Regulatory Challenges and the Media

There is definitely a culture clash in the world, and I’m not talking about the Western World and the Middle East, rather I’m talking about in the media such as television, radio, and newspapers and the new paradigm of social media, the Internet, and all the combination variations in between. Not only that, we also note that there have been lots of regulatory changes propping up the old, and preventing the new from making headway. Let’s go ahead and talk about this for a moment if we shall.

You see, the Internet is rising so quickly along with e-commerce, and social networks that the media can’t keep up. In fact the old media is trying to find new ways to use social networks and the Internet to blend the content so they don’t lose the next generation of readers, and can keep from losing current subscribers who are migrating to electronic formats for their intake of news. Consider if you will all the apps on the iPad for all the major news outlets, and all of the industry association trade journals.

The old media is also very upset because it is being plagiarized at such a high rate that as soon as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or any other publication puts out an article, that article is copied, or parts of it are copied and syndicated across the Internet within minutes, and redistributed to the whole world. Those that are consolidators or syndicators of news often make quite a bit of money off their advertising on their websites, but the old media still has to pay to create the content. Obviously it’s easy to make a lot of money grabbing other company’s work when all there is; is revenue, and someone else is generating all of the articles, videos, and news.

You can see how upsetting this is – especially considering that the new media is competing with the old media, and the old media is paying for all the content that the new media is stealing. Because of this we are noticing new regulatory challenges in the online venues. This culture clash, of the new versus the old will continue. It appears that everyone in the new media believes that all the information should be free. But the old media is trying to stand on the integrity of the reporting, often flying reporters halfway around the world doing stories in places off the beaten path.

If they are not paying for that content, they can no longer send the actual reporter there to collect the information first hand. Further if they collect the information through social media, tweets, and cell phone videos of people who are actually there, then obviously the news will be jaded, and favoring the opinions of those taking the pictures. This might seem like an okay thing, because we are getting information in real time, but we aren’t necessarily getting nonbiased news.

Government regulations to try to protect the old media aren’t working, attempts to shut off ISPs of those who allow the posting of plagiarized information isn’t going to fly with Internet users, and it’s a bad idea anyway. Nevertheless, you can expect these controversies to continue throughout 2012 and more regulations to come. Please consider all this and think on it.



The Event Organiser`s Social Media Software Feature List

The Event Organiser`s Social Media Software Feature List

Admin/Configuration

Organisers have the ability to enable or disable every feature (listed below), subject to certain dependencies

Custom Branding

Custom CSS and HTML fields allow the event organiser to apply the look and feel of your organisation/event including logo, colour scheme, layout and more. Most text fields are customisable as well

Static Pages

For events that do not already use their own CMS (e.g. Drupal, WordPress, Radiant, etc.), we provide a simple static page module that event organisers can use to create their home page, hotel/travel page(s), sponsor pages (not fan pages) etc.

I18N

Event organisers can configure the appropriate date, time and currency formats for the

event’s locale. Note: at this time, system strings are not exported. However, event organisers may opt to enter text in other languages into the configurable text fields

Custom Subdomain Integration

Every event gets its own unique IP, so most events choose to use our recommended custom DNS settings to create sensible site URLs

Delegate Profiles

Every delegate gets an editable page with contact info, bio, profile picture, etc. Organisers can apply a default privacy level and then delegates can customise who can see their information (everybody, only people I follow, or nobody)

Social Networking

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can follow and be followed, which opens up the ability to swap contact information, send private messages and set up one-on-one meetings

Messaging

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can send public messages to a conference-wide messaging area, on specific event pages and on sponsor fan pages. They can also send public (@) replies and private/direct messages to people who are following them. Messaging is optionally) integrated with Twitter; however, people who don’t use Twitter can still use our messaging

Groups

Organisers can create an unlimited number of groups and organise them into categories.

Delegates and sponsor/exhibitors can join these groups to converse on various subtopics of interest at your organisation/event

Sponsor/Exhibitor Fanpages

Sponsors/Exhibitors can create fan pages to showcase their brands. Fan pages can include a logo, description, a single-question poll/survey, a “become a fan button” and (optionally) a “request meeting” button. Delegates can add comments on the fan page, become fans, answer the question and (if enabled), request private meetings with sponsors/exhibitors

One-on-one Meetings

If enabled, every delegate’s profile page and every sponsor/exhibitor’s fan page will carry

a “request meeting” button which will notify the recipient that the delegate is requesting

a meeting via email and give the recipient the option to accept or decline, adding the private meeting to both parties’ personal schedules, if appropriate

Contact Export

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can export detailed contact information for mutual followers and fans, respectively, to CSV (Excel)

Schedule Export

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can export their personal schedules to iCal, gCal, RSS and Outlook. This also allows offline synchronization with most smartphones

Branded Accounts

Sponsors/exhibitors are allowed to create “branded” accounts, e.g. The Pepsi User, which can give them an official voice with which they can communicate with the community

RSS

All types of public messages and personal schedules are available via RSS feeds that are “secret” in the sense that they contain a long, very-hard-to-guess hash in the URLs. However, delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can choose to share their RSS feeds with

other people or post them publicly

Organiser Support

Wewill assist the event organizer with site setup, branding and customisation up to the number of hours specified in the pricing schedule. Additional support can be purchased

Delegate Support

We do not provide front-line support to delegates; rather, we rely on the organiser’s help desk to provide Tier 1 support. Any issues with delegates or sponsors/exhibitors can be escalated to our “always on” Tier 2+ support, which supports a 24-hour turnaround SLA on any issue

Full Schedule

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can browse (and search) the entire event schedule of

keynotes, breakouts, parties and other gatherings. Day-by-day listings, A-Z listings and a graphical grid view are available. All views clearly indicate which events delegates are attending and show mosaics of friends attending and, optionally, all people attending

Personal Schedule

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can add an unlimited number of sub-events to their

own personal schedules, which they can then choose to share with everybody, people they follow or nobody. Personal schedules can also be posted to various social sites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter and sync’d with most desktop and online calendaring software and smartphones.

Schedule Notifications

The system will send schedule update and change notifications to delegates (only those

who have opted-in) if events they have added to their personal schedules

Social Notifications

The system will send “you’ve been followed” type messages to delegates and sponsors/

exhibitors (social notifications) to those who have opted-in to this feature

Friend Sync

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can click buttons to easily import their existing friends from Facebook, Twitter and (soon) LinkedIn who are also attending the event

Cross-posting to Social Sites

Embedded AddThis widgets allow delegates and sponsors/exhibitors to share various

parts of their conference experience (event-specific comments, public messages, personal schedules, etc.) with hundreds of different social sites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter

Content Aggregation

For a richer site experience and better SEO, We poll the web, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube for content relevant to the event and post outbound links to this content along with summary information on the event site, similar to the way trackback pings work on many popular blogging platforms

Crowdsourcing (via Crowd Campaign)

Purchasing grants event organisers a free enterprise-level license to create a single Crowd Campaign. This allows the organiser to create and manage a Twitter-powered contest of any nature. Examples include opening a conference call for speakers, soliciting questions for popular keynote speakers or even suggesting what food or speciality drink to serve at the opening night party

Site-wide Search

Most of the site’s content is indexed into a fast and scalable search engine, allowing

delegates and sponsors/exhibitors to enter free-form queries and get back results categorised into people/events/venues/messages/fan pages

Site Analytics

We offer built-in integration with Google Analytics for overall site traffic and page-specific metrics. Event organisers also have access to a rich site analytics console that shows exactly how various features of the platform were used, e.g. average number of friends per delegate, average number of fans per sponsor, total message counts (private and public), average number of events added to personal schedules

Sub-event Capacity Planning

Event organisers have access to a reporting tool that shows how many people are attending each breakout session, party, etc. Targeted messages can be sent to all delegates of a given sub-event, e.g. “Breakout A has been moved to Room 101 to accommodate the large delegate list” or “Overflow Room 202 has been added for Keynote B.”

Profile and Schedule Callback APIs

We optionally provide two “callback” mechanisms to make sure that delegate data stays in-sync with the organisation’s system of record for personal and schedule data, if such a system is in use. For example, if a delegate updates his or her profile, the changes are posted back to a configurable URL to allow those updates to propagate back into the appropriate system of record. Similarly, each time an event is added or removed to an delegate’s or sponsor/exhibitor’s personal schedule, we post this action to a configurable URL. This allows an external system of record to track breakout attendance for capacity planning purposes or other reasons

Mass Email

Event organisers can send mass emails to the entire community or to selective subsections. Email templates can be customised in “mail-merge” fashion

Public and Private RESTful APIs

Event organisers have access to dozens of different public and private (login required)

APIs to allow external applications to automate the platform. Some examples are running searches, getting lists of friends, getting and modifying personal schedules, adding and removing friends, etc. For a complete list, visit http:// <your_conference_site_url>/api (admin account access required)

Mobile Web

Most of the features described above are available on a generic mobile web UI that is tuned to look best on iPhone and Andriod handsets, but that also works well on Blackberry, Palm and Windows Mobile. This part of the site is included even if the event organiser opts NOT to purchase mobile app integration

Mobile Application Integration

Via a partnership with mobile application provider DUB, we offer a full-featured native application for the iPhone and iPod touch that includes, among many other features, very fast offline access to the complete event schedule and personal schedules. When the handset comes back online, schedule updates and changes are two way sync’d back with the conference web site. Note: applications for other platforms,starting with Blackberry and Andriod, are due out in late 2010

QR Codes

Our platform includes hooks into various endpoints that can easily be integrated with QR Codes. Some examples include automatic following when snapping pictures of QR codes on delegates’ badges, lead generation by sponsors/exhibitors and even breakout event “check-in” by delegates

Registration Integration

Integrate with REGIS online delegate management software via a simple RESTful web service API. Delegates can also be forced to create their own accounts if registration integration is disabled

http://event-master.com & http://blog.event-master.com



Interactive TV Services for IPTV

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is a method of distributing television content over broadband that enables a more customised and interactive user experience. IPTV will mean a fundamental change in viewing habits. Viewers will be able to watch what they want, when they want to. Interactive TV services will be a key differentiator for the multitude of IPTV offerings that are emerging. Interactivity via a fast two-way connection will lift IPTV ahead of today’s television.

IPTV brings together the television, internet and telephone. Much like cable or satellite television, IPTV uses a set-top box (STB) that allows viewers to watch hundreds of channels and order movies through video-on-demand (VOD). IPTV uses broadband ADSL, the same technology that delivers high-speed Internet to the computer. This opens the door to much more interactivity and the potential for thousands, as opposed to hundreds, of channels.

Find What’s On

All IPTV services will offer basic interactivity to support navigation and search of the vast amounts of content. An electronic programme guide (EPG) will allow viewers to browse the linear and on-demand content that is available.

EPGs are likely to allow viewers to look at programme listings up to two weeks in advance, and also look back over programmes from the previous seven days broadcast schedule. A powerful search facility will allow viewers to look for programmes by title, genre and keywords. Filters will allow viewers to display lists of movies, music, pay-per-view events and high definition programmes.

The EPG will be customisable by viewers, who will be able to create their own line-up of favourite channels and content. As well as full-screen layouts, EPGs will have a mini-overlay mode which will allow the viewer to keep watching the current programme while browsing the schedule.

Personal Video Recorder

Many IPTV set top boxes will incorporate a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) that will allow programmes and interactive content to be recorded. Viewers will be able to watch one programme while recording another. They’ll also be able to use interactive services or video on demand while recording in the background. While watching linear TV programming, viewers will be able to pause and rewind live television.

The PVR will be programmed via the Electronic Programme Guide. Intelligent series linking will allow programme episodes to be recorded based on preferences; first-runs, repeats, or all occurrences. Programme and movie trailers will contain interactive links that can be selected to schedule a recording. Remote scheduling of recording will also be possible using a mobile phone or the web.

Enhanced TV

With IPTV, viewers will be able to watch a lot more television at the same time. Sports fans will be able to keep an eye on six games at once, on the same screen, or study one game from multiple camera angles. Viewer involvement will be encouraged through voting, competitions and messaging services.

Advertising

Interactive advertising will extend traditional linear advertising. It will allow advertisers to give product information in the form of an on-screen interactive brochure. This will re-enforce the brand messages and encourage viewer involvement with the product. It will also allow a direct element to be added to any TV campaign, with responses being captured from viewers.

Communication Services

The two-way nature of an IPTV connection makes it ideal for providing person-to-person communication services. Instant messaging services will allow viewers to ‘chat’ via text messages while continuing to watch TV. Video conferencing over television will allow virtual family gatherings when family members are spread across the world.

Services will be used both as stand-alone applications, and as add-ons to programming. Friends will be able to chat while watching a programme ‘together’ in different locations. Phone-in shows will be able to display callers, linked directly from their home.

Community Services

IPTV will provide many feeds of news, entertainment and information. Viewers will be able to personalise their ‘feed reader’ to match their particular interests. This will then collect up-to-date information such as news headlines, sports results, share prices and travel updates in a single place.

Dating services will allow subscribers to set up a profile and find compatible ‘matches’ to communicate with. Messages will be exchanged quickly, cheaply and safely, without the security concerns of meeting in the real world.

Betting & Gaming

IPTV will offer a range of betting and gaming on demand services. These will include sports betting services, where bets are placed on both live and virtual sports. The betting will be closely linked to the TV coverage, and will include in-running betting. There will also be a range of casino style games including roulette, blackjack, slots and poker. Some of these will be stand-alone games, others will be linked to programming with either live or virtual presenters.

Personal Content

IPTV will enable the secure sharing of video recordings, photos and music. Users with a home network will be able to share digital content with other devices such as PCs and portable media players. IPTV will be a key component in the connected home.

Users will also be able to share content with family and friends across the Internet. Effective digital content protection with consumer flexibility will be essential for such sharing to flourish. IPTV could even allow users to have their own television channel where they could share their views, photos and videos with the rest of the world as a video podcast.

Conclusion

Interactive television will provide genuinely useful applications that enhance the overall user experience of IPTV. Interactive services must be seen as part of the overall infrastructure of delivering television – not just a bolt on.

To get the right interactive services to meet consumer demands will require experimentation. Content providers, broadcasters and network owners need to develop, trial, refine and roll-out interactive services. A lot has been learnt over the past ten years about interactive TV. This knowledge can help inform the design of interactive services for IPTV.



Whose Reality Is This?

There are hundreds of reality television shows on today and it seems like everyone is tuning in to watch. Ordinary people, just like you and me, are elevated to celebrity status. The secret thrill of thinking next time, this could be me. We could be lucky enough to receive the next makeover, be the next celebrity, or instantly become a millionaire.

Many of us are inexplicably drawn to these shows. Have you ever considered the reason we might be attracted to watching reality TV? Or examined the type of reality television we watch on a weekly basis?

Why Do We Watch Reality Television?

It may be illuminating to look at what kinds of reality TV shows we’re drawn to.

A few reasons we watch the different types of reality television could include:

· To Educate

Many shows depict weight loss methods like The Biggest Loser, or cooking demonstrations and competitions like Master Chef. Although at times the information presented can be unhealthy and promote unrealistic expectations, causing us to become disheartened when we can’t replicate the results.

· To Entertain

Reality television can provide a voice to the normal, everyday person. Someone we might be able to relate to or easily identify with. We are provided with the opportunity to cheer for the Average Joe on shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. Although the voice of the “normal” everyday person portrayed on reality television don’t always represent ordinary well.

· To Inspire

Shows like Extreme Home Makeover or Three Wishes can provide a vehicle to fantasize about something we might want for ourselves. We can dream that all of our problems could be eliminated in one televised hour.

· To Escape

Tuning out everyday life and immersing ourselves in the life of a celebrity, or a spirited competition like Survivor, or The Apprentice can provide an escape from focusing on issues in our own lives. A little escape might be beneficial for stress relief, but too much could prevent us from facing our own issues and feelings.

How Much is too Much?

If we notice we are watching a variety of reality shows on an ongoing basis, that these shows make up a significant proportion of the types of shows found appealing, then we may want to consider some self reflection around this activity.

Watching a few shows doesn’t mean you have a problem. “Being hardworking and self-disciplined in my own live, I enjoy the escape into fantasy and melodrama at the end of the day as well as the rags to riches stories, over the top diva antics, glamorous lifestyles and mean girls (and boys) shenanigans.”~ Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Author, Speaker

There is a difference between a person who watches one or two shows occasionally and just enjoys the show for entertainment, versus someone who really is drawn to, or attracted to-some people go as far to claim they are addicted to-reality TV.

My wish for you today is that you may find enough joy and happiness in your own reality everyday that you never need an escape.



Moving to the New Windows Media Player, How and Why

If you own a PC that uses the Windows operating system then you should consider using the great, and free Windows Media Player to play all your media files, and if you need convincing the latest versions of this multi-purpose media software can offer you all the features you need to enjoy virtually any type of media you have on your PC!

Windows XP and Vista Users

If you are a Windows XP or Vista user, then the latest version of Windows Media Player that you can run on your PC is WMP 11. This version offers a number of great features that its biggest competitor cannot, and has a much more attractive and intuitive interface. Here are some of the best features of Windows Media Player 11

  • Intuitive Windows Design

If you are use to the Windows interface then using Windows Media Player is simple. You can find options like settings, tool and shortcuts in all the usual places. The best features in this area are the improved playback bar, and the status area that can be minimized to your tool bar keeping it out of the way, but still accessible.

  • Great Options for Music Lovers

Media Player 11 gives you access to the Microsoft online Music Store so you can download your favourite music and new tunes directly to your PC. It also comes with easy to use software to rip CD’s so you can listen to your music in the car, and has improved library settings to make organizing your music easier and more customizable.

  • Stores all your Media in One Place and is Accessible from Anywhere

Windows Media Player 11 can store all your media files including your movies and pictures in one place and organizes them so they are easy to find, view and share. It can also be easily downloaded to many m3p devices as well as cell phones so you can enjoy your media anywhere. It even has a handy sync function so that it is always up to date.

To Download Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP or Vista, simply follow this link!

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/Default.aspx

Windows 7 Users

If you use the new Windows 7 operating system then you can access the latest version of the Windows Media Player, version 12, and there are some improved functions that you are definitely going to want to check out!

  • Supports more Media Formats

The new Windows Media 12 can support even more media formats which means that you can still store all your latest media in one place. It includes 3GP, AAC, AVCHD, MPEG-4, WMV, and WMA formats, as well as most AVI, DivX, MOV, and Xvid files.

  • Offers Remote Media Streaming

This is a great feature for those of you who enjoy taking your movies and music on the road, but don’t travel with your PC. This feature allows you to play media to other devices from your home PC using the Play To feature, including your mp3 player, car stereo or cell phone.

  • Improved Playback Features for Music and Movies

The new playback features offer you greater customization and control over your music and movie playback options including song previews and jump lists.

To get the latest version of Windows Media Player, just follow this link to start downloading your copy now!

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-media-player-12



Taming the Media Beast in Your Home!

Does your home have more noise, confusion, mixed messages, commercials, or tasteless junk coming from the airwaves than you’d like? Computer, TV, radio, video games, CD’s and DVD’s–no matter how careful we try to be, there are still “leaks” allowing things in our personal spaces that we don’t really like. There’s a name for this onslaught of worldly messages and political correctness–it’s called, the Media Beast! And our best efforts to stop it from gaining access to the minds and hearts of our families sometimes seems hopeless. Even “children’s” books can be the source of some of the worst messages–ie., stuff that we don’t want to teach our kids (such as the infamous, “Heather Has Two Mommies”).

Fear not: The holiday season presents the perfect time to tame the media beast in your home. There is no period of the year that is more conducive to getting together as a family and sharing what we watch, hear, or read. I have two suggestions that all families can–and should– try, at least during the holidays, if no other time of the year.

#1: Have a “19th Century night” once or more each week. With the exception of Christmas lights, turn off all other electronics: the TV, computer, games, etc. If you have a fireplace this is the time to USE it! If outdoor wood is not available for burning have some store-bought fire “logs” ready for the occasion. Hunker down together in one room, making sure everyone is comfortable. Hot cocoa, mulled cider, or non-alcoholic eggnog make the perfect libation. Popcorn, Christmas cookies, or anything your family likes to nosh on should be available. Candles–so long as they are not accessible to small children–are a wonderful atmosphere enchancer. If not practical for you, then substitute flashlights.

Once everyone is cozy, read a Christmas story together. Some are ageless, and even reluctant teens will end up getting involved in them, such as “A Christmas Carol.” Very young children will enjoy shorter selections and there are abundant offerings to choose from; in fact, this is true for all ages. Alternatives to reading aloud together are listening to holiday stories on tape or cassette, and of course, watching a holiday movie, my second suggestion, which I’ll discuss in a moment. Young children should be allowed to color or play quietly while listening to audio tapes or longer stories read aloud. (A side-benefit of having a “19th Century Night” is that it becomes a great memory for the kids later on.)

#2: Have a Merry Movies Night. During the holidays my family does this as often as possible. First, be sure that all homework is finished, projects worked on, and baths accomplished. Once everyone is ready, get comfortable and pop in a wholesome Christmas movie. (Beware of modern remakes, and never assume that because the word “Christmas” is in the title that the movie will be a good one, or appropriate for all ages.) We have nights when we do a few cartoon classics such as, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” Snoopy and the gang, or Rudolph. Other nights we pick an old film classic, and sometimes we try a more modern one (“Christmas with the Kranks,” “Elf”). For some tried and true movie ideas, check my holiday picks page on my website. This is the time to add to your collection of good films–and they make great family gifts, too!

The benefit of doing family nights are manifold: first, everyone is together! For families with older kids, being together gets harder as interests spread and commitments take children from the home. Second: You can control, or at least have a large say in what form of media is getting everyone’s attention (make it wholesome and fun). Finally, you won’t be passively allowing the “media beast” to trample on you or your family–not this year, not this time!

Have a warm and wonderful, wholesome and happy Christmas!



Know All About Measuring ROI of Social Media

Whenever any conversation arises about social media marketing, companies always involve the ROI of such media and try to define ways to measure it. Businesses using social media view it as any other marketing tool and expect it to provide similar returns, not realizing that this is not a simple marketing tool. Before asking how to measure ROI of such marketing, it is important understand why you need to measure it and whether such reasons really warrant an in-depth analysis of ROI.

Traditionally, businesses used TV advertisements to promote their companies’ products or services. The impact of such marketing strategies was very easy to measure by measuring the change in sales during and after the advertisement period. Businesses feel that social media marketing works in a similar way and want to measure the ROI of such media in the same manner. Moreover, companies feel that as they have appointed a special person to look after social media marketing, there should be noticeable returns.

The problem with most businesses is with this basic assumption and comparison of social media marketing to traditional marketing. Social media marketing is a tool that is and should be used for effective communication with the community at large. When compared to a marketing tool, it can at the most be called a pre-sales strategy that involves chatting with the prospective customer with the hope of enticing the person to buy the product. It has been often associated with idle conversations and building relationships. Social media marketing is akin to the free trials of products that are given as part of traditional marketing, and also all types of technical support that is given before final sale. When defined in such terms, ROI of such media becomes very difficult to measure as it is very tricky to measure the ROI of conversations and relationships.

Secondly, it is important to note that such marketing is most useful in post-sale customer service, where companies use these tools to maintain and develop their customer base. If there is a customer who does not like a product, then companies employ such methods to ensure that the problem is solved. By helping such customers, you are building a loyal base, which in turn will virally ensure future growth in sales. This again proves how difficult it is to measure ROI of such media in actual terms. While customer service and pre-sales strategies definitely cost something and are a necessary investment, it is important to understand whether such measures can be calculated and whether such measures actually reflect their impact on businesses.

Finally, proponents of measuring ROI of this type of media feel that people only oppose it because they do not know how to measure it and hence feel that it is hard to calculate. This is not true as it has been proved that while ROI of such media is difficult to measure, it is not impossible. It is pertinent to note that some people feel that this method of measuring ROI of such media is short sighted and completely wrong and that there are other ways of measuring than in monetary terms. According to such people, while value of a conversation and relationship cannot be measured in monetary terms, it definitely has some importance, which may or may not be directly visible.

In a nutshell, you will need to measure ROI of social media to keep a tab on the results that it’s delivering, and fine-tune your strategy, as and when needed, to reap the optimum benefits.



Social Media – Now the Trusted Adviser

If you have ever wondered how intrusive social networking has become in our daily lives, or if it just seems that people around you are obsessed with their social media network, then you might just be right. In new research from the US, social media users say that social networking is now one of their most important activities on a daily basis, both on line and off line, and you thought it was just people like me who were obsessed with it didn’t you.

Only email was considered more important, with chatting and web browsing as daily activities ranking lower. When asked to compare online social networking with off line activities, social media site users only found going out with friends more important, that puts social networking ahead of real life activities such as playing games,watching TV and playing sport.

So what is the top activity on these internet social networks?  81% of site users said posting photos as their top activity with responding to others posts and posting about their own thoughts or daily activities, next in line.

Now the good news, and this is really very important news for companies who are using social media, is that over 40% of users said they linked in with a company, product or service on a social network, and 38% had actually clicked on paid advertisements.

Another very important consideration for business in this survey, is the trust factor, users of social networks place high trust in their social network, with more than 50% saying they considered information shared on their network when considering or researching products or services, and this trust factor was higher amongst the younger users, with over 65% of 18 to 24 year olds using referrals or advertising gained from their social network.

This finding is very very important for those in the business community, because the survey shows that Gen X&Y have integrated social media networks into their daily lives in such a way, that it has now become a trusted resource in their decision making process.

The inclusion of social media into your marketing plan is now vital, particularly when it comes to building brand loyalty for the future. Creating trust and having the right strategy in place for social networking is the key factor in building success with social networks, understanding how to network within in this space and becoming the trusted adviser are the key elements to a successful social media strategy.



Trying to Figure Your Social Media ROI

As a client attraction coach using social media and online marketing strategies, one of the biggest problems I see small business owners and entrepreneurs have is trying to measure their ROI… Return on Investment.

First: We have to understand that social media is a different type of marketing. It’s not the old traditional static style marketing that send sales messages to buy – buy – buy. Once the ad was printed, that was it for the duration of the time period the ad ran.

There wasn’t any connection or contact made with the person you were marketing to. Advertising companies controlled the marketing. Social media on the other hand is all done in real time and has leveled the playing field between the big guys with big advertising budgets and the little guys with little to no advertising budgets. For the first time, the consumer is in control.

Now your viewers want to talk with you, they want to interact and have conversations with you.

Social Media is all about people and taking the time to build relationships, it’s not about being salesy.

Second: People are not on social platforms looking for ways to spend money. They’re wanting to connect with likeminded people and people with like interests and to learn more about the things they want to spend money on. They aren’t there to actually buy.

Social Media ROI is not measured in Return on Investments, it’s measured more by Return on Impressions.

So how do you measure your Return on Impressions? By connecting and engaging in conversations with your viewers and:

  1. Building your online social media community consistently and persistently
  2. Your community in turn start talking about and promoting you to their communities
  3. Scheduling speaking engagements at live and online events and promote products or services
  4. You build your email list
  5. You’ve built brand recognition
  • These are just a few of the ways you can measure your Return on Impressions using social media. Again, it is not about sales, you’re building relationships which in turn leads to sales which in turn builds your business for traditional ROI.

Your Simple Action Step: Get the word out there and let your ideal clients know about you and what you do. Start searches on Facebook and your other social sites for your ideal clients and message them that you share a common interest (name the interest) and would like to connect with them. Careful though… on Facebook, do not send more than 25 personal friend requests a day or Facebook will shut you down for a few days.

Plus build your community, take the time to interact more on your social sites, it’s critical to your social media success. Post several times a day, using a post scheduler like Hootsuite (for posting across multiple sites) or the Facebook post scheduler (for Facebook business pages only). Ask questions, post pictures, use quotes, post blog posts, share other’s blog posts or information, and bring personal into your business page… it’s not all business.



Reality TV – How Low Can It Go?

There’s a book written by Stephen King called The Running Man He wrote the book in 1982, and in 1987 it was made into a rather good film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I remember the first time I watched that film I thought it was an interesting piece of science fiction. The thought of people being hunted down and eliminated/killed for national TV was very unique, and a bit far fetched.

But that was then and this is now. And what was entertaining fantasy is almost a reality today.

The fantasy that was The Running Man was followed by the reality show Big Brother. I remember watching South Africa’s first ever Big Brother show. It was a unique, albeit voyeuristic concept. Nobody I knew would admit to watching it, but we knew the names of all the housemates, and we would discuss the previous day’s antics every morning at work. It was a novel concept – watching the behaviour of a crowd of 12 strangers in a house. I remember the shower being turned on at 9.00 am and 9 pm – and the age restriction being raised to 16 at those times so youngsters couldn’t watch the housemates showering!

There have been more Big Brother series in South Africa, but the interest has not been as intense as it was with the first one. I think the same is true for the other Big Brother series all over the world. At first it’s a big issue – almost like spying on someone without their consent! It’s like being a legal voyeur. Eventually the novelty wears off, and the initial attraction is boring. How long does it take before the average viewer gets tired of watching people eating, drinking and sleeping? So the producers have to do something to improve ratings/viewership/advertising. So now we have extra cameras in the bedrooms and bathrooms. And the producers punish the housemates by withholding food if they cannot complete a task successfully. So they get uptight and pick fights with each other. That makes things interesting, for a few weeks at least.

Big Brother was the start of the dreadful phenomenon that is Reality Television. Idols, Survival, Meet My Folks, I’m A Celebrity… take your pick. Almost all of these shows are notable for the one unpleasant thread that winds its way through each one – ridicule. In Idols people who believe they have a singing talent are humiliated by opinionated, rude judges. Viewers can watch the hopeful contestants burst into tears of anger or humiliation at Simon Cowell’s caustic comments. Their dreams are shattered in the most unpleasant way, and many viewers sadistically watch each show, enjoying the sight of lifelong hopes and dreams being shattered in a really ugly way. In Meet My Folks prospective dates for a couple’s child are subjected to intrusive, personal questions; in the one episode I watched a girl forced to face up an ex-boyfriend she’d dumped under terrible circumstances two years prior to the show! Is there anyone out there who hasn’t had a horrible break up with someone from years gone by? I’m A Celebrity takes many washed up “stars” and forces them to eat bugs and other do unmentionable things in a jungle. The audience apparently votes off the most useless celebrity… well I guess these people ask for it! They apparently take part in the show hoping to revive their flagging careers.

I admit – I’ve watched some episodes of these shows. But these are nothing compared to Ultimate Makeover.

Viewers can now watch a person – woman or man, but usually the former – having plastic surgery and professional advice of how to make the most of him/herself. I’ve watched one or two episodes of Ultimate Makeover, and none of The Swan. It saddens me that some of these girls think the only way they can be great, successful women is if they change their faces and their body shape.

Then they go through what looks like absolute hell. A facelift… I almost passed out watching the surgeon using a metal rod to free the flesh and skin from a woman’s forehead so he could LIFT the skin up and stitch it into her hairline. The probe went down as far as her eyebrow, its outline visible as the skin was freed from the bone. All in the name of beauty.

Liposuction… shoving a thick pipe in and out of her stomach as her “fat” (combined with rather copious amounts of blood) is sucked down a tube into a beaker.

Breast enhancement… shoving a silicon bag underneath someone’s breast with the force of a Mike Tyson punch???

Would we have watched these procedures on television 17 years ago? The answer is no. It was consider invasive and intrusive. In those days Dallas was considered raunchy!

I’m not condemning those who chose to undergo surgical procedures. Discovery Channel shows documentaries about people who desperately need plastic surgery. I recall one show featuring a policeman whose face was burned off when her car caught fire following an accident while on duty. Anothr case told of a woman who lost her entire eye socket to cancer. She wept after the plastic surgeon replaced the missing bone so she could wear an artificial eye. But is reality TV taking the world’s obsession with beauty and youth a little too far? Or is it the media again – taking our tolerance levels to the max? After all, viewer figures and show ratings mean greater advertising and hefty profits! Perhaps they want to see how much we can take before it becomes boring and we start flipping channels. Are they preying on insecure, desperate people in the hope that ratings will jump?

It started in a house. We observed people like laboratory rats, watching them in a controlled environment. We held the key to whether they stayed or whether they left. It evolved into a talent show, where again we had the power to vote for the winner, and vote out the losers.

Today we can sit with an insecure young woman while she has her appearance changed to meet what she believes is society’s criteria. We watch every pain filled moment – whether she weeps with physical pain from her nose job, or cries because she realises she will never look the same again. We suffer with her, but don’t have to endure the reality she’s experiencing. Many times one of the “victim’s” friends or a family member has contacted the programme because he/she feels this person needs plastic surgery. Sometimes the person’s partner has contacted the show! Yes, I know that often the “victim” herself wants the makeover, but the thought that someone who is supposed to care about this person just the way he or she is puts a partner’s name forward is sad. To me anyway… what happened to loving someone for him or herself, despite a few extra pounds or some wrinkles?

So where does reality TV go from here? And how close are we to shows like The Running Man?

I think we’re almost there.