Basic Editing: It’s not that difficult.

Before I get into this relevant and most necessary post, I would like to start off by welcoming both my fellow Comm. Studies major Emily Tumlin and my fabulous roommate Lauren Reddeck to the wonderful world of Wordpress! I am so glad to have convinced you both to join in on the fun.

Now on to the good stuff.

Y’ALL. As someone so passionate about writing, marketing, and social media, I feel the need to shed light on something that has been driving me up the wall. I have been absolutely dumbfounded and, to put it more eloquently, perturbed, at some of the not only public but promoted material being pushed out by brands on various social media outlets. For the most part, companies and brands are pretty good about making sure that their content is error-free. It has to be, right? I mean, this is how brands are connecting with their customers. Their social media handles are a direct extension and representation of the company. This stuff is kind of important. And I understand that mistakes happen, but come on. It is not that difficult to proofread something before publishing it directly to the newsfeeds of thousands of customers/potential customers.

The following are four examples that I have found solely through my own personal presence on social media. I did not go searching for these mistakes, I simply came across them on my various feeds. And they are not even the biggest or most obvious mistakes, but nonetheless, they exist. Also, I am 100% aware of the fact that I sound like the world’s ultimate social media nerd. I am okay with that.


This first gem was posted on the ABC Family hit television show Pretty Little Liars‘ Facebook page, and it is probably the least harmful of the four examples. Let me just also say that 9,924,729 people are Facebook fans of PLL. Yes, this post was sent out to almost 10 million people. I will give them some credit, however. They’re using, which, for those of you that don’t know, is a URL shortening and bookmarking service that tracks data from whoever clicks on the URL. And if you check out their Facebook page, they actually have a really strong and successful social media plan.Their interaction level with their fans is off the charts, and is evidenced by their close to 10 million fans. But let’s be serious; if one more person would have looked at this post, this tiny little error could have been prevented. I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. -A

samsungTaking it up a notch on the stupidity scale of mistakes is this specific action via twitter by Samsung Mobile US. A little background on Samsung’s presence on twitter: they have 4,313,729 followers, are verified, and have over 24,000 tweets, which is evidence of the fact that not only do they use twitter to promote their brand, but to create conversations by responding to their followers. But this….this tweet is just unacceptable. First of all, from a marketing perspective, it’s really never a good idea to actually ask users to ‘RT’ or ‘like’ something. If your content is actually good, people should do that stuff anyway. Second of all, it’s not just one letter that is off. Whoever wrote this used an entirely incorrect word (even if it is only two letters long). And third of all, and most importantly, SAMSUNG PAID TO PROMOTE THIS. Seriously? Samsung spent actual real dollars to have this tweet come up in every twitter users’ timeline. This is what my nightmares are made of.

outbackBranching out to a primarily mobile platform for social media mishaps is Outback Steakhouse with this lovely error on their Foursquare page. If you are not familiar with Foursquare, it is a mobile social networking app where users can check into the various places they visit and collect points, leave tips and recommendations, and see what kinds of places their friends are visiting, as well. It’s a pretty handy little app for both chain stores and local businesses because not only can they see who is visiting and what they are saying about their visit, but they can also offer users specials and discounts.

This error particularly got my teeth grinding for a variety of reasons. First of all, as a Clemson fan and student, I am not particularly proud of the fact that I cashed in on South Carolina’s win over Michigan at the Outback Bowl. All I have to say is that no matter the circumstance, if there is a free Bloomin’ Onion involved, you can count me in. However, I was going out on a limb by publicly stating that I was reaping the benefits of a USC win and Outback really let me down. I genuinely do not even know what they were trying to say. “…thanks the a USC win yesterday.” I mean, seriously? If your company is going to take the time to implement a social marketing campaign, you have got to at least make sure that it makes sense. I will admit, though, that  Outback was very quick to respond to me via twitter when I publicly called them out on their mistake. Just tryin’ to help a brotha out.

And last, but most definitely not least, is, in my case, the editing (or lack thereof) mistake that broke the camel’s back. Should we discuss the time that the website for the White House (you know, the home of the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, the ruler of our government and country?) posted this on their live video feed? Should we talk about it? Or should we just try to move on with our lives and pretend that this never happened?  Because at this point, my blood is boiling and I might hurt someone.

white house

In essence, just get it together people. Think before you post. Especially if you’re a nation-wide restaurant chain, or, you know, the President of the United States. You can do it. I have faith in you.

The Shopping Site that Didn’t Know How to Make Money

Ladies, let’s face it: we do the majority of our online shopping, even if it’s just ‘window shopping’ or browsing, via Pinterest. We discover new clothes we might not have come across if we were simply looking at the store’s website, and more importantly, we discover new online shops and boutiques that we definitely would have never found by simply browsing – come on, we all know how hard it is to find a new shop online.

Okay, so we use Pinterest to shop. And, well, most of us use Pinterest everyday. So how does the social media site generate any profit? Think about it: it’s not like we’re pinning or buying products created by Pinterest. The things we pin all come either from an individual user or, in most cases, from an external site (like the aforementioned little boutique or shop). Apparently, shortly after the site’s inception, Pinterest claimed that “they weren’t sure about how they make money” but that they wold eventually get to it. Hmm… does this sound extremely fishy to anyone else?

So, in typical Paige fashion, I did a little digging.

According to Forbes, the social media site is valued at a staggering $7.7 billion. Let’s compare that to the other social media juggernauts for a second, shall we? Facebook is valued at $1.26 billion, Twitter claims it is worth $8 billion, and, as the recent news of Facebook purchasing Instagram tells us, Facebook values Instagram at $1 billion.

But, seriously, how is this possible?

From a marketing perspective, it actually might be easy to see how Pinterest is valued at so much and how it generates a profit. Essentially, Pinterest is a gigantic hub for product advertising without pinners really realizing it. Well, that is, as long as its users pin your company’s products. So, one way that Pinterest potentially generates profit is through partnerships with other companies trying to advertise their product. In doing this, Pinterest would then promote the pins of said company to initially get the ball rolling and get the company’s pin travelling through the site at warped speed. Once the first pin is promoted, then users re-pin the product and promote it to their friends, who then, in turn, promote it to their friends, and the beat goes on…

Another way Pinterest could potentially generate profit through partnerships with companies is through promoting a company’s pins in the category sections on the site. This way, the first thing users would see when they click on a specific category would be the promoted pin (without them realizing that it is being promoted, of course).

Additionally, I did some more research and found out that Pinterest generating profit by modifying user-submitted pins by altering the links. I find this extremely interesting because this is something, that, if I would have never researched, I would have had absolutely no clue was being done. Who am I to care that Pinterest is generating money from what I pin from my favorite online boutique? It’s not affecting me in any way, so, personally, it doesn’t really matter to me (in terms of my usability with the site). But, as the article also states, it is a little fishy now that I know about it.

So, there you have it. Even though you probably never thought about it, Pinterest must be generating some sort of profit in order to be running at the high capacity that it does. Even though it technically doesn’t really affect us all that much, it’s still something to think about.

Cowbird: the Lovechild of Twitter and Traditional Blogging

If you have never heard of Cowbird, do not fret; you are not the only one. I was introduced to Cowbird in my Emerging Technologies class at Clemson University and I can honestly say that I am so very thankful. In essence, “Cowbird is a community of storytellers.” Like the title of this blog post states, it is very much the lovechild of Twitter and traditional blogging. Cowbird is a social network for stories. Unlike Twitter, users can go way over 140 characters to tell their stories, as well as use video and audio to enhance their stories. And unlike traditional blogging, the user interface is much more heavily based on interaction with the other users, making it much more social than traditional blogging. According to the Cowbird, this is how they describe the site:

We build the world’s simplest and most beautiful storytelling tools, and we offer them for free to anyone who wishes to use them. When you tell stories on Cowbird, we automatically find connections between your life and the lives of others, forming a vast, interconnected ecosystem, in which we all take part. Our goal is to build a public library of human experience, so the knowledge and wisdom we accumulate as individuals may live on as part of the commons, available for this and future generations to look to for guidance.

I recently posted my first story to Cowbird called ‘The Color Orange’ and it is about my journey through college. For those of you that know me well, you know this story all too well. For those of you that don’t know my college story in detail, it’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a long time now, but for some reason, the setting of Cowbird made it much easier to express and put out in the open. Besides the basic idea that Cowbird is much more social than traditional blogging, the site gives off a much simpler vibe than most blogging platforms, allowing the author to focus on what’s important: the content. This being said, Cowbird users need to be dedicated to their storytelling and to engaging with other storytellers; if they want to have an audience for their work, they need to actively seek other authors and ‘join their audiences,’ so that they’re story can be read. Users most also know how to use all of the functions of the site, including the topic tags, location tags, etc., otherwise, their story will not be heard.

As much as I enjoyed my experience sharing my story on Cowbird, I am having trouble deciding whether or not I want to become an avid “citizen,” as they call it, of the online community. Whereas a blog can serve as a platform for individuals who want to get their voice heard by all netizens, Cowbird gives off the vibe that your voice will only be heard by citizens of the Cowbird community. In that same sense, even though there are multiple traditional blogging platforms that have different user interfaces, all blogs are mostly straightforward and easy to navigate, even for non-blog users. In contrast, Cowbird, while simple, uses a very different interface that might be striking to people unfamiliar with the site. Nonetheless, I really do enjoy the artistry and seriousness of the content that is posted on the site. It reminds me of why I am so passionate about writing. Like the creator of the site, Jonathon Harris says in this NYTimes article, “It’s soul food, not fast food,” and that is why I truly do appreciate the all-encompassing goal of cowbird.

In all honesty, however, I do not see how Harris is generating any sort of substantial profit from Cowbird. There aren’t any advertisements on the site, so that source of income is not being utilized. I suppose the site could be used for companies to find new artists, copy-writers, etc. for employment purposes, but do companies really actively go searching for things like that? I do not see the site as having any real business value, but simply as another outlet for today’s artists to get their voices heard. I feel like a majority of Cowbird users already have careers in their line of work and simply use Cowbird as another creative outlet. Not that any of this is bad, though. Even though there might not be any business value in Cowbird, as a creative individual, I truly do enjoy the site and it’s purpose. Whether or not this will take off, though, will be interesting to find out.