Monthly Archives: October 2011

Technology, Social Media and Higher Education

Higher Education as we know it has changed some over the years but not drastically. I cannot say the same for technology and the people using technology, both of which have change so much in such a short period of time.  I am one that embraced the Internet wave in the 90’s and I am totally riding this new technology wave that we are experiencing currently.  To even call it a technology wave is minimizing it’s impact on the world.

Social Media has literally taken us by storm and has changed how we communicate, engage with others and even how we do business. It has become such an essential part of our lives in such a short span of time.  I love the changes and how its given us the ability to interact with so many people from all over the world.  I have learned so much from some of the people that I interact with on a daily basis from so many different countries.

A huge part of Social Media has been learning, that’s why the natural progression of social media usage should move into education. The possibilities and benefits of Social Media usage in all classrooms are almost endless, but movement into a college and university setting is almost essential for the growth of student education.

So many Universities are recognizing the benefits of a more technology driven education system by adopting online education, but I have yet to hear of Social Media being used as a complement to the curriculum. I would love to see more Social Media use by professors to open the door of communication with students.  New students are totally engrossed in technology, social media and most are constantly glued to their mobile device. This is why it is almost essential that colleges and universities start to embrace and integrate these technologies into their teaching methodologies.  It could act to open the door of communication with students, extend the reach of the professor and ultimately to drag some higher education establishments out of the dark ages.

A few easy ways that college professors could integrate social media:

  • Create a Facebook Page for your class: This could be used to post essential information about the class, the expectations etc. It would allow instant interaction between student and professor.
  • Create a Facebook Group as well: This could act as an avenue for students to talk, engage and get to know one another.  Students could also ask questions, gain feedback and hold discussions about coursework, projects and other expectations.
  • Create a Blog for your class: The blog could have the class syllabus, course outline, grading procedures etc.  This is great because students are mobile and this would be a great channel for students to log in and find out essential information about the class right from their mobile device.  There could even be posts that include research tips, reading materials etc.
  • Add QR Codes to the mix as well!
These few step could allow students that are more mobile to always have access to essential information needed to help them succeed in this increasingly technology focused world.    I would love to know your thoughts, opinions, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. Feel free to post your opinion here, catch me on Twitter or post your question directly to my Facebook Wall.
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#Klout and Others: #Gamification and Scoring YOUR Social Media Worth

Everyone that has a business has their own individual agenda or game plan that they have modeled their business around. In an traditional and non Social Media related industry this would be considered a business plan or marketing plan.  This is honestly the norm, whether you select to go with creation of a business plan by way of three words on a bar napkin or a comprehensive 20 page plan created by a professional. Internet Marketing and or Social Media businesses are no different, there has to be a plan in order for movement or business to progress in a strategic manner. That’s pretty much the only reason to create a bar napkin or traditional business plan.

The creation of Anise Smith Marketing, the New Media Marketing consulting company, similarly has created a business plan and branded itself accordingly.   One of the goals of this Internet Marketing driven business has been to use a variety of traditional media channels and merge these channels with New Media Marketing techniques.  The business plan started and evolved while working in a traditional marketing capacity and attending Full Sail Universities Internet Marketing Masters Degree Program.  The strategy was to create a company that selected different avenues of utilizing traditional, print, web and marketing products to then merged those with QR Codes, iFrame Pages, Mobile Web, Virtual Worlds, Analytics and more. There are various strategies that are needed to continue the successful journey, this includes lots of tweaks, additions and subtractions to traditional and New Media Marketing platforms.   Due to the ability to offer such a wide range of services,  I’ve never considered it as a purely Social Media driven company but more of a company on the leading edge of Internet Marketing that uses Social Media as one of its optimized channel to engage friends, followers, potential and current clients.  Ultimately, as any business the goal is to provide products and services for clients while increasing company revenue. The bottom line is that most businesses are driven by sales and create goals to increase sales.

So, just as any other, businesses that measure Social Media based on their analytic selection have also created a platform and business model in which to brand their organization. These businesses created a platform just as any other and this platform is based on what suits the needs of their organization, for growth and increased sales.

Social Media as a tool for Sales and Marketing is relatively new as compared to some of the more traditional sales and marketing techniques. Since this tool is so new there has been a challenge for traditionalist to measure the ROI, effectiveness and all the analytics used to measure the usefulness of any platform.  This is one of the biggest hurdles to over come for companies interested in using social media and those that promote the use of social media as an effective business, sales and marketing tool.

Enter Empire Avenue and Klout both of which use algorithms to perform back-end calculations of the effectiveness of a social platform and then assign scores accordingly.  But wait…It’s really not as simple as it sounds because there is a human element to calculating, even with the use of algorithms. One has to determine what to measure, how to measure, etcetera and this is the part where a human bias enters the picture or algorithm as it were.  So one person or team of individuals determine which social media platforms are of importance to an undetermined amount of people? How can that be?  How can someone or team of individuals determine which social media platform is more important than another?  Further how can a person or team determine which social media platform is more relevant to myself, company and for my followers?  Suppose I gain new followers?  Is the same pre-formated cookie cutter algorithm still applied?  How is it that, one algorithm or set of algorithms can be assigned in a sweeping social media gesture that is inclusive to so many people? These people, I’m sure  have so many different variables in regard to social media content, followers and any number of individual and unique circumstances that would apply only to them and their unique business presence.  So we have a team of people with individual beliefs probably creating an algorithm based on a generalized set of beliefs about social media and creating a number based on those beliefs.  Then moving forward with assigning a number/score or set of numbers as a way to categorize the importance of another persons social media importance. Flawed people ( as we all are by nature) creating a flawed algorithm  producing flawed numerical results.

Ultimately, the assignment of an algorithm to social media activity and those that are in the business of doing so are promoting their business based on their business plan. Additionally these companies are filling the need of marketing traditionalist and industries that have a need to measure things related to social media.

The Take away: No one person or team of people can determine the importance of a companies marketing methods by way of social media, as it is always changing and evolving. Further, value, worth and/or importance in regard to social media cannot be based on a number created by a person or team of people that know nothing of you, your company or followers.

In a nutshell, look at the assigned numbers if you have to,  but I say just go for the Perks.

As usual I welcome any comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. So feel free to leave a comment here, catch me on Twitter or post directly to my Facebook page.

How the Internet Has Changed Education: Where’s #FSIMMS?

When I attended College to get my Bachelors Degree ( May of 2000)  there were very few options in the way of online and correspondence courses. You attended class or you had a damn good reason to present to counselors if you could not attend. When wrapping up my Bachelors degree I had a damn good reason, so I had the option of going with a correspondence curriculum for a few months. That was BEYOND sweet!

Ten years later, I returned to school to get my Masters and boy had things changed. Universities were heavily online, using SEO, SEM and Ads to gain your attention in search. Since graduating in July of 2010, some amazing changes in technology have come about and this has spilled over to Colleges and Universities. Now Colleges have a huge online presence, they are on Facebook and Tweeting their messages. Boy how things have changed in just a few years.

Take a look at some of the Colleges and Universities that are really at the top of their Social Media Game. I am really surprised that my Alumni, Full Sail University did not make the list of Social Media heavy hitters

Schools That Rule the Web
Created by: Best Education Sites

WHY JUST Social Media and NOT Internet Marketing?

Social Media for business is relatively new in comparison to other avenues in the  Marketing Industry. Recently, I started to think about the people that really get it, I mean that really truly GET the purpose of Social Media as it pertains to business and the many people that still don’t.  As I thought of this I realized that I may be thinking of Social Media on a larger scale than I should. Once I started to think about things in those terms I then realized that Social Media is just a small part of what the Internet is about in terms of marketing a business. Further, what I do is beyond JUST SOCIAL MEDIA.

Social Media is just one small sliver of the New Media Marketing Pie. So, I started to really think about limiting oneself to just Social Media and companies that have limited themselves to JUST Social Media with their self proclaimed Social Media Gurus, Magicians and such. One word? Why?

The Internet is a HUGE place with limitless potential if one choses NOT to limit themselves.  From a business perspective pushing though boundaries is what sets a business apart from its competitors . So in thinking in terms of marketing a business why just Social Media, why NOT push a bit farther to Social Media Optimization. Then go for the gusto with Internet Marketing? Why should companies NOT consider going beyond the limitations of Social Media with the  gurus that push status updates and Tweets? Why not push the boundaries of what is conventional?

In moving past JUST SOCIAL MEDIA one must be cognizant of the choices available, know what each choice involves and select accordingly.

In its most basic form:

  • Social Media is using a variety of channels to engage with people.
  • Social Media Optimization is creating content which allows social media channels to work together. It includes the use of various channels to drive targeted traffic. Social Media Optimization is similar to Search Engine Optimization except the channels used are social media oriented instead of search oriented.  These channels are Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Video, Social Book marketing, Curation, Mobile Marketing, RSS Feeds and more. These channels are then used to optimize content to maximize online business and brand exposure.
  • Internet Marketing is taking a variety of different online channels and platforms such as social media, e-commerce, SEO, SMM, Affiliate Marketing, Video Marketing, eMail Marketing, Banner Ads, Websites, Mobile Marketing and more to create a complete online presence and marketing strategy.
I say again, WHY JUST SOCIAL MEDIA?

Social Media Marketing: Exposure, Brand Awareness & Increased Sales

As a small business owner and Internet Marketer with a Masters Degree in Internet Marketing the goals for the business is EXPOSURE, BRAND AWARENESS & INCREASED SALES.  When starting the business after a few failed attempts at effective marketing I knew that there had to be a different route planned for this venture. So setting off in a different direction by taking the skills learned along the way in combination with the cutting edge Internet Marketing Strategies learned while in one of the most cutting edge technology focused Universities in the country, the journey started.

 

Any person in business now understands that things have changed drastically in terms of business exposure, advertising and marketing.  Due to Social Media marketing, business will never be the same. The goals are still to increase exposure, brand awareness and sales. However the methodology behind accomplishing these goals have changed. Most importantly they have changed drastically within the last year due to the popularity of social media.

 

At one time, just a short while ago it was enough to have a website and apply SEO & SEM strategy. These methods are no longer enough. This is primary due to search and the integration of social media that have pushed its way into search.  So now we are looking at a merging of sorts, which involves Search Engine Optimization and Social Media to create Social Media Optimization.  SMO or Social Media Optimization is the art of taking aspects of traditional SEO and Social Media to optimize the entire online presence.  This is my marketing strategy and it rocks for my company.

 

This strategy is very close to being perfect and it has done well by the company, in allowing amazing brand exposure for the business.  Exposure continues to come up in conversation because that is the goal of any business. Companies can offer the most amazing services or products available and if there is no exposure it is considered a FAIL. This is especially important to a new business.

 

Social Media has opened the door to so many users, some recreational, some totally business and some a mixture of the two.  Social Media goals for businesses and individuals vary drastically. Individuals involved with social media for recreation usage have very different needs, as there is nothing riding on the outcome of their social media exposure. This is a direct contrast to the goals of business social media exposure. If individuals do not get exposure for themselves, there is no issue; however, if businesses do not meet their goals of effective exposure this could lead to the demise of a business.

 

Should companies that have businesses driven upon a high level of exposure be judged the same as an individual? In Social Media oriented industries, companies that push their message are marketing their company, which is the goal of any organization that would like to enjoy any measure of success. On the other hand people that push a message of useless content, may be viewed differently. How can the usage of social media that drives a company with the goal of increasing sales be view the same as an individual pushing useless content to gain reward?

 

The Take away:

 

The ability for any business to grow is contingent upon many factors, none of which include minimizing brand exposure, strangling the social media optimization process or silencing brand evangelist.  EXPOSURE, BRAND AWARENESS AND INCREASED SALES. 

College: The Facebook Effect

Facebook has effected practically every avenue  and in every industry. As an Internet Marketer I think of how it has effected my life, however: it may very well have effected every aspect of everyones life and every industry.

Younger people have been touched more than ever because for some Facebook is ALL they know. They’ve literally grown up in the Facebook Era. So take a look at the Infographic below and it will give you an idea of how college kids are effected by Facebook.

Facebook University
Created by: Online PhD

Texting and its Effect on Technology

 

Mobile technology has really changed how we communicate. At one time we had to actually sit in our homes, attached to a wall to have a discussion on a landline. However, now due to amazing advancement this is no longer the case, we are literally mobile while we are having our discussions. This has opened the door to so many other things that can be done with mobile devices.

 

Mobile devices started with giving us an avenue to be mobile while having discussions but has since turned into so much more. Mobile phones are not just for discussion anymore the evolution has taken place and this technology is still evolving.  We now use mobile phones for so many things and discussion are just one of them.

 

In addition to talking on Mobile devices, they are used to scan QR Codes, NFC codes and texting. Using mobile devices for texting is HUGE and has really taken communication to another level. Take a look at how Texting has changed our lives. in the Infographic Below.

 

Planet Text
Created by: MBA Online

Why You Should Host Your Own Blog

I have been a very strong and vocal advocate of utilizing different blogging formats and using the blogging format which best suits ones needs.  I admit to being a bit of a WordPress Basher in the past. A friend always advised that once I really got into WordPress more that I would really love it. I must confess that Tami of Aries Graphic Design was indeed correct.

 

I currently have quite a few blogs and I am familiar with working with pretty much all of the popular blogging formats.  I was very comfortable with my use of Posterous with as my company website, another  Posterous blog used for QR Code Marketing and my Technology, focused blog used on Tumblr. Although I used these blogging formats I made sure I always attached my own domain.  I had a pretty decent following on these blogs with pretty good post views as well.   Ultimately, these formats worked well.  Did you notice that I spoke in the past tense?

 

Recently Posterous decided to totally change their format from basic and easy to use blogging format to something that they described as Spaces. Umm #FAIL, yes I said it FAIL!!!!!  My big question is Why?  As owners of Posterous, do you wake up one day and think, ” OH wow, my blogging platform is really easy to use, because that’s what I based it on..so let me just screw everything up and make the user interface more difficult to use. ” Did I say FAIL?

 

Well, this created quite a dilemma for me as I had either try to figure out the ridiculous new interface from Posterous or kick some rocks on the entire platform.  I went with the kick some rocks option and selected to move my blog to wordpress because quite frankly I just didn’t like the direction that Posterous was moving in. This may be fine for some but it just did not fit my needs for what I was using it for. I needed a blogging format not a whatever the hell they were doing format.

 

Right before this disruption with Posterous I realized that I needed to create a totally new blog that was a comprehensive and ecommerce driven blog on QR Codes. I immediately realized that I needed a blogging format that had more to offer than Posterous and Tumblr so I created a self hosted WordPress site.  The web presence that I was going for really needed a powerful platform and WordPress was it. So through setting up, the hard way mind you, getting my template and adding my plugins I realized the benefits of this powerful format.  Soon after Posterous changed and I fully realized the benefits of having my primary blog self hosted on WordPress.

 

Due to the changes of Posterous I was almost forced to delve deeper into WordPress.com in addition to WordPress.org. So for me both of these platforms, WordPress hosted and self hosted offered a great deal more flexibility than the new format of Posterous.  So ultimately I learned the hard way the benefits of having control of my own content and going with a more stable blogging format.

 

Officially jumping on the WordPress Bandwagon.

 

 

 

 

Technology Patents vs Technology Trolls

 

I am a huge advocate of the growth of technology and I am excited to see what’s new and hot in the industry.  There seems to be something new and hot all the time and that is huge, as it allows us to advance into areas that were once considered future technologies. This is huge, especially for a techie like myself.

As we advance so does crazy litigation around every technological growth spurt, or so it seems anymore.  It’s as if we cannot go a day without hearing about another company that is being sued, has plans to sue or is settling a lawsuit in regard to a technology, copyright or patent issues.  Is this just something that goes with the territory? Will this hinder the growth of future technological advancements?  Are these lawsuits outrageous or are they justified?

Take a look at Infographic below to give you an idea of how pervasive these issues have become.

 

Patents
Created by: MBA Online

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