Monday, April 19

The "Social Media Tidal Wave"

After a long but enjoyable semester of retweets, @melanders, and #itec335, one thing is certain: social media can boost return on investment in remarkable, inexpensive ways that weren't even fathomable four summers ago. As this may potentially be my final blog post, I will present a final, multifaceted question:

Will businesses soon surpass social networks' carrying-capacities? Are social media networks destined to become oversaturated with 'advertising' like print media and TV? ... Is social media as a marketing platform sustainable?

I am firm believer in the power and potential of social networks. I also believe, though, that there may come a time in the not-so-distant-future where marketing on social networks like Twitter may not yield such impressive results. The number of businesses actively marketing on Twitter and Facebook increases exponentially each week. What happens when this kind of marketing becomes the textbook standard for every new marketing plan? What happens when marketing in this way is not so new and fresh?

Like all things business, companies must always adapt to changing circumstances. Call me a hater or a cynic but I think that social media's marketing potential is not limitless. As the "Social Media Tidal Wave" picks up speed and grows in height and strength, it may eventually hit the shore and what we know now to be quality, impactful marketing may just become the norm. The bubble may burst on socialnomics.

Thoughts please!

Sunday, April 11

The (not so distant) Future of Social Media

No one knows for sure what the social media landscape will look like in the not so distant future. Social media networks are governed by "what's-popular-right-now" principles and its hard to judge what network sites will take off like Facebook and Twitter--and which networks will flunk.

What is clear, though, is that the social media landscape is constantly evolving. Six years ago blogging sites like Livejournal were extremely popular. Livejournal was then replaced by MySpace, which is in turn being phased out by Facebook. Today, sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are digging into Facebook's "market share."

Jonathan Strickland from believes that social media's continuing evolution will mirror the development of Web 3.0 technologies. Strickland argues that advances in browser and search technologies will allow browsers to compile data and information across a user's entire internet experience.

The Web 3.0 experience may possibly foster the development of one, unified and integrated "profile" to replace the myriad of social networks that users frequent today.

Marshall Sponder ( argues in his online presentation, The Future Of Social Media Monitoring, that social media is evolving everyday. He points to the emergence of free and universally accessible tools like Google Analytics, that empower users with a multitude of important information about their sites and others.

What do you think the social media universe will look like two years from now? How about five years from now?

Monday, April 5

S.O.S.! We lack SEO!

All website owners should heed the advice of presentation about the benefits of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

SEO is a combination of research, website-design, and search-integration that empowers site owners to maximize traffic to their sites by linking them to the top search engines like Google and Yahoo! Site owners also utilize SEO by researching which keywords are most popular and efficient.

An important distinction is the difference between Search Engine Optimization and pay-per-click searches. Pay-per-clicks are those sponsored search results that appear at the top of a search. Marketers pay sites like Google a ton of money for their websites to appear at the very top of certain searches. But is this 'prime real estate' really worth the cost? doesn't think so.

SEO allows site-owners to have their commercial site or blog appear in the 'top spot' without having to pay the usual advertising fees.

I agree with that SEO is one of the best and most efficient ways for a site-owner to increase traffic. Incorporating popular search terms, creating site-maps and xml maps, and writing image captions are all ways that one can increase traffic. Best of all, all this is free!

Other free ways site-owners can boost site traffic is by utilizing Google web analytics and Google Insights for Search...
I basically agree that pay-per-click advertising is on its way out. SEO is surely the way go.

Sunday, March 28

"The Power of Weak Ties"

Allan Schweyer's 2005 article from, The Power of Weak Ties (In Recruiting), is still an impressive and relevant read five years after its press-date.

Schweyer investigates the way recruiters find and hire applicants--from the evolution (and downfall) of online job boards--to the creation of social networking sites six or seven years ago.

Arguing that HR professionals have mostly abandoned job search boards because of their inundation with unqualified job-seekers, Schweyer writes that managers and job seekers alike should manage their own social networks in order to find the best candidates. A professional's social network more often than not includes many "weak ties." These contacts can often be the key to finding the best new hires, Schweyer writes.

Clearly, the job-search industry has evolved much since 2000 (and even 2005), but more importantly, it is the evolution of the way people manage their own social networks that has evolved the most.

Sunday, March 21

Will Wikipedia Last?

John C. Dvorak, in his post on The Wikification of Knowledge interestingly discusses the survivability of open-edit programs like Wikipedia. Arguing that humans are inherently self-serving, Dvorak claims that the "idealists" behind public programs like Wikipedia will not be able to counter the growing threat of "...[f]ictitious posts, spam, grudge pages, lies, politically motivated opinions, [&] online vandalism..." that is associated with--what Dvorak claims is-- normal social behavior.

Basically, Mr. Dvorak believes that public-collaborative programs are built upon the utopian values of a few idealists, and that as more users get connected, the flow of spam, etc. will be too much for these sites' moderators to handle.

I agree and disagree with Mr. Dvorak. I too believe that Wikipedia is built upon idealistic values, but I think that as Wikipedia becomes more popular the technology protecting it will only become more advanced. Also, Wikipedia benefits from the millions of dollars in donations that users bestow upon the site. This money will certainly be used to either buffer the income of the site's thousands of currently-volunteer editors, or establish an elaborate filter program to help mitigate the threat from spammers.

As a frequent user of Wikipedia, I am skeptic of Mr. Dvorak's skepticism. For me, Wikipedia is here to stay.

Monday, March 15

Skyping and Stryking.... Online Collaboration in the Warzone

Doug Beizer's May, 2005 article for Government Computer News, "Collaboration tools are ready for the battlefield" discusses how U.S. military units are implementing online, satellite-based collaboration software to make the sharing of critical information more efficient on the battlefield. Technology like this can be a godsend to our troops in the field, but can also be a nightmare if not secure against hackers.

Collaborative software, like Macromedia Breeze Live and Click to Meet, enables commanders in the field to transmit information and orders to superiors all at once, instead of having to have this same information relayed up and down the long chain of command ladder. Surely, this technology is saving friendly soldiers' lives.

Yet, typical of any increase in information sharing, the risk and stakes of computer piracy increase. If enemy hackers are able to gain access to such information and relay it to their comrades in arms, then the lapse in security could be extra deadly.
Also, what would the contingency be if these new, relied-upon technologies were compromised? Would the troops still be able to communicate effectively via traditional means?

This all reminds me of an interesting interview I caught on Federal News Radio's (AM 1500) daily "Cyber Security Update." In that piece, a government IT professional warned that American civilians should acknowledge what might happen if domestic telecommunication lines were compromised by a threatening nation's hackers.... perhaps, he said, the government might be forced to indefinitely shut down internet and telephone lines.

How would you react if such a contingency were ever to be put into effect? I shudder at the thought.

For the troops on the ground, this is a contingency they must constantly train for.

Wednesday, March 3

Adventures in Second Life

My exploration of Second Life with Emeka Egbunike yielded some pretty sweet snapshots... Second Life definitely offers users some pretty interesting experiences. Here is a sampling of some of the places Emeka and I visited on SL:

A realistic recreation of the Sistine Chapel
AMD's virtual headquarters
Naval Undersea Warfare learning center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
International Space Flight Museum

Monday, March 1

SECL-101 Doing Business in the Virtual Realm

The emergence of Second Life and other internet-based virtual worlds has caused quite a boom in e-commerce recently-- actually a $567 million boom in 2009 according to the Linden Lab. Tens of thousands have flocked to Second Life to create virtual avatars of themselves both for business and pleasure.

Yet, what draws so many to Second Life? Is it the unnatural ability users are granted to shape and reshape every aspect of their virtual lives? The ability to create an image of themselves that reflects their wants, hopes, and dreams? For whatever reason, business is booming. Universities are creating virtual centers of learning, entrepreneurs are launching new business ventures, and real people are spending real dollars-- $567,000,000 a year to be precise!

Surely, Second Life is here to stay. What do you have to say about Gartner's claim that "80 percent of Internet users will have a second life in the virtual world only four years from now[?]"

Friday, February 19

Alex Germany-Wald, Inc.

Way back in the dark ages of information technology, Tom Peters wrote an insightful article on personal branding titled The Brand Called You. Even though Peters published the article in 1997, much of his advice, which reads like a 'success 101' self-help manual, is even more relevant today than it was thirteen years ago.

Peters argues that everyone is their own individual "brand"-- the sum of their skills, professionalism, qualities, traits, connections, appearance, reputation and legacy. He urges readers to proactively consider their personal brand when making everything from basic choices to life's most complex decisions.

In today's world of omnipresent social networking, the individual's brand is constantly exposed to others. In 1997, we had to meet people in person, talk on the phone or publish something in print to expose others to our personal brand. But now Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, blogs, YouTube, etc., allow others to "view" our brands 24/7, without our implicit knowledge.

In short, the need to consider our own personal brands has never been more important than it is today.
"If you were a consultant, you'd measure [power] by the number of CEOs who've got your business card in their Rolodexes. (And better yet, the number who know your beeper number by heart.)" ------From Tom Peters, The Brand Called You

Oh, the nineties...

Wednesday, February 17

MoSoSooo much Social Media

As you can tell from my previous posts, I am an advocate of online social media, and free information in general. Although, I probably spend a little too much time on Twitter or watching videos on YouTube, I, in no way-shape-or-form believe the spread of social media to be a bad thing (unlike Doris Lessing)

In the past few years, mobile social networking software (MoSoSo) has really taken off. Brands like Blackberry and iPhone have transformed both the manner and speed in which information is transmitted.

Unfortunately, as Andrew Anker points out, "[p]hilosophically, every technology has both positive and negative values."

Gloria Goodale
and Anita Hamilton both point out the potential dangers of MoSoSo services like GPS on phones. Services like cell-phone GPS, they say, can lead to privacy violations--or worse.

Like with all new social technologies, though, users simply need to educate themselves and use these helpful yet powerful features maturely.

For your viewing pleasure...

Sunday, February 7

The comment box wars

Recent posts on Smashing Magazine and Technorati emphasize the value of corporate blogging, as well as common pitfalls and suggestions for success. One of the articles' many common themes is the importance of leaving a corporate blog's comment box open, even in the face of criticism.

The web 2.0 comment box has arrived! Customers (blog readers) now have an avenue to directly confront corporate bloggers on customer service issues. Public comments challenge the blogger to confront the issue and allow for a conversation to develop. This is a good thing.

What happens when critical comments build up and overwhelm the blogger whose replies aren't sufficient or well received? This is the dilemma that Don Martelli and Paul Boag leave unanswered, in my opinion.

As corporate bloggers are all in the business of increasing their company's sales, is it better to shut down an overly-unruly comment box, or fight back and respond? Responding again and again may expose the blog to more negative comments, but probably shows readers the company cares about their opinion.

At some point, though, the responsible corporate blogger should realize that IF the comment box war is lost. He/she is left with no choice but to throw in the towel and close the comment box...

image courtesy of

Wednesday, February 3

We Shall Agree to Disagree

I'll start by congratulating Doris Lessing on winning the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature ("Oh Christ!")... I respect Ms. Lessing immensely as both a respected author, activist, and visionary. Her novels, poems, and short stories have been read and enjoyed by millions including many happy school children in Zimbabwe!

Unfortunately, Doris Lessing has missed the train so to speak. She views the internet not as an open conduit of information, but as a black hole of vice, lethargy, and waste. Obviously, the web is chock full of mindless flash games, pornography, and gambling sites, but there are also 3,180,676 articles and counting on Wikipedia.

Notwithstanding, I love to read--that is I love to read books. Yet, I do some of my reading on a Kindle. Would Doris Lessing have a problem with this? I think probably not, but then again a Kindle is a kind of computer isn't it?

"We are in a fragmenting culture... where it is common for young men and women, who have had years of education, to know nothing of the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers." --Doris Lessing

I'm kind of nit-picking here but does Ms. Lessing really have that big of a problem with computers and the internet that she needs to voice her frustration as a major theme of her Nobel Prize acceptance speech? Unfortunately, yes. Then again, she might not realize that without the internet, no one outside of the auditorium would even hear or read her prepared speech.

Maybe I am being a little harsh towards Doris Lessing's comments. Perhaps they were simply misguided, like Senator Ted Steven's infamous likening of the internet to "a series of tubes."

I just think that Doris Lessing should spend a day or two 'reading the internet;' she might even learn something new!

Monday, January 25

Is Business Just Business for IBM's Blue Gene??

Adam Davidson's May 27 presentation on National Public Radio, listen here, really hits the nail on the head when it comes to the positive, "greater good," influence of crowdsourcing. He cites what seems to be a profound example of corporate social responsibility: IBM allowing 'open collaboration' on its pride-and-joy supercomputer, Blue Gene.

Is the opening of Blue Gene's ungodly-fast network to the public a true sign of corporate social responsibility (i.e. the network is used by influenza researchers, etc.), or is IBM simply setting a legal trap for researchers soon to discover a billion dollar idea or formula while using Blue Gene?

Unfortunately, Davidson doesn't elaborate on his take on IBM's true intentions. Surely, IBM allowing outside researchers access to Blue Gene's network should be commended, but to what extent? For instance, if the influenza researchers Davidson mentions discover a miracle, blanket influenza vaccine while using Blue Gene, what restrictions can or would IBM put in place. Obviously, millions if not billions would change hands for a vaccine like this, but if IBM didn't like the financial terms of their cut, could they block the theoretical drug's distribution?

I guess the answer really isn't about either corporate social responsibility or the realities of business. At the end of the day IBM probably would be in line to pocket a much larger share than the influenza researchers themselves, but at least the greater public good would have been served. Frankly, I don't much care where the money goes. If a vaccine like that is invented with the help of Blue Gene, I'm getting it, no matter who pockets the proceeds.


Sunday, January 17

Andrew Odewahn's Social Graph

Just watched Andrew Odewahn's brief presentation on youtube. He created a program that analyzed historical Senate data (roll-call vote records going back to the 102nd Session in 1991) with the intention of mapping coalitions within the Senate.

I thought his program was very interesting and highlighted the existence of not only Senate coalitions, but of overall party cohesion within the Democratic and Republican parties. Based on the information presented, Odewahn's program shows the greatest party cohesion during the 104th session (Jan. 3, 1995- Jan. 3, 1997). Interestingly, his presentation also highlights the extremely bipartisan voting nature of turncoat Senators Arlen Spector and Jim Jeffords; hinting at their future party changes.

Odewahn's graphs can be extremely useful to poli sci students for his masterful analyzation of Senate roll-call votes, yet his program is equally useful to information technology students for its seemingly simple code.

Wednesday, January 13

Welcome from ITEC-335!

Welcome to my blog! I will be post weekly updates, but I should warn you that this blog is not destined for infamy or splendor, but hopefully an A-grade in Information Technology 335!