The Importance of Social Media

26 09 2010

Social media has become a necessity for our modern society. Most of us would have more than one social networking account, whether it’s two, three, or more accounts it all shares a fundamental purpose, and that’s to share contents and converse within different networks. The most important element of social media is in the group, the network of people which lies behind it. Without it, social sites are utterly pointless to anyone. It was for this reason that made Facebook and Twitter the champions of social networking.

Due to the fact of this so-called network effect, many organizations saw the potential of benefiting from such hype. It’s an excellent tool that will allow customers to give you feedback, criticism, and recommendation about a certain product. For instance, customers are now finding it hard to believe TV commercials that would normally give false promises to certain products. As a result of that, they would normally turn to social media to find out more information about that particular product. This also enables them to make a better judgment before purchasing it; since it’s easy to communicate and exchange opinions with other users, customers are more confident when buying the product.

Let’s go back a few years and imagine what it was like before..

The image above portrays the evolution of what it once was like not too long ago. There’s a significant difference between the response times in 1998, as opposed to 2009 due to the enhancement in technology. It’s apparent that organizations should leverage on such technologies to increase their interaction speed with customers. After all, as the saying goes, time is money and money is time.

Now are you going to be in that 1998 time line and get left behind? Or are you willing to enhance your organization’s interaction with customers?

I would like to end this blog post with a video that basically sums up the very essence of social media and why you should take advantage of it:


  • Neagu, C. 2009. Social Media, Evolution and History
  • Benckenstein, G. 2009. Social Media Importance for Companies and Institutions
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    Adding Social networking to Starbucks Coffee

    17 09 2010

    Social networking sites have become the norm of today’s business world. Whether it’s a physical or virtual business, if you limit its online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, Digg and more, it’s missing out significant opportunities. This is simply because the internet provides powerful networking connections that enable companies to target potential customers, business partners and employees. On top of that, companies are realizing that the richest source of insight, ideas, data, and information are gained from leveraging the collective intelligence of public and corporate users.

    Innocentive (2010) – “The horse and buggy industry didn’t die because automobiles came along. It died because it didn’t figure out how to adapt to the new marketplace.”

    That’s what modern companies are doing. They are adapting to the marketplace and finding the right strategies to succeed. Companies who endeavor in such manner will surely be ahead of others.

    Corporate using Social networks

    Starbucks is a perfect example of a company utilizing social networking sites as opposed to the horse and buggy industry. They are literally taking advantage of some of the most trendy social sites out there and are doing exceptionally well with their social media strategy. So much so, that they have attained over 1,046,000 followers on Twitter and over 13,767,000 fans on Facebook. There’s definitely something good about that!

    My Starbucks Idea
    It’s a consumer portal that allows Starbucks customers to share their ideas. Whether it’s revolutionary or simple they are encouraging customers to throw in their ideas and to join the discussion of other people’s ideas. It’s a brilliant strategy that allows Starbucks to analyze what the customer really wants. They do this by allowing the public to contribute their ideas, and from that people can vote or suggest additional ideas. Starbucks is more than just about coffee and that’s exactly what they are trying to point out by getting the community involve. For instance, one of their customers posted “I don’t like the loud music at Starbucks” and someone else replied “Music at Starbucks should always be soft background music and no loud obnoxious music. After all Starbucks is not a tavern”. The more customers agree with this, the more likely Starbucks will apply the idea.

    Starbucks on Twitter
    Their Twitter account allows them to communicate directly and indirectly to customer issues and complaints. It’s a convenient way for them to respond to their customers as well since it does not require anything more than a 140 characters. Having such limitation will also allow their posts/replies to be more concise rather than long paragraphs of text. This enables both Starbucks and customers to communicate more efficiently. In addition, Starbucks can reach out to users who prefer using Twitter as opposed to other social sites, hence increasing their market opportunities.

    Starbucks on Facebook
    Similar to Twitter, Facebook is another way for them to converse with their 13.7 million fans while providing them with other useful contents such as: Videos, blog posts, and photos. They have also been using Facebook to invite fans to their part events. They had 244,000 people who attended to one of their events, but I’m not entirely sure if all of them actually attended it. Furthermore, it’s another option for Starbucks to reach out to customers who are more actively involved on Facebook.

    Starbucks on YouTube
    There are over 7,600 subscribers on Starbucks YouTube Channel and as many as 5.4 million has viewed their videos in total. The implementation of YouTube has allowed Starbucks to share various commercial and informational videos explaining the origins of the different coffee blends and some of their charity work videos. This has allowed them to enhance their company’s name by demonstrating their activities around the world and how it’s not just about coffee. There’s a story behind every Starbucks coffee you purchase. Watch the commercial below:

    Starbucks on Flickr
    One of the many social networking sites that Starbucks has ignored was Flickr. There are quite a few fan pages such as Starbucks, and Starbucks Coffee, but it’s not an official Flickr account made by Starbucks themselves. Instead, they have decided to sponsor existing groups to encourage their photo updates.

    Overall, Starbucks is definitely a company who has gain benefits from applying web 2.0 strategies and this is a significant consideration for many other companies who wants to succeed. As long as they continue to endeavor in the right marketing tools, Starbucks will definitely be far away from the horse and buggy industry.

    Personal experience with Social Networking Sites
    Well as far as I’m concerned Facebook is the only networking site that I’m actively on and after being a member for approximately 5 years I’ve experienced a couple of things that I would like to share. The biggest concern with any networking sites are its privacy issues. Not many are aware of the sort of information that their putting online and it becomes difficult when you’re information are revealed to anonymous users without you being aware of it. I’ve seen a couple of acquaintances who would post “inappropriate” pictures that would offend others. Pictures that would cause arguments in a relationship or even divorce and pictures that would get someone fired from their job. For instance, one of my acquaintances who worked for a bank decided to pose with several $500 bills and it was posted on Facebook. After a couple a couple of days the manager of the bank called and was fired immediately. What’s even worse is that they probably saved the picture as a record of proof for future awareness. When it heard of this incident, it was like a slap to reality. I realized even if it’s just a random photo that shows off a couple of $500 bills it would have definitely affected the Bank’s image. And based on this experience, it showed me how fragile some contents can be. I was more conscious with the type of contents I would post on Facebook and if I think it would offend someone, I would set the privacy settings to private for that particular content.

  • Gray, M. 2009. Starbuck Recipe For Social Media Success
  • Innocentive. 2010. The Future of Innovation
  • Noff, A. 2010. The Starbucks Formula for Social Media Success
  • Swartz, J. 2008. Social Networking Sites Help Companies Boost Productivity
  • Swearingen, J. 2008. Social Networking for Business

  • Enterprise 2.0 in Action

    7 08 2010

    What is enterprise 2.0
    In our highly competitive global economy, businesses are striving to be on top of each other. Today, Enterprise 2.0 is a rapidly growing hype for many businesses. It is an ingenious integration of web 2.0 technologies being utilized in a business environment. It revolutionized a dramatic change to many CIO’s philosophy about IT. Instead of having a single trend taking the lead in corporate computing, Enterprise 2.0 employs all of these new technologies and models (Rangaswami, 2006). In order to fully understand its principles, let’s take a closer look at how a company is implementing it.
    Using Web 2.0
    Old SpiceOld Spice products were founded in 1934 by a company called Shulton. It has a range of fragrant products ranging from body wash, aftershave, deodorant, perfumes, and more (Khan, 2009). The products were a hit back then and was mainly targeted at older men with “experience” (Experience Is Everything Commercial). However, Old Spice needed a way to boost its market for younger men and women. So they turned to social media and rapidly utilized all of the web 2.0 tools like, YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. Already, the Old Spice YouTube channel has 75 million total upload views.
    One of the most popular Old Spice commercials (featuring ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa):

    Check out his fan pages:
    youtubelogomini facebook-logo Twitter logo
    Business Model
    As a result of its new and trendy commercials, the Old Spice that made people think of that old guy down the street is once again a “cool” brand to have. Furthermore, they were being open to allow customers to participate via Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter to generate ideas. They even allowed customers to send silly questions such as “How do I get women to stop chasing me after I use Old Spice body wash?” And Mustafa would normally video-reply them on YouTube with humorous answers (Bradley, 2010).
    It’s all about getting the customers input.
    Overall, the company learned that it’s important to provide some control to their customers. Traditionally, commercials would normally take months or even years to complete. However, by leveraging the collective intelligence of their customers’ input, Old Spice was able to produce a more successful commercial than ever before (Gaudin, 2010).

  • Bradley, T. 2010. Old Spice Man: Campaign Your Marketing Could Look Like
  • Gaudin, S. 2010. Old Spice Smells Like Social Media Success
  • Khan, R. 2009. Old Spice History
  • Rangaswami, M. R. 2006. The Birth of Enterprise 2.0

  • How to blog successfully

    31 07 2010

    You’ve probably blogged a couple of times before; maybe because your life or job depends on it, maybe you’re forced as it is a school requirement, or maybe you’re just blogging because it’s cool and everyone’s doing it. Well, whatever the reasons may possibly be, I hope this post will give you some useful insights about blogging and not just plain malarkey.
    So sit down, relax, grab a cold beverage and share your thoughts with me.
    Almost anyone can create their own blogs with various free blog publishing tools on the internet. Blogger for example, makes it simple to post text, photos, and videos without the need of any particular technical skill. Although creating it may seem simple, making it standout from the rest of the crowd is a battle. A successful blog is when it has loyal followers who read, interact and share the post that you have created on a regular basis (Langdon, 2010). The reason for their success is based on several ingenious practices that the bloggers themselves have implemented.
    For example, the header of a blog is critical because it’s most likely the first thing a visitor would see. Another words, it’s the first impression of your blog. So it’s worth spending sometime to create something that will attract your audience (Knight, 2009).
    According to in 2008, there were up to 133 million total blogs indexed since the company started (Kirkpatrick, 2008). That’s excluding other blog sites that are not recorded! So just imagine the competition involve in order to be discovered on a search engine. This all boils down to the importance of keeping a highly searched keyword as your blog title which is essential for attracting visitors.
    Make use of other web 2.0 applications like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and more. Linking your blogs to some of these social networking sites of your choice could potentially improve your blogs branding and therefore increase the number of visitors. Additionally, this has influenced a lot of businesses who are rapidly leveraging the technology which is also known as enterprise 2.0.
    Here’s a short clip of how enterprise 2.0 could enhance your business:

    Here are some excellent blogs that I’ve found interesting:
    1. Sacha Chua
    Sacha Chua Preview
    It’s a very simple blog with clear icons which links to different categories of the blogs. The posts are mostly short, concise and very easy to read. It’s obvious that the writer is a passionate blogger who writes purely about her interests.
    2. Tutorial9
    tutorial9 preview
    Tutorial9 is a very appealing and high detailed website that conveys its purpose clearly. All of the navigations are obvious tabs with icons included to catch the attention of the readers. It encourages the readers to explore more because it’s easy to navigate.
    3. Home Design Find
    home design find preview
    The blog’s title clearly describes the whole idea to its readers and its eye-catching design makes it unique form other blogs. The images on the right provide a positive mood to targeted audiences and encourage them to explore if they are interested in the blog’s topic.
    For more fascinating blog examples, visit that rates the top 100 blogs.
    Personal blogging experience
    Honestly, I don’t blog that often, but from my experience blogging has a lot of benefits. For instance, it provides the extra exposure to the public, wherein readers from all over the internet are able to interact with your blogs (e.g. comments). This would allow you to get different opinions that might improve your knowledge about a particular subject. In my opinion, blogging is a way of sharing my thoughts that may help others, it also allows me to express myself more confidently, and it allows me to record relevant moments of what I’ve been through.
    Checkout the links below for more successful blogging tips:

  • 5 Elements to Start a Blog Successfully
  • How to Blog Successfully
  • Top Ten Blog Tips
  • Daily Blog Tips

  • Knight, K. 2009. Blog Headers: 20 Great examples and best practices
  • Kirkpatrick, M. 2008. State of the Blogosphere 2008
  • Langdon, L. 2010. 50 Examples of Great Blog Engagement

  • Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability – YouTube

    8 05 2010


    Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

    During the earlier stages of the web developments the information that you see was very static. Users’ were only able to read and view pictures from the webmasters’ site, which was also known as “Web 1.0”. However, in today’s era, the emergence of Web 2.0 has revolutionized the way we use and view online information. This development has attracted a lot of organizations to incorporate and take the advantage of its potential to leverage a cost effective business scalability, which is applied to business models as well as technology (Watson, 2010). In addition, organizations are being influenced and actively investigating in the innovative ideas to learn from major web players such as Amazon, eBay, Live, Google, Yahoo and many of the social networking websites.
    When applying web 2.0 in a business model there are two primary areas that online organizations focuses on; this is the improvement of the organizations efficiency and productivity, and its service to customers to improve revenue and customers satisfaction (Platt, 2010). A great example of this would be an application that we have all probably have heard and used — YouTube. It is an ideal application that demonstrates the use of scalability in an online organization. According to Watson (2010), the motto for web companies before was “get big fast”, now it’s “small is the new big”. To put it into scale and better clarification, YouTube has approximately 4.8 million users which was developed by a pre-google team of 2 system administrators, 2 software architects, 2 feature developers, 2 network engineers and 1 database administrator (NumberOfNet, 2010).
    YouTube’s business model basically revolves around its users. People in general love to be entertained and YouTube is very good at delivering that by allowing video uploads. It harnesses the collective intelligence of the users’ talents by allowing them to produce contents, which is used for generating revenue through online advertisement (Sain, 2010).
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    Like YouTube, there are several other online video sites out there which are trying to compete. Some of the top 5 video websites are; YouTube, MySpaceTV, Google Video, Yahoo! Video, and Veoh. However, YouTube has the largest market share standing at 75% among all its competitors. According to Kirkpatrick (2008), YouTube’s dominance in online video was bigger than Google’s dominance in search. This caused the nearest competitor, MySpaceTV to suffer a dramatic decrease in its market shares which fell from 44% to 9%.
    Critical and strategic implications
    Technology has assisted people in performing their tasks more efficiently and to get results more quickly. The internet has allowed us to do this by spreading information fast in many ways; you can upload your text, pictures and most all videos. YouTube has given that advantage to its users and many are making use of it by advertising their videos (e.g. commercials and trailers). It is also a way for businesses to save money by uploading their advertisement on YouTube because it’s free and accessible by the public. An old saying goes “A picture is worth a thousands words”, hence by having a video that shows multiple images you will be able to expand its meaning dramatically (Wong, 2010).
    Here’s a Beautiful Coca Cola Commercial:
    Other than that, the convenience of having an online video has allowed other organizations to look at it as a new mode of business communication. Since YouTube videos are easy to distribute companies are using them to reduce the training costs, and the costs of customer support. Instead of calling or physically meeting up with employees videos can be distributed within an organization. This is also another way for YouTube to improve its revenue. If the prices are reasonable – $5 or $10 for a few thousand views of a 20 second bit, people will pay. In addition, YouTube will be able to leverage this advantage over existing organizations as a video solution because it’s fun, easy, and appealing for people to use it (IC, 2006).
    Legal and ethical issues
    One of the biggest issues with YouTube is the copyright infringement of videos being uploaded. Its rapid growth and network effect has caught many consumers and marketers to use videos as an advertising solution. One of the main reasons why people love to use YouTube is the ability to watch previous television shows such as CSI or watch segmented documentaries from Discovery/National Geographic. However, YouTube never had the permission to actually air these recorded videos and they are making a lot of money off them for FREE! Furthermore, some of you might have experienced unavailable videos on YouTube that has been deleted due to copyright infringement. People are positing videos without the right to do so, leaving YouTube to clean up the mess before the video-sharing site finds itself involved in another legal mess (Jones, 2007).
    Future directions
    According to some analysts, YouTube has a promising future, but it might also face a dreadful unforeseen future like the original Napster. Either it’s going to be sued and will lose, or the company will be forced to take down much of the contents that users like. YouTube is hoping to convince the Universal Music Groups of the world in order to show a promising future for everyone to make money. As an example, companies like NBC have already begun to upload promotional clips to advertise their shows like Prison Break. In addition, YouTube has done an excellent job in providing great services to its users in order to maintain a strong traffic. The contents are very interesting, advertising is minimal, and the contents are readily available for a multitude of online devices (Bangeman, 2006).

  • Bangeman, E. 2006. YouTube’s Future (or lack thereof) (accessed May 8, 2010)
  • IC. 2006. A YouTube Business Model in the Enterprise (accessed May 8, 2o1o)
  • Jones, A. 2007. YouTube’s Legal Issues Grow (accessed May 8, 2010)
  • Kirkpatrick, M. 2008. YouTube Continues to Destroy All Competitors in Declining Video Market (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • NumberOfNet. 2010. Number of YouTube Users (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Platt, M. 2010. The Architecture Journal: Web 2.0 in the Enterprise (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Sain, L. 2010. A look at YouTube’s business model (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Watson, J. 2010. Week Ten Lecture: Web 2.0 Application (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Wong, R. 2010. The power of online video (accessed May 8, 2010)

  • Leveraging the Long Tail – Netflix

    1 05 2010

    Long tail is a new strategy of doing business in today’s market. It’s a way of adapting to a more radical business approach with the use of the many wonders of the internet. Traditional businesses would concentrate to sell their most popular products and ignore the others, in order to reduce the costs of having an inventory. However, the same case does not apply with the use of the internet because it eliminates the costs of maintaining an inventory and the geography. Furthermore, businesses would really need to understand if the ignored products are a problem to the market. If it’s a big issue in the market and it’s what the customers are looking for, then catering those ignored products would be highly profitable (Kaw, 2009).
    Netflix is a good example that implements this long tail strategy because of its unique offer to its customers. For instance, there are various popular shows on TV that people would normally catch at a certain time (e.g. Heroes). Unfortunately, through time some of these shows will lose its popularity and might possibly be removed due to the lack of viewers. However, this is where Netflix comes in because loyal viewers would be able to rent shows like Heroes. They would also be able to view previous seasons or episodes that they have missed out. In addition, this allows loyal viewers to watch their shows in their own schedule and without commercials (Gutierrez, 2005).
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    Other than Netflix there are other similar companies, such as, Wal-Mart, LoveFilm, Movielink, and Blockbuster Video. One of Netflix’s biggest competitors is Blockbuster, which is also one of the world’s largest in-store video rentals. Although both of them are very similar in terms of their renting prices, they both still have their own unique features. Blockbuster’s Total Access and Netflix’s Streaming movies (E-consumerguide, 2007).
    Critical and strategic implications
    Netflix has an Application Programming Interface (API) which allows anyone to build their own Netflix-integrated applications for their own website, desktop, mobile devices or TV. Users are able download the application for free with a provided online forum. In addition, the Netflix API has allowed developers to help promote the company by creating mobile applications. There are currently applications that run on an Android platform; a Nokia app was recently released by Netflix. They are basically treating customers as co-developers in order to rapidly improve their application, which is also an effective debugging strategy (Wikipedia, 2010).
    According to Netflix, this will allow the developer community to:

  • Find new ways for their subscribers to enjoy movies whether or not they’re looking at our site.
  • Encourage innovation, especially around movie choosing and watching.
  • Build Netflix awareness by offering developers a new customer bounty of $16, through our partner Google.
    Legal and ethical issues
    Netflix has the capability to allow customers to stream TV shows online which is very convenient. However, there are some that abuses the system by using recording applications to capture the streaming video. Furthermore, in a worse case scenario, it will eventually get distributed to other users which will affect the movie industry and Netflix itself. In addition, there have also been complains regarding Netflix movie suggestions to individual customers. They seem to repeat the same movie recommendation even after the customers declare that they have zero interest in seeing the movie. This may seem like Netflix is stuffing customers with their own recommendations instead of analysing the most appropriate movie taste for each individual customers (Freeberg, 2006).
    Future directions
    In the near future, Netflix is focusing on expanding its streaming capabilities to a whole range of different devices. This would allow Netflix to not only stream on computers, but it would be able to cater for devices such as, Xbox 360, TiVo HD DVR, Roku Digital Video Player, and on LG and Samsung Blu-Ray players. For instance, the ability to watch Netflix streaming movies on an iPhone will dramatically make it convenient for movie lovers. The key to its growth for the future of video distribution lies on the increasing bandwidth in online access (Begun, 2009).

  • Begun, D. A. 2009. The Future of Netflix is All About Streaming (accessed April 20, 2010)
  • E-consumerguide. 2007. Blockbuster Online VS Netflix (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Freeberg, D. 2006. What Netflix Needs To Learn From Pandora (accessed April 30, 2010)
  • Gutierrez, F. 2005. Let the Invisible Hand grab your Long Tail (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Kaw, P. 2009. 6 Ways to Leverage the Long Tail in Your Marketing (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Netflix API (accessed April 29, 2010)

  • Perpetual Beta – Google Maps

    25 04 2010

    The wide availability of the internet has allowed developers to benefit from the users by treating us as co-developers. The idea of a perpetual beta application simply means that it is “unfinished” and it is also an ongoing process of frequent improvements and repairs. Newly discovered applications might be a wonderful idea that might be appealing to the market, but in order for it to be successful developers endeavor in fine-tuning their applications according to user expectations. This also ensures that end users are crystal clear on what they are using at the stage of development (Concursive Fusion, 2007).

    Google Maps is an ideal example of perpetual beta because it is constantly updating and improving seamlessly. This is what makes perpetual beta more attractive compared to the conventional software beta because the updates do not take you by surprise due to the much smaller changes. For instance, users are able to get to where they want in a more convenient way by getting precise directions to shops, restaurants, public transportations and more. The world is constantly changing, so it is important to update these changes as promptly as possible in order to maintain the reliability of information. Users have the privilege to write directly to Google for any edits or suggestions. There are also various Google applications that incorporates the map-based services, such as, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, Google Latitude, Google Flu Shot Finder and various maps on third-party websites (e.g. Geo-tags) (Wikipedia, 2010).
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    There are a various geographical map applications out there and like Google Maps they all share similar functions. It is one of the most well known map applications being utilized by not only computers, but other mobile devices (e.g. iPhone GPS). In addition, some of the various top competitors of Google Maps are, Feedmap, Geo IP Tool, Wayfaring, Yahoo Local, Flagr, Placeopedia, and Gvisit (Yadav, 2009).
    Critical and strategic implications
    The number of growing users has allowed Google Maps to expand and develop different geographical applications. In 2005, when the application was just released, users were only able to view streets in an aerial perspective. However, with the vast developments and improvements different functions have emerged, such as, street view, topographic view, traffic info, GPS integration, and 3D terrains of exotic monuments. In addition, Google has created Google Maps API for developers to implement the application into their websites with their own personalized data points to provide flexibility (Wikipedia, 2010).
    Legal and ethical issues
    In spite of the vast enhancements and developments, various legal and ethical issues have been raised. For instance, when the Street View functionality was released users were able to view streets within a 360-degree level imagery for various places around the world. These images are not in real time and they can be several years old, which is why Google has provided the ability for users to report for problems in order to maintain the accuracy of data.
    Another issue is the privacy of the images being utilized which might include objects or people that might be objectionable. Therefore, in order to respect and ensure an individual’s privacy, Google has made it easy for us to completely remove any images that might affect our privacy (e.g. pictures of ourselves, families, cars, or houses) (Weiss, 2009).
    Future directions
    Google Maps are growing rapidly and changing the way we view the world. We as users are able to view places in the world with just a few finger clicks. Today, earth is not the only geographical map application available for free. Google has other geographical applications with the help and support of NASA to develop, Google Moon, Google Mars, and Google Sky – they are taking their journey into Space (Lewis, 2005).

  • Concursive Fusion. 2007. The Benefits of Beta Software (accessed April 22, 2010).
  • Chitu A. 2007. Perpetual Beta (accessed April 23, 2010).
  • Lewis, L. 2005. NASA Takes Google on Journey into Space (accessed April 24, 2010).
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Google Maps (accessed April 23, 2010).
  • Weiss, R. T. 2009. Personal Spy Gear (accessed April 25, 2010).
  • Yadav, H. 2009. Top 8 Online free map application to find any geographical location in the world (accessed April 23, 2010).

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