Google: So Not Being Evil

I am getting sick and tired of these sensationalist videos saying Google is evil. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that I’ve BEEN HAD this hypothesis for at least 3 years now, via John Battelle’s (5 year old!) book, The Search. Does anybody read these days? I guess not. Anyway. Battelle breaks it down, asserting that 1984‘s Big Brother won’t be our government, but it will be Google (or, a company like Google).

Sure, I get a little paranoid about the GOOG every now and then, but for the time being I think they’re bringing some efficiency to my life. Web-based e-mail was horrible before GMail came on the scene. HORRIBLE. Google Voice is awesome. Sure, they mess up on things like Buzz privacy glitches, and the utter uselessness of Wave, but nobody’s perfect. I must be drinking the kool-aid because I truly think Google is just trying to organize our lives, not take them over and turn us into drones.

Video spotted at 5thirtyone.

Podcast Interview: What does a Social Media Consultant Do?

This week I had the honor and privilege of joining Scott Hanselman on his podcast, Hanselminutes, to talk about what it is I do for a living, as well as some diversity in tech talk. A basic rundown of the topics:

35 Minutes of Funk. Check it out here.

On my first piece at GRAMMY.com

grammy1.jpgMy first piece for GRAMMY.com was posted on Friday! You can read it here: 10 Ways The GRAMMYs Are Taking Over The Social Web. It may or may not sound a bit over-indulgent, but I truly was impressed with all the social and digital initiatives the Recording Academy has produced. I spent an afternoon earlier this month talking with their CMO and VP of Digital as well as a few others, and I was impressed at how much everyone worked as a team to achieve social media and digital zen for this year’s awards.

In my previous experience I found that usually a company’s digital team is ahead of the social media curve (natch), but when it comes to pushing the social media envelope, they have a difficult time getting other departments on board (content, marketing, fundraising/advancement if it’s a nonprofit). That’s part of why I left my previous positions–I disliked having to convince someone that social media was an important tool, and most of my conversations started with, “This is Facebook….” instead of “We should do XYZ on Facebook and ABC on Twitter.” Most of my time was spent defining Facebook, rather than telling people what to do with Facebook. I didn’t have the patience, honey!  Sure, you can build all the tools you want, but you need support from other parts of the organization in order to be creative with the tools you’ve built. Convincing people to buy in to social media was my most frustrating role as a social media guru.  You can’t really push the envelope in social media if the people you work with don’t know what it is, and don’t want to care (yet they have to sign off on all your projects!).To be fair, perhaps 5 years ago I really was ahead of the curve, but now everyone is finally turning the corner. Sometimes I think going back into the workforce might be less frustrating for me now that most business people at least know that Twitter and Facebook exist, and have some experience with it.

All that to say, I really appreciated how the Recording Academy appeared to be supportive in their social media/digital efforts, particularly because they are a non-profit organization (non-profits have a huge set of obstacles different from for-profit entities), they’ve improved 1000% over the previous year (even though last year they were on Twitter), and they have managed to overcome the sticky song-and-dance of the entertainment/broadcast world (artist rights and licensing make it extremely difficult to be creative with the content of your social media projects). That’s a huge undertaking, and they’ve done well. I’ll be writing more over at GRAMMY.com as well as attending several GRAMMY events this week. My schedule is insane!

Do Social Media Strategies Go To Heaven?

A few days ago we installed the second round of additions to the WIRED SCIENCE Facebook application (which I discussed first here). We gave the application more elements (10 elements, instead of 5), more compounds (55 compounds instead of 15), and I redesigned the quiz algorithm (and added one more question). Take the test again or install the app to see the new additions.

Although I just added the final touches to the application, the show is out of season and will not be coming back to PBS. The series was canceled, which is unfortunate, because the show had great potential to reach a younger audience for PBS (“young” meaning older than the Curious George crowd but younger than the older demographic). In addition, it had great social media potential (in my eyes), but needed some time to get off the ground (i.e. another season). Either way, we are in the phase of evergreening the site, shutting down the blog, and slowing things down.

The show’s cancellation has me asking myself, where do social media strategies go when they’re no longer needed? So far, the results of our most significant strategies are:

The Facebook application is especially interesting to me because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Since launch, the application has been averaging 100 new installs per day. This is with no paid promotional activity whatsoever. I don’t expect this to stop anytime soon, because I don’t think we will reach a ceiling going at this (slow but) steady rate of installation (considering the number of users on Facebook). I designed the application to be viral enough for it to self promote. I suppose I could turn those activities off if I wanted to.

For the blog, we have decided to stop all posting, write our goodbyes and leave commenting open for a few weeks. We will then shut down all comments, and leave the blog up for the sake of Google and reference.  I am not sure what to do with the Twitter account. It essentially was a machine for the blog and site updates, but with no more site updates, what else is there? I suppose the Facebook fan page can stay in place, however we’ll probably put up a notice about the show and site saying farewell.

 I feel like I am divorcing or “putting out” a community I spent months building and nurturing. Now that we don’t have the time and resources to support it, what’s the best way to properly memorialize it? Any thoughts on what we (or any media entity using social media) should do in a situation like this? If situations like this are concerning for TV shows, should we even bother with such strategies, and just let the fans do it organically on the web?