Friday Wrap #28:Time-delayed social media, calls to action, enterprise app stores, SOCL is open2012-12-07
The weekend is upon us; let’s wrap up the week gone by. I collect all the items I consider sharing here on a link blog at LinksFromShel; it’s also where I draw some inspiration for blog posts and the material I’ll cover in my podcast. You’re always welcome to add it to your resources.
Time delay may be applied to State Department posts
All the research tells us that clear policies and training are the best way to avoid problems with employees engaging in social media. Evidently nobody shared that information at the U.S. State Department, which may opt instead to subject anything a staff member writes for any social media channel to at least two days of review. A blog post would be quarantined for five days. It’s not just social media. Speeches would get the same five-day treatment as blog posts, articles and papers would fester for 10 days and books would decay for a full month. So much for this branch of government engaging in any conversation with the public on Twitter, writes Chenda Ngak for CBS News. It would also turn the idea of Twitter as a news distribution channel into something of a joke. Laughingly, a State Department spokesman calls the revisions an attempt to “keep up” with the current “information environment”. Right. Two-day delays on tweets…keeping up…my head hurts.
Calls to action work in social media
More than half the users of the five biggest social media platforms have taken real-world action based on a social interaction, according to a survey of 500 consumers commissioned by ACTIVE Network (a developer of cloud-based activity and participant management products and services). According to a Mashable article, “The findings suggest that businesses and organizations can grow their customer base, increase revenue and drive greater participation by linking online behaviors to offline activity.” Contacting a person directly was the top offline action taken based on an online interaction, followed by attending an event and participating in an activity (like a sport or a class). Mobile apps are increasingly influencing offline action, too, according to the survey. Forty-four percent of smartphone users achieved a personal goal—education, health, learning, and the like—with the help of an app.
You can host an employee-only app store on Google Play
It’s getting more and more common for companies to deploy proprietary apps for employees, mobile tools designed to meet specific enterprise needs. A growing number of app-building solutions is contributing to the growth that has been spurred mostly by the efficiency gains that come with a mobile-empowered workforce. Where to host those apps could be a logistical road block to providing easy access. Google is riding to the rescue, announcing this week that companies can distribute their in-house Android applications through a new Private Channel feature of the Play Store. Network World‘s Jon Gold explains that the system is controlled via the Developer Console, “which allows administrators to choose which users are allowed to upload apps to the private channel, and which have download access.” There’s a one-time $25 registration fee. Google hopes the feature will distinguish Android from Apple’s iOS, which leads Android in the business world.
Microsoft’s social network is open to the public
It’s called SOCL and you have to wonder if anybody will care. But Microsoft has been in closed beta testing since May, so at least it’s interesting to see what they have in mind. Writing for CNN, Mashable’s Stan Scroeder calls SOCL “a search-meets-social networking website that looks more like Pinterest than Facebook.” You have access if you have a Microsoft or Facebook account, allowing you to share content and comment on what other people have posted. The current mix of content is, umm, eclectic, but if more people start contributing, it could get interesting. That’s a big “if.”
Can’t afford a 3D printer? Just send it to Staples
3D printing is exploding with the availability of the Makerbot and some more reasonably priced options. Still, you may not be able to justify the expense, even if you have an occasional item you’d like to replicate—err, produce on a 3D printer. (My love of Star Trek notwithstanding, 3D printers are, essentially, replicators, aren’t they?) Soon, all you’ll have to do is upload the file you want to make to a new Staples service called “Staples Easy 3D,” wait a bit, then go pick up the object at the local store (or have it shipped). Using Iris printers, the process uses “reams of paper that are cut and printed while being stacked and glued together,” according to CNN writer Mike Senese. “This technique allows for a high-resolution layer thickness of 100 microns, similar to that of the MakerBot Replicator 2, but not quite as fine as the 25-micron capability of the Form 1.”
Reputation besmirched? Launch a website
That’s how Mike Lynch is responding to allegations that he was behind financial irregularities in HP’s purchase of Autonomy, which he ran. In response to HP’s finger-pointing, Lynch set up AutonomyAccounts.org.” The site informs visitors that it was “designed to be a public point of contact for Dr Mike Lynch and other former managers at Autonomy with the wider world. The Autonomy team are committed to providing clear and transparent information during this process, and would like to see the issue resolved as quickly as possible.” Smart move. Everyone knows that if it’s on the web, it must be true. Ben Woods has the story on ZDNet.
Instagram further degrates the “inter” in Internet
Don’t get me wrong; everybody deserves the opportunity to make a buck. For Instagram, that means getting more eyeballs on its own newly enhanced website instead of people viewing its photos on other sites. Like, for instance, Twitter. So on Wednesday, Instagram “disabled the ability for Twitter to properly display Instagram photos on its Web site and in its applications.” The functionality is known as “Twitter cards,” which make images and content easy to display within a tweet. Speaking at LeWeb, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said, “We’ve decided that right now, what makes sense, is to direct our users to the Instagram Web site. Obviously, things change as a company evolves.” You’ll still be able to create a tweet when you post an Instagram photo, according to Nick Bilton, writing for The New York Times’ Bits blog. But when someone clicks the link, it’ll take them away from the twitter site and display the picture on an Instagram page. Wait, does anybody actually use Twitter.com to interact with Twitter?
Dell opens consulting group to help clients with social media strategy
It isn’t exactly virgin territory. At last count, there were roughly 74 gazillion social media consultants at work (including your humble correspondent). So why would a computer behemoth like Dell decide to get into the business? Partly it’s because the Round Rock, Texas-based company has been operating on the fringes for a year, offering monitoring and strategy services to a handful of clients like the American Red Cross, Aetna, Caterpillar, Kraft Foods and Clemson university, writes AdAge‘s Cotton Delo. It’s partly Dell’s own experience with social media, which has made the company a poster child on how to handle the technology effectively. And there’s all the requests the company gets from customers who have seen or are familiar with Dell’s social media listening command center. And there’s the emphasis on moving into services (a function building out at Dell’s offices in Plano, Texas, former home to the Ross Perot operations Dell acquired some time ago). The staff of the consulting arm comes from marketing and services groups. The group could wind up competing directly with WPP, Dell’s agency holding company partner.
FCC hands a win to mobile marketers
You hate the text messages you’re getting from a company, so you go through whatever mechanism is available to opt out. Should you expect a final message from the company confirming you won’t get any more messages from the company? Yes, says the Federal Communications Commission, which issued a declaratory ruling this week confirming that companies can “follow industry best practices and send a final, onetime text to confirm receipt of a consumer’s opt-out request of a text messaging program,” writes Katy Bachman in Adweek. The ruling followed a petition submitted by SoundBite Communications, which manages text message programs for more than 450 companies. SoundBite was getting hit with class action lawsuits alleging that these receipt messages violated a 1991 law. Arguing that text messaging really didn’t exist, for all practial purposes in 1991, SoundBite claimed the application of the rule posed more problems than it solved. Despite the fact that Barclays paid more than $8 million to settle a suit over a confirmatory text message, the FCC has never gotten a complaint. “It actually got complaints from consumers who did not receive a confirmation text,” according to Bachman. The Mobile Marketing Association’s Michael Becker said, “This isn’t spam, it isn’t robo dialing. It’s a permission-based marketing model. The FCC’s ruling recognized that.”