Social Media Top 5: Guy Loves Google+, Scouts Can Gays, and Naming Apps

Google Plus splatThe Case for Google Plus Still Missing the Most Important Thing (People)

Well-known tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently published an article in MarketingProfs called “Why I Love Google+” (interesting that the URL generated by the post title cannot include the “+” – I wonder if that affects the article’s SEO? I know, that’s more amusing than important). He makes his usual compelling case for how Google+ works – for him. There are great points about Google+’s superior functionality and how Google owns a lot of the important spaces in the Internet to help it succeed (namely search). He also concludes that Google+ is the place  to share passions with others. In the same breath, he sort-of dismisses Facebook (via a republished cartoon) as being merely about “people.” But if there are no people to care about your passion… well, you can guess what I think the problem is.

I don’t necessarily think “Passion” as the defining feature of a social network will get me to use it. It’s too vague, therefore meaningless. Also, it makes me think it’s populated with zealots. I just want to share stuff. With people. I use Google+ (and like it) but only to talk to the small percentage of people I know who are there. My marketing colleagues (many  but not all, I should add) are there, not all using it regularly. Where are the people from the rest of my life? So far, I count one family friend as a regular user,. That is it.

Google+ is a very good product. The user interface is easy and intuitive, the features are many yet not overwhelming. Great. Guy reminds us of that, but we don’t need reminding. I can also say the same thing about the Zune; what happened to that? I can also say the same thing about Windows Phone, which I have just had the opportunity to fool around with, but have no intention to use regularly except when forced to (my loaner global phone for an imminent Paris vacation uses the Windows OS).

Yes, I know about Google owning search and being on Plus for the SEO benefits. There may be some longer term benefit to that, but only if the product thrives through usage; otherwise it just lives in the background like many other Google products.

It will take more than the continued pleadings of evangelists like Guy Kawasaki to put Google Plus over the top. It will take the presence of my high school classmates, just as it did with Facebook. Where will you get those, Google? How will you convince them to go over there? Is that what you want or are we all chasing the wrong end game?

Boy Scouts Can Gay Response

I have posted in the past about my  issues with the Boy Scouts of America’s narrow moral view of the world, and how I have to reconcile the great things I have learned and taught as an Eagle Scout with the unacceptable (to me) world view of the national US organization.

The BSA’s firm ban of homosexuals came up again when a group (centered on a gay Eagle Scout) presented a resolution to the BSA national organization asking them to rescind the ban. News organizations jumped on the story saying the BSA was actually considering changing the policy. The BSA quickly and firmly corrected this by Tweeting to every major news organization, linking to a statement explaining they were only accepting the resolution as a matter of course, but in no way seriously considering addressing, let alone changing, the policy.

Personally, I find that repugnant, but only because I hate the policy. As a PR move, you can admire them for staying on message, but I wouldn’t exactly call their use of social media “social.” The organization came off as a gate-keeping robot rather than one willing to discuss its stance. Opportunity lost –  but it also brings up the idea that even organizations with views I oppose can create dialogue online that can help people understand what and why they do,. In this case, I would argue that it’s important. Instead, it was a channel for broadcasting a rigid statement. Maybe next time.

Naming Apps – Little Things Count

I fly Delta enough to finally decide to download their mobile app. For the simple functionality I want from it (checking itinerary, making changes, booking flights) it seems to work well so far. What did bother me was a small yet important thing: they named their app “Fly Delta.”

Why is this important? When I tried to find the app, I couldn’t find it under “D” for “Delta.” It was under “F” for “Fly.” A small thing, but even the smallest annoyances that greet new users may be enough to turn them off. There is no good reason to introduce such minor irritants into the process. In the end, a good useful app will win people over, but why risk annoying them at the outset?

A friend pointed out a similar issue with Amazon Kindle. I’m not sure it’s a problem for me. Would you look for that app under “A” or “K?” It’s about branding – and what your customers see as your branding.

Photo Credit: Google Plus Splat by Leon Nicholls on Flickr

Social Media Top 5: PR Egos, Brand-Blogger Relationships & Die! Animated GIFs

JerkPR People –  YOU Are Not the Story

I already pushed this link by Danny Brown out on my various social networks, but it is a topic that hits home for any PR practitioner. While I’m sure Danny is thinking in part about PR folks who get big britches from blogging and Tweeting and suddenly have a public voice, this is a more basic message. If you are a PR person, especially on the agency side, your job is to make your clients famous. If you are interjecting, putting your name in quotes and press releases, or generally putting yourself out there rather than clients, you are not serving your clients. I understand if you work in-house you may be the spokesperson, but if you are not, then the same applies.

When I got into PR, the idea – so I thought – was to be behind the scenes and make other people famous. I actually got – still get – a kick out of that. The principle is the same with social media – the client owns the content, it’s their voice, their names, their faces – not mine, not yours. I guess Danny thought it had to be said (I wonder what happened – heh).

I mentioned blogging– yes, many of us have public voices now thanks to social media, but creating a personal (or agency) body of work, promoting our services and good thinking is different than doing so on the client’s dime. Do PR (and social media) people really have a problem subverting their ego to boost the client’s profile? I guess some do.

I Love This Infographic Even More, For All The Right Reasons

My recent post praising an infographic that was actually pretty wrong-headed (but would have made a great parody) has a sequel. Rather than try to prove how complicated social media is by jamming as many logos for social media services into a slide that one can, the folks at Awareness Networks put the same concept to work – tossing out this graphic for making a salad. If you know what you want, it’s easier to avoid getting distracted by tools (or overdress the salad – don’t do that).


Brand and Blogger Relationships

The question rises once again: do brands want relationships with bloggers? Or are they after quick campaign hits? It’s an interesting question in PR and marketing, with a lot of different facets. My high-level thinking on program or long-term thinking vs campaigns (short-term) is that program must always form the bedrock under which campaigns can fly, but always anchored to a larger goal.

That’s way too high level. There was a good discussion over on Facebook that reflects my fractured thinking on the topic here.

Also, being the wag that I am, my first thought was to ask “Why on earth would a blogger want to have a relationship with a brand? Do you need to be exclusive? Sign a contract? Restrict what you say? Hmm. Of course, I wasn’t the first to think of that question, as Dennis Van Staalduinen was happy to point out. Thanks Dennis.

Things That Must Die: Animated GIF Tumblr Blogs.

People in my industry who should know better are chuckling over ugly, migraine-inducing sites like featuring animated gifs, the evil hell-spawn of the dancing hamster. If animated GIF avatars are terrible (they are), why heap praise on this dreck? It’s not even funny, even if you think they are PR “truths.” You want The Truth? Watch the Celtics.

Okay, that’s four, not five. Sue me. 

*Photo credit: gr8matt on Flickr