Blog Archives

5 Social Media Realities in November 2011

Social MediaWhether you are starting out in social media, or have been using it for some time, here are 5 useful tips that will help you keep ahead of the competition as we come to the end of 2011. Read the rest of this entry

Facebook to Introduce Subscribe Button With 3 Features

Facebook Subscribe ButtonFollowing Twitter’s announcement that they will soon offer Twitter Web Analytics Facebook are to release a subscribe button. At first, this may not seem like a big deal, however this will have massive implications, which will ultimately benefit the world’s largest social network a great deal. Read the rest of this entry

What’ll kill off Twitter?

I’ve purposely waited a bit to post this, as I didn’t want people to think I was posting to benefit from adding keywords surrounding recent events to improve search rankings (like Mashable did). It’s taken from a Google+ post I put up a few days ago.

So, is it going to be the death of a celebrity, a catastrophic event or the airing of a popular tv show that spells the end of Twitter?

I really love Twitter. To be honest though, whenever one of the three types of events above occurs, I turn my back on it until everyone gets off their soapbox.

Facebook is the same. Status updates like “Who gives a f*ck about some crackhead when so many people are suffering in Norway” make me want to just delete my account altogether. The other side of the fence is just as annoying, “This is the worst thing to happen to music since the death of John Lennon”. Oh please. It’s devastating, but Lennon changed the shape of pop and rock music as part of the most influential band the world has ever seen.

Read the rest of this entry

Adding Facebook contacts to Google+

You can’t avoid Google+ at the minute, everyone seems to be talking about it. In order to get the most out of the new social network you need some of your friends on there. This short video shows you how to add your Facebook friends to your Google+ contacts. You can add me on Google+ or, if you would rather, on Twitter.

Read the rest of this entry

What I like most about Google plus – Circles

I want to get a couple of things straight before I start singing the praises of Google Plus. First of all, I LOVE Twitter. Absolutely love it. Secondly, I live with Facebook because it is the easiest way to keep up with people I know that are scattered all over the place. For me, Twitter is like eating cake; something I do regularly because I really enjoy it. Facebook is like ironing clothes, something I feel compelled to do to keep up appearances.

So now I’ve set the scene, here is an outline of the feature I like most about Google plus. Read the rest of this entry

Facebook + Skype = recruiter engagement

Following on from my Facebook fatigue or just lazy journalism article comes news from Online Social Media, who also source Mashable and TechCrunch, that Facebook and Skype will work together to provide an in-browser video chat platform.

Facebook + Skype = Faceypook

This, I believe, is awesome news. It’s great because you will be able to video chat with friends and family easily through the social networking tool that you use most regularly to keep in touch with them. Brilliant! I would call it Faceypook. They will probably not call it Faceypook.

Those benefits (and my proposed working title for the project) to one side, lets discuss one of the main objectives of university careers offices – getting students and graduates in front of employers. I’m not talking about your established graduate recruiters, but the masses of other opportunity providers out there. The majority of these providers have Facebook pages and more or less every student has a Facebook account, and despite the great work so far in linking the two through university Facebook pages, the benefits are there for all to see but could be much higher. There is a great opportunity for careers services to facilitate these online conversations.

In its current state, it is difficult to take advantage of Facebook’s massive reach within the student community in relation to careers advice and opportunities. In the eyes of most students, Facebook is for friends, photos, family, etc, not for finding employment. Careers service Facebook pages are gaining more interest, Salford University are doing some great work and reaping the benefits, but often pages are used as a referral mechanism to events or information outside the remit of Facebook. How great will it be then when (although it is tbc) Skype video chat through Facebook becomes a reality? It will, I believe, be the catalyst for students to use video in their job search and become more aware of the need for a professionally maintained online presence.

Careers service Facebook pages will become meeting points for job seeking students/graduates and potential employers – facilitating video interviews between the two. As a recruiter, I’d pay for that service – to chat directly to job seekers. I imagine that Skype’s group calling functionality will be implemented at some point, thus enabling calls to be moderated if required. What a great opportunity for organisations to tap into a fantastic recruitment market and for students to ‘meet’ employers and hone their interview technique!

Lets leave the ‘video can be used to discriminate’ chat at the door for this one. My stance on this issue is that if an employer is stupid enough to let the age, race, gender or a disability affect their recruitment decisions in a video interview, by excluding the video interview process you simply postpone their discrimination until the face-to-face interview. The opportunities that come with being able to tap into the world’s biggest social network outweigh the potential negatives brought about by “what if”s.

On a sidenote, if you hear a loud groan when the Skype/Facebook video chat service is released, that’ll be Google realising that Google+ is now even less likely to take off properly. Ah well Google, chin up, 4th time lucky eh?

Add your thoughts and comments on how this service could be rolled out or whether you think it’s a good idea or not, alternatively tweet thoughts to my account – @OnlineAStevens.

Facebook fatigue or just uninventive news content?

I meant to write a post in response to this Decline In Users Hints At ‘Facebook Fatigue’ article from Sky News, published on Yahoo on June 14th, sooner but I was on holiday. I had no data connection,  so I did some real world things like being taken for my stag do (no doubt pictures soon to appear on Facebook) and taking the little fella to the beach, instead of having my face stuffed in my mobile.

The point I wanted to raise about this article, and similar knee-jerk ‘news’ content that gets spewed out, is that sections of the press seem to be constantly looking for an anti-Facebook story. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook doesn’t need me sticking up for it, and there are plenty of negative points that you could raise about them. But if you’re going to do this effectively, at least get the calculator out and apply some forethought before you start predicting the beginning of the end for the world’s leading social networking site.

The article is based on the fact that Facebook recently lost 100,000 UK accounts. This equates to only 0.3% of the 30m UK accounts in existance. I doubt that this minor drop off is keeping Mr Zuckerberg awake at night. I’m sure instead he will be thinking about the fact that, according to Checkfacebook.com, their 30m users equate to 67% of UK internet users. Also remember that this is account numbers we’re talking about. The 0.3% will be dead wood, accounts that are not being used. The other 99.7% of UK accounts are using Facebook as their main platform to share content they have created themselves and content they come across online.

Here are some other Facebook facts that indicate that the world is some way from suffering from a severe case of ‘Facebook fatigue’:

  • Facebook has over 500 million active (and active is the key word here) users worldwide, Facebook.com
  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared through Facebook each month, Facebook.com
  • 1 out of every 6 pages views in the UK are attributed to Facebook – twice the number of Google, Experian Hitwise

There will be a saturation point at which growth slows to a stop, but they have prolonged their life span by embedding themselves on near enough every website with like/share buttons – 250 million people engage with Facebook every month on external websites. They’ll be ok for a while yet. With this article, could it be that Sky and Mr Murdoch were trying to avert people’s attention from the fact that he had to sell ‘social networking fall from grace case study’ MySpace for 10% of what he paid for it this week?

Facebook will continue to grow in 2011 and I personally think that their next step will be into the online voucher market, to counter the proposed merger between online coupon provider Groupon and location-based social networking site Foursquare. I also think they will look to improve their photo and video upload service within the next year, as the existing interface leaves a lot to be desired.

Have you found yourself using Facebook less recently, or do you even use it at all? Add comments below or tweet to @OnlineAStevens.

Google +1 and what Facebook should do in response

So, Google have introduced their +1 button.

I don’t think that this will have Facebook quaking in their boots. First off, for personalised recommendations (i.e. X number of your friends +1’d this) you need to link your Google account to those of your friends. Who does this really? I’d say 5-10% of Google account holders. We pretty much all have a Google account (and if you don’t, you should) but we use it for the tools like Gmail and Google Docs rather than as an integrated social media account. The average Facebook user has 200 to 400 friends that they communicate with/see statuses from regularly through the social networking site. Can anybody boast the same exposure of their social activity via their Google contacts?

Secondly, in relation to the anonymous +1’s, you have a situation whereby the most popular content, not the best quality or most accurate, rises to the top. I believe that rather than creating a nice cream-topped Irish coffee of search results, they will actually resemble the froth that gathers on the water of an inner-city renovated docks complex. Content from people like Piers Morgan and Lady Gaga will probably end up on the first page of our search results and, be honest, do any of us really want that to happen?!

Not that Facebook are quaking in their boots at +1, but they do have an opportunity to provide a superior alternative. They could do this by enabling their users to catalogue all of the Facebook pages and content that they have liked. So, when using my Facebook profile, I can access all of the articles and pages I have previously liked – using it as a read later type service or as a personalised Stumble Upon type service full of Facebook pages that you have previously liked. Also, and this would be the most effective element, friends can view each others Like catalogues. Your friend Dave has great taste in music? You would search through his Like catalogue music section and Like the pages yourself. Suzie always posts interesting news stories before you hear them through mainstream news channels? Browse through the news section of her Like catalogue and find out where she gets all this info.

Why will this work for Facebook? Because, like Google, everyone has a Facebook account. The difference is that Facebook accounts are integral to their social online activity.

What are your thoughts on this?

Quick fix: How careers services can utilise social media

I presented at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Technology Day this month, I’ve added my presentation to this post.

Part of the day included a Q&A with a student panel, made up of 4 students from various courses. The comment that hit hardest was that the panel was barely aware of the careers service and the support it offered. This is a situation you will find at most universities, but how on earth are careers services supposed to build their reputation with every student when resources and budgets are so tight? Well, I’ll run through the other points raised by the students and, hopefully, some quick fixes showing how careers services can use social media to work towards building their reputation amongst students.

When asked what the best way of reaching them (students), they all replyed that email is probably the best channel

Although currently this is the case, owing to a slow uptake with Linkedin and Twitter, I think that this provides the perfect opportunity for careers services to act as educators in social media. If you, as a careers service, teach someone how to use a tool that they will use for the foreseeable future, you will be engrained in their conciousness forever. Considering that the panel had bearly heard of the careers service until this point, this would be of massive benefit. This is further supported by the following point…

We (students) would attend sessions or view online how to videos showing how social media can be used to search for jobs

A member of the audience raised the point that they don’t have the time for this sort of activity, which is a fair point. But consider this; in one afternoon you could either see up to 6 students in one-to-one sessions, which is useful. Or you could download some free screen capture video software, which records your on-screen activity, plug in your webcam to record your voice and record a video commentary showing how to set up a Twitter account and search for job opportunities. There is an interest in the student and graduate market for this type of information and, along with some promotion, it will reach thousands of students and graduates. Include a link to your careers services pages at the end of the video and it will act as a traffic driver to raise awareness of your careers service.

All panel members use YouTube and Facebook

Once you have created your video as outlined above, you can upload it to YouTube and post the link on Facebook. This is where the concept of waterholes comes into play, i.e. be where your audience is. Also insure that your video is posted to the main university Facebook page and any other pages associated to the university (including the Student Union). After all, the one thing all of these page users have in common is that at some point they will be searching for jobs! Get creative with this, maybe record a ‘How to tie your tie for an interview’ video, or run a competition on campus for the funniest careers related video. User generated content such as this will give your Facebook and YouTube channels a personal touch that will make them extremely shareable. At every careers event, get your camera and video camera out there and create some content!

A member of the audience asked the one question that everyone, including myself at one point, asks about social media. ‘How can I justify allocating the time to tweeting or updating Facebook?!’. I believe that the extra investment of time is worthwhile because it amplies the effort that you put into each task and provides a soundboard for your service. If we’re honest, whatever we have been doing thus far to promote on-campus career services has not worked as well as it could have. So, let’s change it up and try something different. Try commiting some time over the next 3 months and I am sure that you will see the benefits.

Short video – social media for recruitment

A short video recorded by Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) at last week’s Social Media Surgery Manchester, the title of which was ‘Social media for recruitment: Getting a job through Twitter or Linkedin or Facebook’. Ian asked for the one piece of advice that I would give to a job seeker using social media. Before you watch, I’d like to apologise for 3 things:

  1. The “I’d…erm…” at the start of the vid
  2. The horrendous black waiter’s shirt I was wearing
  3. The terrible hair do

This was taken after a long day at work, upon which I blame these 3 things.

You can still access the live blog from the evening and if you are a job seeker you may wish to take a read of my social media surgery take away, which offers some pointers on the effective use of social media in your job search. Keep an eye on my Twitter account (@OnlineAStevens) or drop me an invite on Linkedin if you would like to know more about the next event. The likely topic of discussion will be content generation for social media and reporting stats accurately.

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