The devastation in Oklahoma yesterday is almost unimaginable. I’ve lived through this before, and even wrote about it. Oklahoman’s are amazing people. Any time tragedy strikes, we rise up and take action. It’s a great feeling to know so many people have my back if the need calls.
Many of my readers ask: How can I help? Non perishable donations are always great, but oftentimes monetary donations can be used for the weeks and months to come when needed the most. Here’s a list of current organizations you can donate to:
(As of May 21st, 9am)
- American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation or visit Red Cross Central & Western Ok
- Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10 to Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma or visit their website for online donations here.
- Salvation Army: Text STORM to 80888 to make $10 donation or visit the Salvation Army website.
- Feed the Children: Click here for their website or drop off donations at the KOCO station located at 1300 E Britton Road today until 4pm today or at their distribution center 29 N. McCormick Ave in OKC.
- Catholic Charities OK: Visit https://ccokc.ejoinme.org/?tabid=406485 to donate to the OK chapter
- Central Oklahoma Humane Society: Donate online at http://www.okhumane.org/ or drop off donations at 7500 N. Western Ave. Oklahoma City
- Bella Foundation: Donate online: http://www.thebellafoundation.org/
- The Oklahoma Blood Institute will need donations from now THROUGH JULY. Find a location here: https://www.yourbloodinstitute.org/donor/schedules/geo
- People’s Church is taking donations for storm victims at both their Midwest City and Oklahoma City campus. More information at www.peopleschurch.tv/storms
A hashtag is a word or a phrase following the # symbol without spaces. Hashtags were created by Chris Messina, now a Google employee, on Twitter in August 2007. Chris was searching for a way to group conversations with his followers on Twitter. Today, Twitter and other social media platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, have fully integrated the hashtag and it’s the easiest way to search for and find out what Twitter users are currently talking about.
While the hashtag feature has been a driving force behind Twitter’s popularity, it’s also been the cause of a $50 million lawsuit against Twitter. In October 2012, a French court ordered Twitter to reveal specific online users tweeting anti-Semitic hashtags and the social media giant refused. Following the refusal, the Union of Jewish French Students filed the $50 million lawsuit on March 20. There are French laws forbidding hate speech in any forum. Twitter contends that it’s an American based company abiding by American laws and policies.
Hashtags have the power to put posts in front of the people who will care about them. When utilized and circulated corrected, hashtags can be a powerful force in the community. The hashtag’s true power is its ability to direct millions of eyes to one conversation. Then, allow people to interact with the conversation and spread it even further.
In March, an Oklahoma City family used Twitter and a hashtag to rally community support behind an 18-year-old cancer patient denied life saving treatment by her insurance company. The hashtag #ApproveLorelei went viral in the community and was tweeted out hundred of times by Oklahoma residents. This event compelled the insurance company to reverse their decision within 24 hours.
Recently, Facebook announced plans to possibly integrate the hashtag into its social universe. Facebook already allows users to tag themselves with people at specific places, but public posts aren’t currently indexed by keyword the way the hashtag does. Hashtags could even be searchable with Graph Search.
Brands are starting to take hashtags more seriously and integrate them into their social media strategy. More businesses need to get on board. In the study by RadiumOne, 43% of respondents use hashtags to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest. During the Super Bowl, Hyundai implemented a hashtag campaign to drive social media traffic to a video advertisement. Of those visitors, 70% of the consumers that clicked on the ad viewed the full video.
To be effective, hashtags have to simply reflect your existing branding. They have to be easily memorable and integrated into marketing material. People need to know the specific phrasing to include in a post. If the hashtag isn’t phrased or spelled correctly, it won’t be added to the larger conversation. Use your hashtag as an opportunity to make statement or bring some appropriate levity to a campaign or an event. Allow your supporters or customers to spread your messages to all of their followers.
Connecting with your audience has evolved so much over the past decade. When the right people promote posts and they go viral, they can circulate across the world in minutes. Advertisers are still struggling to invest in word of mouth advertising and harness the power of influential community members.
With digital marketing budgets on the rise, it’s more important than ever to use every resource to reach as many people as possible.
Compliments of MBA in Marketing, a new info graphic may provide the insight advertisers need to finally get onboard with social influencers. This info graphic shows how social media influencers impact purchasing behaviors amongst peers.
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when Facebook first started, the news feed was filled with mostly text and now it’s nearly 50% photos and visual content.
Today reporters and social media fans around the world got a glimpse of Facebook’s updated news feed design at a press conference at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The new design has bigger images and places more emphasis on visual content, which is what Facebook thinks users want their profiles to center around.
Limited rollout starts on the web today. Users can join a wait list here and could be selected to try the changes before they’re launched for the masses. A broader audience may see the changes in the next few weeks.
A Personalized Newspaper
Zuckerberg described the new design as a personal newspaper. Users will now have a Photos Feed showing every single photo friends are posting in chronological order. Another feed addition is the Following Feed. On the Following Feed users will see all the posts from pages and public figures they like on Facebook in chronological order. Local businesses, large brands and celebrities will be included on this feed.
Links will change to make articles and attachments more prominent and noticeable on profiles. Publishers logos will be visibly included on posted links. When someone become friends with someone else, the new design will show a bigger profile photo and show the friends users have in common included on their feed.
Site navigation will change in this redesign. Calling it Global Navigation, they’ll allow users to go through one page to another without having to go back to the homepage. Also, users can choose the feed they want to view from a drop down switcher menu at the top of the page.
Facebook product design manager Julie Zhou emphasized the need to rid the news feed of clutter. Depending on the things and pages you’ve liked on Facebook in the past, they want to show you trending articles that are most relevant to you.
Zuckerberg told reporters in a Q&A session after the presentation, “I think it’s almost 60 percent of people who use Facebook come back every day.” Facebook wants to build on these stellar numbers because the result is more monetary value for the company.
Another big focus of the presentation was mobile consistency. The company is finally combating that users want Facebook to look and feel the same on every format: PC, tablet and mobile. It’s important for Facebook designers to provide a platform that publishers and brands can know how their content will look across all screens.
Tablet and phone navigation won’t change much, but instead the desktop version was designed with mobile in mind. Facebook knows the numbers. Web traffic is moving to mobile. Mobile traffic is predicted to beat desktop traffic in a few years. This design seems to have been created with that prediction in mind.
The Questions and Concerns
Quite a few questions remain after this announcement.
What about Edgerank? Edgerank is the ranking algorithm Facebook used to determine what updates users would see in the past. Facebook said they aren’t changing anything about the ranking algorithm. From the presentation, the new feeds will feature posts in chronological order. So, at this point there’s a disconnect.
How will the new design impact ads? Zhou said the redesign will make ads richer like everything else. There has to be a monetary incentive to this redesign. The new news feed will allow for larger, more visual brand advertsing that companies should enjoy. Also, users should be able to see all your brand’s updates in the Following Feed, if they choose to look at it… I’m concerned this change could negatively impact how brand’s interact with customers on Facebook, but we’ll only know for sure after we can experiment with it ourselves.
Check back with Smirk in the coming weeks for more information on how Facebook’s news feed redesign might impact how your brand reaches its audience.
There were some interesting developments and milestones reached in social media this week.
Facebook is expected to announce plans to change its large, single column news feed. This would be the first major change to the news feed design in seven years. Rumor has it Facebook will expand to multiple feeds and feature some sort of Instagram and Spotify integration. The new design could feature a feed for photo, music, and another feed featuring only news, videos and app sharing.
We’ll know more about this development tomorrow after Facebook’s big planned press event. Stay tuned for more information. One billion is the magic number this week.
LinkedIn reached one billion Endorsements this week.
The feature was launched in September 2012. Users can vouch for other user’s specific skills with only the click of a button. It was created to encourage more profile interaction and it’s accomplished that. However, it remains to be determined if these quick Endorsements have any positive impact on your digital professional presence. Personally, I’m not convinced a classmate vouching for your public speaking skills, without a formal recommendation, will result in your speedy employment.
Sesame Street’s latest video starring Count von Count, posted today, is titled “Counting the ‘You’s in YouTube.” One of the channel’s most popular videos, “Elmo’s Song,” has over 87 million views. YouTube is frequently banned in school environments, but this milestone makes a significant statement about YouTube’s educational possibilities.
Twitter announced it will discontinue its mobile apps, discontinue Facebook integration in May and focus more on its web-based version.
The Twitter-owned TweetDeck will be removed from app stores by early May and will stop functioning shortly after that. TweetDeck’s team say the decision reflects where the majority of their users are using their product. Recently, Twitter’s mobile app added major features including photo filters, revamped user profiles and an advanced search. TweetDeck’s features fill some users needs and if the mobile app isn’t cutting it, why not redesign for better functionality? Instead, Twitter’s content to forfeit those users who will either go to their Twitter app or one of their competitors. Tumblr mobile users will see ads soon.
Companies will be able to promote their posts to mobile app users within the next three months. The ads will mirror ones added to the website format months ago. Users and advertisers can promote content for as little as $1 a post.
Tumblr’s mobile users have quadrupled in the past six months and are closely approaching the amount of users on its website. Tumblr has a monthly audience of more than 170 million. With this new development, Tumblr hopes to turn its first annual profit in 2013.
Google+ launched a redesign of profiles and pages today in attempt to steal some of Facebook’s thunder. New feature include a “Local Reviews” tab, larger cover photos with a better aspect ratio and an easier way to edit information in the “About” tab. We’re expecting more features to be unveiled in coming weeks.
Stay tuned on this development. To summarize this week’s developments, social media continues its massive growth and platforms strive to stay relevant and exciting as they grow. What do you think about these developments? Do you think these redesigns are exciting or unneccessary?
While working on a client project together, we reached out to our great friends at S Design Inc., suggesting their team tackle the Wild West world of social media graphic sizing.
There are a few social media icon sizing guides floating around the web, but nothing really definitive, that we can pass along to clients and friends who want to make sure their Facebook cover looks perfect and their YouTube icon is legible.
So here they are, social media graphic sizing templates for Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. Again, big thanks to S Design.
If you are interested in learning more about social media, branding and all aspects of marketing, considering joining S Design, Smirk New Media and other area experts at the M3: Marketing Minds Meet Conference, March 13 in Oklahoma City. Click here for more information and to register
Less than three weeks ago, Twitter launched its newest project titled “Vine” – a video sharing service that allows users to attach short, 6-second clips of video with sound to their tweets or post as a stand alone video on the Vine platform.
Many believe Twitter purchased Vine to try and compete with the popular Instagram app, which was sold to Facebook last year. Since the buyout, Instagram has been integrated into Facebook so pics can be easily posted to your page, but has conversely removed certain viewing capabilities on Twitter – causing many Twitter fans to look for alternative image sharing apps. Within 24 hours of the launch of Vine, it became the Number 1 app in Apple’s iTunes App Store under social sharing apps.
Vine is easy to use and no editing is required like more complicated video apps, however, Vine has some serious challenges ahead.
Yesterday, technology industry news site TechCrunch reported that Apple has changed the age rating on this new app to 17+ from its initial 12+ rating. Why the change, you ask? Porn.
Shortly after the launch of Vine, users began complaining about inappropriate clips being posted. Twitter and Vine quickly sprang into action and began censoring searches containing graphic terms, as well as the ability to block users. The issue became really problematic when human error promoted a Vine clip to an Editor’s Pick that contained hardcore porn.
So what have we learned from all of this? First, the change in rating to 17+ is appropriate. Until Vine can do some thorough vetting of its users and weed out most of the inappropriate content, it’s best not to let your 14 year old download the app. Second, pay attention to new apps. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an app called SnapChat that I felt parents should know about (read about it here). The more you know about these apps and what they are being used for, the better prepared you are as a parent.
Happy Fat Tuesday All,
Successful social media platforms have taught us complacency is digital death. I could name some names, but I probably don’t need to.
The most popular platforms are constantly evolving and striving to improve. These changes usually initiate users to verbalize growing pains, but that generally falls away and the redesigns become the norm. Most users don’t recognize this fact, but the redesigns keep people interested and help the platforms remain popular with users once newness fades.
Pinterest is the latest platform to attempt a redesign. Its new look attempts to improve upon the visual appeal that helped Pinterest become the fourth most popular social media platform in the world. The changes are subtle, but will hopefully improve the user browsing experience.
When selecting a pin today, a popup, quick view version of the pin appears in the middle of the screen. A small description, options to like or repin, the ability to comment and a small recap of the interactions the pin’s had appear.
In the resdesign, the visual pin is much larger. As you can see in the screenshot above, when viewing an individual pin you’ll be able to see the board the pin is posted to and thumbnails of other pins on that board. In the lower right hand corner of the screen, you’ll get thumbnails of other recommended pins from the user that originally posted the pin. The new pin is designed to encourage more exploration and effectively recommend things you might like to see by your viewing history.
Pinterest could take some cues from YouTube on supplying better recommendations to users. Ever get on YouTube to watch one video and look up from your screen hours later wondering where the time went? Pinterest is doing well in this area, but can always improve. By December 2012, the average Pinterest user spends an hour on the site. Twitter’s average user only spends 36 minutes and Facebook’s average time is only 12 minutes.
Pinterest upgraded their simple topic navigation at the top of the page. They’ve replaced that with a slider tab at the upper left of the page. You’re going to have the option to choose from the classic topics, pins from the people you follow and what’s popular on Pinterest.
Finally, Pinterest is looking to improve both their web and mobile interface. Their mobile app has been riddled with technical and functional issues since its inception. There is a huge disconnect between the web and mobile Pinterest experience as it is now. Designers are working on creating a seamless browsing experience on all mediums.
Pinterest released a new iPhone and iPad app update yesterday. Version 2.2 will enable you to edit and delete pins. Also, you’ll be able to delete pins on your Apple device.
At this point, all of these features are still in beta testing. Only a lucky few will experience these new features for the foreseeable feature. I hope to be one of these lucky few. Check back on the Smirk New Media blog for updates on any additional developments.
There are plenty of entries in the Big Book of People Who Have Underestimated Social Media (and the Internet) including entertainment executives, snarky marketers, defenders of traditional content creators, Joe Theismann, etc.
Added to the list recently was another casualty from the Oklahoma Legislature. The latest and greatest social media case study came with the debate HB1895, which would have eliminated the Oklahoma State Arts Council and its grants to arts events and organizations around the state.
When word got out about Rep. Josh Cockroft’s bill, the social media community jumped into action to smack it down.
Jonathan Fowler, the business leader who supports the arts and the Norman Music Festival, was pleased with how social media rallied behind the arts and how quickly the word spread.
Here’s what Fowler said in an email to Smirk New Media: “I was very impressed with the outcry on social media networks and how that translated into real action. I so often see photos for some ’cause’ where I am told to like or share something, and if I don’t then that clearly means I am the enemy of that cause. Those photos rack up thousands up on thousands of likes and shares and rarely translate to real action to benefit a human being. This was totally different.”
Fowler went on to say, “This went from outcry to action quicker than I ever expected. In addition to that this wasn’t just a liberal, or arts community driven effort. All over Oklahoma people from both sides of the political aisle and the business community came out in support of the Oklahoma Arts Council. It was a great example of the positive power of social media.”
The bipartisan support for the arts on social media used the #HB1895 in their discussions about the bill, and the Oklahoma Artist Coalition meeting featured #vocal4okarts. Next, a Facebook page Oklahomans Against HB1895 created another place for Oklahomans to organize and pledge their support to the arts online. The page facilitated a conversation on how the individuals think the arts positively impacts the state.
Kyle Golding, CEO of the Golding Group, a business consulting firm which supports and helps many non-profits, also spoke out for the arts. Golding followed (and spurred on) the conversation on both Twitter and Facebook.
“I started posting economic impact facts, linked to my blog post about arts and economics and the NEWS OK video about the arts conference,” Golding said. “After that, I posted the Economic Impact Report. Finally, when Rep. Cockroft stated in an interview he had received ’1,000 emails, but only 4 were negative’ I reposted that quote with his email address. That’s when his office started responding directly with a form email that was basically his blog post from the week before. That email was spread all over Facebook, showing how insincere he was in responding to citizens.”
Wrapping up the conversation is Jennifer James of Oklahomans For the Arts, which keeps an eye on such bills and defends against them.
Jennifer attributed this success to social media and the grassroots community as a whole.
“After a moratorium was placed on the Art in Public Places Program, Oklahoma’s art leaders led by Jim Tolbert, knew that we were facing a possible sea change with public funding for the arts,” Jennifer said. “These leaders created a new nonprofit to advocate for increased support of arts, culture and arts education in Oklahoma and they named it Oklahomans for the Arts. Our focus since that day has been primarily on public funding for the arts via the Oklahoma Arts Council.”
The Oklahoma Arts Council posted its own response to the legislation in a blog on January 23. The post explained that 85% of its funding comes from state appropriations. Also, 80% of the Arts Council budget goes directly to projects in communities all over the state through grants.
“With limited funds, and a part-time director, OFTA sought to advance arts advocacy almost exclusively through social networking,” Jennifer said. “We’ve been active on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger for nearly two years. Just two or three days before we learned of HB 1895, we reminded our friends on Facebook about the struggle Kansas has had since they lost their arts council two years ago. We even said, ‘This could happen here. We did not know then that the language for HB 1895 had been written in early January.’”
In 2011, Kansas became the first state in history to completely eliminate funding for the arts. That caused the state to also lose over $1 million in matching funds from the National Endowment of the Arts. After extreme public outcry, some funding has been restored, but its budget is less than half what it was in 2010.
“Our board believes grassroots advocates are the best people to advocate to lawmakers on behalf of the arts,” Jennifer said. “OFTA monitors legislation and serves as a resource of information. We push things out to our social networks, which includes a robust Mailchimp list. We plant seeds and then hope they germinate. That is what happened with HB 1895. Arts advocates owned this cause and it took on a life of its own. We don’t attempt to control advocates or what they do. Some created their own Facebook pages against the bill. Others initiated T-shirts and bumper stickers. Many wrote unique letters and spoke out with their own unique voices. This was truly a grassroots effort. OFTA’s job is to provide our networks with consistent, accurate information. Oklahoma’s arts advocates defeated HB 1895.”