This is part two of a three-part series about getting your friends, colleagues, family or associates to join social networks and find their value.
Part II: Helping your friend find their community
The biggest step is now over—you got your friend to sign up for Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn. Let’s move on to the next step: how does your friend find the people who share the same interests and passions?
I firmly believe that social media becomes worthwhile when a person finds a niche community that they interact with on a regular basis. Going back to our example in my previous post, your clothing designer friend will value social media only if they can use it to meet the designers, big fashion houses and trendsetters that matter to them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and techniques within each network that can help guide your friend’s search and unlock the power of social networking.
The first group of people your friend should immediately follow is their real-life friends. These folks are a good place to start because they probably share some of the same interests as your friend, and they’ll be willing to divulge information from within a particular online community. Advise your friend to look through their friends’ followers and connections for interesting accounts to follow.
A big purpose and where the power of social media resides is being able to go outside your reach and connect with people who you wouldn’t have access to in real life. The following tools exemplify this and heighten a user’s experience in a way that can benefit them.
Follower Wonk: This tool allows you to search Twitter bios for particular keywords and compare followers or following of up to three separate users. For instance, if your friend is looking for other fashion designers to collaborate with or get advice from, a search for the terms such as “fashion,” “fashiondesign” and “couture” reveals hundreds of results. From there, your friend can compare three users to see who they mutually follow in order to grow their network even further. Go ahead and give it a try.
Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is a desktop or browser add-on that lets you monitor and engage various users; the platform also provides insight on certain keywords and allows you to create lists for certain followers and search terms. Your friend can monitor words like “fashion AND NYC” to see who is talking about certain fashion events in New York City. The strength of the keywords and lists can help your friend see who is actively engaged in the topic of their choosing. This is a great way to be more specific in a search for users that are considered influential within a certain community.
Search: Probably the most powerful tool for Instagram is already located within the app itself. The search feature allows you to look up hash tags found in the picture’s description and comments. Searching for the tag “#fashion” brings up close to 13 million images. Once your friend sees a user who consistently posts high-quality images that are constantly receiving plenty of interaction, they should tap the follow button because that person is viewed as an influencer. Monitoring several tags at once can help your friend target their niche market.
Statigram: Statigram is an online Instagram viewer that allows users to view more pictures at once in a web browser instead of scrolling through their mobile app. It also gives you a great breakdown of the metrics within your account. The only feature that it doesn’t have is the ability to post pictures to an Instagram account.
Like Instagram, LinkedIn’s search bar can be used to access all of their users, groups, and companies. Their advanced search feature allows a user to be more thorough in their search. This can be helpful if your friend is having trouble finding a person’s name but remembers their title and company.
To find big guns, joining groups would be the best place to start. Members in groups are typically employees within a certain field that are trying to gain benefits from the content and discussions that are posted. Within each group page, on the right column, LinkedIn lists the top influencers for each week. Since these individuals are leading a lot of the group’s discussions and managing the group, interacting with them could offer more insights. All your friend has to do is make their acquaintance within the group and then request to connect with them.
Now that your friend has found influential people to follow and started interacting with people who have the same interests as they, it’s time to move onto the final step: creating value to gain a loyal following.
-- Sean Clark
With Amazon unveiling its Kindle Fire tablet today and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series garnering more than a few good reviews, the tablet is poised to become an established piece of tech rather than an Apple-only gizmo. While the iPad started the craze, the success of other (but not all) renditions hints at future price slashes and app-tastic innovations. Touch screens, intuitive layouts and petite proportions have the digital slates on their way to becoming a household item.
But what type of household device will it be? Will it be a work-home hybrid like computers and smartphones that serves both professional and personal purposes? Or will it lean more toward the unnecessary-but-fun luxury category where e-readers, mp3 players and gaming consoles reside? The jury is still out to lunch.
In June 57, percent of owners polled by Resolve Market Research reported that they used their tablets to supplant laptop applications, including work-related tasks. These findings might indicate a laptop-tablet battle for computing supremacy, but another study has come to a very different conclusion. A survey by Citigroup revealed that of 1,800 polled in the U.S. and U.K., 62 percent would purchase a tablet as a new toy or leisure gadget. Only 18 percent reported they would use the device for work.
Of course these surveys cannot be arranged into an apples-to-apples comparison— the most glaring distinction being that one polled tablet owners and the other asked would-be consumers. As more companies, like Amazon, enter the tablet club, the market dynamic will continue to evolve; only time will tell if and how the tablet will fit into the tech ecosystem.
In the meantime, marketers would be wise to keep an eye on the public’s sentiments. So far tablet ads have focused on versatility and ease of use, but should iPads, Kindle Fires and Galaxy Tabs become common office tools, those themes will need an upgrade.
On a lighter note, Disney’s upcoming Appmates for Cars points toward the toy (albeit awesome toy) category. Now all I need is an excuse to race Lightning McQueen at the office.
— Nicole Duncan
To the chagrin of many users, Facebook has given itself yet another facelift. The latest changes include a Top Stories feature, a real-time chat and comment tool and a revamped album view.
Top Stories is an enhanced version of Facebook’s tailored news feed, which now features blue tabs, indicating which stories have occurred since the user’s last login. The new ticker tool shows real-time updates in a small corner on the upper right side of the homepage. When the chat box is opened, the ticker attaches itself at the top. (Please note: this feature does not appear active on my account at publishing time). Among the other changes are a Friends lists (‘Circles,’ anyone?) and subscribe buttons. The full details of the new settings and tools are posted to Facebook’s FAQ page.
While many of us are still adjusting to the new features, even bigger plans are underway for a complete renovation— one that will make past nips and snips seem inconsequential. As Mashable’s Ben Parr reports, “The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed.”
Before this social czar becomes unrecognizable, here’s a stroll down memory lane of previous (and often equally infuriating) changes. If you’re still longing for the simple Facebook of yesteryear, The Social Network briefly showcases several past versions.
2004: Fresh, streamlined an innovative. It was a time when college students were asking their distant friends, “Has your school signed up for the Facebook?”
2006: The homepage gets its first major overhaul with news feed. Facebook groups with names like, “Bring the Old Facebook Back!” crop up. This was also the year the floodgates opened to the public, not just students.
2008: Perhaps taking a page from Google’s Gmail, the social network adds a chat feature. If you’re like me, you haven’t been signed in since then.
2010: What had started as an intimate webpage now feels like an overcrowded party. Privacy concerns soar while the The Social Network paints a less-than-flattering picture of founder Mark Zuckerberg.
2012: Facebook takes over the Internet? Everyone jumps ship to Google+? Share your thoughts in our comments section.
— Nicole Duncan
Somewhere along the way to smartphone ubiquity and tablet trendiness, offline became an unsavory word. Not as repugnant as dial-up or spam, but certainly not magnanimous like 3G. Social networks, web searches and general connectivity became more important than offline activities like word processing and Minesweep. The short-lived popularity of netbooks is a testament to the notion that if you’re not connected, you might as well turn your [insert device] off.
But what if you’re in a cafe that has no wireless? What if your Aunt Elsie’s house is out of range of your 3G network? Unless you had the foresight to download your work beforehand, such situations serve as flashbacks to pre-2008 computing. The only difference is that now your choice of activities is even more limited as offline has been left to the wayside by many digital innovators.
One of the tech behemoths that started this shift was Google: It introduced free programs like Gmail and Google Docs much to the chagrin of software developers. This May the company released its own netbook, the Chromebook, which seemed to solidify its commitment to the online occult.
You can imagine my surprise when I learned that Google was rolling out an offline version of Gmail. The application, which can be downloaded through the Chrome Web Store, is similar to its tablet version in appearance and functionality. As a dumbphone user who loves frequenting wifi-free cafes with my laptop, the ability to read, respond and sort through old e-mails without a connection is a major boon. Traditional mail servers like Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail have worked offline for years, but their mobility limitations, screwy settings and bland appearance kept them from reaching Gmail rock star status.
Google announced that it plans to extend this capability to Google Calendars and Docs as well— the latter of which will prove tricky given its collaborative nature. And if the search-engine-turned-tech-giant decrees “offline” to be an option for the 3G world, others may soon follow in its path.
— Nicole Duncan
Professor Pepper here with another word to expand your vocabulary. Today’s word is ’sommelier’, which is someone who determines what sort of wine should be served with a meal. You would know this if you’ve watched Top Chef or if you have gone tohttp://www.pourwines.com, a site that allows you to choose a wine with your meal.
All you have to do is to select either a type of food, a type of cuisine, or a type of wine, and the Wine Pairer will match you up, effectively being your internet sommelier. This is a very handy tool, which you can try out from the courtesy of your own home and see how accurate it is. I am glad that once again, I can add another word in your vocabulary to remember, but take heed; too much trying out of wines in too short of an amount of time and the only thing you’ll want to remember is where the porcelain water closet is.