{March 27, 2012}   The Blog Phenomenon

Here I am, a few weeks later and onto my sixth blog post. Despite how unnerving it was to be placed in a situation with almost free rein on an assignment, I feel like I’ve come a long way. Before starting this, quite frankly…. I thought blogs were silly – just a way to draw more attention to ego-seeking people. How wrong I was. I have probably learnt more from completing this blog than I have writing most essays. It has encouraged me to problem solve, it has taught me that with a bit of playing around I can work through and learn new technology. I’ve discovered that blogs can help promote your company and the messages you believe in in a way potential customers can understand. And unlike numerous assignments, that’s not information I’m going to forget tomorrow.

Being a university student, I still feel the need to back up my statements with other, more credible people’s opinions. Obail Haque notes that one of the greatest benefits you can achieve through blogging is forming connections. As an individual, company or industry, those who have similar interests can get to know you – and you never know when you will need or benefit from them. It’s the same reason why I’m now starting up a LinkedIn profile – it may be the deciding factor for a job interview in one, two, or five years time. Check out his blog here

I myself have realised the potential impact blogs can have while researching topics for this assignment (such as Facebook, twitter and website design.) Being more familiar with the blog layout, I started to notice the information turning up on my Google searches was largely… blogs. Thoughts, opinions and insights from companies and expertise professionals at the top of a Google search before organisation websites.

My six blogs may not have been the most structured, flowed the best or been as informative as they were meant to be. But through writing them, I have discovered what I see social media to be, and I’ve been learning how to use it. Through searching randomly and putting what I see and think onto paper for everyone else to read, I’ve realised that social media is an experience, and a way to connect with people and businesses how we were designed to in the first place – personally.

Over and out from me, but look out for other blog posts from wherever I end up in this virtual world – it’s a pretty good method of social networking I think.


{March 25, 2012}   The future of Social Media

So we learn all this twitter and Facebook frenzy, and two days later they will change it, or something entirely new will appear. Web 2.0 has already moved onto Web 3.0, and we’re considering Web 4.0. Emails are apparently on the way out and The Yellow Pages have laid off staff not needed due to an increased online emphasis.

So where is it heading? Dan Betts suggests that Facebook itself could take over the Web. Businesses are using it, individuals are using it and none of Googles attempts to replicate have been successful at taking away the market. Check out Dan’s theories here. Brian Rice is another blogger who has made several comments about the future, concluding that social media will become not just a tactic, but an identifiable component of every organisation’s strategic plans. Worth a read!

But when the professionals were asked by Betts, their response was a bit daunting. Panelists from Facebook, twitter and other social networks were asked where social media will end up in the future, and the response was… “We don’t know.”

But maybe there is a group of people who do…. Here’s an interesting comment from one of Massey’s own. Dr Bill Kirkley, my Strategy and Change lecturer this semester, made a comment in last week’s lecture which has stayed with me. He said that to find out what the future holds, ask the young children, because we are obsolete. Even at as young at 20, our days are gone. So to any primary, intermediate or high school students out there… What will the future be in social networking? We can estimate, predict and use all the science in the World, but as much as we try, it’s moving too quickly for us old folks to keep up.

For the more visual and imaginative of us here’s Microsoft’s prediction on the matter. I find this fascinating, and look forward to it becoming reality.

I’ve always loved Home & Away. But unlike when I was at school, and always home at 530pm to watch the show, I’m busier and TV doesn’t seem to make the cut. But just when I’d almost swapped the show entirely for assignments, up it pops on Facebook – a sneak peak of what’s happening in Home and Away (being an Australian show, they are about a week ahead) And then I’m hooked! Without even thinking about it until I sat down to write this blog, the social media site had placed a wee reminder in my head that I love this show, and needless to say I have been catching up on episodes ever since. Next thing you know, I’m on the website, catching up with the real life gossip with the actors and moved onto Neighbours.

Which made me think about what other companies evidently make social media worthwhile to their company.. and also who doesn’t. It is well known in New Zealand that Jetstar airlines are somewhat controversial with service measures such as the very strict 45minute domestic check-in cutoff. I was therefore very intrigued to see how their Facebook page was working for them. As expected there are numerous complaints from disgruntled customers. But looking closer, these were all promptly answered by Jetstar, and even encouraged Jetstar supporters to jump in and say why they enjoyed flying with the company. A recent comment was from someone who had heard so many bad reviews that she hadn’t flown with the company, but when she did and had a great experience, she asked what everyone was complaining about! Check out their page here

I guess this is a situation where you can’t afford not to have a social media page in place to deal with the criticisms and encourage positive feedback. Despite the negativity, I’m still prompted to check out their Friday Fare Frenzy when it pops up on my newsfeed. It will be interesting to see how this works or fails for the company, only time will tell, but I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

For the meantime, I’ll head back to on-demand to catch up with the latest Home and Away Episode! If anybody else wants to join me, start at

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m assisting Albany Fitness in setting up their website and online social media tools. Like most these days, I’m an avid Facebook user, so surely, completing a business page would be straight forward… Wrong! All the little things that don’t matter with your personal page become much more evident when you consider the impact it could have for potential customers.

Such as the cover photo for the new timeline for businesses. I now fully understand why Facebook has allowed us a month to set it up before it goes live. And the statistics – looks impressive – but what on Earth does it mean to us?! I am pleased to say however, that after a six hour effort (almost as long as it took me to discover how this blog thing works) I did manage to merge place with page so that check-ins link up. It also helped me discover why those 21 inch iMacs are so great – the laptop only lasts so long without a sore neck and splitting headache!

So are these tools worth it? Is it really a necessary use of time in order for businesses to progress? Or is it just another way for customers to lash out at our supposed wrong doings as a company, and allow competitors to jump on the bandwagon. And don’t even ask me what Twitter is. All I know is that Lady Gaga has a huge amount of followers, and I have no idea how it helps her, or anyone else for that matter. It seems uninformative, and downright silly!

But, there is a point to it all. Graeme McMillan performed his own study, where he discovered a simplistic discovery – people are interested in Twitter because it is what it is – short and sweet. Individuals and companies have 140 characters to make their point. That’s 140 characters to rave or rant about your company. That could be a very blunt point with a potentially huge impact! From a customer perspective, I can also see how using Twitter would make a nice change from the lengthy waffle we see in ordinary marketing campaigns.  Check out the rest of his blog on the topic here

It has also been noted that 71% of companies do not respond to posts on Twitter that negatively criticise their organisation. This is a staggering percentage. For those of us NOT on Facebook or Twitter, is it ever really feasible to be in the situation where you cannot respond and take charge? Especially when over 70% of users said they would like it if the company responded. Definitely worth a read at Freelance Copy Writers Blog

At the end of the day, these two uses of social media come back to my original topic… Rule One. Yes these methods of communication encourage individuals to say whatever they like, even when they wouldn’t have the courage to say it to your face. But it also gives you in business, the opportunity to provide timely and appropriate feedback to rectify the situation, and it does allow greater interaction with all. Remember, if we don’t take care of the customers… somebody else will!

There you go – Facebook and Twitter. What do you think? It’s a thumbs up for me – or one like as it is in this World.

I couldn’t agree more with the argument that different people are attracted to different forms of media communication; be it interactive, informative or visual.

But after my Social Media class this week, I was left a bit bewildered and wondering… how do you incorporate all these appearances into a website? Everyone for their own, but when I looked at the site for Te Papa Museum, I didn’t discover a single thing – I was too busy trying to take everything in and work out what I was actually on the site to do. Here’s a screenshot of the muddle below. Is Te Papa taking it too far? Or am I too, behind the times of social interaction?

The reason this intrigues me is because I am helping out my friends at Albany Fitness Health and Performance Centre set up and continue their online and social marketing database. Deciding which way to create these tools in order to attract the greatest audience seems to be becoming even more crucial – especially when you observe how your attitudes can change based on the online setup (such as myself and the experiences with Te Papa).

I may be biased, but I did come across and discovered this site, which won a Gold Award for website design.

Although the layout obviously has had extensive work using top quality graphics, the overall design and setup to me seems… SIMPLE! Clean lines, easy to read fonts, and clear headings and links to find where you want to go.

A simple google search will also discover many reasons why websites should be simple, for example information architects which gave me a quote from Leonardo da Vinci. He said that simplicity as a result of a creative process is “the ultimate sophistication.”

What’s ultimate sophistication? I strongly urge you to have a look here

Simple creativity at its finest.

So here I am taking a Social Media paper with the belief that any business furthering itself in the 21st century will be engaging in Social Media. But when I sat down to write a blog on social media, with my greatest knowledge of the topic being Facebook I didn’t know where to start. And writing a blog?! But where do I put my APA references, and what do you mean informal language?!

Completely thrown out of my comfort zone, I decided to scratch my head and go back to the very beginning… Defining social media!

Stowe Boyd offers us this:

‘Social Media… is the way that we are organising ourselves to communicate, to learn, and to understand the world and our place in it. And we just won’t accept any models for that that aren’t intensely social: we won’t put up with large organisations telling us what is right, or true, or necessary. We will now have those conversations among ourselves, here, at the edge. Social Media has released us, freed us: and we won’t go back.”

This customer driven definition brought back a memory, of a poster I remember seeing in Dad’s work office when I was young, not dissimilar to the one below:

At the time, this witty saying was just funny to me. But now, as I progress through a Business Degree and take my hand at the real world it becomes even more prominent.

Social Media is allowing customers to communicate openly with organisations, and they won’t put up with one-way communication anymore. If we don’t as businesses, apply rule 1, and embrace social media as the new contact point, our reason for existence– our customers – will walk away.

Now I have that reasoning sorted, I can start looking at the deeper aspects of this social revolution… Like how to use it!

But until then, I’ll leave those visual individuals among us with a clip that helps emphasise the situation. Enjoy!

et cetera