Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Netflix? How About Notflix?   7 comments

Today Netflix announced on their blog and through emails to customers that the price structure for watching DVDs and streaming videos would be changing. Significantly. As in more than a 60% difference in price. Netflix customers everywhere, including myself, are PISSED.

Since the post went up this morning, and at the time of this blog post, 4,700 comments (and rising) have already been made, mostly from angry customers. The first comment alone has more than 7,500 “likes.” That’s a LOT of bad social media juju for one company to handle. Did Netflix expect this backlash? Are they prepared to deal with it? Judging by their post (which comes across as well thought out, yet still egregious in content), I’d say not.

 

[UPDATE, July 14th – Yesterday Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey talked to AdAge about the situation. You can read the full article here – If it’s TL;DR, let me summarize: Netflix took a business approach to the changes, but didn’t create a communication plan to announce the changes and deal with inevitable customer backlash (in other news, Netflix is now hiring a team of dedicated public relations and social media experts to handle…a…situation…that has emerged). The article’s discussion about the Netflix customer service hotline is especially curious.]

Some people who have been loyal Netflix customers for longer than a decade are irate at being taken for granted. I have to agree with them. Yes, the problem is likely with movie studios hiking their prices for streaming rights, which forces Netflix to charge its customers more, but it doesn’t explain why Netflix is imposing a more than 60% price increase and such imbalanced options. Especially in this economy.

Here’s the first comment to the blog post from a Mr Scotty Fagaly, who sums up how I feel very nicely:

“the only way that this is terrific for the customer is if you plan to offer your entire collection available for streaming…. otherwise this is just yet another way to choke more change out of your customers…. I mean… are you guys really that strapped for cash? or are you just greedy? ALSO, what a great way to treat you long term customers, we REALLY appreciate it…i can understand you applying it to new customers… but please, explain to me who’s brilliant idea this was… I hear it going like this ” Hey I have an idea of how we can show appreciation to our long term valued customers…. let’s take MORE of their money, that way they REALLY feel valued!”….IDIOTS.”

Right now I pay just over $10 per month for Netflix (including taxes), which gets me one DVD at a time, and all the streaming content I want. Netflix is going to change the price structure so I can continue with the combined service I have for $15.98 (plus tax) per month, or I can choose EITHER streaming OR one DVD at a time for $7.99. I can’t have both. Netflix thinks this is a “deal.” Netflix is wrong. Here’s why:

Streaming:

The streaming content is very limited and changes frequently because Netflix doesn’t have 100% streaming distribution rights from all the various movie studios. When they do have streaming rights, the streaming is only licensed for a certain amount of time. Streaming rights are rarely in perpetuity. So if you’re half way through season 3 of Breaking Bad and the streaming contract runs out, Netflix will remove the episodes from streaming faster than you can say “Heisenberg.” No more Walter White. No more Blue Sky. No more gripping plot twists. Just a frustrated viewer that now has to rent or purchase the DVDs to finish the season.

DVD’s:

Netflix’s DVD library is vast, but as you know, DVDs take time to arrive in the mail. Mine actually get delivered pretty quickly – within two days (we have a Netflix hub here in Knoxville). But still, that’s 48 whole hours slower than turning on the telly and choosing to instantly stream a movie.

The alternative:

Cancel Netflix entirely and switch to a mix of Amazon.com streaming and Hulu Plus. In addition, many convenience stores and supermarkets these days have RedBox or Blockbuster rental boxes where DVDs can be rented for $1 per day. Pretty cheap, but you still have to walk/ride/drive to get the damn things.

The biggest question people are asking…

Why should people have to choose between two services that are the same price, yet offer such stunningly different service? And why isn’t Netflix offering a discount for customers who want the choice of both viewing options? Many irate customers feel Netflix should only impose this new price structure on new customers, not the existing ones. So what does one do? I must say, it’s a tough decision that I haven’t made yet.

If Netflix actually decides to move ahead with this ridiculous plan, it goes into effect September 1, 2011. As a current Netflix customer, I will be watching attentively as this story unfolds. If the social media world has anything to do with it, Netflix will have to pay attention and respond carefully if they want to retain their loyal customer base while also adding new, willing customers.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, what do you think about all of this? Are you frustrated by this impending change? Did you see the price hike coming? Are you going to take the plunge and cancel your service?

~C

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Semester In Review   3 comments

Today is the last day I have to post to my blog for my Social Media class at UT. It’s kinda sad. I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and I’ll be brutally honest, I’m not sure if I will have the will power to keep it up after the semester is over. I’d like to think that I will keep blogging, and I will definitely try. But without the grading attachment, I wonder where or what my incentive will stem from? Philosoraptor asks the hard hitting questions when I cannot…

I’ve really enjoyed writing about random topics each week especially the Aussie stuff. I’d like to think that my readers enjoy my posts too. The best part about this blogging is that it gives me an excuse to explore topics I normally would never have ventured into. Take QR codes for example. I’ve always been curious about them and I have wanted to figure out how to use them for a while. So I did some QR code research and blogged about it! Because of that, I now understand how to use QR codes, and it’s been one of my most popular posts to date, so I think other people are also getting some use from it, which is fantastic. By the way, QR codes are here to stay, folks. They’re EVERYWHERE. Get in it. Understand it. Immerse yourself in social media! Speaking of social media, I’ve seen this video from Socialnomics a few times, but it’s such a powerful video, I want you guys to watch it. It’s a nice button to the end of a productive, informative social media class.

When I started this blog, I thought I was just going to blog about public relations and the environment. Well, that didn’t happen so much. I have a lot of house DIY projects going on, like, ALL the time, so I figured I would blog about those too. Turns out, it’s really hard to remember to take photos of myself for my blog when I’m mid-project. At least I’ve been able to share my garden with the world! Which, by the way, is doing wonderfully will all the rain we’ve had here in East TN over the past few weeks. Mad props to my mum for helping me plant everything! The peas and tomatoes are looking very green. No Marigolds or Johnny Jump Ups yet, but they’ll sprout eventually.

For the short term (aka: This week), I’m going to focus on preparing for the three huge presentations I have next week. After next Thursday I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself. The semester will officially be over for me by 7:45pm on April 28th. Less than 12 hours later I have a massage booked, and then I think I have some estate sales I’m going to check out. I might even finish reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which has been sitting on my bedside table for months now. True story. It sounds like I have planned out the perfect start to Month-Off-May! Yes, that’s right, I get all of May off before summer school classes begin. W00t!

~C

Posted April 23, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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A Brief Review of Rockmelt   1 comment

Last week my friend Cole sent me an invitation to use RockMelt, a new kind of browser that’s available for free here:

Rockmelt

It’s pretty sweet. I recommend you check it out and play around with it to see if you like it too. If you are a social media user, you’ll probably love it. Instead of doing the usual writeup, I recorded some audio/video of myself using Rockmelt. Check out the supremely awesome video below. Don’t be too critical! This is my first time doing an unscripted, on the fly video upload…

~C

Posted April 16, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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How To Use a QR Code   7 comments

QR Codes are fantastic. Short for Quick Response, the 2D bar code technology made a big splash in Japan in the mid 90’s. More than 15 years later the little black and white squares are finally gaining traction in the United States, but still remain on the outskirts of mainstream use.

What does a QR code do?

A QR code is a cleverly disguised link to online content. Anyone with a QR code reader mobile phone application (and a camera phone) can access the hidden QR code content (say that five times fast) by hovering their mobile device’s camera eye infront of the QR code until the QR reader app detects the code and translates it into content.

Popular mobile apps for reading QR codes include Bakodo, KAYWA, i-nigma, Lynkee, BeeTagg, and more. Each of these readers is a little different, depending on what QR code experience you want. I personally use Bakodo on my iPhone and I’m very happy with it. The software is highly responsive and it’s, well, fun.

QR codes don’t always live online. They can be printed onto anything that will hold the design. T-shirts, billboards, stickers, paper, etc. For example, a billboard advertising a magazine might have a QR code that links to the magazine’s online website once it’s been scanned by the QR reader. Or maybe a person’s resume will contain a QR code listing the person’s references.

What QR Generator should I use?

There are several online sites that generate QR codes. Here’s a quick list of four options:

Mobile-barcodes (is also a great source of information for QR codes if you want to learn more)

KAYWA (Easy, but limited compared to the other options)

ZXing Project (has nine different QR codeable items)

QR Stuff (includes more than 14 codeable items, AND the ability to customize your QR code with color!)

Ok, now what?

Once you decide on a QR code generator, all you have to do is determine the type of content you’re coding (SMS, email message, URL, V-Card, etc) and what the content will include (a phone number, a website link, a coupon, etc). The generator will present the code to you for download. Depending on the generator, you might have the option of choosing from a range of sizes (small to extra-large) and colors.

A word of warning: The more information you try to add to you QR code, the more complex the QR design will be, and the harder they are to read (for a QR code reader). You probably don’t want to type out a short story. Instead, write your novella and post it to your website or blog, and then use the site’s URL as your QR code message. People who scan the code will be instantly directed to your short story’s website.

QR codes can handle just under 4,300 characters (letters, numbers and symbols), which is why URLs and phone numbers are so popular: They’re limited in size but give the curious decoder the perfect link to the information they are looking for. Confused? Don’t be. These things are fantastically simple to use once you give it a shot.

Once you have downloaded your freshly created QR code to your desktop, you can then upload it as a picture to your blog or website, or you can save it as a PDF and print it on paper or fabric. It’s just that simple.

Here’s one I made earlier:

Get out your QR reader!

Happy coding!

~C

Posted April 4, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

Garden Fever   4 comments

The past few weeks, my parents have been in town visiting. It’s been great having them here, partly because it’s a great excuse for me to work on my garden with mum. Each year I plant veggies in the hope that I’ll be able to save money by eating what I grow. And each year my entire crop gets wiped out by the adorable family of chipmunks that live in the drainage pipes surrounding my garden. They’re too cute to be mad at! I guess I’m an eternal optimist, because this is my third attempt at growing a real veggie garden. This year will be different! This year my veggies will grow strong and healthy, and the chipmunks will give up their vegan diet in exchange for a diet of just insects and dirt! Well, I said I was an optimist.

I also want to mention that I took all of these photos with my iPhone. If you remember, I previously blogged about getting an iPhone 4 and how excited I was about testing out the built-in camera. Well, it’s a great little camera. I’ll let the photos below do the talking.

One last comment: Taking photos on a camera phone is great, but I typically blog from my laptop (especially when a post is picture heavy). Instead of emailing all these pics to myself, I used Dropbox. Dropbox is a fast, easy, and FREE application that you can put on all of your Internet-capable devices. You can share any kind of file or photo (there is a size limit of 300MB per item), and a free account comes with 2GB of space. So I put all of my garden photos on my Dropbox iPhone app, and they were immediately available on my laptop’s Dropbox app. Genius!

Another great feature of Dropbox is that you can create a shared folder for you and your friends. Want to send your friend an audio file you created, but it’s too large to email? Send it via Dropbox! You can just add your friend as a “member”, and voila: Sharing enabled.

And now, zee peektures:

Pink Magnolias in the backyard

Violets covering the backyard. I know, I'm not a good leaf raker.

I don't know why new leaves on this tree start out bright red, but I like it!

A possible mole hole in the back yard. Either that, or it's a portal to another dimension.

My Oregano has survived the winter and bounced back! This stuff is om nom in pasta sauce!

New blackberry leaves. This one's a slow grower, but the blackberries are pretty tasty.

Class of '11 seedlings. Fingers crossed they all grow! The marigolds are great to plant between tomatoes to deter tomato root nematodes

Lettuce, parsley, cilantro, and some more lettuce.

Lucidending   2 comments

“On Tuesday I’ll finally end my battle with cancer thanks to Oregon’s Death with dignity act. As part of my preparations I’ve ended my pain medication and am trying to regain what little dignity and clarity I can. Who I was doesn’t matter. I’m in pain, I’m tired and I’m finally being granted a small shred of respect. Feel free to AMA if you’re so inclined.” – Lucidending

These words were written on Saturday, March 5th, about 13 hours ago (and counting) on one of Reddit’s subreddit streams. This man has been battling cancer for eight years. Thanks to a law in Oregon that allows medically assisted deaths to terminally ill patients, the man is finally being allowed to end his pain. Normally, I must imagine that these occurrences are quite personal, but with 51 hours to live (as of today, this man is still alive), he decided to create a Reddit account – “Lucidending” – and broadcast the words quoted above to this social community”.

The incredible response to his statement can be seen here: “51 Hours Left To Live“. The post has skyrocketed to the top of Reddit’s list of highest voted threads of all time (up and down votes combined), at almost 38,000 unique votes. His comment count has crested 8,000 and it keeps growing. If you log into Reddit, you can comment too. People from all over the world are posting thoughts, feelings and questions to Lucidending, who is responding to as many as he can from where he sits in his Oregon hospital bed. He’s unable to go anywhere, but (in his own words) the past 13 hours have allowed him to live and “see” the world in ways he never imagined were possible. His only regrets? Not proposing to his high school sweetheart, and never traveling to see the Northern Lights.

The power and reach of social media has delivered the world to this man’s hospital bed the only way it can: Through the online sharing of words, pictures, videos, and community support. People from different cultures and religious background around the world are coming together with words of hope, thanks, and amazement. Cancer charities are receiving donations because of his post. Art projects have been uploaded to the thread depicting Lucidending’s last words. Lucidending’s advice is giving other Redditors the inspiration to simply go outside and enjoy the quiet falling snow, or the rising sun.

For this man, social media is making his last hours on earth a time of interacting with others, a time to share his wisdom and feel loved. I really urge you to check it out. It will move you.

UPDATE: I just found a YouTube video dedicated to Lucidending. It’s short, fun and happy and totally beautiful:

~C

Posted March 6, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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How Do You Game?   1 comment

Farmville

Do any of you play online games? Who here does not play some sort of mobile or online game? For the vast majority of technology-equipped humans that do take the time to indulge, what are you playing? Do you partake in the simply addictive Farmville, Mafia Wars, or Angry Birds mobile apps? Are you a classic solitaire or minesweeper loyalist? Or are you more of an Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Black Ops or PC World of Warcraft enthusiast? When you play, do you like the mobility of an app game, or do you look forward to donning the headset and controller and parking yourself in front of the TV or PC for several dedicated hours? (Junk food & chronic sore back and/or thumbs available almost everywhere for no additional fee) Do you like teaming up with others, or leveling up alone?

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Single player games such as Farmville allow social interaction through adding real friends as “neighbors.” The higher level a player is, the more crops or animals are available for purchase at the market. In Call of Duty: Black Ops, you and your friends all log onto to Xbox Live and “party up.” Parties can either play side by side or against one another in the quest for experience points (XP), which allows for the purchase of more advanced weapons. A third type of gaming experience comes from the popular Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect, where players can get off the couch and interact with yoga, tennis, boxing, dancing, and other adventure games.

Angry Birds

With over 40,000 game apps available from the iPhone app store, there’s no shortage of mobile games to choose from. And not to be left behind in the mobile world, console games for the PS3 or Xbox have associated mobile apps where players can monitor or make live in-game purchases and tweak their characters. The ability to immerse oneself in a game from multiple avenues is what players want and developers hope for: New opportunities to interact with a game means people will invest more time in the game and won’t move onto the next Game Du Jour so quickly.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Back in the day, games were (and still are) sold as-is without the potential for patches or upgrades. Mixed in with all the good stuff, gamers would invariably experience glitches and less than stellar features. Updates would take months or years to come out, if at all. Things have changed for the better. Today, people expect games to be cheap, easily downloadable (via a mobile device or console) and socially interactive. Through discussions on various social media platforms, gamers can discuss the pros and cons of their gaming experiences, and be heard. Developers are taking note of this return on engagement, and aren’t shy to deliver what people want. Scott Steinberg wrote a great article for The Daily Beast on Sept 19, 2010 on the future of social gaming. He noted: “By connecting developers directly with fans and giving creators the tools to change game features rapidly based on real-time feedback, digital game distribution shatters the fiberglass ceiling.”

If you’re interested in more of what Scott Steinberg and his writers are talking about, I highly recommend checking out his blog and website, GameTheory. It’s packed with fascinating daily articles that run the gamut of the gaming world. From geek speak to business news and stats, his crack team leaves nothing to wonder about.

And finally, to wrap this post up, are you still unsure what Farmville is? Here’s a video that covers everything you need to know about it…

And as for Call of Duty: Black Ops (and a guide for n00b rage quitters), I can’t think of a better explanation than this really fantastic audiovisual story, that is completely Not Safe For Work (language & drug references).

Until next time, happy gaming. But do try to go outside once in a while – the weather is really nice this time of year.

~C

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