Last month, an anonymous donor used a Twitter account to encourage people to sit in the lobby of the cafeteria at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and commit “random acts of kindness.” People showed up. They brought gifts for children, small cash donations and snapped pictures with the patients. Heartwarming, right?
It is no secret that social media has changed the way we help out causes. From crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter to the viral videos of Upworthy that leave us with a lump in our throats, we are now more engaged and more connected with our communities, or at least it seems that way. We certainly are sharing more videos of police assisting Alzheimer’s patients and Pope Francis blessing a disabled woman. The Twitter account @HiddenCash gives away money in envelopes hidden around cities.
There is something about “random acts of kindness” that is appealing. Something that makes us want to click that share button or perhaps start a Twitter account that enables us to hand out money to strangers. They makes people feel good. But doe they actually do anything? Shouldn’t we spend our time, if we actually cared as much as we say we do, planning a bit more?
In the case of asking people to show up at M.D. Anderson on a whim, people actually had to be turned away because it could possibly put patients with compromised immune systems in danger. Random acts of kindness may make you feel good, but the power of social media can be used to create real change and make everyone feel good. All you have to do is be a bit more considered.
1. Find out who needs help.
Social media can be a great starting point to dig in to what organizations or causes need assistance. Many nonprofits and social organizations will ask for help or donations through Twitter and Facebook, and their websites should have areas with information about volunteering. The worst thing you can do is try to help an organization that, well, simply doesn’t need your specific type of help. Focus your attention elsewhere. Time is precious.
2. Reach out to the organization you want to partner with.
This seems like a no-brainer, but for some (see the M.D. Anderson example), it just isn’t. Many organizations will have restrictions on how you can help, some of them legal. For instance, you shouldn’t gather a group of people to show up at an elementary school unannounced to give away free school supplies. You would run into problems with laws meant to protect student information, and volunteers often require background checks. Look for a point of contact at the organization you want to help. Many of these groups need your help, but the help will be much more successful if there are open lines of communication.
3. Ask the organization what its needs are.
If might be great that you want to show up at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday to donate teddy bears for the children’s charity, but guess what? They are closed on Tuesdays and they just received a lifetime allotment of teddy bears from Toys R’ Us. Beggars can’t be choosers, but there are ways you can help more efficiently if you work with the organization collaboratively on what help best suits their needs. Approach the organization with an idea and your efforts will be 10 times more effective than going at it alone.
4. Use social media to spread the word and gather volunteers.
Once you have met with the organization, assessed their needs and developed a collaborative game plan, the real magic of social media can come into play. Social media, in many ways, has become the new community bulletin board. Using the proper channels to gather a group through your own personal network is how social media can becomes useful. You’ve got your plan, now assemble the troops and activate.
We realize that “random acts of kindness” have their place. They remind us of our humanity, inspire us and, on occasion, initiate change. But we shouldn’t rely on the, dare we say it, lazy, attitude of simply posting an inspiring link or tossing a few quarters in the donation jar at a gas station counter.
It’s time to get working. It is time to seek out inspiration. And it is time to plan some acts of kindness. Only this time, those acts will be a little less random and a lot more powerful.
Posted in Tips on 31 July 2014
Website technology is constantly evolving. That is because website redesign is a necessity especially for businesses whose brand, label, products, and services rely on online marketing and whose customers, leads and prospects are mostly online. The question to ask yourself while looking at your website is, does it need a virtual makeover? Here are the top indicators:
Website Isn’t Parallel with Your Business
Ask yourself these questions:
Does your website accurately reflect your brand?
Have you ever changed your logo?
Is your website still designed to accurately represent your current customers or clients and prospects?
If you answered NO to questions 1 and 3 and if you answered yes to question 2, then it’s high time for a redesign.
Unclear and Outdated Content
Does your website offer high-quality, relevant content?
Is your company’s mission, vision and objectives accurately represented by your website?
Is your logo consistent with your brand?
Does your website list comprehensive information on the services and products your company offers?
Is your website still in Flash?
A NO for an answer for questions 1 through 4 and a YES for question 5 signifies your website needs a total makeover. Furthermore, if you find it difficult to update content or to add a new category or service, that is another indication. Poor visibility, stagnant traffic, low conversions and decreased sales are results of having a website that is not beneficial to your customers, clients, and prospects. Flash-based websites mean poor customer service and almost zero customer satisfaction rate.
Having a website that’s easy to update is important to ensure it stays accurate and fresh. Try using a content management system (CMS) to keep your site current.
Overall, if you feel like your site is no longer consumer-focused, then now is the perfect time to for a re-design.
Is your website hidden from search results?
Are you proud to give out your URL?
Are users able to find you when searched online?
How is your search engine rankings?
A YES for question 1 and NO for questions 2 and 3 indicate your site needs some re-designing. Call your SEO manager to work with your graphics artist, programmer, and webmaster to get workimg on imprroving your site. Creating your site with SEO in mind will also ensure that potential customers, future clients, and prospects can find you online.
Incompatible with Select or All Mobile Devices
Does your website work on your phone, tablet, desktop, etc?
Is your website responsive to any mobile device?
Is your website mobile-optimized?
If you answered NO to all three questions, then it’s time to re-design your website. Why? Just do the math out of the following statistics:
A study by Google showed that 61 percent of people they surveyed will leave a website if the site doesn’t display well on their phones. According to Econsultancy, 62 percent of companies that designed a website with mobile in mind saw increased sales. So go ahead and work on a responsive re-design of your website. Did you know that you could be penalized for not having a mobile-friendly website?
Stuck in the Old Season
Does your website feel and look old?
Is your website obsolete in terms of layout, design, content and overall appeal?
Do you have a complicated and messy site?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to all three questions then what are you waiting for? Go ahead and plan out your site’s re-design now.
Website re-design will definitely mean more expenses and will require a whole lot of patience. But it will be worth it in the end. Who knows? A new website could be just what you need to bring luck and grow your business in the future.
Posted in News on 31 July 2014
Apple and SAP Identified in Statement Suggesting Need for Disclosure
Source codes from Apple and SAP are being requested by the Russian government.
The suggestion those codes be handed over came from Communication Minister Nikolai Nikiforov who suggested the two companies hand over the information to prove they don’t have “undeclared capabilities” for spying on Russian agencies.
As Engadget speculated, Nikiforov has not said whether or not certain government institutions will continue using products from companies who will not provide codes. However, if that is the outcome it could mean Microsoft — known for its co-operation with the Russian government for more than a decade — could scoop up that business.
Russia’s communications ministry, The Globe and Mail Reported, issued a statement Tuesday implying the move could prevent spying. The worry of surveillance is linked to statements made last year by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The statement said Snowden’s “revelations in 2013 and U.S. intelligence services’ public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware.”
Not handing over such codes, Nikiforov said, could indicate a company that is hiding something.
“Obviously, companies which disclose the source code of their programs are not hiding anything, but those who do not intend to establish cooperation with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products,” he said.
A source code is the main instruction controlling the functions of a software program. Companies are known to protect their source codes closely due to their value.
While neither company has issued comment on the statement or request, it comes just after Nikiforov met Apple general manager Peter Engrob Nielsen in Russia and SAP’s Russian managing director, Vyacheslav Orekhov last week.
Posted in News on 31 July 2014
Concerns Over Company's Mobile Arm and Contract Requirements
Google may find itself in hot water as a new investigation is expected to be launched into its practices when it comes to its mobile arm.
A report by Reuters shows the European Commission in ready to launch an investigation about Android. Part of the investigation will include questionnaires to companies regarding any dealings they have had with Google and the use of software.
In the article, two sources “with direct knowledge” on the case are identified as the sources saying a new antitrust chief took over last year and European regulators are interested in determining if the Internet giant abuses the 80 per cent market share of the mobile operating system to promote a variety of services.
As CNet reported, Android software is free for companies to use but those looking to acquire the most up-to-date version must sign a contract. That contract stipulates the company must have a certain amount of Google services pre-installed.
This isn’t the first time Google and the commission have locked horns.
Earlier this year, the pair reached a settlement surrounding Google’s practices around surfacing search results in relation to the company’s own products. That settlement includes Google agreeing to display search results to all such services in the same manner, without a preference shown toward their own products and services.
That settlement, though, has been critiqued by rivals such as Yelp Inc. and Microsoft as being inadequate.
That investigation is expected to conclude soon, but, it appears, as that one wraps up another could be launched.