Starting Social Media from Scratch

This semester in school I had the awesome opportunity to work on a social media campaign for a charity that does dental work for impoverished people in other countries. The situation was a bit complicated because our messages, though aimed at the patient, had to go through the dentist to reach the patient because we didn’t have access to patients, yet. The charity had not had its own Facebook page or Twitter account before so we made those and then we put together a plan to get followers and reach.

Smiles For LifeTo raise awareness and generate excitement we asked the dentists that are a part of the charity to follow us and to share us with their patients. This did not get us as many followers as we hoped, so we tried to reach out to more of them by liking their pages, sharing their posts, and commenting on the conversations that they were having. Initially this got great results, but over time we saw diminishing returns.

In order to keep the momentum going we went and visited two participating dentists offices and filmed the dentist and his hygienists talking about their experiences with the campaign. I formatted the videos and posted them on the Facebook page to hopefully drive more sharing and reach.

In the end we were just a little disappointed with the results; we we hoping for much more interaction and shares by patients. But we think we set a strong foundation for next years campaign. The Facebook and Twitter have been established; they have pictures, videos, notes, and some followers. Anyone visiting has a place to learn more about the charity and to interact with it, and we think if this campaign is continued it can grow significantly every year.

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Seasons 8-10?

Does anyone else feel loyalty to a show, long after its writing and story lines have deteriorated beyond repair? I know I do. I catch myself watching shows that are over-the-top and disappointing just because I liked the first couple seasons and I want to finish out the series.

By Andy Dolphin

Case in point: I have always been a huge Bones fan. But the last season or two have only had a couple of decent, entertaining episodes. The characters have pretty much become caricatures of themselves at this point – way exaggerated and silly. Even though I recognize this, and it bothers me every time, I keep watching every new episode.

Even more unbelievably, I am still watching One Tree Hill episodes on Hulu. I mean really, how many murders, kidnappings, and betrayals can happen to these ten people? Each of these events happen over and over every season. So why do I keep tuning in? 

I don’t think I’m the only one who does this. Just about all of the comments on these videos are negative from frustrated viewers – but they’re watching these lame episodes too, right?

I don’t know exactly who is responsible for keeping these shows on long after they have lost their flavor, but I wish they would stop. When the story lines run dry, then give us a great series finale and end it. We’ll remember the show positively, we’ll be happy, and it won’t become a bad punchline. Plus, you’ll make room for some newer, fresher, and less disappointing shows.

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Do your friends politic on FB?

I just read an article that made me think of a post I wrote at the beginning of the semester regarding what we share Facebook. About how many people steer clear of religious, political, or other controversial postings because it could create conflict, attention, and even bad feelings the poster didn’t want to cause. Some people feel alright with this, and with sharing what they believe no matter what,  but others would rather keep the peace.

How often do you see posts you don’t agree with on your Facebook feed? Are your friends like you or are they on the opposing side of your beliefs? The article I read: Do You Agree With Your Facebook Friends’ Politics? Not Likely addresses this. Apparently it is very common to have friends who do not think like you, even though humanity always seems to want to find “people like me”. However, when a conflicting view pops up, most people just ignore it. Most won’t read it, a lot less will respond, and I’m guessing almost no one will read and be converted to a new way of thinking.

Personally, I have only answered a couple of posts that I felt were very biased. I didn’t think I would necessarily change someones mind, but I did hope that anyone who saw that status would see that at least one person did not think the post was truthful or correct.

I think my biggest pet peeve right now has to do with this. Most of these political posts are harmless promotions of one candidate over another, but some of them are blatant attacks on people’s beliefs. For example, the hot button issue of contraception. When you are comparing one group that believes that not being able to get an abortion sets women back to the 1700’s, and another group that believes that these women are OK with murdering innocent lives because of selfishness – how are people not going to take this personally? How can you tell someone that it is their fault for being offended at what you said? How can you not start a firestorm? Many people on the far-left and far-right wings share their opinions on this through Facebook, but most will never. The fear of being attacked and then having to constantly respond to people who will never believe as they do is just not worth it for them.

This is my pet peeve: when people attack someone for what they believe instead of just sharing how they view the issue. It is so easy to judge someone else and make general statements about them, but it takes restraint to see their point of view, and discuss the difference between theirs and your own. I think many more people would be willing to share, and hopefully learn from one another, if they weren’t so scared or intimidated by the big mouths out there.

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The iPad “New”

I’m going to keep this short because I am far from being an iPad or tablet expert, but my social media feeds have been filled for days about the new iPad. Every comment and story I have heard has been quite negative, and even iPad users are choosing to stick to the iPad 2. You see how low the market thinks of the new offering when you see moves like this: eBay Instant Sale Offers Up to $475 for Your Old iPad. That’s almost as much as the new iPad retail!

“It’s obvious to me that most tablet manufacturers are running out of ways to differentiate their products. A good number of the tablets I saw in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress were indistinguishable from one another. At least the iPad New is recognizably, uniquely Apple. Perhaps Apple’s next iPad design is so radical that it can’t be accomplished in a year.” – 
http://mashable.com/2012/03/07/new-ipad-did-not-blow-my-mind/

But I can’t help thinking, will the new tablet really be that much of a flop? Apple priced it relatively inexpensively by their own standards, and it does have a nicer display . . . so will tablet users eventually come over to the new iPad? I don’t believe the new iPad will ever be as big as a hit as its predecessor; it not quite so revolutionary. However, I could definitely see it being attractive to a certain segment – people who use their tablets for a lot of television and movie watching for example might be swayed by the screen size.

Biggest bummer of the whole thing for me – That because the iPad New isn’t going to make everyone run out and switch, the resale value of iPad 2’s is going to stay really high. I was hoping to score one cheap now that it was “old”!

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Cool Google+ Profiles

As a follow up to the post I wrote about timeline – check out the cool things that can be done with Google+:

10 Awesome Animated Google+ Profiles

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Facebook Timeline – Not all bad?

I have ranted and raved about how much I hate Facebook timeline. (I still an not a big fan of the last news feed pages they made) When I visit a friends page who has timeline I bounce instantly because I find it so difficult to read and navigate. A few times I heard it compared to MySpace profiles – which always looked like a mess. Timeline has done more to limit my Facebook “stalking” than anything else they have ever done – surfing profiles just isn’t as entertaining now.

HOWEVER – I found this article today on Mashable, Facebook Timeline Brand Pages are Here. It appears that some critics are acclaiming the possibilities for brands on timeline, with the increased visual customization and administrator tools. Could there be something good about timeline??? Maybe. Here’s a comparison of each.

New timeline design, does it make you like it more?:

On the previous profiles you had multiple pages for discussions, pictures, and events, which you could choose between to be your landing page on FB. Timeline profiles seem to just place you on the wall no matter what, and other pages look like a bunch of photo albums next to your information. I might think the aesthetics are getting a little too much attention for what they are, BUT I am impressed by the admin tools.

You have many more options, including a page to invite your friends to support a brand, host your blog, take quizes, see maps, and so on. These are amazing tools to expand a brand’s sharability and attractiveness to visitors and fans. I can;t wait to implement a bunch of these new tools on my favorite cause’s FB page, too bad it hasn’t been moved to timeline yet. Once it is I’ll be able to make a much better assessment of the brand building potential.

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Fathers and Daughters

This is a talk I gave in church on Sunday, thought I’d share it:

I’d like to speak today about the talk from Elaine S Dalton in October’s conference, entitled “Love Her Mother”. Her talk begins with a charge to fathers,

“The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother. By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion, and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less. Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her.” (Love her Mother, Oct 2011)

The marriages we are counseled to have are very different from the examples we (and our children) see today, especially on TV. Father and mothers are constantly scheming and lying to hide mistakes, manipulate their spouse, and avoid responsibilities. Just a couple weeks ago I saw, on two different sitcoms, the children of the manipulative parents mirroring their behavior –

in one case they were placing bets on a parent’s bad behavior, and in another they were creating an opportunity to steal from their relative’s pockets.

There’s no doubt we were supposed to see the connection between the parent’s relationship and the children, and laugh at it. But while I was studying and preparing this talk at the time it just hit me as kind of sad.

In the past thirty years, as homes and families have struggled to stay intact, sociological studies reveal that much of the crime and many of the behavioral disorders in the United States come from homes where the father has abandoned the children.

One authority states: “Studies show that fathers have a special role to play in building a child’s self-respect. They are important, too, in ways we really don’t understand, in developing internal limits and controls in children.” (Karl Zinsmeister, “Do Children Need Fathers?” Crisis, Oct. 1992.)

I’d like to share 2 short stories, the first from Robert W Paris on the importance of a father’s guiding light and example.

On one occasion, my daughter Jacque and I went to a Merry Miss Primary class daddy-daughter party held at the meetinghouse. Various activities were provided for the girls and their dads.

One of the games we played that night was a relay contest. The Primary leaders had placed four plastic bowling pins across the floor of the cultural hall in a staggered formation. Each father was to blindfold his daughter and, without touching her with his hands, “talk” her through and around the pins, across the cultural hall, and then back to the starting point, where the next pair would begin. We were divided into two teams.

When the race began there was much enthusiasm, both teams cheering for theirs to be the fastest. Most of the fathers would holler “go right!” or “go left!” or “stop!” or “go straight!” It seemed such a simple game when we were given the instructions, but it was actually quite difficult. The voice of the opposing team’s father might be confused with your own, and the two girls racing each other would get the instructions mixed up. Some of the father’s were hesitant in their directions and thus lost precious time. Many of the daughters did not follow the instructions quickly and accurately and then either went too fast or moved in the wrong direction, occasionally knocking down the pins.

But there was one father and daughter at the party who surprised us all. This father was afflicted with a serious disease that hampered his coordination. He was somewhat slow of speech and movement. An interesting thing happened when it was their turn to race. When the blindfold was in place, I heard the father say to his daughter, “Don’t worry about left or right or fast or slow. Just walk at a steady pace and listen to my voice. Just follow the sound of my voice. I’ll keep talking the whole time, and we’ll go right through.” At the signal they began, and he gently repeated over and over, “Just follow my voice” or “Don’t listen to the others, just my sounds.” I was amazed as they steadily walked with short steps right through the course, faster than any of the others, so fast in fact that theirs was the winning team.

What an interesting lesson for all fathers and daughters. So often there are many voices that call to our attention and tend to confuse us or get us off the right track. We are often yelling in our daily affairs for a daughter to go one way or another, to speed up or slow down, to do or not to do. What a blessing if every young woman could have a worthy father in this life who would say in words and actions, “Don’t worry about getting off the track. Just follow my voice and example, and let me lead you home.” And what a blessing if every daughter who has such a father would trust in him as he magnifies his priesthood and be willing to follow his direction and example.

I thought this was a wonderful story as it shows the influence of a Father in his daughters life, and how hard trying to yell her into conformance would be. But by loving example shown to her and her mother, fathers can make such a huge difference in keeping her on the path.

This second short story is from Robert D Hales,

He shared this memory from his childhood, “I learned respect for womanhood from my father’s tender caring for my mother, my sister, and his sisters. Father was the first to arise from dinner to clear the table. My sister and I would wash and dry the dishes each night at Father’s request. If we were not there, Father and Mother would clean the kitchen together.

In later years, after Mother had a stroke, Father faithfully cared for her every need. The last two years of her life required 24-hour care, he being called by Mother every few minutes, day or night. I shall never forget his example of loving care for his cherished companion. He told me it was small payment for over fifty years of my mother’s loving devotion to him.” (Robert D. Hales, How Will Our Children Remember Us, 1993)

Both of these stories hit close to home for me as I watched my own father take care of my mother when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was just 14, and very much in denial myself so I don’t really remember much from this period of my life, but I saw him take care of her and love her as they went through the hardest and most helpless times of her life. And when she passed I saw how much it hurt the man who was usually so reserved with his feelings. He was true to her throughout their life together, and compared every woman that my brother’s dated to her after she was gone. She was his ideal woman, even with all of her human faults, and he enjoyed telling us about how wonderful he knew she was.

After her passing my father was basically the sole authority in my life, the one who had sole responsibility for helping me to make it through this life correctly. And he did that through his example.

Children need to be constantly taught how they should act when they mature and have their own families. The best gift parents can give their children is to love each other, to enjoy each other, and even to hold hands and demonstrate their love by the manner in which they talk to each other.

One amazing father in the Book of Mormon was Abish’s dad.

When Abish was young her father shared with her a remarkable vision he had experienced. She was converted by his testimony. For many years thereafter, she kept her testimony in her heart and lived righteously in a very wicked society. Then, while working in the King’s house, the time came when she could no longer be still. Ammon arrived to teach the King and Queen the gospel and they were all struck down with the spirit as if they were dead. Upon seeing this, Abish knew what was going on and she ran from house to house to share her testimony and the miracles she had witnessed in the king’s court. The power of Abish’s conversion and testimony was instrumental in changing an entire Lamanite society.

The people who heard her testify became a people who “were converted unto the Lord, [and] never did fall away,” and their sons became the stripling warriors! (Love her Mother, Oct 2011)

All because of a loving father.

Russell M Nelson gave 3 suggestions on how husbands and wives can nurture their relationship and set an example for their children:

The first is “To appreciate —to say “I love you” and “thank you”—is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments.

I Love, Love, Love this counsel. Ever since I was a young woman I have admired the couples in my ward who were so obviously in love and constantly talking positively about each other. And when I was a little older, I also enjoyed listening to my brother in law talk about my sister the same way. He always acted and spoke as if he was the luckiest man on earth to have landed my sister. I know their 2 boys will know that their father loves and respects their mother, and they will learn how to respect and treat the women in their lives.

Nelson’s second suggestion—to communicate well with your spouse—is also important. Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other. They need to cooperate—helping each other as equal partners. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouse’s good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage.. . “

When Jeff and I were meeting with our bishop and stake presidency we were counseled to pray for each other at night, to thank God for each other, and to ask for forgiveness for ways we may have offended each other. Thanking God for Jeff is easy, but begging forgiveness is hard for me. My pride doesn’t want to admit that I was wrong, especially in front of others. But I know that in order to stay close to my husband and set an example for our future children I need to do those things that are hard for me. And be willing to show my future children that I am trying every day to be a good wife to their father.

“[Nelson’s] third suggestion is to contemplate. If couples contemplate often—with each other in the temple—sacred covenants will be better remembered and kept. Frequent participation in temple service and regular family scripture study nourish a marriage and strengthen faith within a family. Contemplation allows one to anticipate and to resonate (or be in tune) with each other and with the Lord. Contemplation will nurture both a marriage and God’s kingdom.” (Russell M. Nelson, April 2006 General Conference)

Your children will see how important the temple is in your lives if you make a point to go together, and even if you have a testimony of temples. If you don’ attend regularly your actions will speak more than your words. In addition, Fathers should express to their daughters how important it is to find a man who can take her to the temple. They should have conversations often about the daughters life, her dreams, her goals, and to make sure the male friends she is seeking out are worthy of her efforts.

Every Father should look for teaching moments every day, like Pres. Hunter’s father. Find ways to show your children how to be a husband and a wife, how to communicate, and how to respect other people. He believed, “You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for [Your wife]. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

I searched my adult life to find a man who would love me in the way that the men in the stories I told loved their wives, through sickness and health, while staying close to the gospel. I am thankful for my father, who always encouraged us to reach for our potential, and to work outside, and to pay our tithes and offerings generously. Who let me know what I needed from a husband someday.

And I am so thankful to my father in law who raised his sons and daughters to respect womenhood. To not consider “women’s work” or “man’s work” around the house. To value education. To not have the unreal expectations for his wife. (thankfully!) And to express his appreciation often.

And I pray that his great example will influence the generations after him, as Abish’s dad influenced the Stripling Warriors.

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Dating Despite Social Media

Ok, I couldn’t resist. This article was so funny, and so painful, because it is so true! (Kind of like watching “He’s Just Not That Into You”)

Here it is: 10 Tips for Dating in the Social Media Age. The article talks about how you now can find out exactly what the person who turned you down is doing instead of going out with you. Creating paranoia and fear about a relationship that most likely is based on nothing. In my experience, social media has hampered more relationships for me before they even began. When I was single, I would look up a guy’s social media profile if he asked me out or if I was interested in him – check out his pictures and interests and friends – which usually didn’t go well. It was hard to not make judgments and assumptions that may or may not have been fair; thus ending any possibility of dating before I even got to know him.

My favorite advice from the article – (1) Don’t check in at , Tweet, or blog all about your date. The world doesn’t need to know every up and down in the relationship, every good and bad trait, and if they see it . . . I doubt it would work out well. And once you are dating, the world doesn’t need a timeline of every date, every fight, every makeup, and so on. (2) Chill! Don’t FB stalk, don’t friend their friends and family before you really know them, and don’t freak out if they check in close to your location without stopping by!

Social media can completely change the dating game if you let it, but you don’t have to. I suggest not making social media the third wheel in your relationship.

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I like you, but not that much.

It’s not new to hear that Facebook’s “like” button is suspect when equated with success. And articles like this one, Study: Only 1% of Facebook ‘Fans’ Engage With Brands, that state how purchases do not go up after someone becomes a “fan” of a product or brand show how weak the FB connection can be between consumers and brands.

So are the new metrics going to be any better? The new feed system that allows people to subscribe to feeds, unsubscribe from them, and only really see “top news” has already shaken up FB marketing. Brands know that if they are ever going to be seen they have to get individual messages to be liked and shared, so if your aren’t putting out anything interesting – you’re dead. But even if you do, lets say you are very successful in disseminating your feed, then are you going to see an increase of trial or repeat purchases? I’m thinking that trial may go up due to the online “recommendation” of friends or through a contest/discount/coupon given out on FB. I’m thinking this would work like mommy bloggers, where one influencer posts about the brand and others follow. Still not concrete evidence for success, but it could help.

FB can always be used to build relationships, address complaints and problems, and hopefully develop loyalty and goodwill that way – if they can get the word out to the masses and keep on top of their mentions. But the conversation online is run by others, not the brand itself, so trying to make it what you want can be problematic.

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StumbleUpon – To Advertise or Not?

Brief Background

StumbleUpon was started in 2001 by Garrett Camp, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance and Eric Boyd. It was sold to eBay in 2007, but the original founders bought it back.1

The Idea

“StumbleUpon uses collaborative filtering to create virtual communities of like-minded Web surfers. Rating Web sites update a personal profile (a blog-style record of rated sites) and generate peer networks of Web surfers linked by common interest. These social networks coordinate the distribution of Web content, so that users “stumble upon” pages explicitly recommended by friends and peers.

Giving a site a thumbs up results in the site being placed under the user’s “favorites”. Furthermore, users have the ability to stumble their personal interests like “History” or “Games”. Users rate a site by giving it a thumbs up, thumbs down selection on the StumbleUpon toolbar, and can optionally leave additional commentary on the site’s review page, which also appears on the user’s blog. This social content discovery approach automates the “word-of-mouth” referral of peer-approved Web sites and simplifies Web navigation.”1

Results

In the USA, StumbleUpon is trumping use over all social media site referrals holding over a 50% share of the top 7 from August- November 2011.

On average, people spend 69 minutes on a session; that’s more than three times the average time on Facebook!3

What does this mean to businesses?

More than 60,000 brands, publishers and other marketers have used StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery platform to promote their products and services.2  Why?

According to StubleUpon, the reason advertising with them is so beneficial is that you get much more engaged and receptive traffic because those who stumble onto you are in the right mindset. They want to see you. Also, StumbleUpon can guarantee that you will be given traffic to your page, without the audience having to click through ads, and it will be the right kind of traffic. They can even target traffic locally. Perhaps best of all they use Google Analytics and advanced reporting so that you can better adapt your content to raise conversion.4

But does it work?

Most people I searched seemed to be willing to give StumbleUpon a shot, especially because the service is so cheap; just $.05 a view. And the traffic goes right to the page you want so you don’t have to create a banner ad or enticing image to get the visitors. After implementation, all of the bloggers I read had a correlating increase in traffic on their pages; however, they still weren’t very happy. Advertisers felt that their bounce rate went up, their conversion rate went down, and their cost per acquisition went up. Many complained that the audience wasn’t as targeted as Facebook. 567

On the other hand, the second Stumble I did landed me on a page covered in Mint.com advertisments (who turns out to be a public case study on StumbleUpon’s “Advertise with us” pages). Turns out that StumbleUpon may have helped that company out a lot.

So my conclusion? It really depends on what you are going for. It’s great for getting eyes on your page, sharing, and awareness – but might not be worth it in turns of conversion and longevity of subscribers.

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StumbleUpon
2http://www.crunchbase.com/company/stumbleupon
3Could StumbleUpon Advertising be an Overlooked Treasure?
4https://www.stumbleupon.com/pd/index/about/
5http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/08/17/run-a-stumbleupon-advertising-campaign-for-your-blog/
6http://brendanwenzel.net/stumbleupon-advertising-2/
7http://imtesting.com/stumbleupon-ads-traffic/#

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