Independence From Smartphones

As an electronics laggard, I just bought my first smartphone a little over three months ago. The world has become so much more accessible since becoming a part of the iPhone family. I know the weather, find out how my friends are doing, go shopping, text, and more all before getting out of bed in the morning. However, over the Fourth of July holiday, I went “Up North” to Hale, Mich. for five days. While you are suppose to enjoy nature and get away from society for a few days when on vacation, I found myself constantly checking up with everything I left behind because Grandma and Grandpa Conrad decided to get WiFi. For the first time since getting my smartphone, I wished that I left it at home.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht Via: Flickr Creative Commons

Is my smartphone taking over my life? It has been reported that smartphone owners check their devices over 150 times during the average 16 hours people are awake during the day. This constant need to check on what everyone else is doing, posting and saying distracted me from enjoying the beautiful lake house I was staying in. Apparently, 84% of people worldwide say they cannot go a single day without their phones and sadly I have become part of this statistic.

My questions is, why couldn’t I put my phone down or turn it off? According to Judson Brewer of Yale’s Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, people are addicted to their phones for the same reason many are addicted to gambling. Cellular Devices comply with the associative learning pathway of human brains, and this makes us feel good or bad depending on the situation. When gambling, people do not know when they are going to win and this makes winning even more fun when it happens. When using smartphones, we don’t know when we are going to get a notification or what it is going to say. This triggers excitement within us, causing addiction to our devices.

I love having a smartphone because it connects me with the rest of society. Entertainment and information combined make having a smartphone so convenient and enjoyable. However, the addiction we have with our smartphones need to be controlled. Next year, I plan on leaving my phone at home while I enjoy what the physical world has to offer.

Are you safe online?

Millions of Americans go online everyday and don’t realized how vulnerable their information can be due to the lack of security of some websites, an increasing number of phishing scams and the lack of control from their private settings.

Last year 12 millions Americans fell victim to the fraud and had their identities stolen. Today we are going to give a few quick tips on how to protect yourself from these cyber crimes. Social Media became one of the favorites “playground” for thieves and malicious virus to steal your personal information.

by FutUndBeidl

by FutUndBeidl

1. Passwords: When is the last time you changed your password? This is a very basic but important step to take but it is important change your password from time to time. Some websites allow you to see if the password you are entering is harder to crack, by stating if it is “strong” or “very strong”. Don’t make them simple like your pet’s name or “123”, but if the website allows you to include numbers, capital letter and symbols, do it! Make sure your password is “strong”, “very strong”; “very good” or “excellent”. Cyber thieves can easily identify your password if you ever made it public. On this note make sure the privacy settings on your social networks are well secure.

2. Emails: NEVER email your credit card number or Social Security number to anyone. Malicious hackers are always looking for this crucial information once they get into your account. Be very careful opening attachments and downloading files, even if you know the source.

3. Online banking: The same way you check your e-mail on a daily basis, you should monitor the activity of your debt and credit cards for any suspicious transactions. If you feel, that your account was compromised and you had your information stolen, contact your bank immediately. It is also recommended that online, you should use credit cards instead of debit cards, since debit cards do not have as a strong protection against fraud compared to credit. You also should contact your bank and ask if they have free software to protect your online banking.

4. Wireless connections: If you have a wireless router at home, make sure to make it secure by including a password, this way a third party won’t be able to access your signal connection. Some people also enable the encryption to scramble the information you send back and forth online.

To learn more about other steps you can take in case your information is stolen, click here. It is very important to share this information with your friends and family members as some of them might have your personal information stored in their computers as well. Keep an eye out and stay safe!

 

Building Your Customer Network

Business action and conduct are purposive: to solve problems (customer problems) and provide services, of course in a profitable way.  The sense of mystery regarding the future has always been a bother and slight annoyance for everyone, especially businesses.  Nobody knows if customers will suddenly drop in the near future or if the economy will suddenly go into recession.  Now with the existence of digital communications (content, media, behavior, and expectations), digital marketing has been created.  People now use multiple devices (all digital) such as smartphones, PCs, tablets, mp3, etc. to communicate contents such as apps, files, photos, music, and videos.  People are pursuing a digital lifestyle these days, thus businesses can tap into the psychology of their clients through digital marketing.  The future can be predicted due to the ability of tracking consumer-making decisions.  Due to this growth of a digital lifestyle, people leave behind their digital footprint that businesses follow to track and predict their behavior.  In order to track statistics related to consumer behavior, there must be a relationship between customers and businesses.  Through digital marketing, not only does a relationship form, but so does an interdependency between enterprise and consumer develop.  Marketers must study the customer decision journey, which has become increasingly digital.  Once businesses can see how consumers include certain brands and ditch others, they can adjust their company’s image to the liking of their customers.

Photo by thetaxhaven: thetaxhaven.posterous.com

The relationship between a business and its customer is no longer solely about the transaction; now customers become attached to their favorite brands and they try to advocate for them because they know there will be something in it for them ultimately.  When customers develop emotional and rational attachments to a brand, they become bonded and advocate, support, and protect that brand.  They know that they can score special deals, free offers, and even money for promoting their favorite brand.  They are also aware that if they keep their brands going then prices will be kept low.  Companies are obviously dependent on their clients, so they try very hard to keep their customers and to constantly attract more people who are similar to their steadfast clients.  There is most definitely a correlation between customer behavior and digital marketing efforts such as fantastic websites, personalized email campaigns, visually appealing graphics, social networking, photos/videos that give outsiders an inside look on what goes on behind the scenes.  The more energy businesses put into digital marketing, the more consumers will get excited and respond to the attention.

You should interview, say, at least 30 of your clients and find out how they feel about your company and it’s services.  Customers want to help you improve so that the products they receive from you are better.  Discover the fallacies about your company from your clients and others and then try to correct them.

Accumulate publicly attainable data on search activity of your company’s field and traffic patterns.  Use standard Google Analytics, Universal Analytics, Crazy Egg, Lyris HQ Agency Edition, WebTrends, SiteCatalyst.  You should track the number of people who use your site, comparing the number of visitors on each page, the number of visits by different users to see whether the same people keep returning to your site or if lots of people only visit once or twice.  It is also important to track your visitors with factors such as the country, state, city they’re from and what pages they look at while visiting your site.  Discover the keywords or phrases people typed into search engines like Google or Mozilla Firefox.  If that doesn’t give you enough information, buy additional data.

Ultimately, brands must find where their customers have discussions in order to learn what they think of the brand’s products.  Answer your customers’ questions and help them get what they need.  Listen to their suggestions and adjust accordingly in order to gain more advocates of your brand.

-Ariana Sauber

 

Red Bull Stratos Breaks Records, Including A YouTube One

I don’t know if you watched Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking freefall to Earth this weekend, but I did, and what an incredible achievement. If you really didn’t know what happened, he jumped out of a capsule 24 miles above Roswell, NM, broke the sound barrier, and free-fell for 9 minutes before landing on his feet safely in the New Mexico desert. The jump itself is an incredible achievement that broke three world records, but there’s one record he broke that had almost nothing to do with the flight and fall itself: Most Simultaenous YouTube viewers.

The entire event was live-streamed on YouTube, and notably, did not have a television broadcast in the United States. The livestream broke YouTube records, attracting 8 million viewers and a record number of comments. I know I watched live on YouTube.

The magnitude of this event is huge in the world of social media. With this event, it seems like YouTube has been able to completely unseat television. I know my grandparents were glued to their television during the moon landing just as I was glued to YouTube 43 years later. The implication is huge: Our social media sites are starting to replace traditional pathways of consuming media. For instance, I don’t remember the last time I watched anything on cable, but I’ve been watching Modern Family regularly on Hulu+.

I think this means that in the very near future, the advertising firm you see in a show like Mad Men will be completely replaced by social media marketing companies. Magazine ads and TV commercials are being gradually replaced by Tweets and YouTube commercials. It’s been happening gradually and consistently over the past few years, but the realization that Red Bull eschewed a TV broadcast (at least in the US) to go for YouTube exclusivity was a glimpse at a very-near future, and it was astounding.

He Already Brought Sexy Back… Now He’s Bringing Back MySpace Too?

MySpace has long been outdated by newer social networks like the ever-dominating Facebook and Twitter. But a newly released video shows that Justin Timberlake has different plans for the forgotten website.

In 2011, Specific Media and Timberlake bought MySpace for $35 million. With a new design (similar to Pinterest), MySpace is almost unrecognizable from the site it once was. White backgrounds and horizontal scrolling give the website the facelift it sorely needed.

Also, instead of battling the social media giants, MySpace works with them. You can update Twitter or Facebook, find your friends from those networks and bring over videos and photos, all on the new MySpace.

Music also continues to be a huge part of the MySpace network, built with radio and playlist sharing. It returns to the original website goals of connecting artists with their fans.

When he purchased the failing website, Timberlake was quoted, saying: “There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place” (ABC News).

While a noble goal, the real question will be: can it work? Can MySpace make a comeback? Will people return to the social network they already left behind, especially with so many other new networks to join?

Its a question every social media agency will want the answer to. Will MySpace join Facebook and Twitter in the social media campaigns or will it just become the musical connection that Timberlake dreams it could be? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see….

The Internet, Land of the Free

Everyone can remember the Wikipedia blackout earlier this year, bringing awareness of internet freedom to browsers all over the country. Wikipedia joined many other well known names on the internet like Google and Reddit to protest the SOPA and PIPA acts. While websites and online services that people use several times daily started taking a very visible stand in favor of internet liberties, it became hard to ignore the issue. With services like Wikipedia down, you start to realize how dependent you are the magical powers of the internet and just how precious your internet freedoms are. The freedom of the internet, or lack thereof, could drastically change the role of the digital marketing agency. With this budding feeling of personal investment, you begin to think that maybe you should take a stand on the issue as well.

The internet has thrived for so long largely because no governing bodies have intervened, but now members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations organization, are pushing for more regulation. Many proposals are focused on more control and potential economic gains that can be a realized through this international regulation. The issue obviously gets more complicated than just the worrisome idea that Russia and China are looking for the United Nations to take control of the internet and steal all the control from unsuspecting citizens. No reason to freak out just yet, just an opportunity for the internet to further develop since these issues should be dealt with sooner or later. Some suggest that a dialogue between proponents of internet freedom and internet regulation advocates would give all parties an opportunity to voice their concerns. Some reform to the internet could be made, but it’s pretty unanimous that moving the internet towards a bureaucracy would do much more harm than good. For the digital marketing agency, internet freedoms would be best left alone to ensure an open line of communication between both the client and its audience.

The United Nations has declared that internet access is a human right, but this increased regulation is still up for international debate. It should be an interesting line of stories to follow because not all countries’ experience with the internet have been created equal. Countries with different levels of development and countries with different politics really will bring diverse opinions to the discussion.

I think as a person growing up in this digital age (especially in America), it’s hard not to see the value in internet freedom. In my opinion all the good that the internet can do easily trumps the scary feeling that political leaders must feel when the internet is used against them as one of many tools of freedom of speech. The internet has been an outlet for fun, health improvement, increased communication, and the source of new jobs. The digital marketing agency depends on an open and free internet to optimize its clients’ performance. I also have a soft spot for entrepreneurs and social justice advocates. The internet has given people pursuing these types of careers a way to mobilize their causes in a way that was no where near possible 20 years ago- heck even 5 years ago.

As always, there’s more than one side to every story. So, is internet access a human right or not?

The Summer Olympics: Being Reshaped by Social Media

What’s the first thing I did when I found out one of the University of Michigan’s own Samuel Mikulak made the US Olympic gymnastics team? Added him on Facebook of course! The 2012 Olympics are being named by some as the “first social Games”. There’s no doubt that social media drives conversation and newl, and it’s only grown more influential in the past four years. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will likely play an exceptional role in how information is distributed from London, and how the conversation is driven throughout the Games.

So what’s the difference between this year’s games and the summer Olympics before it? Four years–and that’s an eternity in Interntet time! Social media has truly exploded, as well as general web use. In 2008, there were approximately 1.5 billion internet users globally, and that number has swelled to 2.3 billion users this year. That’s one third of the the worlds total population!

For more of an idea on just how and why social media will reshape the Olympics as compared to 2008, we’ll take a look at the top 3 social media networks out there, and see just how much 4 years has changed them.

FACEBOOK

2008: Facebook reached 100 million users, and passed Myspace in popularity (Wow, was 4 years ago really that long ago..?!) The chat feature was also introduced this year, while simultaneously taking over AIM and other chat sites with it’s convenience.

Today: Facebook claims more than 900 million users–that’s a growth of 900% in a mere 4 years! The network’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, becomes a global celebrity, while Facebook becomes a publicly traded company.

TWITTER

2008: This was a year of explosive growth, and they finished the year with 6 million users, and 300,000 tweets a day.

Today: The network now has 500 million users, who collectively send more than 400 million tweets every day! News breaks on the network regularly, and it’s a prime marketing channel for many athletes. Likely London 2012 conversation among media and fans will take place on this network as well.

YOUTUBE

2008: By fall of this year, users were uploading 10 hours of video/minute. This site emerged as the “it” site for video sharing, and had been bought by Google in 2006, which just increased it’s popularity. They also launched their mobile site this year.

Today: It’s no doubt that the most memorable Olympic moments will go viral on this network the moment they are aired on television. The company receives over 800 million unique vistis per month, and those visitors watch over 3 billion hours of video per month, while also uploading 72 hours of video/minute. The growth here is truly iconic.

So what?

After looking at the top three social media sites, one may wonder what that has to do with the Summer Olympics. Well-everything! This summer, expect to receive the latest Olympic news not from your favorite TV reporter, but instead from a social media network just as soon as it happens. The moments of this years Olympics will live on as was never possible before thanks to social media.

Who knows what the Summer 2016 Olympics will bring, but for now, enjoy all of the convenience and fun social media has to offer, because it’s events like this where it really matters!

Google and Facebook the Better, Faster, Stronger

In the digital world, companies challenge each other to be the better, faster, stronger.  The competition is escalating and Google and Facebook are advancing. How do they maintain this success? Because they cater to the public by constantly improving their applications and making them even more simple and user-friendly.
Just in time for the school year, Google updated some of its major applications like Google Docs, Calendar, and Sites by improving accessibility, for example the addition of short cut keys. Also in Google Docs there used to be only one way to share a document and people could edit right on the page. Well now there is a comment only access to Docs, so now you can have friends look at your document without ever having to worry about them editing your original.
How many times have you gone on your Facebook account and you are dazed by the new design and format of the social networking site. Facebook is incessantly changing and the newest latest and greatest is the introduction of Timeline, it is a new type of profile that highlights the greatest moments of you that has been recorded on Facebook.  You have full control on what is on your Timeline profile and even old friends can easily catch up on your life. Stay tuned this application is available in a few weeks from now, possibly the same time as the release of the iPhone 5!

Explore the Digital World of Marketing with MSU’s New Media Driver’s License

If you’re interested in the rapidly growing world of online marketing, this is the perfect class for you! With Michigan State University’s New Media Driver’s License, you will learn all about the different aspects of online marketing from the experts. Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, shows his students the many facets of the digital world in a fun, easy to learn way.

One of the greatest things about this class is that you are learning brand new things, but a lot of it is just expanding your knowledge of media you already use. Not everyone blogs, but it’s a pretty simple thing to do and you will learn the little extras that turn your good blog into a great blog. Most of the students who take this class already have accounts on at least one social media platform. Learn how to use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to their full advantage.

Some things you may know little or nothing about are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and Google and Yahoo! search rankings. When you successfully complete this class, you will have an understanding of these things and just how great of an impact they have on a business.

Another great thing about this class is that it is (mostly) online. From experience, I can say this is one of the most enjoyable and most useful classes I have ever taken. I loved the convenience of being able to do my work when it worked best for me.

Sign up now for the Fall 2011 New Media Driver’s License (ADV420) course!

 

THE NEW MEDIA DRIVERS LICENSE IS PROVIDED BY The Michigan State University Advertising, Public Relations & Retailing Deparment in Partnership with Derek Mehraban.