Facebook's Spring Awakening

This week Facebook not only made some drastic changes to it's own site but made some noticeable alterations to the world wide web. I found nearly every story about Facebook intriguing this week, as they begin to play a huge role in the way millions of people interact on the Internet. Below is a quick breakdown of Facebook matters at hand this week.

1. Mark Zuckerberg announces the idea of the "Open Web." Highlighting Facebooks Open Graph Protocol, which from what I understand is basic code (part of the META tags)that incorporates primarily a like button, and ultimately a connection to from any website back to Facebook. Facebook then becomes this underlying, or overruling, system of personalized connections across the web. Like a fabric the rest of the web must then exist on, it's a bit overwhelming. In the past Facebook only stored personal information for 24 hours but now all information will continue to be stored so that developers can have continual access to the info. From what I've read it seems that developers just hacked around the original policy but it still remains a privacy issue.

2. Gets rid of Facebook Connect.This was announced as part of the Open Graph launch. Facebook Connect was the dialogue box that popped up previously when you wanted to connect with a site. With the launch of Open Graph Facebook has 30 web services that can allready connect, providing a personlized experience (via FB) on any of those websites. A few of those include Pandora, Microsoft Docs, Yelp, and IMDB. But the like button is up almost everywhere at this point. I haven't clicked like on anything yet though... it's a bit eerie and I'm a bit skeptical about widening my virtual footprint so quickly.

3. Part of inner-company challenge called Hackathon Facebook developers have created Facebook Me. A themed mini-blog that creates automated content using your Facebook profile. 

4. Facebook has eliminated the "become a fan" option replacing it with the soon-to-be synonymous "like" button. Along side this they are linking Profiles and Pages together. So I have a few friends that have a profile and also a page because they're entertainers, I'm going to have to keep an eye out to see how this effects my home feed and their walls.

5. Russian hacker Krillos steals 1.5 million Facebook IDs.

6. Facebook Lite, stripped down version of the original site, no more.

7. Facebook COO in Vogue...

What an eventful week for Facebook!

Machines + Cinema = Machinima

This week in my Social Media for PR class we discussed and viewed different machinima (derived from machine and cinema,) it is the use of real-time three-dimensional graphics rendering engines, like video games, to generate computer animation.

I'm a huge fan of Sims 3, and I absolutely love World Adventures. I've thought about making a video using the recording feature on the Sims 3 dashboard but I've never really been sure how to go about it. More afraid of the editing aspect than anything. While the machinima I found created with Sims 3 didn't incorporate mummies or tomb exploration (aspects of World Adventures) I really enjoyed them because it was an environment I was familiar with.

These two do a really great job of silent storytelling. Hats off to Maxis for incorporating such relatable facial expressions -

A story about a guy whose life is changed forever in one single moment. Great video.
I Go to Sleep (Sims 3)
“She longs for him, as he for her.” A really heartfelt short, the emotion portrayed by a sim is kind of baffling to me but it definitely works. Cool cinematography too.
These are all comedies -
Little Pablo: All that Glitters (Sims 3)
Just a lil joke movie. Really short.

Alien Dope (Halo 3)
A couple aliens get bored and abduct a human, who is a pothead. Hilarious.

World of Workcraft
(World of Warcraft)

From wegame.com, a group of dragon slayers seek out a new way to use their time.
A Day in the Life of a Turret (Portal)
If a turret bitches about its job and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? You bet it does. “A Day in the Life of a Turret” catches two turrets on the job during a typical day at the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, and the monotony that lies within.
And although the rest are all visually pleasing I found something honest and eery about these two:
Earth Day 2010 (Fallout 3)
Oddly beautiful.
I'm Still Seeing Breen (Half-Life 2)
In a tyrannical world a battle rages. The “lip-syncing” part is really original I think, and it has a nice (yet rough) feel for a rock video.
Perhaps I'll play around with Sims 3 this week and see if I can't some up with a story of my own.


Oh no! Someone saw a SEXT!

"Walking to the library,
Girl behind me: "We started sexting recently...but she got mad at me saying, I don't tell her important things about my life, so I texted her saying I got an A on a test and added a sext at the end. She texted me back saying, congratulations, I'm proud of you. And I was like did you get the secon...d part? And she said, yeah, but the first part was more exciting."
Gay friend: "Ouch, that's happened to me before. It's so embarrassing."
From the Overheard at Saint Edwards Facebook Group

To take a more risqué (AKA raunchy) description and text-based example of the sexting phenomena check out Urban Dictionary. And in case semi-explicit language isn't part of your mini-blog good ol' Wikipedia defines sexting "the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones." Sexting has been on the tip of the media tongue the past few years as adolescents across the globe are spotlighted in legal cases surrounding the issue. Also a study from The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that one in six American teenagers are participating in sexting.

With it in the news and likely in the living room it is no surprise earlier his week Consumer Reports challenged Microsoft's new Kin video because of a sequence showing a possible sext. Consumer Reports asked on their electronics blog – "Does it encourage sexting?

For roughly 10 seconds of the minute long video there is a sequence where a young-man is shown putting the Kin mobile phone under his shirt and snapping a picture of his bare chest, nipple included, then later you see a girl's face and her reaction to the picture. A smirk.

Microsoft ultimately edited the video because of the Consumer Reports blog post and said, "it was never our intent to promote it [sexting] in any way." The edited version is pretty much the same commercial minus the 10 seconds of scandal.

Check out the original video ad below.







Time Warner Cable Takes Time to Focus on Twitter

This week in Social Media for PR we talked about social auditing and watching an organization or a brand through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere.

I've collected some tweets and posts from the past few days to begin to discover Time Warner Cable's success and failures.

I was glad to find that not only does Time Warner Cable have a twitter account devoted to customer service but the entire structure of media that is Time Warner Inc. has an account that promotes upcoming premieres and events.

With only 542 followers @TWCableHelp isn't reaching its customers. Isn't something being loss when a company creates this dynamic but doesn't fully use it to improve their public relations?

They are trying though. Or at least created the appearance of that. A user created side panel on the @TWCablehelp lists four members of their Twitter team: @TWCablePhil @TWCableBrienH @TWCablePaulS @TWCableBrianP 
And they also share an afterhours help email TWCable.Help@twcable.com
The guys are definitely polite on @TWCablehelp too.

So while I doubt these twitter users  know about @TWCableHelp perhaps the customer service representatives should reach out to these customers through the medium in which they're expressing concern about the company.

 And there were also some other things that users found relevant and re-tweeting about, some of those below.


I'll post again about Time Warner Cable next week as I delve deeper into the organizations presence in social media.



VIDEO: A View From The Hill - Urban Legends - Part One

This year at St. Edward's University students and faculty are celebrating 125 years of excellence. This isn't your traditional SEU video, but our take on another side of the story. The paranormal one. With multiple primetime TV shows highlighting ghostly phenomena we thought this hopefully viral video would be not only informational but entertaining.

The film features host Chicca Antonelli. The production team consisted of Andrew Zimmer, Haza Newman and myself, Kiara Brynne Smith.

Visit our class blog for more information on the Social Media for Public Relations course taught by Corinne Weisgerber.


The End of the World - WAIT - No.... it just got better!

God, I love Firefox. But since my recent upgrade I’ve encountered a couple crashes. 
Firefox is supposed to be better than Explorer, cooler than Safari, and simply tighter than Chrome. Even though the shiny new browser is getting all the buzz, and IE8 is looking great to some previous haters, I’m still standing with Firefox. It’s held fast, rang tried and true, and I refuse to sell my soul to Google – at the moment.
 While I didn’t discover the root of evil brewing in my browser (got close maybe) I found something else quite tantalizing. I did a bit of searching, Web 2.0 style, and was pleased to discover Mozilla is taking all the steps in the right direction to make me, the cacophonous and concerned consumer just  another faithful and Facebook savy fan.  Mozilla Firefox can boast about their 1.3 million fans on Facebook but check out their Twitter! Only 29 followers at the time of this posting so all social media watchdogs keep an eye out to see just how beneficial tweeting may be when trying to reach the confused public.  
Mozilla has a number of interesting online projects to help their users not only learn about the product but get the most out of it then fall in love with it and ultimately share it. SUMO Blog is one of them, short for Support Mozilla, and this Wednesday they posted about their Twitter exploration. Mozilla is attempting, through social media, to hold onto their fans and stomp out viral bushfires before anyone gets burned.
They shared 3 objectives concerning their new @firefoxcares account.
  1. Reach out to users who need help, using little snippets that could solve their problems. Long-term, we want to reach close to 100% of all users.
  2. Get a better understanding of the current perception of Firefox and the biggest problems users experience, and act upon that information.
  3. Prevent issues from becoming viral by intercepting and channeling to SUMO if help is not possible through Twitter.
I’m a big fan of numero 3.

(Take the hint Nestle. Everyone else is.)


Greenpeace's Viral Assault on Nestle is Hot.

In an ingenious grass-fire like storm of viral upheaval Greenpeace has spread the word and lit a bottle rocket underneath environmentalists all around the world. The next target on the end to global warming: the deforesting-orangutan-killing-palm-oil-fiend-and-proud-supporter-of-chocolate–and-cheese… Nestle.

Nestle’s Facebook Page where tens of thousands of “un-fans” actually became “fans” of Nestle’s page in order to voice their outrage over destroying one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world... has actually been taken down. Overran with comments against Nestle, and especially the KitKat (highlighted in Greenpeace’s video that ignited the blaze,) it seems as though the company decided to cut ties from FB and remain vocally absent in a battle happening on the frontlines of social media. Good idea? Probably just more bad press…

Greenpeace, however, is present on all fields and tweeting a ton. They’re interacting, not riling up tweens who deface their trademark (my interpretation of Nestle’s comments on their FB page when it was still flowing) – they’re ready for business baby. Riding out the rage and enjoying the spoils. Interacting with followers and also putting them straight.

Touche Greenpeace.

And it’s only getting hotter... Bet Nestle would like a break now.


Where are you?!!

I don’t really want to know where all my friend’s are every moment. But sometime, say a Friday night at 10:30… it’d be pretty nice to locate my friend base.

Foursquare (Check in. Find your friends. Unlock your city.) Gowalla (Go Out. Go Discover. Go Share.) Loopt (Discover the world around you.) and Yelp (Real people. Real reviews) are some of the location based check-in services that use GPS mobile devices to help consumer “find” the friends, places, and bar specials they desire.

Leading the foray is Foursquare which incorporates gaming tactics that involve users more than the other sites. For example, you can win badges. Foursquare actually introduced 16 new South by Southwest badges just for the crowds that showed up in Austin. One being a Tarantino badge, check-in for sitings of the famous director Quentin Tarantino, a known fan of Austin.

Foursquare can connect with your Twitter and Facebook networks, and has user comments, or reviews, so it becomes not so much where to go… but what to do when you get there. It allows people to unlock the neighborhoods they frequent, and discover places they might not have thought to enter.

They idea itself could seem scary to some, but the rapid evolution of these sites is not something to discard.

But the key – everyone must have the ability to opt-IN. NOT OUT. The moment a consumer begins to feel their information is being used without their consent this idea of playing with “where” can turn to playing with “who” and no big business wants the fingers pointing at them.