Category Archives: Internet Trends

Create and Deploy Your Own QR Codes

Scan (or click) on this Code to Register

You’ve heard about them. You’ve seen them around. They’re popping up everywhere. QR Codes are the latest rage, but what are they? How do you create them? How do you use them? What are they good for? Join me on Thursday, November 10, 2011 (12:00 – 1:30 PM) at the law firm of Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen & Pokotilow, Ltd. (1635 Market Street, 7 Penn Center, 11th Floor, Philadelphia) and you’ll learn everything you need to know about QR Codes, including:

  • What are QR Codes?
  • History of QR Codes
  • QR Anatomy
  • Types of QR Codes
  • How to Make a QR Code
  • How to Read a QR Code
  • How to Use QR Codes
  • Measuring Success
  • Examples & Best Practices
  • How NOT to use
  • Security Risks
  • The Future

So, come join me. It’ll be a great time.

Click here to register (or scan the QR Code in this post).

See you there!

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Filed under Internet Trends, Marketing, QR Codes, Social Media, Speaking, Training, Viral Marketing

Interview with Zombie Author Jonathan Maberry

I’ve been doing a lot of fiction writing recently; more than I’ve done in quite a few years. One of the things that’s inspired me, and which I’ve found fascinating, is how  social media, tablets, e-readers and e-books are changing the publishing landscape. As a result, I’ve started interviewing authors to learn about how they use social media to build their audience and propel their careers. The links below will take you to two posts that together are the first in a series of interviews I will be posting about authors and social media.

In this post, I interviewed Jonathan Maberry, author of such zombie brain-feasts as Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay, Dead of Night and Wanted Undead or Alive. Note that there are two versions. Tweeting with Zombies is a short version that focuses on Twitter and was posted to twitip.com. The longer, extended post, Of Zombies & Social Media, is on Addicted to Social Media.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Addicted to Social Media, Internet Trends, Interviews, Social Media, Twitip.com, Twitter

Will Facebook become FaceBank?

In our Addicted to Social Media podcast #44, I mentioned that Facebook could become FaceBank. In this post I go into more detail on a fascinating possibility.

Last week, it was announced that Goldman Sachs will invest $450 million in Facebook in addition to helping the company raise an additional $1.5 billion. This is a massive amount of money that will allow Facebook to do practically anything it wants (as if it couldn’t already). But while the pundits debate what Facebook will do with that money and whether or not it should, will or won’t go public, Facebook could become even more massive and powerful, ultimately evolving into FaceBank.

Could Facebook become FaceBank?

Facebook would certainly need much more than the few billions it’s raising in order to transform itself into a bank. However, if Mark Zuckerberg can successfully compete against companies such as Google (something he’s clearly positioning Facebook to do in both search and advertising) then Facebook would be able to generate the billions in additional revenue per quarter that it would need to back transactions from its 500+ million members.

Indeed, Facebook already has much of the critical infrastructure it needs in order to enable such transactions. Aside from the robust server infrastructure Facebook uses just to run the site, it has Credits, its virtual currency product, and Facebook social plugins such as the Like Button, Like Box and Login Button that are currently being used by at least 2 million websites. With these components already in place, Facebook is very close to being able to offer its users the ability to purchase products and conduct other financial transactions amongst each other using Facebook as the intermediary.

Would Facebook become FaceBank?

Of course, to do this Facebook would have to open itself up to an incredible degree of scrutiny, perhaps in many countries. This is something that Facebook will have to do anyway if it is going to go public, but this is also something that Zuckerberg doesn’t seem interested in doing.

However, in a FaceBank world, Facebook’s current $50 Billion valuation would merely be a drop in the bucket. If Zuckerberg and company could transform Facebook into a FaceBank, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Facebook surpassing Apple’s $300 Billion valuation, especially if Zuckerberg achieves his goal of having 1 billion members. If this were to happen, in our bubble-based global economy, could a trillion-dollar valuation be far behind? And what would a company that commands such wealth and that knows so much about a significant percentage of the world’s population’s interests, likes and desires ultimately do then?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Filed under Addicted to Social Media, Facebook, Internet Trends, Social Media

Being Busy is Good

Well, I’ve been busy lately with several new blog posts (with more coming) and podcasts. Check them out at the links below, and enjoy.

Addicted to Social Media
A2SM Podcast #11: Jumping the Shark
A2SM Podcast #10: Interview: Loic Le Meur, Founder of Seesmic, gives us some Exclusive News!
Post: 4 Simple Reasons Why Twitter’s @Anywhere is Going @Nowhere

TwiTip.com
Guest Post: 10 Features I want to see in TweetDeck (Don’t miss TweetDeck’s Community Manager’s comments (see Comments 7 and 8).

NealWiser.com (See Below)
9 More Features I want to see in TweetDeck (a continuation of my Twitip post above – I had a lot to say)

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Filed under Addicted to Social Media, Guest Posts, Internet Trends, Podcast, Social Media, Twitip.com, Twitter

A2SM Podcast 6 Now Live, “Privacy? What Privacy?”

Hi friends, Podcast number 6 is now live on AddictedtoSocialMedia.com. In this podcast:
-I presented at NSA Social Media Lab.
-Facebook’s so-called “Privacy Changes.”
-Google’s Real-Time Search.
-Our Picks of the Week.

You can find it here: http://a2sm.com/a2sm-podcast-6-privacy-what-privacy/

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Filed under Addicted to Social Media, Internet Trends, Social Media, Speaking

Check Out “Follow Friday; Too Much of a Good Thing?” on Twitip.com

My latest Twitip post just went live!

If you’re on Twitter, then you probably know about #followfriday. Are you a fan, or is it getting annoying? Read my Twitip.com post “Follow Friday; Too Much of a Good Thing?” Please RT, and of course leave a comment (I love to hear from you).

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Filed under Internet Trends, Social Media, Twitip.com, Twitter

Read my Latest Guest Post, “Twitter Fatigue” on Twitip.com

I am pleased to announce that my latest Twitip.com Guest Post is live. Read, “Twitter Fatigue: Rumors of Twitter’s Demise May Not Be Greatly Exaggerated

Summary: Over the past year, predicting Twitter’s demise due to a lack of business plan has been the topic de jour in the blogosphere. However, it’s recently become clear that Twitter faces a more immediate threat; its own success.

Looking forward to your comments, either here on on Twitip.

Also, I’ll be on Air America Radio’s “Doing Time w/ Ron Kuby” again today (March 31) at 3:45 PM EST discussing Twitter Celebrity Impostors & Ghost Tweeters.

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Filed under Internet Trends, Media Appearances, Social Media, Twitter

Hear my Air America Radio Segment Discussing “Twipocalypse Now”

On Monday, March 9th, I was pleased to be a guest on Air America Radio’s “Doing Time w/ Ron Kuby” discussing my Twitip.com blog post, Twipocalypse Now: Warnings of a Twitter Bubble. While the link to the podcast on Air America unfortunately requires a subscription, I have made arrangements for you to listen to the segment. If an embedded player does not appear, please click on the link below (length: about 7.5 minutes).

Neal Wiser on Air America Radio Discussing \”Twipocalypse Now\”

I just want to add that the segment was about half as long as I thought it would be so I didn’t get the chance to thank Darren Rowse, the amazing editor of Twitip.com for inviting me to blog for them. Please check out Twitip, it’s a great resource for all things Twitter, and keep an eye out for more posts from me. Next one should be up shortly.

btw; you can follow Darren on Twitter by clicking here.

And of course, thanks to Air America and Ron Kuby for having me on as a guest.

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Filed under Internet Trends, Media Appearances, Social Media, Twitter

Your Business isn’t Yours Anymore; It Belongs to Your Customers

First in a series of articles about how digital technologies, like blogging and social media, are changing the landscape of business.

You might think that your business belongs to you and/or a group of shareholders. While you may own the legal rights to the physical means of production; the buildings, the equipment, or the intellectual property and brands, the reality is that slowly, certainly, you’re losing control.

Control, after all, is the important part of ownership. So, while you may think you control your business, the truth is that you don’t anymore. You may not have noticed it, but control is slipping through your fingers. Today, the reality is that it’s your customers who own (i.e. control) your business; lock, stock and barrel.

Certainly, on some level you know it’s your customers who ultimately pay your bills, keep food on your table and a roof over you head. But what could they possibly, actively control? With growing frequency, the reality is; just about everything.

The Changing Meaning of Ownership

Time was when you could buy a car in any color; as long as it was black. But, this was during an age when resources were scarce and the means of products were tightly controlled. In a real sense, Company A decided what you wanted, how to manufacture it, how to sell it to you and on what terms (and you had better like it; thank you very much). But back then, the individual customer had little to no voice. If you didn’t like a company or its product, your options were limited.

Today, companies from industries as diverse as automotive, hospitality and software are enabling their customers to actively take part in many aspects of the product lifecycle. Here are a few examples of what customers can now influence:

Product Design:

Manufacturing:

Marketing:

Customer Support:

  • Dell & Intuit rely heavily on the community built around their products.

In case you don’t recognize it, this is Control.

How Did I Lose Control?

Thank the internet; or more specifically blogs, wikis and similar community and social media technologies. I’ll leave the details of what these are and how to use them to later posts. For now, let’s just refer to these technologies as Social Media Tools (SMTs).

What’s important is to recognize that SMTs are changing the landscape of business. How? Not only do SMTs allow you to communicate with a global audience of potential customers, but they allow your customers to communicate with each other. This is the kicker because it’s not just that Soccer Mom Sally and Joe the Plumber can talk across the backyard fence. Sally and Joe are sharing that same conversation with millions of your customers.

Brand: YOU

There’s plenty written about how SMTs enable Sally and Joe to tell the world what they think about your products and your company (just Google Social Media for a sample). Most of these posts tell you that these tools allow you to share ideas, make recommendations, fix problems, teach, learn and otherwise contribute to an infinite number of conversations on an infinite number of topics. But what you really need to know that that Sally and Joe are often also talking about YOU.

Yes, YOU personally. With the internet and SMTs, you need to understand one thing; YOU aren’t the anonymous (insert your title here) who can hide behind the corporate brand. YOU, in a very real sense, are an extension of your company’s brand.

If You Love My Product, Why Won’t You Buy It?

Today, YOU, the leader of your company, are held more accountable then ever for how your company behaves. YOU are inextricably linked to your business and products. Now, you may be thinking, “but I am not my product.” But you are. By how you lead your company, you are creating a brand of behavior which is every bit as important as your product. Look at Steve Jobs. He is Apple, just as Bill Gates (even after retirement) is still Microsoft. And this can have a HUGE impact on the bottom line.

Bill the Borg

Bill the Borg

While much of Apple’s recent success can be attributed to its brilliant marketing and a great product, many Apple customers are Apple customers because they are turned off by Microsoft as represented by Bill Gates. There’s a reason why Gates is often caricatured as a malevolent Borg.

But more importantly, how many people who think this way use Windows?

This trend can also be applied to people who only represent a product. Tom Cruise’s unusual behavior is widely believed to have seriously diminished the box office () of Mission Impossible 3. And don’t even get me started on Mel Gibson.

The point is; if people don’t like YOU, they are less likely to buy your products.

How do I Regain Control?

You can’t. Well, not entirely, but this is not a bad thing. I’ll cover tactics for using SMTs in later posts, but realize that SMTs can still make you rich; and in ways you probably wouldn’t expect.

If you’re smart (and I know you are), you’ll join the conversation. What will you get out of it? That depends; maybe nothing, or maybe a whole new relationship with your customers. And if that doesn’t convince you, think of it this way; if, by reaching out to your customers using SMTs, you get them to buy your product 5 times this quarter instead of 4, then you’ve increased sales by 20%.

And that’s not bad.

Yes, control is the important part of ownership. Your customers own you and you had better get used to it.

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Filed under Internet Trends, Social Media

The New True (or, The Internet: The Incredible Credibility Machine)

There’s an old saying, “don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.” Obviously, this advice applies to the Internet. Conduct a search on Google on almost any topic and buried somewhere in the results will be links to a wide variety of unusual or even radical ideas (depending, of course, on your definition of unusual or radical).

Granted, some of these ideas may eventually reach the mainstream, take root and ultimately improve our lives for the better. However, there’s a problem. As the Internet has become the medium of choice for uncounted millions around the globe, it has also acquired the power to grant credibility not only to fringe and potentially dangerous ideas, but even to outright lies.

Why is this a problem? It’s not because there will always be people who will believe anything. It’s also not because some of this information is intentionally deceitful (although this is itself a huge problem). Nor is it even that the numbers of those exposed to this surging tide of fallacy is increasing rapidly. It’s a problem because there is a growing culture that is accepting the malleability of truth.

The Malleability of Truth and Other Love Stories

Herein lies the real danger. The truth used to be pure and beautiful and absolute. But in a world where the sanctity of truth is eroded, anything can become true. Now, obviously you don’t believe everything you read on the internet (good for you). But how many times have you read something you knew to be wrong or untrue and yet, something about it just stuck with you? Perhaps it nagged at your subconscious. Maybe it even softens your opposition to the original idea.

All mass media has the power to grant credibility. Consider Walter Cronkite, the former journalist and television news anchor. Smart guy? Sure. But he was so respected by his audience, so undeniably credible, that George McGovern wanted him as his Vice Presidential running mate in 1972. Certainly this respect was earned by years of hard work, but the medium of television granted him additional credibility. The internet excels at this.

Today, not only is the internet able to grant credibility, but it can amplify that credibility to a level disproportionate to that of all other media. Today, tens of millions can laugh and experience the otherwise obscure video Evolution of Dance.

Today (a few million less) fall in love with Soccer Moms who blog about their qualifications to be Vice President. How does the Internet do this? It does so in three ways.

1. Scarcity Breeds Credibility

Ask yourself how much you really know about the source of any idea. When we watched Cronkite you might have agreed that he appeared authoritative. You place greater credibility upon his words. But when you read this blog, you can’t see or hear me. You might ascribe certain attributes to me, picturing me as tall, charming and handsome (I am :). And if you agree with me or enjoy my posts, that image might increase my credibility with you.

The point is that, like Cronkite, you only get me in small morsels (my posts) and the less you know about me, the more credible I appear. I, like my fellow bloggers, are beautiful and smart and perfect. You don’t see anything tarnishing the silver lining. Think about Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards or Tom Cruise; all beloved golden-boys until we looked a little too closely. They became over exposed and the knowledge of their indiscretions, or ridiculous behavior destroyed their credibility. Credibility depends on limited exposure; i.e. scarcity.

2. Less is More (More or Less)

This is less about how much you know about someone then about how many someones you know. Back in Cronkite’s day, the number of sources of information you were exposed to could probably be counted on two hands, if not one. I read the RSS feeds from close to one hundred sources every day. Okay, I skim a lot of headlines. The point is that I may not be getting to know any individual source any better then the next one. So how do I know that one source is any more credible then the next?

At least I know that my news comes from diverse sources. Millions of people who use Yahoo or Google as their home pages don’t even realize that the news feeds that fill those pages don’t all come from the same place. Few people stop to learn about their sources before moving onto the next. When this happens, people can’t weigh the credibility of those sources. Everything gets mixed together so fringe ideas earn credibility by being consumed along with more credible ones.

3. Virtuous Circles

Credibility is a powerful thing. In a vacuum (a lack of overexposure) credibility can achieve incredible momentum. Under the right circumstances, that momentum can loop back into a virtuous circle. Credibility builds upon credibility. Google has mined this to amazing effect. Their PageRank system assigns credibility to websites that have a large number of other websites linking to it. When you become credible enough, the standard for what’s true is whatever you say it is. You define the truth. This is the “New True.”

Welcome to the “New True” (“You can’t handle the truth”)

The New True doesn’t care if anything is true or not because it changes what it means to be true. No longer will the truth be obscured by shades of grey. No longer are outlandish claims incredible. And while the New True can now be found in any mass media, it was the internet that gave it life because once something is on the internet, once it’s out there, it can never be taken back. It gains a base credibility and becomes Internet Credible. And once on the Internet, an I-Credible idea can germinate or fester (depending on your point of view), essentially hibernating until its audience finds it.

The implications of this are profound. As the New True becomes accepted, it becomes the standard upon which all other truths are measured. Checks and balances become meaningless. The New True is a rubber stamp which anyone with an audience can place upon any ideas, even potentially dangerous ones. And we have no choice but to learn how to handle it.

Now you may be asking  yourself if this could really happen. Could any of this really be true? Of course it is. Want to know why?

Because you read it here, on the internet.

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Filed under Internet Trends, The New True