Tag Archives: social networking

tracking

Are Businesses Crossing Lines by Tracking Employees?

Nearly 10 years after real-time package- and people-tracking went viral with the advent of GPS-enabled cell phones, small businesses face two big concerns.

“One is expense. Small businesses, especially those still recovering from the worst recession in modern history, can’t always afford to provide their employees with GPS-equipped smart phones,” notes location-based services specialist George Karonis, founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc., provider of Mobile Phone Locate tracking service,  (www.mobilephonelocate.com).

“The second issue is privacy. People generally don’t want their employer to be a ‘big brother’ boss who can track their every move. It’s not because they’re doing something they shouldn’t, but because it invades their space, and the information could be misinterpreted or misused.”

But employee tracking has plenty of obvious benefits to small business owners:

• Provide baseline information. It gives businesses solid data to analyze for initiatives such as improving efficiency. Businesses with lots of workers in the field making deliveries or service calls can optimize routes and schedules.

• Improve customer service and satisfaction. Tracking helps a business tell people waiting somewhere for a delivery or service exactly where their package or service-person is and how long the wait will be.

• Improve response times. On-site coordinators can re-route workers in the field to respond to unscheduled calls in the most efficient way possible.

• Reduce costs. The greater efficiency provided by tracking helps lower costs by reducing both downtime and overtime.

So how can businesses circumvent affordability and employee privacy concerns?

One way is to accomplish both is to use a service that doesn’t involve extra equipment, including software, or a contract, Karonis says.

“If you’re not loading apps or software onto someone’s personal phone, it’s less intrusive for the employee and he or she will be more willing to allow use of their own phone. There’s also no added drain on the battery, because there’s no app constantly running in the background, and no hitch-hiking on their data plan or incurring a data charge,” he says.

“If you make it non-intrusive employees won’t tend to feel that you’re invading their privacy.”

Using a service that charges per location, with no requirement for a time-specific contract, is also more cost-efficient for the business, Karonis says.
“For the small business that’s merely seeking to improve efficiency and customer service, constant tracking isn’t necessary. That’s more appropriate in a situation where employers have large number of people constantly in the field, for instance, UPS. Or, employers who feel the need to monitor unproductive employees,” he says.

There’s a growing backlash as the public is subjected to more and more stalking – from cameras mounted at traffic lights to social networking sites recording shopping habits and topics of conversation, Karonis notes.

“We’ve reached a crossroads where we need to find a balance between surveillance that provides legitimate business advantages and surveillance that invades people’s privacy,” he says.

“It really is possible to strike that balance and, in a small business that thrives on trust, mutual respect and fully invested employees, it’s essential.”

Social Networking apps for your phone

Social Networking Apps For Your Phone

Mobile phone social networking apps are great. I can tune out the boring parts of my day (like school, work, driving, etc.) by just playing around on Facebook. The best part is that it makes me look like I’m busy sending important messages, so no one ever bothers me.

Unfortunately, going on the same sites over and over again can get a little dull. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been wondering what happens when Facebook mobile and Twitter are no longer enough to keep you entertained.

Luckily, I found five more social networking apps you can use when you want to look busy and/or avoid talking to people at work:

Broadtexter.com

Do you enjoying receiving ads over text-message? If so, then you’re really going to like this site. Broadtexter allows users to send mass numbers of text messages/pictures in just a few clicks.

“Broadcasters” can create mobile clubs, which fans of the broadcaster can then join. Fans will then be able to receive alerts (ads), share photos and even chat with the broadcaster. Using Broadtexter could be a great way for musicians or meretricious club promoters to engage with their fans.

MocoSpace.com

Ever wonder what happened to your hometown acquaintances that used MySpace and never graduated from high school? Well, most of them are probably on MocoSpace.com.

MocoSpace is like the terrible love-child of a cheap dating website and Facebook games.

Members can message, instant-chat and play games with other random people on the site. If you are so inclined, you can download the MocoSpace app for your smartphone — allowing you to play poorly designed games on-the-go.

There are several steps one must follow in order to create an authentic profile on MocoSpace:

Guys: In your profile picture, you should be shirtless or showing off your abs. It helps to have lots of tattoos. All pictures should be self-portraits taken on your camera phone — preferably in the bathroom. Make sure the background on your profile page is extremely cluttered and gaudy. Overproduced, autotuned rap music should also be playing on your profile. All your “friends” on MocoSpace must be female.Social Networking Mobile Apps

Girls: Just like guys, your profile picture should be a cell phone pic taken in the bathroom. Pictures should be taken from an overhead angle. For extra points, add flashy hearts or glowing lipstick kisses to your profile picture; or, include an image of the child you had out of wedlock. For your profile page, follow the same rules as the guys – just make sure you include lots of pink.

Everyone: The use of proper grammar is a major faux pas on MocoSpace. BUT IF U TYPE LIKE DIS BB U WILL HAVE FRIENDS ON MOMOSPACE 4EVR!!! <3 I SHOULD HAVE SAID 5EVR B/C DATS LONGER DAN 4EVR!! ; )

MobiLuck.com

MobiLuck is a location-based social networking site. MobiLuck members use their phones to sign-into places, search for activities and message friends that are nearby. It’s the alternative for people who don’t want to use Foursquare, Facebook Places, Google Places, or Microsoft’s “We’re In” app.

BrightKite.com

The alternative for people who don’t want to use Foursquare, Facebook Places, Google Places,  Microsoft’s “We’re In” app, or MobiLuck.com. BrightKite also has “group chat.”

meetMoi.com

Online dating can be difficult. You have to sift through hundreds of profiles to find someone who you like. You then have to send an awkward first message, and hope the person writes you back. If you happen to get a response, you must continue to banter online for a few days/weeks before you can even get a first date. That’s a lot of work. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just walk over to a person, strike up a conversation, and then ask him/her out?

Mobile matchmaker, meetMoi, (almost) lets you do this. After signing up for the site, you update your location using your mobile phone. Users then get alerts when other meetMoi members are in their general proximity. If you like who you see, you can chat, send a wink, or even meet up in person!  

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Relevant Questions

How did you communicate/express yourself before mobile phone social networking apps? Is writing a handwritten letter as terrible as I imagine?

How many social networks do I have to join before I am “fulfilled” as a person? Will signing up for meetMoi help erase the emptiness that I feel inside?

Were you unable to get a job when you graduated college? Do you regret the fact that you got a liberal arts degree and are now unemployed and in debt? Does looking at the people on MocoSpace.com make you feel better about yourself?

DO U WANT 2C MOAR POSTS ABT DIS TOPICK?!? 

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Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

Greenpeace International Urges Facebook To Use Green Data Centers

Facebook is often under some kind of scrutiny in the news. Lately, this has been because of ongoing privacy complaints against the social-networking giant.

But the latest issue with Facebook isn’t about privacy, it’s about energy. An article in the NY Times highlights the issue. Greenpeace International, an environmental campaigner, contends that Facebook’s latest data center (under construction) in Prineville, Oregon, isn’t good for the environment. The data center is powered by PacifiCorp, a company that gets 58 percent of its energy from burning coal.

For a site that has more than 500 million members, Facebook’s reliance on data centers is obvious. But is this coming at a price? In the article, Lisa Rhodes, vice president of marketing and sales at Verne Global, a data center company based in Iceland, stated that “according to the Environmental Protection Agency, data centers now account for 1.5 percent of all electricity consumption in the U.S. and by 2020, carbon emissions will have quadrupled to 680 million tons per year, which will account for more than the aviation industry.”

Greenpeace is urging Facebook to switch to a more environmentally friendly source of energy. Other technology giants such as Google, Yahoo, Toshiba and Hewlett Packard have already taken steps to toward becoming greener. Google invested $38 million in wind farms and Yahoo cut 40 percent of carbon intensity of its data centers by 2014.

Yet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fighting back against these allegations. In a Facebook message to a Greenpeace supporter he writes: “Some of the old data centers we rent use coal, but most are already green.” He also added: “The newer ones we’re building from scratch in Oregon use hydro power from dams. We’re moving in the right direction.” Facebook representatives also added that Facebook rents data center space that is shared with other companies, making it impossible to decide what energy it’s powered with. However, the company did say that they’re moving toward larger, customized data centers with a focus on energy efficiency.

So what do you think? I doubt the thought of energy  efficiency crosses our minds as we log onto Facebook. But it’s good to hear that there are groups out there committed to implementing the type of change we need for a greener future and that companies are taking responsibility and responding to it.

www.facebook.com
www.nytimes.com

www.greenpeace.org

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Offers Companies A New Way To Conduct Business

Those unable to offer a clear definition of Web 2.0 are not alone. Even computer industry experts have a hard time agreeing on exactly what it is.

“The reason why there are so many different opinions is because the term is so comprehensive,”says James Windrow, director of interactive strategy for Scottsdale-based I-ology, an Internet strategy firm. “It’s misused so often to include absolutely everything, all new technology that’s been developed for the Internet for about the past four to five years.

“The way I define it, and I use Web 2.0 and social media interchangeably, I define Web 2.0 as just technology that’s used to facilitate communication or collaboration amongst different people.”

David van Toor, general manager and senior vice president for Sage CRM Solutions North America, a business software company with offices in Scottsdale, looks at Web 2.0 technology from a business perspective.

“It’s describing, really, the concept that it’s the way that businesses can derive value from treating the Internet as a technology platform and as a business platform,”he says. “To me, it’s a way of conducting business – a different way of conducting business.”

Although the term implies some major redo of the Internet experience, “in reality, it’s just the next version, it’s the next step, it’s an evolution of the process,”according to Tyler Garns, director of marketing for Infusionsoft, a business software company in Gilbert.

The tools that come under the vast Web 2.0 umbrella have led to online communities and social networking, video sharing, blogging and wikis. If you post a page on MySpace or Facebook, watch and comment on a YouTube video, review a product on Amazon or glean information from Wikipedia, you are taking advantage of Web 2.0 technology.

Some businesses have fully embraced Web 2.0. When General Motors stock took a major dip in October, CEO Rick Wagoner appeared in a short YouTube video to state his company’s case. Cable giant Comcast is effectively using the social networking and micro-blogging site Twitter as an element of its Comcast Cares program. Go to Sage’s Web site for ACT! (www.act.com), its popular contact and customer management software, and you can join discussion forums, access an executive’s blog or suggest a feature for a future product update.

“I don’t need a marketing team to communicate with customers now,” van Toor says. “I can do it directly on the blog. I don’t have to force my customers to go through a service department to reach me.”

That’s part of the big change brought about by Web 2.0. In the past, the Internet experience was pretty much a one-way conversation. There was some modest interactivity, but many companies were satisfied using their Web sites as online brochures. Today, businesses are able to engage customer and employee collaboration as never before. Corporate executives are instantly accessible. Active participation results in lightning-fast dialog and feedback.

Another important point is there is now a type of corporate transparency never available before.

“The way that businesses today are leveraging that is they’re opening up their companies and being fully transparent,”Garns says. “What that allows the customer to do is to have a direct view into the company. And when they see things they like, they then trust the company much, much more.”

Windrow points to a change in the way Web 2.0 impacts a company’s ability to control its brand message. In the past, he says, businesses sought complete control.

“In today’s Web 2.0 world, that’s just not the case,”Windrow says. “Now the brand message has left the control of the company and is firmly with the consumers. They are controlling what’s being said about companies. They’re controlling what information is being shared. And they’re actively seeking ways to punish companies that they feel are socially irresponsible in one way or another, or reward companies that they feel are acting in the best interest of consumers.”

That’s why it’s especially important for businesses to offer consumers direct communication options.

“If you invite them to your business and to your sites, and allow them to communicate there in the way they want to, then you can respond to them in a way you can’t if they do it on other people’s chat rooms or places like Amazon,”van Toor says.

Selling, in particular, has been dramatically impacted by the Internet and Web 2.0 technology. According to Garns, today’s consumers educate themselves. They read reviews, hop into forums and find out what others are saying.

“By the time you go to purchase a product or service, you know exactly what you want and you know the price you want to pay,”he says. “When you walk in the door, you’re ready to negotiate. And so the business that you’re buying from has now been cut out of the sales process.”