Archives for posts with tag: Google+

Facebook and Google+, as with most social networks, force users to give up their privacy to get more out of the service, but are there any benefits to this loss of anonymity?

Facebook and Tumblr deal with online privacy very differently.  Facebook requires you to use a real name and is designed to connect people.  There is no anonymity on Facebook–it even started as a closed network that required a verified .edu email address to become a member. However, Tumblr doesn’t require any personal information, and allows people to anonymously share pictures, ideas, etc.

In an interview with BloggingHeads, Andrew McLaughlin, VP of Tumblr,  and Marne Levine, VP for Global Public Policy for Facebook, explained how anonymity and transparency effect Tumblr and Facebook.  McLaughlin and Levine provide completely opposing viewpoints on the importance of anonymity.  McLaughlin praises the freedom that comes along with anonymity, while Levine criticizes the lack of comfort and lack of security that stem from anonymity.  While Facebook is a networking tool used to connect people, Tumblr is creativity tool used to share ideas–anonymity has a different role with each.  In Facebook’s case, the lack of anonymity allows users to connect with other users, but since the network has opened up it is nearly impossible to verify identity.  In Tumblr’s case, anonymity allows people to share ideas, but this also makes people less accountable for their ideas and opinions.

Full Video of the interview

Anonymity may allow people to express themselves without consequences, but it also creates a false sense of security.  Anonymity allows people to express themselves without reproach.  Free, anonymous expression makes sense for Tumblr, as it allows users to explore creative interests that they wouldn’t explore without anonymity, but it does not make sense for Facebook, which is meant to be an online extension of real interactions that happen between people.

The real question may be whether this anonymity is truly possible.  If you engage in social media, your information is going to be in their database forever.  Even if you don’t have an account, however, your information may not be as private as you think–everything that you have ever searched on Google is tracked and saved.  If you choose to delete your Google search history, your search history can still internally be used by Google for 18 months.  Nothing that you do online is anonymous, the only question is if you know your anonymity is being violated or not.  Google has agreed to pay a 22.5 million dollar settlement to the FTC for violating users privacy, without their knowledge.

When Google+ was released a little over a year ago, it was marketed as a competitor to Facebook.  While Google+ has failed to reach the level of popularity and profitability of Facebook, it has not failed as a site.  The potential of Google+ is in its being an extension of Google, not in its attempt to be a social networking site.

Insiders view Google+ as a tool for supporting already-established internet tools, such as Google and Youtube.  This month Google+ introduced more features designed to integrate different Google tools into its interface. The Events feature on Google+ will be compatible with Google calendar and allows you to invite people who are outside your circles.  Google+ connects the different Google tools, such as mail, google search, and now the calendar, into one organized site.

From our view, people don’t engage with companies on Google+ as much as they do on Facebook, which makes it less successful as a marketing tool.  From the recruiting standpoint, the vast majority of users aren’t active enough on the site to make Google+ as worthwhile as LinkedIn, or even Facebook, for this purpose.

Google+ does beat Facebook at video-chatting.  The Google+ video-chatting feature allows users to form “hangouts” with many users on site.  Organizations, such as news organizations, can use such hangouts to live-stream interviews and take questions from a virtual and interactive audience.  

Finally, the mobile site for Google+ is more accessible.  As mobile is becoming an increasingly important market for social media, the Google+’ user-friendly mobile app gives it a possible advantage against Facebook.

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Google’s creative new documentary, Project Re:Brief, takes four classic advertisements from Coca-Cola, Volvo, Alka-Seltzer, and Avis and re-imagines their message with the help of digital advertising. The new campaigns creatively combine the classic message of the original ads with today’s demands for interactive marketing.

The main challenge associated with the project was keeping the message the same as the original ads.  The goal was to update the ads to the current market while remaining true to their original intent–to what made the ads iconic.  Unlike one-way print or commercial advertising, digital advertising is meant to engage people–what better way to engage than by adding interactive elements to proven campaigns.  All four digital advertisements focused on creating an interactive and innovative experience, but Avis and Volvo’s ads are worth noting.

The Avis ad featured in the project originally featured their “We try harder” slogan.  The advertisers created an interactive marketing campaign where users’ stories are turned into short animated video clips.  Avis also encourages users to send in negative feedback so that they can improve as a company and live up to their slogan.

Volvo’s new digital ad drew inspiration from the powerful 1962 ad, “Drive it like you hate it”, which cleverly showcased the durability and longevity of Volvo.  Keeping this message in mind, advertisers created a new digital ad campaign in which anyone can track the progress of Irv Gordon, a man who has driven the same Volvo since 1966 as he approaches the 3-million-mile mark with his car.  Users can track his journey on Google Maps and even create their own road-trip adventures.  These campaigns show how digital has truly revolutionized the consumer experience.

Re:Brief communicates the idea that for a campaign to stand out in today’s social media-obsessed atmosphere, it must be engaging, interactive, and above all, have a timeless and relatable message.

Excitement over Google+ may be waning, but Google still unveiled their much-anticipated branded pages hoping to stir up enthusiasm for the social network. Vic Gundotra, Google SVP of Social Business, said, “we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about from local businesses to global brands”.  Apparently, we see the only feature that differentiates the branded pages from the personal pages is a square icon on the branded pages.For more information on Google+’s branded page features, read the article here.

For more on Google+, and if it is worth the hype.

Sai Pradhan co-organized and emceed this month’s HKSocial.  Seventy people arrived at 8 am to participate in this event where guest speakers Jay Oatway, Karen Tam, the Assistant Manager of Marketing and Promotions for Harbourcity and Times Square, and Kay Ross, copywriter and consultant, provided suggestions for utilizing social media marketing in business.  Jay Oatway, named “Hong Kong’s answer to Twitter royalty” by Marketing Magazine, led the social media monthly wrap up. Karen Tamspoke on how she used social media to popularize Harbourcity and Times Square as shopping and eating destinations and  Kay Ross stressed the importance of the character biography on Twitter and outlined what not to write.

For the last part of the social, discussion groups listened to feedback about Google+ and Twylah, a new tool which organizes tweets and has built-in SEO.

In the weeks following the limited release of Google+, ten million people have already jumped onboard.  Initial reactions to Google+ have been mixed.  It could be another superfluous social networking site that will ultimately cause more headaches than it will solve.  Others, however, see it as an innovative tool that effectively combines all of Google’s features (Chrome, GMail, Google Reader, etc.) into one cohesive social media site.

One of the most praiseworthy features is the interface itself, which is sleek and user-friendly.  Google+ allows users to create different “Circles” of people and share information within these specific circles. This is an intuitive improvement to Facebook’s privacy settings. Facebook received criticism for this as more users were added.  Facebook now allows you to create different groups and restrict their access to your profile; however, Google+’s circles are far more effective at restricting access to different groups of people and are more user friendly.   Facebook was a cleaner, more sophisticated upgrade to the cluttered Myspace, and now it seems that Google+ is just that to Facebook.

Google+ will also impact search responses.  This can either be a good or bad thing, depending on if you want your information to be more readily available on the internet.  For businesses using Google+ as a marketing tool, this is an obvious benefit.  The interface seamlessly integrates Gmail and Google Reader, and by doing so, Google+ connects many sites and flows seamlessly into your web browsing routine.

Google+ is not, however, without criticism.  While most have praised the site for the circles, some have called them too complicated for the average user.  It is also impossible to filter your streams.  The lack of a search bar is also perplexing, considering Google is first and foremost a search engine.  Overall, the consensus is that Google+ deals with features that the public believe should be improved but not changed altogether—it’s a solid first step.

The jury is still out on whether Google+ will make Facebook obsolete, if it will become another social media site, or if people will simply lose interest in it.  It is important to realize that Google+ is still in its first stages, developers still can change and update features to suit the public’s needs.  At this point, Google + has the potential to grow into something lucrative, but only time can tell if it will live up to its initial hype.

For more on Google+ branded pages

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