Google Buzz: Not Here To Compete

Monday, February 22, 2010

When rumors of a new Google feature started, many Twitter and Facebook users felt it would be unnecessary and redundant.

Since Google Buzz arrived, feedback on the new feature has been split. Some Gmail users feel that Google Buzz is a convenient way to broadcast ideas and discoveries to other users. However, others feel that Buzz is a failed attempt by Google to compete with Facebook and Twitter.

According to Mashable, Google Executive Bradley Horowitz wants users to know that Google Buzz was not intended to be a rival to Facebook and Twitter. Buzz is intended to be a way of engagement with other Gmail users.

Google Buzz is different from Facebook and Twitter in the way that it allows users to truly discuss ideas and topics with each other, and not in 140 characters or less.

However, when compared against Facebook and Twitter in Mashable's reader poll, "Who would win in a fight, Google Buzz, Facebook, or Twitter?," it's hard not to feel like it is a competition.

Still, the public seems to have accepted Google Buzz among Twitter and Facebook, as a potential favorite way of online conversation. While still coming in third after Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz received 1,298 votes out of a total 7,130. Whether Buzz is just a fad, or the new most popular social network in disguise, only time will be able to tell.


Radio Engage: A New Platform For Radio

It comes as no surprise that with social networking sites constantly growing and the Web undergoing drastic changes, all types of media organizations must learn to utilize the trend for their benefit. In her Feb. 15 article "The Future of Public Radio- Today," media strategist Margaret Rosas focuses on how one particular media organization, public radio, can create a new and improved presence on the Web, through the use of a product she currently works on designing, called Radio Engage. Although Rosas clearly holds a bias in favor of her product, I agree that Radio Engage potentially offers many benefits to public radio worth exploring.

As part of her pitch for Radio Engage, a platform for Web site creation, Rosas argues that public radio stations must adapt to the new and different ways that audiences use the web. The "destination Web site" no longer interests audiences, who now favor a "come to me" model, mainly driven by social networking sites. In addition, she argues that audiences now produce their own content and expect greater involvement in the "conversation" than ever before. However, the problem remains that many public radio stations simply do not have the manpower to manage their Web presence through all these channels.

The Radio Engage platform allows stations to accomplish this task as it engages Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and can be managed easily from one site. The program will assist stations in aggregating news from audience blogs and tweets, offering an even wider access to possible content. Also, audience comments and conversation can be managed from the same sight, allowing a station's team to customize content to further satisfy audiences. Another component of the program is the optimization of the station's site to place it higher on search engine searches. One user, has claimed that through the use of Radio Engage, visits to their Web site have tripled in only a month, possibly due to this feature.

As I mentioned earlier, Rosas' article clearly contains a bias, as she works as the lead strategist for Radio Engage. Still, I agree that Radio Engage has potential. It clearly provides an excellent tool for stations to manage a large amount of Web content from a single site, which becomes essential when considering the manpower a station would need otherwise. If results from the initial tests indicate the future of the product, then Radio Engage could soon become a well recognized name in the industry. Much of the platform's future, in my opinion, lies within how it will be offered to stations. If stations will be required to pay high prices for the service, I would project that many stations will find a way to manage their Web presence without Radio Engage. However, if Radio Engage remains cost beneficial, it is highly possible that the platform could have a great impact on public radio's future Web presence.


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