Pinterest and Youtube: Similar or Not?

I want to write a little entry about the similarities and differences of Youtube and Pinterest. Pinterest, at least compared to Youtube, is the new kid on the social media block. Although they both allow a user to create an account, consume a vast amount of content, personalize their intake, and save content for later, they are ultimately quite different. Beyond the basic observation that Pinterest deals with images while Youtube deals with video, they serve completely different functions. 

Youtube contains a massive blob of content. Not only is it massive, but the amount of variety is astonishing. If a user is looking for banal entertainment, they will grow gray and die years before they work their way through 1/10th of what Youtube has to offer. If a person is looking for an instructional video about how to do X, Y or Z, they have only to search. Practically any topic about anything is available in video format on Youtube. However, with that being said, the social aspect of Youtube is rather neutered compared to its neighboring services. Youtube’s comments are notorious for being some of the worst commentary that the internet has to offer, and the relationship between users and more prominent posters is not one of a functioning community. It is difficult to develop a niche or personal space for oneself on Youtube. That, however, is where Pinterest comes in.

Pinterest, on the other hand, is highly personalized. It is light on meaty content, but heavy on whimsy and character. A person’s boards reflect who they are, what they hope to achieve, and their particular interests. While “favoriting” a funny video on Youtube may make a statement about your taste, it offers very little insight into who you are. When somebody pins ten pictures of cats, three pictures of crocheting needles, and a picture of Venice, viewers are given a bit more of a look into the person’s personality.

Ultimately, the two services accomplish completely different things. While Pinterest is about developing an identity and wish-fulfillment, Youtube is more pragmatic, although I say that reluctantly, as the bulk usage of Youtube is for frivolous entertainment ala Reddit. Use them both!

Viral Marketing Videos and You: Buy Me Or I Won’t Go Away

Viral videos, love them or hate them, are here to stay. Everyone has their favorite, and some inspire deep-seated rage and loathing within our very souls. In this post, I’m going to discuss two viral marketing videos that stand out, for one reason or another.

 

Kia Soul Hamsters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zJWA3Vo6TU

This video definitely falls under the “kill me now” category of marketing, but similar to the Quiznos commercial from a few years ago featuring some “singing” animated marmots, the sheer agony inflicted on the viewer cannot be ignored. You will remember the Kia Soul, if only because it hurt you so badly. They say that any publicity is good publicity, and that must be Kia’s mantra with this one. This campaign is so effective literally because you cannot forget about how terrible it is. It lodges itself in your mind like a parasitic worm, leeching your precious fluids.

 

BlendTec – Will It Blend?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg1ckCkm8YI (iPhone)

The second viral marketing campaign I’d like to talk about is BlendTec’s “Will it blend?” video series. The Kia Soul campaign shares the “Oh god no” factor of the BlendTec campaign, but instead of developing a sense of loathing, you’re simultaneously mortified at all the nice things that are being destroyed, and impressed by the blender’s capability to handle anything. These videos tow a successful line between entertaining and informative. The viewers laugh, they gasp, and then they’re left with a positive impression of the product. Furthermore, the theme leaves itself open to so many different variants. Although I’m sure that BlendTec would discourage it, users could upload videos of themselves blending their expensive electronics. Overall, a very effective campaign.

Social Bookmarking: Twitter Vs. Reddit

The battle royale continues. This time, I will be comparing the two most popular “social bookmarking” websites, Twitter and Reddit. By social bookmarking, I mean websites that allow users to share links to other websites. For anyone who has used Twitter and/or visited Reddit, you will know that the two are quite different. Can they really be compared? I will argue that, because they both have their own niche, they ultimately cannot be too closely-compared.

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I’ll start with everyone’s favorite: Twitter. With an estimated 250,000,000 unique monthly visitors, Twitter commands an impressive amount of attention. Of course, Twitter rides the lien somewhere between a social networking site and a social bookmarking site, not to mention also a microblogging site. While there are thousands of links posted daily, it is perhaps not the primary function of the website. Instead of producing an easy-to-digest list of popular bookmarks, links circulate within Twitter through known circles and “gatekeepers”, who retweet a bookmark and boost its popularity.

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Secondly, we have Reddit. In contrast to Twitter, Reddit is almost solely a social bookmarking website. Although there is certainly a social networking component, it is secondary to the deluge of lolcats pictures and inspirational stories. As opposed to users of Twitter, users of Reddit visit the website specifically for bookmarks. The website is designed to provide a constant stream of new links, all with a bare-bones interface and few frills. It excels at what it does, and if you’re looking for cheap, fast food-style entertainment, Reddit is for you.

As I said in the introduction, I think that these two social bookmarking websites serve fundamentally different roles. However, the sheer mass of Twitter allows it to create a strong presence in many different aspects of social media, and not just the networking or microblogging components. What these two websites have in common is something that binds practically all social media websites together, and that is the love of novelty and instant entertainment. The “feed” format of these two websites ensures that a user will always have a fresh stream of data to digest and quickly discard. The gratification gained from clicking a new bookmark is a tried-and-true method to enticing users.

 

Tumblr vs. Posterous: A Brief Comparison

Notice a theme here? Yet another in my series of brief insights into popular social media services. Today I’ll be discussing Tumblr and Posterous, two microblogging sites that have drawn quite a bit of attention. The two services have quite a bit in common, and I found myself ultimately basing my deliberation on smaller features and the “feel” of the website.

Tumblr

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Right off the bat, I was impressed with Tumblr’s clean, sexy layout. Using Tumblr is fun because it looks so damn good. Perusing some of the popular blogs, it’s clear that people are able to inject a tremendous amount of individuality into their blogs.Tumblr also lets its users publish content to their page using a wide variety of different tools (email, cell, etc).

Posterous

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Posterous offers a lot of the same functionality as Tumblr, although with a slightly different flavor. It is simple to start an account with Posterous, and a user can almost immediately hop on and start interacting with the community. The post function, although a little basic-looking, works well and offers essentially the same opportunities.

Okay, so which did I prefer? This is a really tricky comparison. Although it’s hard to put the distinction into words, I found that Tumblr has a certain flair that ultimately won me over from Posterous. The sheer variety in themes, the attractive visuals, and what was apparently a more active community, were all positive aspects that attracted me to Tumblr. Although I would be hard pressed to explain how one differs substantially from the other, I will say that Tumblr looks and “feels” a lot more usable, and Posterous strikes me as a nitty-gritty, crude yet functional product.

Multimedia Resumes

It had to happen. At the juncture of a bad economy and the proliferation of social media and graphic design, multimedia resumes were inevitable. The desire to have one’s resume stand out from the crowd has now taken a large step into the realm of technology. But what exactly is a “multimedia” resume? It is a resume in the form of an infographic, a resume in the form of a blog, a personalized website, a clever image, etc. The definitions are broad, and that is part of what makes multimedia resumes fascinating. But will multimedia resumes become the norm, or are they a gimmick – a zeitgeist of our social media-infested era?

A cool infographic resume. (From: http://www.wisestep.com/column/More-about-Multimedia-Resumes) 

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Taking this example, it’s not difficult to see why this type of resume would appeal to someone. Infographics are notorious for being eye-catching and easy to digest. As an employer, would you rather look at a plain, black-on-white piece of paper, or an image covered in rippling graphs and sparking colors? A simple list of employment has been turned into an exciting story line. It’s not difficult to see why something like this would be an effective alternative to a traditional resume.

 

Another example. (From: http://mashable.com/2011/05/20/social-media-resumes/#146411-Put-Your-Best-QR-Face-Forward)

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Another approach to a multimedia resume is the social media-based strategy. By showing a potential employer a well-rounded picture of who you are, including accomplishments and personality traits, they are able to evaluate you more thoroughly and, hopefully, more accurately. This example offers a sleek, clean presentation. Another effective approach.

Depending on the job, a multimedia resume (in any form) may be the ticket to setting your application away from the herd. The important thing to remember is quality. If a potential employee does not put enough work into their presentation, the multimedia resume can fall flat. However, if a good amount of time and effort are put into the presentation, an employer will see the quality inherit in the resume.

 

Coca Cola vs. Pepsi: The Facebook Showdown

In a thematic continuation of my last post, I would like to analyze the effectiveness of two brands’ Facebook pages: Coca Cola and Pepsi. Both brands have been keen to utilize social media in their marketing strategies, but which has managed to harness one of the premiere social media networks for their own needs? Keep in mind that I will be looking at the Facebook pages of the beverage itself, and not those for the Coca Cola Company or Pepsi Co. Furthermore, keep in mind that both brands have countless sub-pages and variants (Coca Cola India, Pepsi Arabia, etc).

Coca Cola

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Coca Cola’s Facebook page comes in at a hefty 54 million “likes”, and as it says in their “about” field, is geared toward building a relationship between the brand and the people who have “helped make Coke what it is today”. Their page utilizes the timeline feature to cleverly sneak in stories from consumers, such as an entry for 1981 entitled “Husbands”, about a woman who married a man with the last name of “Coke”. The content of the website is filled with promotions, games, prizes, and images of sexy people enjoying the soda in their active lifestyles. Overall, Coca Cola’s Facebook page is very robust, with every post garnering thousands of comments.

Pepsi

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On the other hand, Pepsi’s Facebook page is a bit anemic. Clocking in at less than 1/5th of Coca Cola’s “likes”, and without a description or “about” section, Pepsi’s Facebook page looks almost unofficial. While it also contains posts about games and promotions, and attempts to incorporate followers into the Pepsi circle, the presentation seems lacking. 

The primary difference between these two Facebook pages is the degree to which Coca Cola wrangles in its followers and creates a sphere in which everyone can interact and feel like they are a part of the action. While Pepsi’s Facebook page is littered in posts about Pepsi, both humorous and enticing, it lacks the extra step. Overall, I would say that Coca Cola’s Facebook page is more successful than Pepsi’s.

Coca Cola’s Smart Marketing

Coca Cola has recently overhauled their website, which now includes a robust social media presence and community-building content. The variety in the type of content is astounding, with their website reading more like The New York Times than a product website for a soft drink.

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The social components of Coca Cola’s website are extensive. In particular, their “Journey” section creates fun little stories or anecdotes about Coca Cola, including a quiz that asks, “Which is a better way to enjoy Coca Cola, in a bottle, or through a soda fountain?”, or as through a story about an earthquake-proof vending machine in Japan. Ever present on all pages of their website is the full slew of social media trackers and links, complete with a “by the numbers” list of social media impressions and other impressive statistics about their market saturation and success. 

The entire feature is designed to display the brand’s vitality and universal appeal. By showing that Coca Cola is active in different aspects of the community, their website grows their brand by making it something that appears attractive and popular. Coca Cola’s new social media/community marketing website is very appealing, and, I would imagine, a great boon to their brand image.