Archive for April, 2010

The Internet is Everywhere…Literally!

This week in class, we watched a TED Talk about new technology that literally allows your internet browser to be projected on any flat surface.  The device is made from a smart phone, a camera, a mirror, a mini projector, and a web cam.  The combination of these things allows for users to project a computer screen on any surface, and use their hands to navigate through web pages.  Now, this sounds pretty neat, until you get into the nitty-gritty of it all.  People using this device can simply look towards any person on the street, and use the web cam and facial recognition technology to look said individual up on the internet, and even project facts about the person onto their shirt!  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of my personal information being projected across my chest.  Doesn’t that sound a little crazy?

Back to the cool bit of this technology.  It would be pretty neat to be able to access the internet anywhere and on any surface, and that probably has a variety of practical applications.  There are a lot of uses for unlimited access to the internet–but isn’t that why smart phones were developed?    Personally, I think that this is taking things a step too far.  People are already so incredibly closed off from the world through use of things like iPods.  I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times where I’ve said hello to someone who I pass on my way to class, and they don’t even acknowledge me because they are in their own little world of music.

I think that there comes a point when technology has gone too far, and I think that we are nearing that point.  What happened to “the good old days” when in order to ask a question of someone nearby, you actually had to walk over to said person and ask them face-to-face?  Personally, I love face-to-face interaction, and feel that technology is nearing a point where this type of communication is inhibited.

What are your thoughts?  Is there a point when technology goes too far into the realm of cutting off in-person interactions?  How close are we to that point?

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Meet Me in Montana…

I spent the better part of last week in Missoula, Montana for an undergraduate research conference.  The conference was great, and I was so happy and honored to be able to represent my school at the conference!

Now, Missoula is a fairly small, rural town.  There’s not a lot there aside from mountains, trees, and lots of open space.  The people who we met while there seemed to be ever-relaxed type who don’t get stressed easily and enjoy sitting back and watching the world turn.  It was incredibly refreshing to be in this type of environment, and upon returning home, I have found myself to be much more relaxed!

So with the culture of the town being so drastically different from what I’m used to, I must admit that my jaw hit the ground when I saw a sign on a little hole-in-the-wall casino that declared “Become Our Fan on Facebook!”  This illustrates just how wide the sphere that social media has influenced has become.  Even in a small town in the middle of the Big Sky State, casino owners feel the need to advertise on Facebook.  Really now?  In that type of an environment, I had almost hoped that the fast-paced current marketing trends had backed off just a little.  Sad?  A little.  But interesting?  Absolutely.

Now that I’ve been able to personally witness the wide reach of social media, there is no doubt in my mind that this truly is the future of marketing.  If a hole-in-the-wall casino in Missoula, Montana uses Facebook to spread the word about their establishment, I think that everyone should be able to do the same.

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RSS Feed?

So, now that I’ve been in internet marketing for quite some time, the term “RSS” is still something that confuses me.  Thanks to The Social Media Bible, however, I have been able to figure it out a little more.  They describe it by saying: “RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary, and although it is the name for this category of tools, it’s a bit like using the brand name Kleenex as the category title for all facial tissues.  Rather than debating the category name, it’s easier to recognize, in general, the common functions of these tools.”  So, essentially, RSS feeds are a way to constantly see information from your favorite sites or sites that have a lot of information that is pertinent to you.

RSS tools like FeedBurner allows people to push their web content.  For example, if you use the basic, free service, you can alert your blog readers when you have new content published.  Eventually, if there are enough people who follow your site–for example a site that sells a product–you may even generate a profit from the increased traffic.  The Social Media Bible says that this type of tool simplifies RSS use for people who aren’t very tech savvy (like me!).  There are a variety of other tools available, but Feed Burner sounds like the easiest to use, and the most practical for the most people.  It now works with Google, so that makes it an even better way to gain traffic.

Now, next time I see the little RSS icon on a web page, I will know what it means.  The symbol was always one of those things that I wondered about, but never clicked for fear of what it might do.  If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not the most tech-savvy person out there…so I really didn’t want to mess up my computer!

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Giving Up Twitter for Lent?

A good friend of mine is COMPLETELY addicted to Twitter–so much so, that he felt he should give it up for Lent.  He is now back on Twitter because Lent is over, but another of our friends has to hold up her end of the no Twitter for Lent deal.  She agreed that she would sign up for a Twitter account and use it at least once per day if the first friend was successful in his 40 days without Twitter.  I am curious to see if she will become as addicted as he was. 

Before taking Internet Marketing, I had a vague idea of what Twitter was thanks to this Twitter-obsessed friend, but only knew the social aspect of Twitter.  He would constantly update everyone on everything that he heard, said, or did.  I didn’t understand this phenomenon and couldn’t grasp why this was such an addiction.  After discussing microblogging in class and reading about it in the Social Media Bible, I understand it’s application to businesses.  The more people that have Twitter accounts, the easier that information can quickly be spread–it’s like a virtual word-of-mouth.  Same goes for the social application of Twitter: if one person (especially in a contained environment like Dominican) tweets something that they overheard in the cafeteria, then the entire school will probably know about it before the end of the day.  The same holds true (on a much larger scale) for how businesses can spread the word about their exciting new product.

With all this in mind, I’m still not sure that I will ever get a Twitter account unless it’s for business purposes, but it sure is an interesting phenomenon to look at!

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