Tipping Pitches: Technology



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Google Buzz an Invitation to Switch to GMail (2/16)
I have used two web-based e-mail providers since they invented web-based e-mail providers. The first was Hotmail. The second was Yahoo!. I have used the same Yahoo! e-mail address for the past 10 years or so. I don't want to switch. I really don't. It's not that I love Yahoo!. It's fine. It does the job. But switching is such a pain. You have to e-mail everyone in your contacts and let them know your e-mail address changed. But you know that not everyone will make the change, so you have to continue to check your old account. So, if you continue to check your old account, why make the change at all? And then Google Buzz came out.

Settling Into Twitter (2/12)
Getting initiated to Twitter is a long, slow process. And it is a process. You can't get it in one day. You can't get it by reading a how-to guide. You have to figure it out over the course of several months. Back in December, I wrote about how I refused to follow more than 200 people because there was no possible way I could focus on everyone. I did not understand those who would follow thousands. They did it either as an insincere gesture (returning the favor for following them) or ended up focusing on a single list and not reading anything most of those people said anyway. Well, I've altered that stance, though ever so slightly.

Don't Fear the Hackers (2/4)
During the past day or so, I've seen a few variations of a certain Facebook status floating around, as I'm sure you have. As someone with a tech background, it raised immediate red flags. Bells ringing. Made no sense whatsoever. Big time scam. Hoax (see Snopes.com). But, I have to be honest with you. Once I try to look at it from the perspective of others, I understand why people fall for it. They prey on our weaknesses and our fears.

The Choice to be Disappointed (2/3)
Last week, I stumbled upon a gem of an editorial on SFGate.com called Why are you so terribly disappointing? by Mark Morford. To say that the article resonated with me is an understatement. I retweeted, shared on Facebook, and have re-read several times since then. The purpose of the article is to rant about people's propensity to complain about everything. Everything. We Americans, as Morford says, are a "miserable bunch." We are cynical about everything. Don't trust anyone. Are disappointed in the greatest achievements.

Potpourri Tuesday (1/26)
I have never posted a "Potpourri" entry. To be honest, I don't really know what it is. I guess it smells nice. Not sure why it represents randomness. But that's what I'm going with. I'm sports. I'm technology. I'm non-profit. Oh well.

Facebook Has a Problem (1/7)
It's been a slow, evolutionary change, but Facebook has a problem. Its users. This is something I didn't notice overnight. It didn't happen as a result of the privacy changes (though, to be honest, they didn't help). It happened because the users of Facebook are now veterans, and they know the service too well. There was a time when Facebook users still had their innocence. They were funny. Irreverent. Silly. Care-free. Friendly. Hilarious. Then, slowly but surely, those qualities have eroded. This is not a slap at my Facebook friends. It's not just you. It's me. It's the majority of users who use Facebook.

What Twitter Could Learn from Facebook (12/29)
Twitter has changed the way we share information. It's changed the way we search. It's changed the way we are alerted of breaking news. It's changed the way we market products. And it's become a place where casual and new users are unwelcome. It's important to remember that the word "we" in the cases above refers to a select few who have mastered the microblogging service. While there are approximately 20 million users in the US, a staggering number never make a single tweet or survive past a month. Twitter has a big problem.

What Twitter Needs, Part III (12/18)
When I first wrote about the "one" thing that Twitter needs on December 3, I didn't expect it to become a three part mini-series. Well, I've created a monster that doesn't seem to want to stop growing. So, let's recap:
  • In Part I, I suggested adding a "mutual friends" feature to inspire more trust and willingness to follow
  • In Part II, I recommended Twitter feature stats that help highlight and deter spammers and numbers padders
These two suggestions go back to one common theme: Twitter needs to help me quickly determine whether someone is worth following. Additionally, Twitter could do a better job of qualifying what type of Twitter user you are.

What Twitter Needs, Part II (12/16)
A while back I commented on the "one" thing that Twitter needs. One of my biggest peeves is the spammers, automated accounts, and high percentage of "people" who aren't actually people. So, knowing whom to follow is a major pain. Someone follows me, I'm probably not following you back. If you retweet something I say or send @ mentions to express sincere interest in me, I will probably follow you. Otherwise, I proposed that Twitter indicate "mutual friends" (or something similar to this Facebook feature) so that if you follow me I know that certain people I am following also follow you. That gives me immediate reason to follow you back. So that's that. Do that and I'm happy. Wait, not so fast. About those spammers...

The More Birthdays iPhone App (12/16)
A while back (November 4, to be exact), I told you about a project I'm working on for the American Cancer Society: The cancer-fighting organization's first ever iPhone application. Thanks to some last minute hiccups with the Apple approval process (we all have them), launch finally happened on November 30. Very happy about it...

Follow the Growth of a Twitter Account III (12/16)
As part of a social media test to set some ground rules going forward for the American Cancer Society Great West Division's use of Twitter, we committed to managing the @ACS_UT Twitter account on October 21. It has now been just shy of two months since that time. I wrote an entry near the end of October revealing our strategies heading in. I wrote another entry a couple of weeks later detailing our progress and challenges. So where are we now?

Facebook Privacy: What You Should Know (12/11)
The new Facebook privacy controls, in particular the ability to determine your audience on a post-to-post basis, should make a big, positive difference in the way people communicate on Facebook. In all likelihood, however, customizing privacy in this manner and maximizing its value will be used by a small minority. At least in the early going. The majority have accepted defaults in the past or made minor tweaks to their privacy. This post is for that group of people.

Why Facebook Privacy Controls are Awesome (12/10)
By now, you've undoubtedly heard about Facebook's controversial new privacy rules and settings, whether you read a scathing warning or simply stumbled upon the announcement while logging into the social networking service. This blog entry is not going to venture into the area of protecting your privacy and whether or not you should immediately delete your account and run away screaming. I'll leave that up to everyone else. It's a popular subject. People love to complain.

It's Official: I'm Pro-Company (12/9)
Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I've learned some things over the years. Maybe my corporate roots have left me more understanding of the plight of the company. Whatever it is, I've noticed a recurring trend lately. I'm pro-company. Sounds terrible. Sounds like something you'd never want to be. I'm for the corporations and against the employees and the customers. Sorta. I didn't really notice it until today, but let's go over some of my strongest opinions, most of which are covered within these pages...

The one thing Twitter needs (12/3)
Twitter is simple, which has a lot to do with its popularity. The best way to tick off Twitter loyalists is by adding any level of complexity and thereby chipping away at that simplicity. See response to the new Retweet function. That doesn't mean that Twitter is perfect the way it is. Far from it. There are issues. Issues that turn many people off from the service. Issues that could turn me away without a solution.

Not bashing Retweets, but what's up with... (11/22)
Alright, so I've been one of the apparent six percent of the Twitter population who supports the new Twitter Retweet button. It's not that I think it's the greatest thing ever. But I understand why they did it, the weaknesses they were trying to fix, and that it isn't a finished product. When sites are as big as Twitter and Facebook, any change is going to be confronted with irrational anger and confusion, no matter how big or small. So no surprise that this thing has become quite a mess. That said, what's up with...

How to Improve Your Twitter Network (11/18)
I read a great post today called Strategies for Gaining Influence on Twitter by Ian Stewart (no, not the Ian Stewart of the Colorado Rockies -- at least, I don't think so). While I feel pretty comfortable with Twitter these days, it's always good to read what others are doing to enhance their experience. I admit I've hit a bit of a plateau lately in the value I am getting out of it. I have two issues: 1) Lack of productive followers, and 2) lack of productive follow...ees. It's, as I like to describe it, my Twitter Network which could be improved.

Why am I Following You on Twitter? (11/16)
I've recently begun to pay close attention to one of my stats on Twitter, and it's not my number of followers. No, once I reached 150 people I was following, I've done everything in my power to maintain that number. In many cases, that's meant trimming the number down when I add new people. From what I've heard, there's actually some sort of social media law that supports what I'm doing. But I really can't -- and have no desire to -- follow more than 150 people at once. Since I pay close attention to the number of people I'm following and who I'm following, anything that doesn't seem right is immediately obvious to me. Lately, I've spotted a trend.

RT @You: What's the Big Deal? (11/11)
Alright, so yesterday I wrote a blog entry in response to the many complaints about the new Twitter web retweet system, providing a proposed solution. On second thought, what's the big deal? While initially I saw the complaints having much more merit than the lame Facebook users' complaints for the sake of complaining, I have since changed my mind. This is partly due to Twitter CEO Evan Williams' recent blog entry, Why Retweet works the way it does. The truth is, though, that I didn't really need Evan's blog entry to tell me why it works the way it does. I already understand the many benefits. It's a great tool.

My Solution to the New Twitter RT "Problem" (11/10)
First of all, I have yet to receive access to the new built in Retweet Twitter web feature. Luckily, there have been some great blogs written about it. Check out @Kegil's great entry called New Twitter RT Link: Use Caution. She not only explains some of the potential pitfalls of the tool, but provides many very useful screen shots to help those of us who don't have access see how it is currently being used.

Follow the Growth of a Twitter Account II (11/10)
A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the strategy behind the Twitter account @ACS_UT. We committed to the account on October 21, so the strategy is now about three weeks old. So how are we doing? Take a look at the stats during the past week to get a better idea. I think we're doing pretty well. I was not expecting an overnight success. Twitter is a commitment. It takes time. Slow and steady wins the race.

ACS More Birthdays iPhone Application (11/4)
We're locking down development on the American Cancer Society More Birthdays iPhone and iPod Touch application today and submitting it to Apple. Very excited to get it into the App Store and onto your device! You can watch the demo below.

Twitter Lists Get Second Look (11/3)
I, along with seemingly everyone else in the Twitter world, was pumped when the microblogging site released their Lists feature last week. You always have to be a bit careful about initial sentiment, whether good or bad. Once the luster wears off, what's left? And even if the initial reports are negative, value occasionally emerges. A lot of hype about Twitter lists when they were released, and I jumped on the bandwagon. However, something has happened the past few days.

Follow the Growth of a Twitter Account (10/30)
Watching a Twitter account develop is an interesting phenomena. Figuring out what works and doesn't work. Going through the growing pains of not having any followers. Then not having any productive followers. Then finally (hopefully) breaking through. No matter how much you know about Twitter, building an account is fluid. Trial and error. What works for one person may not work for you. Audience and subject matter are key.

Twitter Lists and the Possibilities (10/30)
Like many (or most) Twitter users, I was left in the dark when the initial Beta push of Lists was made. Until you actually have access, it's tough to firmly grasp the impact (see latest Facebook road map announcement). Or maybe I'm just not smart enough to grasp it. Luckily for me, I was granted access to lists yesterday.

Facebook Dislike Button a Bad Idea (10/29)
Thanks partly to the "new" Live Feed, I've noticed several of my friends joining a group to get Facebook to create a "dislike" button. Several of these groups and pages have been created. A basic search found that about 6 Million people have joined groups or pages in support of such development.  Personally, I think it's a terrible idea. It's not what Facebook is all about.

Facebook's News and Live Feeds (10/28)
The overview of the recent changes in Facebook's blog didn't do a particularly great job of explaining the differences between the News and Live feeds. Even if it had, the site needs to highlight these differences when they roll out their changes. Don't get me wrong, I still think you're a loser if you can't eventually figure it out yourself through use of the site. It's really not that complicated. But let me help you. If it means one less ignorant Facebook user, I have done my job.

Users furious over new changes to Facebook from old changes that they previously hated but now love (10/26)
I don't envy the position that Facebook is in. When they make changes, they know there will be backlash. When the "New" Facebook is "New" everyone hates it. When that version is replaced and becomes the "Old" Facebook, everyone wants it back. Ultimately, people hate change. Hate it. They hate something when it's new. Eventually, they will forget that they hated it. It becomes a part of their daily ritual. They then accept it without knowing it. Then it's taken away, and they now love what they formerly hated, thus starting the cycle over again with something new to hate.

So how many people really use Twitter? (10/19)
Like many marketing executives, I am forced to provide proof that dedicating resources to Twitter is worthwhile without noticeable ROI. It's a struggle many of us lose or by which we've at least been bloodied. So in the process of putting together my argument for Twitter, I've spent a great deal of time researching data about the social networking site's users. This, too, has not been easy. How many users does Twitter have?

BlogWorld Opening Day (10/15)
I'm in Vegas. When you write a Vegas blog entry, there is no need for order or purpose. Let's just recap this baby. Today.  I woke up at 6 am on the couch because my wife may have H1N1. You knew that if you've been reading. Anyway, I threw my crap together, jumped in the car, started backing out of the driveway.  Wait, I'd better make sure I have everything.  This is a rule that all men should follow. We're not the brightest. We're less bright at 6:30 in the morning.

BlogWorld and iStuff (10/7)
It's an exciting time to be me.  Lots of stuff going on.  My first big project with American Cancer Society is launching an iPhone application.  Kids, we are almost there.  To make it even better, I'm going to Vegas next week to attend the BlogWorld Expo.  Sound geeky?  So be it.  I'm a geek.

The 10 iPhone Apps I Use Most (10/6)
Following are the top 10 apps that I currently use. This list is always in flux, so I've also included the apps that may have recently fallen out of the top 10. I'll try to keep this list updated on the home page as often as possible -- or as often as I start favoring other appsWhat else am I missing?  Let me know what apps you're using.

Get Some Great Stuff and Help Fight Cancer! (10/2)
Full disclosure:  I am VP of Strategic Marketing for American Cancer Society, Great West Division.  So I have an interest in furthering along the organization's promotions.  However, this promotion is not mine, it comes from national.  And I've got to say that in all sincerity, this is a promotion that I'd find value in no matter who my employer.

OneForty: The Unofficial Twitter App Store (9/28)
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a Twitter newbie, but I hadn't taken the full commitment to participating with my personal account until very recently.  I am quickly discovering how important it is to be properly equipped with the finest third party applications currently available.  Until now, I was tweeting naked.  Or at least in my underwear.  Now that I have access to the OneForty Beta, I can tweet fully clothed.