The State of the Beacosystem

When Google announced the Eddystone beacon protocol in the summer of 2015 the idea that the digital and physical worlds could be linked by broadcasting a URL from a small, inexpensive, Bluetooth low energy wireless beacon caused great excitement and launched numerous start-ups. The initial use cases were largely around retail, with large stores and shopping malls introducing discounts and loyalty programs that visitors could receive on their (Android) Smartphones.

Google was understandably obsessed with delivering passive messages, with users having to opt in to avoid spammy notifications popping up on phones just because they got close to a beacon. And this is where things got bogged down. Two years down the road those of us on the sidelines and those with skin in the game have become frustrated that the vision hasn’t arrived, particularly for those who’ve persuaded prospects to sit for demos that don’t work. Some of the early players have gone under, others have merged or sold and the use cases that are rolling out are in areas like asset tracking versus advertising.

The situation might cause one to forget that since Apple introduced the iBeacon protocol in 2013 beacons have worked perfectly well when tied to apps. And Eddystone has that ability in addition to the URL broadcast capability. Beacons work well with apps because users choose to install apps and to give them various permissions, including recognizing specific beacon broadcasts when in range. But the promise of Eddystone was “no app required”, a powerful potential yet to be realized.

What is the future for beacons? Steve Stadler thinks he knows. In June of 2013 Steve published “Beacon Technologies: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Beacosystem”. Researching for the book he interviewed a host of key players and released the content in a series of videos. Today, he is S.V.P of Wiliot, a semiconductor company working to perfect batteryless beacons, drawing their energy from the radio waves that surround us virtually everywhere. In an interview with the company’s video producer, and former Cisco colleague, Steve lays out his vision for the future of the beacosystem.

  • Beacons in the Enterprise
  • Beacons Everywhere
  • Beacons in Everything
  • Beacons in Advertising
Within the first nine minutes of the interview, Steve identifies and expands upon these four predictions, the second and third born of miniaturization and currently developing batteryless hardware, a focus of Wiliot, which sponsors his podcasts. He goes on to identify what he believes is holding back speedier adoption in those areas.  Why don't I let him tell it?

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Progressive Web Apps for the Physical Web

Less than a year after introducing the open source Eddystone protocol for Bluetooth Smart beacons, Google has made impressive progress toward making easier the discovery of the URLs the beacons transmit, with more improvement to come. The company shows no inclination to create push notifications, as iBeacon apps are likely to do, but it is preparing a version of its Chrome mobile browser to discover beacon transmissions by default. Another evolving story involves creating fast, robust, app-like experiences built using modern web capabilities - physical web apps. In removing much of the cost of entry for the capabilities offered by native apps Google is providing a means for virtually any business to compete like a big boy. These web apps can be enabled to work offline and can provide a home screen icon that makes them as easy to return to as Facebook or any other app on your mobile device. The video below might go into more detail than non-coders (like me) will find useful but it does provide an excellent description of the promise involved - complete with a functional example. For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Eddystone-URL Beacons – How I Did it

  I am cursed with the tractor pull of early, early adoption. QR codes lured me in several years ago and this summer it was the turn of the iBeacon. When Apple released these BluetoothLE (low energy) radio transmitters in 2013 they were programmed to communicate with a custom app that visitors to Apple retail stores were encouraged to install on their iPhones. Developers quickly jumped on the opportunity, writing custom apps for other retailers and verticals and the numbers began to grow explosively. But until July of 2015 beacons needed apps like plants need water. Then Google introduced an open source, cross platform alternative to iBeacon, which they named “Eddystone” after a famous lighthouse in the British Isles. The killer aspect of Eddystone is its ability to broadcast a simple web address, a single url that opens up the power of the Internet to every inexpensive little beacon transmitter. Virtually all beacon hardware can be made to work with either standard, or both. I was reading everything I could find on the beacosphere, trying to cement my understanding, collect use cases and ultimately to move from an intellectual sense of the opportunities to an operator’s experience of the end-to-end reality of beacons in use. I selected beaconstac in India as my starting point for the hands-on phase of my journey, and ordered their starter kit for USD $79. (A terrific chat support guy named Dan in NYC made the decision for me.) It included three beacons, an app and a cloud platform. It promised a demo that would open on my smartphone and simulate the experience of entering the proximity zone of a beacon in a retail environment, to show me a deal on shoes. shoes It didn’t work and the beacons were not Eddystone compliant. But to their credit, after trying for several weeks to patch their app to talk to my Sony Xperia Z3 they sent me a free, Eddystone replacement kit. In the meantime I had discovered the manufacturer of the beaconstac hardware, Sensoro of Beijing. Sensoro was running a sale on the identical 4AA beacons, for USD $10 each. I ordered two and installed their app for Android. In a very short time I had discovered how to program them to broadcast simple urls, selecting cnn.com and cbc.com because they were well within the 17-character limit for length of url. I installed an app called the “Physical Web”. When I pull down my notification screen I see a message about two beacons being nearby. When I click that message I see the links I created. my_beacons_in_notification The Physical Web app will I believe become ubiquitous in our physical environment. You will see the distinctive logo on shop doors and street signs, to alert you to the presence of contextual content. From an apartment for rent to a concert announcement and anything in between, links to available web pages will present themselves if you request them. My accomplishment as described above wasn’t as straightforward as it might sound. I stumbled down the road of discovery. The key was my finding that the Sensoro app included its own QR code scanner, for use on the QR code printed on the side of every one of their beacons. Scanning it brought up the beacon settings and the offer to edit them. Here I could enter my url of choice, save and exit. I tried to use the same approach to programming the three identical beacons from the replacement starter kit and hit a roadblock. I’d scan the QR code, select “Edit” and be presented with a login screen asking for a password. beaconstac_eddystone It was many days later that I realized I was looking at the essential security feature that prevents all of us from freely changing other people’s content, by editing their beacons. This requirement for basic security is what forces us to select a supplier and use their software to program our beacons. No matter how far from Mumbai or Beijing my beacons may travel, their supplier knows where they are and how they’re set. That’s what allows them to permit me to make my edits, but not someone who cannot identify himself to their platform. Every beacon has a UUID, a universally unique ID as original as a fingerprint. So now let me share with you last night’s inspiration. Not everyone controls web space and is capable of creating content to link to a url that their personal beacon can then broadcast. But virtually everyone has a device that will shoot video and virtually everyone can upload that video to YouTube and use the YouTube url to link it to a beacon. So whether you want to sell your car (parked with a beacon inside and the Physical Web logo on the window) or advertise a local event in a friendly storefront, creating the message and making it available just got pretty darn easy. And it’s just as easy to change the message by creating a new one and using the url YouTube provides. There's no arguing that most of us haven't had a live beacon experience yet but that will change quickly as the Chrome browser for Android, the Opera browser and more options for receiving notifications natively expand. Beacons just offer too much in too many directions not to get huge. From tracking lost pets to delivering audible messages to the visually impaired, beacons can do what hasn’t been possible until now. For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Micro Video Drone 3.0 – Tech at the Edge

 it is the new Micro Drone 3.0, a miniature HD video drone that has covered every conceivable angle. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the MD3 streams HD video to your phone as it flies. It's capable of streaming live via Meerkat, to your Twitter followers, the video it shoots can be saved and edited, uploaded or linked wherever you choose. All of its parts snap together, are easily replaced and the body can actually be 3-D printed in a variety of looks, like the dragon, or the wasp. Oh yes, and it costs $150. Let's take a look at what it can do. Prepare to be amazed:

I hope you watched the video because it is literally awesome. But it doesn't tell the complete story. The MD3 has an optional gimbal which attaches to the bottom and provides perfect stability in flight. This means you get Hollywood-style results, dead level footage of the world below. It comes with three different props sizes to create three different levels of lift and speed. Along with the professional controller included in the price is an app download to turn your Smartphone into a controller. And another amazing extra turns your phone into a set of goggles that give you a first-person view as you fly, as if you were in the cockpit of the vehicle. In this video the company's young CEO demonstrates the (cardboard) goggles and describes the built-in stabilization that delivers viewable video without the sort of camera shake you would think inevitable from something flying in the wind. The maker claims the MD3 can fly in winds up to 45 miles per hour for six to eight minutes on a charged battery. Batteries are cheap and will charge in an hour.

This third generation of the product was crowdfunded, with a goal of $75,000. When last I looked the amount raised was nearing two million dollars. Winner? I'd say so.

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Mixing Animation & Traditional Video

I have worked in the whiteboard animation space for some months now and recently I had an idea. Would mixing animation & traditional video create new opportunities for engagement and communication? Only one way to find out. Not wanting to start completely from scratch without any proof of concept I elected to feature a recognizable client with a body of work that made it easy for me to reach into past video projects for the traditional video material and to build animation in around it. In doing so I discoverd a use for the method right off the top - a means to extract additional value from long-archived content. I will let you be the judge of its effectiveness.

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The Physical Web will Change Everything

When it comes to news, there's big and then there's really, really big and the #physicalweb is that kind of news. Take a device cheaper than a Smartphone cover and a website called phy.net and ANY business, no matter how small, can invite visitors and passers-by to look at targeted web content on a mobile device browser. Today it's working with Chrome on iOS devices. Soon it will just work everywhere. This video does an excellent job of making the parts and the promise understandable.

Naturally Google wants the developer community to get up to speed with the physical web and it has published content so directed, some of which is intelligible even to non-technical wanna-be's like myself. In an article on Google's github website we find these comments:

Once any smart device can have a web address, the overhead of a dedicated app is no longer required for simple interactions. The Physical Web approach unlocks use cases that would never be practical if a dedicated app were required:

  • A cat collar can let you call to find the owner
  • A bus can tell you its next stop
  • A parking meter can pay in the cloud
  • Any store, no matter how small, can offer an online experience when you walk in
  • A shared car service can broadcast a signup page, allowing you to immediately drive away
  • Industrial equipment can offer diagnostics
Another github article describes how simple it is to get started with the physical web:

"...all you need is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon that supports Eddystone-URL and a website. Simply follow your specific beacon's instructions to configure the URL to your website, place the beacon and that's it: you're now part of the Physical Web!"  That sounds like something a great many of us could do or have done for us very inexpensively. We'll stay on top of developments in this space and keep you updated on the blog and on Twitter.

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Use Mobile to Promote Your Bricks & Mortar Business

The Tsunami of mobile device adoption offers a world of opportunity to promote your bricks & mortar business. And it begins with making your website mobile-friendly. Searches are increasingly coming from mobile devices and Google wants the results to deliver satisfactory experiences for users. Forget page one if you’re not mobile-friendly. Now, some ideas to promote with mobile: SHARED SHORT CODE (SMS MESSAGING) short code messaging sells burgersIf you’ve ever seen an invitation, on your smartphone or a sidewalk sign, for example, to “text insert a word to 33145 to get your discount coupon” or some other goodie, you’ve seen short code at work. Even a sole-location burger bar can afford to put together a short code campaign. Short code numbers are rented out and assigned to campaigns for periods of time. Big companies often buy a number but most of us take advantage of the “shared” option, where one number can be used by multiple campaigns, each separating itself from the others by the choice of the word you’re asked to text. For a full explanation, with examples and video read my blog post. TWITTER OPTIONS twitter feed in WordPress site Put your twitter feed on your website. Now that you’re mobile-friendly, inserting your feed will display properly and give you double coverage, to both your Twitter and website audience. look over to the right hand column (or scroll down if you're on your phone) to see one of the widget solutions in WordPress. Learn how here. If your site doesn't use it, there are other methods.
Twitter Cards are a means of promoting in your feed by creating a card intended either to drive website traffic or encourage downloading an app. For most SMBs the obvious choice is site traffic. Cards, once created, are tweeted, for free to just your followers or to a larger audience with demographics you select, for a fee. Start with free cards to get a feel for the approach. Read my blog post to learn how.
Just as you can boost a post in Facebook you can Quick Promote a Tweet. Read more...
OTHER OPTIONS Build a Facebook Audience from Website visitors All online activity leaves footprints and Facebook offers businesses a method for building an audience from visitors to their (your) website. It's called a "tracking pixel", a snippet of code that, when properly pasted into your posts and pages adds any visitor to an invisible list. You may run ads to that audience (very inexpensively) and a look-alike audience can be created by shared characteristics because Facebook knows so much about its users. With a few clicks, you can double the audience for your boosted posts and other ad options. Read our WordPress "how-to"...
  Live stream video from your premises using Periscope, an app owned by Twitter. Whether you’re putting on an event or just having a busy Saturday, positioning a Smartphone camera on the action makes live streaming video available to your followers and anyone they share with. You can schedule your stream in advance to build a larger audience. Viewers can like and comment so be prepared to engage with them. Live streaming is a two-way street. To get a feeling for live streaming from a mobile device, download Periscope (and Meerkat if you like) and view some of the available programming. You may choose to save your stream with Periscope for twenty-four hours, time to use your Facebook page and your email list to invite viewers who missed the live event. Your first broadcast won’t likely challenge the one restaurant chain Applebee’s pulled off from Times Square but you’ll be ahead of the competition. More...
The underappreciated QR (Quick Response) code remains a useful tool for engaging visitors, providing expanded product knowledge or just a means to save contact and website information. Unlike the product bar codes  on packaging, QR codes are two-dimensional, containing data across and down, which makes them capable of communicating more information than their one-dimensional sibling. Consumers do morepre-purchase research than ever and many would prefer to begin the buying path without a salesperson. QR code campaigns are also simple to design and implement – and they’re trackable.

Mobile can build your business, is doing it for others every day.

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Video Promotion – Yes, You Can

Do you want to add video to your online presence – video on your site and social networks? Does making it happen seem so involved that you don’t know how or where to begin? Well, congratulations. You already have, just by being here at this moment.

use of video in the coming year. Are they thinking about video in the same way that you do? It’s clear that SMB owners and operators don’t have the budget for highly polished film company productions. Nor do they need them. Video is a storytelling medium and every company has stories to tell.
In as little as two minutes or less you can profile your business, product, process or service and make the result appear on the website, in a blog, on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. That’s a lot of mileage for a few hundred dollars.

Business profile video tells your story in minutes Let’s say you want to answer a few questions most often asked by prospects, customers, clients or patients. If you were interviewed on a local cable show you’d have a good piece of content. But you can create an equally effective video without the studio set, lighting and audio by standing in a hallway or behind a desk with a videographer who knows how to drop the questions in via text or slides in the edit. Again, a few hundred dollars.

Q&A with titles, no interviewer needed.

Many stories work very engagingly without video. Accept the challenge and try not to watch the video linked here. There is something about the words and images being drawn in real time before your eyes that is hypnotic. And that’s key because many online videos are viewed only part way through. The longer the viewer stays the more she remembers and the more likely you are to see new revenue. (Go ahead and view full screen.)

Social media is changing the way people interact with bricks and mortar operations. Perhaps you are inviting people to check in on their Smartphones when they visit your place of business. Facebook Checkin Signs

Video during an event captures these interactions, people who know they’re going to be on your site in a day or two will share that video with friends. This example, created during a store owner’s Birthday Sale, shows off the store, the goods, the personality of the man and the strength of relationships with customers – shot on a small High Definition camera, professionally edited with a script and voiceover and background music. And yes, we’re still talking a few hundred dollars.

To explore opportunities and costs, or just to chat or ask a question, LetsTalk and thanks for your time.

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Engage Prospects with Animated Video Storytelling

Telling the story of your business, product or service in a whiteboard animation has proven to outperform talking head formats, largely because it's hard not to watch and easy to recall. It is also surprisingly affordable. Take two minutes to watch our demo. If you agree that animated video storytelling is unusually engaging, let's talk about telling your story. Go ahead and play it full-screen. When you're done you will find some useful detail under the player screen:

The majority of our custom whiteboard animated video projects are made from a few standard ingredients:
  • Script
  • Sound file of narrated script
  • Background music and sound effects (ours, and both optional)
  • Client-supplied logos, images and copy - i.e. address, website, email, etc.
Pricing is largely the product of time invested. If we write the script that adds time. If we record the script versus having you send an audio file, that adds time. That said, a typical two-minute piece, similar to the one you just watched, will seldom exceed $300-$350. (And yes, it is possible to pay as little as $200.) That's a lot of performance for the price. Everything is accomplished with email, the web, a Dropbox account (ours) with a link sent to you (to download your finished video file) and occasionally a WebEx meeting or Skype session. We use WebEx and send you an invitation to join a meeting, if and when necessary - which is a rare occurance. What Do You Do With the Finished Piece?
  1. Something called embed code is provided for you to paste into blog  posts (as above), into web pages, and elsewhere. We'll talk more about that when we talk.
  2. A file in MP4 format which you may upload to your Facebook page, to YouTube. Again we can discuss further options.
To start a conversation, use the comments area below or email David@FaceliftMarketing.ca For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Musk Explains the Tesla Powerwall

Elon Musk doesn't run stuff up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes. When he announces a new product he knows exactly how it will perform and what it will accomplish. In an 18-minute presentation, he lays out a path to literally saving the planet from where the hydrocarbon curve is going. The product line starts with a $3,500 battery you hang on the wall and progresses to infinitely scalable installations capable of powering cities.
Thanks to what he calls the "handy fusion reactor in the sky" and today's solar panel and battery technology he makes the case for the real possibility of replacing all fossil fuel energy generation with batteries storing sunlight. Musk isn't known for his social skills but in this presentation he appears as himself, casual, relaxed, bantering with the audience. But what he presents has been carefully crafted to deflect common criticisms before they get started, to simplify gigantic numbers and then to demonstrate that he's not talking about a concept, rather a reality proven by the fact that the entire presentation space is running on his batteries. For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Coffee Break – Furious 7 Car Drop Stunt Video

You work hard developing great content, offering prospects and clients the chance to learn how to use the tools that work. Time to take a break and a look at what a real budget can accomplish in the world of content. This is special:
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Pinterest for Business

In only five years, Pinterest users have created one billion boards. More than 14 million articles are pinned every day, 80% of visitors are on a mobile device and two-thirds of all the content people Pin is from a business website. Rumours persist that they are developing a "buy" button. If you sell anything that should make your hair stand on end. Yikes. In the video below, Kevin Knight from the partnerships department talks about how to make “beautiful” pins, create thoughtful descriptions, and help pinners take action. In this video he talks about the art of making boards and what he says reminds me of the advice generally given to businesses learning social media marketing. Remember that you arent' advertising, you are sharing a persona and hoping to attract a following of folks who share your interests and values. 
For more solid information and additional content links, read Chris Crumm's article on WebProNews. For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.
Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged

A Video Game-Changer – Whiteboard Animated Video

This is video's year online according to the research. One of the emerging game-changers is something called whiteboard animated video, visual elements drawn before your eyes, with music, narration, images and titles flying in and out in ways almost impossible not to watch. But their appeal, particularly to marketers, doesn't stop there. Compared to talking head video these animated presentations are
  • 15% better remembered by all age groups,
  •  three times more likely to be shared,
  • receive more than twice the recommendations and are
  • more than twice as likely to make a sale.
Add remarkable affordability and you have a fast track to new business. No location shooting, no site meetings, everything done in the digital realm, including your online preview when the project nears its final cut. Watch our latest production and see if you don't agree that the level of engagement is what every business is looking for. Take the full screen option for the best impression: For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Live Streaming Video – Me Reporting from Here

Meerkat was first but Periscope offers replay. If you aren't caught up, allow me to explain. Meerkat (for iPhone for a while yet) is an app that makes live streaming video possible from your phone to a wide audience. It's getting huge buzz, and another 14 million in backing recently, but the knock is that so many streams are dead and done by the time you get a notice. Periscope (a Twitter buy for about $100 million, and also iPhone-only for now) archives streams so they can be viewed after the live aspect is history. What both of them mean at the top level is that anyone can be a broadcast journalist, covering breaking news, or an infant's first steps, or you name it. And you can be dead certain that live porn and live cat videos will be everywhere. twoLiveStreamers   It wasn't many months ago that social media blogs and research reports were touting 2015 as the year of online video. This pretty much guarantees it. Everything we've been able to do with still images can now be done with video. "Here I am making the amazing dish I'm going to upload to Instagram." "Here I am at the gourmet grocery where I buy the ingredients for the amazing dish I'm going...". You know? Read more... For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video. For a sample Digest, click here.

Twitter Advertising – “Quick Promote”

quickPromote
If you've ever promoted a post on Facebook you'll get "Quick Promote", new to Twitter advertising. You may not know it but Twitter offers an analytics service that is at the heart of this new option. Here you find the activity and engagement performance for all of your tweets, according to the date range you select. Using it you can identify what tweets are doing best organically and choose to promote one or more, set a budget and await the results. You can read about it here, where a short video illustrates the process and gives you the url to the analytics page. If you run Twitter on the computer you use to visit, and if you're signed in,your information will default automatically. For more on social, mobile, video, 3-D printing and virtual/augmented reality, click the image. For more coverage of Inbound and Social Media Marketing visit our Twitter and Facebook sites and sign up for the Friday Digest of breaking news on all things social, mobile and video.

Making Good, Affordable Video & Audio

I'm linking here a post I wrote on my website video blog suggesting that a video photo booth is now a relatively simple and inexpensive option for creating social media video content on premises. The larger story is that creating any video content of good quality, and importantly, with good audio, has become extremely cost effective. Folks already interested in making video are likely to know something about the series of goPro wearable cameras that made a billionaire of their inventor. Originally gobbled up by extreme sports participants, their use has spread far beyond thanks to the portability, versatility and video quality. Attached to a drone, a helmet, a car, boat, worn underwater the goPro is a game changer. I was looking for a solution to the ok but not ok enough native audio quality from the camera and came upon a video that clearly demonstrates one path to accomplishing the goal. It might even make you want to go out and buy the gear, or at least check out the affordability given the quality. There are tons of video samples from goPro shoots on YouTube if you want an idea of just how amazing the product is. Here is the video I found. Before you view it I should mention that neither the mount or the mic demonstrated are the only options available. I have an "L" bracket for my tripod on which I mount a shotgun mic and it would serve equally well in this configuration, as would my shotgun, or any of a number available.

What’s on Mark’s Mind

Zuck's first public Q.&A.

Zuck's first public Q.&A.

Mark Zuckerberg spent about an hour recently, engaging with Facebook users from company headquarters, answering questions gathered in advance. If you have the time you may watch the video here. I apologize for losing track of the site where the following excerpt of his remarks appeared but I guarantee the content is exactly as copied from the site. So here is Mark in his own words: "So, with that said, the...and I think it's also important to kind of keep in mind that Facebook is this huge service, and more than a billion people use it. So even though there are these shifts on a day-to-day or a month-to-month basis, and you'll find that your business might get more or less traffic, it's probably still overall a very good, organic and free way to reach and communicate with your customers overall. So I don't want to lose track of that." "Now, in terms of what's going on here, there are two primary trends that I think are affecting the organic reach of fan pages. The first is that as time goes on, people are just sharing more things on Facebook, so each person who's consuming content in their News Feed, they might read a hundred stories from their friends and pages that day, and as their friends share more content, and as they follow more pages, and as those pages share more content, there's just more competition. The average person - there are about fifteen hundred stories a day that they could see in News Feed, and they only see about a hundred, so that means that less than ten percent of what people are posting, the person will actually get to in their feed. And that's important in terms of thinking about how we design News Feed and how we give people the best experience, but it's an important thing to keep in mind - just that there are these two trends: one is that the population of the community on Facebook is growing, so you'll reach more people that way, but there's also more competition for what they see, so only the highest quality content is actually going to get through and shown to those people, so you really need to focus on continuing to make sure that you're pushing out good content and communicating effectively with your customers." That point about people only seeing the highest quality content is certainly debatable, and there is plenty of high quality content that never gets the reach. Zuckerberg continued, "The other thing is a more philosophical way that we think about the products that we build. So News Feed - our goal is to build the perfect, personalized newspaper for every person in the world. We think about the way the newspaper media industry has evolved over time, and there are lots of different newspaper or media channels that people can plug into, and they tend not to be personalized. You can read your local newspaper or a national newspaper or a TV station, and they're kind of showing the same thing to hundreds of thousands or millions of people. What we're trying to do with Facebook and News Feed in particular is personalize it, and show you the stuff that's going to be the most interesting to you whether that's global news through Pages that you might be following or things that are really personal to you, so updates about your friends. One of my friends just this morning had a baby, and I learned about that the baby is healthy on News Feed, and it made me really happy. And that might be relevant to me, but not relevant to a lot of other people in the world, and that's one thing that we try to deliver through News Feed." "So there's this inherent conflict in the system though, which is are we trying to optimize News Feed to give each person - all of you guys the best experience when you're reading or are we trying to help businesses just reach as many people as possible? And in every decision that we make, we optimize for the first. We're making it so that for the people who we serve, who use Facebook, and are reading News Feed get the very best experience that they can. And that means that if a business is sharing content that's going to be useful for them, then we'll show that, but that means that if the business is sharing content that isn't going to be useful for them, we may not show that because it's probably more important that they learn about their friend who had a baby and their baby is healthy." Of course, those two scenarios are pretty much the opposite ends of the spectrum, and there's a lot more that comes into question in the middle. "So that's an important guiding principle for how we think about this stuff," he continued. "And as the products continue to develop, there's just gonna be more people sharing more things, and we're going to continue to try to do our best at showing the best things that we can, understanding that there's no way that a person will ever take the time to go through every one of the 1,500 things that are shared with them every single day. That's kind of how I think about organic reach, and there are a lot of pages that are doing quite successfully, and their organic reach is growing quite a bit because they're delivering content to people that they really want." "So if you're a business owner and you're thinking about how to use your free Page on Facebook, I would just focus on trying to publish really good content that's going to be compelling to your customers and the people who are following you."

Politics in the “Big Data” Era

Following a story on Netflix's new logo I found something considerably more interesting. CNNs "Crossfire" program apparently produces something called "Reload". In this video we're offered a way to understand the new politics courtesy of Silicon Valley. Big Data equips door to door campaigners with so much information about who's behind each and every door.

Your Online Video – Starting Economically

Summary Making and displaying your own video is an apparently complex endeavor that becomes attainable by breaking it into bite-sized bits. The best course for a newbie may well be to work with a professional the first time. Spend a few hundred dollars on a “this is what we do” piece. By the time it’s online you will either feel sufficient confidence to get more involved yourself or decide that the price is worth the outcome. But whatever you do, get started. Online destinations without video are missing out on the power of video in search results and ignoring how most of us want to be addressed. Getting Started As video moved from VHS tape to digital formats options multiplied seemingly overnight. Today I'm going to describe how to begin promoting your goods or services on your website, your blog, your YouTube channel and beyond with simple tools and approaches. From a no-frills webcam, smartphone or tablet video to a bit of editing with visuals replacing your talking head, you can produce effective content with minimal investment. Write Your Story Video is storytelling. Imagine your first project aims to profile your offering in less than two minutes. You begin with a written script. When you read back a half dozen sentences with an eye on your second hand you'll quickly realize how succinct you need to be to deliver your message that briefly. But that's essential in addressing our sound bite nurtured audience. Memorize Two Sentences Almost anyone can, with minimal rehearsal, deliver two sentences into a camera without stammering or looking like the proverbial deer in the headlights. And if you can't do it the first time, who cares? Take two, three, whatever you need to get a version that looks natural. Finish The Voiceover Once you've delivered your two sentences, you can read the rest, provided you've got access to modest editing software or an editor (like yours truly) who can cut your final product. In the Dropbox universe it's trivial to upload a video file for an editor to download, polish, preview to you and return. Identify Your "B" Roll Content When you cut away from the talking head you need imagery to carry on above your voice, imagery that illustrates the story, be it your restaurant, optical shop, T-shirts, you get the idea. This material usually comes in three formats - video, still images and text frames. You don't have to have all three but those are the common options. You can shoot the video or choose to take still images instead if that's more accessible to you. Online video dimensions (width and height) are far less than the average still image so simple editing software allows for zooming in and out, panning left and right, tilting up and down, in effect animating what isn't actually moving. Textual material, like a bulleted list, can be created in Word and screen captured to the .jpg format to lay over your voice. Again, if you can't or don't choose to do this, a professional editor with access to your files (via Dropbox or similar file transfer services) can produce a finished product for a couple to a few hundred dollars. Your Video is Done - What Now? When it comes to putting video online there are multiple choices but only two categories. You either own the platform or you don’t, e.g. your website versus YouTube. The distinction will likely matter to you some of the time. If your video is a how-to piece you might choose to spread it far and wide. If it’s a branded piece you might choose not to expose it to competitor video popping up when yours ends, as is quite common with YouTube. Video producers commonly use commercial hosting providers to serve their files. The file is uploaded once. The host re-encodes the original to provide versions suitable for diverse screens. What plays in glorious high definition on a modern desk-or laptop won’t work on a 3G mobile device. So the video’s owner elects to copy something called “embed code” from the host site. That code may be pasted into any owned space, including your website and any blog space associated with your site. If you want it available on YouTube, Vimeo or elsewhere you’ll have to upload a file and let them take care of serving in properly to different devices. If you have no access to commercial hosting, because you aren’t ready to incur that expense or because you didn’t involve outside help in the production, you can take the embed code YouTube offers to make your video play in you website or blog. You can also upload a video file to your Facebook page and link to it in a Tweet. Ensure you take advantage of whatever metrics are available to you, from the simple "# of views" on YouTube to the more detailed information available via the commercial host. For example, what percentage of viewers watched the full piece? Where did viewers start dropping out? This can be very helpful in deciding where to place calls to action - never wait until the end for a call to action. Half your viewers may not get there.

The Science of Persuasion – Must See

Research has determined six factors that influence the ability to persuade.This is powerful information and well worth the dozen minutes of video required to tell the story. One of the six elements is "liking", and it has been determined that we like people who are similar to us, give us compliments and cooperate with us. MBA students from two well-known business schools participated in a series of studies in which one group was told to just get down to business in negotiation while the other was told to share personal information before beginning negotiations. Just getting down to business produced satisfactory agreements in 55% of cases. Sharing personal information resulted in 90% agreement at 18% greater value. This is only one fascinating revelation awaiting you. If you sell goods or services you'd be silly not to watch this.

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