Social-Digital Trends 2013

Now that we are just few days away from the new year, let’s take a look of what will be the social –digital dominating trends in 2013, according to an interesting article posted in Social Media Today by David Armano from Edelman Digital:

  1. The Content Economy:  Content may become your company’s most valuable asset in 2013. The algorithms now are good enough now that the most compelling content dominates search results (e.g. Google). Organizations must create compelling content to exploit this. In 2013, content will not only be king, but queen, prince and jester, too.
  2. Cyborg Central: Think your mobile phone is making you part computer? Now it has accomplices. Gadgets like “fuel bands” and Google Glasses are just a preview of what we’ll see more of in 2013 as we begin to mesh machines with humans. As we move into the next year, the phrase “personal computing” will begin to take on another meaning.
  3.  The Smobile Web Social + mobile = “smobile.”:  While there’s no real insight in pointing out that both mobile and social are going to be big in 2013, I believe they’re becoming co-dependent, and most businesses aren’t ready for that. A smobile Web means your customers, coworkers and colleagues expect their digital experiences will be optimized for mobile/social sharing and as a result spend less time tethered to a PC or television. Will you be ready for the smobile web?
  4.  Sensory Intelligence Sensors will get smarter and become more pervasive: We already have cars that can help us parallel park and seats that vibrate if we’re too close to another vehicle. We have thermostats that learn based on how you use them, eventually programming themselves. In 2013. Sensors will be everywhere, in our homes, transportation, technology, and clothing. They will become a part of our lives and will tie into our existing devices and networks, If our plants need water, we’ll get a text or tweet, and even a note of thanks. Now that’s smart.
  5.  Social Commerce: In many ways, social has mirrored the original digital revolution. And when digital took on transactions and financial exchanges, things really picked up. So it will go for social as we begin to buy each other gifts through social networks or even set up a storefront. The idea of social commerce isn’t new, but signs indicate that 2013 may be the year it actually begins to coalesce.
  6. Data Surplus, Insight Deficit “: The cloud,” “social data,” or the overhyped macro label, “big data” will dominate the tech conversation. While it’s true that more of our data is being collected, mined and stored, that doesn’t mean people know what to do with it. There aren’t enough qualified human beings (analysts, sociologists, strategists, anthropologists etc) to mine all this data. But this won’t last for long. 2013 may be the year we focus less on data and start thinking about how to understand, interpret and make good use of it.

Whether it’s content, data, sensors, smobile, or feeling like we’ve become one with technology, 2013 should be an exciting year for the social-digital revolution as it continues to change the game.

The complete article can be accessed in the following link:


Social Media for Holiday Shopping

With holiday shopping in full swing, consumers are looking for all types of products and services that are unique, useful/user friendly, thoughtful, and perfect for that special family member, friend, colleague, spouse, or significant other. Social media including Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and Google ads offer great platforms to promote holiday specials for products and services as well as provide recommendations and reviews to assist in the purchase decision.

A common theme for holiday promotions has been the 12 Days Before Christmas where companies offer a different product or service at a discounted price or rate each day for 12 days. These daily promotions keep the consumer interested in what will be offered each day and increases traffic to their website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, Google ad, etc. to drive more sales and profit.

Some companies feature their holiday promotion then ask customers to post a review of the product or service as an avenue to validate a positive review or recommendation to influence other potential customers to buy the product. People trust the recommendations from friends, family, and other people more than a company advertisement. Key elements in making a purchasing decision is will the product or service meet a need and is there value vs just buying something that is a good deal or cheap price.

A bonus for social media platforms in holiday promotions is increasing their likes, friends, followers, subscribers, and views when people want to participate and take advantage of the special deals.

When is the best time to post something on social media for your audience?

There is really no book or handbook for social media post times. However, Mashable released a report based on averages which could help as a great starting point; however, the most important is to get to know your customers just like you need to know your friends and their behavior in social media channels, in order to “speak” to them at the times they are active and paying attention. You need to run several tests until finding the best time that works for your company. 

Good knowledge of your customer audience is crucial, some variables to take into account are the following:

  • Age groups as they have different preferred times when they check their social media platforms
  • Time zones if your customers are worldwide
  • Type of industry

 There are also a myriad of tools that can help you get deeper insights in this area to measure the effectiveness of different posting days/times. 

The Mashable report can be accessed in the following link:

Trip to Chicago, IL

So, you’ve seen Millennium Park, strolled down Michigan Avenue and probably visited Museum Campus. You’ve gone for deep-dish. Maybe you’ll venture out of downtown to the boutiques and bars of Wicker Park and Bucktown. These are all worth doing, of course. But for a little variety, we’ve picked 10 places tourists — and even some Chicagoans — don’t usually go

1. National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

After you’ve hit the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MCA, and the Art Institute of Chicago, keep heading south to see one of Chicago’s most compelling yet under-viewed collections. The money-strapped National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum — the only art museum in the U.S. dedicated to exhibiting work by Vietnam vets and, most recently, Iraq War vets — has an almost appropriate vacancy about it. As you step into the main gallery, you’re met by a graceful found-metal sculpture that mimics a soldier about to “step off to dance with death,” portraying the romantic notion of war; one of the feet is molded using a tricycle part. On the second floor, get close to the softly clinking dog tags that make up Above & Beyond — there’s a tag for each of the more than 58,000 service men and women who died in the Vietnam War. Take the back stairs or the elevator to the third floor to see the photos and installations of the Iraq War exhibits.

The museum is kept afloat by a handful of dedicated artist vets who regularly ship pieces out for exhibition, and also restore pieces — like a sculpture utilizing the POW bracelets of pilot (and Sen. John McCain colleague) John Borling, as well as the cup he used while imprisoned at the Hanoi Hilton. Many of the pieces easily stand on their own. But within the context of the museum, they are quite overpowering.

On your way out, stop by the front desk and ask to see the hardcover rendition of the museum — Vietnam: Reflexes and Reflections, which was released in 1996, the year the museum opened. The book offers a colorful and extended review of the larger collection, as well as artist reflections, and is worth a perusal.

2. Reggie’s Rock Club and Record Breakers

Here’s one of the best things about Reggie’s Rock Club in the South Loop: If you’re not into a set or who you’re with, just walk up a couple flights toRecord Breakers, a huge record store where you can snag not only new releases, but everything from an Eartha Kitt album and Minor Threat 45s toRocky and The X-Files on laserdisc. In the rock-and-roll-heavenly reading room, there are old issues of KISS Magazine, tear-out Rolling Stones photo books and imported Zappa and John Cale session recordings from the ’60s. And you can listen to anything you want. The downside of the Reggie’s experience is that you may be drunk, and so psyched about your finds, that you spend all your money. (Don’t ask how we would know that.) But it’s an appropriate place to pick up a jazz album, as the South Loop corridor was once a hotbed of clubs — like The Shrine, a hip-hop concert venue and nightclub frequented by Questlove, producer and drummer for The Roots.

Back downstairs, there’s also Reggie’s Music Joint, a restaurant and bar across the hall from Reggie’s Rock Club, which is a second place to listen to live acts — did we mention this complex is 16,000 sq. ft.? — while you eat, drink or watch one of 17 plasma TVs. The comfort-food menu is printed on a record sleeve with a real vinyl tucked inside (Hall & Oates, anyone?).

3. Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

The outside of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a museum itself: The extensive prairie, rooftop gardens and solar panels, and water conservation systems make it one of the city’s shining examples of green technology. The inside of the building sprouts kid-friendly interactive displays and workshops for adults such as “Geology of the Chicago Region,” but the real reason to pay the $9 admission is the year-round Judy Istock Butterfly Haven — unless you hate butterflies (you’ll be in an enclosed space with about 1,000 of them).

After watching a short video, you enter a huge room with a wall of windows, a trellis strung with vines, a rocky waterfall, and a curving path lined with benches. At first you may be afraid to move for fear of either stepping on or running into a butterfly. But that’s when you realize how many there really are, and how they’re able to camouflage themselves — maybe even after landing on your shoulder. The museum regularly rotates species of these winged beauties, featuring about 80 different types at a time.

Just before the exit, there’s a mirror so you can check and make sure there isn’t a butterfly trying to hitch a ride out on you. In the next hallway there’s a glass display where you can watch various species miraculously emerge from chrysalides. Then it’s time for you to emerge out of the museum and flap thee to the lakeshore nearby.

4. Paseo Boricua and Humboldt Park

With the threat of gentrification looming from the east, leaders in the Humboldt Park neighborhood worked to solidify the staying power of its Puerto Rican community. And thank goodness. Two huge, arching, steel Puerto Rican flags mark either end of the district known as Paseo Boricua (on Division Street, from North Western Avenue to North California Avenue). This pair of engineering feats — the world’s largest monument to any flag — bookend a gauntlet of salsa music, murals and vibrant street life. Grab a guava-cheese pastry from Cafe Colao; at Coco Restaurant, try the passion fruit martini with fresh-squeezed juice, or the house martini topped with oven-toasted coconut shavings.

At North California Avenue is an entrance to Humboldt Park itself, part of Chicago planner Daniel Burnham’s “Emerald Necklace” of parks and boulevards. There are gardens, playgrounds, fields, lagoons (including one that’s chlorinated for swimming), architectural gems like the Germanic-style stable and receptory, and usually some locals showcasing their custom cars and cruisers. Make your way up Humboldt Boulevard toward North Avenue, the northern border of the park, and you could score a watermelon from the back of a vendor’s pick-up, or maybe an elote (roasted corn on the cob slathered with butter or mayo and sprinkled with cheese and hot pepper).

5. Sidekicks

Back before karaoke was hip, there was Sidekicks. Pretend that the vintage marquee outside is glowing your name (instead of “Open Till 4AM” and “Karaoke Every Night”), open the bright red door and prepare for a time warp. You’ll half-expect the Blues Brothers to bust in and jump onstage with you for “Livin’ on a Prayer” — well, maybe just Jake, since Elwood would probably bolt for the beer-can wind chimes near the bar. If you want to celebrate a special event, like a birthday, call ahead to give the bar a heads-up, and they’ll tape you and your friends for free — at the end of the night, you’ll get a copy on VHS (sorry, no Beta). The bar also has a serious dart-playing contingent; to check out their game grounds, follow the wood-paneled walls to the back room.

If you get hungry looking at the framed pictures of Italian Beef, pizza and onion rings, don’t worry: There’s a walk-up counter where you can order food until late. Karaoke starts at 8 p.m. and goes until about midnight during the week, 2 a.m. on Friday and 3 a.m. on Saturday.

6. Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy

Walk into this firefighter training academy — past one of Chicago’s original steam-powered engines in the lobby — and you can see a plaque that marks where the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 began. And you may also smell smoke: As part of cadets’ training, instructors build live fires. You can often overhear firefighters banter, while you’re looking at the monument to the volunteers who have fallen in the line of duty (paid for by Ron Howard after the filming of Backdraft), as well as photos and historical info on landmark fires and inventions. For example, the Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903 was so brutal that it prompted the city to revamp its building code, thus requiring doors to swing outward. And did you know that the sliding pole was invented in Chicago in 1878? (The original was made of wood.)

Academy candidates are allowed to walk through this hallway once when they first start training, and not again until they graduate. It’s an issue of respect, so feel honored during your visit. Call ahead if you’d like a guided tour.

The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago (773-863-1405), which is scheduled to open in its new South Side location at 2311 West 57th Street in the spring of 2009, will feature a separate collection.

7. Brown Elephant Resale Shop

On Chicago’s North Side, the Music Box Theatre serves up art-house cinema, live organ music, and horror film fests with guests like George Romero. Nearby, the romantic old Riviera Theater and Aragon Ballroom showcase the likes of Wilco and the Flaming Lips. But the 1920s-era Calo Theater in Andersonville doesn’t show movies or host live performances anymore: The huge space — with its vaulted ceiling, sloping tiled entryway, beautifully tattered walls and decorative moldings — now boasts the secondhand wares of the Brown Elephant Resale Shop, whose proceeds go to AIDS research and providing medical services within the gay community. This makes it one of the neatest shopping locales in the city — plus it has a higher-quality selection than other consignment shops, including, say, a wallet (for $5) from the Andy Warhol clothing-and-accessories line and vintage Dunhill lighters. If you’re not a thrift-store junkie, grab an old copy of Life magazine from the ’60s or perhaps A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples and plop down on one of the nearby couches — they’re the best seats in the house.

Facebook versus Google Plus: It’s all about who came first

It is interesting to analyze these two social media channels, and in particular, what went wrong for Google.  According to CNN on July 2012, Facebook users have 900 million monthly active users, compared to Google Plus 150 million.  Besides this huge difference in numbers, it has been demonstrated that people spend much more time on Facebook than in Google Plus.  And this is basically due to the fact that Google Plus seems pretty much like a city in the desert, as The Atlantic stated. They also add this sad but true phrase: “People are “on” Google Plus, but they are not really ON Google Plus.”

In my humble opinion, what went wrong for Google was that they joined the party too late. In my personal experience, I created a Facebook account on 2007. Google Plus just appeared last year, and despite I joined them to find out what was this about, I found that none of my friends were there. Then, how do I convince my 250 friends on Facebook to create an account on Google Plus? How can I just abandon four years of posts, pictures, etc, for an empty ground?

This has nothing to do with the quality. Actually, I thing Google Plus have some interesting features, as creating circles to categorize people and then choose only  some circles to share some content.  On the other hand, the possibility to have video chats with more than one person seems awesome to me. I always use Skype to talk to my family, but I didn’t want to pay to talk to my sister and my mother at the same time.  And Google plus allows me to do that!

I think Google Plus has the potential to be a good platform, just not good enough to compete with Facebook in the same social “arena”. Their strategy must move toward enhancing current Google products and I think they have the smart people to do so.

Brand Advocacy Amongst Friends

Consumers build trust and confidence in brands through positive and exceptional experiences they have with the products, services, or the brands themselves. As people become loyal advocates of brands, they tell friends and colleagues how their favorite brands offer beneficial or unique features, provide excellent customer service, deliver consistent quality, and meet their expectations. These personal recommendations by word of mouth and through social media platforms can influence others to try new products or services since the advise is from a trusted source. Brand advocacy can set expectations on how a product will perform, meet a need, fit our budget, or rank against other brands especially if noteworthy ambassadors promote the products and services.

During a group run on Mt. Tam this weekend, friends started chatting about various brands of technical running shoes and gear. There are specific popular and recognized brands that are familiar to a particular network or community of runners (ultrarunners). Although each person has his/her own personal experience with different brands, we often find out that people we know have similar needs and experiences that influence and lead us to trying a new brands, products or services.

As the conversation continued to focus on shoes and other gear, people exchanged insight into the details of why they like certain brands and products. I mentioned that several brands are doing both a web and social media promotion during the holidays, and it is an optimal time to purchase products since some brands rarely offer discounts or the product may be hard to find at retail. By seeing the actual product and learning what friends and followers think about the brand, there is a higher probability that someone will purchase a product or service compared to just looking at a website or print ad. Someone even mentioned writing reviews for the products that you like and be a brand advocate. Most runners are not really influencers who expect incentives for promoting their favorite brands unless you are a sponsored athlete.

Brand advocacy through word of mouth from trusted friends and followers  that transitions to social media engagement can benefit the sales and success of a business as well as the brand.

Using Twitter for Live and Interactive Sports Event Coverage

By using social media platforms like Twitter, you do not have to attend a popular sports event to get live updates as the competition is progressing and the winners are determined. Twitter is an ideal platform to provide your audience with live coverage of an event while showing photos and sharing conversation about the competitors in action. Now you do not have to wait until an event is finished to wait for the results and photos to be posted on a website since you can see what transpired during the event on Twitter. Live event coverage offers the opportunity to actively interact and exchange a conversation or comment with other people while the action is progressing in real time. Competitors can review and respond to their tweets before, during (maybe not), and after the event to see what their fans and followers think and feel about their performance and/or event.

Live event coverage on Twitter can be shared between other media sources both for the event itself as well as with other groups or organizations within the community. Twitter allows a broad audience to see action photos and conversation of an event when the event director and staff may not have the resources to capture all the content themselves and stream it live. Unlike watching a sports event on TV, Twitter can be followed anywhere and anytime so people can be mobile and go about their business.

Another benefit of using Twitter is the time and convenience factor. People can tweet at the appropriate or key time during an event or just when it is convenient. The audience can respond back just the same. You can be mobile and just have your phone handy to tweet and take photos or video so no more lugging around cameras and other equipment often to remote locations to catch the action.

It is exciting to know that more extensive sports event coverage is possible real time, and you do not have to be there to get a piece of the action.