Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | November 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary Motrin – Have you learned not to mess with the Mommy Blogger?

Motrin MomsOn Saturday in mid-Novemeber 2008, a Groundswell erupted online from a video advertisement that Motrin posted to their website.  They posted the short video on their Web site and ad stressed how painful it was to carry a baby around in a sling, but moms are doing it because it is fashionable and cool.  The backlash Motrin received after introducing the new advertisement will change the way they target, monitor and view the digital marketing world.  

Here is the crisis by the numbers.

Motrin introduced the advertisement to target moms and show sympathy – hoping the moms will buy Motrin and that will help with any pain that may occur from carrying their baby.  The reaction from moms everywhere was extremely hostile.  Now, I am not a mom but I could see why they would be offended. 

The way this ad exploded on the internet and through blogs was astonishing.  This proves that social media has the potential to be a match next to gasoline.  It spreads so quickly and unless you are prepared for the fire, it will take a very long time to extinguish.

There were thousands of comments on Twitter and Katja Presnal created a nine minute YouTube video of some of the Twitter comments she found using along with pictures of moms.  You can find more feedback at TechWorld.

The storm hit on Saturday and by Sunday, the video was taken off of the motrin.com site and Kathy Widmer, the VP of Marketing, issued a formal apology to bloggers that was later posted on the Motrin website.  Motrin acted quickly to the situation, even though they were not prepared for it.  Kathy did a good job connecting to the audience, showing sympathy and made sure people knew who was responsible for the situation. 

What companies need to do in a crisis: 

  • SEM – purchase keywords you think people are searching for so your content comes up first
  • Own their domain names of their products/subsidieries
  • Own their brand online (Twitter handles, facebook pages, etc)
  • Research – focus groups or online polls to see how the message is received
  • Dark page on their Web site (the site was shut down for a couple of hours during the crisis)
  • Push out video of a credible source from your brand to get YOUR message out

It is almost the one-year anniversary of this crisis and I know it is not a hot topic anymore, but I think it is a great case study and applicable to what I have been stessing – social media is VERY powerful.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | November 4, 2009

Social Media is WIDE open.

I found the Open Source blog extremely applicable to what I has been going through my mind all semester in my Social Media class. 

The internet is scary.  Nothing is behind closed doors.  Everything is exposed.  You can’t erase anything when it has been published on the internet. 

There is such pressure now, especially in the PR world, to be a “social networker” and be “social media savvy”.  There is also a huge amount of pressure to control your reputation online and manage what is being said about you.  There is such a fine line between being credible and influential within the social media landscape and putting “too much” information out there.

People see social media as lack of control, which is true to some extent, (especially for companies and organizations) however, you can control what information YOU put out there.  Twitter,  FacebookmyspaceLinkedIn – they are all top for social media networking sites that are growing in popularity and increasing their traffic all the time.  Millions of people have profiles and access to these sites so you need to stand out – but not in a negative way or that is embaressing. 

Obviously people do not have control of what people say about them over the internet but they do have control of how they portray themselves on the internet.  If you are going to have profiles in social networks and if you want to participate in the online conversation, then you need to realize that everything is fair game that is put out there. 

Lack of control.  Millions of people on these social networking sites.  Putting yourself out there in a positive light.  So the big question is “so what”? 

I have learned a lot in my Social Media class and have had many realizations during the readings, however, the thing that I have found most surprising is the lack of privacy.  It was probably when we were discussing Google where I realized that they have complete access to all of my gmail and that they have records of everything I have searched for.  Or, maybe it was when we were discussing Facebook having the rights to ALL of my content that is published on the site.

The main thing I want to stress is how unbelievably accesible you are in the internet.  That is what I has been most surprising this semester.  Just remember – you can’t control what is put out there about you but you can control what information you put out there.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | October 27, 2009

Response # 6 – What is MMOG?

Honestly, I had to look up what an MMOG was so it proves that I am not very confident in my knowledge of online gaming. 

My gaming experience started back with Nintendo with Mario Brothers.  I was lucky (aka spoiled) enough to have the gun and the power pad.  At the time, that was the most interactive you could get with gaming.  Oh, how times have changed…

I do own a Wii and have an avatar that looks like me, however I don’t play much at all.  I like the game, but I don’t make the time to play but I do see how people can get consumed with the games.

Now, with all the new technologies, there are tons of online gamesSecond Life and World of Warcraft being the most popular right now.  According to Alexa, World of Warcraft has a Traffic Rank of 310 and Second Life has a Traffic Rank of 2,160, which is still really high.

I think it is fascinating that companies now are developing more applications for online gaming and incorporating them into their PR and Marketing efforts.  With all of the free software out there, I can’t believe people are paying to play these games. 

To be completely honest, I am anxious to learn more about the MMOG because I have no experience with them, nor do I know anyone who plays on a regular basis.  I will probably have more to say once we take a look at some of the specific games and who plays them and how.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | October 21, 2009

Response # 5 – “You are what the index says you are”

When reading John Battelle’s book entitled – “The Search” – I honestly never realized the impact that Google had on consumers, media and the world in general.  I use search engines daily, along with about 85 percent of  all Americans that use the Internet, accoording to Batelle.  That is about 107 million people in the United States alone.  That is a lot of traffic and that is a lot of searches for one site.

Google is taking over every aspect of the internet.  It helps you when you are lost, if you want to map out a run, you want to search in the blogosphere, you want to buy the most recent product  , or if you are doing research on your company and you want to see what the trends are on your site or for your brand.  Needless to say, Google has taken over the Internet with all of the different applications and products that it offers.  Everytime Google launches something it seems to be a success.  With all of the rave about  the new Google Wave, who knows what will happen after that?!  I’m still not really sure what it is, but that is a beside the point….

In “The Search”, I read an interesting case study about Neil Moncrief and his interesting yet not uncommon story of Google.  In short, he launched a website for size 13 and up shoes that became extremely successful with the help of Google and his company being #1 in the natural search results for “big feet”.  Google tweaked its search results algorithms, which is does often, and he was not even in the top 100 search results.  His company started plumeting and it took a lot of hard work, time and money to recover.  That case study just proves the impact that Google has on the economy and on people.

So, should we be scared of Google?  Not yet, in my opinon.  But seeing how much the company has grown and taken over the lives of many in only about a decade, who knows what will happen in the near future.

One overwheliming thing about the search engine is that so many people rely on Google to search for people, you want to have control of what comes up but you are what the index says you are.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | October 13, 2009

Response #4 – A new passion – wine.

I thought long and hard about my hobbies and what I enjoy.  My first obvious passion would be college tennis, but I didn’t want to research that.  Since I just finished a marathon, I figured running would be another obvious choice.  I didn’t feel like picking that either.  Then, it hit me like a pile of bricks.  Wine.  A fairly new passion of mine is tasting, learning and drinking wine.  I was eager to research, learn and read more about vino.

My first place of research started with the wine bloggers conference.  It lists the 2010 participants with their blog, website and twitter feed.  This was a great tool to help me find a lot of people who are the experts in the industry. 

One person who is influential is Joseph Roberts at 1winedude.com.  Joseph updates his blog regularly, where he allows and receives a lot of comments, 2,451 followers on Twitter and he is up for the best wine blog in the Foodbuzz.com Blog Awards.  He also has a fairly decent authority on technorati.  I like how natural his language is and how easy it is to read.

I was also extremely impressed with the Vinography blog.  It has an authority of 301 on technoratiAlder Yarrow is the writer behind the Vinography blog and he has won best writing on a wine blog and best overall blog for the second year in a row in the 2009 American Wine Blog Awards.  This particular blog was good at being informational and educational.

The best resource for finding the most influential wine blogs and their rankings is on AlaWine.com.  It lists the 100 Top Wine Blogs and they keep it current.  It was last updated Sept 15, 2009.  The Wine blog ratings are standardized composite logarithmic scores based on multiple relative link popularity rankings from three top search engines and Technorati, as well as Google page rank scores.  They are taking many things into consideration when rating the blogs. 

The top 5 blogs according to AlaWine.com, respectively, are:

1) Fermentation

2) Vinography

3) Dr. Vino

4) The Pour

5) Catavino

After thinking I reached the end of the internet, I continued to find more information on wine bloggers.  I was very surprised with the amount of wine blogs there are and how much information is available.  I was also impressed with the content that I found from the bloggers.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | October 7, 2009

Response #3: Bill of Rights for Social Web

I absolutely think that there should be a Bill of Rights for the Social Web.  There are some major difficulties in creating a set of rules for the Internet and Social Media because there are challenges in setting those rules.  I respect Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington for taking responsibility for creating these.  The Bill fo Rights gives Social Media users knowledge and power to own their words.

The main points for the Bill of Rights contain:

  • Ownership of their own personal information, including:
    • their own profile data
    • the list of people they are connected to
    • the activity stream of content they create;
  • Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
  • Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

I would also recommend adding something about transparency.  It is important that if you want respect as a blogger, you need to fully disclose your information and that you are completely transparent with who you are and what you do.  We have seen problems with this from agencies and big companies who don’t disclose who they work for.

Control is difficult because once you post something on the internet – it doesn’t go away.  That is why it is so important that the first Bill of Rights stresses ownership of all the information that you put on there.

In my opinion, companies need to have a social media policy as well.  Knowing that so many people are using social media, each company/agency/association need to implement a Bill of Rights unique to their organization.  Everyone that is using the sites need to recognize their responsibilities and realize that they are representing themselves and a company.  More than half of employers block Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.  While I don’t think companies should full-on block these sites, I think it is important they recognize people are using the sites and should implement policies based on their rules. 

All in all, I think it is difficult to establish a Social Media Bill of Rights, but this one does a good job in making it general and overarching.  Also, people need to recognize that since new technologies and Web sites are continuing to be developed, the Bill of Rights need to be ever-changing and constantly updated.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | October 7, 2009

Facebook “Friends”

While reading this post – Friendship is Complicated by Jeff Jarvis on Buzz Machine, he references a post by Meg Packard who discusses the complications of “friends” and “friending people” on facebook .

Both of these posts are very applicable because trying to figure out who I want in my social network is something that I have dealt with more and more frequently.  These posts are also from 2007, but I am impressed how relevant they are to October of 2010. 

I have been on facebook since it started in 2006, and since then, I have collected thousands of pictures and over a thousand friends.  I am “friends” with my immediate family, current and former employees, old college coaches, old college friends, friends from childhood and people I only know through social networking sites.

With the broad spectrum that all of my “friends” are in, I wish there was some way to filter out who could see what I wanted them to see.  I don’t want my mom, boss and clients to see old college photos of keg parties or halloween costumes.  And yes, I could untag myself on these, but Facebook is my photo gallery and I want to keep them all on there.

Recently it has been very difficult for me because now that Facebook has become more prevalent with everyone and it not just limited to college students.  My clients are requesting friendship with me.  Family friends are requesting friendship with me.  It is getting harder to ignore these requests.  I typically say that Facebook is personal and I can connect with them on LinkedIn or Twitter, however I don’t want it to hurt my relationship with them by ignoring it.

I know they have special privacy settings, but I think it would be helpful to create an application where you can filter your friends by the relationship you have with them and what they want to see.  It is tough for young professionals who want to keep some things filtered to certain people to have everything in the open.  I know that once a photo is on the internet, it is for public consumption, but I think this would help.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | September 29, 2009

Response #2 – The Groundswell

So, I have been reading Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff and I think it is one of the best books out there that I have read on social media and social technologies.  It’s not a 101 but it’s also easy to understand and you don’t have to be super tech savvy to get into it.  I am very much a charts/statistics type person, which is another reason why I probably like this book.

One specific thing that I thought was an important take-away from this book was the Social Technographics ladder.  They break each group of consumers into categories of how they act/react in the social media space:

  • The bottom of the ladder are “inactives”, which are people who don’t do anything with social media. 
  • Next step up – “spectators”.  They just also referred to sometimes as stalkers.  These are important because they are reading social media content, just not joining.
  • “Joiners” are next.  They set up profiles, listen and participate in these sites.
  • “Collectors”.  They use RSS feeds and tag certain information and keep them organized.
  • “Critics” are the next step up.  They comment on blogs and forums, edit wikis and post feedback on products.  They are important for consumer related companies.
  • Finally, at the top of the ladder are the “creators”.  We would not be very far in the groundswell without them.  They are the ones who actually create content.  They publish blogs, write articles/stories, upload photos and videos.

I was very impressed with this breakout of how people participate in the groundswell.  Each group couldn’t function without each other because you need creators to produce the content, critics to judge the content, collectors to organize the content, joiners to participate and spectators to read the content.  All of these different people work together collectively to create the groundswell – and make it successful.

Forrester then analyzed the percentage of U.S. adults that are in every group.  33% were classified as spectators and 52% were classified as inactives, respectively.  This shows that more people need to be more involved in the groundswell – and social media in general.

This breakout of different groups is important when implementing a social media campaign.  For example, if a CEO pushes back on the company using Twitter because they heard that 80% of their target audience hasn’t “tweeted” in 30 days, you can explain that they are a group of spectators.  Just because they aren’t creating content or sharing it, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | September 23, 2009

95 Theses?

While reviewing the 95 theses from the Cluetrain Manifesto, I realized that many of the theses can be condensed into a couple of categories.  I compacted the 95 theses into 3 main theses that can be explained further into “sub-theses”.

Markets are conversations between HUMANS.

The Cluetrain stresses the importance of social networking and making everything conversational, instead of one company pushing out information through one medium to the masses. Marketing should consist of conversations and a two-way conversation between people, not companies. The sub-theses that support this would be:

Public Relations need to relate to the public
– The Internet is enabling conversations
– Networking=information

Belonging to the right community is key.

There are both internal and external communities that one can belong to and it is important that people join communitites that are applicable to what they are doing/what they want to pitch and how to organize their consumption of information. A marketer for Toys-R-Us should be joining groups related to toys, kids, mommy bloggers, etc. to join the community related to what they are doing. These sub-theses support this:

– The community of discourse is the market
– A healthy intranet organizes workers in many meanings of the word.
– There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.

Understanding and marketing to people – not journalists or companies. It’s all about impressing individuals.

In my opinion, this is the most important theses. For companies to be successful in this Web 2.0 world, they need to market to indivuals, not companies. They need to do research people and their target audience and reach out to them individually, in the manner that they prefer. Some of the theses that support this are:

– “Maybe you’re impressing your investors. Maybe you’re impressing Wall Street. You’re not impressing us.”
– “We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from the Wall Street Journal.”
– “Our allegiance is to ourselves – our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners.”

More conversations are happening right now on the internet than anywhere else.  If marketers aren’t taking advantage of this, they are missing a huge opportunity. The Cluetrain Manifesto shows that it realizes where the future of the internet is going and best-practices on social networking.

Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | September 17, 2009

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