Monday, December 8, 2008

All That Is Gold May Possibly Twitter


Launched in 2006, Twitter is the newly popular web service that allows users to connect through short messages.

Users can sign up for accounts at Twitter to keep a record of their own ideas and actions.

Users can also choose to ‘follow’ other users and will automatically be updated whenever those individuals update their Twitter status.

Twitter makes it easy for users to follow multiple accounts by sending all updates to their personal dashboard.

Twitter can be synched up with various services such as RSS, SMS (cell phone TXTs), Facebook, and blog sites.

Twitter allows companies to release information about upcoming products or services.

People interested can follow these companies to get the latest news or release information for the products they love.

Companies can also communicate directly with their customers to ensure the highest level of quality.

Additionally, users can send messages directly to companies to let them know of any problems they see.

Let’s look at any example now.

Here is the actual dialogue between a customer and major airline, Jet Blue.

Timestamps precede the comments to let you know the rate of the conversation.

“Twitter User” has been used to replace the actual name of the customer.
Twitter User:
1:42P > NIGHTMARE FLIGHT last night. Thank you for the 5 hour delay ; the additional 1&1/2 hour delay on the tarmac; and
1:44P > & the return trip to the gate because you allowed passengers to board that weren't suppose to be on the plane & the broken TV
1:45P > NIGHTMARE ; Finally, all my love was lost for you when your WIFI absolutly suks in the T5 terminal. :(

From Jet Blue:
1:56 > We try to keep everyone comfortable, and informed during weather delays. Sorry for the inconvenience. WiFi at T5 is fixed.

Twitter User:
1:57 > NIGHTMARE "All Mighty "Sugar-Coater " of an ugly experience.
2:02 > It seriously is NOT a weather delay when you load passengers going to Ft. Lauderdale on a Phoenix flight & taxi around for an hour
2:04 > &then return 2the gate and then return to that tarmac. How could that even happen w/yr barcode system? It was an incompetence delay
2:14 > T5 WIFI was overloaded by the amount of people delayed in the terminal.. NOT broken. &never works near any of the gates. Planning?

2:25 > T5 WiFi degradation was caused partially by load (681 high water mark) partially by tech issues we addressed overnight.

Twitter User:
2:36 > Thank you for your honesty in regards to the WIFI situation
As you can see, the customer was upset about the service they received from the airliner.

However, by the end of the dialogue, the customer understood the situation and thanked the airliner for their honesty.

Quick and efficient communication was made possible by Twitter.

Kudos to Jet Blue for providing speedy and useful information.

Don’t you wish all company communications could be this humanistic?

(PS: I kinda wish the message limit was more than just 140 characters per post ;-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2008: The iTunes University Race!!

Check it out. The year is 2001. Apple launches a little application known as iTunes. Cool. Competition for Windows Media Player. iTunes offers a simple way to catalog all of your media into an easily browse-able library. More than that, iTunes doubles as a media player itself offering versatility and playback for a plethora of media formats.

Fast-forward 2 years later: 2003 sees version 4 of iTunes which adds the iTunes store. iTunes now provides an opportunity for users to purchase music and other media directly off the internet using an account through iTunes. At this point, iTunes becomes a perpetual money-making machine, allowing users to purchase whatever media they like directly from home. No CDs. No DVDs. No hassle. Plus, it’s all legit. Awesome.

Fast-forward two more years: 2005 sees version 6 of iTunes which adds podcasting. For those unfamiliar with podcasting see my last post (11/17/08). Cool? Cool.

Okay – great – so iTunes can categorize, player-ize, purchase-ize, and pod-ize your media. Can it do anything else?

You bet.

Enter 2008. The year iTunes U becomes popular. iTunes U is the expansion of iTunes to encompass the growing world of universities, colleges and higher-education institutions. iTunes U provides an opportunity for universities to share everything that’s great about them with the world. Lectures, special events, homecoming or athletic highlights – it’s whatever you can think of. If it can be filmed, recorded, produced or imagined. Anything goes. iTunes is the ultimate experience for universities to open the door to let the world outside know exactly what it’s like to be a Tiger, Bear, Saluki, Sooner, Husky, Gator- whatever.

Let’s take a quick look at the University of Washington’s podcast site:

(University of Washington iTunes U homepage - all rights reserved.)

As you can see, the University of Washington has broken their media into various categories including Husky Life, What’s Hot, It Happened at the UW and Endless Campus. Each of these categories hosts various videos about the university.

So, video on the internet- that’s nothing new, right? Well, yeah, video has been on the internet since the 1990’s. But, here’s the thing – never has it been so well organized and efficient. When you get on iTunes you can synch directly up with the University of Washington home page to find all of their media. Or if you prefer to switch it up – go check out the University of Oklahoma site.

Think about it this way – let’s assume you’re a senior in high school. For kicks, let’s say you’re attending Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio. Cool, right? Alright, let’s say you’re interested in attending the University of Denver, University of Southern California or Fort Hays State University. Okay, so plug university in each into iTunes U and you’re instantly greeted by a variety of videos highlighting student life. Awesome! But you can usually find a lot of this on the actual website. Okay. Let’s say you’re really interested in sociology. Furthermore, let’s assume each site has hosted a few videos of recent lectures by sociology professors. You can literally watch the classroom sessions and see which school best suites your interests. Classroom lectures of your major from your top choices. That’s iTunes U.

So who’s on board? A quick Google search shows that UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Penn State, Texas A&M and the University of Washington, for starters. Who’s going to lead the race? Whomever updates with the most interesting and relevant information. Who’s watching? Oh, only about 50 million current iTunes users =) (

So let’s follow the universities trekking into new territory. Support ‘em. Show ‘em some love. Go Eagles, go Wildcats, go Cyclones, or Go Huskies- whatever- Just go iTunes U!

(Harry the Husky/Spirit is property of the University of Washington - all rights reserved)