When we buy a house or make a new one for ourselves, we always check…
Despite all the uproar over its most recent changes and with Google+ making more improvements and getting more popular by the day, Facebook is poised to make an announcement that could change the face (no pun intended) of social media.
One person who has already seen the changes, which will be announced today at 12:30PM EST is Ben Parr from Mashable and in his words “…developers will be elated, users will be shellshocked and the competition will look ancient. On Thursday, Facebook will be reborn. Prepare yourselves for the evolution of social networking.”
Now those are some very powerful words but apparently what Ben saw was quite impressive and mind-blowing because he went on to say…
“The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.”
“These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.”
You can watch the live announcement from f8, Facebook’s annual conference for developers, entrepreneurs and innovators right here from the video player below:
For Facebook’s sake, I hope these changes, which according to Parr are only the beginning with more to come, appease their fans because judging from some of the comments users are leaving on Facebook’s Help Page, many are none too happy with the most recent round of updates:
“HEY GOOGLE MORONS WE DON’T WANT TOP STORIES! NOBODY SETS THEIR PAGE TO TOP STORIES. … HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME FACEBOOK? CAN YOU READ OUR MINDS?”
“Please turn the homepage back to the way it was!!!! I don’t like seeing status out of time order!!!! Thanks and have a good day!!!”
“Why in the world would you think that we would want an algorithm no matter how good, or well researched, deciding which friends stories pop up in our news feeds?”
A fusion of unique architecture, breathtaking nature and exciting nightlife describes some of Thailand’s appeal. The ancient temples or the buildings with centuries of history behind enchant the eyes of the visitors. Natural parks accommodate a great number of wild animals. There’s no need to mention Thai food — everybody is familiar with the local cuisine, a harmony between spices, meat, vegetables and sauces. Thailand’s entertainment industry gained some recognition for the past decades. Horror movies especially became a national product.
A rather official tour of the country would include Phucket, Ayuthaya, Wat Arun, Phra Chedi Sisuriyothai, Phi Phi, Wat Pha Sorn, Khao Khor, the golden Buddha or Ko Rang. Don’t forget though to enjoy some of the less popular things. Thailand has the largest crocodile farm in the entire world. The smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, measures 2 grams and lives only in Thailand. A fish in this country can survive on the ground and even climb trees. Forget the Night Bazaar (maybe not, it can be quite fun too) and shop from a floating market. When you’re visiting the Grand Palace, don’t miss the Queen Sirikit Museum, which is dedicated to textiles, especially Thai silk. You can experience the tribe lifestyle, cook in the wilderness or ride the elephants. Thailand has a Medical Museum where you can get disgusted all you want by all kinds of atrocities.
Thailand has become the epitome of sex tourism. While the government banned prostitution, red light districts don’t have much problem operating. Thailand is considered a good place for transvestites or transsexuals, though it’s hard to tell how much freedom they enjoy outside fetishization and sex trade. Some bars and restaurants are brothels in disguise, so stick to clubs and ask for recommendations. Thai people are friendly, respectful and will lend you a hand even if they don’t like you. They believe rejecting someone or letting down a friend in need will turn against them.
If the winter blues are setting in and the warm days of summer still seem far off, why not plan a leisurely February getaway? February offers multiple options that can bring you closer to the winter snows or farther away to tropical climates.
Beach and Resort Style
It’s pretty hard to refuse a trip to the Hawaiian Islands any time of year and in February the temperature ranges from the mid 70s to low 80s. Other good tropical destinations for February include Belize and the Caribbean.
Hanging in the U.S.A.
If you are looking to explore the continental United States, stick to areas less likely to get walloped in a rain or snow storm. San Diego enjoys mild temperatures year round, while nearby Arizona boasts relaxing spa getaways like the relaxing Sedona Retreat. Check out Florida to avoid the worst of the humidity.
Want to Get Far Away
Get globe-trotting to places like New Zealand, Australia and Thailand. The seasons are much more mild this time of year, with New Zealand and Australia enjoying a warm, summer climate and Thailand having dry and cooler (85 to 90 F) weather for the region.
Practice your ski and snowboard skills in popular mountainside resorts like Lake Tahoe in California, Aspen, Colorado or the Wasatch Mountains in Utah.
Save For Another Time
Locations that you can check off of your February “to do” list include New England, which is likely to get thrashed by cold winter storms during this time and Europe, which might be less crowded, but the bitter wind will keep you holed up inside for most of your trip.
Think social media is only for the non-affluent consumer? Think the wealthy are not affected and swayed by the court of public social media opinion Think again…
A while ago I answered the question Why Do Luxury Consumers Engage With Brands On Social Media? In doing so I explained that luxury consumers engage with brands via social media because of an affinity they have with a given brand(s), as opposed to most people who do so to get deals. I referenced an eMarketer article which spoke to this point.
Today, however, it would appear that the luxury consumer, while showing off his or her brand affinity, is also impacted directly, just as many others are – by what transpires in the social media space.
According to a recent survey from Unity Marketing, of those individuals classified with a high-net worth, as defined by having more than $1 million in investible assets, indicated that comments, tweets, Facebook posts and so on directly influenced what websites they visited (59%), what retail stores they patronized (56%) and also what designer brand they purchased (57%).
As for those classified as ultra-affluent – those who earn $250,000 or more per year, the numbers were very similar with 54% responding social media influenced website visits, 49% saying social media influenced their retail shopping and 47% stating social media affected their choice of designer brand.
Now in terms of age breakdowns, the younger crowd, those ages 24-44 were more influenced via social media than their older counterparts with 52% saying social media impacted their website choices, 45% saying social media impacted their retail store selections and 44% stating social media affected their designer brand of choice. Compare that to the 45+ crowd where the numbers were cut in half or more with 25%, 19%, and 13%, respectively, among affluents ages 45+.
So, now we know that if you’re a luxury marketer or the keeper of a luxury brand flame, particularly in the retail world, you need to be very pro-active in the social media space; you need to get yourself some brand ambassadors who will go the social media mountaintops and sing your praises because it would appear the luxury consumer is listening and is reacting to what they are hearing, er, reading.
The Statue of Liberty. People hurriedly going through Wall Street. Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Park. Rude people and bored cab drivers. Broadway shows’ extravaganza. The Empire State Building. Manhattan. Mets and Yankees Fans. The most exciting nightlife. Crowded streets, insufferable traffic and perpetually busy people filling their bodies with tobacco and coffee. The universe of New York looks astonishingly diverse, ranging from homeless people struggling for their basic rights to rich celebrities driving in limousines.
New York is famous for its chaotic lifestyle and the skyscrapers invading the skyline. It’s one of the favorite locations for movies or TV shows, with about 250 television pictures being made each year in the Empire State. Seinfeld, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Sesame Street, Sex and the City and many others speak about the life in the New York City. The rudeness of its people is so famous that New-Yorkers get scared if a person is nice to them. Everything costs more in New York, starting with outrageous prices for rent or fortunes spent during a night at the club. Locals seem to already know affordable places for shopping or hanging out and leave the pricey spots for clueless tourists.
Besides the globally-renowned landmarks, try finding out more about the state. Fort Ticonderoga, for example, has passed its 2000th birthday. The Clinton Castle was built two centuries ago. Don’t forget the Apollo Theater, Grand Central Terminal, the Vanderbilt Mansion, the Boldt Castle, the Brooklyn Bridge or the State Capitol. Many tours offer you the chance to get acquainted with the artistic scene here or the historic sites. The Metropolitan Museum and MoMa represent two of the most famous museums worldwide. Don’t forget the Guggenheim Museum, with its large collection of modern art and splendid architecture. For some fresh air, go to Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden or to Riverside Park. If you’re religious, you must go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in the US.
Ayurvedic medicine represents the knowledge of thousands of years of Indian practitioners, preserved and passed on by yogis. Ayurvedic spas offer treatments that not only pamper the flesh but also revitalize the mind and spirit and are very popular in spa and destination travel.
Shirodhara is designed to calm the nervous system, and accordingly the body, integrating mind and body as one. The treatment consists of a stream of a warm liquid being poured on the forehead, or the third eye. Liquids used can include coconut water, oil or milk. This treatment is designed to treat many head afflictions, including sinus pain, memory loss and hearing impairment.
Known as the royal massage, pizzichilli was once reserved for Maharajahs alone. The treatment consists of a massage, followed by the drizzling of a stream of warm, herbalized oil onto the skin, while the massage continues. This treatment is particularly useful for physical complaints such as aches and pain, but it also serves to integrate the mind and the body, as well as promoting flexibility and ease of movement.
Gandharva combines elements from several other therapies. One such therapy is called Marma, which is a form of massage designed to realign the body’s energies, and involves light touches at various centers of the body. A full body massage is also included in Gandharva treatment. Marma all takes place under the harmony-promoting sounds of a crystal “singing” bowl.
Udvartna consists of an herbal body paste, generously applied to the whole person. The application encourages blood flow, and draws out extra fluid, as well as exfoliation, leaving skin soft and fresh.
Abhyanga is a type of friction massage, generally performed by two therapists in tandem. Warm oil is massaged into the body, which encourages the flow of blood and the release of toxins stored in the body. This massage is followed by a hot towel treatment, leaving the body very relaxed.
Oshadhi is an herbal body wrap. First, the therapist applies specific oils to the body, depending on an individual’s particular needs. Then the client is left wrapped in a warm herbal cocoon, for a relaxing and calming experience.
Known by Seattle residents as one of the only “real” beaches area in the city, Alki beach is often compared to Southern California for its rollerblading, bicycling and jogging activities along the waterfront. Reminiscent also of European seaside towns, its narrow strip of sand accents the bustling cafes along the boardwalk. Outdoor activities abound, and cultural opportunities are present within walking distance of the waterfront.
Alki Beach Park
Stretching for 2 1/2 miles along the coastline of the Puget Sound, from Alki Point to Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay, the Alki Beach Park runs parallel with Beach Drive in West Seattle. It is public land, teeming with life year-round. In the summers, the people-watching is reason enough to be there, with rollerbladers, bicyclers, volleyball games, boarders and more. Stay into the evening for a bonfire right on the beach; Alki is one of only two public beaches in Seattle that allow them.
Whether you want to join a guided tour or strike out on your own, kayaks are available from Alki Kayak Tours. The guided tours include an Alki Lighthouse Sea Kayak Tour, one on the Duwamish River, Elliott Bay, Blake Island, and a sunset tour. No experience is necessary and the guides teach you all you need to know on the spot. Hourly rentals are also offered to those who are confident in their abilities already and wish to explore the Seattle waters in their own way. Singles and doubles are available, and a three-seater, which provides an opportunity to take your kids out in a kayak.
Known all over the Puget Sound region for its baked breads, coffee and desserts, the Alki Bakery is as much a tradition on Alki Avenue as the boardwalk. Start the day early with a lavish breakfast, at outdoor tables if the weather is nice, and take a picnic with you to the beach or a nearby park. Watch ferryboats, sailboats and the expansive downtown Seattle skyline from your cozy spot at the local favorite.
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation known for a vibrant culture, island beauty, and production of great Major League baseball players. Read on to learn more about the history and culture of this unique country.
The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispanola with the nation of Haiti. The D.R. occupies about two-thirds of the island and sits between the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea.
The island of Hispanola has been inhabited since 800 A.D. Columbus’ arrival in 1492 wiped out the native population, leading to a colonizing by the Spanish. The country’s official language is still Spanish; although, the country has been occupied by the French and Americans as well as the Spanish.
Since 1978, the country has moved away from dictatorships and toward a more American-style representative government. Currently, Leonel Fernández is serving his second term as the country’s president.
Modern Dominican Culture
Merengue music was created in the Dominican Republic, as well as Bachata, a form of dance centered on love and stories of romance. Ethnic groups in the country include people of African, European and mixed descent, as well as some Asian immigrants. Baseball is the most popular sport in the country, followed by boxing.
The Dominican Republic sends many players to the American Major Leagues. In fact, many all-stars and future hall of famers hail from the country, including Manny Ramirez, Cy-Young award winning pitcher Pedro Martinez and two-time league MVP Albert Pujols.
The recent battle of claims and data between Elon Musk/Tesla and the New York Times showcases a unique crisis communications situation. What’s the best way to handle a crisis of “he said-they said” before it spirals out of control?
At some point in their career, every communications professional needs to handle at least a few crisis situations on behalf of a client. All things being relative – whether it’s a disaster like the BP oil spill, a trolling commenter on your brand’s Facebook page, or an executive giving out embargoed information too early – the way you initially respond will set the tone for everything that follows. It’s all about being prepared to the best degree, and then maintaining as much control as possible.
But in some cases, keeping a loose grip on that control and relying on trusted advocates to speak on your behalf can be more effective than any prepared statement.
An example of this recently played out between Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and the New York Times. When Musk went on the attack against a negative review of the company’s East Coast charging station, first via social media, then by blog, and eventually (perpetually?) even further, his response quickly incited a crisis spiral. A back-and-forth argument over data points and accusations of purposefully unfair journalism/misleading rebuttals were lobbed between the two groups for weeks afterwards.
In the media coverage that followed, neither side was ever truly in control of what was being said. Set aside the argument of right vs. wrong…who in this situation comes out looking foolish for making misrepresentations? To varying degrees,.. probably both parties.
How could Musk/Tesla have approached the rebuttal differently?
First, take the age-old advice on manners, and throw away the angry letter (in this case delete the Tweet) that was drafted, and re-approach the situation with a clearer head.
Next, run the second draft by a PR/communications team before sending it. Then throw that version out too. Any response in a case like this based on emotion, and not facts, would come across sounding like the complaints of a spoiled kid whose school chums didn’t like his new toy on the playground. While emotion has its place here in conveying passion,it can’t come from the accuser of the impropriety.
Most importantly, learn from one of the interesting things that happened following the back and forth hoopla; a call-to-arms from Tesla’s fanbase, as well as other media outlets, to recreate the experience of the New York Times, but do so successfully. In fact, multiple parties were able to complete the trip without issue. In the end, this speaks more than any amount of data ever could. If Musk and Tesla had engaged with the outspoken community from the outset in order to prove the reporting wrong, the public perception of the results would have overwhelmingly been in their favor.
Just as people trust recommendations from their friends more so than from advertisers or company websites, having other third parties take up the cause for responding back to a crisis of criticism has the potential to deliver the most effective results. If these groups had been mobilized to take up the argument on behalf of Tesla, Musk would have been able to make the point he wanted without having to awkwardly say it himself. Still, this strategy can be a very delicate balancing act with high risk. In the end, it’s likely that the general public’s perception will remain polarized, but if your core audience and base of advocates can be bolstered and become vocal enough, it can support next steps back from where the crisis began.
At the very least, Musk can be given credit for not taking the “put head in sand” approach and hoping that the bad article and ensuing situation(s) blow over. But most companies’ CEOs would not be as outspoken or unconcerned about blowback. The takeaway from this unique crisis situation is that there are more ways to respond than a simple public statement, and taking the time to develop a strategy can pay off in the end.
The opportunities in the mobile marketing and mobile advertising space are growing by leaps and bounds and those marketers and advertisers who are not mobile, literally, will be left in the dust.
I used the words “Even more proof…” in my title because I have written numerous posts on the benefits of mobile marketing and mobile advertising.
The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce – “The number of advertisers using mobile advertising has doubled in just two years and accordingly mCommerce is growing right along with it. Marketers need to grow along with it.”
Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile – “… mobile payments are expected to nearly triple by 2015.”
Mobile Marketing Spending To Have The Biggest Increase Over Next Five Years – “Among all Interactive Marketing platforms, Mobile Marketing is expected to grow 38% over the next five years with an estimated $8.2 billion being allocated to it by the year 2016.”
I am a HUGE proponent of using mobile marketing and mobile advertising as part of an overall integrated marketing strategy if for no other reason, we humans, AKA consumers, like our mobile phones… a lot. One third of us would rather give up sex than our mobile phones. I’m not saying which third, that’s for you to figure out. But they are a part of our lives and the trends in mobile marketing and mobile advertising point to an incredible amount of opportunities for those marketers and advertisers
What trends you ask?
Well there are these, from a survey conducted by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research:
51% of consumers more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific websites
4.8% of U.S. retailers have mobile-specific websites
22.8% of the top retail websites (ranked by Alexa®) have mobile-specific websites
Web retailers could increase consumer engagement by 85% with a mobile-specific website
Gee, do you see just a slight disparity in any of these numbers? David Engle, of Brand Anywhere, states the obvious: “A significant gap has emerged between the number of retailers who have mobile websites and the consumers who want to shop on mobile sites.”
“Significant gap?” Yeah, I would call the gap between (nearly 5%) and 51% significant, wouldn’t you? Hell that gap is Grand Canyon-esque for crying out loud. What in the name of Alexander Graham Bell is going on here?
And did you catch the last bullet, the one about how much retailers could increase engagement by offering a mobile website?
The Future Of Mobile Retail Marketing?
For those not familiar with Tesco, they are a grocery retail chain that was looking to grow its business in South Korea without adding additional stores. So they decided, that since South Koreans are busy enough, they would bring to the store to them, thereby making it easier for people to buy their groceries on their time, during their daily routine and thus save them the trouble of coming into the actual store. Tesco created virtual stores at subway stops in South Korea. Consumers could “walk the aisles” as if they were actually in a store, viewing images of products arranged just as they would in the store itself. Using QR technology, people could scan the codes of the products they wished to buy, place them in a virtual shopping cart and their order would be delivered right to their door that same night. According to the company, as a result of this campaign, Online registrations increased by 76% and online sales increased by 130%.
Here’s a brief video explaining just how they did it…
Pretty cool, right? Well guess what? That’s what you should be doing if you’re a marketer or advertiser in the retail space. And if you’re a marketer or advertiser NOT in the retail space but still like to make money, you better get mobile… fast. Those folks who want and need your products, services and wares and spending more and more time on their mobile phones and while they are on their mobile phones, they shopping, they are buying, they are browsing, on and on and on.