Category : Internet

Election Day 2K12: A Look Into How Social Media Has Captured Our Votes This Political Season

On the dawn of Election Day 2012, we now stare into a political arena that has changed drastically over the last four years. From tweets, to likes, to stumbles, and shares, the art of connecting with voters is completely optimized to capture the attention of our now hyper-connective society. Simply put, when you’re 59-year-old mother can relay the most poignant tweets from any debate night, it is clear that social media has severely altered our political landscape.

The fact of the matter is that politics, as we know it, has changed due to the complete overhaul of our society through social media. We connect not only through town hall meetings, overzealous campaign rallies, or dramatized commercials, but also through meaningful virtual conversations. For example, both presidential candidates have posted images with a powerful message or fact, opening up the opportunity for a full-fledged forum of debate.  

With analysts dubbing 2012, “social media election”, there is no room to underscore the financial investment that has been dedicated to outreach efforts this political season. An estimated $1 billion has been spent on advertising, with nearly $54 million allotted to digital ad platforms including mobile media across the U.S. This is not to mention the voter registration app that has been developed for 13 different states in partnership with the state government, Facebook, and Microsoft Corp.

With decision time fast approaching, there are few who will sit down and reflect upon the role of social media in this election-except the social media gurus, of course. But at a time when our votes are so heavily influenced by our candidates’ social media mastery, it’s worth the thought. Once the winner is announced, and we wishfully prepare for continued economic growth and social change, we should begin to ponder the next great idea that’ll keep are society forever engaged and informed on our country’s politics. How about this: A mobile app for submitting your ballot votes? You decide.

#Follow Fakeness: The Scoop on Sandy’s Social Media Backlash

Exactly one week after Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, we are all too familiar with the horrific scenes of rushing floodwaters and flattened homes along the East Coast. News broadcasts are now filled with emotional coverage of mourning families pleading for help from their water-engulfed neighborhoods.  Yet, despite the heartbreaking destruction, many people still chose to abuse their access to social media, posting fake pictures of the alleged damage that Sandy has left behind.

Social media damage control was a necessity in the hours following the storm, with many followers duped into sharing the doctored images. While some pictures were simply lifted from online photo galleries, others traveled the extra mile by grabbing screenshots from movies like The Day After Tomorrow, and adding true-to-life captions. This is not to mention the tactless celebrity comparisons like, “Snooki is a lot like Hurricane #Sandy. They’re both heading to Jersey Shore with intentions to blow everyone within a 50-mile radius” posted by a Twitter user.

With the startling evidence of thoughtlessness and the incessant need for attention and buzz, our societal priorities must be called into question. We are hyper-connective by nature, sharing and liking anything that retains shock value on a daily basis, let alone during a national emergency. But given the lives that were already lost during Sandy’s travel in the Caribbean, why take this storm and turn it into a joke?

The answer to that question remains to be seen; however, in the mean time stay smart when cruising your social media sites, especially during weather emergencies of any magnitude. If you come across an image that raises your suspicion, check out some online tips to avoid sharing incorrect information. Using these tips will not only decrease the unwarranted buzz that has circulated from false facts, but will also keep you and your followers better informed during an emergency.

The Google Crisis Map: A Storm Saving Grace

Just as Hurricane Sandy barreled towards the Northeast on Monday, Google unveiled a new crisis map that enables users to follow the storm’s path. Although the map is cool by nature, given its real-time, interactive capabilities, its availability is vital to those who lay in the storm’s path. This map also serves as a saving grace of information for long distance friends and family members who are concerned for their next of kin, and are unable to get in contact with them.

With the current death toll at 69 as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction in the Caribbean, Google’s crisis map serves as an essential source of information for dwellers of the Northeast. Not only does the map offer real-time Doppler location of the storm but evacuation alerts, shelter locations, and flood warnings, amongst others. This helpful tool isn’t the first for the Google machine; they have also created maps and resource pages for the July 2012 California wildfires and the August 2012 floods in the Philippines.

 Now, although the map serves as a useful tool in the event of natural disasters, one important note is that you may not always have access to it via your computer or mobile device. Most times during a storm of this magnitude, many people are without power and thus a strong Wi-Fi connection needed to power the Internet. The crisis map is a web-based application that requires the Internet to fully utilize the features. This is not to say that the map is completely obsolete, given that there are people who have sustained power; but for the estimated 7.4 million who do not have that luxury, preemptive measures must be taken.

RapGenius.com Steps on the Virtual Scene Schoolin’ the World on the Word

Buzz is stirring across all forms of media over an innovative, Wikipedia like site that is making waves in the music and technology industries. RapGenius.com is an annotative-based site that allows patrons to decipher the hidden meanings behind popular music lyrics. For example, in a posting of singer Frank Ocean’s release, “Pyramids”, a user can click on the listed bars and find the meaning behind the lyrics, seen here:

In Rap Genius’ case, the title doesn’t say it all. The site offers commentary not only for music, but political speeches including Michelle Obama’s recent DNC speech, and historical works such as the Magna Carta. By offering such a diverse range of works, the site aims to create an ever-evolving virtual community that is constantly engaged and continuously contributing. Rap Genius would thus span far beyond the music scope into mainstream knowledge that can appeal to anyone from any discipline.

The site works simply by allowing registered users to offer their explanation of posted song lyrics, in addition to posting and interpreting songs that may not have already been added to the site. As a user, if you continuously offer sound explanations, you will earn RapIQ™ and soon be able to edit all posts on the site- a feature reminiscent of the virtual encyclopedia Wikipedia.

An added bonus to RapGenius.com is the “Verified Artist” feature, where real musical artists and experts are given the opportunity to explain their own lyrics and works to the masses. Anyone from Waka Flocka Flame to Intellectual Property lawyer Mark Lemley can verify their user account and contribute to the Rap Genius community. Not only does this feature serve as a source of credibility for the site, but something that the founders like to call “textual crack” for their loyal patrons. In having the real artist explain the meaning behind their lyrics, the site sustains a lifeline of engagement from users, keeping them looking for the next post and the next explanation.

With a recent $15 million investment from Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, RapGenius.com harbors potential that will surely captivate genres that reach far beyond rap music. In a recent interview, the founders also mentioned talks of iPhone and Android applications; in addition to browser extensions and Java plug ins for external annotation viewing on other sites.

Rap Genius’ loyal community is fostered in social media, leading an additional pathway for growth and expansion. Annotating is only the beginning for RapGenius.com; in a virtual landscape where knowledge can be acquired instantaneously, the site’s offerings have the potential to develop new cultural habits, while enhancing our understanding of the world around us. Take for instance Facebook; what was once a small start up firm that aimed to connect college students has now grown to global proportions, now connecting long lost friends and family, enhancing personal and professional reputations, and changing human interaction, as we know it. Rap Genius may be etching closer and closer to a similar destiny.

Social Communication for Your Business: Jump on the Pinterest Brand Wagon

The benefits of social media for businesses are practically endless.  Here is a list of reasons why your company- big or small- should be on Pinterest.

1. Build traffic to your websiteShareaholic, a third party measurement company, recently found that Pinterest drove more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined.  When you pin a picture, it provides a direct link back to the website that you got it from.

2. Recruit Employees.  With many online classified websites charging for recruitment ads, your company can recruit using Pinterest by creating a board for the job, which is free!  The New Traditionalists, a furniture company out of New York, currently has a board called “HELP WANTED!”  They are creatively searching for a Client Services Superstar.

3. Engage customers.  The more your company engages with customers, the better.  Some ideas that companies have used include having contests for the best pin board about why a user loves your company, or have customers pin pictures of them using your product.  Familiarize your customers with the company by putting up a board of executives or from the company Christmas party.  Southwest Airlines’ Pinterest page dedicated to employees and day to day activities, including a photo of CEO Gary Kelly.

4. Emphasize your brand.  If you do a lot of work with charities, pin pictures from events or anything related to the work and donations your company has done.

5.Visualize your data!  An infograph is a visual representation of information or data.  Is your company the number 1 in your industry?  Illustrate it!

6. And what do these things generate?  More sales.  Sales are obviously huge to a business.  According to a case study by online boutique Boticca.com on BusinessOfFashion.com, Pinterest users not only spent double what Facebook users were spending ($180 from Pinterest vs. $85 from Facebook), but Pinterest also influenced 10% of transactions, while Facebook influenced 7%.

How to be a Hit on Instagram

Attention all iPhone and Android users:

If you haven’t made an account on Instagram, then you probably should, especially if you love photos. That’s what Instagram is all about, sharing photos. You may be groaning about another social media website and more photo sharing, but what makes Instagram so special is that you can apply filters to those photos. Facebook sure thinks it’s special because Instagram was recently purchased by the social media giant for $1 billion.

The photo sharing app has exploded recently and people are all over it. But what is it about Instagram that makes it so interesting? Well, the photos themselves are interesting. They tell a story. Instagram’s main method of communication is sharing photos, so people post the best photos they have for the day. For example, celebrities like @Rihanna and @justinbieber will post:

– A photo that tells a story.
– A picture with a new article of clothing.
– A picture of you lounging at home.

Celebrities like Drake and Taylor Swift, among others, post pictures of their work, behind the scenes, and some photos from their daily life. This shows that they are people above all else. In common with people, brand pages can:

– Post pictures of their location. Burberry, “A 156 year-old global brand with distinctly British attitude”, has pictures of a London sunset.
– Post pictures pictures of events. Burberry has a few photos about an event in Taipei, while Urban Outfitters had a nail art event.
– Post pictures of special deals. Urban Outfitters has a photo promoting a giant Vans shoe giveaway.

There are certainly various ways to gain followers, but some of those ideas can certainly help. Most importantly, keep things interesting.

And I know you’re asking yourself, “Who’s that male model in the Instagrammed photo above?” Ehh, just some guy.