Archive for April, 2008



What do we search on? Matters of life and death

The terms “pregnancy” and “cancer” were the two most frequently searched health terms in February, receiving 8.8 million and 7.7 million search queries respectively according to comScore. Which can lead us to 2 conclusions and 2 theories.  I think you can separate the 2 terms into two camps and 2 distinct demographics. The first demo is a younger generation that is worried about and curious as to what pregnancy is about, what it entails and what to expect. The next demo, is our aging boomers. They are as concerned about death as they are about prolonging life.  Think about it. Pregnancy and cancer are really, life and death. One is something you think about as you enter into the world as an adult, the other is what you are concerned with as you try to stay on this earth as an adult. As morbid as that may seem, it’s true. It’s as black and white as 2 distinct topics can be in regards to one’s health.

As you venture into looking at other search terms, you can easily track what time of year it is, what state the economy is in and how those things affect your health. Health terms that were frequently searched in February include “flu” (1.8 million) which would make sense, since that is the height, generally of the flu season; and depression also (1.8 million). Depression it seems,  occurs as we fall into the long winter nights and misery that accompanies winter and perceived or real economic hardship. The next most searched health issues were diabetes (1.7 million) and addiction (1.4 million). Though not much can be said about diabetes being a surprise, since poor eating habits and lack of any physical excersize can ceratinly contribute to this, which America is definitely guilty of, it’s good to see that it is getting the attention that it needs. Addiction is the dirty little secret that permeates every family throughout the US. Everyone knows someone who is an addict, is a friend of a friend, or has a family member who is or was. A sad fact, but definitely makes sense in regards to search.

 Interestingly, “Pregnancy,” is searched 17 times more often than the most popularly searched prescription brand name, “Chantix.” The second most searched term “cancer” had 1 million queries specific to the term “breast cancer.”

“It’s not too surprising that some of the most common health conditions, such as diabetes, depression and flu, have made the list, but it’s interesting that these terms generate fewer searches than significantly less prevalent conditions like cancer and pregnancy,” said Carolina Petrini, comScore senior vice president.

“A reason for this may be due to life-changing nature of a cancer diagnosis or a pregnancy.”  Life changing…

Most Commonly Searched Health Conditions
February 2008
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
 
Search Term                   Search Queries
                                   (000)
Pregnancy                          8,841
Cancer                               7,718
Flu                                    1,824
Depression                        1,807
Diabetes                           1,758
Addiction                           1,407            
Herpes                              1,340
HIV                                     976
Anxiety                               910
Stroke                                872
HPV                                   861
Bipolar                                861
Cholesterol                          816
Headache                            763
Menopause                          667
Hepatitis                              614
Arthritis                               600
ADHD                                 573
Asthma                               569
Fibromyalgia                        551
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5 more websites to sustain us for the rest of the week of April 12th.

So you’re sitting at home and the weather is finally starting to break and you’re thinking, “Maybe I should just move to LA and become a movie star.” Seems like a solid plan. With that being said you might want to go to Hollywood Profiles “We are the absolute best resource on the internet for talent and casting agents alike. Post your profile and get noticed! Or search our extensive database for the perfect talent for your project.” And no they are not paying me. Actually they were getting some major play and were mentioned as a site on the rise.

 

Hollywood Profiles

 

LocalPages  Seems to be pretty cool. It has a nice clean interface but looks like it might be heavy on ad driven content. I played around with it a little bit and it has a nice LBS feature as well.

Moli  was an interesting site. Picture a website for Sybil. Sybil was a book and movie that told the story of a woman who was treated for multiple personality disorder in which she had up to 16 co-existing personalities. Moli allows you to create multiple profiles that you can use depending on who you interact with and what you want them to know about you. The name is a bit odd though.

SpiralFrog  is  another music site but for now it’s offering free songs. Though they do force you to load a “download manager”. Which always makes me nervous. But hey… Free music right?

 

Vlaze hot original content…hmmmmm, that was the pitch. Vlaze  delivers original  video content while connecting artists and entertainers to a global audience. Vlaze features a 24/7 live television stream with a full-lineup of daily programming, a Vlaze On Demand content library, and an interactive social network. It appears to be an interactive, streaming media, social networking content driven site.

Well I hope you make it till the weekend with these and we’ll see you on the flipside. If there is a site worth mentioning let me know and we’ll check it out. If it’s worthy. You’re in!

 

Social Media begs the following 50 questions:

Below are 50 questions that prior to the creation of social networks, had no home. But now, all of these questions have a relavent place in the hiearchy that is “social networking” and thus needed to be answered. Because, though there are millions upon millions of people out there that know about social networks, there are millions that are clueless. Before we start answering these questions, are there any that I might have neglected or forgot to ask? Let’s get to it then.

  • What is a social network? For this answer we head to Youtube. You can watch it now, or come back to it.

 

  • Is it like MySpace? Well maybe we should qualify what MySpace is!
  • What’s Facebook?
  • Is it like blogging? Hmmmm…first, let’s explain what blogging is!
  • How does it work? Social networks are  networks of relationships that we have formed that tie us to others that may have a something in common with us. Think the 6 degrees of separation game. Think about what happens when you meet someone new. You ask where they work, where they grew up, where they went to school etc etc. Eventually, you realize that this person knows the girl that you work with and is a relative of your best friends boss.  Even though you’ve never met before, you’re both part of the same social network — a friend of a friend if you will. So, Social-networking sites “make off-line relationships more transparent” by allowing us to see (with pictures, videos and links) who our friends are, who our friends’ friends are, and who our friends’ friends’ friends are — all in a supposed easy-to-use format. Like a MySpace or Facebook. When you create a profile on a social-networking site, you are putting yourself out there and saying, “Hey world here I am, who knows me? and who wants to be my friend? and who do you know?” You can use the social site to:
    • look up old friends; make new ones
    • share music, photos and videos
    • join groups based on interests such as politics, hobbies, sports, religion or pets.
    • find jobs or love; or network with other professionals.
  • Are you on MySpace or Facebook? If you are 18-34, This might be one of the key face to face questions you may ask of someone within the first 5 minutes of meeting them.
  • What do I do with it? Here is an interesting response from Marcel de Ruiter and his blog Shaping Thoughts
  • How many social networks can I join? According to Mashable, last year there were 350 that they thought were worth mentioning, but I imagine that that number has grown exponentially. Pick your niche and I bet you can find a social network for it!
  • How many hours should I spend in social networks? Although Jennifer Laycock has some thoughts on this, I’d say this depends on what you want to get out of your social network. Depending on the number of social networks you join, you really should pick just a few and develop those. It really should amount to time spent once you are home from work or school. But not to the extent that your school work or your job performance starts to suffer.
  • How can I grow my business with social networks? Entrepreneur.com has a great piece on how to grow your business using social media. But make sure you have a firm foundation and understanding of what you are getting into before setting out. This also will allow you to ask better questions, should you choose to have someone grow your business with the help of social media.
  • What is the value proposition of being in a social network? According to Jill Konrath “A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. The more specific your value proposition is, the better. ”  However Jim Long seems to have nailed by saying that “At the end of the day, isn’t the value proposition that it connects people on a deeply personal level across time and geography? I think so, Jim…
  • What do I get? It all depends on what you want. Just like anything else, what you get out of it is in direct proportion to what you put into it.
  • Am I spending my time properly by being in or on a social network? A great post on this sits here, titled “Avoiding information and conversational overload from social media” My thanks again to Jennifer Laycock
  • Am I using it right? There is no right way or wrong way, though if you do nothing with a page that you have created, then chances are, not much will happen with it. Remember, the essence of social networking is to find your voice and find others who have the same voice. Finding others just like you is one of the primal instincts of mankind and animals alike. We like to run with our packs. Find your pack and the experience will be golden.
  • Am I using it wrong? See the above answer.
  • How do I know the difference between Facebook and MySpace?. Chris Salazar has an excellent post on this exact question, so for those who truly do not know the difference between the two check it out.
  • Do the developers really know what I want and care about on a social network? Of course they do… to a certain extent. Social networking sites are not successful unless they know or have an idea what people want. And ever since Facebook opened up their development platforms, the widgets are flying in. Widgets expand the things that you can do with your page and actually help you network with others.
  • Do I care what they do with my information? You should, so watch this:

 

  • If I am not on a social network, will I be scorned? Absolutely not. One of the biggest constraints to SN is the allocation of time that one has to set aside to “do this”. If you don’t have time, then thats fine. That would generally mean that you have your days and evenings filled with work, school and family obligations, in which case, there is nothing you can do about it and bridges will not be burned if you are not part of a social network.
  • Should I worry about social media and its effect on children? If you are a parent, if you do not do anything, then it’s like swimming in an undertow, you swim at your own risk. To not monitor what your children are doing online, not only in a social network setting, but in general, is foolish and ignorant. For more information on this subject try Connect Safely
  • What about predators in social networks? All you need to know on this subject can be found on the link, but if you are a parent you need to be vigilant and if you are a kid, just be smart.
  • Is social media measurable? According to Jeremiah Owyang “For many marketers who want to deploy a campaign on a social network, access to server metrics isn’t always available. As a result, they have to often visually monitor the interaction on the site, or measure click throughs to their site. In some of the more sophisticated platforms, a crude dashboard is provided.”
  • Is there a niche site out there for me? If so what can I do with a social networking site that is geared especially to my interests? There are tons of niche sites, in fact, in this blog, if you do a search and just title it top social sites, you should find something, better yet, here are the latest numbers for February of the top 25 social networking sites.
  • Isn’t it the same thing as chat and online forums and bbs’s? Yes and no. That is more Web 1.0 and social networking sites are more Web 2.0. Bbs’s are and were more static and had zero real time applications to them. Chat is and was real time but did not have the other tools attached to make the chat expereince more interactive and fullfilling. Social networks are more about sharing and creating and communicating. Its more about user generated content. Chat is just what it is, it’s talking and nothing more, to a certain extent.
  • It’s difficult for me to use, isn’t there a simpler way of doing it? Its going to get easier. As each iteration of social media evolves it will become more user friendly, more intuitive, and easier to set up. Remember, we are talking about something that is still really in its infancy.
  • Are there social networks for minorities? There are, though social networks are not, for the most part, geared towards any specific race, creed or color. There are some social networks, however.  that are geared more towards people of color. A primary example of this would be Black planet
  • If social networks are so cool, then shouldn’t they be available to the disadvantaged? That’s a great question and one that needs to be thrown out there for more discussion. Stanford University, touches on it here, but not to the level that it really deserves.
  • Will society eventually look down upon people who are not associated with a particular social network? I hope not, but if were to look into my crystal ball, it would seem to be heading towards a society where each person has a social network that he or she is a part of. To the degree that eventually your ID and who you are is also supported by your social network. Similar to Second Life, your social network will define you as much as your offline persona.
  • Why do I need it? You don’t. It’s a choice that you will come to on your own, once you get done reading the news, answering your email, doing a search, paying your bills and looking for flights.
  • What should I do with it? Again, it’s entirely up to you. Do nothing or you can do a little, or you can jump in with both feet. It’s your choice.
  • How is it going to improve my quality of life? The quality of your life is often defined by your friends and family and your job. Taking those 3 into the context of a social networking setting you could: Connect with friends you have not seen in a long time. Improve your relationships with existing friends.  You can connect with relatives that do not live close by. and lastly you can connect and use the power of social networks to either network with colleagues, find a new job, or improve the job or career you have now. How’s that?
  • How far can I take it? The possibilites are really quite endless.
  • What is the shelf-life for a social network? As of this writing, the big boys have no reason to believe that things will not get even better. However for the niche sites, because the business model is often supported by ad revenues, it will be tough. Though niche sites have a great value proposition, the numbers in regards to people will have to be somewhat strong for them to survive. And that remains to be seen.
  • Should I wait before I jump into a social network? You can take baby steps. You can try out some smaller sites or niche sites or even a shopping site for instance to just get a feel for what types of information is required, how much of yourself you want to put “out there” and what to expect in return. You will find that the larger sites are much more active, but in some cases, might be overwhelming. Take your time. Poke around.
  • If I was to use a social network, what would be the best one to use and why? A good question, Obviously the top 2 are always referenced but start with this top 25 and see if in the list, there is one that might catch your eye.
  • What separates a good social network from a bad one? Users, tools, content, and the technology. Is it always down? aAe there many users to begin with? What are some of the tools, widgets and applications they are offering that make a social network so fun to use? do they have a lot, a little? Ask yourself if this is the right group for you and go from there. Do some sleuthing, sign up and see, if not, just walk away.
  • Whats a widget and why do I care? You should. It’s what makes a social media experience that much richer. To quote Wikipedia just once, “A widget adds some content to that page that is not static. Other terms used to describe web widgets including: gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini and flake. Web widgets often but not always use DHTML, JavaScript, or Adobe Flash
  • Whats a mashup? Almost to the tee, a mashup is a way of combining more than one type of app with another to create a completely unique application.  It combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool;  thereby creating a new and distinct web service that was not originally provided by either source. A classic example of a mashup is the combining of peanut butter and chocolate.. what did we get?   Fill in the blank____________
  • Does that matter to me? Yes and know, eventually all that you will want may be the result of a mashup.
  • How do I even attempt to create my own “page”? Thats the beauty of CMS and user generated content. No offense, but developers have really dumbed it down so that it really is quite simple to create and make your own page. And if you make a mistake, you can always go back and start over. Nothing is rarely etched in stone.
  • What kinds of time does it take to devote to social networking? Your time management skills will be tested, especially if you find your voice and your peeps. Eventually you may find yourself doing nothing but rushing home and jumping on your machine to check out your page and any action that might be associated with it. If it starts to hinder work and school, then you need to chill. Plain and simple.
  • Will corporate America take over social networks? It has to a certain degree With Newscorp buying MySpace and Microsoft sinking millions into an ad deal with Facebook, it’s inevitable that it is to happen. There is a lot of money at stake to be made and to lose, and corporate America isn’t about losing propositions. Can you say Murdoch and Gates?
  • Is there a place for social networks in society? Or is it a fad? They are here to stay. Though the social networks that you see now, may not be the social networks you see in 5 years. A lot can and will alter and change the look and feel and especially the technology running these networks, so stay tuned.
  • Don’t web developers just use it for driving traffic to websites? Some do. Social Media and Search engines have a major love-fest going on and it did not take search marketers long to figure that out.
  • Aren’t social media sites like just for collecting names so that I get hit on by advertisers? Yes and no. But right now that is the revenue model for most highly trafficed sites. Don’t forget, all of the sites we are talking about are free, so how else are they supposed to make money? Advertising and having access to the user information drives that train.
  • Will it help me get a job? There is a nice niche group of business related social networking sites. So the answer is yes.
  • Can I get famous? Maybe for the wrong reasons, though some seem to have carved out a niche for themselves say for example on You Tube.
  • Can I get a date? It’s possible, there are some social sites geared towards dating. Facebook actually has that potential, so we’ll go ahead and say yes.
  • Can I make lots of money? Again it’s possible. The potential lies within you, to leverage it the way you see fit.
  • It’s used to build brands right? Absolutely. Marketers are starting to realize that using social networks to build, promote and grow brands is and can be a very effective way to reach a sometimes unapproachable and skeptical audience.
  • Social networks are set up to influence purchasing decisions right? They can be. They can be used to support and promote products that ultimately you the consumer may buy. More and more marketers are setting up product-centric social networks in which the users are consumers and buyers of that product.
  • Why should I join one? Because everyone else seems to be talking about it and to not at least experience the power of it wouldn’t be any fun.

 

Well there you have it. Some answers are better than others. Some require more elaboration than I was willing to give and ultimately, I  may have left out a few that did not come to mind. That’s why you people are here. To help me out, to grow a powerful KB for those who do not know enough about the power of the social network.

Cheers

$70 Billion in revenue

Streaming video and music will bring in $70 billion in revenue over the next six years according to a new study from Insight Research,” Streaming Media, IPTV, and Broadband Transport: Telecommunications Carriers and Entertainment Services 2008-2013.”

This covers revenues generated from digital audio and video files over the Internet, an IPTV network and mobile devices. The files can be streamed on-de3mand or in real time, but cannot be stored locally.

Revenues will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent over the next five years. On-demand audio and video content along with their advertising revenue will drive this growth.

“The outlook for streaming media has never been brighter.  Questions surrounding consumers’ willingness to pay for content have been dispelled by the popularity of satellite radio and iTunes,” says Robert Rosenberg, Insight Research president.

“The forecasts that we present are conservative, and in-line with current performance. If, however, per-stream costs drop faster than anticipated, we have quicker acceptance of IPTV, or improvements in 3G delivery take place faster than expected, it could blow the doors off of our forecasts, propelling this industry into explosive growth,” Rosenberg added.

Word of Mouth Marketing

In my efforts to spread what I think is a very apt representation of viral or word of mouth marketing, I give you this:

gas.jpg

Randy Pausch revisited

I was sent this yesterday via email and yes I wrote about Dr. Pausch awhile back, but I thought that the more exposure, or the more people that will see this “lecture”, the better off humanity will be because of it. It will only consume about 12 minutes of your time, but really, what is 12 minutes of your life when listening to a man who has but a few months to live?

Here also is an update on Randy’s current health:
April 2, 2008: Getting back into the fight

For those of you familiar with boxing, I would describe the weeks since my heart & kidney failure to be a “standing eight count.” I got knocked down pretty good and needed time to gather myself. Now I’m back on my feet; still a little wobbly, but ready to engage in the fight again.Yesterday’s CT and MRI scans showed that I’ve added a new, 11th tumor (small), and that a few of my original 10 tumors have grown, but only negligibly so. My biggest tumor is about 2.5cm in diameter. Given that I’ve been off chemo for six weeks, this was jumping-up-and-down good news, for two reasons:

1) It means the cancer has not grown like craxy, a big fear since stopping chemo.

2) Since all my tumors are in my liver, that means certain liver-specific treatments are possible.

I’m typing this from a recovery room; I just had a biopsy taken of my tumor tissue; that will be sent to TGEN in arizona, where they will run some tests to see if they can identify which chemotherapy drugs might be most effective on my particular tumors.

My next step will probably be embolization with theraspheres; a liver specific treatment that has a very low rate of side effects, and won’t make me feel crappy like systemic chemo does.

The fight is rejoined; I’ve got much more energy now — I hope to be back on the bike in a week or so.

7 more websites that will captivate and engage you till Saturday

I was watching American Idol last night with the kids and we saw according to the girls, dreamy dread guy, Jason Castro. One of the kids asked how are dreads made, and I said, “Uhhh… you don’t bathe for a really long time and with mud, right?” Apparently I was way off base. For those of you just like me, here is a good site telling us all how Dreadlocks are created. For those times when you are randomly asked how dreads are made.

jason-castro.jpg

Driving down the street the other day, one of the kids asked about why gold and silver are so valuable.  I proceeded to tell them about all the gold in Fort Knox. I figured it would be a good moment to reflect on it being the place that Goldfinger wanted to rob in one of the more memorable James Bond Movies. They didn’t really like that part of the answer. Although,  It might have been because of my descriptive story of how Oddjob threw his hat to cut off the statues head. Huh? What’s dad talking about?

bond-james-bond.jpg

However, upon further research, This site that I came upon might be a good one for the kids. It not only explains the US government in a very engaging fashion, but also the U.S. Treasury It’s a fun and very interactive site as well.

Speaking of cool kid sites; and in an effort to enrich their lives beyond killer graphics in Call To Duty IV, check out this site for the New York Philharmonic for Kids. Want to keep children engaged in music, any music? classical music? Then, here is one that will captivate.

nycphil.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you just hit a town, you got some free time that night and you wanna keep it clean. So you decide to see some live music. You grab the “local” local paper or you checked out Flavorpill

 flavor.jpg

and now you just have to figure out how to get there since you have zero clue. Check out Gruvr,

gruvr1.jpg

It’s a map based live music locator that shows you where all the live music is, in a radius that you can control. LBS for you live music junkies out there. Very cool, easy to use and it’s quick.

And you thought I could go this long without mentioning something about another interesting social media site? Hah!  Well…You know how everyone sometimes sits around and someone will offer up their two cents on why not do this, this way, and that maybe they should do this, that way? Did that make sense?  Well anywho, now there is a site called, lo and behold, “WhyNot?” It’s a social site that allows you to communicate, submit and exchange your ideas with others. Based on a popular book, of the same name, the site is an extension of the book that simply provides solutions to problems big and small. That should at least get you to Sunday.

Am I missing a site that would compliment the topics above? Shoot it on over and I will add it to the next list. 

Who are we?

We get to choose Be prepared to think about things a bit differently once you see this video. Remarkable, thought provoking and may even bring a tear to your eye.

12 Random sites to make the week go quicker.

So every once in awhile I will go through my bookmarks and try and prune stuff that I bookmarked for a reason that might escape me when I actually revisited it. In this case I’m going to share some sites that have some value or bring some value to what I do. Or at least they did at the time… Some of you, actually I suspect a good portion of you have never heard of Vivisimo a little tech company out of Pittsburgh. Besides the fact that Pittsburgh is a jewel in the rough, this company is too. You will do the same as I did and ultimately bookmark them.

Next up, a friend once told me the way to go in regards to investing was to look at Vanguard, so I bookmarked it. Though when I look at the site, I blink and keep it and then I move on. I suspect that a lot of people besides myself do the exact same thing with some of their bookmarks. Made sense at the time. Though, I’m not sure Vanguard is hip to the payment plan.

So I have this one, The Sand Trap bookmarked and I never go to it but hey, that’s 75% of my bookmarks. If you have zero interest in golf, then don’t bother going here. But if you want a mortgage calculator then go here. Seems to be a timely site.

 I think thats the great thing about what you save and why, it’s a total glimpse into what you do and what you like etc etc. I would say that the majority of my bookmarks are marketing, internet and social media marketing type sites and the rest are just what I’ve shown you above. Though, I do love a good  Stone IPA brew.

Lastly I came across the Big Idea site hosted by Donny Deutsch It’s kind of a cool site for all of us dreamers out there. On the site they mention a product called the Body Buddy, I decided to check it out and the website looks great and the product has some genuine potential. Except… As I’m clicking thu the site, I wanted to check out some of the press they were getting and lo and behold I was transported to PDF land which I cannot stand. Nothing annoys me more then when a site feels the need to run with PDF’s instead of  converting pages to html, xml or php. I can understand white papers and case studies, and in that case I will print them out. But nothing is more of a deal killer for me then to have to put up with PDF”s. I know it’s one person’s opinion and we’ll leave it at that.  But every machine I’ve ever had handles PDF’s differently and it’s just an uneccessary step for a very, in this case, slick site.Though I do hope the fine folks from Oklahoma do succeed with the “Body Buddy”; it does seem to fill a need/niche.

Here is your last 2 killer sites that all of you should actually bookmark and then go back to: Gruvr and Liferemix

I know, I know, you can thank me later.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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