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Facebook vanity

Posted on 03. Apr, 2011 by .

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I hate the term vanity url.  It reminds me of vanity publishing, back in the days before lulu.com, when ‘vanity’ publishers would charge a fortune to produce 500 copies of a book that had been rejected by mainstream publishing houses.  Self publishing has become decomocratised these days, no longer a privilege of the rich.  But I digress….  Facebook allows a page owner to claim a vanity url once their page has been liked by 25 ‘fans’.  This enables you to change from an untidy and impossible to remember url consisting of a string of numbers to something more straightforward.  However, if you’re frustrated at having to wait until 25 fans hit that Like button there is a workaround you can use in the short term if your blog/website is self hosted.   Just go into the file manager of your control panel and make a directory in the root called, for example, facebook.  Now go to the redirect section of the control panel and point the facebook directory to the pesky long url of your facebook page.  Simples!  Here’s my example: http://connectry.com/facebook Not perfect but better than nothing while you wait for the magic 25 :-)

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What is social media?

Posted on 02. Apr, 2011 by .

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Social media may be the buzz phrase of the last 12 months but I’m still asked daily, “What is social media, exactly?” It seems to have almost as many definitions as the people who use it, but basically social media is social interaction using technology. Although this broad definition could include ‘old school’ tools such as the telephone, the term is most commonly associated with online conversations and interactions. The emergence of Web 2.0 around 2004 saw the development of websites and services which allowed two-way interactions both between provider and user and other users. As scripting language became more sophisticated it was used to employ technology to engage and personalise the whole internet experience and new companies emerged that were no longer tied to the old business model.

So to answer the question, in brief, its any web service that engages in ‘social’ or Web 2.0 activity and allows us, the consumer, to interact and engage in conversations on their site or within their service. The current skyscrapers towering over the social media landscape are facebook (with over 600 million users) twitter, youtube and Linkedin, location services such as 4square, photo sites such as Flickr and blogging sites blogger and wordpress.   These are only the ‘big boys’, there are hundreds of other sites and communities.  I’m writing from a broadly European perspective but we shouldn’t overlook services that are populuar around the world or wth particular niche groups. Plurk is a similar service to twitter and is very popular in Taiwan and also with the community that inhabit the virtual world of Second Life, itself another aspect of social media.

New social media platforms are coming online every day and others fade away or reinvent themselves but it seems a sure bet that connecting with other people is going to be the driving force behind the internet of the future.

 

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Google search stories

Posted on 31. Mar, 2011 by .

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This is a lot of fun! You can make your own search story here. I’d love to see what you come up with.

 

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Connections

Posted on 27. Mar, 2011 by .

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When I left school, many years ago, my first job was as a telephonist for the government owned telephone company.  It was a great job and the beginning of a fascination with all forms of technology based communication from pagers and the brick-like mobile phones of the 90s to ipods, ipads, facebook and twitter.

During my early days at the telephone exchange we occasionally had security alerts which meant all staff were evacuated to the police station across the road while the building was checked.  The switchboard girls didn’t waste any opportunity to flirt with the young police officers who I’m sure loved the distraction of 40 or so young women crowding into their lobby.

When we returned to duty we were met with the unforgettable sight of switchboards that had been left unattended for half an hour.  It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 1970s any non-local call had to be routed physically by a switchboard operator.  If you wanted to call your granny in another county or make a business call to London you first dialled 100 and the operator would connect you.   Thirty minutes away from banks of switchboards and almost every light was winking and flashing with a customer or ‘subscriber’ as they were formally known waiting impatiently for a response.  ”Bloody hell, it’s like Blackpool illuminations in here”, was the usual response as we rushed to plug in our headsets. The soft murmur of apologies filled the room.

Blackpool Illuminations

 

I was reminded of the cacophony of that scene when I started to research the problems facing businesses and organisations trying to cope with the demands of social media.  There are so many ways to communicate but which one is a priority?  Which one to deal with first?  In my position as social media manager I see the connections with my very first job, helping to create order from chaos and connecting businesses with the people who matter most.

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