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Behind the Doomsday title and  results from a study conducted by the National Retail Federation in US, and a whole bunch of other people/companies, is the fact that more and more online shoppers are bypassing websites for Facebook and Twitter, at least in the retail space.

The study, which was based on more than 1,700 online shoppers, revealed some interesting findings re: the use of online shopping, social media, consumers and retailers:

42% of online shoppers “occasionally” follow a store via social media; not quite sure what we can glean from words like “occasionally” but… Of the 42% who do in fact follow a retailer:

  • 58% do so to find deals 
  • 49% to stay up to date 
  • 39% are in it for the contests & events 

Overall, nearly 60% of Facebook users have clicked on a link which took them to a retailer’s website compared to…

Nearly 70% of Twitter users who have done so!

While these numbers are interesting and all that, what the study also revealed is – 35% of Facebook users and 32% Twitter users said they would forgo a company website and make a purchase via these social media channels instead Did you he

ar that? That was the sound of website developers all over the land screaming NOOOO!!!!!!

You still need a website!!!

What do you think?

Do you think Facebook and Twitter have the potential to replace websites, at least to some degree?

Have you ever made a purchase via Facebook or Twitter and bypassed a website completely?

If so, did you do it because it was easier?

Sources: Original Post Facebook And Twitter Will Soon Replace All Websites & Media Post

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Virgin America has worked on an interesting social media strategy in Canada for gratifying its influencers.

Having partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users’ influence on Twitter (based on variables such as the quality and number of followers and retweets), Virgin America is now extending free flights (plus tax) to influencers in Toronto.

The offer includes free round-trip airfare (Wi-Fi included) between Toronto and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) between June 23 and August 23. Those who received invitations for the offer — whether or not they decide to accept the flight that comes with it — were also invited to Virgin America’s Toronto Launch Event on June 29. Source: Mashable

What’s notable about the offer is that influencers who take the free flight will not be required to “do” anything — i.e. tweet or blog about their Virgin America experience (although the company is no doubt expecting they will do so). As Klout elaborated in a blog post, “We do not want to ‘buy’ your tweets. You are receiving the product because you are influential and have authority on topics related to the product. This is a more targeted form of receiving a sample while shopping at the grocery store. You are welcome to tell the world you love the product, you hate the product or say nothing at all.”

Indeed a great initiative in the line of engaging consumers and managing online reputation

With the steeply growing popularity and use of Twitter, there are clusters of useless tweets and some important ones too. Let us take a look at the facts that will amaze!

  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visitors a month! So is this the website every newbie hits for sure? Indeed. Twitter is being talked about as much as people are tweeting and the popularity is bound to attract the ones who are new to the World Wide Web!
  • Twitter has 105,779,710 and increasing registered members! Well this is the most amazing part of the story!
  • Twitter gets 30,000 new users a day! People share and people invite or maybe it is simply curiosity… Twitter has made it easy for anyone new to the tool to join and start tweeting and this encourages participation!
  • Twitter has 175 employees! Well as the network grows, so does the need for people to manage it and this number is also sure to be increasing at a high pace!
  • Twitter gets 600 million search queries a day! With a number of twitter applications and tools, searching for tweets or users has been made easy and the number speaks for itself!
  • 37% of users update their status through mobile phones! Once you start tweeting, there is no stopping. People love to share what they experience and twitter makes it easy for them by allowing access through as simple means as a text message.

Source: askaaronlee.com

  • Of every 100 tweets at an average, 40 are absurd, 38 are chatty, 8 for self promotion, 4 spam and the remaining 8 are meaningful! 8% might be a small amount but when multiplied by the number of tweets each day… it is worth the effort!
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the busiest days for tweets! Strangely, people tweet more when they are at work!

Profoundly misunderstood and badmouthed… No! its not another controversial celeb trying too hard to sound noble but we are talking about the latest web conqueror Twitter! The tool started on 21st March 2006 and since then although the popularity and usage has increased in multiples but there are certain myths and misconceptions that seem to prevail even today when twitter is being used by almost the entire internet using league!

  • Twitter is Clutter

Many believe and say that Twitter is nothing but a collection of useless status updates. The tool would not have been so popular if this was the case. Not denying that there are useless tweets and a huge number of them but then there are highly important and meaningful tweets as well and why do you think the tweets are restricted to 140 characters?

  • Twitter will waste your time

People also assume that joining Twitter would mean getting to know who had lunch when and who is getting a haircut. Well if such updates irritate you from someone, they would do so only once because you can simply unfollow the person after that! You have complete control over whose tweet you get and who do you avoid.

  • Twitter for Vanity

The number of followers on Twitter is not equivalent to your popularity or standard of tweets as some people assume. Twitter is not a resort for attention grabbers; it is a platform for those who find themselves interesting enough to speak to the world regularly. Followers can be increased using twiends.com but there will be no relevance, no connection, no meaning to it.

  • Frequency of Tweets

When you introduce Tweet to people not using it, they give you confused looks and the same reason that they won’t have time to write about every move of theirs! Well who’s demanding for it? Twitter won’t fine you if you dint change your status update for a month but once you begin to use the tool you yourself will know how frequently you want to update it and typing 140 characters will take what…  a minute?

  • 140 is not enough

Now this is what forces people to come to the point, rather than beat around the bush! Is being brief and short considered polite or rude? Polite I believe, then why not here?

With almost 55 million tweets a day, Twitter is ruling the Social Media Circle and it is important for people with such inhibitions  first do try it and then judge the tool.

Print and electronic media remain  reliable sources for news and updates even though social media has largely taken over the medium with its toolkit equipping ordinary folks to become citizen journalists. Social Media is a wide arena with endless tools and though some are more reliable than others the basic element of credibility is still an issue!

However that does not stop journalists from relying on this medium to find leads, sources, stories and at times in-depth knowledge about current affairs. But then again it becomes a challenge to decide which tools can be trusted. No use cluttering Twitter applications on the desktop if you don’t have the right people to follow!

But once you get the knack of what is original and what is diluted… social media can be a constructive tool to build a great story or generate good leads. Let’s take a look at the  ways social media can be helpful to its self proclaimed competitors

  • What goes around comes to Social Networking websites before anywhere else! Even if a news channel might have ten people reporting an event, before they are able to send in the details it will be made available on tweets and Facebook updates! It might not be appropriate to extract a story from this resource but it certainly helps prepare a base for it.
  • There was a time when quoting a public figure in the newspapers meant going all the way to either meet them or wait for the PA to connect the call. But the tables have turned! The famous personalities now leave their opinions on Twitter or as a status update on Facebook and quoting them is as simple as a screenshot!
  • Finding leads is easy when you have a Google alert! Before you reach office and start looking for something to work on, Google alerts can keep you updated on the recent mentions of any of the topics you’ve opted to stay informed about!

Social Media, if used the right way, can be advantageous to almost all industries, products and individuals!

“Kids are fighting and I need to go with my peace armaments!” This was a recent Tweet from Shahrukh Khan, Bollywood’s iconic superstar, where he shared what is happening in his living room with his 275480 followers!

So is the term privacy fading with the growing intimacy brought in by Social Media?

There are people who wake up in the morning to tweet before they brush their teeth! The advantages of accessibility of Social Media networks and the need to be present at those common platforms all the while is fast becoming a habit for an increasing number of people. You do not need a laptop to send an update when you have a smartphone and if not that, then too, you can use text messaging to do so… it can’t get simpler than that.

So with all these facilities available, the world of conversations, ideas, news and views has shrunk into140 character updates on  Twitter,  and status updates on Facebook and other social networks. While these networks have numerous uses and benefits, there are human factors like addiction and interference which makes things ugly. Imagine having a shrewd friend whom you can’t avoid adding on your account (I am sure all of us can name quite a few such people in our accounts). Now whenever you have a post on your wall, you will have them view it too even if you know it could be disastrous!

Another disastrous situation could be you discussing your work problems and someone from your workplace (again added out of courtesy) or even your boss finds it there! I need not elaborate what the consequences could be! And cases of people getting fired from jobs in corporate and politics are becoming legion.

So  While the  power of social media has brought a lot of sharing among people… there is a case for creating your personal code for  privacy, especially when over a million eyes are watching!


Integrating a social media plan to your branding strategy has shifted from being an option to becoming a necessity for survival in today’s fast moving market arena. Some years ago, the thought of adding a viral component to a campaign was a nice add on, but mere a requirement for success.

But today, companies have understood the importance of social media such as Facebook, Twitter sites and they are experimenting with it in order to find the best ways to control its reach and power to drive returns.

Social Media is produced via self- publishing and user- generated content vs the professional media outlets like TV, Radio, Magazines, and Newspapers etc.

As far as marketing is concerned, Social Media leverages pull marketing, whereas traditional media relies on the push marketing strategies.

Apart from this, what’s most impressive is the cost involved in social media. Social Media requires much smaller monetary investment in comparison to traditional media.

The social media typically reaches a highly targeted niche market and its messages come directly from individual consumers whereas the traditional media messages come most often from the company behind them.

Thus, this highly interactive strategy of branding is surely considered as ‘The next big thing’.


Image Source- http://images.google.co.in/images?hl=en&q=social%20media&aql=&gs_rfai=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

Social Media is indeed great and it has surely kicked the doors on traditional journalism. It is reshaping the title of journalist and revolutionizing how news is both reported and broken in near real time.

But can we trust Social Media as reliable and accurate news breaking medium? Most of us will say ‘No’. Isn’t it?

But why can’t it be trusted? The answer to this question is both surprising and ironic in that it has nothing to do with Social Media as a medium, but rather everything to do with its core foundation.

The future lies in the present

Let us just say that Social Media and news are the here and now. How it will evolve for the future has a lot of people asking this question and looking for answers. However, just weeks ago it was everywhere on the web that Facebook could soon become the globe’s leading news reader.

People have also been shouting from the hilltops for what seems like an eternity that Twitter is the wave of future for breaking news.

But just because people say this statement, does that make that true? The undeniable truth is another resounding no; it doesn’t make Social Media a reliable source medium for breaking news simply because someone says so.

Social Media needs to prove itself in this category before it will be called as a reliable breaking news source.

Content Source- Mashable.com, Image Source- Google images

Social Media isn’t just about fun and entertainment; it is also a savior in hard times. This was recently proved when the dreadful earthquake hit Chile. Twitter, http://www.facebook.com, Google and other social media tools are not mere networking sites but also informational banks that can help find people and connect.

  • Google Person Finder: it has been a phenomenal tool for those seeking information about their relatives and friends affected by the Haiti’s earthquake. The tool has two buttons where one can either look for someone or provide information about someone; the data is stored in a central database now having over 22000 records. With reportedly over 700 people dead it is a sure sigh of relief to get an instant Google update if someone saw your relative walk past than to wait for the official records.
  • Google Maps layers: Google Maps has a feature called MyMaps that allows the user to see the markets that are still operating. The maps also show the geological effects of the earthquake. Moreover Google is constantly updating the information from US geological survey showing the after-effects of the earthquake and the aftershocks
  • Twitter: Twitter updates can be sent as easily as in the form of an sms. This makes it the most easily accessible tool that can instantly disseminate the updates. The Chilean Red Cross are issuing new updates via Twitter.

With the constant growth of technology social media tools are adopting new features to become more user-friendly and useful.

Social networking websites like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace Twitter and several Google applications used to be banned at certain branches of the military in US. This was done due to the information exposure and the possibility of malicious acts. The ban has now been removed through a recent policy released by the Pentagon.

However there are certain limitations to the policy. The change would only be brought to the non classified Internet network and certain restriction can be instated by the high officials depending on the situation. Despite these limitations, it is indeed a reason to rejoice for all the military staff and their families. Internet is the medium through which one can stay connected with people anywhere around the globe and what could be better than this for the friends and families of the men and women working with the US military.

This is a great step by the Pentagon and will not only bring people together but allow the military staff to stay updated on the happenings around the world, bringing an element of entertainment to them. Although considering the risk factor that still exists, there will be strong monitoring of the communication and sharing that occurs.

This can be called a huge milestone for Social Media as it is apparently the popularity and vast usage and importance of the medium that resulted in this decision being taken.

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