Tag Archives: social web

goodbye, google places. hello google+ local. but does it matter?

In its never-ending quest to revise and renew to provide (apparently) desired services, Google has bid adieu to its Places feature and replaced it with Google+ Local. Given the large leverage any Google property has, it technically has potential. But it currently has stumbling blocks, with content being the main one.

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If you’re a G+ member (I won’t go for the easy joke), Local will appear as an option in your left-hand sidebar. That’s about the only easy thing I’ve found so far. Clicking it gives me the following screen dominated by an Outback Steakhouse. In Liverpool. More than a half-hour away. When I happen to live in a city with lots of eateries already that are dwarfed by this promoted location.

Of course, I can just scroll and look through a number of options such as Pizza Restaurants, Steak Restaurants, Bookstores, Motels, Pubs, etc. Most of the locations have either no or few reviews, which doesn’t particularly help with decision-making. I checked the Pubs option (near and dear to my heart) and discovered several of the listed establishments had closed. A local power plant was also listed as a pub, so I wondered about data hygiene … i.e. who vets or confirms listed information. And with any system, up-to-date accurate content is a huge consideration!

To make it even stranger, I can’t find any way to use Google+ Local on my iPhone … but I can download the old Google Places. For a geosocial platform, you’d sure expect this to be easier.

So other than being neither easy to use nor updated with accurate content, what exactly does Google+ Local have to offer that makes it a must-have platform?

Let me know if you figure that out, because I have no idea.

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do you keep a social media inventory?

In preparation for this semester’s first meeting of our student social media team, I decided to compile a social media inventory for all the platforms where our office keeps an active presence — which I posted online as a Google document.

My first two thoughts were: 1) Wow! Even I was surprised at how many channels we had; and 2) Why didn’t I do this earlier?

If you haven’t compiled a social media inventory this yet, the process yielded good reasons why you should:

1. Creating your own social media map. You can see where you are and who’s there. The inventory can note what audiences (prospectives, current students, alumni, etc.) use the channels, what kinds of content we share (video, news links, blog posts, etc.) and any related goals. We can realize what channels are best available for what audiences and what kinds of messages.

2. Facilitating assignments for your social media team. It helps my four-student social media team — three generalists and one web video producer — know what channels need monitoring and can provide opportunities for content they generate. It also can serve as an assignment sheet to break down who focuses on what channels and works on specific projects. And as a Google documents with links, it provides a one-stop shop of where we are.

3. Helping others in your organization understand social media options. If I was mildly amazed at the number of social-media channels we have, imagine the reaction of those who don’t pay that close attention. This document helps underscore the important work of our social media team and, in better budget times, could support any requests for more resources.

Making it a Google document means it is, like the social web itself, dynamic. For instance, I just plugged in a new Transferring to SUNY Oswego Facebook page, which recognized a gap in coverage, since about 1/3 of our incoming students are transfers and have specific questions and needs (it’s a cooperative effort with Transfer Services). Note these are just the resources available to our small team, and does not currently include social media presences elsewhere in the college, including the alumni office’s well-trafficked outlets.

If I haven’t mentioned the backstage answers wiki before, it’s proven exceedingly helpful. We set it up as a place to put all the questions we receive via social media, as a behind-the-scenes reference for our social media team as the same questions come up. New questions, and the answers, are added to the wiki, which is organized by topic for easy browsing.

So if you don’t have a social media inventory yet, consider putting one together. Given the time and brainpower you likely put into your social media efforts, having some go-to information seems a worthy investment.

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