Changing the World, Web 2.0 Style

It is pretty easy to say that the Internet is becoming a portal for a different kind of life: new communication, networking, news and journalism, shopping, you name it. And after the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, the web became a haven for cause: donating money to help, reading stories of miraculous heroism and survival, and sharing opinions of how we as a people could help.

Noting the response and power to utilize and leverage social networks and Web 2.0 to help make change, Facebook’s co-founder Chris Hughes had an idea. He founded Jumo, a web site intent on in bringing people together for a common good: to change the world. Jumo looks to “connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action.”

I don’t know if I am brave enough to call it “Facebook for Social Good,” but its a close call. From everything I’ve read about it, Jumo’s intent is really to open discussion about helping, doing it in a way that is relatable to people who “live” in the web 2.0 world. And while it won’t be fully up and running until Fall 2010, Jumo will give its’ users the ability to take part in change that is meaningful, yet comfortable to them; an tailored or individualized giving effort, if you will.

What do you think? Would you help try to change the world if you could do so from your computer? Is charity more appealing if the opportunities are individually tailored to you?

Uh Oh, It’s the FTC!

It looks like the time has come for the government to have their say in the phenomenon that is social media, and they are doing it in a big way.

The Federal Trade Commission brought the whip down! For the first time since 1980, they revised the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” by requiring bloggers and other word of mouth advertisers to disclose when they are being paid to review products. And by “other word of mouth marketers”, they mean Facebook and Twitter, too. Not including disclosure means more than just a warning or a slap on the wrist; it can mean a nice $11,000 fine. Ouch.

Luckily for us, we have always put an emphasis on honest and openness, following the WOMMA Ethics Code. From the get-go, it has always been our policy to ask bloggers to disclose their relationship with our clients. But for others who many not have been quite squeaky clean, the WOMMA code is no longer just a mere suggestion; it must be obeyed.

These new rules seem like pretty serious stuff if you ask me. But to be honest, we couldn’t be happier about this. It means that companies are actually relying on bloggers and tweeters to promote their products. Even more so, it means that people are listening to what these social media participants have to say, and taking it seriously.

Ultimately, FTC’s recognition of the power of word of mouth as a legitimate means of advertising and communication moves social media above being just “trendy”. This is the real deal, people! And we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.

Blog Fail

One of the dangers of social media is that it can often move so fast that it can be difficult to keep up. Fortunately, we here at The Cyphers Agency are quick to write blog posts about buzz-worthy issues relating to our clients. Unfortunately, however, we sometimes get so immersed in our clients work that we forget to focus on our own blog (bad WOM department! bad!).

So, in honor of our commitment to our clients, please enjoy this blog post that should have been posted 2 weeks ago 🙂

“With the death of three American icons, it’s been a heartbreaking week. How did I find out about the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson? Twitter, of course.
Yesterday, I first found out about the death of Michael Jackson via TMZ. I was a little skeptical to believe the source, which is known for its aggressive celebrity following and bashing tactics. I turned on the television to try to some sort of confirmation from a legitimate news source. Unable to find anything but commercials and sitcom reruns, I turned my investigation back to Twitter, and followed until it was confirmed by major news outlets.

And Twitter isn’t just for pop-culture news. Breaking news this year has been breaking way before the morning paper or the 5 o’clock news cast. From live-blogging at the Iran protests to providing messages of support to the people of Iran, Twitter has played a major role in how we communicate about the controversy surrounding the Iran elections.

It’s changed the way we communicate about everything. So, turn on some MJ or Jackson Five, and login to Twitter—there’s a lot to pay attention to.”