The Honey Hunt

The Honey HuntFor those of you who don’t know me, and that’s probably a lot of you considering I’m a very private guy 😉 , will probably know that I don’t share a lot of personal information on the web. Oh sure, I wrote all those wonderful iDad stories about my family, but I rarely ever post pictures of my children or myself in social media, unless it is for close friends and relatives.

I’ve been on Facebook since 2007 and have kept a lot of my private information off there. Over time however there have been a couple of facts creep in such as birthdays, job changes and educational achievements, but the majority of my comments, likes and status updates are innocuous and of no interest to anyone outside my circle of friends.

Or so I thought!

When I separated from my wife a little over two years ago I changed my relationship status to single. It was a weird, hollow feeling selecting a different line in that drop down menu and I resolved that I would not alter my relationship status again – regardless. Thankfully my partner feels the same way and we have kept our private life private from all but those we love.

In the months after changing my status I added more ‘likes’, went to a few ‘events’ my friends had organised, commented on pictures of food, tattoos, other people’s kids and holiday snaps, and checked in at a few sporting arenas and concerts. All the while, in the background, Facebook’s algorithms were quietly categorising me.

I didn’t make it easy for Facebook. I never told them whether I was interested in men or women. I never indicated a political preference. My religious status is right out of Monty Python – He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!

They know I live in Sydney, but not where.

They know I am a male, but not what I look like. My avatar is a bleeding voodoo doll with a pin sticking out of his neck.

They know where I work because my profile is linked to the company page.

But that’s it.

Over the last few months however I have noticed that the sponsored links on the right hand side of my news feed have become somewhat more targeted.

I have posted comments about Rugby League and my love of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the past. Now I am seeing ads for Tom Waterhouse Betting who has a direct link to the National Rugby League and its broadcaster, Channel Nine.

I have commented on the ink my friends and relatives have etched onto their skin. Now I am being invited to view images of sexy tattoos from Harlow Minx.

When I posted that I had signed up for the City to Surf this year my feed was flooded with sponsored ads from Adidas, Nike and Puma.

Comments about my career have lead to offers of MBA study at various universities.

The day I taught my children to ride a push bike I was offered 70% off cycling shoes from SportPursuit as well as florescent wheel reflectors and special sunglasses.

It is an amazing marketing tool that Facebook possesses here, but the one offer I seem to receive the most is love.

At first it began with a little ‘fun at forty‘ which lead to an immediate regret at telling them my birth date 😉 Then I was offered some cheeky social love, dating profiles on Zoosk and all manner of pretty girls apparently looking for boyfriends.

After a while of not clicking through to any of these offers they became more persistent. I was being introduced to young women, mature women, some that wanted faithful men and others that wanted love from a distance. I could buy three dollar lingerie for any potential prospect, which I am sure would be itchy and uncomfortable, and get some rhinoplasty for my nose.  They even tried to convince me to join a website that purported to be able to get my ex-wife back.

Each month the promise of love was greater and greater until yesterday when I received the attached image as one single line of adverts on my Facebook feed.

No more shoes.

No more credit cards.

No more bank loans.

Perhaps I should change my relationship status after all?

Social Media Commentary

Should you be embracing social media?

There’s no argument that social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress etc are growing in popularity day by day but to what extent are Australians getting involved? According to Nielson’s 2010 Social Media Report released in March there were 9 million Australians interacting regularly via social media with Facebook as the main platform. Twitter’s audience expanded by more than 400% in 2009 but perhaps the most important statistic to come from this report is that nearly two in every five online Australians are interacting with companies via social networking sites.

So who’s out there?

The ABC News site reported in February that Australians were leading the world with an average of seven hours per month spent on social media sites. Source ABC News

Nielsen’s online site NielsenWire noted in March 2010 that mobile social networking was predominantly used by the 35 – 54 age group (36%) and the 25 – 34 age group (34%) with a further 16% of participants in the 18 – 24 bracket. Source NielsenWire blogsite

That’s a lot of disposable income investing their time online.

Print budgets shift to social media.

AdNews reported in April that almost half (47%) of businesses have shifted marketing spend from print to social media. The online survey of 347 Australian businesses found 70% intend to conduct some form of social media activity this year, compared with just 40% in 2008. And it is not only print taking the hit. The survey found significant proportions of businesses are diverting funds to social media from direct marketing (33%), online/digital (26%), TV (15%) and radio (14%). Twenty-one percent of big businesses and 40% of SME’s will expand their marketing budgets in 2010 specifically to fund social media. “In the past year, there has been substantial growth in the number of consumers engaging with companies via social media,” Nielsen online research director Melanie Ingrey said. Australians lead the way in social media adoption with 86% reading online consumer product reviews and 75% belonging to some form of social media. Two-thirds (61%) of businesses already use social media to achieve brand building, however, 29% do not measure ROI from social media activity or don’t know how to. This lag in measurement is a barrier to entry for many businesses, however Ingrey said it is an “easy fix” and predicts a huge rise in adoption rates of social media in the next year. Source: AdNews Online, 21 April 2010

Social Networking On The Road

The Australian newspaper reported on June 8th that global smartphone shipments are tipped to more than double in the next four years from 246.9 million in 2010 to 506 million in 2014. Apple reported on June 22nd that they had sold over 3 million iPads in 80 days. Source Australian IT and

The exponential uptake in mobile technology will have a profound effect on the way products and services are researched and consumed.

“Incredibly, nearly nine in ten Australian Internet users (86%) are looking to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands, and Australians’ engagement with online word of mouth communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making” states Melanie Ingrey, Research Director for Nielsen’s online business. Source NielsenWire article Australia Getting More Social Online as Facebook Leads and Twitter Grows.

The proliferation of smartphones has lead to a surge in mobile social networking. Nielsen’s report found that over one quarter of social networkers (26%) participated in mobile social networking in the past year. Facebook is the most popular site accessed via a mobile (92% of mobile social networkers have visited Facebook), followed by YouTube, Twitter (18%) & MySpace (9%). However, Twitter sees the most frequent mobile usage, with half of its mobile users visiting the site daily. In comparison, Facebook saw 36% of its mobile users visit the site daily, while 22% of MySpace users and 16% of YouTube users were making daily visits.

Back to the question, should businesses be embracing social media?

With almost 7,750,000 wage earning Australians currently engaged in some form of social media the answer for most people should be a resounding ‘yes’. Like all marketing activities though, you need to develop a strategy. Make sure you ‘tweet’, ‘blog’ and update your Facebook status regularly. Set measurable objectives such as increasing traffic to your website or improving your ranking in search engines. Share your news, views and knowledge with your audience, don’t just go for the hard sell. Most importantly, be honest. The global social network is an incredibly large organism and the old adage that ‘bad news travels fast’ is especially relevant.

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