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Social Media: quality always tops quantity

In recent years I have had the privilege to speak at a number of different events on Social Media. Typically the area of greatest interest has always been Facebook. The same question always pops up during the Q&A part – “I don’t have a budget for Facebook, how do I get to 100,000 fans?” To be fair, there is not one answer to this question for every industry but I will try to give you an answer that should set you on the right path.

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Emmet McNally has strategically grown his organisation’s appeal to the point where 100,000+ people have given him the thumbs-up. An impressive feat in a socially crowded world.  So I asked Emmet what’s worked best for him in building awareness and support for the work his organisation do.

In recent years I have had the privilege to speak at a number of different events on Social Media. Typically the area of greatest interest has always been Facebook. The same question always pops up during the Q&A part – “I don’t have a budget for Facebook, how do I get to 100,000 fans?” To be fair, there is not one answer to this question for every industry but I will try to give you an answer that should set you on the right path.

I am not going to give you the same old spiel about engaging emotionally with your users, posting content at different times or using images with your posts. They are all good points but it’s something that I am sure you have already heard 100 times before. If you have had this question about getting more fans on your mind, then now is a good time to have a think about what your organisations objectives are for Facebook. Having 10,000 people go into your store every day is good but unless they buy something then it’s all been a waste of time. In a similar way, if you are investing a lot of time and energy into developing your Facebook presence then you need to focus on your organisations objectives:dDo you want to increase sales, build brand awareness or perhaps recruit volunteers? 

Figuring out what you want to get from Facebook is the first step towards achieving it. Once you figure that out then next you need to have a think about who cares. Imagine you had a spot on the podium right after Obama’s speech on his visit to Ireland. Tens of thousands of people from every walk of life have been “engaged” and now you have your chance to strike with your message. What are you going to say? Wouldn’t it be great if you were as skilled at speaking as Obama is or Steve Jobs was?

Steve Jobs followed three golden rules. Explain the problem. Tell people why they should care. Then tell people your solution. It’s a tough one but once you figure out what you want to achieve then you need to work on how you can get people to care about it. Once you’re at this stage then it becomes apparent that investing tens of thousands into getting random people to like your page is a waste of time because it becomes extremely difficult to target all these people with a message that gets them all to care about your organisations specific goals on Facebook.

The best way to start off is with the group of people you know will care about what you want to achieve. These are the people who already like your product/service and are happy to hear from you. They will also form the core of your audience. They are the people who will influence their circle of friends to care too. It may be 10 people or it could be hundreds. Do what it takes to attract them to your page. Be it advertising, offering discounts or even just straight out asking people you talk to.

Once you have done this then the next step is to produce content that you know they will care about. The key is making this content easy to share with their network. Draft up some content and then ask – Why will they care? Would I share this with my friends? Does it jump out on the page as something my friends will want to read?

“Content does not have to always be about your industry or sector. Would you talk to your friends about the same thing every day? If you do then it might be worth thinking about how many friends you actually have?”

— Emmett McNally

Keep it varied and keep it interesting enough that it makes you say – “actually I would say this to my friends/family”.  Once you are at this stage then your page likes will begin to grow steadily. If you don’t do this and just push out any old content, keeping the number of likes up with advertising then you will soon notice that the number of unlikes your page receives will outpace your advertising efforts. You will be fighting a losing battle.

Once you notice a steady growth rate in fans then you can begin your sales pitch to take your fans a step further and generate a greater ROI. Post content like this once a fortnight at the start and watch closely how it impacts your fan growth rate. By doing this you will know how often you can post this sort of content. It takes time but by starting out with a strong foundation you can then begin to build upwards.

External links & references

  1. Facebook for business
  2. Emmet McNally @ LinkedIn
  3. Social media for charities @ The Guardian
  4. Down To Business : Social Media for SMEs : Redcert.com

Robotics

We Prefer Robots, That Wag Their Tails

Humans like looking at each other’s faces. If we want to figure out if someone’s happy or sad we get our clues from the face. Robot researchers tell us that robots, are different.

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Humans like looking at each other’s faces. If we want to figure out if someone’s happy or sad we get our clues from the face. Robot researchers tell us that robots, are different.

Canadian student Ashish Singh and professor James E. Young have looked at whether humans can accurately figure out the “feelings” of a robot vacuum cleaner. They took a standard iRobot Roomba, the best known brand of home vacuum robot and gave it a fluffy tail that wags – just like a dog.

We’re pretty sure that iRobot vacuums don’t have feelings but Singh’s research shows that once we see the robots wagging their tails, in a happy family-pet way we understand that they’re working as planned.

The Manitoba University student says that a dog-like tail “seemed to be a nice, clear choice—even people without dogs or cats may be able to read some tail motions, so we decided to formally investigate that.”

Professor Young compared the idea of looking at a screen to find out how the robot’s operating versus seeing a familiar visual signal, like the tail wagging, “With a dog tail that projects a robot’s state, you could be preparing dinner and just see the robot going by from the corner of your eye,” he said. “That would let you quickly know how the robot is doing, whereas a screen would probably require training to understand and sound would be intrusive.”

2013-DogTail-LidRemoved

It turns out, according to the team’s research, that whether we own pets or not, we can all identify whether a robot is happy or not, just by how it wags its tail. Professor Young’s team went on to look at how we would feel about the next generation of robots, humanoids if they had tails. It turns out that we may not want our robots to be that human, after all.

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Technology

Revolution Vinyl USB Turntable

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Retro, or vintage is everywhere. From clothes to food, we can’t get enough of the past. And even technology has seen a retro revival. Original Apple I computers sell for a fortune at auction and retro style games are finding audiences with the children of parents who played the original versions. The turntable is one piece of tech that seen a huge resurgence in interest, and audiophiles whooped with delight earlier this year, as Technics re-released the iconic SL-1200 turntable.

If you don’t have the budget for a fancy high-end turntable though, Elyxr Audio are trying to make the vinyl record resurgence fun, but accessible. Their Revolution Turntable attempts to fuse two worlds by combining an entry level vinyl turntable with USB recording, at an affordable price.

I unpacked the box to discover a small, 1950s style suitcase. Opening the suitcase reveals the Revolution Turntable in all its retro-glory. Packaged in the box was as power lead and an RCA to 3.5mm jack cable which lets you connect the turntable to a hi-fi system or media Player.

Once powered up, the turntable has a few modes to choose from. I unearthed a couple of old vinyl records from the attic and put one on the turntable. The standard speeds remember are 45 and 33rpm for albums and singles, but the turntable will also play 78s, should you have inherited some along the way. Switching speeds is easy as the player has a dedicated speed button, as well as controls for switching modes, a nice old fashioned circular volume control dial and an auto-stop switch. There are four easy to see LED bulbs on the top of the device that let you see easily what mode you’re operating in.

Once I’d set the mode to Turntable mode, there was a short re-assuring crackle from my old Police album and, then Sting and Co burst in to action. The turntable has a useful auto-stop function which stops the player from wearing out in case you get distracted as you’re listening, but you need to return the arm to the rest position once the record’s finished playing.

If you have music that you’re already recorded on a USB memory stick you can insert the key, switch to USB mode and use the player to play back your MP3 music through the turntable’s speakers, with the previous and next buttons on the player navigating through the music on the memory stick.

The record mode utilizes both the vinyl and USB elements of the player. Pressing record mode will start recording on a USB stick that’s been inserted. Once inserted and recording, set the record playing and the music from your vinyl will be recorded, directly as a single track on to the attached USB device. There is also an option to record an album as individual, or split-tracks, tracks, which is more useful when you’re playing back later, on a different device.

The Revolution turntable has two other useful modes. The first is a simple line-in mode, allowing you to connect a 3.5mm audio cable to an audio or MP3 player and that music will be played through the turntable’s speakers. The feature I used the most though, was the line-out functionality. Packaged with this gadget is an RCA cable, which connects to the back of the device and the other end goes to a small headphone jack, which I was able to plug in to my digital home-audio system. Using this set-up, I was able to play vinyl records and enjoy the enhanced audio from my digital set-up, for a deeper sounds, but with the traditional characteristics of vinyl.

This is a well made device with exceptional styling. The sound it produces is not audiophile quality but it’s decent given the entry level price. Overall, it’s a clever way of combining new and old tech, and with the living room lights dimmed it’s the perfect way to relive some old musical memories.
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Technology

3 Gadget Breakthroughs Coming To A Surgery Near You

Tara Purcell

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There’s a lot of doom and gloom associated with the future and of technology’s ability to marshall the human spirit and lead us to a better time to come. But, just when you think it’s all apocalyptic robot cults and people being run over by driverless cars as they walk around with VR headsets on, you get a few reminders of how much tech can be used to help mankind. To redress this balance, we’ve found a few mechanical medical marvels that have come to light in the last while.

Stem Cell Cartilage Is Being Grown In Awesome Goo Labs

Using a 3D scaffold, scientists have begun growing cartilage from stem cells for use in human patients, and have done so with a fairly enchanting beige blob of goo that could one day work as a prosthetic replacement for socket joints, such as the human hip. Moreover, they’ve programmed the artificial joint to “release molecules on demand to keep the arthritis at bay” which is so epic we can barely believe it.

CRISPR Gene Editing To Begin Human Trials

Crispr is a form of gene editing technique that is a so sophisticated, people are already saying it may spell the end of certain cancers and genetic disorders within the next generation of scientific application. Memorably covered in a particularly fascinating edition of Radiolab, CRISPR is now due to start human trials, which is good news for us, bad news for pesky diseases.

Scientists Can Cure Blindness (Partially, and in Mice)

Taking a leaf out of the Fairy Tale School of Science & Biology, scientists took an as yet undefined number of blind mice and managed to restore some part of their eyesight by fixing damaged ganglions and activating the affected regions with chemicals so as to restore their rodent peepers to their full glory. No word as of yet on whether they plan to put eggs back together or heal wounds suffered by cows during unprompted jumps over nearby celestial objects.

 

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