Thursday, February 18, 2010

So much Buzz on Google Buzz

On the 9h of Feb 2010 Google announced its latest venture into social media to compete against the likes of Twitter and Facebook. The social media world was watching the “Google Buzz”. The sign up page says Google Buzz will allow you to: “Go beyond status messages, share updates, photos videos and more. Start conversation on things you find interesting”

At a glance of Buzz earlier in the month it appeared quite interesting, I did receive some tweets (@sarahgriffiths) stating that “Buzz is not the new Twitter” and “Buzz.... how do I make it stop”, so not a very positive start, however a product that I would of course investigate. I was also interested to find out how they planned to integrate their other Google products into the package ie: Google Voice.

The concept behind Google Buzz

The design of Google Buzz is similar to that of FriendFeed which was acquired by Facebook back in August 2009. The plan was/is to integrate Google Buzz into Gmail, so that users of Gmail don’t need to go out and find their friends on various social networks, the platforms mission: to streamline the information such as status updates, tweets and media streams (photos, videos, links) whilst also adding location data and related information, with the premise of keeping all the information that matters to you and your email contacts in one place.

The overall concept does/did sound like being a time saver, especially if I can integrate my accounts. Also I favour/favoured the idea that it shares with me information that I like and seeds out the information that I will probably ditch and slide.

The problem

The big problem was the buzz in social networks and in the news (over 2K articles and counting) on Google breaking privacy laws and the notification that a local class action complaint had been filed in San Jose federal court. The law firm who filed the case (Mason LLP) is seeking damages of $100 per day per user for Buzz violating privacy rights. With this statement Google dropped $3.09 to $538.21 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have declined 13 percent this year.

The complaint alleges that Google Buzz broke the law by sharing personal data without users consent. True: there was no opt into the service, and enrolment was automatic to over 176 million Gmail users. Google referred to Buzz as an out of the box solution to organise your online connections and looked positively at the collation of an automatic circle of friends (based on who you regularly email). However what they failed to consider on roll out, was the legal bodies/regulators and from a users perspective a big critic was if a user didn’t change their privacy settings in their profile, then the list of people they regularly contact could be made public. Implications of obtaining this data are pretty big if you consider who people maybe contacting, politicians, journalists, businesses...

Moving on

After a crisis meeting on the 12th of Feb, Google did act quickly to announce plans to allow Gmail users to disable the service altogether and they announced changes on the way that it handles private data and they continue to release statements on how they will continue to improve on the “Buzz experience”.

On the 16th of February 2010 Google admitted to the BBC that it had received a “ferocious backlash from users concerned about intrusions of privacy” and as a result of complaints, Google Buzz have now said that they will only suggest people that a user might want to be friends with.

If you need any tips on disabling Google Buzz, read the article from PC World editor JR Raphael titled: “GoodBye Google Buzz” which how gives a How to Guide on how you can remove Buzz from your Gmail

The future

Google Buzz product manager Todd Jackson said in the interview with the BBC that he was 'very, very sorry' for the upset the privacy errors caused to users. He added: 'If it becomes clear that people don't think we've done enough, we'll make more changes. We know we need to improve things.'

Google Buzz could of potentially been a possible contender to rival the industry leader Facebook, however many analysts and experts in social media are now saying that with this controversial launch there is little chance that Google Buzz will catch up to Facebooks membership levels which currently exceed 400 million.

All pretty dramatic for a new product launch isn't it ! Personally I am staying away from Buzz for a while, until the dust has settled and all the privacy tweaks are ironed out.

As this blog post portrays I am currently undecided as to whether I am a fan of Google Buzz. I know that I am happy with my social networks, I feel that friendfeed is a great place to collate all your communications, so would like to ambassador that.

Personally I don't use Gmail that much for communication, it has been more of a tool for me to receive email subscriptions and updates. Also I am finding that I am unsubscribing from more and more E-news letters, as I now prefer "to go and get" the information rather than be sent it. The majority my social communication is via Facebook, Twitter, Phone & Pub.

Please feel free to comment on this post on how you generally communicate with your social networks ? and whether you believe that Google Buzz has the potential to rock your social world?

My thoughts are with Todd Jackson and his crisis team.

For more information on the legal investigations, read this article from the BBC on 17th February titled: “Google Buzz “breaks privacy laws” says watchdog”:

Keep up to date with changes and find out more about:
Google Buzz here on The Official Google Blog .

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Secret to light fluffy pancakes... add a little beer to the mix!

Dorset Food Blogger Wayne from the Credit Munch Blog invited his readers to share their Pancake recipes today. How did we do ? Well we came up with two recipes which were more than flour, egg, water, milk, sugar and lemon.

Our two pancake stars of the day are Dan & Alex with the below savoury pancake dishes:

Fit as a butchers Dog Pancake

Fill your traditional pancake with grated cheddar, grilled mushrooms and butchers ham. Then serve it with a side of Tomato soup and voila pancake-tastic.

Mushroom Surprise

Fry off 250g of mushrooms in sunflower oil
Add vegetable stock (200ml)
Add 4 spring onions finely sliced
Let the stock simmer and become thick (syrupy)
Add a couple of spoonfuls of cream fresh

For more pancake recipe ideas visit the Credit Munch blog post simply titled “Pancakes” and discover some more sweet and savoury pancake ideas.

While you're waiting for your pancake batter to cool (that is my top tip), why not find out a bit more on Pancake day traditions from the UK and the World ! over at the BBC Good Food website.

Enjoy your evening and your Pancakes....

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fresh idea: Host a dinner party for charity

We subscribe to the latest news from Bullying Online, the UK’s leading anti-bullying charity and number one resource for people using search engines to find reliable information on a variety of bullying issues. Bullying Online recently let their subscribers know about a great new fundraising website, so sharing with you in their words what this latest fund raising innovation is all about.

“It's called Dinner4Good and allows you to raise money for us simply by doing something you enjoy - having friends round for dinner! To see how it works just go to From here you can create and send personalised email invitations – takes less than 5 minutes. Your guests can then accept and donate online, so there's no awkwardness over asking for money or hassle of collecting cash. You can all see who's coming and how much is being raised – in a click. Dinner4Good takes care of everything, including claiming the Gift Aid which reduces the admin for us!
All you have to do is hold the dinner, eat, drink and enjoy yourselves! “

If you are a UK charity the Dinner4Good website appears to be a great way to potentially earn new funds and provide your supporters with a new opportunity to raise money whilst having fun. There are no set up or monthly fees to the charity and to remove doubt (due to charity sites receiving bad press) and encourage sign up, we were pleased to see that Dinner4Good have been transparent on who they partner with and how much money the charity will receive (for operating costs to run the site).

As a means of promoting this charitable site, if you are interested in holding a Dinner Party for charity or you are a UK charity looking for a new way of fundraising, we would encourage you to find out more about how the Dinner4Good website works. We wish all the best to the founder of Dinner4Good website Bryan Sergeant, great idea, great initiative, well explained, good work.

If you are a UK charity, that would like to make your own website more interactive to encourage participation in raising money from within your own site talk to our Sales team and we can bounce around some ideas.

Author: Micky Pain

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Setting a geographic target for your site with Google

Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa from the Google Webmaster Tools team talks on this video about Google’s GeoTargeting Tool. A really useful video to explain to those who wish to target users in a particular geographic location and those that don’t.

Watch the video to find out how you can use the Google geographic target tool to provide Google with information that will help them to determine how your site appears in their search results, and also improve your sites search results for geographic queries (limiting the scope of the search to a particular country).

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Rocktime’s Book of the month: Gary Vaynerchuk’s CRUSH IT!

If you want to find out what you are really passionate about, then you must read this book, or if you already have a passion and want to release all you know to the world then this book must go to the top of your Amazon wish list.

This is not just a business book (Social Media Strategy) it also seeks to explain how you can use your own DNA to change your life, personally and professionally.

Following on from the strap line “Why now is the time to cash in on your passion” Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), explains to his readers how you can communicate your passion / your personal brand using the correct content and whatever media format of channel that are the best fit for your audience.

Based on his experience he provides a step by step manual on how you can execute your own social media strategy and how he used social media and social networking to build a huge business, see Wine Library TV.

Something we especially liked was the line “Anything is better than zero”, where he explains to his readers not to get hung up on the Analytics and to go with their gut. Great advice on building your business and your personal brand is packed throughout and refreshingly Gary often admits to his contradictions and invites the reader to explore certain areas further, or to contact him. This is a great reflection of the personal brand he has built.

What is really really engaging about this book are his insights and tips based on real business examples and personal experience, he shares with his readers insights into how he built his business and because he writes with such passion and flair you really don’t mind him promoting himself every now and again.

Gary’s enthusiasm to social media strategy is totally infectious, he is an extremely motivated guy, you will never read a book so quick, and if you are as passionate as us about what you do, you will want to read it again.

Well done Gary we are looking forward to the next insightful book from you, and as they say in America “You Rock”. If you do make it over the UK for a book tour, let us know and we will gladly give you a pat on the back, the only feedback we will give is placing image of your book on your site for us then to seed out, or have a "I read this book it was awesome" badge. Oh and Gary if you are reading this (and sure you will be) you have inspired me to get a FlipCam, what have you done !!!

Find out more about what you can learn from the book here

People in the UK order your copy of Crush IT from Amazon

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

What makes a video go Viral??

Have you ever wondered what makes a video become extremely popular and go viral online? if so join the club, as so have we.

We believe that for a video to touch the heart and minds of the audience then it needs to firstly consider the audience, giving focus to what images would connect with the audience to move them into action/thought. Equally first the video should have a solid understanding of what the brand is, to give across a clear brand message. Cadbury’s executed this well – with their “Glass and a half full productions” subscribe to them from their YouTube channel here.

A viral that works won’t leave people thinking “so what!” “I don’t get it”, it will have the ability to be understood and liked/loved even, making the audience go “oh right clever” or “wow that is amazing” "how moving" or simply as a fan of the subject matter “cool”.

It is these connections with the audience that make the viewer of the video want to share and pass it on, “Simples” :

View the Compare the Meekat Bloopers Video here:

We would love to make our own viral video at Rocktime, we have our video production and brand agency connections and it is on the “things to try board”. Our vision would be to capture the hearts and minds of our clients, potential clients, possible thought “Education in a no nonsense/jargon way with some talking pebbles”. Sounds crazy doesn’t it, great, watch this space.

Mashable presented a list of the 10 most innovative viral video ads of 2009 and share a similar view point on what makes a video go viral, they also mention that:

“This year’s Top 10 is certainly a glimpse of how the viral video ad business is evolving, and as marketers, we can learn from that evolution”

View the Viral video ads Mashable favoured in 2009 here.

If you know us and have any thoughts of a hilarious thing that we could do as a Viral send us a Tweet.

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's all about the Lego

Lego has certainly been one of our favourite topics of conversation this month, after we shared our Love for the Lego Click site at the start of Feb, we keep falling over more lego videos on YouTube.

Sharing with you two of our favourites a video animation of lego bricks and a geek robot lego machine, enjoy.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Geek Video of the month

February's Geek Video of the month promotes the new website Lego Click, which seeks to let people share their LEGO photos to inspire others. The video gives you a brief glimpse of what is in store for you if you visit the site, visitors can also visit the iPhone application (LEGO Photo) from here, enabling you to immortalize precious moments in Lego, check it out.

A great site for brand engagement and really inspires us to get some lego in the office.

Monday, February 01, 2010

How to date your audience?

As it's Valentine's Day this month thought to share with you, a post to prove that "Social media is just like dating!" It is honestly !

With a little help from Power Power and iStock photos, I have created a list on how you can/could/should date your audience. Together with advice on how Rocktime can help you devise a social campaign around your objectives, be it dating (Tweet us @rocktimesocial for advice) or increased website traffic and sales for your business.

If you follow the above steps, social media can help you to:

  • Get a date !! Get a new customer !! Get a new best friend forever !!

  • Raise the profile of your product and brand values and be more transparent as a brand

  • Announce new, news stories and seed out testimonials

  • Promote specific products and services plus review interest (tracking on links)

  • Generate leads and enquires for your site

  • Build a community of loyal followers and brand ambassadors

  • Target additional markets, previously hard to reach

  • Promote what makes you extra special

  • Increase your social landscape and keep ahead of the competition

Blogging, Podcasting, Video, Microblogging (Twitter, Tumblr), Forums, Review sites, Answer Engines all help facilitate the above objectives. Simply being out there & engaged (not in a "to be married sense") can help you get ahead and keep up with your online and active competitors.

If you align your social activity around specific objectives then you will see a more fruitful return on investment being generated, but as with dating don't be too picky and get to know the social networker first as they could be the one to launch you into Stardom !!

Social networking insights obtained during your social journey can not only help you build on your networks of interaction but can also help you identify new possibilities for future growth, it is all very exciting indeed.

To share your thoughts on social media objectives or to find out more about how you can begin to date your audience give Sarah or a member of our our Sales team at Rocktime a call.

Best wishes and have a lovely Valentines Day x

Author: Sarah Griffiths

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Apple iPad……..what is it?

On Wednesday 27th January 2010 the geek world was to change as we know and did it? No, and finally, yes. Especially if you have at least $499 burning a hole in your pocket and a desire browse the Internet for 10 hours straight.

Watching Apple selling the iPad on this YouTube video you would think that it’s the best thing since slice bread and that it was going to crush the world of notebooks, bringing us something that we have never seen before and perhaps they have, after all who else would spend millions bringing out a 9.7 inch touch screen computer / pad or a third party category device as Apple call it.

If they are going to create a third category between the smartphone and the laptop, it needs to be better for certain tasks and in a way this maybe true for the iPad -- web browsing is much better on the bigger screen, and physically flicking through photos, music and movies looks more enjoyable on the iPad than a laptop.

But in several crucial areas, the iPad seems to fall short of the functionality that would have made it more than just a large iPod touch.

As quoted by Rocktime’s Andy Clarke; "I think it is a nice bit of kit, but with the features it has I don’t know where it will fit in the market. It doesn’t support multi-tasking so you can only do one thing at time. The browser doesn’t support Adobe Flash so you can’t fully browse all websites like YouTube and iPlayer etc. The iBook store might not be fully available in the UK. It has no camera so no video messaging or built in USB. It looks just like a big iPod Touch which has more processing power, bigger and can get 3G internet connection (but no phone calls). Depending on what you want it for I would probably stick with a small laptop/netbook – can multitask and has a full web browser"

I think it is too early to decide if it will be a success or not and perhaps Wednesday’s Apple event and the amount of hype surrounding the entire day was best summed up by PC Mag’s Zach Honig, who tweeted: “So I suppose today’s date in the Apple calendar would be 1/0/0000 AT (After Tablet)? Pope Gregory is turning in his grave.”

For now I will leave you with the wise words of wisdom from Hitler an edited version with Apple iPad spin from the movie Downfall.

Author: Micky Pain