learning materials during the course. This is part of a year long study of e-readers by the University. Angst explained,
“We want to know whether students feel the iPads are useful and how they plan to use them. I want them to tell me, ‘I found this great app that does such and such. I want this to be organic…We have an online Wiki discussion group where students can share their ideas.”
They are hoping the iPad’s will help students manage real world projects, and will help the university enhance the educational experience.
Survey says social media is less expensive and yields significant result in higher education:
Lipman Hearne and CASE partnered together to survey 212 CASE member institutions to research how marketing dollars are being spent in higher education and the return on that investment. Institutions that have integrated strategic social media campaigns with traditional marketing/advertising efforts have seen a wide margin of positive results. Key findings are significant and provide powerful real time success stories. Moderate-to-heavy users of social media were actually spending less overall per student on marketing activities. The moderate-to-heavies spent $83 per student, and the light-to-non-users spent $121 per student. Visit the blog and survey report for more data and key findings.
Higher Education Checks Into Foursquare:
Several Universities are leading the way with geolocation checkins. The University of Oregon, for example, incorporated Foursquare into their Welcome Week student tours. Friending the Oregon Duck and checking into 10 locations on the tour earned students a badge and 20% off at Oregon Ducks Sportsware. Another example is The University of Nebraska at Omaha. They have a microsite in conjunction with Foursquare that provides deals and encourages students to visit alcohol free businesses in the area. Harvard is another great example. They were one of the first colleges to embrace Foursquare with custom badges. Perry Hewitt, director of digital communications and communications services at Harvard, explained
“Harvard is more than classrooms and buildings. It is an interconnected community of people, ideas, and experiences, and we are actively pursuing ways to enhance those connections.”
Higher Ed Cartoon:
A snarky cartoon (sadly, mostly accurate) ridiculing the tone-deaf design of many college home pages, published on July 30 on the website xkcd and circulated widely in social media circles and on campuses:
About a week before xkcd published its cartoon, the higher ed consulting firm Noel-Levitz released a study of how prospective students are using colleges’ websites, based on more than 1,000 responses from college-bound high-schoolers.
Key findings include:
- 1 in 4 students reported removing a school from their prospective list because of a bad experience on that school’s Web site.
- 92 percent said that they would be disappointed with a school or remove it entirely from their lists if they didn’t find the information they needed on the school’s Web site.
- 76 percent of students supported schools creating their own private social networks for prospective students.
A few interesting higher education-related news today show the emergence of “place” and geolocation as an interesting angle and channel for communicating with and meaningfully engaging new students.
As part of the “Grand Tour,” the Oregon Duck has left tips around campus that will highlight some features of campus that students may not know about…Students who friend the Oregon Duck and check in at all 10 locations with tips on Friday, September 24 can show their checkin history to redeem a real-life InDUCKted badge. The badge is good for 20% on Oregon Ducks sportswear at the Duck Store.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is using a microsite in conjunction with Foursquare to encourage students to visit alcohol-free businesses in the area. The effort includes special deals for the students checking in and promotional opportunities for the participating local businesses.
This isn’t the first time colleges have embraced Foursquare as a means to encourage students to interact with their environment. Recently Foursquare made custom badges for Harvard to correspond with custom tips, info and of course to allow officials to track participation.
“Harvard is more than classrooms and buildings. It is an interconnected community of people, ideas, and experiences, and we are actively pursuing ways to enhance those connections,” said Perry Hewitt, director of digital communications and communications services for Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.
What better assets to combine than a tech savvy community and a collection of buildings in an educational realm constantly under evolution away from brick-and-mortar. The concept of “place” online helps marry the importance of physical location with the information flow of the virtual space.
Oddly enough, despite the recent debut of Facebook Places, Facebook simply Facebook debuted Facebook Universities, a special Page dedicated for interacting with the facets of your educational community except for Place and dumps you immediately on the “Deals” tab – so you can interact with sponsored brands before you get to your provost. Sigh. We assume there’s more to how colleges can use Places and of course there will be check-ins regardless.
How next Fall will look for colleges and universities, when the hundreds of millions of Facebook check-in and Foursquare and others are only more rampant, will be the true test. How will your institution watch, research, strategize and take advantage of these trends? Throw us a line, we can help.
P.S. We would like to lift up one of our favorite blogs, “About Foursquare” which is one of the quickest to deliver media sites on Foursquare developments. Check it out.
Some things are simply inevitable.
The sun will come up.
Charles Barkley will say something unintentionally hilarious.
Facebook will emulate what it doesn’t buy.
On the latter point, Wednesday evening Facebook debuted Places. The premise and execution of Facebook Places is remarkably similar to the first two sentences anyone may use to describe any number of check-in applications: It’s a way to share your actual location with others online; it also allows you to observe where others have checked in. Where many other applications seek to go from that starter definition, be it MyTown with games, Foursquare with tips, Gowalla with stickers, or ShopKick with deals, Facebook has simply stopped limply (but maybe effectively) at the first point of entry.
There’s a few other tricks to Facebook Places, and the following video, dripping with a sincerity that suggests they have suddenly figured out something others haven’t, demonstrates them:
Also inevitable is that Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal will be given a test run before most other humans. Unlike his usually predictably estatic review of Apple products (generally done in time for Steve Jobs to use an actual Mossberg quote as a part of his Keynote presentations), Walt was actually a bit matter-of-fact about Facebook Places. Not cold or harsh, just… well, “Meh” would probably be the most effusive meta-adjective I’d use.
This is because what may become the most short-term-advantageous thing about Places is what it does for others, including those other check-in services. The APIs that could come streaming out could hook into and help fuel the growth of any number of companies Facebook as threatened or tried to buy recently, several of whom (Gowalla, Foursquare and Yelp) actually appeared in some form on stage with Facebook for Places’ debut. And yes, businesses can claim their “Place” via a Page as we and others mused months ago.
And what about long-term? Well you can better believe Facebook didn’t debut this to merely dip a toe in. Cross-platform geo-location ads, sacks of data on visitations and total domination of the “place” space is clearly a mid-term goal. Actual quote from Zuckerberg: “…certainly you can imagine these things in the future.”
We have been recently musing on the concept of “place” (including, “How Location Could Change The Future of Pages” last March) insofar as the web toys with tying itself to real-world geographies and the inherent opportunity and fear laden in those watching this wrestling match happen. But one thing we’ve always said about Facebook — their nearest, truest competitor in a spiritual sense was never MySpace, but Windows. They want to be the start, constant and end of the web for many people — the entry point in. And for many, they are. So now marry location ontop of that and you can begin to see how powerful they could become for the general public. For and to the general public, I should say. Being in Facebook, as a valid location that people actually visit in real life as well as “Like” could become the equivalent of having your name and address in the phone book in the 80′s and being a store that’s in the Mall. You want to be “seen” there- and now you can, by friends who aren’t even nearby to see you.
This, of course, begs the privacy question. But if we rest for a moment and assume that this is about who you allow to see your location, we can hopefully still talk about “place” and Facebook’s role in it in a rational fashion. I could choose to not tell a single friend where I was on Facebook and still find it incredibly valuable to know that a restaurant I hear about in Richmond, VA called “Strange Matter” has been visited by several of my friends, I could reference it in a Status Update and get real recommendations of what to eat there and tips such as bringing your own quarters for the vintage arcade games. 3/4 of that scenario already happened pre-Places, but now I could potentially verify that it’s a cool place that several of my less chatty friends have also patronized recently. It becomes an early indicator for me in a single search, allowing me then to pursue more info through other means (Yelp reviews, call-outs for other recommendations on Twitter, etc.).
Facebook Places doesn’t change the game as much as it does solidify it, make it whole and, likely, make it ubiquitous. What it does more than really innovate is fire a cannon in a battle previously fought by slingshots as it brings its half-a-billion active audience into the check-in game. But don’t be distracted by the battle to see whose or what type of check-in system wins. Instead, start to look ahead, with us, at what this will mean for the intersection of real and web location in the years ahead.
UPDATED August 19, 2010: Not that Facebook Places is available in #RVA just yet. #Fail #FacebookPlaces, #Fail.
One last note: Notice that Places logo? As TechCrunch points out: “It’s a 4. In a Square. Yeah.“
Yes, it’s that important… run, do not walk to read this article over at ReadWriteWeb:
Some of you may remember me crowing over augmented reality in the last year, and certainly everyone has heard my emphasis on the concept of place and location… as predicted, these are all converging and in some really remarkable (read: cool) ways. Take a look.
Do you have time to search the web everyday to find the newest and coolest social media tools? If the answer is no, then you have come to the right place. (& if the answer is yes, leave a comment with your favorites). I have searched the World Wide Web for social media information all week, and stumbled upon a few favorites along the way.
Here are my picks of the week:
Location, Location, Location
Facebook & Location:
This Tuesday, it was announced that Facebook will soon be adding location-based features to their site. Starting next month, the 400+ million Facebook users will be able to start seeing the current locations of their friends. Facebook will be announcing more details at the f8 conference at the end of April.
Twitter & Location:
Twitter is also putting more weight on geolocation. This Tuesday, Twitter turned on geolocation on their website for the first time. Twitter’s geolocation feature has been live through its API since last November, but this is the first it’s being integrated into the main Twitter website.
Foursquare & Location:
Foursquare is also upping their location-based app this week. They’ve revamped their iPhone app, announced new analytics tools for businesses, and has had their biggest check-in day ever. As foursquare tweeted on Thursday, “today is officially @Foursquare’s biggest day ever, Broke 275k checkins hours ago. Wow.”
Google App Marketplace:
This week, Google launched a new app store called Google App Marketplace. This new online store allows you to find, purchase, and use web-based applications easily through Google, and it allows developers to sell software directly to Google’s customers. View this video to learn more: http://bit.ly/99ZEVE
Today marks the kickoff of South By Southwest, a conference/festival in Texas that mixes interactive, music, and film. The interactive portion starts today and goes through March 16th. For those of you heading to SXSW, Mashable has The Complete Social Media Guide for SXSW 2010. For those of you not heading to Texas, you may want to check out your favorite social media sites this weekend to get the latest news and updates.
Twitter has finally, after an announcement earlier this fall, thrown the switch on an API allowing for Tweets to carry a tag for your specific location where the Tweet is sent from. Here’s the setting:
This means all sorts of potential uses, from even more specific community uses to a very robust search angle (ReadWrite Web does a great run-down here). For now we’ll have to watch as the first to bat roll out the feature in third-party applications – Twitter hasn’t actually devoted any new features on their own website toward the feature. In fact, even their more powerful search tool (based on Summize, R.I.P.) still bears the older location-search based on the city users name in their account.
One of my questions with the opt-in model is whether opt-In refers only to whether my Tweets communicate to the public where I am—in other words, does Twitter have a way to know where I am even if I’m not including it in my Tweets? Before last week they tweaked the privacy policies of Twitter users to nod to Geotagging:
“You may choose to note your location in your Tweets and in your Twitter profile. You can control your location information in your account settings.”
Seems clear that it truly is turned off from a Tweet standpoint- but is there an angle where you have not chosen to make information public but Twitter could still collect it? In Twitter’s policies there is an interesting line:
“Most of the information you provide to us is information you are asking us to make public.”
Huh. “Most.” Hmm.
A thorough description of Geotagging on Twitter exists on their Zendesk help forums here. In it one can find a few key phrases that aren’t as comforting:
“Anyone can see it: even if you delete it, we cannot guarantee it will be removed from every partner.”
Translation: Twitter has “partners” that will be caching (or already are) your Tweets. Note the language change here – they specifically refer to “apps” and “application developers” prior to this in the piece, but in this line they use the word “partner” explicitly. Given recent announcements by Microsoft, Google and just last week Yahoo, this bodes well for the longevity of Tweets being extended beyond the short shelf life they have now.
“Turning it off does not remove historical data. You can, however, remove all of your prior data.”
Translation: Twitter sees a distinction between “historical” data and “prior” data. This may seem confusing, but it’s an important point when you look at it in context of the “partner” comment—Twitter may not be the one archiving its history.
In the section, “How do I remove location information from a tweet?” they instruct:
There are two options for removing location data:
“Delete the tweet”
“Remove all of your location history by clicking the ‘delete all location data’ button on your settings page. This can take up to 30 minutes, but it will scrub all location information from prior tweets completely. It is good to note, however, that this does not guarantee the information will be removed from all 3rd party application’s copies of the data.”
Translation: If it takes 30 minutes, this means they have to scrub the location from each Tweet, insofar as a “Tweet” is an archived and distinct piece of data that has several moving parts. It does make me wonder whether this signals an opportunity to have discrete parts to Geotagging rather than just the binary on or off. For example, perhaps I just want to indicate the city rather than my exact location (and don’t want to go through the tedious process of updating my account profile every time)? This kind of nuance has been available with Brightkite for years now, it will be interesting to see where Twitter goes and how quickly others like Foursquare can adapt and incorporate.
Geolocation is certainly a good thing, and exactly what we knew Twitter had to add. Watch how fast Facebook starts pulling back the curtain on what they’re working on. But in the meantime: Does all this mean custom ads based on Geolocation? Tweeting habits crunched and analyzed by Twitter and “partners” for all sorts of advances? Lots of ways this could shake down. Grabm your popcorn folks and watch what plays out as the app developers scramble to let your holiday travel Tweets tell us you’ve gone over the river and through the woods…