Response #9 – Wikipedia (Part Dos)

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on March 31, 2009 by Dave T

(Sigh).  As I mentioned in my last Wikipedia post, the website is an interesting addition to the Internet.  As I’ve attempted to navigate throughout the website and add my own edits, I’ve come to realize that there really is a “team of natzi’s” as I refer to them, scouring every edit every minute of the day.  I tried – unsuccessfully – to add edits to the  Toyota Venza page, the all-new vehicle introduced by Toyota in late 2008.   

When I started out, I was fairly certain that I had a clear understanding of the website’s “rules and regulations,” of Wikipedia, including NPOV and such.  Apparently not.  I attempted to make two different edits, to no avail.  I was quite simply stating the facts of the new Venza, including statistics easily referenced from the Toyota website. 

I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative ‘I heard it somewhere’ pseudo information is to be tagged with a ‘needs a cite’ tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons.

Jimmy Wales

As Jimmy stated, all unsubstantiated information shall be aggressively removed from the website.  That’s an understatement.  I found it very frustrating to edit any information on Wikipedia – even when conforming to the website’s rules.   Apparently Wikipedia’s webmasters took it personally when the validity of Wikipedia came into question. 

But, given my experience currently with Wikipedia, I assume the validity of the information set forth in Wikipedia is accurate.  Afterall, when they deny factual information that has accurate citations, it must be truthful.  I truly think that quickly perusing Wikipedia for a general idea of topic or person would prove useful, but for in-depth reserach?  I plan on doing it myself! 

But I’m not bitter… 🙂 




Response #8 – Post

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , , on March 24, 2009 by Dave T

mmm…Delicious.  I’ve always loved the name of that website…and now love it for more than its name since I actually began using it and realizing all of its capabilities!  This week, I will be commenting on one of the class articles posted, “Marketers Moving to Social Media.”

This article is very indicative of the times we’re in – not only technologically, but also economically.  If the new generational obsession with social media wasn’t enough, companies across the globe are scrutinizing every facet of their marketing budgets trying to cut any discretionary expenses due to plummeting revenue.  The combination of economy/consumer shift seems to be the catalyst for most companies’ trend toward social media. 

According to the Aberdeen Group, 21% of Best-in-Class companies plan on increasing their social media spending 25% or more in 2009, and at the low end – 26% of companies plan on increasing their social media spending by 1- 10%.  According to the article, 2008 social media spending was $2B (up 46% from prior year), and 2009 is estimated to be $2.35B, capping out at $3.5B in 2013- a whopping 43% increase over a 5-year period. 

However, the marketing ambiguity still exists.  One of the largest obstacles in marketing is measuring a campaign’s effectiveness, or Return on Investment (ROI).  The social media funnel does not erase that obstacle, but it does offer much more customer information to the company – i.e. names/pages of Twitter or Facebook followers, for example.  In the instance of Twitter, a company can use its search function to find all of the “tweets” on their firm, and enable them to see what’s being said about the company – an advantage mainstream marketing does not offer.  In my opinion with social media, it’s much easier for a company to measure its brand health than with typical marketing, by engaging customers in dialogue. 

If you search the class Delicious page, you will see that the term “marketing” has 20 tags – not far from social networking’s 25.  There is a huge correlation between the two, and also social media.  Social Media has become integrated in a large portion of the population’s life (as the above video suggests), and companies are beginning to realize this – or, maybe they’re still trying to trim those marketing budgets….

Response #7 – Wikipedia

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on March 24, 2009 by Dave T


The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, plainly stated the concept of an encyclopdia is that it should be radical…let’s just stop and think…do you consider reading Encyclopedia Britannica radical?  I think not…

Enter Wikipedia.  In layman terms, wikipedia is a freely-licensed encyclopedia, using wiki software to give anyone the ability to edit its text.  All edits and posts are managed by a volunteer staff who monitors very closely.  Wikipedia is owned by Wikimedia foundation (owned by Wales) whose mission is to get free encyclopedia’s to all – thus combating poverty worldwide, giving people empowerment commercially and non-commercially.  Wikipedia has about 600k articles in English, and over 2M total articles.  The other popular languages include German, Japanese, and French.  An interesting note – only 1/3 of all traffic goes to the English version.  The website is global in popularity, ranking in the Top 50 –  above the New York Times.

When I first encountered Wikipedia, I thought – “wow…this doesn’t sound like a reliable source.”  But, there is literally a team of of workers constantly editing new posts by users.  In favor of Wikipedia, just read Nature’s assertion that Wikipedia is just as reliable at Britannica.  

The service and its community are built around a self-policing and self-cleaning nature that is supposed to ensure its articles are accurate.   – Jimmy Wales

One, like Jimmy Wales, could argue that the vast majority of users on Wikipedia is vested in the information posted on the site.  Users, as well as the team of editors, constantly ensure Wikipedia information’s accuracy.  

However, as with any new concept, there are growing pains – such as the article about journalist John Seigenthaler.  The post was on Wikipedia for some time, until Seigenthaler himself edited the text.  But, that’s the beauty of the resource – than anyone can edit its text.  You take that ability away – and you inherently have something called Britannica again.  Possibly some new avenues to ensure accuracy?  Possibly.  How about the “Team” review every post – if that’s possible?  But, they cannot take away the foundation that made Wikipedia successful – that is the authority of the entire population to post.  Just think of the creative juices that would be removed if that were to happen? 

I love using Wikipedia, as do so many others…and I believe its founders recognize that fact.  We don’t want to see a Britannica 2.0.

Response #6 – “Second Life”

Posted in Social Media Course on March 3, 2009 by Dave T
Christian Catronis

Christian Catronis

I just have to say…WTF…to the picture above.

This week, I had the pleasure of playing with Second Life.  My avatar is Christian Catronis.  I have to say, I’ve always secretly wanted my birth name to be Christian, so I was ecstatic to find the name as one of the options for the virtual ‘game.’  But, that could be a separate blog post in itself.

Onto ‘Second Life.’  After 2 hours of playing with it – from figuring out how to navigate the game, to learning how to move and position my character, to changing Christian’s nose, chin, clothing and skin color, I’m still at a loss for the point of the game.  According to the BusinessWeek article, virtual gaming is quite the craze now.  It allows users to escape their normal lives and companies to utilize social networking to reach their consumers. 

Before I render overall judgment on the game in its entirety, I plan on spending more time with it to try and realize its full capabilities.   I have yet to create animations or establish stock exchanges within the game – like those in the BusinessWeek article, but I feel like I’ve made a few strides as I’ve gotten the physical appearance that I want 🙂

But, there’s something much bigger going on inside the Second Life.  Users spend hours and hours creating, designing, coining and developing different facets of the game – for free.  Although, the residents retain full ownership of their creations, it adds different elements to the game.  So, while I may not fully understand (yet) the game, or may not be amused with the game, it’s much more powerful than one’s first impression. 

“It’s becoming apparent that virtual worlds, most of all this one, tap into something more powerful:  the talent and hard work of everyone inside”  – My Virtual Life”, BusinessWeek

This is a big industry, and I believe this will become even bigger in the years to come with the explosion of social networking.  This is just yet another tool along the Long Tail for the population to use for their never-ending pursuit of self-expression.  I can’t wait to continue exploring how this allows businesses to flourish.

Until then, I will continue using my much-easier virtual Wii game.

Response #5 – “The Long Tail”

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , , on February 24, 2009 by Dave T

The Long Tail

“Less is More!”  You don’t hear that line everyday…

If you have not read “The Long Tail,” it’s a must-read for any business professional.  The premise of the book goes against every macroeconomic principle of supply and demand.  It theorizes that demand follows supply, and several times throughout the book, discusses the business model of Walmart and Sears, to name a few.  In Walmart’s case, everyone knows that they built their reputation on offering many versions of a product at low prices.  For example, Walmart’s music industry has about 60,000 tracks – tracks of the most popular music, or “hits.”  But, we all know that there are many, many more tracks out there.  What about a customer who wants something that was produced 20 years ago and still has somewhat of a loyal following?  Well, they would log onto Rhapsody or iTunes, who houses well over 1M tracks for would-be customers.   The model for these types of businesses is based on the idea of “the biggest money is in the smallest sales,” according to venture capitalist and former music industry consultant Kevin Laws.   The new growth market consists not only of Walmart’s model, but also that of the model of companies like Rhapsody, Netflix and Amazon – all offering products you cannot find anywhere by on the Internet.   According to the Long Tail, 45% of Rhapsody’s sales, 25% of Netflix’s, and 30% of Amazon’s total sales come from products not available in the largest offline stores. 

The above is a (long) example of the long tail.  Generally speaking, the long tail is essentially a bell curve, with the head of the curve on the verticle axis at the far left exemplifying large “hits”, and as the curve comes down it “tails” along the demand horizontal axis, exemplifying “niches,” or a large amount of small “hits.”  The idea is that there is an infinite amount of “niches” in society (i.e. music), but all collectively at times outnumber the “hits.”  The birth of the Internet gave way to this unlimited selection in cyberspace, and this unlimited selection is revealing  what consumers actually want.   The ultimate test is how do companies reduce the costs of reaching those niches.  Because, if the cost is minimal, the profits will be maximal. 

In today’s world, you can see The Long Tail all around you online.  From iTunes to Netflix, Google to eBay to Amazon.  The Long Tail is working all around us – on Facebook and mySpace – enabling today’s generations to go beyond the mainstream and reach the niches where their interests lay.  Today’s generations are all about “against the norm” and “out of the mainstream.”  This has enabled the Long Tail theory to flourish. 



Response #4

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , , on February 18, 2009 by Dave T

If Markets are Conversations, does that mean everyone is listening?

Today, I’m blogging about the relevance of a web user’s “Bill of Rights” – and whether there needs to be one in place.  Given the amount of attention that Facebook received over their changed Terms of Service, it’s no wonder the world wide web is clamoring for some oversight – or restrictions put on the use of one’s personal information.  It was recently discovered (not announced) that Facebook altered their company’s terms of use, essentially giving Facebook eternal use of your personal information – even if you delete your online profile.  This has sparked severe outrage, up to a complaint being filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).    Facebook’s recent change to their Terms of Service is much more liberal than the terms of MySpace, Twitter and even YouTube, where the license expires upon deletion of a user’s account.  So, one could surmise…regulation may be needed.

However, according to Wikipedia, many Internet privacy experts believe that’s an oxymoron, and that privacy does not exist on the Internet.  Wikipedia defines the Internet as “a global network of interconnected computers, enabling users to share information along multiple channels.”   So, one could infer that whatever information a user puts out on the Internet is fair game for all to see. 

I would agree that information on the Internet is fun – and juicy information is really fun.  But, let’s separate information we intend to share versus information that is private, and should be treated as such.  I am fully aware that every piece of information I type in this blog, on my Facebook page, on my LinkedIn page, on my MySpace page, etc. will be public domain and information that everyone can see.  That’s what the Internet is all about – sharing information.  What I don’t agree with is information we do not intend to share – personal information, etc. that we use to register for websites, buy products, etc.  – that is used by people we do not grant access.   So, the “control” aspect of the Bill I’m 100% in favor of. 

But, implementing the Bill of Rights is another story.  It may turn into something of “everybody wants, but nobody wants.”  Will the very foundation of the Internet be damaged with this Bill?  Will social media sites be less alluring with limited personal information?  Will less juicy information about people/subjects be less readily available on the Web?  This is all subject to debate. 

In the meantime, I will be listening to those conversations…

Response #3

Posted in Social Media Course with tags , on February 11, 2009 by Dave T

Topic:  Oodles of Google! 

My post topic this week is “Should We be Afraid of Google?”  You know, the pretty and colorful word plastered across the screen that we type search queries into?  The word that changes with every holiday – well, only the holidays designated by our friends at Google.  Why would we be afraid of such a thing?  Because, according to Chris Thompson,  the website accounts for 60% of all online searches conducted in the US?  Or maybe, according to Thompson, Google doesn’t like America because they only change their doodle for certain holidays – and not those of Memorial Day.  Isn’t Memorial Day a day to remember those in our military who have given their lives for our country – and possibly not a holiday to “change the doodle” for?   And, if I remember correctly, the doodle was changed for the recent holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving

Well, first off, Google is the fastest-growing internet search engine in modern time, and offers more services than just searching.  Some debate whether Google has practiced unfair tactics in its quest to the top.   Those issues, along with privacy issues (you can trace a phone number to an exact street address on Google), that apparently cause uproar among the public.  Or, is it simply the enormouse success the company has enjoyed since its inception?

Google offers an array of very neat services in addition to the link above.  GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps are two of my very favorites – and are technologies that are very advanced and we have never enjoyed – until now.  In the book, The Search by John Battelle, it uses an example of a man who goes through a very messy and public divorce, and he subsequently ‘googles’ himself.  The man did not like what he saw – a very public list of his divorce.  He then sued Google and Yahoo for posting such information. 

I hate to say it – but this is technology, boys and girls.  If you don’t want something about yourself on a Google search or Facebook – keep your nose clean.  That and get a cell phone – as of now, those don’t come up on Google.