Articles by Tyler

You are currently browsing Tyler’s articles.

We like non-profits and socially responsible organizations here at Other Side Group.  Being a non-profit, community involvement is especially important, and it seems a natural progression that non-profits would become more involved in social media outlets.

We’ve highlighted five non-profit organizations that are not only involved in but effectively using social media:

1. The American Red Cross has an established presence on both Facebook and Twitter. With over 70,000 fans on Facebook and 18,000 followers on Twitter, they not only have successfully reached members of the community, but they are doing several things right: When directing traffic to their Facebook page, all visitors land on the photos tab. This may seem like a minute detail, but so much of the support for the Red Cross comes from community involvement. Without fail, any page visitor will see, even briefly, the photos taken of real-life volunteers from blood drives, disaster relief efforts and other community events.  The Red Cross Facebook page has even set up the Causes application to accept online donations directly from their Facebook page.  They also are communicating with their followers well on Twitter. Being such a large organization, it would be incredibly difficult to track down all the tweets regarding the Red Cross, but they do a good job of individual retweets. Also, to support community involvement, they post relevant tweets to their blog feed with a short personalized message: Red Cross Blog.

2. Babson College is also on both Facebook and Twitter, and managing the two quite well.  Their Facebook content is dynamic enough that fans are consistently interacting with it by posting comments etc.  Additionally, they have content fed into Facebook from many sources: the blog, manually, notes, fans, etc.  As for Twitter, while they could be posting more frequently, they are responding to people directly and creating conversation.  They’ve even set up a blog for students to share their summer internship stories with the community (All fed into Facebook of course).

3. Share Our Strength interacts on their Twitter with members of the community and other organizations with a similar agenda. They tweet very frequently, (even on the weekends!) which is the best way to stay involved and current.

4. The Livestrong Foundation has a very interactive Twitter account. They create a close community by responding to individual tweets, and interactions are based a lot on personal experiences, support and sharing. Because they have created such a strong community foundation on Twitter, it is a good way to spread information about events and fundraisers.

5. The National Wildlife Federation is also active on Twitter. They have the NWF main account, and other accounts for their other campaigns, such as Green Hour, which gives tips about being active outside. This allows them to reach different niches with appropriate information.

There are many ways non-profit organizations can use social media to their advantage: fundraising, recruiting, spreading their message, etc. Depending on each organization’s needs and goals, social media interactions can be different for everyone, but the above organizations are definitely using these outlets effectively to their benefit.

Interested in seeing what social media can do for a non-profit you’re involved in? We’re having a contest, and the winning non-profit organization gets a free social media report!

Microsoft Google! oO
Image by Daniel F. Pigatto via Flickr

In the past ten years, Google has become our e-mail service, our newspaper, our encyclopedia, our street map, and our little black book. Google is so integrated into our lives that it is treated like a verb. There is a reason why you never hear “I’m going to Lycos that.”

Being that nearly 74% of all search engine queries were performed in Google (as of 6 June, according to Hitwise data), a valid competitor entering the market not only has to perform to a certain standard, but also must differentiate itself.

Enter Microsoft’s Bing.  Launched June 3rd as a search engine competitor, StatCounter reports that Bing was the number two search engine worldwide one day later. In the US. People have been made aware of Bing, but the question is, how does Bing compare?

I spent an afternoon using Bing lined up against identical search criteria entered in Google.

Basic searches: After many random web searches, I found Google performed better in returning general search results. Not only did it prompt more terms when I began to type, but also with certain ambiguous search criteria, Google pulled what I was looking for.

For example, if “cabinet” is entered, it is not clear whether shopping and retail results or information about the US government is more relevant. At that point, the individual search engine must make an educated decision on what results to return. Based on the sheer volume of search data Google has, it knew that when I entered “cabinet,” I was looking for retail results. Google results even show local search business results for “cabinet”, based on my IP address.

If Bing increases in popularity, I expect there will be an improvement in search results because they will have a large enough database and enough search inquiries behind them to make similar educated decisions. One very helpful feature on Bing allows you to see an excerpt from the webcopy of the site without ever clicking on the link. This is very helpful as a user when determining which sites you are actually interested in visiting.

Video and Image searches: Both the image and video results on Bing have a nice interface.

The image results are displayed on one page instead of on multiple pages you have to click through. I like this feature because after four or five pages I get tired of clicking through results. The single page loads surprisingly fast, and only displays the related text when you hover the cursor over a particular image. Result? I viewed more results than I would have in Google images.

Bing’s video results also have a unique feature; if you hover the cursor over the link image of the video, it will start to play, allowing you to decide if you even want to visit that site without ever leaving Bing. Another great feature on Bing is the option to sort through video results by video, tv show, news clip or sports clip.

Mapping tools: One large drawback for me about Bing is the lack of “walking directions” and “search nearby” options within their maps application. Within Google Maps, from an established address, you can find driving or walking directions to a particular location or search for nearby establishments by type. I find this tool invaluable and I think as Bing develops, they too will have similar features.

However, mostly because Google has been working on these projects for much longer, I think Google will always be more accurate and advanced in these features.

The bottom line: Google is unsurpassed, but might face some healthy competition if Bing continues to develop innovative features while becoming more utilitarian.

Have you used Bing much since launch?  What do you think?

After reading the recent Mashable article about Twitter fTags, I’ve got one concern: Is Twitter turning into Facebook?

These new Twitter fTags are an alternative to Twitter hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that allow users to find relevant tweets on a topic of interest, and also if desired, to have their own tweets easily found by others seeking discussions on that topic. Simply entering a hashtag into the search bar pulls search results from other tweets containing the same hashtag, similarly to organic search results from a search engine.

This is obviously a good feature, as social interaction is the very essence of being a social media outlet. When I first joined Twitter, I was surprised at its simplicity. Unlike Facebook, which provided personal information, pictures, quotes, favorite movies, groups and countless other applications, Twitter didn’t have those search options, so it was more difficult to find discussions or people of interest.

Before hashtags and trending topics on Twitter, you could search for specific terms, but if that exact phrase did not show up in any tweets then the search would not pull any results. This would be further limited by tweet context; say you were looking to tweet about photography tips, a search for “photography” would pull results for anyone who had mentioned the word “photography” in a tweet, name or description.

Hashtags bring it one step further, allowing a search term to pull results from other tweets that authors deemed relevant by putting in that hashtag to their tweet. Twitter fTags are even better than hashtags. fTags are real-time streams about any topic (already created or an original discussion), but is best for niche discussions, as the fTag discussions can be very specific.

fTags are also great because, unlike a hashtag, which is usually a keyword related to a topic, fTags are labeled so it is not obvious what the discussion is about. This way, in order to participate, a user must actually understand what the stream is about, and as a result, fTags can help cut down on spam tweets, where every word is preceded by “#.”

Despite the obvious interactive benefits of fTags, I think there is a potential vulnerability. While it is good to be able to find specific discussion topics, these advancements are very reminiscent of Facebook Groups. Are these fTags eventually going to have the option of private discussions or invite only scenarios? Will these fTags evolve into Twitter Groups, as this author has pointed out. What originally set Twitter apart was the openness and lack of privacy; not a lot of personal information was asked for, but the whole point was that everyone sees everything. Facebook too, has been blurring the lines between the different social media platforms with their addition of “status updates,” which is very similar to a tweet.

I am curious to see how fTags and subsequent applications are received. fTags are a great application because the discussions are still interactive and communication based. Twitter and Facebook have not yet lost the fundamental essence of what makes them social media outlets, but they need to be cautious about maintaining the qualities that keep the social media platforms distinct. We are able to do so much with social media today, because there are many channels to go through, but if they all eventually have the same exact capabilities, we will not have accounts for more than one platform. You will either have Twitter or Facebook, not both, which could undermine the growth of social media and limit its user potential.

What are your thoughts on fTags?

Newer entries »

Bad Behavior has blocked 363 access attempts in the last 7 days.