That Mom and Pop Feeling…

A shop a kid can grow up in...Remember the old days when you walked down the main street of town and the shops you went into were all owned by people who lived there? Everybody knew everybody else, their children knew everybody else’s children, if there was a problem, the locals could fix it for you. People provided good products and great service, because they were all neighbors! And a bad reputation would quickly put them out of business.

Actually no, most people today don’t remember those days. We read about them in books, or hear stories of them, a fond remembrance (or a complaint) from our elders who do remember. Larger companies who could sustain the loss undersold them, lobbied for regulations whose costs they could absorb, while the mom and pops couldn’t keep up. The big stores hired an army of employees at low wages who could move more product than the smaller shops could even dream of. The government rewarded the large shops with tax-breaks and other things, but more than anything else, the mass of people chose large shops over small by jumping for lower prices and lower quality goods. And they did so with little regret. More paycheck left in their bank accounts after shopping was enough to sweeten this deal.

Then the internet revolutionized everything, both for good and for ill. It leveled out the playing field, at least for a time. Little mom and pops could now market and sell their products online to a potentially unlimited market, far beyond the borders of their towns and cities. Sadly, as many of us know, it wasn’t to last. Just as the large shops conquered communities, they conquered the web, pre-eminently Amazon, which is a mixed blessing. Just as Wal-mart could force companies to lower prices below what they want or even considered profitable by means of the threat of not carrying their products, Amazon too can lower prices as it wishes. If you don’t like it, what are you going to do? John Q. Public’s bookstore is not going to have a flashy app, or cut their prices 20% to compete because they have bills to pay. Amazon can cut prices and absorb the cost. Amazon wins.

Despite the fact that the place that takes the smallest bite out of one’s check will usually win the customer, consumers still want to feel that mom and pop feeling. They want to have their cake, at a cheap price, and eat it too (albeit only with real butter, cream and sugar). And they want to see the face of the baker and think that their purchase is helping sending his or her kid to college. Many Americans say they would like to shop local and support local businesses, but talk is cheap. You have people like Occupy Wallstreet protestors who bought their sign materials at Wal-mart and skipped the locally owned coffee shop for Starbucks. And this seems to be the way most of America is at this point. They want that good old-fashioned feeling, but they don’t want to pay for it.

Some people DO put their money where their mouth is, and a movement is born. Harold Pollack, a Chicago professor, shops only at small retail stores online, saying: “I don’t feel they [the big box stores] behave in a way that I want to support with my consumer dollars.” (Source) Buy local, shop local movements are beginning to gain momentum, especially in touristy towns where small shops still exist because they are quaint and attract visitors. In this movement, people consciously choose to sacrifice quantity for quality, especially when there is a face attached to the business they are supporting. A big faceless corporation like the run of the mill big box store starts to lose appeal in the long run.

Even people who say they cannot afford to shop at the Mom and Pop shops heartily support them in spirit. They like the “feeling” and the “idea” of them being around. Whether it’s the quaintness of a nice old building, or the personal touch of an etsy online shop, mom and pop says personalized customer service, one-on-one attention to detail, someone that cares about you finding the thing you want and will do what it takes to rummage around the shop to find something that will make you happy. In addition to all that, most consumers DO like knowing their purchase might be paying someone’s school tuition.

Companies that share their story, even put up pictures of their children (the family you are helping to buy groceries for) and show how their shop is a valuable part of society are becoming very popular. People naturally wish to have a personal connection with the place they buy their products from. Social media helps to build and keep this connection established. A simple communication device between the mom and pop shop and the small guy customer. Suddenly, big box stores take note of this, and go… “why can’t we use this tactic to make us look like something special to the small guy?” That mom and pop feeling can be an illusion, and we as a country sometimes fall for it.

An advertising trend over the last five years, big box stores have hired experts to help create an illusion of their being a mom and pop-like establishment. Personal touches like stories of how CEOs started out as small farm boys and worked their way from the bottom up to the top of the ladder really help to build up an image that you would probably have never seen without Facebook. Tweeting about their numerous donations to local charities make it seem like they have the local neighborhood’s well being at heart. Aw. Well, why not shop at Costco then? They have a real man CEO with a real heart, and he even knows about the importance of providing organic eggs to us at an affordable price. We get our organic eggs cheap AND support a real bona-fide farm family, a win-win situation! It’s that olllld mom and pop feeeeeling. It feels good, it feels right. The guys that study consumer buying trends are aware of this, and as long as they can make us feel good in conscience about where we are purchasing, we as a nation will continue to do it.

With social media at your disposal you can create pretty much any image you want to portray. You can’t go wrong with that mom and pop feeling.

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Location Based Advertising: Super Convenient or Big Brother in Action?

Ye Good Olde Days of Advertising… thirsty? Now you are!

Imagine yourself walking by a Starbucks. Suddenly, your phone beeps urgently, alerting you to the fact that you are in the vicinity of Starbucks!  Would you like to take a break for some coffee?

Or you are driving by Macy’s, and suddenly your phone beeps again. Did  you know that the pair of boots you browsed last week online is 10% off? Like, right now this very second, and won’t be anymore if you drive past this store! Does this sound a little bit like the visual advertisements targeting people in Minority Report? If it does, that’s because it is… albeit in a less invasive manner than retina scans. Welcome to the world of Location Based Advertising (LBA).

The process described above is what is called the “push” approach to LBA, which allows companies to target mobile users unless or until they opt out. There is another approach to this, in which mobile users can voluntarily enter their information into a search application, such as looking for a deli while visiting a city, and the app will return results with a map and even coupons for a free drink or appetizer. Yay!

LBA represents a way to market ads far more efficiently than traditional advertising, where a company’s advertising dollars go to pay big name celebrities to talk about why such and such a product is awshum. The only problem is that you, the company, have to believe and have faith that your celebrity endorsements are paying off, as you have no easy way to determine if your sales have gone up based on the millions you have just spent. Companies can now spend much less on ads that are more personalized and more effective, while, more importantly, providing tracking data to show how much these advertisements are paying off.

LBA is not going away. With advertising slowly catching up to the mobile medium, LBA is going to be big, being expected to net $15 billion by 2018. (Source) The only hangup with LBA services can be summed up in one word: Snowden.

For years the public at large did not pay much attention to how the heck their information somehow miraculously got absconded from their computers and phones and appeared into the digital atmosphere. Since the revelations of Edward Snowden, however, there is a growing awareness that this information is not lost to the ether. We now know that every single thing we do online is captured by government computers and stored in government databases, potentially forever, in the name of fighting terrorism. LBA represents the latest way for the government to know almost everything about you.

But before we go too far, it is useful to note that LBA is not a conspiracy theory. It is a conspiracy fact, that it’s a conspiracy to make money which doesn’t directly involve Big Brother. The fact is, Google’s meteoric rise is due in part to their analytics technology which can form an accurate depiction of who you are based on the websites you visit. This allows Google to target ads to you based on who their algorithms think you are. Since the advent of smartphones, you can browse from a device which gives your location to someone at all times. This is also not a conspiracy theory, it is conspiracy fact, the phone companies conspiring to use technology to make money. The simple reality is that for the phone company to support your device, provide you with internet, deliver your texts and connect your calls, it has to know where your device is. Even if you choose not to share your device location with this or that provider, app, or website, your service provider absolutely knows your device’s whereabouts (and by extension, your own) at all times. While the question of how involved the government was in producing these devices may be in the realm of conspiracy theory, that the technology works in this fashion is a matter of fact. Since Snowden, we know that the government collects all of this data from the telecoms, Google and Yahoo and any other of numerous web applications and services.

Irrespective of the motivations of developers and engineers, or how active the government may or may not be in tracking your movements, any and all information obtained by your device to target ads to you will be collected. LBA could be an awesome convenience, particularly when goodies like a coupon for this or that are involved (can you imagine the effect it would have during an event like Black Friday?), but it also allows Big Brother to take in all the information. Given the market potential, Location Based Advertising is here to stay, and, unfortunately, so is Big Brother. You win some, you lose some. It’s up to you to decide how much you lose.

Has LinkedIn figured out what it is yet?

Confused Felipe

Photo attribuation: By FelipeIbazeta (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

LinkedIn has been around for quite a while now. You never noticed? Well, it’s been here since 2002, ready to replace Facebook for professional people. Yet another social media site, to fill with photos and information about oneself. But, it wasn’t fun and… cool… so, it’s kind of a nobody in the social media world. Maybe more of a somebody than Google+, but still pretty low down on the totem pole.

Part of the reason LinkedIn isn’t a businessman’s “right hand social media man” is because LinkedIn hasn’t really seemed to know what it should be. Mix business with pleasure? Strictly Business? Hiring and firing site? Resume showcase site? All of the above? None of the above? Hundreds of people have been sent to this site by their bosses with instructions to get themselves a profile, only to find themselves pounding their heads on their desks, plaintively asking, “How are we supposed to use you, LinkedIn? What are you actually designed for and how can you help me?”

Crickets chirping…

Facebook is popular because it creates all types of varied communities, and allows you to set up groups and network about anything, be it higher things like philosophy, history and math, or more mundane things like the latest celebrity news. It’s also pretty self-explanatory, so much so that a child below the legal age of 13 can get on, fill out a profile and start friending people. In the middle of a serious discussion about whether or not to fire an employee, one can be entertained by a video of a cute kitty that just happened to pop up on your feed. LinkedIn, however, is largely, though not exclusively, a business community. It is not designed for Tweets and Re-Tweets, or discussion of the latest YouTube viral video. It IS a way for businessmen to network their skills, easily share their resumes, and solve business problems in a way that is largely drama free and professional. Now, if you think about it from a businessman’s point of view… isn’t that kinda nice?

The basics of LinkedIn are that you can list your work experience, your profile picture and add a personal touch to your business life. Unlike with Facebook, where you can willy-nilly friend any Tom, Dick or Harry without knowing them at all, this is not a good strategy to follow with your LinkedIn account. This is a SERIOUS networking site, folks. You only link in with people that you are working with or could be valuable to you business-wise. You won’t find any cats or dogs with people’s names either.

LinkedIn additionally allows one to create groups and network with professionals based on their areas of expertise. So if you are a professional historian, you can join a group on ancient Chinese history and network with professionals in that field, sharing information and details. Or, if you are an IT professional, you can network about PhP and C++ with other professionals in that area, without having to do some grueling searching.

This does sound intriguing…

Since being founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn slowly grew and grew until it recently exploded in its number of users as well as its profit and revenue. In 2011, LinkedIn grossed more income from advertising revenue than Twitter. (Source) The number of users of LinkedIn has grown to 200 million members in 200 countries (Source). As it continues to grow, businesses have begun utilizing LinkedIn’s professional orientation to establish tools to apply for jobs through LinkedIn on their listings. Employees can search for jobs through LinkedIn, having fast access to thousands of companies and even meeting future employers directly. LinkedIn also serves job recruiters by sorting the talents and abilities of members who might fit the positions that businesses are looking for. Businesses can advertise on LinkedIn, listing products and services with descriptions on their company pages, and users can write reviews for them. All in all, there are endless opportunities for all types of economic activity. So, it’s not Facebook, it’s not meant to compete with Facebook; it’s meant to market you, and market businesses. Aren’t you glad we had this discussion and figured this out? Now, on to save the world.

What does the future hold for LinkedIn? LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced at the end of 2012 that the company’s plans in the coming decade are to establish an “economic graph,” which kinda/sorta pillages Facebook’s social graph concept. LinkedIn presents its economic graph (when finalized) as an all encompassing chart of the global economy and all of the connections therein. The terminus ad quem of the “economic graph” is to make the connections of the global economy thorough and universal, in order that LinkedIn might possess not simply all the job recruitment in the world, but furthermore the skills required to acquire those jobs, the total number of professionals who might work them, and the businesses (whether nonprofit or for-profit) in which they work. Weiner aims at nothing less than making the global economy mapped, charted and transparent. This sounds Googlish to me!

There are signs that LinkedIn could achieve this grand vision. Not only is it growing in the US and Europe, but even in markets which are not always friendly to Internet movements, such as China. (Source) Comprising 1/5th of the world’s population, the Chinese expansion could make LinkedIn to the business world what Facebook is to the social world, further linking the global community via their phones, tablets and laptops.

Is the world ready for this level of centralization? The growth, marketability, and versatility of LinkedIn would suggest that its heading in that direction, ready or not. Best to get on the bandwagon then…

Google+, the walking dead?

800px-Forest_in_CantabriaOriginally created in June 2011, Google+ was supposed to take Google to the next level. Combining all of Google’s services into one place, it was hailed as the next social media powerhouse, allowing you to network with friends, family, employers, employees, sharing everything under the sun. Its rise to 50 million users in three months exceeded the growth of Myspace, Twitter and Facebook in the same period, and led to speculation that Google+ could even replace Facebook as the most used Social Networking site. As nuts as that seems now, it wasn’t so nuts in 2013. Google was the only company in the world that had a popular mobile OS, namely Android, which could be merged with its own social network as well as the rest of its products. It showed a great deal of promise. When one considers the wide range of Google’s reach, from Picasa photo sharing, to Youtube, Jetpack, Blogger, etc., it seemed that everything might become Google. But then, it didn’t.

Right off the bat, Google+ was a hard sell. All the things people value about Facebook, privacy (ha ha), the ability to have tiered pages so only friends and family can see them, or even to post anonymously were surprisingly absent from Google+. Google+ required real names, identify verification, and putting all of your details in one place… this made it a hard sell. The social layer to all things Google was not a standalone product, but an embedding of everything into one place.

So, not only were most people uncomfortable with a more realistic book of their face, but few were going to move all of their information off of Facebook and put it on Google+. That was like, secretarial work, not fun social stuff! The momentum cooled quickly, and not too much has happened since.

In April of this year, Google+ developer, Vic Gundrota, resigned unexpectedly. In the aftermath of that everyone involved in Google+ was shifted to other departments. This sparked rumors that Google+ was on its way to death’s door and was to be discontinued, like other Google products. But speculation about Google+’s demise actually predates Gundrota’s resignation. Techwatcher Adam Metz, noted:

“Here’s why I think Google’s high-priority social network is failing, fast. After Amir Efrati’s February article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that, after sign up, Google+ users aren’t really doing anything much with the platform, a pretty stunning info-graphic really jumped out at readers – it was a diagram that showed the average minutes-per-user for all social networks in January 2012.” (Source)

If you click on the link, you’ll find according to Metz’s source, Google+ users spend all of 3 minutes a day on it. Hm. This is compared to the average of 40 minutes a day people spend on Facebook (source).

Yet it’s still there! At least, for the moment. Google has, however, downgraded Google Authorship, by removing profile pictures and Google+ circle counts from searches. This was one of the most notable features of Google+, and without it one wonders what’s next.

What was intended as a grandiose Google takeover of the worlds containing Facebook, Office Online, and even LinkedIn, Google+ is an epic fail. It still maintains over 500 million active users around the world, but many more than half of those account holders also have Facebook pages. Google+ can’t begin to compete with Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Though Google+ has had a good success rate maintaining its number of account holders, it looks more than likely, to those of us that pay attention to such things, that as Google moves on to other projects, it will simply leave behind Google+ until it fades into irrelevance. And nary a tear was shed.

But wait! Stop the presses… Google+, like chivalry, is not dead! In a recent 2014 interview with David Besbris, Google’s new social media guru, Besbris said:

“We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it.” “The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.”

The ace the company is holding up their sleeve is that Google+ is ad free and will remain so, unlike Facebook, who’s pro-ad pages are starting to get some serious flack in the Facebookosphere,

“They won’t convert well, they won’t be beneficial, and it kind of just pollutes the space. I think for a social place that tends to be very intimate where you’re having conversations with people, you’re sharing pictures, you’re exploring things you’re really into, you don’t want to be at that point bombarded with noise,” said Besbris.

He went to on to say that Google+ is just misunderstood, and will come into its own someday. And if, IF, they DO decide to put ads in there for our, erm, enjoyment, they will be unique in such a way as only Google can make an ad unique. Oh… joy.

The Impact of Social Media on the Ferguson Tragedy

The job of a journalist is an elite and untouchable job, reserved for only the sparkling beautiful people we feel like waking up to every morning to see on TV. Right? Only someone with a paper that says they are allowed to be a journalist can report the news, that’s the only way we can believe what is being said. Really? In the last twenty years this may have been considered true by the majority of Americans, but with semi-pro recording and uploading devices hitting critical mass recently, the tide has been gradually changing. In fact, I think in light of recent events, we can safely say it has turned.

Technology has forever changed the way journalism works. There is no greater evidence of this than in the case of the tragedy in Ferguson, MO. In the past, this mess would have been swept under the bed out of sight, for the predictable narrative of highly trained and well armed cop shoots unarmed black man in self defense. The intrepid media was quick to dismiss the story and move to more salubrious topics like the ice-bucket challenge. But that is not the way it went, and for one reason alone: the tech of today in the form of smartphones capable of taking HD video, broadcasting news reports by audio, making blog posts, Twitter hashtags and Facebook. As the MSM attempted to move on, in a casual “nothing to see here” way, their determination to ignore the over-the-top suppression of protests and arrests of journalists that apparently didn’t get the memo sparked a backlash of the people taking matters into their own hands, er, smartphones. How dare the illustrious media celebrities tell us what is news and what is not news? The public wants to know what happened! Citizen journalists armed with today’s version of the Guttenburg printing press put the story back to our attention, in all its gory glory.

In the not so distant past, we have seen some pretty creative ways in utilizing social media to attract attention to a cause like this. Photoshopped memes, like the “pepper spray” meme, depicting Lt. John Pike, a California police officer who pepper sprayed an innocent, unarmed and peaceful crowd of demonstrators at Occupy on the UC Davis campus, tend to go viral, especially if the meme makes one -LOL- The variations this meme went through wound up depicting the officer pepper spraying the Statue of Liberty, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, pregnant mothers, religious figures, and figures in famous works of art. Someone made up a Twitter account to gather it all in on spot, @PepperSprayCop. It got the message across big time, with no money down, no overpaid, overly made-up talking heads and no (apparent) government involvement.

Memes are to be feared for sure, but what is worse to an evil doer with “cover up” on the mind? Twitter has been by far the best springboard to the way in which the new citizen journalists of the Social Media revolution have influenced recent events, be it in Ferguson or anywhere else. Through the use of Twitter hashtags such as #Ferguson, #blacklivesmatter, #iftheygunnedmedown, as well as countless others, Twitter has majorly been accomplice in creating awareness of new police brutality stories and the marginalization of black communities by the big bad police. Whether or not this is all true, is another subject entirely. Reporting has never been about the truth, however, it’s been about creating a story that will stick and sell. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

As data shows that about 44% of Blacks and Latinos use smart-phones (source), the use of Twitter allows for creating a more unified and organized community to rally against police violence, political corruption, as well as the excuses and cover-ups for it. Everyone who has tried to do their duty at the voting booth knows that change does not come by throwing the old bums out and putting new bums in. It comes through real challenges to the ruling class, as well as their allies in the MSM, by organized communities that put the pressure on. This has been fostered, nurtured and turned loose in a large way by social media. Without it, Michael Brown would be but another obituary in the history of police violence, while everyone else, like the President, turns to another round of golf.

I have a question… Wikipedia, Quora and Ask.com

Waaay back when computer games were all text, as in: you typed in commands and were rewarded with a description of what happened, and had no graphics, epic music or life-like characters that become pseudo friends.  During this dark and primitive time in our computer lives there was a question and answer game (I can’t remember what it was called). It was supposed to a precursor to futuristic computer programs we were all promised to have access to someday. The way this game worked, you typed in a question, any question at all, and you got an answer straight from the mind of the computer. Simple as that.

I remember being stunned and amazed, as I typed an entire string of questions like, “Where does the US President live?” and it would respond, “The White House.” Or “What is a German Shepherd?” and it would answer a paragraph, much like something from an encyclopedia, about them being herding dogs, used for police work, easy to train, so on and so forth. Absolutely weirded out, I remember reasoning out loud, with my 8 year old brain, how a computer could possibly recognize a question and then figure out the information to answer it with. My Dad overheard me and gave me my first lesson in keywords, collating, and the vast amounts of ways computers can sort data and connect it based on which words go in which patterns. He said one day we would be able to ask literally anything from a computer, and we’d have the answers to even the most complex medical problems or scientific data, because people were constantly plugging this stuff into computers and when it was finally all there, we’d have this super answer machine

We all know how this went. Eventually there was Google. Other search engines being in existence as well, people figured out how to make them work efficiently and how to make them direct traffic to their products. You began to see information databases like Wikipedia and such, desperately trying to organize the massive amounts of data being entered from all directions. Now, we are in the future of my childhood. Now, you can literally go to Google and say “I have a headache with a pounding at the nape of the neck, what is wrong with me?” and all the information you could ever want is right at your fingertips. You’ll usually discover you are now dying and must go to the emergency room ASAP, but you are assured of finding out anything you could ever wish to know about headaches exhibiting your particular symptoms.

What are the question answering sites consistently pulled up at the top of the list by Google? Let’s explore three of them, and go a little bit into what makes them unique.

Wikipedia: The peoples’ encyclopedia, Wikipedia, was begun in 2001 as a mega database that anyone could access, edit, use content from for free, and organize the entire world’s internet data. It’s pretty hard to come up with something that isn’t in Wikipedia. Many people go right to Wikipedia, bypassing even Google, and look up the subject in question that way. Some users feel that the option for anyone to edit information on the site leaves the credibility of the information up in the air, but as the years have gone by, the site has become more and more trusted. There are too many checks and balances in the form of millions of other readers and editors.

Quora: Invented by former Facebook employees, having gone live in June of 2010, the creators of Quora wanted to have an efficient question and answer site, cutting through the fluff that you get when you ask a question on Google or similar search engines. It is unique in that there are many people logged onto Quora at any given time of the day (usually via Facebook, as it works mainly as a Facebook app) to whom you can posit your question. Actual people will answer your queries, and it’s up to you to figure out if the answers are correct or not.

Ask.com is another community centric question and answer site, with a couple different ways for you to ask a question. You can submit one through their search engine and get the same run of popular to less popular topics that match the keywords in your query, or you can join their community of people and blurt questions out to them. It’s only a matter of seconds before a helpful, even if slightly erroneous, answer comes through just for you.

The biggest problem in this age of infinite data, micro-organized information, and online citadels of all-knowing question answerers is, how could you ever know for sure that this stuff is spot on? Trusting the answers you are given is a chance you have to take, and that hasn’t changed much from the old days of hanging around the old timers, wondering if they were pulling your leg, to accessing immense information, and… wondering if it’s pulling your leg.

Hashtags: you should be using them

When I began to notice friends’ Facebook posts ending in wacko stuff like #husbandsjustdontunderstand #lovemyhouse #hatemylife I closed my eyes and my ears. I most certainly did NOT want to know what new thing they were all coming up with, nor did I wish to find out I would need to use them. So, like an ostrich, I buried my head in the internet sand and happily lived without using one… single… hashtag… ever!

What’s nice, is that I was in good company. Plenty of us older twenty-somethings/younger thirty somethings, i.e., the dinosaurs of this new technological age, have had it with new weird things we “have” to do. Facebook, sure. Twitter, sure. Add in Google+ and LinkdIn, umm, oookay, if we have to. Throw hashtags into everything? I give up, man! I can barely figure out how to call someone on my dumb smartphone, let alone put hashtags on the end of my tweets and posts. As if I needed one more thing to do!

Part of the reason I didn’t want to use them at all ever, was that I didn’t understand their purpose. Gibberish, that’s what they were. And then I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could find all of the random posts I’ve ever posted everywhere? Too bad there isn’t a way to tag them all so I can find them on Google.” Oh wait. Someone has already figured it out. And those are the dreaded hashtags.

Of course, it’s also a way to share similar content with hashtag groupies. If people like stupid pictures of popped balloons, there’s a hashtag for it. If there isn’t, you can make one right now. #stupidpicturesofpoppedballoons There! It exists! And everyone can start tagging their pictures of popped balloons with it. It’s a really cool organizational tool (I know I date myself whenever I say cool. Sorry. I used to be cool).

Now, the juicy part. How do these things work from a business angle? There are analytics, strategies, do’s and don’ts. How can you make hashtags work for you? After reading a ton of stuff about hashtags, here is what I took away for myself:

  • Although you can put a hashtag on anything you want, they are only really effective via Twitter (highest), Instagram, and Google+. LinkedIn didn’t really like them. What about Facebook? Studies keep showing that interaction drops out when Facebook users add in hashtags (perhaps it’s a symptom of tech dinosaurs). Other social media users haven’t really caught up, so if you’re sticking with mainstream, there you go.
  • Limit yourself to TWO hashtags. Analysts show the level of engagement is highest when there are two, count’em, two. Not so much at one, and then hashtag overload past two.
  • Make one of your hashtags your brand and another one something trendy.

That is as simple as I can make it for my brain-on-four-kids. If I can figure it out, so can you!

I like to leave my readers with a laugh. In case I’m not the only one who didn’t see this until yesterday, this video clip is pretty funny. Note: bad word bleeped out at the end.

Click on me and watch funny movie clip#haha

Have fun playing with hashtags. Signing off.