Evolution of Google+: Brand Pages

9 Nov

I haven’t spent much time learning about, or really even thinking about Google+. The only reason I am starting to listen in on the conversation now is because of the launch of Google+ brand pages. Instead of throwing my two thoughts into the ring about how these brand pages are the “wild wild west” as Mashable put it, I want to pose the question about, not the effectiveness of the pages, but if they are going to be the catalyst that makes Google+ relevant in the minds of those on social networks. About 97.8% of the population, I’d guess. Obviously, Google and Facebook are trying to win the race to be the most elite social network. And yes, I am going to refer to Google as a social network. Google goes beyond its search engine and Gmail. Facebook has tried to corner out Gmail with its own version of email. Gchat in my mind is far more superior to Facebook chat. I’m not really sure of anyone who uses the features on Facebook to create groups in order to share projects. Gmail all the way for document sharing and projects.

Google+ launched in June of 2011, bringing together two not-so-successful ventures: Google Profiles and Google Buzz. Since June, I have not once contemplated creating a profile – which for this early adopter is not so normal. Many of my friends who did create profiles have abandoned them. Why create a profile for a network on which none of your friends exist? And hence, Google+ was quickly going the way of the two unsuccessful ventures it brought together. But upon reading about the new brand pages, my brain got to thinking that maybe these brand pages are exactly what Google+ needs to stay relevant and finally burst into the mainstream of the everyday social networker.

What I am confused about is how these Google+ brand pages are different from Facebook brand pages, especially with the launch of the new Facebook profile/Timeline platform. I question what outstanding factor is going to draw the user away from a Facebook page and decide to go straight to a Google+ brand page instead. Facebook is the premiere social network for both personal and professional use. I really cannot envision a way that Google can beat Facebook, unless they take a cue from J.K. Rowling and make apparition come to be true. (Absolutely nothing to do with social networking, but I dream of a day where I can apparate from place to place. This invention would be the one thing that could possibly make me abandon Facebook as I am addicted to stalking people. Don’t judge, you do it too. I just admit it.) On the other hand, if every company chooses to develop a Google+ page, maybe this will intrigue users to create profiles in order to view a brand page. It should be interesting to see if Google’s latest adaptation of Google+ is the kick in the butt the social network needs to be competitive.

Latest Jams, as sponsored by Spotify

1 Nov

It’s been coming for awhile. I was going to write an ode to Spotify but then my good ol’ pal Ramblings of a Redhead a.k.a. Jenna Glynn did just that. So instead, I am going to share some awesome music discoveries I have made because of Spotify. In this edition, I am going to share a playlist I’ve created entitled “WerkIt.” Not only cause it makes me want to jump and dance around like a flailing idiot, but because  I tend to turn it on at approximately 3:30 everyday to get me through the inevitable brick wall I will otherwise hit. So here they be:

1) Come N Go- Pitbull featuring Enrique Iglesias

Lets be real: Pitbull and Enrique as one is like an orgasm to your ears. Despite Pitbull failing to appear for his scheduled concert with Enrique in September. Thanks for nothin.

2) I like how it feels – Enrique Iglesias

After watching this music video, I have the strongest desire to drink loads of tequila with Enrique.

3) Young Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars

I like to still think I’m in college. And Wiz is from Pittsburgh – the real home of the black n’ yellow

4) Right There – Nicole Scherzinger ft. 50 Cent

I really have no other reason other than it makes me wanna dance

5) Fancy – Drake

Oh, you fancey huh? I can dig it.

6) Wonderland – Natalia Kills

Once again, we can thank @JennaGlynn for this one.

7) All the lovers – Kylie Minogue

Randomly clicked on some Kylie one day. And I can’t stop jamming.

8 ) Straight Up – Paula Abdul

You can thank J.Cole for reminding me of this blessed song. Cue the dancing around the apt with the roomie. #noshame

9) Focused – Wale

Reminds me to stay on track for the rest of the day……

NHL Proposed Divisional Realignment: Not A Joke

31 Oct

Before anyone starts to read this, I need to throw out a disclaimer: this post is an all out rant. A full on vent is about to occur. Enjoy.

This morning, I happily logged onto The Pensblog. Always a solid if you’re looking for some laughs and intake of a little man-humor. Little did I know what lay ahead. Yes, I knew the Pens lost against the Leafs on Saturday night. Whatever. Its Oct. 31, shit’s not gonna hit the fan yet. Besides, the Steelers hammered the Pats on Sunday, so nothing could bring me down…until, I scroll down the page and find “Don’t know much about geography.” Seems harmless, right? Somewhat intriguing even, I myself am not a geography whiz kid. I click and discover that the NHL may or may not be planning a division realignment. Cue the uneasy butterflies in my stomach. No biggie yet, a little change can’t be that bad. The league realigned for a bit in the 90s and then got their heads out of their butts and reverted in ‘98. Note: the changes occurred the year after the Pens got back-to-back Cups in ’91 and’92. GLORY. Now, I don’t mind change when it comes to switching it up from a hazelnut latte to a toffee nut black eye for my morning coffee. Or switching Sunday brunch spots. But when it comes to messing with my favorite sport of all time, I just can’t handle – especially if in my opinion the switch severely screws my team over.  As my brother so eloquently stated “Literally no one gets shafted but the penguins.”

Personally, I love our current division. We’ve got some epically great rivalries goin’ on. Engaging in trash talk with some filthy flyers or taking on the crapitals is an all-time favorite activity. Challenge me in a Sid vs. Ovie or Geno vs. Ovie debate any day, I will bring it. In fact, these heated debates are one of the reasons I love this sport. Now, I know with a realignment these games aren’t disappearing, there are just less of them. But with the new divisions, these games just won’t be the same. Half of the battle will be gone. The traditions that I have grown up with, the league that I have come to know and love cannot just take away these debates. The points race against the flyers and the caps really drives my soul. Looking at the new divisions, the only legit rivalry that I can still rock out to is Detroit. And I am not ashamed to admit, Detroit is the only team that scares the bejesus out of me. BAD BAD memories. Fully blame 2008 and my post Stanley cup loss tequila induced state.

Owned.

I can thank The Pensblog for raising a solid counterargument, “This realignment is all about geography and getting an increase in television ratings almost league-wide.” Creating more hockey fans is an argument that I find hard to smash as a loud and proud hockey apologist. But then again, LOOK AT THE PENS PROPOSED DIVISION.

In the end, all I can say is that I am legitimately jealous of the proposed Atlantic division. The Flyers, Caps, Rangers, and the Devils – my favorite teams to face off against. And honestly I am just not mentally prepared to consistently face the Wings in the first round every year. To be brutally honest, the Pens have issues when it comes to facing off with “Hockeytown.” (And yes, I have a solid argument as to why Detroit is not Hockeytown) BRING IT.

 

Stuck in a Rut? Stay Creative.

24 Oct

I personally think #9 and #25 work best.

 

 

Phantom Fans: Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers can be bought

3 Oct

Recently a friend told me about a new trend in the digital marketing and social media world: buying online fans to increase brand popularity. For some odd reason, this idea completely shocked me. Apparently, I am still naive enough to believe in authenticity and transparency. Silly me. In an industry that is critically judged for duplicity, spinning the truth, and lets face it, harsher commentary, do we really need to feed more fuel to the fire. It becomes increasingly more difficult to defend my job when others do exactly what we are criticized for. So this latest trend more than bothers me, it upsets me to the nth degree.

Here’s the background story: my friend (who shall remain nameless and so shall her employer/clients) works hard to execute and maintain social media and online marketing strategies for musician clients. Putting it extremely simply this friend’s job is to create Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts and do whatever it takes to get fans, likes, and views. All of this work is done organically- honestly executed by creating original content. But recently, this work has come under fire. It’s not an easy job – for the smaller acts, most don’t understand that you CANNOT create a viral video. So when I found out that my friend’s boss was buying fans, likes, and views, I was speechless. And this smaller marketing company is not alone. I was informed that this is a practice that all the major record labels, studios, and brands take part in. Companies are hired to essentially hack into Facebook and Twitter accounts and follow brands, artists and more. These fans are bought in order to make the public believe that a brand’s popularity and online presence is greater than it is in reality.

What really incenses me is that these brands can get actual fans and views by creating stimulating, interesting and organic content that people actually wanted to consume. I am not saying that this is an easy job because it is certainly not as easy as purchasing phantom fans. But completely fabricating an audience is just not acceptable. It is these acts that allow commentators to harshly criticize what advertisers, marketers and pr professionals do every day. And why a vast majority spend an unfortunate amount of time defending the profession.

Lastly, a few of the clients my friend worked for had no idea that a great amount of their online followers were purchased. The clients honestly believed that they were gaining hundreds of fans a week by the published content. This would have been great until the accounts started loosing fans because people were actually not interested in the content and in reality, had never signed up to receive it. Instead of confessing to the clients what the boss had done, my friend’s work came under fire and she had to scramble for excuses as to why people where not sticking around. In my mind not only is this completely unethical but the idea of phantom fans is completely absurd. It is the easy way out. Stop being lazy. Get your creative juices flowing. Take the time to work on great ideas that people will find compelling. Not only will the end result be authentic, but the work will be rewarded with tangible results.

In my mind, Phantom Fans get a giant thumbs down.

Free Agents: The Latest Spindustry?

22 Sep

The weather has suddenly dropped. Pumpkin flavored items are everywhere. (HUZZAH! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back. Only a matter of time until the new Starbucks red cup.Groupon is going insane for apple picking specials. What does this mean? Fall premieres – exciting evenings full of crappy and wonderful television. One show that has caught my eye and would like to point out on this “communications” based blog is NBC‘s new show “Free Agents.

As soon as I learned that another PR show was getting thrown into the mix, I groaned. I was skeptical and with reason, I tell you. Even though this foray was into scripted programming, I had my doubts  - it’s reality series counterparts have made me sick to my stomach.Spindustry“, really E!, how could you? 

Naturally because this is a half hour sitcom on Wednesday nights (rival network ABC has solid comedy programming, “Modern Family” anyone?) the show is less about PR and more about character relationships and personal troubles. Free Agents stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as the lead actors. Both play the comedy well and I found their interactions to be believable. Neither played their characters over the top which I find to be a problem when it comes to sitcoms. But back to the PR aspect. In the pilot episode, the writers highlighted more of the negative aspects of the industry. Look at lines said by the agency principal during a morning meeting “How do we spin this? complete denial or blame someone else?” You can’t place too much fault on the writer’s for taking the cheap chots – it’s what people know and obviously elicits a chuckle. Another moment is during a brainstorm when an account executive states “PR BASICS: ephasive the positivies, get em out front, bury the negatives.” It’s these ideas that gets the industry in trouble.

What I like about “Free Agents” are the finer details the show took to get right. While the show highlights a hustling office environment, the set is pretty standard of what larger agencies look like today: hip and modern. They took the time to use a little jargon and tech terms! The dialogue is smartly written, somehow blending together comedy with a sometimes serious tone.

All in all, “Free Agents” while not being a PR focused show contains more reality than other PR-centric shows of the past. Did anyone else catch the pilot? If not, tune in Wednesdays at 8:30 on NBC.  And no, NBC did not pay me to write that. 

NHL New Social Media Policy: Pros vs Cons

15 Sep nhl-twitter

As of yesterday, the NHL has decided to implement a new social media policy. This new policy regulates when and what players tweet/Facebook and beyond. The league’s new policy forbids players from using social media before, during and after games, during practice and during all other team obligations. Any use of such applications will result in an undisclosed punishment. For the NHL’s statement click here.

Now that I’ve provided a brief outline of the new policy, allow me to tell you readers how frustrated I am with the policies that the NHL, NBA, and MLB have decided to follow. Before you think that I am angry that I won’t be able to see raunchy locker room pics of my favorite boys, let me tell you that I could care less about that. Players and teams operating social media sites give fans a unique look into team life and the chance to interact one on one with league superstars and front office people. In my opinion, the main focus of social media is not about achieving a sales or marketing goal, but providing opportunities for the brand or company to create an authentic voice and show consumers/fans that they care about opinions and their individual voices. The fact that major sports leagues feel that they can control not so much the content, but when such content is distributed infuriates me. I am not going to get into a freedom of speech argument because I can feel all of the eye rolls as I write this.

On the other hand, the NHL is correct in implementing some guidelines. In today’s digital world, it is increasingly hard enough to control what information is published online. It is almost impossible to control the thoughts that any one individual can tweet, blog or update. A solid social media strategy is imperative to success.  In fact, I don’t believe that players should tweet updates about player’s game status’, strategies, etc. If you want to win, you get keep some secrets to yourself.

As far as impacting the players who tweet, the new policy shouldn’t actually change too much. Except for a few minor exceptions, most players use social media as a platform to promote their own brands or poke fun and react to news from the league. Personally, I love to follow current Phoenix Coyote Paul Bissonnette (a former Penguin), @BizNasty2point0 and Pens fan favorite Max Talbot, @Max25talbot. Mr. BizNasty tweeted “People asking about NHL’s new policy on Twitter. I think its good. I don’t even play much and I don’t tweet on game days. Plenty of off days.”

What do you fine readers think about not only the new NHL policy but social media policies in general?

Share your favorite athletes to follow on Twitter!

A little shoutout: If you want to read a hilarious Penguins based blog, go to The Pensblog and follow @Pensblog. One of the best hockey blogs out there (in the opinion of a Pens fan.)

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