• Are Your Customers Starting To Hide From You?
    I'm reporting from the Social Media Insider Summit at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Lake Tahoe. Currently I'm looking at an unobstructed view of Squaw Valley, set against a clear, mostly cloud-free, sky. But maybe the view from last year's Tahoe summit -- smoky, courtesy of massive wildfires several hours away -- would have been more fitting, considering what I'm about to say about consumers and social media.
  • More Evidence That The Social Media Consumer -- And Creator -- Is Always Right
    This past week was a hard one to stay off social media, and once again, the Social Media Insider certainly did not rise to the challenge of doing something else with her life. Reason one, of course, was the death of Robin Williams, which led to an online outpouring the likes of which we've never seen. Number two -- if a somewhat distant number two -- was the plethora of Ice Bucket Challenge videos, which have an almost inexplicable allure. Somehow, the sight of neighbors and public figures dousing themselves with ice water doesn't get old.
  • You Might Not "Like" This, But You Should
    Boy, it's been a hard year for the Facebook "like" -- because, well, no one likes it anymore. First came the news that a simple "like" was useless -- to advertisers anyway -- because it has long ago stopped meaning that consumers who "like" advertiser pages will actually see the content that is then stuffed into their News Feed. And then, this week came this news: Facebook is now disallowing most incentivized "liking," of the "'Like'-our-page-if-you-want-to-enter-the-sweepstakes" variety.
  • Sharknado Eats Twitter -- But So Far, Not the Other Way Around
    Apparently -- unlike sharks-gone-terrestrial -- it's not time to kill off Twitter, just yet. The social network this week saw its stock jump 30% after reporting its second quarter earnings, which showed that the platform increased revenue by 124%, to $312 million, and monthly active users by 24%, to 271 million. Further -- and perhaps most importantly -- CEO Dick Costolo came up with a nifty new way to account for Twitter's popularity. It turns out that if you've ever seen a tweet, you're part of Twitter's extended reach. (Using that methodology, I think my mom is on Facebook.)
  • This Twitch Thing Is Going to Be Big -- In Fact, It Already Is
    One thing that's both fascinating and confusing about the Internet is the ability of each of us to create an online world entirely built of our own interests and desires, to the exclusion of other worlds that are equally vibrant. So I won't blame you for not getting the ramifications of the (mostly) confirmed news that Google is buying live-stream gaming service Twitch, which it will then run out of the YouTube division. I am not a gamer -- unless you count boring games of Spider Solitaire -- but I live with someone who is: our 16-year-old son. If his ...
  • Let The Follower Beware: Facebook And Twitter Get Serious About Commerce
    Social trend of the week: clicking on "Buy" buttons. While it's tempting to just leave it at that, I suppose people who read this might like a little context. Fortunately there are actually boatloads of it, as both Facebook and Twitter made it clear this week they are getting much more aggressive about turning their social platforms into e-commerce portals. Let the follower beware?
  • Good Brand Tweets Are Not a Rising, Well, Tide
    It took nineteen months, but we finally have a tweet that comes close to living up to the real-time promise put on display at the 2013 Super Bowl by Oreo. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Tide tweet.
  • Twitter Needs To Make Itself Make Sense
    As is so often the case with the Social Media Insider, the decision of what to write about this week was a toss-up. Should I focus on Facebook's mind-control experiments (insert still from "Clockwork Orange" here), or the continuing turmoil at Twitter? I've settled on the latter, because, let's face it: Even though Facebook's altering some users' newsfeeds to see how this affects emotions is downright creepy, was this step really so surprising? Or that Facebook did it with its usual lack of awareness of how people might perceive it? No. So -- rubbing my hands together (metaphorically speaking, because ...
  • Restoration Hardware's Catalog Mailing Jumps the Shark -- And So Much More
    In the annals of corporate credibility, few initiatives stretch reality quite so much as the Restoration Hardware "Source" books, which arrived here at the house last week. I'd heard about these massive catalogs being delivered all over town for a month or so, and when I got mine, I realized it was probably the reason the cement was missing between the bricks that make up our front steps. I wouldn't want to drop the thing on my foot; let's put it that way.
  • Yo! Here's What I'll Be Doing This Weekend
    It's pretty clear. What I should be doing this weekend -- hell, it shouldn't even take the whole weekend -- is thinking up a really silly social networking idea that will net me upwards of $1 million and a few headlines. Then, like the Flappy Bird guy, I'll pull the thing from the iOS and Apple app stores, and next thing you know, I'll be on the beach on Cape Cod, laughing at how I managed to pull one over on a bunch of gullible investors.
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