Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 7, 2009

What’s Next Part II – The 2012 Election

My last post discussed what’s next in terms of social media and technology.   But the next question is relative to “what’s next” in social media for 2012 presidential election. The 2008 election was “The First Campaign” that involved Web 2.0 and its election-changing technology. The candidates tweeted, posted videos, and even started a website that combated the rumor mill. I believe the 2012 candidates will have to do social media better than ever before to win. Here’s what (I think) we should be looking for:

Focus on the Fundamentals (of Social Media). I expect each candidate to have an eye-catchy website with the usual features: links to their active Facebook account and Twitter feed, podcasts, donation platform, and campaign news.  This sounds obvious, but some political figures just don’t (or didn’t) do it well. The winner of the 2012 will have a state-of-the-art website and actively engage in all top social media outlets. In the words of my high school basketball coach, “In order to win, we must focus on the fundamentals.”

Ask the Crowd. If the 2012 candidates are social media smart, they will use crowd sourcing methods to win the election.  Remember: Crowdsourcing is the act of leveraging ideas from a group or a community.  How? Ask the audience what they want to see/hear about on the campaign trail. Solicit designs/ideas for campaign logos, slogans, etc.  These simple acts will help save the campaign valuable resources – both time and money. More importantly, it will give supporters (firm and those on the fence) a sense of ownership and pride in the campaign that they serve.

MMOG. This would be taking political social media efforts to the extreme, but I think we will see gaming (or MMOGs) play a part in the 2012 election. A candidate could have a website with their own campaign trail game giving players access to the candidate at rallies, press briefings, and even at inauguration.

Like it is too early to tell who the candidates will be, it’s probably too early to really predict what the world will come up with in time for the 2012 election.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 6, 2009

What’s Next?

2009 was the year I consider myself really “born” into social media.  I saw a lot of changing technology – to name a few: Google Wave, Bing search engine (or is it based on the recent outage?), and the use of social media to recruit, market, and collaborate (love this example).  So, what’s next for 2010?  I haven’t seen too many predictions yet, but I do have a few of my own…

Augmented Reality. In simple terms: Augmented reality (AR) is the overlaying of digital data in the real world.  For example:  You take your iPhone (or other compatible phone), hold it up in front of a restaurant, and it will show you menu information, restaurant phone number, or even a list of your Facebook friends that happen to be inside the restaurant at that moment.  It’s like taking a real world photo and pulling the web information associated with that object onto your phone.  I thought it was kind of creepy at first, but that is where technology is taking us.  Another example: If you’re in Adams Morgan in D.C. and want happy hour deals on Friday, hold up your phone facing down the row of restaurants/bars and you will see the deals without having to go up to each store front.  Layar is one of the big AR apps out there.

Cross-Platform Experience. This could mean a few things. But what I see is our Facebook profiles (or whatever social media profile) being our e-commerce profile in the future.  Think about it.  You buy items off of eBay, Amazon, or your favorite online retailers and you have to create a profile specific to that site.  It’s annoying after awhile having to remember all of those log-ins and passwords.  I can see the leading social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace) teaming with e-commerce retailers and combining our profile into one – with the social media profile being the “host.”  Who can do it first?

And a couple cool gadgets coming in 2010.

For my first gadget…the Power Outlet with built-in USB ports!  Electricity and USB technology finally combine (and for under $10)! This article was the first I heard of this, but I can’t believe the world didn’t do this sooner!

Then, a keyboard for that Gmail addict…the Gboard. This keyboard will help the Gmail user execute common tasks with the push of a button (rather than clicking around). Available for $19.99,

What else do you think is coming in 2010?

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 5, 2009

Thai It and You’ll Like It

While the theme of this blog has been primarily about my experiences in social media, I’ve also tried to kick in a few posts about my life experiences on the east coast.  Here’s one.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am very particular when it comes to the food that I eat.  I was raised on American cuisine and refused fruit and vegetables – really refused it and would take any punishment I got.  (I remember giving up going to the St. Louis Cardinal game for not eating my stir fry for dinner.)

Since living on the east coast I have fell in love with Thai food — not all but some dishes.  I finally had to give in because I find it hard to avoid in D.C.; friends and coworkers always saying “Let’s do Thai.”  After pleading with me to try a new ethnic cuisine, my husband finally said “Just try it.  You’ll like it.”  I couldn’t refuse him or my friends any longer.

I took my first real try at a Thaipoon, a nearby restaurant. What I ordered wasn’t that great.  The next time around I tried the Ka Pow, #22 on the take-out menu, and it was love at first taste.  Ka Pow consists of chicken, rice, sliced bell peppers, and a little basil mixed in a spicy sauce.  If I’m missing any ingredients, don’t tell me, I probably don’t want to know.

The east coast has changed this Midwest Girl in the food arena…for the better.

Now, what’s for dinner?

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 5, 2009

Social Media While…

Throughout the past year (really, the past semester) my interest and knowledge of social media has blossomed.  It’s an integral part of my life now, but I like to think I know where to draw the line.

Mashable’s post on the bride/groom couple that stopped at the altar to tweet AND update their Facebook status during their wedding is an instance of social media users taking it to the extreme.  Yes, I’m sure they were trying to do something memorable and funny like the recent JK wedding entrance dance, but it gave me the opposite reaction. Even Anderson Cooper was turned off by this.  Watch the video.

For me, this post really made me think about how far I will let social media into my personal life.  Someday, will I tweet or update my Facebook status during other important events in my life?  Say while I am waiting in a hospital to give birth?  Or during my Georgetown commencement?  I don’t know, it will have to depend on the moment.

My point (and advice for new social media users) is don’t let social media, like Facebook and Twitter, take over your life and distract you from the people and events that really matter.  The internet is a powerful tool that can connect us to the world, our work, even family and friends.  But don’t ever let it get in the way of living in YOUR moment.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 4, 2009

Response Blog #11 – Wikipedia: Lessons Learned

One of my recent assignments was to make a significant update to an existing Wikipedia page or create a new page.  This would be quite an undertaking for someone like me that really didn’t know what a Wiki was.  I managed to create a new page for Planting Empowerment, an organization near and dear to me, but not without some frustrating moments.  Yes, the Wikipedia:Tutorial is helpful (definitely recommend it for starters), but here are some things I learned the hard way.

The Quest for “Autoconfirmed” Status. This was the primary source of my agony.   I needed to be part of this “elite” (not really) Autoconfirmed Users group.  (You can verify which groups you belong to by logging in, clicking My Preferences, and then look under the Basic Information section.)

What the Tutorial Doesn’t Tell You: When you create a Wikipedia user account you are only part of the “Users” group which limits you to making only minor “wording” edits to pages. Well, I needed the higher access because my assignment was to create a new Wiki page – remember, I’m a new user.  Don’t be fooled like I was.  I followed the “Your First Article” instructions, had my page postured and ready to go.  It wasn’t until I pushed the Publish button that I learned that I needed to be a part of this “elite” group to publish my page (and finish my assignment).

How I Got Passed It: To become “Autoconfirmed” you have to have your account active for 4 days and made at least 10 minor edits to other pages.  My account was active for more than 4 days but I frantically had to come up with a list of 10 minor edits to other pages.  I started editing away; many of my edits had to do with notable graduates from my high school and college and local public figures.  Coming up with 10 really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but was not something I anticipated.

Know the Code. Editing Wikipedia is not as easy as typing out a Word doc.  When you “Edit This Page” you will need to know the Wiki Mark-Up code, or language.

What the Tutorial Doesn’t Tell You: The basic Wikipedia Tutorial gives you only the mere basics.  What is doesn’t give you is instructions on how to align text or images where you want them to be or how to add captions to images.  Changes are you are going to need more instruction than what is offered in the Tutorial.

How I Got Passed It: Try the Wikipedia:How to Edit a Page or Wikipedia:Picture Tutorial.  Remember: this information wouldn’t be available without the user who created these pages.  (It wasn’t Wikipedia!)

Want to Add Pictures, or Other Media? Again, you must be Autoconfirmed.  Ugh.

What the Tutorial Doesn’t Tell You: In my opinion, the Tutorial really doesn’t address this common endeavor.  I google’d around and found ways where I could upload my image to a site in hopes that a user with higher status would upload it on my behalf.  I couldn’t wait for that.

How I Got Passed It:  Became Autoconfirmed by editing 10 other pages.

After it was all said and done, I completed my assignment.  But, I wished I would have come across an article that would have told me all of this.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | December 3, 2009

Response Blog #10 – My Trip to the Kenyan Blogosphere

Sometimes I forget that the internet exists outside of the United States and the English language.  This week’s social media lesson dove into social media and the blogosphere across the globe – Is it the same? Is it different?  To find out, I did a little digging of my own into the Kenyan blogosphere.

After exploring the Kenyan section of Global Voices, a site that links you to the blogospheres of different countries, I found that Kenyan bloggers are blogging about many of the same topics/issues as United States bloggers.  They are expressing their opinion on many social issues such as gay marriage and climate change.  They’ve even become fascinated with how social media is playing a part in sports; maybe not to the extent as the United States and the flurry of interest when it comes to sports teams using social media to promote themselves and even the players want to participate.  Also, the industry leaders have blogging conferences and summit meetings just like we do.

Naturally, I think what drives the differences in the U.S. and Kenyan blogospheres are the specific issues that each country faces.  The United States has a stronger political arena than Kenya, so you don’t see as many political bloggers.  One issue that Kenya and the African continent faces is the climate and how it affects agriculture.  I found a posting about how the country is on pins and needles waiting for the El Nino rains.  Because the United States has such a diverse climate, I don’t think you would ever see a posting like that.

Like any trip to another country, my time into the Kenyan blogosphere was quite educational.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 18, 2009

Response Blog #9 – Wikipedia – Don’t Be So Skeptical

Wikipedia is probably the most recognizable source of information on the internet.  You can find a page for just about everything – really even “Everything.”  While it has information galore on almost any topic and in several languages, many are still skeptical of the fact that a wiki site can be edited by anyone.  I can somewhat agree because I have been burned by the use of incorrect information found on a wiki site.  Yeah, it stinks when someone calls you out on this misinformation.  However, I still think Wikipedia is an amazing resource of information and that the benefits of far outweigh the cons.  Where else can you find out the small details, like who narrates the famous theme song for Days of Our Lives?

Here are some things that the skeptics out there need to keep in mind…

  • The Experts Are Even Wrong Sometimes.  Hard to believe, but the Encyclopedia Britannica tends to be wrong from time to time.  Believe it or not, but a 12-year old boy found mistakes in this credible source.
  • When In Doubt, Check the Resources and External Links.  According to the Wiki Tutorial, each edit is recommended to have a link or external source attached (see the bottom of the wiki site).  Otherwise, the edits are subject to removal.
  • Discuss It.  Each Wiki page has a Discussion tab (located at the top) where you can discuss or talk about potential edits with other users.  Is there information you think is incorrect?  Discuss it with the person who made the edit.

Again, some Wiki pages can dive into the most detailed information on a topic which can be very useful.  I don’t think Wikipedia should be open to just verified experts because there are common folk like you and me that aren’t quote “experts” but are perfectly capable of contributing meaningful information.  Plus, if we left it to the experts Wikipedia probably wouldn’t be what it is today.

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 14, 2009

Cash for Tasks — Crowdsourcing Part II

Need extra cash with the Holidays coming up?  Perhaps you are out of work and need something to keep you afloat until you can find another job?  Well, a recent class discussion led me to an online, work from home job market that many may not be aware of.  Interested?  Keep on reading…

In an earlier post I discussed crowdsourcing, the concept of outsourcing tasks traditionally performed by an employee to a group (crowd) of people or community in an open forum.  Many of the examples in my earlier post were contests that makers of consumer products would organize to get marketing ideas – free marketing ideas – from their fans/consumers and then select a winning idea.  Take the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest, for example.

Well, there are come examples of crowdsourcing that actually pay you cold, hard cash for work.  And better yet, you can do it from home and in your spare time.

The first example of this type of crowdsourcing is Amazon Mechanical Turk.  How does it work?  You go to the website, review the list of HITs or Human Intelligence Tasks, do the work, and earn money.   Some types of HITs you might find are to rewrite sentences, search for a certain type of photo on the internet, or write brief review of sports products. Below is an example of one that you might find.


At first glance, the work may not look that appealing based on the amount you will get paid for each task – $0.15, $0.06, or even a $0.01 per task.   So, you probably want to choose your HITs wisely.   But also remember that there are hundreds and even thousands of HITs available in that one HIT description.   If you are the type that can navigate quickly on the computer/internet, those small cents can add up to big dollars fast.

Here’s another blogger’s take on Mechanical Turk.

So here’s my disclaimer: This is not the type of work that you want to try to make a living off of.  This should merely just be supplemental income to the job that you already have.  Some tasks require certain qualifications as listed on the Qualifications tab. For more information, watch this video.

Another example for the creative designers out there is 99 Designs.  This site is filled with thousands of design contests.  You, the artist, review the specifications on the contest, submit your design, and wait to see if you win the contest.  Before you sign up, you are able to see how many designs will be chosen and the monetary reward given to the winner.  Just looking at the contests today, I see rewards ranging from $100-$2500.  This can be quick cash for the person with a creative mind that can produce designs in short time.

While I am not a designer and my east coast lifestyle does not allow for extra time on my hands, I did find this market very fascinating.  I’m sure  Mechanical Turk and 99  Designs are just a couple examples of this type of crowdsourced work.   Let me know if you try this out and how it goes…

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 12, 2009

Veterans Day Tributes — Social Media Style

Yesterday many Americans used social media outlets to thanks and remember our Veterans.  My favorite social media tribute was the Mental Floss’ blog on “Dogs Welcoming Home Soldiers”, a series of canines caught loving their vet ( not their  veterinarian) on video.  Here’s my favorite vide0 (also found on the Boing Boing blog)…

…now I know the barking gets to be a little much after a while, but it brought a tear to my eye.

Put all of the cute dog videos aside, this holiday really gave me a new perspective on the use of social media and this concept of building a community online – in this case, those wanting to honor our past and present soldiers.  Think about it.  Many Americans did not have the day off work yesterday.  Therefore, we were not able to participate in the traditional Veterans Day celebrations: speeches, ceremonies, and parades – actual events that take place in a town, or physical community.  Instead, social media provided an opportunity to pay tribute; whether it be with a “Happy Veterans Day” tribute on Facebook or Twitter, a blog posting about a special Veteran in their lives, or videos to capture great soldier moments (as we saw earlier).

Another great example of this type of tribute was Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill’s Twitter feed.  In the morning, she put out her own Veterans Day tribute and encouraged her followers to let her know if there is a special Missouri vet that they would like her to give a shout out to.  How awesome!

With that, I hope you all were able to pay tribute on Veterans Day in your own way.  Happy (Belated) Veterans Day!

Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 10, 2009

Response Blog #8 – Join the Crowd!

Instead of turning to high-paid marketing analysts and consultants, companies are now turning to internet users for ideas, designs, and creative marketing ideas – traditionally, with no money exchanging hands.  This concept of leveraging ideas from a group or a community is called crowdsourcing.

To me, crowdsourcing is one of those concepts that I have seen in work but never really participated in or heard much about.  It wasn’t until a recent discussion in class where I realized the sheer genius behind the concept – IF done right.

A few examples: A website where companies can post their brand logos, either current or future, and get internet user’s reaction in a single word or sentence. (great example from a classmate of mine): Over 400 internet users (and Star Wars fans) have the opportunity to pick a 15 second scene of the Star Wars movie and submit a video reenactment.  Later, the scenes from all users will be “chunked” together to make a single movie.

And probably one of the most familiar examples, Apple Apps for iPhones and iTouch: I always realized that these were developed by everyday Apple users, but it didn’t occur to me that this is an example of crowdsourcing.  Almost 100,000 apps and counting

Crowdsourcing can be an excellent (and cost-effective) way to build brand awareness and loyalty, but the key is to give the users or consumers what they want in return for their time and effort.  Followers of social media call this the Promise, Bargain, Tool concept.  The Starbucks My Starbucks Idea site is an excellent example of this.  The Starbucks site allows users to share and discuss ideas, vote on other’s ideas, and see the results.  Whereas the Brandtags crowdsourcing example may not be as effective because users are merely asked to comment on different logos, but you don’t necessary know the result of your effort.

Otherwise, I give crowdsourcing a thumbs up and would encourage communicators and marketers to explore this avenue of social media.

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