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Archive for Social Media Messaging – Page 3

Subtracting Google+

It’s safe to say that Google pretty much runs the Internet, and although they don’t miss on much—Google+ has been a massive failure. Concocted as the tech giant’s first major foray into Social Media Land and designed to directly compete with Facebook, at the end of April Business Insider reported that Google is apparently dismantling and reorganizing the team assigned to the failed social platform. 

From the outset it was apparent that something was amiss with Google+. The initial roll-out, based on an invite-only format, was intended to create a sense of exclusivity and urgency—but apparently it nurtured only antipathy. While preliminary signups and user-growth numbers were on par or even exceeded Facebook’s for the same time period, it appeared that once the excitement of a new social media outlet wore off, so did the active users. 

Google attempted to augment this lack of activity by making Google+ a mandatory component to any Google account, and integrating it into each aspect of their interface—a move that apparently did not sit well with Google+ head Vic Gundotra, and may have been a contributing factor in his departure. Coincidentally, when Google announced that he was leaving, they additionally declared the end of forcing their users into Google+ profiles. 

From my vantage point, Google+ suffered from a lack of engagement functionality and the glacial adoption rate of ‘friends and family,’ a main reason people use social media in the first place. Constructing a complete profile is time-consuming enough just to realize that those you would like to connect with aren’t even there. This created a stigma regarding Google+ as an online ‘ghost town,’ and they were never able to recover from it.

Designers and developers assigned to Google+—over 1,000—have been shifted to other projects, mainly on the Android side of things. The company will not eliminate the social media site, but will abandon efforts to compete with Facebook and focus on incorporating the platform into other Google products. Google is a tech behemoth, but the abject failure of its social media site to thrive is proof that even Babe Ruth swings and misses every once in a while.

NASA’s Viral Earth Day Campaign

Leveraging dates on the calendar in a social media marketing campaign is an important component to gaining an online advantage, as aligning yourself or your business with the day’s event puts you in a prime position to create some water cooler chatter and potentially go viral. 

That’s exactly what NASA is doing today—Earth Day—and they’ve already generated a palpable Internet-buzz which will continue to gain steam throughout the day. The government agency is promoting the hashtag #GlobalSelfie to promote Earth Day awareness—and also produce some organic publicity. 

NASA is inviting social media users to take a selfies, denoting their location, and upload them to their collection of accounts. At the end of the day they will begin compiling all of the photos into a global mosaic in the shape of our planet. They’ve even created downloadable signs to accompany your selfie, stating, “Hi NASA! I’m on Earth Right Now.”

The selfie-mosaic will be available in May, after NASA has had ample time to compile the presumable mountain of photographs. By finding a creative way to connect to Earth Day, NASA will have users online providing publicity for them in a fun and easy way. So the next time you’re in a brainstorming session and lacking ideas, take a look at the calendar and consider unique ways to use the standout dates.

The Dawn of Anti-Social Media

While everyone you know has some form of social media account, you don’t necessarily want to connect with everyone you know on social media. Be it a meddlesome coworker, an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or that guy from your high school psychology class – some people you just have no desire to associate with – in-person or online. Unfortunately, these individuals may be ignorant of or not share this same sentiment – and you’ll inevitably receive an invitation to connect on social media.

Most people are naturally avoidant of any interpreted slight or rudeness, so with a begrudging acceptance of their online request comes an immediate ‘hide’ or ‘unfollow’ from Facebook – but despite your actions to limit your social media exposure to these Internet-interlopers, with location check-ins, you may find yourself face-to-face with the ones you were hoping to avoid.

As is colloquial with the times, luckily there’s an app for that.

For all the anti-social-inclined comes Cloak, an application designed to help you elude those any unwanted interactions in public. When you connect Cloak to your Instagram or Foursquare – two location-centric platforms – it will notify you as to the whereabouts of all your online friends who have checked-in nearby. The application brings up a map, and you can ‘flag’ certain individuals and receive alerts when they come within a certain distance – helpful when trying to side-step those you’d rather not see.  

The social media scale has become so extensive that applications are now being conceived to actively steer clear of others. It’s an intriguing sign of the times for sure, and a further example of how the line is being blurred between personal and technological lives. 

The Online Investigation of Flight MH370

Friday evening we learned of the bizarre disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 that failed to arrive at its scheduled destination in Beijing. In what increasingly seems like a tragic, real-life episode of The Twilight Zone, there is still no trace of the ill-fated flight four days later, and theories abound as to its location.

With investigators yet to discover any tangible evidence of a crash or discern any reasoning as to why the airliner suddenly vanished from radar detection, we’re left only to posit scenarios that may have determined MH370’s fate. The world is watching, and with family members clinging to shreds of hope and seeking closure and finality to this disastrous ordeal, authorities are seeking help from all angles; anything to explain the origin of the jet’s disappearance and provide answers.

Armchair sleuths have been on the case since the flight was first reported missing, and ABC News released a story yesterday about a website utilizing satellite imaging and crowdsourcing to potentially locate the aircraft. has released photos obtained from five orbiting satellites of the plane’s last recorded whereabouts, and is allowing users to comb through them in an attempt to identify any potential debris. Data is being compiled on the areas tagged the most by users, and relayed to investigators on the ground and in the air.

It’s a novel, but possibly breakthrough usage of technology that may indeed aid authorities in the region with their search, and allows the millions around the globe monitoring the developing story to contribute. At this point, any assistance helps.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of passengers aboard Malaysian flight 370, and hopefully there will be some resolution to this story soon.


Burrito Branding

The strategies of advertising and branding are constantly evolving. As corporations adapt their marketing models to fit a consumer-base that now mainly resides online and on social media outlets, there has been a rise in unique ad campaigns – some of which don’t initially appear as such.

Chipotle, one of the nation’s fastest-growing food chains (and bastion of tasty burritodom) is known for its dedication to organic and locally-raised food products and unconventional advertising, but their new campaign tops anything they’ve done before – and any other Internet-based marketing. Abandoning budgetary restraints – each episode cost a whopping $250,000 to produce – and traditional online-marketing methods, Chipotle just released a four-part sitcom, Farmed and Dangerous, on Hulu that aims to generate awareness about factory farming and promote the company’s commitment to products grown and raised on small farms.

In the distinct fashion that we’ve come to expect from Chipotle, the miniseries hardly mentions the company at all, as they chose to focus on the issues they tout as corporate values, as opposed to the products they sell in their restaurants. This experiment in advertising takes a public relations angle rather than a promotional angle, and by highlighting matters that are central to their business-model, they succeed in flaunting their company as a champion for small-farming and humane treatment of animals (thus bringing in their desired customer-base).

The main problem I can see with this variety of covert branding is that it may be viewed as pseudo-propaganda, and actually alienate some potential or existing customers. In Chipotle’s case, one risk involves making sweeping generalizations about large-scale farms and the way in which they operate. Chipotle may endure some corporate backlash as a result, but any news coverage surrounding Farmed and Dangerous will only serve to promote it as well. See how that works?

In an age where corporations are constantly seeking new avenues to reach their customers, Chipotle is setting the baseline for creative online-advertising. It will be interesting to see what kind of results they yield, and if other companies begin adopting similar inventive strategies.

– Carter Breazeale