Sharing Everything Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing

Remember when mom taught you to share with others. Well, Verizon Wireless is veiling their new plan in the connotation that sharing is in the spirit of kindness.

Verizon Wireless’ new ‘Share Everything’ plans were just announced today. They are disguised in this news release from Verizon to be a good thing for the customer. However, they are not. That is unless you still use your phone for simply talk and text.

In this day and age it seems to be all about smartphones. In the last year they have taken over the majority of the handset market here in America. This means data usage is becoming more and more common for mobile phone users. The new pricing plan of Verizon’s eliminates choices for talk minutes or number of texts, they are now all unlimited. But Verizon also eliminated unlimited data usage, now you must choose between $50/month for 1 GB all the way up to $100/month for 10 GB.

So, the good thing about this new Share Everything Plan is that you can go back to your olden ways and simply call or text to communicate. If you don’t have the money, you’ll be forced to sparingly use the internet on your mobile device. Thanks a lot Verizon, let’s not move forward with communication technology for everyone, let’s make the middle class go back to the mid 2000′s when everything was talk and text.

I know many people that are hooked on this new trend of surfing the internet and using apps on smartphones. Now the big corporations are forcing us to pony up. Reminiscent of a tobacco industry that came alive in the early 20th century. Not to say using smartphones is an unhealthy habit as cigarettes are, but it can be addicting, and manipulated by the big corporations in how much you pay for it.

So while Verizon gouges their customers because the customer has no other clear cut choice, I think we should look to the government for some help, maybe the Justice Department can do something about what looks like collusion in the mobile phone service industry. Verizon has been on the hot seat with a Wisconsin senator warning of collusion.

I learned of this increase in prices from a website I like to occasionally wander around on called publicknowledge.org where I found this article about Verizon’s new plan. Here is a look at an infographic on the history of the telecom industry to today, well actually it is circa 2011 – Wall Street Journal:

'Ma Bell' is just fine

There is an overly exaggerated theory called ‘spectrum crunch’ that states the wireless waves are full and therefore the telecom industry can raise wireless data prices. It is a valid explanation but through the use of technology there are ways around the spectrum crunch. Some thought of by Martin Cooper.

Random thought of the day:

I’m going to invent an off switch for smoke alarms. Sorry everyone, I was just attempting to cook.

Graduation & Facebook Advertising

I actually did it. I graduated from college after four years! I am so happy I decided to take a week vacation from my blog. Now I’m back and busy on the prowl for jobs… I heard Sundog was opening up new offices in Denver, that sounds nice.

NDSU Spring 2012 Commencement

So here I go again with the short and sweet bullet list to get you up to date in the world of social media and marketing.

  • Some good-times music I’ve been listening to the past week by Alex Clare. Have a listen to his ‘Lateness of the Hour’ because it is awesome. I especially like the song ‘Hands are Clever’.
  • Facebook is still having trouble figuring out how to effectively use advertising on its site. The privacy head at Facebook suggests that in the future they could be giving away information about what you like to third parties. Privacy issues are bound to pop up because it seems nobody is a fan of giving your Facebook information to advertising agencies.
  • Proof that Facebook is still struggling to market effectively to consumers, General Motors has pulled all of their ads from Facebook. Bad timing for Facebook because as I mentioned in my last post, they are getting ready for their Initial Public Offering (IPO). Investors need to ask themselves if Facebook is a long-term buy or is it just a trend that has hit its peak.
  • In an effort to stay on top of mobile social media, Facebook bought Android photo application Lightbox today. They recently purchased Instagram, another photo application that was based for iPhones. Hopefully this means that Facebook’s mobile app for Android will improve in how it views photos and newsfeeds because right now, it’s terrible. Speaking from my own experience, Facebook mobile slowed down my phone so badly I uninstalled the app and now just use the browser to view Facebook.

Tweet of the day:

The Funny Truth@funnyortruth

10 Facebook Tip: #2 Don’t use hashtag on Facebook. You look stupid.

Dead Week

As the title implies, I have been ‘dead’ all week. Dead to the outside world. I’ve been stuck at my desk, in the library, and in class writing papers and finishing projects. Next week will be no better seeing as it will be finals week here at NDSU.

This is why I am going to try and just give you a bullet list as I get a chance to breathe and read about the latest trends in technology and social media.

  • First off, Jack White’s first solo album ‘Blunderbuss’ came out this week and debuted at no. 1 on the charts. It’s gotten me through the week so far. Take a listen if you get a chance.
  • Samsung revealed today their newest smartphone; The Galaxy S III was rumored to come out and rival the iPhone. Most preliminary reviews I have seen are in disfavor of the new design of the phone.
  • The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook is setting their initial public offering (IPO) in the $28-$35 range. This brings the value of Facebook somewhere around $85 billion; making it the most valuable U.S. web company at time of IPO.
  • LinkedIn users just got a little more excited to use the service for professional work. LinkedIn just acquired SlideShare, the Youtube of slideshows, for $119 million. Now seems to be a good time to sell if you are in the Web 2.0 market.

That’s all I have for you today, back to writing papers, finishing projects, and studying for finals. Maybe I’ll get out of the library by this weekend.

Random thought of the day:

Give a short visual IQ test to all the customers and cashiers in a store before picking a checkout line. Sometimes the longest line is the shortest line.

The Pitch

From the channel that brings you Mad Men’, AMC is promoting a series premiere of new advertising reality show ‘The Pitch’ in a few interesting ways. The show premieres Monday at 8 Central on the cable channel AMC. I’m graduating in a couple weeks from North Dakota State University with a double major in Journalism as well as Public Relations and Advertising. So with having a background in both television broadcasting and advertising, I think this show is going to be really fun to watch and interesting to see two ad agencies compete for a campaign.

I’d like to take a look at how AMC has promoted the show. One medium of advertising that has become quite popular is using Google Ads such as this one:

'The Pitch' Google Advertisement

Another form of their social media ad campaign is their Facebook page, along with a Twitter handle @ThePitch_AMC, and a blog that updates fans on events leading up to the premiere. They have also used more traditional forms of advertising with the following commercial being aired on cable channels across the U.S.:

They also have used Netflix to promote the show by allowing the pilot episode to be seen on demand (Watch Instantly). I think that it would have been very interesting if AMC reached an agreement with Netflix to post a new episode on Watch Instantly a week after it had aired on AMC – sort of Hulu-esque.

I came across an article written by Christina Warren at Mashable about how AMC had a unique problem of developing an ad campaign for a TV show about ad campaigns. The artwork that was ultimately chosen for the campaign and some other artwork that was pitched can be seen in her article.

Tweet of the day:

Eloqua@Eloqua

Looking to rule #B2B social media marketing? This free Aberdeen report shows you how. http://ow.ly/azfQY

Write Like Mike (Royko)

Chicago Tribune

In my specialty writing class at NDSU I recently learned of former Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko. Here are a few of his columns that I read; I especially liked his story How Slats Lost His Cymbals. I found his style of writing to be interesting; so much that I thought I’d take a swing at it.

You should also know that I am studying Communication Law this semester and am in the process of writing a 25 page paper on cigarette labeling and how it might be seen as a restriction of free (commercial) speech. That gives a little background on my column, here’s my attempt to be Mike Royko and create a character in likeness to Slats Grobnik.

There has been great debate in the higher courts on whether or not the government should be allowed to place graphic images on the packaging of cigarettes. Now, I am not a smoker by any means but I don’t mind having the occasional social smoke while out on the town with friends.

But there is something I actually do believe in all the time and am ‘addicted’ to. Free speech is something I can’t live without and shouldn’t have to. Either should tobacco companies. Granted there will be those who think I am nothing more than a cigarette addict when reading this but those people are the same people that think putting graphic images will directly lead to the prohibition of tobacco products such as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

You might have read a news story on how the courts are deciding this issue.  I think that the conversation in the lower circles of our society can be just as crucial to determining the final decision. For example I overheard a story at the bar between two regular patrons, my friend Bill and his friend Frank Adiddle. Frank was a tough guy that had been hardened by the first Gulf War and many nights sitting on a barstool.

I was sitting two seats away from Bill; with Frank on the other side of Bill, and with only a few other friends in the bar, I had time to listen in to their ten-minute conversation on cigarettes. It went a little like this:

Bill was talking to me about how he would like to go out and have a smoke when we were done with our beer.

“Those darn things are so expensive nowadays,” Frank chimed in.

Bill sat back in his chair and turned towards him, “I suppose they have gone up a bit since when we started smokin’.”

“Why don’t they just make ‘em illegal already so I can buy ‘em from a drug dealer for cheap?!” said Frank in an annoyed voice.

“Well they keep telling me to stop smoking them with all these commercials and ads it is pretty weird that they actually don’t just make them illegal like pot,” Bill commented in a serious tone.

Frank chuckled and replied, “I say do it then!”

“That will never happen, old Philip Morris’  got too much money for the gover’mint to shut him down,” said Bill.

“Yeah… I suppose there is a lot of money to be made in the tobacco business. Damn. If I had never bought cigarettes think of all the money those people wouldn’t have.”

Bill thought about this for a minute before adding, “My health care costs would probably go down quite a bit if I didn’t smoke.”

What Frank said next surprised me and Bill both. “But if everybody quit smokin’, taxes would go up ‘cause the gover’mint wouldn’t be making no money off the taxes.”

“Wow, I never thought of it like that, I s’pose they do rely on our money a lot to pay their salaries.”

“Ahh screw it. Let’s go outside boys, I’m done with my beer,” Frank fell back into his normal state. “Like my pops said after he came back from the war, ‘smoke em if you got em’.”

To relate this to trends in technology and society, with the decline of newspapers comes a decline in column writers such as Mike Royko. I think blogging has taken away the need for good column writers. Correction: ‘good blogging’ has taken away the need for professional column writers.

Random thought of the day:

Anybody else say “Wed-Nes-Day” when writing the word Wednesday?

Content Aggregators

Last week I talked about web discovery engines and the like. That’s one way of finding what you want on the internet. There’s also another way that I think is more efficient. Sites that put together content for you/by you are becoming more and more popular. The websites that do this are called content aggregators.

There are two types of aggregators that I am going to talk about. First, news aggregators are sites that take news stories and put them all together on one website. They can differ in style as Google News uses an algorithm to automatically place stories from different sources on their site. On the other hand they can be chosen by an editor and given an sometimes opinionated side of the story, something like The Huffington Post does when they aggregate stories from news organizations.

The other type of aggregator I will call a social content aggregator. These are sites like Reddit, The Chive, and The Daily What. They all take content such as links to other websites, images, videos, and pretty much anything else you could ever think of and combine them onto their site. The Chive is an aggregator website that has gone viral. Users submit photos and videos to the site and a team of roughly ten workers at The Chive choose which submissions to post on their site.

reddit

Reddit meanwhile is completely run by user submissions and voting on which submissions are the best. It’s a good place to learn something new, hear some interesting news and other people’s opinions on issues. It also is just a good place to waste time and read funny memes, or look at images and videos. There are thousands of “subreddits” that pertain to certain subjects. Users can ‘upvote’ submissions that they believe everyone should see, the same goes for the comments.

Hottest submission on Reddit RIGHT NOW is a video of some genius logic:

I think sites like Reddit are good for the internet/society because they help show transparency in the news media – even the world. One of their mottoes was to ‘Restore Truthiness’. Users own the news and can comment on something if they disagree or have any sort of educated opinion.

So whether you like discovering things on StumbleUpon or finding the most ‘upvoted’ link on Reddit, there are many ways to use the internet. With any technology, it’s finding the best way to use it that takes time.

Tweet of the day:

Comedy Tweets@TheComedyJokes

SWAG = (S)omething (W)e (A)ll (G)et tired of hearing

The Tupac ‘Resurrection’

Legend Hip-Hop artist Tupac Shakur made an appearance at the annual Coachella music festival last Sunday night. Well, actually it was a hologram of his that performed at Coachella. In case you haven’t seen the video that has now gone viral – it has over 2.5 million views in just a few days -  I have posted it here (**edit** I have opted to take this down as it is NSFW and contained too much profanity, instead here is a picture of Snoop Dogg standing alongside the hologram of Tupac at Coachella courtesy of nydailynews.com**):

Look’s real doesn’t it?! I was one of the many that was amazed by the quality of the hologram. A company named AV Concepts put together a performance based off of old footage from Tupac’s performances and synched it with his songs. They then took this animated video and projected it onto a mirror that showed up on a transparent foil that the audience wasn’t able to see. The only thing we see in the video is Snoop Dogg and what looks to be Tupac.

International Business Times

The success of this hologram has sparked conversation online that Tupac could go on tour with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“Sources in the Journal article said that Dr. Dre had a “massive vision” for Pac’s projection. Both an arena tour and a more intimate, club tour were being considered at the time of this writing.”

I think that most people probably wouldn’t pay top dollar to see a hologram perform rather than a live person. But it is a way for past performances to be relived more realistically than watching, say, an old Michael Jackson video. Speaking of MJ, E! Online has reported that the Jackson brothers have plans for an upcoming tour, and Jackie Jackson says that a Michael Jackson holographic performance could “absolutely” go on tour with them. A holographic moon dance?! A performance Princess Leia’s hologram would be proud of. Need more proof that holograms have gone viral? Kanye West owns the top tweet on holograms saying, “Yo Hologram Tupac, I’m real happy for you and I’ma let you finish but Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the best holograms of all time!!!!!!!”

So are holographic performances the future of concert events? I doubt it, but they could see more use at concerts by bringing ‘dead rock stars’ to life. What do you think?

Random thought of the day:

I have the answers to the ethics test if anyone needs them.

Look What I’ve ‘StumbledUpon’

Everyday when you go online, you find something new. So much new information is posted online each day, it’s hard to grasp how much. 340 million tweets are sent every day according to Twitter’s blog. Youtube has 60 hours of video uploaded every minute. And if you are on Facebook, I shouldn’t even have to mention how many posts are made; just take a look at your news feed or ticker.

What if we had an easier way to find things we wanted to see/read/learn – things you wanted to discover? I introduce to you, the web discovery engine. This relatively new term is a service that takes your interests and things you already like and can recommend similar content for you to discover.


One such site is StumbleUpon. I like this site because it livens the internet up whenever I feel like all there is on the internet is Facebook, Twitter, news websites, and The Chive (something I will explain in my next post). By logging into StumbleUpon and clicking the ‘Stumble’ button, you get a new website that you most likely would have never found. Sometimes you’ll find an amazing website that you come back to routinely. I just logged in and the first thing I stumbled upon: How to Open a Beer Bottle With a Dollar Bill. I should also mention that it takes your friends interests into account because I don’t know how it got that site from my interests…

The big difference between StumbleUpon and Google is that you need not search for really interesting information. With Google, you need to know what your looking for in order to find it. Of course Google has taken this into account and now when you log in to Google, it can track what you usually search for and compile that information to figure your interests out. Although they have caught some flack with privacy issues when selling users personal information and interests to marketing research agencies.

Another site that is sort of like StumbleUpon is Pinterest. Pinterest is yet another social networking site that allows users to pin their interests (ha) to a virtual pinboard. Sites like these are seeing growth and they are pushing users to smaller, less-known websites. Mashable found that SU is driving more people to sites than Facebook. Another surprising fact is that Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, Youtube, and Linkedin combined. There is definitely a future for web discovery engines.

Tweet of the day:

Natalie Gilles@NatalieGilles

Staying late at work on a Friday…ah the joys of adulthood. #imouttahere #tgif

Everybody Laugh

Is Facebook starting something? Mark Zuckerberg did say he doesn’t want to do many more big acquisitions like the Instagram purchase yesterday. But CNN has an article speculating that they could make a move on the mobile application Path.

Anyways that’s not what I really wanted to talk about. I want to step back from all the seriousness going on today and chuckle a bit. Let’s look at some popular memes and videos.

First up, a meme called ‘Bad Luck Brian’.

Bad Luck Brian meme

Next up we have a gif of how I feel some days. Surprising today is not one of them. Go ahead and click it, it’s safe, I PROMISE.

http://i.imgur.com/aoeAb.gif

Annnnd before there was “The Most Interesting Man In The World”, there was….

The Smooth Canadian

All right so now that we’ve laughed a little, I hope, here is the obligatory ‘ahh cute’ picture of the day. Who doesn’t like getting a high five from there pet when they get home?!

High Five!

Random thought of the day:

I love the feeling when someone cancels plans that you didn’t want to have in the first place.

Facebook Purchases Instagram

Tech hipster’s everywhere let out a groan of despair earlier today as Facebook bought photo sharing service Instagram for $1 billion. Instagram came into existence two years ago with the company’s description of itself as “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of photos.”

Facebook has had noted problems with their own photo service and the amount of ads they push on their users. Their mobile app has received heavy criticism because of multiple bugs and poor design and layout.

People that used Instagram before are worried that this purchase will ruin the app and post Instagram photos to Facebook. This is why Facebook and Instagram have announced that Instagram will continue to be independent from Facebook. But this is highly unlikely to continue for very long in my opinion. Facebook, like any other corporation has promised not to swallow the app but to only use Instagram’s features on Facebook’s own products. The following video explains some of the more corporate reasons and predictions on why Facebook bought Instagram.

It’s amazing to me that such an ‘upstart’ of a company can be sold for a billion dollars. Instagram was just 551 days old and already had a following of 30 million users. This is  by far the largest buyout of a mobile app, dwarfing the $200 million acquisition of OMGpop by Zynga a few weeks ago.

In the end, I can only hope that Facebook uses their own engineering capabilities and funding to install Instagram’s features and layout to Facebook Mobile and its own photos application.

Tweet of the day:
Pete Cashmore@mashable Many Instagram Users Already Heading for the Exits – http://on.mash.to/Huco5p