Why Fly Without Wi-Fi

It’s no secret, we’re always connected.  Whether it be via BlackBerry, iPhone or 35,000 feet in the air.  Henry Harteveldt, principal airline analyst with Forrester, tells Boston Globe reporter Paul Makishima, “In today’s tough business climate, in-flight Wi-Fi is as essential as the beverage cart.” 

Virgin Airlines was the first to offer internet to its passengers.  AirTran, American and Delta are next on the list.  Southwest, which carries more passengers than any other U.S. airline, is also testing Wi-Fi on four of its planes. 

Makishima also reports , “For the most part, all the Wi-Fi services work the same.  Passengers pay a fee, generally about $8 to $13 depending on the length of the flight, and the service is provided by a contractor, the largest being Aircell LLC of Itasca, Ill, under its Gogo In-flight Internet brand.” 

Airlines are expecting these Wi-Fi services to be both popular and profitable and analysts are even predicting a cost savings, as airlines may be able to remove their in-flight entertainment services, ridding excess weight making the planes more fuel efficient.

I think airline Wi-Fi is a good idea, it entertains people for hours on end.  Personally, I only like flying JetBlue because of their DirecTV service, but now I have other options.  I just hope that with the generated profits, airlines will start to bring back the snack service!

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Social Media Doesn’t Influence My Buying Decisions. I Swear.

Over the weekend, from InformationWeek:

Practical Analysis: Social Networks Get Low Marks As Sources Of IT Info

Art Wittman cheerfully reports:

In a series of questions, we asked where you get your information and what you think of those sources, including vendor Web sites, IT trade magazines, business magazines and newspapers, E-mail newsletters, broad business tech sites (such as Information Week.com), focused tech sites (such as IntelligentEnterprise.com), analyst sites, virtual trade shows and Webinars, social networks (such as LinkedIn and Facebook), tech bloggers, and Twitter.

We used a five-point scale to gauge your opinion of relevance, reliability, timeliness, and bias for each as they relate to your work. Top responses varied a bit from question to question, but typically your top sources of information include broad IT Web sites, IT trade magazines, business news sites, and analyst sites. The bottom three responses were much more consistent: tech bloggers, social networks, and Twitter, with Twitter ranking by far the lowest in a number of categories.

As most scholars know, it’s never quite as precise to rely on people to report on their own behavior as it is to actually observe their actions. Asking people to report on the causes of their own behavior seems like an even less useful research method. Humans are motivated by a collection of often impractical and sometimes downright ridiculous set of factors… and few people have the self-insight – not to mention the humility – to accurately explain why they do the things they do. When presented with a respectable, logical, serious-looking set of alternative options (“IT trade magazines!” or “Business news sites!”), what kind of IT executive would claim that they are more influenced by their online friends and acquaintances, or by the frequency of a brand name on social networks? It sounds so irrational. And yet… most serious research on buying decisions reveals that what drives them is irrational. Purchases are made with emotion, and justified with logic.

To really start to study the influence of social media on IT buying decisions, you need to compare IT pros’ exposure to social media mentions of a company with their eventual purchases. The correlation may be small, or it may be large; but it will certainly be more informative than collecting buyers’ own self-psychoanalyses and reporting them as fact.

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On the Hunt with Social Media

Many people have been touting the great benefits of social media recently as a means to network, grow your business, or market your products/services (myself included); but the current economic crisis is highlighting where all this effort can really pay off – in the job hunt.  It’s important to note that most job leads come from good connections and social media… the old adage has never been more true, the best jobs are never advertised.  A recent article in ComputerWorld, Job Hunting? Use social networks to make crucial connections, by David Ramel, stresses the importance of using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to network and make new connections.

Social media tools can be highly beneficial, if you know where to look.  For instance, yesterday @BostonTweet tweeted asking if anyone was graduating and looking for a job in the Boston area on Twitter.  With such a large following, @BostonTweet was able to retweet replies and get more coverage than people would have normally gotten had they just tweeted to their own followers.

@bostontweet - job hunt

Social media sites are also a great way to market yourself to potential employers.  Creating a twitback for your Twitter account allows you to provide a brief bio and links to your website, company, or blog, along with more detailed contact info.  LinkedIn allows you to show off basically your entire resume while joining relevant groups for your area of interest – on these groups, you can then post job queries, etc. to help get your name out there.  Hint: responding to other queries also helps!  Facebook is also in this same vein, but also lets you search for company profiles (as does LinkedIn – though Facebook may give you more of a feel for the work environment – check out March on Facebook).

Though these all sound like great outlets to get moving with your job hunt, David Ramel also gives some advice on what not to do:

10donts-for-job-hunters1

Social media, when used smartly, can be a great tool!

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Simple Tips for Increasing Your Web Traffic

New York Times Gadgetwise blogger Azadeh Ensha wrote a post earlier this week on the 10 Ways to Build Traffic to Your Site.  I felt this was an appropriate blog topic for several reasons.  First, as a small boutique agency, we’re always looking for new ways to ramp up our own blog; and second, the majority of our clients are young international tech companies looking to increase their visibility or start out completely new in the States.  We also work with clients like ASI to build corporate blogs. 

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Here’s a 100-foot rundown of Azadeh’s tips I found the most useful, with a bit of my own commentary here and there:

  • Self promote – add a favorite or bookmark option, as well as an “email this” and “share” tab; add your blog or Web site to your email signature, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Write useful, original content – write regularly and make sure everything is well-thought out; think about your headlines and make sure you include simple key words – This is one tip I could not agree more with.  Most companies have a blog now a days, and if they don’t, they’re probably thinking about it.  Sure the ideas are going to be similar, but you can make it your own by adding your own personality and your own ideas.  More importantly, make sure you’re writing appropriately for your audience.  People are so inundated with information and with options to get that information that you have to stand out to keep a following. 
  • Bring on guest bloggers [with an established name] – This tip is fairly self-explanatory, but is a great idea, particularly for smaller companies looking to gain awareness.  Include the person’s name in your entry title and post it on Twitter or have them link the post to their blog.  Having that recognizable name associated with your company is sure to drive at least a few new people to your site.
  • Link and tag – Link to other sites within your post and submit your site to blog directories; make sure you’re using appropriate headers, titles and meta tags for SEO – Cheapflights comes to mind as a great example of a company that has really embraced the idea of optimizing their site for SEO.  Anyone that does a Web search on “cheap flights,” the Cheapflights.com Web page is always at the top of the list.
  • Engage the reader – Promptly answer any emails or comments; show your personality – let the readers get to know you; create an online poll or survey

For a complete list of tips, visit here. 

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Thursday Twitter Tips

It’s not just Ashton Kutcher / CNN / Oprah on Twitter.  Despite the celebrity hype winding down, it seems that more businesses and PR pros are getting into the spirit.  For some tweeting guidance, here are a few (of the many) helpful articles and posts on Twitter best practices:

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Sister Act

In attempt to get back into the habit of volunteering, I’m currently undergoing training at the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston to become a Big Sister.  Going strong since 1951, this organization pairs Bigs with girls (Littles) ages 7-15 from all backgrounds throughout greater Boston.  I chose this organization because women of any age should always have a positive, supportive mentor to guide them through the difficulties of life, especially those tough teenage years.

So far, the training has provided various free/low cost activity ideas in Boston, scenarios that may arise with your Little and a history of the organization and importance of community-based volunteering.  It’s also taught me that littles can wait almost up to two years for a Big! 

A recent article in the Medfield Press (a suburb of Boston), talks about a mother who enrolled her daughter in the Big Sister program about 18 months ago.  The Little was recently paired with a Big and has been a positive experience ever since.  The Little’s mother states, “It’s a great opportunity for a child to form a relationship with someone who is older and who can help them develop their communications skills and be their companion.”

I’m looking forward to being paired with my Little and introducing her to the many great things Boston has to offer!  It will be great to make a difference in a young girls’ life.

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Wolfram Alpha Search Engine Unveiled

There’s been a ton of media coverage over the past week around Wolfram Alpha, a new “Computational Knowledge Engine” developed by mathematician, scientist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram.  Wolfram demonstrated this soon-to-be-launched Web service (something of a cross between a graphing calculator, repositories of scientific data and a system to interpret questions posed in human terms, according to CNET) during a talk at Harvard Law School.  Some interesting screenshots and videos of the search engine, which is being hailed as “an invention that could change the Internet forever,” a “Google killer” and a “Web 3.0 pioneer,” have been posted on ReadWriteWeb and ZDNet.

With all of the focus on Wolfram Alpha, there hasn’t seemed to be many discussions around its impact on search engine optimization (SEO).  Will it even be possible to employ SEO tactics (especially for PR-based efforts) with this new technology?  Will it complement Google rather than compete against it?  I look forward to testing it out upon the official launch.

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