Tag Archive: facebook


 

Twitter Co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams shared the stage today in a rare joint appearance where they addressed criticism about Twitter’s usefulness in activism, its impact on news and its overarching vision for the future.
The co-founders participated in a lively fireside chat moderated by Businessweek’s Brad Stone at a sold-out event for the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The conversation started with a discussion about whether Twitter has become mainstream. Evan started by asking what “going mainstream” exactly meant, but he did say that Twitter gains more new user signups every week than the entire population of his home state of Nebraska. That’s 1.8 million users per week.
The conversation quickly moved into the rollout of the New Twitter. Both founders said that the reaction has been very positive. VP of Product Jason Goldman had been preparing the team for a backlash, but it simply never occurred. The goal of the new design, Biz Stone said, was to keep Twitter’s inherent simplicity intact while adding the richness and content people are linking to. Williams was the primary driver behind the new design.
The meat of the conversation really began when Brad Stone brought up a recent opinion piece in The New Yorker by best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell. In it, Gladwell downplayed the power of social media in social activism, critiquing the notion that social networks can spur social movements. Supporting a cause on Facebook

or Twitter involves neither a financial or personal risk, Gladwell wrote. Biz Stone responded to the criticism, stating that “some of it is right and some of it is wrong.” He agreed that tweeting doesn’t have the same impact as joining a physical protest where your life is at risk. However, he said it was “absurd” not to understand that Twitter and social media are complementary to that type of activism because of the ability to facilitate the fast exchange of information.

Williams followed up by saying that Twitter’s use in Iran was likely overstated, but it was an early sign of “what is possible and what we’re trying to enable.” The web and electronic networks are now a central point for organization of this type of activism, now that communities don’t all congregate in one place, such as the church, anymore, Williams said.

 


 

Twitter, Advertising and New CEOs

 


 

Brad Stone asked the Twitter co-founders how they felt about the separation of advertising and editorial content. Evan Williams responded that Twitter clearly labels any tweets or trends that are advertisements. More importantly, he made clear that Twitter is a mix of advertising and non-advertising content. He cited brands such as Starbucks as examples of users voluntarily opting in for promotional tweets about a product. After all, Starbucks didn’t get more than 1 million followers without a lot of people expressing interest in its products.
At one point, the Twitter founders were asked whether they thought the commercialization of the site was “bittersweet.” Biz Stone said he believed the company was succeeding in balancing advertising and commercial content with Twitter’s content quite well. “I want to ask you to name another platform where you can send a message to 5 million people for free,” he said. Yet if a company wanted to reach more people than their own followers, they had the opportunity to do so through Promoted Trends, Tweets or Accounts.
Of course, no Twitter interview this quarter would be complete without a discussion about Evan Williams stepping down as CEO of Twitter. There are plenty of product-oriented CEOs, and Brad Stone asked the Twitter co-founders why Williams didn’t choose to go that route instead. Williams responded that he chose roles at Twitter based on where he would be the most useful, and in fact, he was in his fourth role at Twitter.
Williams said he loved focusing on product the most, and he believed that the position of CEO of Twitter, due to its phenomenal growth, would require more attention on operational efficiency and personnel management than product strategy and direction, which excited Williams more than other factors.

 


 

Twitter and a Billion Users

 


 

Williams said the co-founders thought about Twitter in “broad strokes;” they were focused on helping people find out what’s happening in the world and becoming an indispensable service for spreading and consuming information woldwide.
This led to another question: Do Twitter’s execs think the service could reach a billion users, something Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously claimed his company would reach after it surpassed the 500 million user mark. Williams affirmed his belief, saying, “Twitter will get to a billion members.” He quickly added it wouldn’t be the same billion individuals as Facebook, and he wouldn’t specify just how long it would take to reach that goal.
His comments likely refer to his team’s belief that Facebook and Twitter are fundamentally different services with fundamentally different goals. Tonight’s conversation was entirely about Twitter as an information network, something that Twitter likes to emphasize anytime it’s compared to Facebook. In the eyes of Twitter’s cofounders, they’ve built a tool that has changed how we consume news and information for the better.

 

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Booking a flight? Go on Facebook. Running late to the hotel? Send a tweet.
Hotels, airlines and other segments of the multibillion-dollar travel industry are aggressively tapping into social media, ramping up their use of online sites such as Facebook and Twitter to build loyalty to their brands.
Airlines are maintaining a presence on YouTube and offering deals through social-mapping networks such as Loopt. Hotels are promoting their properties through bloggers, and they’re using social-networking sites to gather feedback, monitor trends and provide concierge services.
“I definitely think that social media is about to change the way we do things entirely,” says Jill Fletcher, social media and communications manager for Virgin America. “We’re able to admit over social media if we’ve made a mistake or if there’s a weather delay. So we’re able to communicate much faster and more effectively.”
Social media are being incorporated at a rapid rate into every part of a journey, from making the reservation to finding out where to eat. For instance:
•As of August, Delta passengers can buy tickets on Delta’s Facebook page.
•Southwest has three staffers dedicated to monitoring and responding to queries made through social-media channels.
•Marriott is launching its Marriott Courtyard Facebook page Tuesday to issue messages about the chain and related information that might interest customers.
•Hyatt Hotels launched a Twitter account last year to serve as a virtual concierge. Staffers, based in Omaha, Australia and Mumbai, are instructed to respond to requests and questions within an hour, and are fielding queries ranging from where to find good sushi to alerts that a guest will be checking in late. The account has 12,000 followers. Hilton has a similar Twitter account.
Compared with other industries, the travel and hospitality sector is ahead of the curve in engaging social media, says Carl Howe, a director with the Yankee Group, a telecommunication market research firm.
It’s “mainly because there is so much concern about consumer perception,” he says. “There are a lot more choices for hotels than there are for cable providers, and the same is true for airlines.”
Seeking return visitors
A key goal of staking a claim in the social-media space is to build a base of devoted followers who will keep coming back.
“Most travel organizations are actually looking for something more than a transaction,” Howe says. “They’re looking for loyalty, and that means a long-term engagement.”
Still, deals, incentives and freebies offered on social-media channels are a way airlines and hotels cultivate new customers.
United, for instance, has “twares,” fare specials offered exclusively through Twitter, the micro-messaging channel. In July, AirTran introduced its “Facebook Friday Fares,” which give its Facebook fans unique deals.
Joe Palma, a chef at Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., uses Twitter to send messages about specials, restaurant news and holiday hours, and to ask fans what they would like to see on the seasonal menu. Last year, he held a contest to select a new fall dessert menu item, and the winner received dinner for two.
LuxuryLink.com and FamilyGetaway.com, which sell hotel packages, have launched “mystery auctions,” in which customers bid for hotel packages at discounted rates without knowing the property’s identity. To increase followers, the sites began issuing clues about the hotels only through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Travel businesses are seeking out social-media mavens and bloggers to sing their praises.
As Country Inns & Suites By Carlson prepared to open its 500th hotel in College Station, Texas, earlier this year, it offered free seven-day trips to three bloggers active in social-media sites.
Aurora Toth, vice president of marketing for Carlson Hotels, says the bloggers and their families were assigned to drive to College Station in vehicles with Country Inn decals, stop in seven states, blog and post messages on Facebook and Twitter along the way. Country Inn received local news coverage, and the bloggers helped spread word of the new hotel to their followers. “We learned the power of what we can do,” Toth says.
Marriott is launching a campaign in October that will invite loyalty program members with large Facebook and Twitter followings to help spread the word about its SpringHill Suites chain. They’ll get free stays and other incentives in return for positive messages sent to followers.
To replace convention business that shrank during the recession, Westin St. Maarten is contacting wedding bloggers and offering their readers a sweepstakes drawing for a ceremony or honeymoon at the resort. “We couldn’t have found those people any other simpler way,” says Karen Gee-McAuley, whose public relations firm Blaze helped the hotel develop the strategy.
Social networking and mobile technology are a new advertising frontier, and it makes sense for the travel industry to jump on board, some say.
“We’re a traditional advertising company, and looking at venturing out into social media and mobile phone applications wasn’t really something that we were considering,” says Toby Sturek, president of Clear Channel Airports. “But with the needs of the traveler, we felt we needed to continue to innovate.”
Customer relations
Airlines are using the tools and channels to try to ease travel, enabling passengers to book trips and find out if there is a delay without picking up a phone.
Instead of going to Delta.com, where 19 million domestic tickets are booked a year, passengers can make reservations on the airline’s Facebook page. The carrier will also let passengers peruse other websites and still be able to buy tickets by clicking on a Delta banner ad.
“Our strategy is, in channels where our customers are engaging, we want to be there for them and with them,” says Bob Kupbens, Delta’s vice president of e-commerce.
The airline’s website and traditional e-mail continue to be key, he says. But, he says, “these other channels are opportunities to be where the site isn’t. You’re not standing in line in security with your laptop open. But you are there with your mobile phone.”
A social-media presence has become essential for any company that wants to bond with a younger generation that will hopefully remain loyal for years.
“For most of the people in that 18-to-24 (year-old) demographic, e-mail is old school,” says Howe. “That’s something that their parents do. If you want to reach them, you have to communicate in the ways they feel most comfortable, and that’s mostly Facebook and texting.”
AirTran’s “AirTran U” program, which allows 18-to-24-year-olds to fly standby for a discounted fare, has its own Facebook page. One of its promotions, “AirTran U Creeper,” flashes photos submitted by users at midnight. The first person to spot his or her picture and alert the airline wins a prize.
“It does help build the brand,” says AirTran spokesman Christopher White. “We know some people will read our website. Some people will read the newspaper. But this is a unique channel. And the 18-to-24 crowd really is not tuning into the radio ad. They’re living their lives via social media, and if you’re not in that space getting your message out where they can hear it, they’re simply not hearing it.”
Last week, some mobile users who downloaded an iPhone app from the social-mapping network Loopt found out about a special offer from Virgin America promoting its new service to Mexico. If they made their way to the airport in San Francisco or Los Angeles, or to a local taco truck, they had the chance to get two tickets for the price of one to Los Cabos or Cancun.
Jamie Swartz, 29, who is getting married in Cancun in February, says that it’s been tough for some of her guests to find direct flights. When she heard about the Loopt Star download, she sent a message to everyone she knew and headed to a taco truck on Hollywood Boulevard. She and a bridesmaid each snagged the two-for-one deal.
“I totally missed the big Twitter boom,” says Swartz, a marketing associate in West Hollywood. “I was late to join Facebook.”
But she says she was impressed enough by the creativity of the Loopt promotion to keep Virgin America in mind for future trips. “I think it (was) a great idea,” she said.
Where are you?
Hotels are seeking ways to take advantage of the latest twist in the social-media sphere: location-based service software which uses the GPS in smartphones to provide hotels information about their customers’ whereabouts.
InterContinental is working with start-up company Topguest. People who sign up at Topguest’s website can walk into any hotel, restaurant or bar operated by InterContinental and receive a small allowance of the hotel company’s loyalty points. To receive the points, they must alert their “friends” on Foursquare or Facebook Places, two of the most popular location-based social-networking tools.
For hotels, it’s a way to promote their loyalty programs, increase sales during off hours and learn more about which of their customers are the “most influential” members in social-media circles, says Geoff Lewis, CEO of Topguest.
Virgin America’s Loopt promotion helped the airline see its fifth-highest-grossing sales day this year. Hotel executives say it’s too early to tell if their social-media efforts are beefing up the bottom line. But some report encouraging signs.
Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, run by Kimpton, began occasionally issuing codes last summer for a 15% discount on its best available rates. In measuring their redemptions, the hotel learned that the codes generated 270 more room nights this year. “It’s still too early for return-on-investment (analysis). But we’ve seen some benefits here and there,” says Niki Leondakis, president of Kimpton Hotels.
For all the merits of social media, some industry watchers warn that the industry shouldn’t forget about the older generations that aren’t tech savvy and still need to be engaged.
“The Boomer generation … we’re the ones that are going to travel and will have the money to travel, and we’re probably not going to be the ones on Twitter and Facebook,” says Terry Trippler, founder of airline information website RulesToKnow.com.
Jim Black, 58, a data network engineer in Ventura, Calif., who’s on the road about 30 weeks a year, says technology can never replace another person’s input.
“Twitter creates the appearance of human contact but it lacks the actual human touch,” says Black, who barely updates his Facebook page and isn’t interested in any special deals offered via Twitter. “To substitute social media for human contact is incrementally a step down in customer service.”

If Historical Events had Facebook Statuses

Today Orkut began rolling out applications (apps for short) and they have plans to roll out apps in local languages over the next few weeks.
Orkut going Facebook road
For me application integration experience is same as Facebook. As you log into your profile, you can have access to 25 apps to your profile.So just watch out for the more apps link in your profile over the coming weeks.
Some of forthcoming apps are
TypeRacer: A typing game that lets you race your orkut friends,
Viibee: A dating app that lets you watch videos, read profiles , potential matches etc.
MyMiniLife: Imagine a world where you can create your own place that fits your unique style
Crazy Story Game: Crazy Story Game lets you create funny stories with your friends
Hangout: Plan hangout with your friends.
Conclusion : The “apps” entry to Orkut is similar to what Facebook already provides so if you are not bored of Facebook or fed up with application spam yet then go ahead and try “All new Orkut with tons of apps.”