Pin me, I’m board – (Some) Predictions for 2012

(Part three of a three-part series)

Pinterest is a visual social network that allows users to pin favorite ideas, pictures, recipes, etc. to boards. These boards are for personal reference or for sharing with other "Pinners."

Ah, the grand finale for my New Year Extravaganza (I am lighting the fuse now).

I hope that at the end of this year, we can fall back to this posting and say I was right. But then again, I’ve made quite a bit of predictions in my life that have fallen short.

I predicted Alex Rodriguez, the third baseman for the New York Yankees would never win the World Series, I predicted the Dallas Mavericks to lose to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, I predicted the Texas Rangers to win the 2011 World Series and I predicted my girlfriend would say “Yes” when I asked her to marry me over the holidays.

Now sure, I was wrong three of four times (am engaged now), but when it comes to predictions, getting one right can give someone a big head.

But predictions are never guarantees, they are just fun to read and think about. I could predict I am going to win $1 million, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. However, you probably thought for just a second on what you would do with $1 million, so my prediction got you thinking.

And that’s what I hope to accomplish with my ACTUAL predictions in the online spectrum — to get you thinking or to try something new.

So, when it comes to my sports predictions, the opposite always seems to happen. So maybe I should predict the Dallas Cowboys will never win a Super Bowl under Jerry Jones ever again.

As far the following predictions, well, you can tell me at the end of the year whether I was right or wrong.

  • Google+/Pinterest become social staples: Ahh, yes, I brought Google+ full Circle (pun intended). To me, because of its user-friendly layout, it’s combination of Facebook and Twitter formats, Google+ will become a major social player. And so will Pinterest, another “hot” social network at the end of 2011 (adding nearly 3 million users since August). Pinterest is a visual social network that allows users to target and pin their favorite photos/ideas featuring recipes, fashion, puppies, jewelry, etc. OK, so this sounds like more of a woman-friendly social medium, but so what? I bet lots of brands would like a better way to market to women, and here’s a way. My girlfriend, ahem, excuse me, my fiancé (got to get used to saying this) is addicted to Pinterest like I am addicted to fantasy sports. So far, she’s told her two friends, and they’ve told their two friends, and they’ve told their friends, and so on and so on…
  • Mobile surfing/app usage rides even bigger wave: A couple of weeks ago it was reported that 40 percent of Facebook users logged on through their mobile device — that’s more than 300 million people using their phone or tablet to access their profile. Apple and Google’s app downloads were at 10 billion mark each at the end of 2011. Also of note, Apple’s Mac App store, in one year since its opening, reached 100 million downloads. These figures show that users are more and more flocking to apps. The Internet is not in Kansas anymore folks, the app tornado is causing many to follow the yellow brick road of online success.
  • Social Media Marketing REALLY takes off…and won’t land anytime soon: With a continuously growing client base for us in 2011, we foresee an even bigger demand for building one’s social voice in 2012. With more than one billion users combined on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ alone, the social flock keeps growing. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow for “brand” pages, and Google+ just added this feature as well, but has some improvements (in my opinion) to make before its feature comes close to that of Facebook. These pages have allowed for brands to gain visibility online, which could be huge for success down the line.

Care to make any predictions for 2012? And no, you can’t predict the world WON’T end on December 21, 2012!

Dear Social Media: Change These 2 Things Quickly in 2012

(This is part two of a three-part series)

Hello there, how about that ride in (to 2012)?

I’m back for part two of my New Year Extravaganza (I am probably buttering up this statement just a tad). This portion focuses on what I would like to see happen in 2012.

In 2011, we’ve saw many new beginnings in the U.S. such as Google+, Spotify, Siri, to name a few. While none of these ideas would have even crossed my mind in a 2010 form of a “New Year’s Resolution” post, I hope that what I want to see this year happens (one of these wishes is very trivial, but could have great impact for everyone, but you can guess which one it is).

It’s not a long list, but if I had too many resolutions for the new year, my expectations might be let down more than I’d like.

  • Let me edit my turrible grammer: The first thing I noticed about Google+ when I joined was if I made an error, I could immediately edit, or even two hours later, without having to delete the post and re-post it, or using an asterisk, followed by my correction. If Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (to name a few social venues that do not allow for this completely) make one change, this would be it. It’s a simple request, at least in my eyes. Hey, Google+ did it, why can’t you?
  • Social media – Friend not a fad: With more than 800 million users on Facebook, 200-million-plus on Twitter, 100-million-plus on LinkedIn, 60-plus million on Google+, etc., social media does not appear to be going away any time soon. Sure, MySpace dwindled, and many networks have phased in and out, but others moved in and replaced them. I’ve been a Facebook user since 2005 (back in the good ol’ days when only college students could register), and back then, I might have thought it was a fad that would last a couple of years, but not now. That skeptic voice has long since faded away, and so should yours. Another reason social media should move to friend status is more and more businesses, companies, organizations and brands are flocking to social media to spread the word about their goods and services (remember those terms from your high school economics class?) Good thing dr2marketing specializes in social media marketing isn’t it?

What are your New Year’s Resolutions in 2012? I hope you at least ate your black-eyed peas!

Sayonara 2011, Aloha 2012!

(This is part one of a three-part series)

I’d say within the last month, I’ve seen a throng of 2012 predictions and “best-ofs” for social media, technology and even the world. (There’s even a top-10 list for the “Best Top Ten Lists of 2011”).

It’s expected to see many of these prediction, and “best-of” articles, at the end of the year.

Now I am going to do the same, and yes I am a little late to the party as it is not 2011 anymore, but in my experience, the party doesn’t get good until later anyway.

So here you go: I offer you my New Year’s Extravaganza — my thoughts that will roll out in three posts: My 2011 “best-ofs,” 2012 resolutions and then ending with my 2012 predictions. Subject matter of these posts include social media, radio, technology, the end of the world and a potential threat against social media, and even our freedom of speech.

But let’s not dive into that part just yet, instead, let’s focus on what I liked about 2011.

 Some 2011“Best-ofs”

  • Google+ — I’m still skeptical of this social network (up to 62 million users as of December 2011 and traffic was up 55 percent from November to December), but I am still learning, as many of you probably are. And as time has advanced since I registered, I am moving from a skeptic square to a Circle (pun intended). Its hangouts feature allows for multi-user interaction through video, and it later added space for brand pages, which adds even more social discussion for brands to expand their name. Now Google+ needs to add customizable pages for brands, and maybe most importantly, just keep Farmville out of my “feed trough” (i.e. news feed). P.S. Click to Circle us.
  • Social Democracy — While this isn’t exactly a “best-of” of my own because news outlets like Mashable have coined 2011 as the “Year of Social Democracy,” I just want to say I completely agree. With news events such as the “Occupy” movements, Netflix separating its streaming and DVD rental fees, and Verizon charging $2 for online bill pay, the online world became a place to speak one’s mind, with voracity in 2011, and social media was a major player. Netflix’s popularity has dwindled immensely since it announced its change, much thanks to social media outcry. In turn, its stocks have been in decline ever since. As for Verizon, they denounced making their change after an online petition (and some social media backlash) made it known that many customers were unhappy with being charged the extra fee. These are just a few of MANY examples of the social voice becoming more and more influential, and that voice seems to get louder and louder every year. And after 2011, it’s starting to become deafening.
  • Facebook Timelines — Timelines began creeping in toward the end of 2011, and while in its infancy (as of this post, the change hasn’t been made for everyone worldwide yet), I actually am a big fan (maybe one of the few?). I see the potential this could provide at a professional level, amongst other ideas, as per written in one of my previous blog posts.
  • Video has yet to kill the Radio star: Arbitron reported that radio added 1.4 million weekly listeners compared to December of 2010. This suggests that radio continues to thrive despite any naysaying about it becoming a dying breed. Now with Clear Channel’s move to reduce many of its stations into “cookie cutters,” there could be a setback for this trend, but we will have to wait til the end of 2012 to see if the number of listeners declines.
  • Spotify your mind: Spotify, a digital music service, launched in Europe in 2008, and after huge success, it was subsequently released in the U.S. in July of 2011. Spotify provides users access to millions of songs for free, however, the free version limits your choices. But a small monthly payment, including a premium amount, users gain access to Spotify’s entire music library. But most importantly, users gain access to albums before they are released publicly and get chances at winning tickets to live shows and big name competitions. Later on in 2011, Spotify integrated its services socially with Facebook. Users can now share songs with Facebook friends using playlists/suggestions. This move for Spotify and Facebook was huge in the social landscape as far as music is concerned. I, for one, enjoy it immensely, and I don’t even pay for the monthly service.

What do you feel were some highlights in 2011?

Stay tuned for parts two and three!

Ho…Ho…Hope You Aren’t Left Without a Social Presence

What if the real Santa Claus had a social media voice?

What first comes to mind when you hear or see talk of Christmas?

Is it family? Santa Claus? Presents? Food? Religion? Sugar Plums? Reindeer? The dinner scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?”

I could go on and on with the questions, but you choose the word that first comes to mind and I’ll pick mine: Santa.

Thanks to Google+ for allowing me to transform into Santa.

Why is that my first thought? Probably because if you stuck me in a red jump suit and add a white beard and hair, I’d be a dead-ringer for one of the world’s most polarizing Christmas figures (see photo).

Now yes, some of you may think he is not real, but don’t be a Grinch or Scrooge when it comes to Christmas, or Santa, just yet.

Let’s just pretend he is, and also let’s just pretend he lacks a true social media voice.

I don’t know how Internet savvy Santa is, because let’s face it, he has his hands full being the CEO of the Elf Workshop, sorting out billions of gift requests and compiling his naughty and nice list.

Facebook’s algorithm for pay-per-click advertising has been difficult to crack, so wrap your head around how Jolly ‘Ol St. Nick delivers all of those gifts in one day…it’s mind boggling.

But Santa could make his life much easier with the right marketing/advertising strategy.

Santa’s presence in the world started way back before this new one-horse open sleigh known as social media (well, there’s far more than one horse now) took off. So, building Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for the sake of ROI, may not be the right path for him, but a social Santa could make his life more efficient and easier, thus perhaps more time for milk and cookies and with Mrs. Claus (what is her first name, anyway?)

So here are a few ways a social Santa could spend more time on the beach or golfing each year, rather than shrouded by ice, cold and polar bears.

  • Customer service: A brand page through, let’s say Facebook (800+ million users), could help Santa funnel wish lists from his clientele all over the world. This allows for organization, and allows for his elven marketing staff to relay answers to questions or requests quickly. He could even use Foursquare or some other social location venue for checking into various places all over the world. Instead of NORAD tracking him for us, we can follow his delivery rout, thus we’d have an idea of when our gifts should arrive and we could get to bed before he does.
  • Engagement: Using an official Twitter account, accompanied with the blue check mark (this icon dubs user as “official”), Santa could begin to erase the moniker of his non-existence, thus providing credibility for his actions. With Twitter, Santa could post pictures of the hard work going on at the North Pole, and tweet/retweet content from his elves (assuming he requires them to create an account), Mrs. Claus and his followers, creating a buzz around his operation. With the list function on Twitter, Santa could separate his followers into “naughty” and “nice,” (could also do this with Google+ Circles) allowing him to monitor his clientele’s actions each day. Then, he could decide whether to move them from one list to the other based on their daily actions on Twitter. All of this real-time interaction with his followers could help him spread the word that the services he provides are indeed, legit, not discredited.
  • Networking: Santa is a large fellow with a large operation. Most people like their back “scratched,” but sometimes it’s hard to do it by oneself, especially if you are Santa. By socializing his workshop/operation, he opens the door to other services that will not only benefit him, but others as well. Santa must ask himself this question: How can I help evenly distribute the weight I am carrying? (Talking about his workload weight, not his plump frame. Of course, I guess he could venture into the world of bariatric surgery…OK, now I am just rambling). For example, instead of Kris Kringle tending to his reindeer daily, perhaps he seeks out a service through Twitter or Facebook that specializes in animal grooming/maintenance. He may have to shell out a few extra bucks because this service would have to weather the conditions of the North Pole. But by Santa being social, he erased a hefty duty that should allow him to place focus elsewhere. If Santa approved of said animal grooming service, he could very well give it a great recommendation through Twitter or Facebook, or both, and with Santa’s social voice, that could go along way for the grooming service as far as attracting new business.

So you see, even the most influential delivery man in the world could benefit from a social media voice.

OK, now it’s time to leave out the milk and cookies so when Santa comes to town, I’m not the one who is without presence.

How do you feel about social media? How do you use it?

The social space Timeline continuum: Facebook’s newest profile update

Timelines for all Facebook users will roll out beginning next week. Pictured above is a look at the cover photo for a user's profile. The cover photo stretches horizontally atop a profile page.

Have you ever wanted to relive a moment in your life over and over again?

Perhaps it was a moment when you attended the championship-clinching game of your favorite team?

Or a moment in your prime when you felt indestructible, impenetrable — like Superman or Wonder Woman?

We’ve all, most likely, have wished for a chance to return to a time when maybe life wasn’t all that difficult or relive that first kiss or the birth of a child.

Sure, there are photo albums and home videos that can bring you back to that special place again, but with the growing realm of social networking, that all now can be rolled into one with Facebook’s latest profile update called Timelines.

Announced by Facebook on Thursday, Timelines is now available nearly everywhere in the world. Timelines has been in the beta process before its public release, so for those who signed up for the beta version, this feature is not news to you. For others, you can update your profile now, but come the end of this month, we all will have the new template for our profiles.

So what is Timelines?

Basically, it is a profile update for users that chronologically archives a person’s life.

And in my opinion, it does order my life quite well so far. There’s not much difficulty in retracing my steps to that one concert I attended in college, to when I started dating my current girlfriend, to my birth (you have to add your birth date to record your birth of course).

Instead of thumbing through pages of a photo album for the purposes of reminiscing, like my parents and grandparents did with me, I can now log on to Facebook, click my profile and my archived life is available.

To describe it simply, Timelines is like an online time capsule, or if I want to go girly with the analogy, it’s an online scrapbook.

The first Timelines option you most likely will notice is the cover photo. This is where your creative juices can flow, especially if you are a Photoshop whiz. This display horizontally covers your profile with a standard profile photo layered on top.

There also is an option called “Life Events” in which you select different stock categories and archive a moment in your life that you want detailed.

For example, if you choose the path of weight loss, you can have a starting date, take a picture of yourself at your starting weight, then daily, weekly, monthly or yearly update your progress, adding photos along the way.

Facebook is a casual social network with nearly 800+ million users, but Timelines has options for being used in a professional light. But it also has potential dark spots that could provide problems, so here are a few “Likes” and “Dislikes” I have regarding the newest way to “travel” back in time.


  • Option for personal branding: In time, after all of the complaints are filed away in one’s status, Timelines could be used for making oneself more (or less) visible. The cover photo allows for creative design, and the archiving ability allows a user to continuously update crowning moments or achievements in one’s life, i.e., new job, promotions, awards, etc.
  • Online Time Capsule: I touched on this already, but I like that I have a way to view my life with virtually one click (of course I have to add content, but entering milestones, or failures even, are simple). Assuming Facebook is around in 15-20 years, I admire the idea of sharing my life with my children, or grandchildren, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, using a social medium rather than a photo album (and I didn’t have to purchase the album or print the pictures).
  • Social apps: Apps are on our phones, iPads, laptops, etc. and now they will be a prominent feature on Timelines. Facebook says “there’s a new class of social apps that let you express who you are through all the things you do.” Music sharing will be a key feature, so it will be interesting to see how social apps evolves over time.


  • The Stalker Effect: Going back a few years into someone’s past may be a little too invasive for some. A user can limit said visibility, but Timelines allows for a lot of past information to be seen immediately. Also, the layout reminds me of MySpace — an early social network that allowed for customized pages — which I was not a fan of at all.
  • Not available for brands: I am not sure if brands need the Timeline feature, but the cover photo is intriguing, and it could provide for added visibility and connectivity between a brand, its followers and potential followers. Google+ has “Scrapbook Photos” which allow for creative design to a brand’s page, and a Facebook cover photo could provide the same for brands.
  • Facebook is forcing change: People enjoy this thing called free will, and with every other Facebook profile change in the past, this one will be no different — eventually, you WILL have a Timeline. Right now, you can choose to check out the update before it’s mandatory, so that is a choice, but with a very ephemeral window. Expect the roll out around Dec. 22, so think of it as an early Christmas present.

What do you think of Facebook’s latest update?

Games, tweets and radio’s wheels: What you might have missed this week

Microsoft launched a new update for "Xbox Live" this week, dubbing it the "future of TV." (Photo via

I was born during the “Big Bang” of video games.

The Magnavox “Odyssey” arrived in 1972 — the world’s first home gaming console. The “Atari” later followed, as did the “ColecoVision,” Sega’s “Genesis” and my personal favorite — the “Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and my nostalgia radar flares up anytime I hear the words “Super Mario Brothers,” “Tetris,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” or “Frogger.”

But in my 28 years, console developers have made extraordinary improvements to game play from graphics to controls, and now of course, there’s online play.

When I was a child, fighting my way through “Double Dragon” on the NES, never would have I thought the age of video games would be this far advanced, or perhaps more importantly, socially connected.

Online play allows users from all over the world to interact, connect and play video games. It’s like one big arcade without all the quarters.

Now consoles, such as Microsoft’s “Xbox 360,” are diving into the world of streaming video and digging deeper into social networking.

This week Microsoft announced a huge “Xbox Live” (name of its online world) update that it dubbed as the “future of TV.”

This was one of many interesting mass communication stories announced this week, and for this post, I wanted to touch on this and a few other news items within this platform that you may have missed.

Xbox Live rolls out update – could be ‘future of TV’

Info: This new update will allow for Xbox 360’s 57+ million users to use the “Kinect,” a motion-sensing device, to access content and apps through a “universal, voice-directed search” using Bing. Apps will include streaming video from apps developed by HBO, Netflix, MSNBC, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Major League Baseball to name a few. This is Microsoft’s attempt to create a one-stop hub for viewing television, the “future of TV” as it dubs the move.

What it could mean: Providing new advertising opportunities. To name a few examples: Commercial breaks in between streaming content, pop-up ads like you might see on YouTube or even a voice-activated search to locate advertisers.

Arbitron: Radio listeners up 1.4 million in 2011

Info: Thought radio was on the decline? Not according to Arbitron, which reported Monday, Dec. 5, that radio added 1.4 million weekly listeners compared to December 2010. Arbitron, which measures network and local radio audiences across the nation, also reported 241.3 million listeners from 12 years and older tune into the radio each week.

What it could mean: That radio looks to continue to be a top-notch broadcasting and mass communications medium. Diversity among listener base also is growing meaning advertisers can reach a wider spectrum of people. The thought that radio is a dying breed should be quelled…for now.

Twitter announces “Brand Pages”

Info: This was announced Thursday, Dec. 8, and along with a new comprehensive design, Twitter now joins the ranks of Facebook and Google+ in competition for allowing brands to better market their products or services. According to Advertising Age, the design also allows for two new free features — customization for large header images with a more visible tagline, and the choice for brands to keep certain tweets at the top of their feed. This tweet also allows for auto-expansion to show an embedded photo or video from various sources.

Twitter's "Brand Pages" (via

What it could mean: Should allow for a brand’s voice to be heard more clearly and contextually. Only a select few will get to test out the new design with availability expanding in the coming months. An unanswered question on the date of this posting is “Will current brands be able to convert their Twitter profile to a “Brand Page?” We shall see.

With the addition of “@” replies and “mentions,” brands will be able to optimize their customer service availability more coherently than with the previous version. It also keeps Twitter in competition with social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+, not that it needed to really with 200+ million users, but the idea is fresh.

Facebook begins Timeline rollout

Info: Facebook announced Wednesday that it’s lifting the ‘beta’ tag from its new “Timeline” platform and releasing it into the wild, so to speak (before this, ‘beta’ users could only see other ‘beta’ users Timelines). Timeline will allow for archiving and organizing a user’s life. New apps will accompany this feature and the new design features a large picture as a user’s profile page header. Its template will allow users to get creative with designing their profiles. However, this rollout, was first released in New Zealand only.

What it could mean: That there could be lots of griping about the changes because that’s what Facebook users like to do sometimes. This change, at least, has been more publicized than most. But as usual, expect users to adapt to the change and roll with the punches. Some gripes could be with privacy issues, a valid argument. Does Timeline allow too much access to a person’s life? Privacy issues have plagued Facebook before and it’s still the leading social network.

Also, this feature is not available for Facebook’s Pages format…yet. Brands will have to wait, but this template could add throngs of design ideas, etc. Now if Facebook can get past its Timeline legal issues and exterminate all of the bugs.

How did you react reading the above information? How does any of this information intrigue you?



Google+ Pages: A branding force?

Google+ and brands are now in a relationship.

This is a screen shot of a Google+ Hangout hosted by respected social media news blog Mashable on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The Hangout feature could be used in a variety of ways to reach customers/clients such as Q&A sessions.

But let me preface the above statement by saying be careful of wearing your heart on your sleeve for this newest tryst.

The reason why you should keep your emotional wall intact is because while Google+ sports more than 40 million users, it is a fad…for now.

Google+ is the newest social network created to combat social media giants Facebook and Twitter. Launched this summer, Google+ has more than 40 million users, but falls short in its number of users compared to its competitors (800 million on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter).

Let’s face it, Google+ is a fad. At one time Facebook was a fad, Twitter was a fad, MySpace was a fad, etc. But as of now, two of the above social media networks have flourished (Facebook and Twitter), and have solidified themselves as social staples. As for MySpace, well, when was the last time you heard anyone mention it?

Facebook and Twitter got serious about their product, and thus have built a long-term social relationship that most likely will end only with ‘til death do you part.

To garner further attention and expand its audience, Google added Google+ Pages this week, allowing businesses, organizations, special interest groups and other brands to create their own profiles.

Google initially held off from allowing brands/businesses from doing this, but now that it’s available, Google+ Pages gives these groups a way to interact with their audience.

Now the question is: Should your brand rush to build a Google+ Page?

This social network is still in the honeymoon phase for many, especially for brands, so it’s imperative one gets familiar with what Google+ and its Pages feature offers, or doesn’t for that matter, before making a decision.

But I will say, it is another way to spread the word about your name/brand.

So before you decide to give your heart to Google+ Pages, here are a few of my likes and dislikes (excuse me, +1s and -1s), and hopefully these can help with your decision.

By the way, “+1” is the equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button.


  • Hangouts: This feature allows multiple users to interact through video chat. Now this technology isn’t new to the social world, however, what I like is the intimacy a brand can have with its audience. Using this tool to field questions from customers, and subsequently answer them directly, has the ability to make them feel special.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google is a search engine giant, and by adding Google+ Pages, brands can now optimize their visibility on Google’s search engine. When logged into a Google+ account, you will begin seeing +1 buttons in your search results. Clicking this button, means you “like” the page, post or website you are viewing. Thus, the more +1’s something receives, the higher the ranking it will have in a search. Also, you can +1 content using Google’s browser Chrome, so it’s not exclusive to Google+.
  • Direct Connect: Again the “+” symbol comes into play here. Direct Connect allows for a brand’s Google+ plus page to be accessed directly, increasing visibility once again. When searching for a Google+ Page on Google, you place a “+” then type the first letter or two of the brand you are searching (see screenshot). Brands with “official” pages should be available to click and view, reducing the number of steps in searching for a Page. Now as for what constitutes an “official” page, see the “-1s.”


  • Domain squatting: Currently, Google+ Pages do not have a way to verify an “official” page. Anyone can create a page and label it as “the official page of Coca-Cola” for example, even though it may just be Jane Doe of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who created it. A lack of a vanity URL address hurts, too. A vanity address coupled with a verification process would give solid credibility to a brand’s page.
  • No Page analytics: Facebook’s analytics, called Insights, gives Facebook Page owners the ability to understand and analyze trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content. Page owners are better equipped to improve their business and create better experiences on Facebook. Google+ does not have this ability at the moment.
  • One administrator: Now that brands can market themselves with the Pages feature, the drawback is that only one person can be logged into an account at a time. I am sure this will change over time, but for now it goes into the -1 category.

So with all of that said, how do you feel about Google+ Pages?