Monday, October 25, 2010

Starbucks Mobile Payment Comes to NYC and Long Island

If you own a iPhone or blackberry, you no longer have to take out your wallet, just simply swipe your mobile device over the barcode scanner and walk away with your favorite Starbucks beverage in select Long Island Starbucks. According to the list, most of Long Island's participating Starbucks are located in Suffolk County. Starbucks Mobile Payment simultaneously launched in New York City with many of the participating stores located throughout Manhattan.

The mobile payment test launched in 2009 in Seattle and Silicon Valley in a handful of Starbucks stores.  It recently made its way to New York City and Long Island.  You must download the Starbucks Card mobile app for iPhone, iPod Touch and Blackberry in order to use the mobile payment feature.

The application allows you to check your Starbucks card balance, add money to your account and make purchases. You must have a Starbucks card to use this feature; which, may be purchased at any Starbucks store.  Enter your Starbucks card number in your mobile device and you’re ready for mobile payment at any participating Starbucks.

A list of participating Long Island Starbucks is available on the company’s website. So far there are three stores in Medford; Stop & Shop on Patchogue Yaphank Road and the Target stores located at 2975 Horseblock Road and 2717 Route 112.  For more stores check out the company website. The complete list of participating stores in New York City is also available on the company website.

Social Media For Social Good

When I first heard about the 2010 Mashable & 92Y Social Good Summit, I was a bit perplexed and uncertain as to what was meant by “Social Good.” For weeks leading up to the event, social media enthusiasts twittered and blogged about the Summit. Being a social media enthusiast myself, the hype piqued my interest. I quickly rearranged my schedule so that I could participate. I must say, what I learned that day from social media experts from around the world, forever changed my outlook on social media.

Just in case you’re asking yourself the question – What is social good? According to experts, social good essentially means using social media to help address some of the world’s challenges such as poverty, world hunger, homelessness and other global issues. The 2010 World Hunger and Poverty Facts statistics state that “as of 2008, there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.”

Nielson published statistics this year that states “the world now spends over 110 billion minutes on social networking and blog sites.” Imagine what would happen if the 500 million users currently on Facebook or the 190 million users on Twitter dedicated a percentage of their tweets and status updates towards a cause that would address at least one of the world’s challenges. This is not impossible and using social networking sites for social good can be done in 140 characters or less. A simple status update has the potential to reach thousands and can bring awareness to your favorite cause in a matter of seconds.

Social Media for Social Good
A great example of social media for social good is that of a woman, Jenni Ware, unable to locate her wallet to pay for groceries at Trader Joes, received a gift of kindness from a fellow shopper.  This complete stranger, Carolee Hazard offered to pay her entire $207 grocery bill; which Ware accepted. In return, Ware mailed Hazard a check for $300, which repaid the debt, as well as an additional $93 tip. Hazard matched the $93 with money of her own and turned to the popular social networking site, Facebook to ask her friends where to donate $186. Her friends quickly suggested charity. Inspired by the story, Hazard’s Facebook friends immediately started donating $93 of their own. Hence, the ‘93 Dollar Club was born and more than $100,000 has been raised by this simple act of social good.

As users of social media, “we can define what our world will be like.” Technology is growing daily and has impacted the way we communicate with others. With the knowledge shared at this year’s summit, experts like Howard Buffet explained that the role of social media “is not about technology, it’s about people.” There are times when we become so engrossed in gaining the most friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and the hope of reaching the right Human Resource professional on LinkedIn, that we lose sight of humanity. Let’s use social media for “something greater than ourselves, let us preserve humanity and use social media for social good.”

How You Can Help
There are resources available to get you started with your social good efforts. Jumo, founded by Chris Hughes is a website that makes it easy to find and follow and causes that you support. Award winning actor, Ed Norton’s website Crowdrise helps you become an effective fundraiser. This fun and easy to use site is the social networking of fundraising. The information I gathered from this summit  encouraged me to identify my own Millennium Development Goal (MDG). An MDG is a global and local goal that suits a specific need that provides structure for an international community to work towards a common goal. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, all we have to do is find a MDG and become active.

The aforementioned resources are just suggestions. You may have your own cause or ideas for social good. The purpose of this summit was to bring awareness to the world’s challenges and how we can use social media for social good. The potential we have to bring awareness to the world’s issues, through social networking is endless. I present the question, how will you use social media for social good?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook And Privacy: Can The Two Co-Exist?

Facebook is in the news again over privacy issues. Most users of social media already know that privacy is limited once we engage in Internet activity. However; there should still be certain levels of privacy that offer a high level of security.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook apps are freely sharing users personal information to advertisers and marketers.  According to WSJ, this issue affects “tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings.”

It’s reported that Zynga Game Network Inc’s Farmville with 59 million users is one of top ten apps that have transmitted personal information about user’s and their friends to outside companies. The apps reviewed by the WSJ “were sending Facebook ID numbers to at least 25 advertising and data firms, several of which build profiles of Internet users by tracking their online activities.”

A Zynga spokesperson told the Journal "Zynga has a strict policy of not passing personally identifiable information to any third parties. We look forward to working with Facebook to refine how web technologies work to keep people in control of their information."

Privacy and Facebook
We will have to wait and see what happens as a result of another “privacy breach,” and Facebook users will respond. But the truth of the matter is, we do take a high risk when sharing our personal information on any website. Anytime a we try to access a new application, we are asked if we are willing to give the application access to our personal information, photos, etc., and we have the option to choose “no.” However; we often click the “yes” button, which instantly makes us vulnerable and diminishes our level of privacy.

How Important Is Your Privacy?
One of my guest bloggers, Alfonso Wyatt recently wrote an article, “Technology Will Not Forgive or Forget.” Wyatt, references Jeffrey Rosen’s NYTimes article  “The Web Means The End of Forgetting,” where according to Wyatt in referencing the article, “the author astutely presented how personal comments/pictures sent to web based sites like Facebook, MySpace, Google, YouTube, blogs or Twitter can in theory live forever in cyberspace.”

Moving forward we have to ask ourselves how important is our privacy? Are we willing to forego that game of Farmville, Scrabble and my favorite, Bejeweled Blitz to lessen the risk of privacy violation? If privacy is that important to you, then we may have to make the tough decision to limit what we share in social media. Or, if you're a realist, and secure with the fact that your personal information runs the risk of being disseminated throughout cyberspace, then by all means, continue adding apps to your social media library. It's Definitely something to think about. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TweetDeck Tailgate Party

 Tweetdeck is a real time application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and more. TweetDeck makes it easy to participate in specific chat discussions while maintaining access to real time streams in your timeline. Its multi-column format allows users to separate content and is considered a “twitter-centric social media club.”

I like to refer to TweetDeck as a “Tailgate Party” for twitter addicts. A social gathering held in a media hub before, during and after your favorite twittering experience. Like a tailgate party, TweetDeck allows people with similar interests to tweet and socialize in numerous chat discussions and spontaneously chat across the multi-column platform. My tweetdeck tailgate party allows me to keep up with weekly chat favorites such as #blogchat, #SMManners and #tweetdiner just to name a few.

There are several other perks associated with TweetDeck that provides you with a more intimate experience and actually makes you feel personally connected. The tool allows you to view user profiles, as well as their timelines. This feature will help you make a decision as to whether you prefer to follow a specific user. If you’re taking part in a chat discussion and a tweet comes across your screen in an unfamiliar language, don’t worry; TweetDeck will translate the tweet for you. Not convinced yet? Well maybe you’ll be convinced by TweetDeck’s built-in url shortener that automatically shortens any url entered in the message box. And although there are some great url shortener programs such as google’s newly released shortener, and basic, TweetDeck’s program saves me the extra step and instantly shortens any url.

You can create columns that allow you to track new followers, mentions, direct messages, trending topics and more. And just in case you’re having trouble saying what you need to say in 140 characters or less, the application will “tweetshrink” your update. You customize the tweetdeck application so that it suits your specific need. Check out 10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Tweetdeck.

TweetDeck is not for everyone. It is an advanced tool that even the most experienced twitter junkies have to get used to. But if you’re up for the challenge and not intimidated by the constant tweets that pop up at any given time, then this is the place for you. We’ll see you at the next “TweetDeck Tailgate Party.”