Archive for October, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs


Mac Classic Retro

In 1982 or so, we got our first home computer–an Apple II+. It had a dual floppy drive, and we used it to play Zork and write papers for school (dot-matrix printers and pin-feed perforated paper–I don’t miss either of those).

In college I had an IBM clone (one that no one has ever heard of, save the woman I bought it from when she didn’t need it any more) that was portable because it had a handle. It weighed 24 pounds, but it had a handle. But for whatever reason I couldn’t save a paper longer than five pages, so it didn’t last long once I left my undergrad days.

When I got to grad school, I knew I wanted to go back to Apple. The only way to buy one was through the athletic department, and somehow I was able to make that work. But it wasn’t like you went into a store and picked it up–no, you had to order it and wait for it to arrive. So I placed my order for whatever was available at that point, and I waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, the woman in charge of computer orders called me and said, “Sorry it’s taking so long. But I wanted to check and see if you wanted to upgrade to a Mac Classic. It’s got better memory and it’s cheaper.” Sold!

I used that computer for a long time. When I first got Internet access, it took me forever to set up. Between the out-of-date instructions and dial-up (and only one phone line in my apartment), there was a lot of plugging and unplugging the modem to call for support and then re-connect to do what they said. The guys at the ISP said that while they were sorry I was having so much trouble, it was really helping them pinpoint where their instructions needed to be revised. But even so, one of them finally said (during what was probably my 10th call), “Kathy? Why are you at home setting up Internet access at 9 p.m. on a Saturday?) I said, “I had no idea it would take five hours.” And what I thought was, Sheesh, at least he’s at work. I’m doing this on my own time. Oh, and I could only get text-based sites. Fortunately there were a lot of them. I planned an entire out-of-state trip online, using only text-based sites.

But the Web kept developing, and I had to buy a new computer that would display visuals. Naturally, I stuck with Mac. It helped that we had them at work, and that our license allowed me to install Word on my home computer, so that I didn’t have to buy my own copy (I still miss Word 5.1, by the way. Just saying.) for when I needed to work from home. A few computers later, and I was buying the G4 desktop that we still have at home. It’s old, but it works like a charm. My MacBook works, too–it’s just got that old Motorola chip that keeps me from upgrading the OS, which keeps me from upgrading the software, which means that it won’t talk to my iPod Touch any more.

My new laptop isn’t a Mac. Our budget and priorities have changed, and I just couldn’t justify buying a Mac, much as I wanted to.

Much as I enjoy what I can do on the computer, I’m not really a computer person. But I have fond memories of the Macs I’ve owned. They made technology fun. Steve Jobs did that. I never met him, and I never will, but if I did, I’d just say, “Thanks.”

Photo by fuzzz, via Flickr.

Facebook Timeline and Your Brand, Part 2


Yesterday we took a look at brand opportunities offered by Timeline and other changes introduced by Facebook. Today, let’s look at a few of the challenges.

1) You’ve probably been relying on “likes” entries in people’s feeds–at least to some extent. Certainly I’ve had times where I’ve thought, “Oh, hey, my friend Fill-in-the-Blank likes John Adams. I didn’t know there was a page about him, and I like John Adams, too.” Now those likes will appear in people’s Timelines and in the ticker, and will be collected in one place on a profile. That gives their interaction with your page more prominence–but that means all interaction is more accessible. Transparency and accountability will continue to grow in importance.

2) No one has to “like” your page to comment. As discussed yesterday, it always has been pretty easy for people to make negative comments on your page. And if you want to be able to participate in the discussions that are going to happen one way or another, then that’s actually a good thing. Better to see what people are saying and have the forum and opportunity to respond. But because “like” is losing its power, you’re going to have to focus more than ever on providing content that people actually want to interact with. Be compelling. Interact.

3) Your advertising will have to evolve. If people aren’t clicking “like” as often, you’ll need to do something that brings your page and your brand to their attention within Facebook. Mashable has an op-ed explaining how this came to be and why it’s good for you. (And clearly it will also be good for Facebook, if it increases their ad sales.)

4) It may be easier than ever for Facebook users to get overwhelmed by information. You want to appear in people’s streams, but so does everyone else. CiarĂ¡n Norris writes about why “stream fatigue” can be dangerous for brands. You’ll need to focus on sharing information that people actually want to see. Stand out by meeting needs, not by being noisy.

5) Engagement matters more than ever. Karlyn Morissette points out that because Facebook’s Edgerank score determines whether a story shows up in Recent Stories, your prominence in a News Feed is now based not on how frequently or recently you post, but on how people are interacting with your posts. That means that you may need to focus on publishing to niche audiences through a variety of pages rather than to all of your audiences through one main page. Get it right, and you may even be able to make it into “Top Stories.” (By the way, if you’d like to check your Edgerank score, check here.)

Facebook Timeline and Your Brand, Part 1


Facebook’s Timeline is a dramatic new direction for Profiles. What does it mean for Pages? As with anything, there are opportunities and challenges. Let’s start with the opportunities and move on to the challenges in a future post.

The first question to ask, really, is whether it means anything for Pages. What if Facebook decides to give Pages a different look?

I’d be surprised if they did. After all, the last several Page revisions have been focused on making Pages more like Profiles, not less. But even if Pages do get a different look, there are still a lot of ways in which recent changes can help bring new awareness and energy to your brand’s presence on Facebook.

1) New metrics. Facebook has introduced a “People Talking About” metric. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, because it doesn’t measure sentiment. But it does measure likes, comments, shares, questions answered, and more.

2) It’s not about the “like.” As Seth Odell* discusses in a recent Higher Ed Live webcast, there’s now a lot less reason for someone to like your Page–because they can comment without clicking like. As Seth’s conversation with Webster University’s Patrick Powers points out around the 42:50 mark, control of that process is shifting further away from the Page (although it may not really matter very much, because if someone wanted to snark you, they just clicked “like” to gain the privilege anyhow).

3) It’s not only about the “like.” New social actions will allow people to “read,” “listen,” “watch,” and more. Why not get creative with it?

4) You can find new ways to spread your content. As Mike Schaffer points out, the cover photo offers the chance to ask people to use your branded image on their profiles without changing their profile images; Timeline entries mean you can ask someone to add an encounter with your brand to their personal history; and Life Events mean that people can include your brand in their milestones–which are expanding from things like relationship status to include “bought a house,” “got a dog,” and more. (You can find icons with drop-down menus near the status update box on Timeline.)

*If you like people who have ideas and talk about them, you ought to be watching Higher Ed Live. And remember Seth Odell’s name. You’re going to keep hearing from him, and he’s worth listening to.

Sunday Television: Advertising Winners and Losers


Winner: American Express

Great use of Twitter in your ads! I like the inclusion of tweets regarding how people have used their rewards. (They’re real, right?)

Loser: General Electric

Christy’s mom is “weird,” says Christy, a perky, soccer-playing 9-year-old. “Christy’s mom deserves a cancer treatment that’s as unique as she is,” says GE. Takeaway: Christy’s mom has cancer. Don’t tell Christy. Seriously, GE?

What advertising winners and losers have you seen lately?

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