This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published February 25, 2011)

YouTube video shows new side of dish company

Corning uploaded an amazing video to its YouTube channel on Feb. 7 that already has more than two million views. You know Corning, the people who make Pyrex and CorningWare baking dishes and Corelle dishware. They make good, reliable products mostly known to the public for what holds their tuna casseroles.

If your impression of Corning is pretty much that of good and reliable company – yet a bit stodgy and matronly, you’re probably not alone.

However, watch the video they posted to YouTube entitled A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning at youtube.com/corningincorporated and I think you’ll agree that the company is anything but stodgy. The 5:33-long video is incredible, actually – futuristic, innovative, exciting and quite astonishing at times.

The video shows the possibilities of glass in the use of technology, from computerized refrigerators and kitchen countertops to car dashboards, bus shelters and highway signage. I’ve watched the video several times. I’ve also posted it to my blog if you want to check it out there.

This is a great branding move on Corning’s part. Quite frankly, the video dramatically changed the way I look at the company. They’re a heck of a lot more than just sturdy casserole dishes, I can tell you that!

Profiles vs. pages for corporate entities

Once again, I’d like to urge organizations and companies to set up Facebook pages (formerly “fan pages”) instead of creating a profile (like an individual person would do).

Many people – including me – refuse to friend the profile page of a corporate entity because we don’t know who’s on the other end of the computer. When we friend a company, the person on the other end gets access to our personal information. Yes, you can place the company on limited profile status, but most people don’t. If I feel the need to put you on limited profile status, I’m not going to friend you at all.

In the past two weeks, two local organizations that I personally like and support tried to friend me on Facebook. I would love to have their news show up in my newsfeed, but I’m not going to friend their profile because they – as corporate entities – are not using Facebook correctly. They need to set up a Facebook page that allows me to “like” them. That does not give them access to my personal information at all.

If you’re running a charity, business, organization or association and want to interact with your friends, customers or volunteers, invest your time in setting up a page, but don’t set up a profile. Leave profiles to actual humans.

Check out these social media websites

There are a couple of social media news and advice websites that I think are well worth following and reading.

First, check out Grandma Mary, the alter ego of social media consultant Andrea Vahl. I love Grandma Mary, but have to admit I had to get used to the marketing gimmick. It’s pretty easy to get over that, though, once you start looking at the high-quality advice good ol’ grandma (or good young Andrea, depending on how you look at it) gives regarding social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.

She often posts videos on how to fix problems and optimize your Facebook and Twitter experiences. Well worth taking a close look at! You can find Grandma Mary at www.grandmamaryshow.com, facebook.com/grandmamaryshow or @GrandmaMaryShow on Twitter. Through her main website, you can even buy some of her consulting time and pay through PayPal! How’s that for convenience? You can also download free e-book tutorials regarding Twitter and Facebook.

Another website I’ve been reading lately is Social Media Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com), a newsy website that you can subscribe to for daily updates. It’s a great source for the latest news related to social media.

MPs and staff get with the times

Just this week, members of Parliament in Ottawa and some of their staff were finally given authorization to download Facebook and Twitter apps to their government-issued Blackberrys.

As social media grows as a way of interacting and keeping in touch with constituents and members of the media, it was only a matter of time until one of the last bastions fell to the unstoppable allure.

With that said, however, MPs have been told that they’ll still have to dig into their own pockets if they want to buy an iPad. So far, at least, the hot commodities are still not approved for purchase using parliamentary budgets. It’s only a matter of time, though.

Gimme your username and password… or else!

Earlier this month, Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services suspended their controversial year-long practice of demanding prospective employees’ Facebook username and password to check for possible gang affiliations. The practice ceased after a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, but the department insists passing over your username and password was purely voluntary. Rigggght…

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