Culture & Technology

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Starbucks hit social media gold

In the season of giving, Starbucks rolled up their tech sleeves along with (RED) to create a  global sing-along as a part of their continuing efforts to help fight AIDS in Africa. The project is Starbucks Love Project.

At 1:30 pm GMT on December 7th, people from 156 countries joined in the sing-along. You can see the video edited together on the Starbucks site, Starbucks Love Project, YouTube, even their Facebook fan page, which has a caption that reads 'One moment. One song. 156 countries.'

From accross oceans, tribes, languages, cultures, ages and more, people came together to sing one song of love for all to hear, 'Love is all you need.'

This is a project that wouldn't have been possible years ago, and with the assistance of social media, this has become an amazing tool to create AIDS awareness along with brand awareness for (RED) and Starbucks. I can't help but think of how this is such a phenomenal example of how technology can be used for extraordinary things. Starbucks and (RED) didn't just create a montage of clips of people singing. They gathered people from corners of the world, had them huddle around their webcams and sing together. It's a brilliant and unprecedented event, giving us one voice. Taking a Beatles hit 'All you need is love' and running with the event.

I think they not only excelled in the use of the new media, but busted through a roof. Starbucks and (RED) gave consumers what they wanted during the holiday season. This 4 minute video is something that can't help but bring a smile to faces in such an uncertain time. While places are facing political unrest, economic uncertainty and more, people are stopping and sining about love.

Is this really just a video?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Computer People'

Last Friday someone told me 'I'm not sure if we have a website, I'm not a computer person.' I know that some people don't use computers, but really? Isn't a website as vital as having a phone number to call? If I need a number, contact, organization or event information I head to the web.

Am I ridiculous for thinking that people that are in customer support positions need to have some computer skills? I currently work in a customer support field and computer skills are not only 'highly recommended' but a requirement.

I went on to speak with my grandmother, she emails, gchats and likes to 'google' movie reviews. When she was trying to get a job through a temp agency, they made it manatory to have basic computer skills. She was actually offended that someone said that they didn't know anything about a website or computers.

When it comes to culture, has this just become an assumption? In the skills section of my resume, I almost feel like posting 'Microsoft OS proficiency' is like saying 'I can read'. Why would I put that?

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Social Media & Relationships

Recently I flew to the east coast to attend a close friend's wedding. It was small, beautiful and very intimate. I realized that my college friends and I spent no time 'catching up'. I've been told numerous times that when you are back with people you haven't seen in a while, it can be hard. However, we were never really apart.

For my various circles, it's become acceptable to touch base through social media.

Social Relationships
Between Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Features, email and more, it's nearly impossible not to stay in contact with friends and family from a distance. During the brief weekend on the east coast we already knew who was working where, how the projects were going, how my friend was now dating a new woman. Where did we get all this information? Facebook statuses, email, texts and- once every blue moon- a new YouTube video.

I've noticed that some of my past teachers, mentors and professors keep track of my professional edeavors through my Linkedin page. This has actually expanded my relationships with these people beyond former supervisors, club advisors and classroom walls. This has been a great way to rekindle and enhance relationships by opening professional doors.

While my parents aren't very active online, at least not on my networks, I am able to touch base with cousins, aunts, uncles and brothers. All of the cousins went to school all over the U.S. and I have a married brother in Asia, so this makes social media, specifically social networks, a great way to keep track of my family. Sometimes my parents and relatives are shocked when I know about an engagement. However, my mom now just says 'I know, it's on facebook isn't it?'

I know that people criticize social media for it not being a real relationship tools, but they are wonderful for maintaining and enhancing already established relationships and building community.

My relationships on social media are personal, professional and family oriented. What are your relationships online?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Is Social Media a fad?

Take a look at this video and tell me what you think. As a member of Generation Y, I'm left inspired and energized.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

140 characters or less please
Why micro-blogging is changing the way we communicate electronically

Writing is evolving. Today we have blogs, micro-blogs, bullets, HTML and texting, all ways to communicate a message. Most of these require and/or suggest fewer characters, leaving you to be creative, clean and straightforward. This changes the game, for some.

In the areas of client and customer messaging, less is more. Tell them what they need to know, now. Not in four, well bodied paragraphs. This is why tools like Twitter and status updates have become great for short blurbs on what is going on in your business world.

Tools like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn are ways that people can see what you are working on in real time. Posting a twitter update on your client's project can be a great way to give them a shout out and a quick update. Keep it brief and let them know it's getting done and they are on your mind. Leave the details and relevant facts for in depth webpages and report summaries.

Now, just post the update relevant to your audience, if you have more to say, use hyperlinks. A friend of mine is a retired AP journalist and said that hyperlinks are electronic footnotes. In some cases, they can really get your audience connected to new sources, like blogs of people you follow and admire.

Micro-blogging also requires stellar, concise and clear customer service. There are many small, medium and large businesses that have started to have customer service reps monitor micro-blogging sites for their customers. Google is even responding to questions that weren't initially directed at them.

How has the 140 characters or less mentality changed the way you communicate in business, school, or even with friends and family?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Digital Divide

With the continuing influence of 'digital literacy' in academics and the job market, executives are gathering to address the issue.

The NY Times Bits had a great article about how there is the possibility that the gap between digital literacy and the ones with little or no access might be obsolete after a period of time. How/why? Because that's the way the market works...

According to the article: Google’s founders, Sergey Brin said that 'connecting to Internet will eventually be like electricity: easy and cheap.'

Monday, October 19, 2009

Evolution of the publishing industry

If you are in content distribution, you might be reevaluating how you will be distributing the content moving forward, if you haven't already.

Newspapers are struggling with online distribution, publishers and authors alike.

Seth Godin has still been able to have best selling books through some interesting and purposeful online ventures, with little cost. Godin is a social media professional with practical and successful experience promoting and distributing his content online.

This video, from , gives you the insight to Godin's success in the publishing field.