Social Media’s Impact on Customer Relations

Last week I attended KPMG’s 20th Annual Insurance Issues Conference and one of the opening speakers was Dr. Cindy Gordon who is the Founder of Helix Commerce International Inc., a company specializing in business innovation, collaboration commerce, and social media. I was amazing listening to her speak about not only where the insurance industry might be headed but the role that technology will play in terms of dealing with customers and how companies will need to adapt to the constantly changing environment.

Speaking to a room full of several hundred industry professionals, she discussed the need for the industry to step up its game in the field of social media. She mentioned how the banks have much deeper pockets, it is a smaller risk to invest into new ideas compared to insurance companies but indicated that social media isn’t a very expensive route for companies to invest in. When she asked the room how many people used Twitter on a daily basis, only one other person besides me, raised their hand. When asked about who knows of/uses Foursquare, this time it was only me. It drove home her point of how the insurance industry is now lagging behind the times of the new wave of customers who interact, research and make decisions — all online.

Just think about it: most of us do our banking transactions online, pay our bills and transfer money between accounts all from the comforts of our own computer. In terms of getting an insurance quote whether it be life, auto or for your home, we may do some research online but ultimately when it comes do to making a final decision, we still have to pick up the phone to directly talk to someone to complete the transaction.

Overall it was a pretty good conference to learning more about Solvency II, Risk Management and M&A Deals but ultimately it was the least finance intensive session showing the greatest potential for the industry for me.

Facebook Privacy Settings

I have been hearing and reading from a lot of different people about the growing concern regarding privacy on Facebook and wanting to quit. First of all, if you don’t want to share something that might be a little compromising, do not put it up online in the first place. It would make your life a whole lot easier.

However, if there are things you share that you want to limit who sees them and how they can share them, hopefully this post helps you accomplish that. In order to update your settings with the new Facebook Privacy Settings, just follow these simple steps and you should be able to restrict what you want, from who you want.

Note: If you click the image, it will actually direct you to that page on Facebook.

Here is a step-by-step instruction guide on how to reduce the amount of information you are sharing to third and unwanted parties but as I said earlier, the best protection against shared information is to not share it at all.

1. First on your main profile page, select the “Account” button on the top right corner of the page and select “Privacy Settings“.

2. Now select the 4th item down on the list, “Applications and Websites“.

3. Once you are on this page, there are a couple of options for you (“What your friends can share about you” and “Instant Personalization Pilot Programs”) but I would certainly recommend both of them. If you only want to do the first one, go to step 4 but skip 5. If you only want to do the second one, go to step 5 and skip 4 — but again, I would recommend at least taking a look at both.

4. For “What your friends can share about you“, you can see that Facebook lists a whole range of items that you can grant access to your friends and whatever applications they use to share those information. Go through the list and anything you feel comfortable with being shared across applications, check away and naturally, uncheck anything you don’t want shared. Make sure to hit the “Save Changes” button on the bottom of the page to ensure your selections are saved.

5. Now select the “Applications and Websites” button on the top left corner and select “Instant Personalization Pilot Program“. Facebook connects with many websites so you can quickly connect with your friends and see and share relevant content on their sites. If you don’t want to share such information or don’t want to have the personalization and information sharing across many of these sites, just uncheck the box below the image on the page.

Now you have taken steps to share less information but I’ll reiterate for a third time, don’t post anything you don’t necessarily want to share with the rest of the world. With the constant privacy policy changes by Facebook, I would consider nothing safe and they keep a copy of all information on their servers anyway.

Any comments, questions or suggestion on this post or any other, feel free to leave me a message below or contact me in any other form that you know. Happy Surfing.

@NBAStoreNYC Twitter Contests

In a follow up to Twitter Has Been Way Too Good To Me, I figured to write another one in light of two wins in two days courtesy of trivia question from @NBAStoreNYC — two pretty nice birthday gifts to myself following my birthday this past Sunday.

[April 14, 2010]

1. The first question was yesterday which asked a Raptors question which was awesome even though it would be followed by the Toronto Raptors being eliminated from the playoffs via a Chicago Bulls victory. Hopefully CB4 hasn’t played his last game up north and will be back following what promises to be a ridiculous free agency period.

“Wanna win a Raptors Authentic Jersey? What is Patrick O’Bryant’s wingspan? 1st to answer correctly wins!!!”

To all you stats fanatics out there, the answer is 7’6″ wingspan and that is certainly something I did not know off-hand. Being near a computer and Google will always help. I’m pretty sure its the Green Raptors jersey and I’ll probably put up a picture once it gets here in the mail.

[April 15, 2010]

2. The second trivia question was related to a picture they tweeted earlier in the day but it was something that I did not see until the contest was over. The question was:

“To win his figurine, please tell me who is the following: 1 of only 5 players in NBA history to avg a 25-7-7 in a season.”

A pure guess between Michael Jordan and Lebron James. I would love to know how the other players are that have averaged 25 points, 7 rebounds and assists in a season season. A pretty good trivia question if you ask me.

Also a necessary shout out to the person behind the @NBAStoreNYC twitter handle for their awesome tweets through the season and certainly now as the playoffs are rolling around. Make sure to follow them because I know they did real good trivia questions last year during the playoffs and especially the Finals so they might do it again this year where they gave out gift certificates to the NBA Store.

The Two Headed Think Tank

I definitely put off recommending blogs in the segment “ABG Recommends” much longer than I would have liked but as this week’s snowpocalypse allowed me to get some work done, I’ll recommend one now. This one is called “The Two-Headed Think Tank” and its co-written by Niko Gkionis and Matt Friesen who were both teammates in Belgium for a little while.

Niko Gkionis is a professional soccer player who currently plies his trade in the Belgium 3rd division for Excelsior Veldwezelt. Born and raised in New Jersey, Niko probably likes MTV reality television shows just as much as I despise them but we can both agree to like sports of all kinds. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Biology from Stevens Institute of Technology. I saw Niko play for two years when I first came to Stevens and he’s still probably one of the best players I have seen play in D-III all these years later.

Matt Friesen spends his days in the rain of the NW playing soccer for the Kitsap Pumas, members of the NW division of the USL’s PDL. He’s pretty much been a West Coast boy his entire life as he was born in California, raised in Oregon and attended Whitworth University (in Spokane, Washington) graduating with a degree in Computer Science.

At first I wasn’t sure how this blog was going to work out since one of the two guys takes a relative topic in the sports or entertainment world and puts up their view and the other is left to reply in the following post. It is quite a novel idea and I haven’t seen too many other blogs like it that post a reply to one of their own posts.

According to Niko,”the blog touches on a lot of the major sports news since that is what we mostly talk about. Soccer is a big subject on the blog of course and we have some nice debates back and forth since Matt and I sometimes have differing views on soccer.” They have touched on topics from American soccer to Tiger Woods to even a mention of the television show “Jersey Shore”.

It has been quite refreshing to see a different style of narrative on a blog with rebuttals and sometimes contrasting styles instead of the usual boring single-person blog (myself included) and if you’re looking for that type of perspective from two guys who are in their early-to-mid 20’s, this is the blog for you. The blog is still relatively new as they started in January of this year but they have been pretty good in updates with about 10 topics with a rebuttal for each to keep things fresh.

So if you are looking for some healthy banter, make sure to give them a visit. I have links to the blog at the top and bottom of the post along with their Twitter handles if you so desire.

Essential Links:

Blog URL: Two Headed Think Tank

Twitter: Niko Gkionis, Matt Friesen

Niko Gkionis is a professional soccer player who currently plies his trade in the Belgium 3rd division for Excelsior Veldwezelt. Born and raised in New Jersey, Niko has a strong affinity for MTV reality television shows and sports of all kinds. He is a educated man as well who received a degree in Chemical Biology from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Matt Friesen spends his days in the rain of the NW playing soccer for the Kitsap Pumas, members of the NW division of the USL’s PDL. Been West Coastin’ his whole life, born in California and raised in Oregon. Matt attended Whitworth University and holds a degree in

Computer Science. He enjoys reality television, GOOD music, and sports, just sit back and listen to what he has to say.

Twitter Has Been Way Too Good To Me

As the great Lou Gehrig famously said on this day 70 years ago, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” I probably wouldn’t go that far but I’ll continue to ride my little lucky streak as far as it will take me.

Twitter has been really, really good to me. I started using this about two years ago but I didn’t start using it full-time until about late last year. More recently as Twitter has become mainstream, bigger companies and corporations have started running PR contests and giveaways to get more followers and just get more publicity.

I should start off by saying that I have not had any help by another person in getting these answers and/or submitting them for me. It has mostly been a good combination of TweetDeck, Firefox and Google which have allowed me to succeed so far.

Here are my winnings so far (in order I won them, starting with the earliest):

[May 12, 2009]
1. The first thing I ever won on Twitter was a $10 Gift Certificate courtesy of @BaskinRobbins which was doing its 88 cent promotion Soft Serve promotion with a contest daily or twice a day. The question that I answered correctly figured to be a sports one and was

What was the horse’s name that won the Kentucky derby in 1988?”

I would like to be able to say that I knew that off the top of my head that the winner was Winning Colors but let’s just leave it at a search engine helping me figure that one out.

[May 14, 2009]
2. Two days later, Angels and Demons movie account (@AandDMovie) ran a contest asking:

What cam number are you looking at on”

I am not sure if the camera number is still the same but it shows 84 right now and I think that was what I submitted. That ended up winning me a Making of Angels and Demons book which had behind the scene stills from the set and the green room in addition to descriptions about basically every scene in the movie. I was hoping it would be signed by Director Ron Howard as they had originally said but I won’t get too greedy.

[June 4, 2009]
My next two came at the hands of the @NBAStore during the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic series in the NBA Finals. The first question was:

“How about a giveaway? First 2 with correct answer win a $50 gc. How many times have the #Lakers been to the NBA Finals?”

This one I simply got lucky by looking at my computer the exact moment my TweetDeck updated with the latest tweets. I had been watching the game, playing some halo and talking to @imadjustin and @cellmonkey over XBox Live but had my laptop in front of me just in case. The answer of “30 times” I had heard earlier on in the week on SportsCenter didn’t even require a Google search and I felt good about my chances of winning a $50 Gift Certificate.

[June 14, 2009]
4. This was the second trivia question during the series and I am pretty sure I was in the same scenario of having my laptop ready while watching the game with a couple of friends. The question this time around was:

“Alright #giveaway time. A $100 online gift cert to up for grabs. 6 #Lakers players have won the FINALS MVP award. Name them.”

The answer being: Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Shaquille O’Neal. I was certain on 5 out of the 6 and would have definitely missed James Worthy had the question not said name 6 MVPs. Luckily there are plenty of Lakers fan out there (not me) that have websites devoted to who won the award and when in quite a convenient list format.

There was a slight confusion when the winner was announced as @sahyder1 and publicly awarded him the $100 GC. I was certain I had submitted my answer before him and @NBAStore was pretty cool about admitting their mistake and gave me a code as well via Direct Message.

[June 22, 2009]
5. This one I will gladly take because I am such a fan of the Science Channel and anything related to outer space. @ScienceChannel gave away 50 Spaceman stress relievers. I had originally missed their message but saw a RT from @mrothb and I was fortunate enough to get one as well. So thanks Matt!

First 50 RT’s get a spaceman! Ever wonder what planet is your perfect match? Video fun for #SpaceWeek

[July 3, 2009]
6. Last but definitely not least would be me winning a pair of Yankee tickets from WFAN 660 (@
wfan660) and Craig Carton (@cc660). Carton had previously tweeted that the question was going to be Derek Jeter related, so naturally I had his career statistics page opened up on the great Baseball-Reference website. However, the question threw me off:

What movie did derek jeter appear in with roger clemens in 2003 and what tv show was he on once in 2001? Good luck.

Luckily for the Internet Movie Database (aka IMDB) which seems to have an answer for any and everything that ever hit the big screen theater or just the little screen television… even professional athletes making guest appearances or hosting tv shows.

The movie as my brother pointed to me as well was Anger Management something that was clearly listed for 2003 on IMDB but the tv show was tricky. I wasn’t sure if SNL would count but I really couldn’t find anything else that would qualify. Almost admitting to myself that I was not going to win this one, I sent him the answer of Anger Management and Saturday Night Live. In less than a minute, I had a response back saying

congrats u r the winner i will be in touch on monday

Now the waiting game continues until Monday but that’s a game I’ll gladly play.