A Quick Understanding of How Google+ Differs from Facebook

[This post is intended for friends and others just looking for a very high level understanding of Google+. This is not an official POV and does not represent my employer.]

Over the past day, people have been asking “What’s Google+?” and for the few friends of mine who are on Google+, many of them are getting really excited about the Circles feature which is one of the defining features of the nascent social network run by the search giant.

A few things to understand:

Google+ is not Google’s first foray into social media, but from what I can tell so far, they’ve learned quite a bit from their mistakes on Buzz and Wave. Having said that, the platform looks and feels a heck of a lot like Facebook, just without much clutter … or much of anything at the moment. Let’s give it some time and see what it’ll look like in a week or month. Hopefully it will have a distinct look and feel to it.

In terms of the aforementioned Circles functionality, people using it are excited that they are able to compartmentalize and message their friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, ex-camp mates, people met at a conference, etc. in a way that they hadn’t on Facebook. The thing is, this exact functionality already exists on Facebook, it’s called Lists. I have been using Lists basically since it came out and it’s great. It allows you post a status update and have it visible to just the list or lists you want, OR post a status update to everyone and block certain lists.

For example, if you’re posting something controversial and you don’t want your boss and co-workers to see it, you can add all your co-workers to a list, and block just that list from seeing that specific status update or image or video.

I will give credit to Google in that Circles is a really nice visualization of your friends, whereas Facebook’s Lists are not all that visually exciting. Having said that, nothing is really stopping Facebook from tweaking the way Lists looks currently. (In fact, Mark Zuckerberg has already been spotted using Google+, so we know Facebook is paying attention.)

The biggest differentiating factor on Google+ is the ability to start a Hangout, which is a video chat room with multiple people… meaning, each of you in the chat room can be on your cam and see your friends simultaneously. I have yet to use this feature. But in truth, when will I? I can already video chat one on one using Gchat or Skype. If you’re someone who doesn’t typically call multiple friends at once in a conference call, you may not see a need in this video feature.

I’m assuming that more features will be rolling out in the near future to further differentiate this platform from Facebook, but until then, everyone just calm down and nothing is happening to Facebook (at least not until they announce their platform upgrades – which may happen as early as next week). If you wanted to delete your FB account, you would’ve done it before Google+ ever existed.

Email Blasting = Shady Marketing (#FAIL)

Taxes, Death, and SPAM, are all inevitable.

Lately, I have been monitoring my Gmail’s SPAM folder and I’ve been noticing a disturbing pattern. No … not pharmaceuticals or Nigerian princes asking for money, but Jewish businesses and non-profits sending “blasted” emails to presumably thousands of non-opted in members … all coming from one marketing company’s email account.

Never did I opt-in to this company’s email blasts. They must have recognized that I am Jewish, and/or took my name from the web, and added it to their database. (I am extremely skeptical that this company is actually practicing appropriate marketing etiquette / laws: for example CAN-SPAM laws.)

If you don’t see what the problem is at this point, you probably need a bit of a crash course in marketing communications. You might assume that if you just blast your message to thousands of people, some dopes are going to be curious and not only open your email, but interact with it. This is one of the worst assumptions you can make about consumers, and in fact, this will probably do more harm for your business / brand long term, than will the short term benefit of a few clicks to your site.

There are many ways to properly do Email Marketing, but “renting” email lists, or “blasting” to some company’s list, is probably the opposite of a “best practice” of Email Marketing.

In Email Marketing, as in Social Media Marketing, brands are given permission by the consumers to be communicated to. Consumers opt-in to “Follow” a brand on Twitter, “Like” a brand on Facebook, “Subscribe” to a brand on YouTube, or Subscribe to a brand’s email list. In the digital age, brands can no longer communicate to a consumer without their permission – lest they want to be ignored or shunned.

Best practices in Email Marketing include (but are not limited to):

  • Get permission. Don’t scrape the web for email addresses, or obtain emails that are not qualified. They will not help your business cause.
  • Build your own mailing list (CRM). Nothing is as targeted as a list of consumers who actively are interested in your brand. You know exactly who is on your mailing list, and don’t need to worry about other’s lists. DON’T BUY LISTS.
  • Provide an easy way to unsubscribe. Otherwise, those receiving your emails are trapped in your email list without exit – which will only piss them off. Not a good way to build brand affinity.
  • Don’t abuse your list. Sending emails too frequently will inevitably send more and more of your emails into SPAM folders – like the one’s from the company referred to above.

A great way to help bolster your Email Marketing database, is by being active in Social Media. Having a continuous presence within Facebook, Twitter, and other portals allows you to consistently present your message to those who are interested in hearing what you have to say. By engaging in your Social Media community, there are numerous ways you can encourage your consumers (or potential consumers) to opt-in to your Email database. In that case, it’s mutually beneficial for the brand, and the consumer.

To conclude… while there are legitimate Email Marketing companies (especially the ones that assist you in building your own lists) out there, you should be skeptical of “targeted” email lists to communities, hyper specific demographic and/or pyschographic targeting, etc. Use your own networks to build your own list (CRM) and interact with them in appropriate ways. Pushing your content in front of the consumer, instead of conversing, is a sure way to having your business #FAIL.

Dani Klein has consulted with non profits and small business when he started SocialCity Marketing in 2008. Currently, Dani is working on multiple Fortune 500 brands as the Manager of Social Marketing Strategies for Digitas, a world leading digital marketing and media agency and member of the Publicis Groupe S.A.

All views expressed within this blog and by this blogger are solely my own and in no way reflect those of Digitas or Publicis.

New Kosher Travel site

I’ve recently started an extension to YeahThatsKosher.com offering Kosher & Travel News and Reviews.

Currently I am hosting the site at travel.dani-klein.com, but will eventually move it to an extension of YeahThatsKosher. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

If you have any Kosher / Travel news you’d like me to feature, please let me know.
When tweeting about Kosher Travel, please use the #koshertravel hashtag.

Comedy Central blames ISRAEL with video game

I just wrote a post on Jewlicious.com about the crazy, offensive, and disgusting video game created by Comedy Central called “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attacks!”.

Here’s what I wrote:

    The creative / media team behind “Drawn Together” from Comedy Central created a very very offensive game against Jews & Israel …. http://www.comedycentral.com/sitewide/game_player/index.jhtml?game=271497. I am trying to find a way that this is not offensive, but alas, I am at a loss.

    The JIDF blog did a piece on it yesterday.

    The game’s premise is as follows:

    “Jew Producer” apparently failed to destroy other child-like character. Thus, a robot, “the Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser Lady” (I.S.R.A.E.L.) is sent to do the job. The game then shows “I.S.R.A.E.L.”, the robot, destroying everything in its path, even children.

    Original Video– More videos at TinyPic

    Write to Comedy Central about the disgusting video game on their website called: “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attacks!”: http://www.comedycentral.com/help/questionsCC.jhtml. Tell them that you find the gave repulsive and offensive. Please do not threaten the network in any way.

    Join the Facebook group: Comedy Central – I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack game is offensive. Remove it.

    Write to Comedy Central on Twitter: @ComedyCentral and tell them about your disappointment.

    If you’d like, you can ReTweet my message to Comedy Central:

    Shame on @ComedyCentral 4 this “I.S.R.A.E.L. Attacks!” video game: http://j.mp/au5pk8 This is beyond offensive! (RT @YeahThatsKosher)

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this “game”. Please comment below.


doublearrowI am preparing myself mentally for a new stage in my life. I have spent my career defending Israel as a part of my job, and I now have to move to the sidelines. It is difficult to move “to the sidelines”, but I feel that I have given my all to help grow my organization, and to assist Israel in the process. My career path has lead me to accept a great opportunity at a well respected digital marketing agency, for which I am set to begin after Pesach.

I am excited to eat, drink, and sleep social media (which I already do) and now get paid for it. I am thrilled to work with a new team of peers: social media and computer geeks … and with some big name clients. This is a unique time to be in my shoes. This time of transition is a new experience for me, and I am looking forward to the forthcoming challenges that await me in the near future.

I will miss my friends, colleagues, and students I have worked with over the years at StandWithUs. Please stay in touch.


Social Media, Newspapers, and TV

It’s interesting that the traditional media, namely television & newspapers, who are not as profitable as they once were due to the Internet, have taken different approaches regarding social media.

Newspapers, the soon to be all but extinct media, have heavily pushed their online presence to give life to their struggling brands. Journalists are using blogs to copy find stories, while the papers are synced with Twitter to publish their headlines in the hopes that they are RT (ReTweeted) out to the masses. Despite this attempt, newspapers will be on life support within a few short years.

Television on the other hand isn’t fully intertwined with social media yet. While you can find almost every show on TV (minus HBO programming and a few others) online, either via Hulu or the network’s website, social media seems to be an afterthought. Yes, there is the required “share” button near the video, and some sites allow or encourage discussion of their programs below or alongside the video. But is that all? With social media as pervasive as it has become over the past few years in our lives, how has it not been integrated into program content? While statistics show that more and more people are spending more time on Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog, and especially checking their mobile devices — do we see our favorite characters on [NBC’s] The Office or [CBS’s] How I Met Your Mother check their Facebook profile ever?

Couldn’t they make these programs more interactive with the audience? I do have to give credit to How I Met Your Mother for integrating a Super Bowl ad with Neil Patrick Harris playing his character Barney Stinson – encouraging the audience to call a number, blurring the lines of real life and scripted TV. But beyond that, where is the creativity? Where is the use of social media reaching out to fans – current or potential?

Some shows are doing this. I’m currently following Twitter accounts relating to Glee, White Collar, and the Olympics, but those are just a few shows of many I like and follow, and they rarely tweet. With the tons of programming that goes on week after week, the lost outreach opportunities through social media conversations are many. People are talking about your programming. Why not be involved – either by listening or participating, or god forbid both?

I call upon the TV & cable networks to put on their thinking caps, get creative, and think out of the box. Or, hire me, and let’s do something different. 😉

3 Topics to Talk (and Tweet) About at #SocialMediaWeek


(This was originally posted yesterday on www.SocialMediaWeek.org)


Need something to discuss at #SMW? Wondering which topics will emerge as hot-button conversation pieces? Based on what’s generating buzz now, and what we’re expecting to see in the coming months, here are my predictions:

1. Location based (geo-social) apps are here, there, everywhere. Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Loopt and a handful of others have been making waves lately. What changes will they bring to the social media world?

These services will continue to grow in 2010 because they integrate well with pre-existing platforms like Facebook and Twitter and allow users to track their whereabouts in real time. You can learn about places nearby, get specials or coupons, and find your friends in the area. 360i’s David Berkowitz explained the key differences between these apps in an article published earlier this week.

Given the growing popularity of mobile-social platforms, don’t be surprised to see a large number of people at Social Media week “checking in” at the various events. You may even meet some mayors. (Editor’s Note: Stay tuned — We’ll soon be publishing a guide on using geo-location services at Social Media Week right here on the blog.)

2. Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate. Nothing new here — between Facebook’s revamped privacy settings and new currency, Facebook Credits, the world’s largest social network is a mainstay in social media conversation. Not to be outdone,Twitter has recently implemented Local Trends. Has that changed the way you search through tweets?

3. Where does social media fit within non-profits and fund raising initiatives? Working for a non-profit, I have seen first hand what social media and other online apps and tools can do for cash-strapped organizations and small businesses. There are a number of sessions at the New York event that will address this very topic. You can read all about them and register here.

The rise of social media has allowed the world to both help and witness the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. Through numerous organizations, celebrities and personal efforts, millions of dollars were raised online and through text messaging, demonstrating the unique power of social media to spread awareness and drive others to take action in times of need. Earlier this month, digital word of mouth played a key role in the more than $5 million raised for the Red Cross’s relief work in Haiti within a 24-hour period.

“Social Media and the Haiti Disaster” – a New York Times SMW New York event – will focus on the role of social media by news organizations, relief groups, search and rescue teams and people around the world during and in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Which trends do you think will be discussed at Social Media Week in New York and elsewhere? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Dani aka Guest Blogger

bloggerI’ve been approached by a few places to be a guest blogger, which is quite exciting. This is in addition to me posting original content to my blog: YeahThatsKosher.com & my Vlog: JewishTravelTV.com, as well as guest posts on Jewlicious.com & Jewneric.com.

In the beginning of February I will be covering Social Media Week New York, which is a week long series of events discussing social media. I am truly excited to attend these events and meet interesting people.

Additionally, CheapOair.com has asked me to contribute to their blog after checking out YeahThatsKosher.com. I will be giving kosher travel tips to their readers shortly.

Once my posts for Social Media Week & CheapOair are up, I will share them here.

If you’re interested in having me blog for your organization or business (and/or manage your digital content) feel free to email me.

My new personal site

So a while ago I was playing around with iWeb on my Macbook, and created http://daniklein.info, which if you see a different site means I haven’t been automatically forwarding it to here yet.

From a personal branding perspective, I think this site, and WordPress in general, will do a lot better.

On this site I will be sharing the projects that I am working on, as well as the random thoughts and ideas I want to share with the world.

I hope you enjoy.