Archive for April, 2009

Extra Post #6 – “Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by Dave T

Back in March, I posted a very interesting article on the class Delicious link, Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet.”  As we learned in the Cluetrain Manifesto, the first thesis dictates that “markets are conversations.”  The typical push-advertising, similar to online, does not embrace the theory of a conversation.  First, let’s define advertising..

“Paid form of a nonpersonal message communicated through the various media by industry, business firms, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. Advertising is persuasive and informational and is designed to influence the purchasing behavior and/or thought patterns of the audience. Advertising is a marketing tool and may be used in combination with other marketing tools, such as sales promotions, personal selling tactics, or publicity.”  –Answers.com

A few words are very indicative of today’s digital environment.  “Non-personal message,” “persuasive,” “influence,” “marketing tool,” and “selling tactics” are all words that today’s online user is immune to – and to a certain extent runs from.  Today’s consumer is looking for the underdog, the feel-good story that seems like the first of its kind and that they can relate to.  How can “Joe the Plumber” relate to a filthy-rich supermodel as a company’s spokesperson?  Sorry about that analogy…

A few other interesting statistics…

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pmn-pace-university-relevancy-ad-generation-y-february-2009

Why this incredible discrepancy between ads being noticed, and ads being deemed as ‘relevant?’  For one, according to Clemons, “consumers do not trust advertising.”  In fact, only 16% of consumers trust the information contained within a company’s blog.

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In addition to the “trust” factor, it stands to reason that consumers just don’t want to view advertising.  Take for example the explosion of TiVo.  TiVo gives consumers the ability to record their television shows and view later – all while skipping commercials.  Why?  Customers no longer want to be screamed at to buy a company’s products.   But, rather, they want to join the conversation, and in turn, tell you, the company, what they think.  Just look at the statistics…

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It all goes back to getting involved in the online conversation.  Scoble tells us this in Naked Conversations, that “if you choose to join the conversation, your company will be better for it, and your customers will be happier.”  It’s all about transparency…remember that word?  I think someone else’s mantra is just that.  Just look what transparency did for him…

Response Post #12 – 2012 Election

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on April 20, 2009 by Dave T

picture1

I cannot believe I’m blogging about 2012 already…but I’m sure it will be here before we know it!  I will refrain from asserting my political views in this blog, but rather discuss what, in my opinion, will be needed (digitally) to win the race.  With that said, I will mention that the picture above is NO indication of who I would potentially be lobbying to win…I simply thought it was comical given last election’s antics.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Barack Obama’s playbook for social media during the 2008 campaign was historical, and nothing short of amazing.  Nevermind the arsenal of a 13M member email list that Obama’s campaign possessed, but his campaign website traffic doubled the size of McCain’s, quadrupled the number of YouTube viewers, had 5x the amount of Facebook friends, and had 10x the number of online staff than John McCain. 

However, in 2012, things will no doubt be different for Obama – and his chief opponents.  Obama, having 3 and some change years of the Presidency under his belt, will have a record of performance to bolster during the 2012 Campaign.  Given his extensive knowledge of digital media and social media, he will no doubt have an increased arsenal of tech-savvy allies – similar to those during his presidential bid – willing to launch his re-election digital campaign.  If he finds success during his first four years, he should have no problem attracting the creme of the crop to his camp.

His opponent, however, will have a steep hill to climb.  Obama did not stop after the campaign was over.  Obama launched his change.gov site as well as a re-vamped White House blog to hold true to his campaign promise of transparency.  His original campaign team, led by David Plouffe, continued their email barrage to his constituents to keep them abreast of his Presidency.  Obama’s opponent will have to come up with more cutting edge tactics digitally to combat Obama’s already-seismic technology shift in politics. 

Not only will Obama and his opponent need to scour the digital world for the most up-to-date and “chic” tech services available in 2011, but they will also have to capitalize on the tools Obama used in his first campaign – email, blogs, podcasts, Facebook, mySpace, etc.  They will undoubtedly have to capitalize on that – with the likes of Twitter, Delicious, Digg, etc. and the newest technology at that time.  I hate to say it, the aforementioned services may possibly be out-dated by 2011. 

Whatever the case may be, the digitally historic campaign of 2008 will surely pale in comparison to that of the 2012 Campaign.  This is a given since Obama undoubtedly won his Presidency based on his tech-savvy team.

Extra Post #3 – “What’s Up with Starbucks?”

Posted in Extra Posts, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 14, 2009 by Dave T
Starbucks

Starbucks

I will admit that I’m addicted to Starbucks.  Well, I was addicted to the once-upon-a-time Wall Street darling.  Starbucks, at one point, was one of America’s great growth stories from the late 90’s to as recently as the early 2000’s.   In less than 20 years, Starbucks grew from 100 coffee shops to over 12,000, and a record 2,000 stores opening in 2006 alone.  At one point, Starbucks had the brand equity most companies would die for. 

Typically, a company’s growth is a good thing.  However, many in the business community have quietly implied it was this explosive growth that has led to Starbucks’ demise.  Even the company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, himself admitted in a leaked internal document that for Starbucks, there are limits to growth.  Schultz pointed out that the company’s own growth strategy had posed problems.

“Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store.”  – Howard Schultz

My, have times changed.  It seems the wheels started to fall off around the time of Schultz’ comments in 2007, following closely by the company’s announcement in mid-2008 that it was closing 600 stores and cutting 7% of its workforce.   Given its sales slump, Starbucks attempted countless efforts to diversify beyond the coffee cup – in an effort to lure new customers with ideas of grandeur.  Starbucks launched initiatives into pop culture, breakfast options, and most recently, VIA instant coffee.  Excuse me…instant coffee?  What happened to the “Starbucks Experience,” Mr. Schultz?

Which leads me to my final point – the customer service.  I remember around the time when my infatuation with Starbucks began in 2003, the customer service, or “experience” was impeccable.  Today, I’m greeted by grumpy “barista’s” who act as if they’re doing ME a favor, long lines with no sense of urgency from the barista, and my personal favorite – running out of coffee.  A coffee shop running out of coffee?  And, I’m not talking about running out during peak business hours!  And, I’m also not talking about this happening every once in awhile, but multiple times in 1 week.  This isn’t how the “Starbucks Experience” used to be…

Recognizing this, Starbucks closed all stores nationwide for several hours in 2008 to “re-train” their staff to guarantee complete customer satisfaction.   What a great marketing ploy that was, since in my opinion, they will need more of these “training sessions” to fix the broken business model.  If Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds or Caribou don’t give Starbucks its death sentence, Starbucks itself will with this “improved” customer service just might. 

I’m not quite at the point to sign up for the “I Hate Starbucks” blog, but I am a regular of this nifty little website giving me non-Starbucks alternativesChris Anderson would certainly love this site – the mom and pop’s not hoping for the big hit, but rather working to thrive in a niche market.  Certainly, not the strategy of Starbucks.

Response Post #11 – “The Iraq War”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 by Dave T
Iraq War Images

Iraq War Images

Wow, is all I have to say of the things I discovered as I researched digitally  the The Iraq War, part of the broader War on Terror.  It’s the first war of its kind – the first war since the inception of Web 2.0.  And, the blogs, podcasts, articles, etc. on the web is quite astonishing.

I have to admit that I have not been a good Web 2.0 user during the war as I rarely have used these mediums to get my news.  I find it fascinating how Swarthmore College has created a way to truly offer un-biased news reporting on the war and the affects on troops and Iraqi citizens.

It’s funny how on the networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC, you don’t hear the statistics of an “all-time high optimism of Iraqis,” where “80% of them are positive about the state of the country, up from 50% in 2007,” or “those who think democracy is the right way is at its highest percent ever, and those people feel more and more safe in their neighborhoods.”  Very interesting indeed how transparent this war has become. 

The transparency transcends from blogs, to pictures, to documentaries, to videos, all offering viewers an inside look at the front line of our war – something never done before.  It ignites many feelings I’d imagine – but for me, a growing sense of patriotism.  While I may not fully agree with the primary intent of our going to war, the fact remains that we have American brothers and sisters in the Middle East, fighting for our freedom, our democracy.  Any bit of good news that our soldiers are accomplishing – should be published.  Everyone knows, the mainstream media will not report it.

Conversely, if we have soldiers who are not carrying out the American constitution and providing goodwill toward others, that should be documented, also.  As evidenced by Kevin Sites’ videotape of a Marine allegedly shooting an unarmed Iraqi, the footage stirred a lot of outrage and questions as to whether there is too much transparency with the war.  As far as I’m concerned, NO.  Unless our national security, or the security of our soldiers is in question, I say share it!  It ensures justice and (hopefully) bolsters the truth…

Extra Post #2 – Obama Overload?

Posted in Extra Posts with tags , on April 11, 2009 by Dave T
Barack Obama

Barack Obama

If you GoogleObama Overload,” you will come up with over 957,000 links.  Wow….are that many people tired of hearing from our Commander-in-Chief?  I will reiterate – “tired of hearing from our Commander-in-Chief.”  Let me get on the soapbox for a minute and remind everyone that not more than 6 months ago, everyone was complaining our former president was too quiet.  Let me also remind everyone, that regardless of your political affiliation, this country – our country – is in the midst of a war against people who want to do our country harm, and is in the middle of the worst financial crisis in decades.  So, yes, as far as I’m concerned, I do want to hear from my president. 

From websites, to Twitter, to Facebook, to news conferences, to email, Obama has been seen in every technology medium in his first 100 days as President.  Not surprising, since after launching the most technologically-savvy presidential campaign in history, it is widely believed that the technology and social networking skills of the new president and his staff played a large part in his capturing the presidency.  Obama had an ornate ability of collecting millions from his supporters, as well as keeping those supports abreast of the most recent events of his campaign. 

Still, after becoming President, technology still prevails with our 44th Commander-in-Chief.  President Obama launched the first-ever Whitehouse Blog, in an attempt to keep the momentum alive with his campaign promises of transparency.  The Obama Administration also launched “Your Seat at the Table” website, in an effort to solicit constituent feedback and publish all documents from meetings with outside organizations.  Some may argue that he’s too transparent, with his comments “I inhaled frequently.  That was the point.”  Very interesting if I remember correctly, a few other of Obama’s predecessors didn’t quite offer this type of “transparency” and was criticized for that, too, one of which led us to a war.  Which do you want, America?  In my opinion, I like the Obama definition of transparency…

As I eluded to in my blog on the 2012 Election, Obama’s emergence as a “tech-y” within the political landscape will certainly bode well for him in the next election – that is, if his sky-high approval ratings remain.  He will undoubtedly remain transparent digitally throughout his administration, and will utilize these efficiencies into the 2012’s, giving him a leg-up on his opponent(s).  I expect to see the same amount, if not more, of our President…and will be enjoying every minute of it!

Response Post #10 – Dominican Republic “Global Voice”

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on April 7, 2009 by Dave T

 

A website that sums up all of the “conversation” from various parts of the world?  Ingenious…

Global Voices Online’s mission is to “aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversations online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”  I find it very enjoyable that a website is able to summarize blogs, articles, etc. from countries around the world and put them into a little handy website for all to read.   Seems simple enough…

I chose Dominican Republican to blog about.  It’s interesting that if someone is to Google “Dominican Republic”, everything that comes up are websites about the country’s tourism industry with trip information, picturesque images of white sand beaches and turquoise water, and “great deals on Dominican getaways.”  However, on the mainpage of the country’s Global Voices Online site, the “featured stories” list two – one about Hurricane Gustav and the Government Providing Incentives for Conservation, posted September 2, 2008 and July 7th, 2008, respectively.    Not exactly sites selling the country’s tourism, is it?  “Shining light on places and people other media often ignore…” is an understatement.

The examples set forth for the Dominican on Global Voices further emphasizes the gathering of conversations throughout different countries.  It seems the stories and blogs posted are not that of biased media, or tourism websites, but of regular everyday people with stories to tell.  The blogs posted include articles that relate to sports, weather, environment, and Arts & Culture, to name a few. 

I don’t believe this is a website I would frequent often, unless there was a special interest I had as it related to a specific country.  I firmly believe the website would prove very beneficial for people who don’t currently reside in their home country, and use the website as an easy mean to get quick information about their home country in one central location.  I also believe I (may) use it should I be traveling to a foreign country and utilizing Global Voices to educate myself on current events. 

All in all, a very useful website for a specific need.  Would I abuse it like I do FB or Twitter?  No.

Extra Post #1 – Domestic Violence Response

Posted in Social Media Course, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 1, 2009 by Dave T

Response post to Sassing Me’s “Domestic Violence” post.  From a man’s perspective:

Hilary, I couldn’t agree more.  Remember the old adage “if he does it once, he’ll do it again”?  In Rihanna and Chris Brown’s case, this is allegedly true.   So sad that two mega stars, one a beautiful grammy-award winning Pop icon, the other a rising R&B star, could be entagled in such devastating fiasco – both equally at risk of losing their star power.

Why both of them?  Rihanna has become an icon – looked up to by girls of all ages because of her rise to fame and sheer beauty.  A girl who was visibly beaten by her love interest (allegedly), yet still decided to reunite with Brown.  What type of example is she setting for youth around the world – that’s is perfectly acceptable to be beaten by “the one you love”?  Seriously…

And, Chris Brown, if the charges turn out to be true, is at severe risk of losing his star power simply because he is below scum of the Earth.  Anyone that would raise a hand to a woman is worth nothing at all. 

According to an AtHealth survey, 2 out of 3 females in this population have been attacked by a family member or a person with which they are acquainted.  And, over 45% of battered women routinely take back them men who have assaulted them in the past – however, women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay.  And, a woman in the United States is beaten every 7.4 seconds.  What startling statistics…

I cannot fathom for the life of me how a man can say “I do it because I love you.”  Mostly, according the Domestic Violence Fact Sheet, male abusers typically follow a “Cycle of Domestic Violence” behavior wheel.  It begins with tension building, then violence, then seduction.  Women, too, go through their own cycle – Love, Hope and Fear.

Take it from a man’s perspective.  Any man with any worth, would never lay a hand on a woman.