Category ArchiveSocial Media

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogroll &Social Media 02 Jun 2010 09:56 am

Facebook Privacy: Do We Have the Right to Complain?

Using Facebook used to be so simple. I would log in, check my news feed, write on my friends’ walls and post photos without worrying about everyone knowing where I lived, what my interests were and how I felt at that very moment.

Facebook’s new privacy policy is unnervingly complicated. What’s different? A multitude of your interests and basic information is now public by default- including where you live and causes you support. In fact, anything that you like is linked to a public profile page. Do you like McDonald’s? The world knows you do. Do you like long walks on the beach? Hamsters? Jelly beans? Everybody knows, including your boss.

Another issue: your status updates and wall post aren’t just for your friends’ eyes. If you post something that says, “I hate the police!” your post will show up on a specific Facebook page for police. We’ve got to be more careful than ever. The problem is that we’re so used to be able to share our information; it’s hard to start putting it on lockdown.

The new Facebook privacy policy has lead to outrage. Users even created a May 31 Web event that investigated the problems with Facebook called “Quit Facebook Day.” The event only drew in only 35,000 of Facebook’s 450 million users and provides an example to how truly difficult it is to quit Facebook.

Yet, we don’t pay for Facebook (but rumor has it we may have to start paying soon). We don’t own Facebook, either- so we have the right to complain? Has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it too hard for us to privately create content or are we making it too easy for our content and profiles to be taken advantage of?

Rachel Krasnow

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 26 May 2010 09:14 am

Surprising New Uses of Social Media Found in Survey

The use of social media has revolutionized the public relations and marketing world. According to Facebook, its users spend 500 billion minutes per month on the site sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have reported similar results. Re:NEW Michigan, a trademark of Eiler Communications, conducted a survey in April to further investigate the growing prevalence of social media sites among Michigan businesses.

The survey compared to a similar survey from December 2008. Not surprisingly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all saw dramatic increases in usage in the time period between surveys. The biggest leaps came from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook saw a 28.5% increase in usage, and Twitter saw a 30.3% jump.

A more unexpected and enlightening trend was revealed by the results. Michigan businesses reported heavily using social media websites in seeking news and information.

This is most likely due to news sites directly posting on social media sites or links exist between these social sites and news sites.

Whatever the reason, survey respondents admitted to using Facebook, Twitter and blogs just as often as they use more traditional news sites such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times when they seek news and information. Many even reported using social media websites as their primary source of information.

This information poses the question of what the future holds for this evolving issue, both social media and news information websites. No answers yet, but here are some observations.

The benefits of using social media websites for seeking news and information are obvious. They provide the instantaneous results demanded by people’s quest for instant gratification of information. The large amount of time spent on these sites and the great amount of traffic to these sites is favorable for spreading a story.

But are social media websites sufficient in providing a business with all the information it needs, or are they simply being used to find leads that require further investigation? Do social media websites have the potential to make news information sites obsolete? Re:NEW Michigan plans to address these questions and others involving social media websites in our next survey in October.

Media &Social Media 18 May 2010 02:34 pm

A new twist on the evolution of information-gathering habits?

Here is a breakdown of where respondents get their information according to a “Re:NEW Michigan®” survey April 15 -28.

Question: Where do you get news and information?

Comment: Are social media opinions and commentaries really capturing what these results show? Or do we remain in the “fad” stage where people are not discerning real news from opinions?

Looking at the substantial jump in the social media category, we would like to clarify this result a little better in our next poll in September. We think we uncovered something about how people’s information-gathering habits evolve. We believe that linking to news sites via Facebook & Twitter has become a “source” for many people online. The spread of news (case in point: Michael Jackson’s death or the recent oil rig disaster in the Gulf) became a trending topic over social media, where links to source material were shared.

“Re:NEW Michigan®” is a trademark of Eiler Communications (, which periodically surveys a sample of businesses, healthcare and educational institutions, governmental and non-profit leaders on various topics of broad interest especially related to marketing.

Social Media 13 May 2010 02:35 pm

Re:NEW Michigan® Survey Affirms Use Of Social Media for Business Marketing

Many Still “Trying and Learning” SMM

Our new survey of social media clearly demonstrates expansion of two significant trends:

1. A decided upturn in continuing growth in use of social media for business marketing, even though a high percent of people say they are “trying and learning” social media marketing (SMM) techniques.

2. New and social media are being used by people all across the spectrum to get information from Internet sites rather than traditional information sites.

The Re:NEW Michigan® survey taken between April 15 and 28 compares to the older survey taken in December 2008. The next Re:NEW:Michigan survey of social media will take place in October.

74.6 percent of respondents to the April survey say that social media is either “very important” or that they are “trying and learning” about these forms of marketing for their businesses.

• Five specific social media have separated from the pack in terms of their use by companies. They are Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Four of them grew in usage in the period between surveys. Blogs dropped to 49 from 59.3% in the 2008 study.

Sixty-six percent of respondents noted Facebook, up from 37.5% in the December 2008 study.

58.4 Twitter vs. 28.1 in ’08.

49 blog, down from 59.3 in ’08.

43.3 YouTube vs. 37.5 in ’08.

LinkedIn rose from 34.1% in 2008 to 38.4% in April.

• Social media has replaced or augmented other forms of marketing in more businesses (50.5 %) than the number that have continued traditional marketing without any social media (47.4%). Of those businesses that have not employed social media, more than 80 percent recognize social media is important and they are “trying and learning.”

• In increasing growth rates, people get their information electronically through Internet news sources such as CNN, The New York Times Online and MSNBC.

“Re:NEW Michigan®” is a trademark of Eiler Communications (, which periodically surveys a sample of businesses, healthcare and educational institutions, governmental and non-profit leaders on various topics of broad interest especially related to marketing.

Social Media 24 Nov 2009 11:05 am

Tweet your happiness; it’s contagious

A study from Harvard Medical School suggests that happiness could be contagious. And so could obesity, smoking, depression and grumpiness.

The article “Social Networks and Health” from the Annual Review of Sociology suggests that if your good friend is happy, you are much more likely to become happy. And if your good friend is overweight, you are more likely to become overweight. Scientists think these occurrences are due to humans mimicking those around them, eating the same foods, performing the same acts or just maintaining the same outlook on life.

This all seems logical with friends you see face-to-face, but what about through social networking online? Could a tweet on Twitter about getting a new job make your friends a little happier, or could a Facebook photo of you sulking just bring your friends down?

Currently there isn’t much in research on whether your cyber-friends affect your happiness, but it seems possible to some degree. Online social media allow friends to connect with you, share photos and video, even offer support. Though not as personal as, well, in-person connections, social media is allowing more people to share and be happy together.

Concerning if your Internet friends could contribute to your weight, smoking habits or mood swings, that may need a bit of research but happiness seems a sure thing. So tell your followers, connections, buddies and friends on the web that you’re happy. I’m sure they’ll pass it on.

Alyssa Eckles

Social Media 12 Aug 2009 12:51 pm

College Grads & The Economy

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the economy is in bad shape right now. As a recent college graduate, this has had a tremendous impact on me. Throughout my time in school, I always thought all my hard work would pay off and I would land a great job once I graduated. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

Even though sometimes the search for a job can feel hopeless, I’ve found that there are many different things you can do to help your job search.

Social media has taken the business world by storm so it only makes sense to use it as a job search tool. This is a powerful way to network with potential employers and let them know more about yourself, your skills and professional/educational background. LinkedIn is a great site to use to do this. Your profile page is like an online resume and you are able to connect with past colleagues, friends and employees at companies you are interested in potentially working for.

New grads should also consider doing an internship while looking for fulltime employment. It allows you to get hands on experience in the field that you are interested in. You are getting in valuable experience for your resume.

A big challenge in the current job market is getting the opportunity to interview with a company. Businesses are receiving hundreds of resumes each week. Job seekers need to find a way to stand out from the rest. A new trend is video resumes. In these short videos, a candidate talks about who you are, your education, professional experience and anything that you would put on your resume. This is a more personal way to connect with employers and show them why you are the best person for a job.

The most important thing that I have learned throughout this is to remain positive. You are not going to get a job by sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself. As frustrating as it is to have people constantly asking me if I have found a job yet, it’s much easier to smile and talk about all that I am doing to try to find one. As long as you remain positive and are creative in how you look for open positions, you will land your dream job in time.

Amanda Deluca

Social Media 04 Jun 2009 12:50 pm

Eiler Communications Case Study: Barack Obama & Social Media

Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign was historic not just politically but also because of his use of the Internet to promote awareness and create a loyal following. Obama and his campaign strategists realized that on top of public appearances, rallies and speeches the Internet was another effective medium to connect with the people of the United States. President Obama’s use of social media in his Presidential campaign will be the template to inspire future Presidential campaigns and be a beacon for how businesses can use the multiples of new media to reach customers on the Internet.

Obama was successful in realizing the true potential of the Internet as a way to raise $750 million dollars and support for his Presidential campaign. The youth vote played a major role in his landslide victory. Obama was able to earn the support of many first time voters largely because of his use of social media.

Obama needed to raise money and bring awareness to the people of the United States that he was running for President. The message to get across was that America needed a change and for this to happen, Americans needed to elect Obama as President.

To reach every demographic with the one message, “In order for change, you must elect Barack Obama.” AND if you want him to win-you must join the campaign and donate. The initial strategy was to reach the audience by using technology and reaching the donation goal by the majority of donations being under $200.

The site was created with help of Chris Hughes, one of the three Harvard students who founded Facebook. This site allowed Obama’s team to take the use of the Internet to a whole different level by allowing masses of volunteers to self-organize and communicate through their own social networking site. The site enlisted thousands of supporters for his blog, to get the word out about voting in elections and to get “buzz” going throughout the campaign.

By the time the campaign was over, volunteers had created more than 2 million profiles on the site, planned 200,000 offline events, formed 35,000 groups, posted 400,000 blogs and raised $30 million on 70,000 personal fund-raising pages.

Obama’s Blog
The blog was updated frequently to keep members coming back, interested and engaged. The blog was fun and encouraged feedback.

Obama on Flickr
The campaign constantly took pictures and uploaded them to Flickr. Pictures were from throughout the campaign including the 82 posted that showed Obama and his family awaiting the election result and celebrating the victory. Most of the pictures were not staged and allowed people to feel like Barack was a “real” person- not just a political figure.

Obama’s YouTube Channel
Obama’s campaign took advantage of YouTube for free advertising. These videos are said to be more effective because viewers chose to watch them or received them from a friend instead of their TV show being interrupted.

The campaign’s official videos created for the site were watched for 14.5 million hours. To buy that much advertising time on TV would cost $47 million.

The most famous speech was “Yes, we can.” The video was viewed 1.8 million times on YouTube.

Barack Obama on LinkedIn
Obama’s presence on LinkedIn helped him connect to an older, professional and more politically motivated demographic. His homepage featured links to several web-based tools such as his YouTube videos and his Facebook profile.

Obama used the Q&A feature to pose a question to the LinkedIn audience: “How can the next President better help small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive?” The question generated over 1,500 responses from all types of small business owners and entrepreneurs. The Obama campaign then used the responses to formulate policy initiatives.

Twitter & Obama
Obama used Twitter to announce the various campaign stops and rallies throughout his campaign. His posts were encouraging and always contained a clear call to action.

He had his profile set up for whenever a person followed him he automatically followed them back. By Obama following supporters, he was sending the message that he wanted to communicate and he cared about what they had to say. This created a community and wasn’t limited to just getting others to see what he had to say.

Obama & Facebook
Facebook is home to more than 200 million users and is the most crowded place on the Internet today, making it an easy way to convey messages to millions in very little time.

Obama’s Facebook page listed his interests and provided supporters with interaction by giving them the ability to upload pictures & videos and post comments.

The campaign created an Obama application that supporters could add to their personal profiles. The application put a box in their profile and published stories to their news feed. There was also a plug in that asked users to pledge to vote for Obama and invite their friends to do the same.

Barack’s campaign was everywhere in social media networking sites. Everyone was included: faith based, race based, age based and even event based social networks.

Ultimately, Obama won the Presidency and raised $750 million dollars, primarily through the Internet.

Amanda Deluca

Business and Economy &Corporate Communications &Electronic PR &Journalism &Media &Social Media &Writing 19 May 2009 04:55 pm

Journalism on the Silver Screen

Moviegoers were graced with a glimpse into the world of journalism in April with the premiere of two top-notch press-centric films; State of Play and The Soloist respectively. The investigative reporting and journalistic flair of newspaper writers drive the two films. State of Play and Soloist are just the latest in a long line of movies centered on the cunning investigations pivotal to the newspaper world. Remember All the Kings Men? Citizen Kane? Or The Pelican Brief? While the most recent cinematic journalism adventures are far from the first to feature press writers, might they be two of the last?

As newspapers continue to search for new business models, the “Watchdog” function is changing or disappearing. New forms of social media have accelerated the public’s demand for news. Whereas reporters once had weeks to cover an in-depth story, the editorial calendar has shrunk significantly. Instead of investing in investigations guarding public interests, newspapers are forced by high print and distribution costs to watch over their pocketbooks.

Some of the best movies of this generation are marked by newspapers in some way. If newspapers continue the current downward spiral, it will definitely be reflected at theaters…but how much remains to be seen. Five years from now, Denzel Washington may be on stage accepting an Oscar for portraying a Twitter-er. Or M. Knight Shyamalan might be directing a horror flick about Facebook. Enjoy the likes of The Soloist and State of Play while you can. Journalism has been celebrated in our society for many, many years, but the changes on the printed page are usually reflected on the reel.

Case Ernsting

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Marketing Communications &Social Media 19 May 2009 10:24 am

Skittles: Taste the Social Media

It’s hip, it’s fun, but most of all it’s entirely original; it’s Skittles new website. If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet, here’s the link Skittles created a fresh new site that is nothing but their Social Media pages. Their Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Youtube pages make up the bulk of the website. This is a pretty daring move since they can’t very well control the information being shared. Skittles must have a strong belief in their brand because all it takes is one bad comment to start an avalanche of negativity. Looking at the comments left on their Twitter and Facebook pages this seems to be a success.

Skittles has done a great job appealing to the social media crowd, which, let’s face it, is pretty much everyone now. This website has generated all types of buzz over the website, surprisingly bloggers hate it. This is interesting because everyone posting on the site seems to love the idea.

Here’s a list of a few things I think Skittles could do to better the experience.
1. For it to truly be social media Skittles will need to step in and engage in conversation.
2. For the people who aren’t in to Social Media or just don’t understand it, there needs to be a out-out option that will bring you back to their old website. This way using an analytics site you can track the number of users on the new website versus the old which will tell Skittles when it’s time to switch back to the traditional style website.
3. The widget-like menu needs to be movable.

If they can change those three problems, then all that negative buzz over their website will begin to fade.

An over-whelming majority of blogs out there regarding this subject, seem to think it’s over the top or think that Skittles took the easy way out. Even so, Skittle’s new site has all the information that any other website would have but they did it unlike anyone else.

Kudos to Skittles for being bold and trying something never done before, but as great an idea as this is, I think it won’t last very long. This is a great way to temporarily boost interest in Skittles and learn about their customers; but in the end the hype will wear off and people will want the website back to the traditional style.

Christian Bittner

Blogging &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Media &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 03 Apr 2009 03:11 pm

Tweet Responsibly

I’ve been trying to explain Twitter and Facebook to my parents for some time now, and despite my best efforts, they still find the lack of privacy a little unsettling. “You mean everyone will know when you go to the bathroom?”

Not exactly Mom, you don’t tell people everything you’re doing. But her point is a good one. Social Media (SM) allows individuals to effortlessly communicate and share ideas across broad networks, but some recent news has shown what happens when social media goes wrong.

Twitter’s rapidly growing population consists of celebrities, presidents, companies, neighbors and even pets. Charlie Villanueva, Forward for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, has become an infamous Tweeter after two incidents last month. First, Villanueva or CV31 as he’s known on Twitter, posted a Tweet at halftime of a game against the Boston Celtics. Bucks’ head coach Scott Skiles quickly reprimanded these actions. (The Tweet can be read here.) For an encore, CV31 cited an inside source when he announced that Jim Calhoun, the coach of his Alma mater would coach in the next game of the NCAA Tournament for the University of Connecticut after health complications kept him out of the previous game.

“Juror Jonathon” ran into trouble in March for Tweeting details of a $12.6 million case from his cell phone. These Twitter updates, while not explicitly forbidden by courts, are believed to be grounds for a mistrial.

These two incidents are yet another example of technology moving faster than regulatory rules (or just a lack of common sense). Social media is a great public relations tool, providing ways for businesses and individuals to control their messages. But as more companies and businesses enter the social media circus, they must be wary of information leaking to the public through blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The traditional walls of privacy my parents are familiar with are being torn down in favor of faster communication. Until rules are in place to control the expansive social media capabilities, remember to balance networking with personal responsibility and common sense.

Case Ernsting

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