Adver…What?

According to none other than advertorial.org, an advertorial is an advertisement designed to look exactly like news content, while at the same time giving important information to hopefully gain a potential customer. Surprisingly, advertorials have been around since 1961, however with the explosion of the internet and mobile media advertorials are on the rise preying on unsuspecting consumers. Below are a few examples of advertorials incase you aren’t quite sure you have ever seen one:

rimmel  fresh-living-advertorials-copy-1-March-2010  Chile-0912

Even though these advertorials have been around for so long they bring up a lot of ethical questions when it comes to advertising. Mainly because they draw a consumer in thinking they are reading a factual article when it is truly a paid advertisement. How can a consumer actually believe anything they are reading from this article when it is being paid for? These have become such a huge problem that is some countries, such as Australia, they have enacted legislation that states all commercials or advertisements have to be disclosed as such to the consumer.

As with most emerging media there are always pros and cons. Even with the ethical concerns involved, these advertorials can be some of the most effective forms of advertising. Ian French claims this is the most effective direct response form of marketing around, and can lead to the most lead generation, sales and help build a company’s return on investment (ROI). French believes all marketers should be using advertorials in their media tool kit, and if they aren’t then they are really missing out.

This again brings up the ethical question: just because this form of advertising can produce a lot of positive numbers should we be practicing it when it is too hard to tell if we are reading a fact based story or looking at a paid advertisement?

Facebook is Making Changes….AGAIN!

This past Thursday Facebook announced they would be making changes, again! This time they are revamping the look of the beloved newsfeed. The highlights of these changes will be a newspaper feel with bigger photos and videos leaving it looking less cluttered. Interestingly enough on the heels of Facebook’s announcement Google+ added larger photos and improved navigation. As of right now the new Facebook design is only open to a small amount of test users to see how they react to the changes. Facebook is hoping these changes will bring more of the younger demographic back to its site. Facebook will benefit from this change by being able to sell more advertising space, especially mobile ad space.

According to the Tech blog GigaOm, the new design does have several positives, negatives and can leave the faithful user still scratching their heads. Some positives of the overhauled newsfeed include: the overall design; it seems to work well with many different operating systems; photos are a main feature of Facebook, so by highlighting them in the newsfeed is a great idea; and lastly the music subcategory is an interesting idea, however it would be nice for them to add a way to listen to the music being suggested. As with everything, many of us wonder why change things that don’t seem broken. I am curious what everyone’s thoughts are on the new Facebook newsfeed design?

Wikis – Who Knew?

Have you ever heard the term wiki and thought “what in the world does that mean?” or automatically thought of Wikipedia? I know I have, but a wiki can be so much more – who knew, right? According to wiki.org, a wiki is a software sever that helps users generate and revise web page content. A wiki has the ability to support the creating of new pages and links between other internal pages for cross references. Some of the most popular wikis include: Wikipedia, WikiHow, WikiTravel and WikiBooks. Wikis are such a great and popular tool these days because anyone can find specific information online and add to it or edit it as they see fit to become part of this wiki revolution. However, because of the fact that they are so easy to add information to and anyone can do it this is also downside to them. As much as we don’t like to admit this,  we all can be wrong at times even if we are an expert on the topic. And, with how quickly information changes today one fact can be outdated as quickly as it is current.

Even, though there is a downside to wikis, they also can be very useful in many ways. One of the most common ways wikis are being used today are in a school setting. Students use them to work collaboratively on projects. Teachers have found they appeal to students because they are a fresh, new tool that encourage participation and interaction with each other. Here are some great ways to use wikis in the classroom.

What are some other great uses for wikis?

Is Crowdsourcing Like Crowd surfing?

The first time I ever heard the term crowdsourcing I couldn’t help but think of crowd surfing. However, they are two completely different concepts. This week is all about creating a viral buzz through various outlets such as viral marketing, crowdsourcing and blogs. I find crowdsourcing to be one of the newest and least known about forms of emerging media used to create hype around a product or brand. Wired Magazine’s Jeff Howe explains crowdsourcing as a company taking a task that would normally have been the responsibility of an employee and outsourcing it to an unknown network of people, most commonly found online, that claim to be experts at that particular task. When a company is using crowdsourcing it is to their benefit to also use social media in conjunction to reap the full benefits of this new technology. If a company does decide to include their social media with their crowdsourcing efforts they can benefit by asking their followers for feedback and use it to strengthen their campaign, create contests or giveaways and create surveys to see what their followers really think about the efforts of the company.

Crowdsourcing has become so popular that even large corporations are using the technique to become more cost-effective. In early 2013, Budweiser plans to launch a new golden lager amber, called Black Crown, developed through a crowdsourcing competition between their Brewmasters at its 12 breweries.

Unfortunately, crowdsourcing isn’t working so smoothly for all organizations. The federal government is running in to some problems using this up-and-coming technology. Which, brings me to question if the federal government should really be outsourcing their needs to so-called “proclaimed” experts even if they are only allowing these experts to conduct surveys, and the like, it is always possible for this information to fall into the wrong hands.

What are your thoughts on crowdsourcing in general, and should the federal government be using this form of technology?

To Snap or Not to Snap….?

I was recently introduced to this new app. by a friend of mine that teaches high school called SnapChat. It is apparently the best thing since sliced bread to high schoolers (as of November 2012, 20 million photos were being shared per day!) and here I am completely oblivious to it. After about a fifteen minute conversation about what it is and what it does I decided to look into it a little further because I thought, “wow, this is a great topic for my blog!” According to Wikipedia, SnapChat allows users to take a photo or video and send it to one person or a group of people with a set time expiration of it being viewed between 1-10 seconds. During this time frame the viewer must maintain contact with the phones touchscreen at all times, and may not take a screenshot of the image. If they try to the sender will be notified. After the alloted time expires the picture is forever deleted from the devices and from SnapChats servers.

It seems to me that this type of app. is definitely not being used to take innocent pictures, as most would say that is how they are using it, this seems to be a huge debate. Young adults are already using their smartphones to sext. Is this app. just going to make this easier because they should be able to do it without consequence? Not only that, but this app. in general is making it seem like anything you do can be done without consequence because what you did in your past can be erased, just like that, in 10 seconds or less.

It seems to me this app. is treading on dangerous ground, even if it does offer some cool features, and is pushing the envelope on the newest technology out there, we have to figure out if it is all worth it. Can we have a whole generation that actually thinks there are no consequences in life? That could make the world a scary place, if you ask me.

How Productive is Your Smartphone?

So, as American’s we are all in love with our smartphones. We can’t go anywhere without them and we are constantly on them whether we are in a business meeting, at lunch with a friend or spending “quality” time with family. But, have you ever stopped to think just how much more productive our lives have become since we started using our smartphones? Now I know immediately we all begin thinking of the grocery lists we make, and the reminders we place in our calendars and how we can even do our banking from this small mobile device, and don’t get me wrong these are all great things that make our live much easier, but what about in school or at work? Smartphones are making the business world much more productive and efficient than it ever has been. Just think about all the things you can do on your smartphone that can aid with school or work such as: sending and responding to emails while on the go, this gives us the freedom to not be tied down to our desktop computers any longer, also some smartphones, such as the iPhone, can be turned into a “mobile hotspot,” which means they work as a wireless router. This is one of the most convenient aspects of a smartphone because this will let someone have an internet connection anywhere, anytime they need it.

Below are some great smartphones for those looking to be more productive and efficient either in school or at work:

Motorola Droid

motorola-droid-4

Samsung Galaxy  

samsung-galaxy-note-3

Nokia Lumia

nokia-lumia-900

Apple iPhone

apple-iphone-4s

Take my poll and let me know what type of smartphone makes your life more productive and efficient.

Every Business Needs to be Social

A recent LinkedIn article written by David Kerpen states, there are over 1 billion people in the world on Facebook, Twitter recently exceeded 400 million accounts and LinkedIn has more than 200 million users. So, the real question is, why would there be any business not taking advantage of the potential customers they could be gaining from social media?

One of the most important things a business owner can do, especially a small business owner, is to make sure they are active on social media. Social media is so important because this is free exposure to customers and potential customers that they may otherwise have never gotten. Social media can actually help a company progress if they are willing to ask their customers tough questions, such as: what are we doing right, what don’t you like and what do you want us to do?

However, those small businesses that are active socially often make the same mistakes, which are crucial to avoid. One of the best things a business can do is to post articles and comments that will create an open dialogue between them and their customers. What are some businesses that have good social media sites that you know of?

Econsultancy lists Nike having one of the best social media campaigns of 2012 during the London Olympics, but who should really be surprised by this? Nike has an unlimited amount of money to throw at their campaign. Nike used real people on hundreds of billboards throughout London in their campaign during the Olympics that featured a hashtag ‘#findgreatness’. They received over 16,000 tweets associated with the word between July 27 and August 2, 2012, and also gained 166,718 new Facebook fans. Talk about a great social campaign!

Web Trends: What’s Hot, What’s Not & What’s Here to Stay

This week in class we have been discussing web design and how important it can be to a brand. There are so many ways emerging media can impact a company’s web design these days from adding widgets to their page to give it something extra and ease navigation, to the social aspect and interactivity to the all important mobile site. Let’s face it the way a company’s website looks matters especially if it is the first impression, if it does not appeal to a potential customer they will not be a repeat visitor.

Here are a few examples of company’s that have great website designs:

Rolex

Rolex

Starbucks

Starbucks-Coffee

Sony

Sony_thumb

All of these are excellent examples of website design because they are simple, pleasing to the eye and  the website itself is easy to navigate.

In 2012 some of the most popular trends in website design included fluid layouts instead of a fixed design, large art and circles and custom fonts to name a few. For 2013 some of these trends have been switched up to include: taking advantage of the widescreen computers by showing large imagery, focusing on touchscreens because of the high increase in mobile users and an extreme urge for all business, large or small, to develop a mobile site. With all of these ever-changing trends there have been a few constants such as: a numerous array of fonts for web designers to choose from, they are no longer limited to the few that are found on the personal computer, simple designs that look like anyone could have developed them and the use of infographics.

Is there a really great website or brand campaign that has stuck out to you for using innovative web design? Have you ever visited a website and thought this is a great site, so easy to use, or they use technology I have never see before? If so please share!

A Media that does not Discriminate

In class this week we have been discussing the topic of how to market to minority groups and also how they are using emerging media. After doing some research it is quite obvious that these minority groups are just as technologically advanced, if not more advanced than non-minority groups in the United States. In fact, minority groups are using social networking sites at higher rates than non-ethnic groups. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise because I think most of us will agree that anyone who owns a mobile device and is connected to the internet is more likely to share, send and communicate information whether it be through texting, pictures or a social media.

Even though these minority groups are using social networking more than any others they are often underrepresented in social media circles, which is alarming. They are not being seen at seminars or forums to have their voices heard on the topic that is influencing them and affecting them the most. These social media groups are largely being seen as for the privileged white man. That’s right, women are hardly even represented here. This is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed since social media’s main audience is not appropriately representing where their voice should be being heard the loudest. So, is this truly a media that does not discriminate, or is does it? You decide….

What is Emerging Media and Just How Important is it?

What exactly is emerging media in today’s world? My answer to that is, any form of media that uses social, digital or networked forms of communications to connect and communicate with others. This can be communication in various forms such as; one-way, two-way or multi-level, there just has to be a message that needs to be conveyed. In today’s world one of the most popular forms of emerging media is social media. We can find this in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, FourSquare and Pinterest to name a few, and they are all shaping our lives in ways we never knew possible. Social media truly is far more important than we think it is.

How many of these social media sites do  you visit on a daily basis, how many of these apps. do you have on your mobile device that are constantly being updated? We are often using social media while multitasking, which makes it extremely easy to be on constantly. This of course is not always a good thing, but Americans feel a need to be “plugged in” at all times. Think about the last time you actually sat in front of the television and watched the television, or when was the last time you went to dinner with your significant other without checking your mobile device, or for that matter checking yourself into the restaurant using FourSquare? Is this really all necessary? Do we need to let everyone know what we are doing at all times?

Emerging media is extremely important to keeping the world relevant. At some point all forms of “new” media would have been considered emerging. It is important to continue to move forward with technology, but at what cost? Should we never “unplug?”