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RockMelt was introduced to me through word of mouth from a colleague at my agency. The message was simply put that I should check it out and from the link I was given, it seemed worth doing, after all it is designed for social media, sharing and keeping up with the gazillion updates from RSS feeds.

It is an amazing concept. Molding multiple elements into one browser. But first thing is first: What is it?

RockMelt is essentially a beefed up Google Chrome with nice bells and whistles. It supports awesome functions like drag and drop sharing to Facebook friends which are on your left-side bar, making it easier to share with the people you care about. One the right-side bar, there are the sites that you subscribe to and show how many updates are unread and give you a pop up notification for each notification. If you prefer to not get pop ups notification for each subscription, you can easily change it. Take a look at the differences:

I want to bring up a few things that I noticed at first about RockMelt, I want to mention that I have only had this for a couple of days so it would be fair to do a follow up post later on.

Sharing:

Pro: One can easily drag and drop text, links, photos on Facebook friends. You can also share pages via Facebook and Twitter.

Con: Limited to Facebook and Twitter sharing.

Recommendations: Allow the user to pick and choose which networks to share to (Digg, Stumble Upon, WordPress, email etc…)

Updates:

Pro: Organized and simple individual feeds from multiple sites that you subscribe to such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Websites. Also, if you are viewing a page that has an available RSS feed to subscribe to, it will notify you and you can quickly add it to your right-side bar.

Con: None so far. However, I should note that the user should experiment to get a feel for how you are updated, updates can be come very cluttered.

Recommendations: Maybe allow for groups or lists

Functionality:

Pro: I use Google Chrome as my main browser so it was an easy switch. It is easy to share and effortless to customize who I wanted on my Facebook bar (left-side bar) and what subscriptions I wanted (right-side bar).

Con: I have noticed there are a few minor bugs with the browser. I have had a few lock-ups but not sure if it was the browser’s fault or me over-experimenting with the functionality. Again, minor and not constant. Many new things are not flawless, a few minor bugs are acceptable. They will probably be fixed soon.

Recommendations: New features to merge with tools to adapt to the constant change of the web, BUT, give the user the ability to turn on/off features or customize which ones to use.

Practicality:

Pro: If you are a blogger, social media guru, journalist, or any profession in communication, this is very useful.

Con: If you are a student, this is very distracting, but you should have the maturity to avoid the distractions or turn them off if you are trying to type a 10,000 word thesis…

Recommendations: A practical browser is always a simple one. I recommended above with new features, but make sure they don’t clout the browser, unless you want to change your position on the “browser”.

Summary

RockMelt is in a good direction. With the development of the Semantic web, RockMelt saw this great opportunity and approached it beautifully. The next steps will be to keep up with the developments in technology. I have not looked at other browsers such as Flock or Fizzik, so I can not say which is better. What I can tell you is, the one that sets trend changes will be the best. Much like Clay Shirky said about “when we change the way we communicate, we change society”, if we change the way we surf the web, we change how we interact.

Take a look at RockMelt’s video demonstration

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If you were asked how many social media sites you can name. How many could you list? I will name the ones I can:

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, Google Buzz, Digg, Del.icio.us, Linkedin, Youtube.

Well those are the ones I use at least. But I did find this article that listed 56 websites that a business should be engaged in. Many of these I have never heard of! It did list some of the obvious ones such as Myspace and Wikipedia but I feel some of it is a little outdated. I have a harsh biased behind Myspace unless it has to do with music. Many of the sites also list out niche networking sites to help connect professional and companies alike.

Some of these seem pretty awesome:

8. Squidoo: According to Squidoo, “everyone’s an expert on something. Share your knowledge!” Share your industry’s secrets by answering questions and designing a profile page to help other members.

But some of these don’t even exist:

15. Kirsty: A colourful website for articles, features and information on life, the universe and everything.

Repost this link around, I’m sure many people could find these sites useful!

Go to the article here and check out these sites.

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I attended a couple of conferences this week, the first one was the American Marketing Association International Conference in New Orleans, LA. The other was the Midwest Journalism Conference in Bloomington, MN.

Bill Blank from GMR was at the AMA conference to talk about buzz marketing. In a nutshell, GMR “Creates, executes brand engagements that captivate consumer attention to influence opinion, behavior or purchase.”

That is pretty much what marketing is, to get you to buy. But buzz is a little different. It is to take a business or product or whatever, and place it into an audience to get this audience to interact with what you place. A perfect example of this: a rumor.

Oh my God, did you hear that Sally got so wasted last night?!”

“NO WAY”

“YA! I KNOW!”

When this conversation carries out mostly because people are curious and want to know what is going on, they ask questions and people talk. “Who is sally? What did she do? Why did she do it? When did she do it?” These questions are just like buzz marketing. It’s a catalyst to get people to know more, get involved, buy or whatever you what the audience to do.

It is not for everyone though: Bill Blank said that “half of the buzz marketing campaigns for 75% of fortune 1000 companies fail.”

Now this social media stuff.

After attending the MW Journalism Conference, I got a better grasp of its practicality.

One of the sessions was a social media session that explained how to drive viewers to your youtube videos. After the speakers were done, we had to shoot a video, upload it to youtube and tweet about it as fast as we could. The fastest was about 3.5 minutes. Then we had to continue to post videos with the #mwjournconf on twitter to drive viewers.

This only works if you have a lot of followers or use a good hash tag when people search for it. But linking Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, WordPress and other social media websites will really drive the audience to go somewhere.

The best way is to always start with Twitter. Post a few tweets about what you want people to do and offer them a place to get more info, whether it be a website or another social media place, but continue to get them to snowball the audience to create a “buzz”.

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