Webconsuls Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bystander Effect on Broken Blogs and Websites

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the bystander effect (syndrome) and how it can be applied to the Internet. I am not referring to the darker side of the Internet, I am talking about a typical website/blog that is designed for commercial e-commerce or business to business (B2B), personal/informational blog, news, government or a non-profit organization promotional site. Our society has been talking about the bystander effect for almost 50 years, and yes I know it is usually applied to life and death emergency situations, not unlike the good Samaritan that died in New York City on April 18th.

But back to the Internet and the bystander effect. I started down this path about six weeks ago when I saw a tweet from Chris Brogan which said basically: "People of earth, I know my site has been hacked." I think this was Chris' urgent way of telling his 135,000+ Twitter followers to stop sending him messages. I am almost positive that Chris really appreciated the first few tweets or emails from his followers, because one might be a fluke but multiple messages validate the condition, and besides I think Chris would do the same if he came across something that was broken (my assumption, but his stated principle to "be helpful"). I think Chris is lucky that so many people want to help him. More often than not, a site viewer will see or come across something that is broken or obviously incorrect and yet they won't take the time to tell the site owner, whose very livelihood might depend on this "head's up."

Let me give you two current examples, both involve $1,000,000:
  1. On May 21, Zappos.com announced that their sister site 6pm.com's pricing engine capped all prices at $49.95 for six hours. It cost them a loss of $1.6 million dollars. Is it possible that over the course of six hours not one regular returning customer of 6pm.com took the time to send a message to say "Hey, something looks screwy on your site!"? I hope you will read the whole article, because you will see that it was a programming error that resulted from bad code. Read all the comments about pricing engines, 6pm.com took the high road, but I would love to know if they received that one email that alerted them. (I learned about this story from Jodi Henderson's blog )
  2. On May 29th, I read a tweet from Jorja at Beyond the Pale that said: "RT the lonely world of blogging, comment anyone, anyone, buehler? comment, anyone?" and it linked to Savor the Ride (be sure to read all the eventual comments on this post, it will allow you to see how the story unfolded). I decided to see what this blog was all about. Guess what? The blogger, Ridgely Johnson, was offering $1,000,000 to the first commenter, as her last 20 blogs had received not one comment. A few tweets went back and forth between Jorja and me, finally I sent an email to Ridgely which said: "I happened over to your blog because @beyondpalegal (Jorja) tweeted about you. Not that I expected to win $1,000,000, but I cannot figure out how to leave a comment on any of your posts. I tried in IE8 and FF...no place to comment. Am I missing something, maybe this is why no one is commenting?"

    Today is Memorial Day. It is a solemn day, but I thought that maybe I could leave you with a scene from the wonderful 1986-1993 television series "Designing Women." This YouTube video is dedicated to Dixie Carter (Julia) who passed away April 10, 2010. Julia asks the proverbial question: "Why didn't somebody tell me?" Watch the whole episode, you won't be disappointed.


Designing women season 3 episode 15 by Mixedseries12
If you are having trouble viewing Season 3, Episode 15 "Full Moon," you can view it here.

Over this Memorial Day weekend, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith have been writing about "frames and assumptions." The stand out message is this from Julien: "Always be testing. Never stop questioning things you think are true, no matter how solid they may seem." This, of course, applies to all aspects of our lives, but particularly to our websites/blogs. Things happen, hacking occurs, links break, you hit a wrong button and you disable comments, no one tests your site in varied browsers (can look great on an Apple in Safari, and scream "Help" in IE8). Many bloggers are not technical and they cannot afford on-going technical assistance, so don't assume they know about a problem with their site. Don't be a bystander, speak up! Remember this is social media. Be social. Help a "friend."

I would love to hear your thoughts about all of this.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nine Tips for Managing a Business Facebook Page

Judy Helfand's Facebook Avatar
Do you have a personal Facebook page? Do you own a business? Have you created a Facebook page for your business? If so, here are nine tips for managing a business Facebook page.

So many of us have a personal Facebook page. Like anything else, it starts out fun and interesting and before you know it you are consumed with reading, posting, etc. Some of our clients have business Facebook pages and often they will ask for advice about how to manage their page, so today I thought I would give you some pointers I have learned. Maybe you know of some other ideas.

Again, I do not profess to be an expert, but I do try to read as much as possible regarding Facebook, as it relates to promoting a business.
1. Be Social: Facebook because it is a SOCIAL Networking site encourages people to get involved. Unlike your personal page, anyone can now find your business page by simply searching your business name. They are “free” to say they “like” you and they can then post good news and bad news. This means you must monitor what is happening on your Facebook page. Think of it like Trip Advisor, YELP, or other social sites. Here is an article that addresses this issue of Facebook reviews. So remember with a business page anyone can find you and “like” you, then they can post to your wall and write reviews!
2. Photo Album Tips: Creating photo albums can be time consuming. What concerns me here is I do not know what ramifications there are to posting photos on Facebook. If you own a business I would take precautions to get permission from any of your employees, guests, customers, actors, etc before putting a photo on your page or in an album. Instead of creating separate photo albums on Facebook, push the people back to the page on your site that deals with photos. It might be a tour of your restaurant, your theatre, your inn, etc.
3. Drive Traffic: With a business Facebook page you should always want to drive the traffic back to your business website. So for example, if your business is a restaurant, don't just put your menu up on Facebook, instead talk about your menu and put a link to your website's menu page so that people will get to your site, not just your Facebook page. You will notice when you put in the link you can choose one image to display. The whole idea is to get people back to your site.
4. Status Updates: When you update your status try to include a link to a page on your website or a news story. Every time you update your status your followers will learn about it.
5 Respond: You need to be ready to respond to people when they post something on your page. Remember when you sign in, look at this view: Your Business Name + Others so you can see what the Others are saying. If they ask a question or say something, then respond to them. Don't miss this opportunity to engage with your followers.
6. Share Articles: When there is an article about your business in the local newspaper or a magazine you should make it a point to mention it and link to it.
7. Main Domain: Always when you are referring to your website use your main domain (if you own more than one). If you use different ones, even though they redirect to your main domain, this can be confusing to people.
8. Social Media Buttons Help: Add links to your Facebook page using a social media buttons. Make it easy for people to follow you on the social networks.
9. Stay Informed: Follow the news about Facebook. For example here is a headline from May 7, 2010:  Understanding Facebook Privacy and the latest news on May 24, 2010, Facebook Privacy Tweaks Coming.
These are my nine tips. Can you think of more? Share them here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Olive Crest on CBS News

OLIVE CREST’S “SAFE FAMILIES FOR CHILDREN” PROGRAM TO BE FEATURED ON CBS NEWS
When: Tuesday May 4th, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: CBS Evening News with Katie Couric

The life-changing work of Olive Crest will be featured on National television on Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m., as CBS Evening News with Katie Couric reports on the impact of our work through our
Safe Families for Children program in Southern California.


The news report will showcase lives that have been touched these last few months by Olive Crest and its Safe Families program. And while we are not sure whether the reporters will mention Olive Crest’s name in their newscast, please know that they are reporting on their work. Chief Programs Officer, Dr. Karen Bergstrom, spent three days working with CBS to arrange the interviews and introduce the reporters to the Olive Crest team. Management guru Peter Drucker has said, “The product of a non-profit is a changed life.” You will see first hand the lives Olive Crest is changing in this eye-opening report.

Safe Families is a new church-based movement designed to help families and children facing temporary crises and needing temporary care. The non-government program mobilizes local churches and their members to help reduce child abuse and returns the church to the forefront of caring for local children and families in need. Volunteer families (trained by Olive Crest) open their homes to at-risk children (newborn through 18 years old) whose parents are experiencing a short-term emergency such as hospitalization or a long-term crisis such as drug abuse. Thanks to Safe Families, struggling parents do not have to lose their children to the child welfare system, and the children remain safe, loved and well cared for during a difficult time.

Safe Families is a new church-based movement designed to help families and children facing temporary crises and needing temporary care. The non-government program mobilizes local churches and their members to help reduce child abuse and returns the church to the forefront of caring for local children and families in need. Volunteer families (trained by Olive Crest) open their homes to at-risk children (newborn through 18 years old) whose parents are experiencing a short-term emergency such as hospitalization or a long-term crisis such as drug abuse. Thanks to Safe Families, struggling parents do not have to lose their children to the child welfare system, and the children remain safe, loved and well cared for during a difficult time.

Mariners ChurchIrvine, Calvary Chapel - Santa Ana, Cornerstone Bible – Garden Grove, Terra Nova - Lake Forest, Long Beach Fellowship, Calvary Church Capistrano Beach, Yorba Linda Friends Church, and Shoreline Church - San Clemente are among the Southern California churches whose members are actively participating in our Safe Families program. Olive Crest has been able to place 32 children and have attracted more than 200 people who have expressed a willingness help. Olive Crest coordinates the program in Southern California, which continues to expand throughout the regions we serve, providing the training for the volunteer families and monitoring the placements on an ongoing basis.

To learn more, tune into CBS News on Tuesday, May 4.

For the Children,