Comments OffSomething New for Your Ears

In 21st century PR, it’s hard to keep up with the news. What with the new social media announcements, industry flip-flops, online evolution, and the two-thousand new services announced every day. The capabilities of your average PR firm are also broadening dramatically. There’s social media strategy, online development, the company blog, community management, blogger relations, search engine optimization. Need I go on?

We’ve been cooking up something new at Finn Partners for the past month. A podcast. Not just a podcast, but the Finncast. It’s our attempt to dissect all of this information in our rapidly evolving industry. Our weekly podcast series is launching today, with a new episode planned every Monday. In each weekly episode we hit on some of the top news items of the week and then discuss one topic in the PR, social or digital space.

Your week-to-week co-hosts will be Alexandra Kirsch and I. And in each episode we will invite on another Finn Partners team member with expertise in the weekly topic to discuss it with us. The topic of discussion in this first week is “Who Should Manage Social Media Advertising?” In it, we are joined by Barry Reicherter, a partner of digital strategy. It’s a great discussion, where we weigh the credentials of marketing agencies, PR agencies and your community manager.

I’m passionate about podcasts and listen to about 15-20 each week, so I’m incredibly appreciative of this opportunity. I hope that passion translates to the enthusiasm we bring to each episode, and the topics we explore. Because ultimately we do this for you, not for us. We want to give you the best PR & digital podcast out there. We want to give you interesting news, knowledgeable insights and great personalities. And we want your feedback to. Tell us what you want us to discuss. Or even if you have questions for us, we’ll answer them on future shows.

You can find our podcast on iTunes, just search for Finncast, and subscribe to have each episode delivered right to you. You can also subscribe to our Podcast feed on Feedburner. Or if you just want to listen to the MP3 for our first episode you can do that as well.

I hope your ears enjoy what we’ve made here. I know we’re excited.

 

Comments OffStorify as a Social Curation Tool

Social curation is an emerging trend in the social space. Tools like Storify allow users to crowd-source through public social postings — either during events, or on a daily basis — and allow you to publish those posts, formatted to flow like a story.

This takes storytelling to a whole new level with user generated content versus brand-owned content.

Common uses of Storify include:

  • Collecting and recaping tweets during Twitter Chats
  • Documenting live events as they happen, like the recent fires on the New Jersey Shore boardwalk, or the tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard
  • Collecting responses to announcements
  • Collecting news stories from various outlets
  • Showcasing speaker quotes from conferences

Just like the platforms it pulls from, Storify is not without engagement features. In fact, stories can also be liked, commented on and embedded, encouraging sharing and open dialogue.

Storify co-founder Burt Herman, said, “People have used it to capture mentions about their products. People also use it to push things out there—to say, ‘Hey, tell us what you think about this, use this hashtag, we’ll use your best responses, and put them online.”

Watch Storify in action with the following examples:

-       Fire Blazes Through Seaside Park, N.J. Boardwalk via The Weather Channel

-       Twitter Files for IPO via CNBC

-       Trending Topics + News via Dieste

-       #INBOUND13 by Valentina Falcinelli

Storify allows users to search public updates across platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Flickr. Once you’ve decided which tweets to pull and showcase, you can add context by adding in your own commentary to guide the story. Even The White House uses Storify as a behind-the-scenes tool, and as a way to social disseminate information.

We tend to rest easy knowing that almost everything published in cyberspace lives there for eternity, but in case that’s not comforting enough, you can export stories as PDFs for archival.

I’m excited to see how Storify grows, and how it impacts the way people collect and share social experiences.

Have a great Storify case study, or know of a brand who uses it especially well? Share it with us in a comment, or via Twitter (@FinnPartners)!

 

14.5 Ways Social Media Compares to Romantic Relationships

Most of us by now have experienced a romantic relationship (or two, or three) – the butterflies, new experiences, the “firsts” and the inevitable heartbreak. Which oddly enough, the more I think about it, the more I’m reminded of social media. Let me explain:

  1. The “introduction” stage: When you first set your eyes on “that” guy/girl, you can’t wait to get acquainted, and learn more about them. Now let’s say a hot new platform is about to be released in beta. You know you’re signing up to be on the mailing list, hoping for one of the first invites or begging your friends who have access to “introduce” you to this new hottie. Oh, hey there, Pinterest!
  2. The “honeymoon” stage: Everything is going better than a Disney fairytale with your newfound arm candy. You count the hours until you can see them, can’t take your thoughts and eyes off of them, and are over the moon with happiness. Doesn’t this sound like your first few months with Facebook? Point made.
  3. The “this takes a lot of work” stage: Relationships require a ton of energy and time to continue growing successfully, as do your social media platforms. Just because you have built your mini follower base and become a “social celeb” of sorts does not guarantee you will stay there if you don’t continue putting in work. Your Twitter followers will drop you like a fly and your Facebook friends will start wondering why they even have you on their list. In other words, stop making an effort and your “relationship” will come crumbling down. Hello there, Xanga.
  4. The “it’s not you, it’s me” stage:As the decline of a relationship rears its ugly head, the “it’s not you, it’s me” line might be used. Whether you’re the one using the line or on the receiving end, it takes a lot to admit the relationship is no longer working. Social media works very much in the same manner. We outgrow people very quickly, what makes us think we’re not going to get sick of Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or #insertnameofanothersocialmediachannel? (Hey – remember MySpace? Me neither!)
    1. The “I have no idea why he/she broke up with me” stage: In contrast to the above stage, you might get your heart broken without a “good enough” reason or explanation. It’s best just to acknowledge the loss, pick up the pieces and know that you will someday find someone who makes you happy. Another company acquires your favorite social network and changes all the features you loved without asking? Admit it will no longer make you happy and move on. You will find your happiness eventually, I promise.
 

Comments OffSocial Media Week in Review

iPhone users are celebrating the latest update to the Facebook app (Photo courtesy of mashable.com)

There was some shady business in the world of Facebook and Twitter this week. Read on to learn more.

Twitter Restricts Access to API – Moving Onto Entertainment?  In a move to possibly take complete control over the information shared in its network, Twitter has yanked Tumblr’s access to its API – meaning the “Find Twitter Friends” capability will no longer be available. Twitter has been cracking down on making the network’s information more private and now they are turning their backs on Tumblr, a service that until now has been a team player with the social network and even helped them build “Twitter cards”.

Cutting off third-party developers and its recent deals with new partnerships such as NBC and the 2012 Summer Olympics, leads one to believe Twitter may have a change of heart on what they define as a successful social network.

Facebook Investor Dumps Stocks 

Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first outside investor and board member confirmed he had sold about 20 million shares of Facebook last week. While Thiel still owns about 5.6 million shares, what does this say about the already poorly performing Facebook stock? 

iOS App Gets Highly Anticipated Update

iPhone users are celebrating the latest update to the Facebook app, which totes a faster news feed, instant access to notifications, faster photo uploads and access to the Camera and Messenger apps all in one place. Facebook has combined the codes for the three apps into one, allowing the iOS apps to be closer to the online Facebook experience. The Android update of the app is most likely in the works.

 

Comments OffSocial Media Week in Review

Read on for the latest in social media news:

Twitter

Twitter released details of an upcoming API that has many developers up in arms. The new API will introduce a number of new “Developer Rules of the Road” meant to create a consistent and seamless Twitter experience. Twitter will also be tightening their grip on third-party clients like Echofon, Tweetbot, Ubersocial and TweetDeck by imposing a 100,000 user cap on third-party clients. Third-party clients with a user base over 100,000 will only be able to grow to 200% of their current user base before requiring permission from Twitter to grow any further.

Developers are bemoaning the new restrictions, with many predicting the end of popular third-party clients like Echofon and TweetDeck. For other developers this is no surprise. Twitter has been encouraging developers to stay away from developing traditional Twitter clients for over a year.

Also introduced in the new API are safeguards to make applications safer for users to use. Authentication is now required whenever an application attempts to access the Twitter API. Requiring authentication makes it easier for Twitter to allow the well-intentioned access to the API while keeping the bad guys out.

Facebook

Since 2009, a user deleting a photo on Facebook often meant a year delay before the photo would be deleted from Facebook servers. What’s the problem with that? Well, a photo that still exists on a Facebook server can be accessed via URL regardless of whether or not you’ve pressed the delete button. That’s changed this week, with Facebook now clearing deleted photos from its servers in up to 30 days.

Surprisingly, this is not an issue that Facebook shares with its competitors. Ars Technica found that deleting a photo from social sites like Flickr, Twitter or Instagram yielded instantaneous deletion from the sites’ servers.

As Facebook stock continues on its downward trend, investors will likely be keeping tabs on Facebook’s ability to respond to users’ privacy concerns. Allegiance to a social site can change in a blink of an eye and building loyalty with users will go a long way in securing Facebook’s dominance in social media.

Fake Social Accounts

Democrats were up in arms this week when Mitt Romney’s Twitter account experienced a mysterious influx of 141,000 followers in one day. Democrats claim that the Romney campaign bought the followers, citing results from a new utility, StatusPeople.com, which scans your Twitter account and determines how many followers are active, inactive, or fake. The Romney campaign denied the allegation and Republicans volleyed back that President Obama’s Twitter account has even more fake followers than Romney’s. StatusPeople.com concluded that of Obama’s 18.6 million followers, 41% are fake.

Fake Twitter accounts have become increasingly common with the creation of services that sell followers to Twitter users. Fake followers can be had for as little as $2 per 1,000 followers. These fake accounts are against Twitter’s terms of service, but Twitter is having a difficult time policing fake accounts.

 

Comments OffSocial Media Week in Review

This week in social media the Olympics are heating up, Twitter is getting political and Facebook flounders to stay afloat. Read on for more!

Twitter

Twitter debuts tweet-based supplement to polling

A new generation, a new way for your voice to be heard! This week Twitter debuted Twitter Political Index, the newest tool for keeping an eye on public feelings toward President Obama and presidential nominees. Currently, the tool is sorting through Twitter’s 400 million tweets a day to analyze messages regarding Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Olympics: Twitter’s huge, varied impact

Watch what you tweet! “Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.” – Jodi Picoult. If only more people would adhere to these powerful words. Social media has been taken to new heights within the past few years, giving the world quicker access to celebrities, athletes, major corporations and more. It is certainly taking a major role in the London 2012 Olympics where Twitter has played a part in people voicing their outrage against NBC and athletes have been thrown off their teams for tweeting inappropriate things.

Facebook

Facebook shares first time below $20

For the first time this past Thursday, Facebook shares have dipped below $20. It has lost half of its value since its premiere in May 2012. Many people are waiting for the stock to maintain a steady rate or even have the slightest inklings of growth for the third quarter. What do you think could happen when the shares become tradable in November?

Facebook rolling Timeline to all soon, launches new photo feature

Change is inevitable. For those who wanted to cling to distant memories of the “old Facebook”, they will be forced to conform to the new Timeline by the end of the year. The forced migration is happening because Facebook is launching a redesigned section for Photos on Timeline to allow users to highlight their favorite pictures.

Foursquare

Foursquare Launches Promoted Updates, Its Newest Effort To Generate Revenue

Foursquare launched their latest effort to generate revenue, promoted updates. Promoted updates will operate like Twitter’s promoted tweets and will appear when a user is searching for a venue in Foursquare’s explore tab.

 

Comments OffSocial Media Week in Review

This week has been all about Olympic madness sweeping the world. The online community seemed to do nothing but eat, sleep and tweet about the 2012 London Olympics starting today. Check out what else has been happening in the world of social media (with a little Olympics news thrown in). Enjoy!

Facebook

Facebook Stock Hits New Low

Facebook may have beat the Street’s estimates for its second quarter, but investors were expecting more from the social giant’s stock valuation for its revenues and earnings. If you feel like you need a little more insight, find out why Facebook’s stock is tanking.

Facebook Launches Recommendation Bar

Facebook is looking for more and more ways to integrate themselves into our daily lives. Their latest quest for our attention is a recommendation bar that allows users to discover new articles based on what others in their network are sharing. When a Facebook user likes an article through the new recommendation bar, the story is published to the Timeline much like the use of the Like button.

Twitter

Twitter May Launch Reality TV Shows

Twitter is reportedly talking to Hollywood producers and networks about launching several reality TV shows that would stream on the site. Real Housewives of Twitter anyone?

Foursquare

Foursquare Introduces Promoted Updates

Earlier this week Foursquare launched the pilot for a brand new advertising program called Promoted Updates. The ads will show up in the app’s Explore tab, which shows users nearby places and friends. The program has rolled out with 23 partners including Best Buy and Gap.

Social Media Blunders

Chick-Fil-A Accused of Setting Up a Fake Facebook Account

If openly coming out and saying your company is against gay marriage wasn’t enough, now Chick-Fil-A has been accused of setting up a fake Facebook account. This accusation came after Jim Henson pulled their kids meal toys from the fast food chain. Chick-Fil-A lied and said the toys had been pulled because of a safety issue. Now they are in hot water over a fake Facebook account that has been defending the chicken retailer online. Where will it end? Nobody knows.

Olympian Booted From Team Over Racist Tweet

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou’s dreams of competing in the Olympics have been dashed after she tweeted a racist statement about African immigrants. After her attempt at a joke went viral, she was expelled from Greece’s Olympic team. She has since tweeted numerous apologies on Twitter.

General

How to Follow the 2012 Olympics Online

The excitement is palpable around the world for the 2012 London Olympics. Social media is sure to play a bigger role than ever in the Olympics this year, which is why Mashable has compiled 10 ways to follow the Olympics online.

 

Comments OffSocial Media Week In Review

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to catch up on social media highlights from the week. From earth seemingly stopping because of a Twitter crash to the most “social” cities and landmarks across the globe, we’ve got the social media high points covered for you.

TWITTER

Twitter Down

As you are probably well aware, Twitter crashed on Thursday right before noon ET. Service returned about an hour later, and then the outage came back less than an after that. Hacker group UGNazi claims it took the website down in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, but Twitter says there was a  “cascading bug in one of [its] infrastructure components.”

It comes as no surprise that the online public was up in arms about the disruption to social networking life. Even humor site, someecards.com, already had joke topical “cards” created within the hour of the site being down. Can life go on without Twitter? Turns out, it did. http://cnnmon.ie/MlmEtQ

Twitter Ads Expanding

This week, Twitter announced that it will expand its ad services to 50 countries this year. Twitter’s ads are currently only available in the U.S., and so this expansion seeks to reduce the company’s reliance on American revenue. Twitter predicts $1 billion in advertising revenue from this move, said people familiar with the forecast. http://bloom.bg/KVSCNn

FACEBOOK

Social Cities

This week, Facebook shared the most social cities/landmarks around the world. Among the most social destinations are Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Dublin, London and Tokyo, among others.  Facebook aggregated check-ins from its site and third-party apps using the Facebook API, and data dating back to August 2010 when check-ins first launched.

As it turns out, sports stadiums and arenas were some of the most popular venues in the world. Take note for your next geotargeted campaign! http://nydn.us/KPVdNy

GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA

Who’s Pinning?

Digital media agency Modea developed an infographic with findings from a February ComScore report that shows Pinterest users’ favorite…well, everything. The report findings in the infographic breakdown Pinterest users favorite supermarket, mobile phones and carriers, alcohols, magazines, vacation destinations, TV channels, and the list goes on.

Take a look and see how the findings may help you in your social media strategy. http://on.mash.to/LKJpsx

 

Comments OffSocial Media Week in Review

zuckerberg-stocks-facebook-ipo

Facebook has the third largest IPO behind Visa and Enel. (Photo courtesy of mashable.com)

Welcome to another Friday social media recap! Before you run off to strategize your investment in the Facebook IPO, take a look at what’s going on in the world of social media.

The Year of Facebook (and Social Media) 

With a $16 billion IPO, Facebook is set to have the third largest IPO in history (only behind Visa and Enel). Not only does this establish the caliber of Mark Zuckerberg’s impact on the social media world, but also on the financial world. Facebook has fast-tracked, if not launched, a completely new take on the online social world and with the right acquisitions it will continue to dominate the social media space. If you’re wondering how the Facebook IPO will affect brands and brand pages, check out the full article.

Google+ Launches Spiffy New Updates to iPhone App

Have you tried out the latest version of the Google+ app for your iPhone? The update takes the app up a notch and features a visual experience unlike the previous version. Other tweaks on the app include configuration for a better app experience instead of making the desktop version compatible on the iPhone.

Twitter Allows Users to Control Privacy

Having a hard time trusting the information social media networks such as Twitter can get from you? Worry no more. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Twitter is participating in “Do Not Track”, an Internet privacy feature for Firefox users. DNT gives users the option to block third-party cookies, little nuggets of information used to track users’ online habits, activities, and even personal information.

Pinterest’s Going International

The two-year-old social bookmarking project is planning on expanding internationally with a $100 million round of investments. The startup is looking to expand into the French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish markets.

 

Comments OffApple Fans Rejoice… Or Do They?

Photo from Apple.com

Hi everyone, I’m Howard Solomon, managing partner and head of our west coast operations.

Those of you who know me know that I am quite possibly the biggest Apple fanboy ever. There hasn’t been a major product introduction in which I haven’t been on line at 6 am. I quite literally have enough Apple products in my home to open a small retail store. Apple products are beyond a hobby for me—they’ve become a borderline obsession. And so with that as background, I wanted to offer my thoughts on the new iPad that was introduced a few short hours ago (you can see the Apple keynote presentation in full on Apple’s website.

For starters, I am sure it is going to be as cool as hell. Most Apple products are. The media is likely to report that it was a disappointing announcement but I very much disagree. Like most recent Apple introductions, most significantly the iPhone 4s, the biggest changes aren’t cosmetic but under the hood. Once folks get a chance to interact with the new iPad (which appears to be its official name!) I expect they will feel differently and recognize that it’s a big step up.

All that being said, maybe somewhat surprisingly, I will likely sit this one out. Sure, the new screen is going to be fantastic – no question about it. But an enhanced screen really appeals to folks who play games and watch movies, and I do neither. I use mine primarily to surf the Internet and read and maybe watch the occasional movie while travelling.

And what about 4g you say? I think it will be KILLER in the next iPhone (presuming they nail the battery) but it’s really a non-starter for me vis-à-vis iPad, considering that I use wifi 95% of the time.

Photo from Apple.com

What I AM excited about is the new iPhoto app editor. I will definitely be buying that one today (update: already purchased). And likely the new Apple TV too (update: ditto Apple TV). But I digress.

So anyway, that’s where I stand. But of course, as always, I reserve the right to change my mind. Those who know me, including many of my Finn Partners colleagues, have stated with certainty that regardless of what I say now, I will be making this purchase. They very well might be right. I do not relish the thought of not being one of the first five in line and much like Joe DiMaggio, I do feel some pressure to keep my hitting streak intact….