EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Inspiration

I don't mean to get all Bill Murray on you...

...but Christmas was a special time for me this year. Not because of any specific event, but because I got to spend a wonderful few days with an amazing family. And my favorite part was the ability I have to give to them and the ability I have to give to others.

Not everyone has that time. Not everyone has the family I (or you) may have.

But everyone has the chance to experience that spirit of giving.

It doesn't have to be Christmas or any other holiday. It doesn't have to be yesterday or tomorrow or any day but today. Give. Give your time. Give your wisdom. Give your heart. Help someone. Now.

"You can make them a sandwich and say 'By the way: HERE!' ...then the miracle can happen to you too!"

I guess I did just get all Bill Murray on you.


You'll be better for it. All of us will.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Video Overlap: FailBlog's Top 10 FAILs ++

So good it deserves its own post.

...and I've really just got to stop with YouTube today. Here are the Sleep Sweepers:

Friday Vids: FFXIII, Iron Man 2, Toyota Sexist? (+ Stoned Cats)

Another Friday, another bunch of videos, and always more to love. To keep the streak going, we're going to continue to geek out on you, starting with some video games:

IGN Daily Fix

Final Fantasy XIII has been released!

...in Japan. Check that fanfare!

So pleased it will be coming to Xbox360.

And the Jessica from the Fix was right...

Iron Man 2 Trailer

...is frickin' awesome!

Noms for the eyes.

Toyota Yaris: FAIL or WIN?

So Toyota Australia had this idea: jump into the social media bus and try to steer it a little in their direction. They solicited user-generated entries for ads for the Toyota Yaris AND let the world decide which one would win.

The following video, the winner, is safe for work, but the language is VERY double-entendre and has been called worse things than sexist. And they're Australian.

And a barrage of bloggers and tweeps and "opposition" popped up and had that winner pulled before going to air.

So, the question is: fail or win? I think their idea was a win, but the result of the idea was questionable. But not a fail. It's a lesson learned for anyone trying to exploit social media. You're herding cats. It can be a win and a fail. And when you're dumping something onto the internet, you're not just dealing with your consumers. You're dealing with every single person who has nothing better to do during the day than become offended by something and write letters.

But in a way, this is a huge success. Lots of coverage, lots of media - at least on the internet. And if you think about it, when user-generated content generates more content, you've arrived. I present a parody of the marketing initiative that led to the Yaris experiment:

Random: Catweed

So here's something relatively random: cats getting high on plants. Weird thing is, it was in my search results for the Yaris. Not so weird it turns out: the clever bugger listed the video description as:
Fresh Organic Chronic Catnip @ www.catweed.com .Toyota Yaris - Clean Getaways commercial rocks, now catweed rocks.
See? SEO isn't exactly magic ;)

Now, for those stoned kittehs!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twitter Wed: 2009 Trends, Chris Brown, Contributors, Games?


So in 2009 --

Beat Down n Quittin'

No, sorry, let's just get this over with. Chris Brown quit Twitter. He flipped out online at Walmart when he didn't see his album. It looked like this:
im not biting my tongue about [expletive] else… the industry can kiss my [expletive].
 … yeah i said it and i aint retracting [expletive]
Oh noes! Boo hoo! Perhaps beating the snot out of Rihanna wasn't the right publicity move.

So in 2009...

Twitter's main trending topics for the year have been released. People topping the list were Michael Jackson, Susan Boyle, Adam Lambert, Kobe, and that guy we already talked about above. In topics, Swine flu picked up two slots in the top ten thanks to the hash tag and Iran-related pulled three, including the #1 spot. Harry Potter beat out New Moon in movies (hehehe), "Super Bowl" took sports, and "Google Wave" took the tech category.

Twitter Contributors

Twitter's branching out to business appeal by testing a contributor feature where multiple users could be included under one corporate or business entity. They've had teams of bloggers on one blog for years now. Not entirely surprising it's coming to microblogging. But Mashable has some great screen shots to round out the experience.

In a completely unrelated yet equally unsurprising move, Facebook is prepping to allow public updates to go to Twitter. Um, Linkedin went dual wield over a month ago, Tweetdeck already hooks me into Facebook, Linkedin, and MySpace, and Ping.fm is the one ring to rule them all. Is this really news?

Game Killers - this was going to be bold until I realized it really just fit into the same category. Again, unsurprisingly, your favorite annoying genre of Facebook games is coming to you through Twitter. Great. Maybe now I can get Farmville from both sides. W00t!

So that's it for this week's headlines. What Twitter news have you heard? Let me know your fav's and I'll probably use them next week. Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Networking: Do the 1-on-1

Often times, as a social media evangelist of sorts, I get the question: "Okay, so I'm on all these sites, but what now? Where is this all supposed to lead?" And because generally I hear this question at a networking event, my answer is "You're already here."

Social, online media has the unfortunately intuitive feel of something that is supposed to distance you from people. However, I always argue that the opposite is true: social media is a tool that you can use to extend your presence, enforce your branding, and - perhaps most importantly - get out there and meet people. You may have a killer product and great marketing plan, but without action, without shaking hands and interacting in the real world, you are but a cannonball without gunpowder.

So my comment about networking events being the end of that road, while appropriate, is not entirely accurate. Getting out there is great and if you're lucky you get a chance to pop a 30 second commercial and add awareness of your product and/or brand. But let's go one step further: The 1-on-1.

What's That?

Getting in front of 30 or 50 people and dropping spiel is the shotgun approach, and it works fine for getting a rough idea of what everyone in the group does. But some of those shots in the air should look to you like flares. How so?

For example, EJM Designs Limited is all about web design, SEO, and internet marketing. A great way for me to grow my business is to get to know people who run or work for collaborative enterprises, such as a public relations company who might not have a dedicated web person or a print company or a marketing company. But it doesn't have to be limited to those relationships.

I get ahead of myself. If someone has piqued your interest, simply approach them and see if there's a time to get a coffee or have lunch together to learn more about their business. If you're shy, don't worry too much about it. It's not a date. It's a business 1-on-1.

So What Happens Then?

You get together for lunch or coffee (I prefer coffee; not a huge fan of eating a meal while trying to have a discussion) and you talk about yourself and your business and the other person talks about their business and you see if there's any way to help each other out. The conversation is about trust and comfort while at the same time learning about the other person and their business. It generally takes about an hour and ends with a "Thank you" and a much fuller understanding of what that person does and how you can help.

In the way that a networking event is social, a 1-on-1 is personal. You're both investing time in understanding the other to develop a stronger business bond.

A Couple Tips

  • This is not a sales call - This is about building a business relationship, not selling your 1-on-1. There is no better way to turn OFF someone to being another champion voice for your cause than to push them into buying what you're selling

  • LISTEN. This is a two-way conversation. Another turn-off: someone who won't pause for a second to ask for feedback.

  • Ask questions - The only way to make sure you have a clear understanding of what that other person does.

  • Ask if they have any other questions - make sure they understand you.

  • When discussion your business, always mention your target customer or client, and ask about theirs if they don't.

And that's about all there is to it. Do this at least once a week and before you know it, you've got many, many advocates for you and your business and the growth will show for it. Just remember to offer yourself as a resource first, to focus on giving, and you'll be surprised at what can happen.

So what about you? Have you had a 1-on-1 recently? How did it work out for you? Do you have any questions if you haven't done this?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inspired on Monday by the Little Things

Inspiration does not always have to evolve from a magnanimous event or insight. Sometimes it's the little things.

This morning, I went out to have a 1-on-1 coffee (more in tomorrow's post) with a networking friend and on the way back stopped for gas. While filling up, I checked my fluids and noted I needed to top off my oil and my engine coolant. I unscrewed my oil cap, set it on the air filter casing, dumped the quart of oil through the lovely, BP-provided paper funnel, and pulled it up to take it to the garbage. Another paper filter later, I'd topped the coolant and dropped the hood.

On the way home, the feeling of contentment that comes with keeping up on basic car maintenance dropped into the pit of my stomach as I realized that I was driving on the highway and could not remember screwing the cap back on the top of the engine block where I put the oil in. Bad. So bad. Did I lose the cap? Is is going to spurt out hot oil and catch on fire under the hood? Ooh, I don't want to be that guy on the side of the road, holding up traffic while my car is on fire and the local fire dept. comes to put it out - always just a little too late!

But I made it home and immediately popped the hood. Yes, the cap was gone, but nothing was burning. And then I looked around. The cap was wedged into the fan assembly and hadn't fallen out.


Bonus? The rake handle I'd cursed myself for not tossing out weeks before was instrumental in dislodging the cap so I could put it back on.

...and that made my day. It was wonderful. It was partially my own fault that caused the minor drama, but success at the end of anything is still success.

Message: Accept the little victories. Say "Thank You." And have a great day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Videos: Pee Wee Returns, Gap Girls, Dog Fail

Pee Wee Herman Returns

Well it's about time!

Gap Girls

Why does this video scare the heck out of me?

Dog Fail

...and that is all! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How Google Wave Hasn't Changed My Life

I was jonesing like many of you, geek-grade salivating over the prospect of getting in on The Wave. I sent out innocuous queries, suggestions with a tone of *wink-wink* and then resorted to all-out begging. And then a friend of mine sent me the invite. A week later, I just about jumped out of a gathering and ran all the way home like Charlie Bucket with the Golden Ticket when I saw the invite appear in my inbox on my Palm Pre.

And I got home and I opened the email and I clicked the link - BUT NOT before watching the 80 minute video of the presentation so I could get in there and hit the ground running and I got in and set some profile bits so everyone could see my pic and knew who I was.

And then I went "Hrm? What now?"

It was like this whiteboard image I later found on a wave:

So what's the problem with Google Wave?

Well, aside from it being a little slow and draggy and buggy (but not that much), the primary problem is finding people to collaborate with. But I digress. Allow me to begin with...

What is Google Wave?

Google Wave is an online collaboration platform created as a thought experiment by Google as "What would email look like if it were created today?"

One person creates a wave. They can then add people to that wave. Those people can add others, etc. Anyone attached to that wave can edit any message inside that wave or insert their own addition at any point, all in real time. You can drag and drop documents, images, etc., and edit those in real time. You can embed a wave in a webpage. And you an add "public" as a member of the wave and open it up to public search so the world can join in.

Beginning Moments

So still, there I was, looking expectantly at the interface like it was going to solve world hunger or something, but I saw nothing. Just the welcome wave sent to me by Google. Okay. So how do I turn this thing on? Turn it into the collaborative juggernaut it's meant to be?

The Floodgates

With help from the interwebs I was able to figure out the "with:public" search and BLAMMO! The floodgates opened! Dozens - nay, hundreds - of waves popped in and out of most recently updated popularity and ...many of them were of little interest to me, many in languages I could not read.

So I did a search and followed (added myself to the wave) of a couple public waves like Ohio and Cincinnati and SEM. I even found one contact to add me to a New Media Cincinnati wave.

Glorified Chat

So right now, as I've found, Wave is existing primarily as a glorified chat engine. I love the layout and immediacy of it, but for the most part it's "Hey, I'm from Cincinnati and this is what I do! Hello World!" like back in the early 90's when you entered chat rooms in AOL.

I log on every day or two and see if any of the waves I'm following have any updates. I read them. And that's about all.

So, um... About That Collaboration

In an effort to truly do some collaboration, I used one of my invites to add my brother. We're working on a script about my Grandfather who came over to the US in '21 and his early life and subsequent entrance into WWII. Granted, he's got a Google Account, so we could just about do the same thing with Google Docs (where the script will live), but we'll give Wave a try in this regard and see how it works.

Closing Comments

Google Wave has a ways to go. First off, the people you might want to collaborate with need to be on it and they have to be willing to join yet another online service. The most interesting aspect of this is to get in there and just watch: What will Google Wave turn into? What will it eventually do? How will it change how we do things? Will it ever work properly on my Palm Pre?

And for those of you who found this looking for invites, I've got a dozen or so to hand out. Email me at eric AT ejmdesigns DOT com.

And if you're already on the Wave, I'd love to talk to you. I'm emarschall@googlewave.com.

What thoughts do you have? Interest in or fear of Google Wave? Let me know!

Extreme Projector Gaming

Must get one of these...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twitter Headlines! MSFailWhale, Muppets, and Black Friday


Microsoft tried to hang with the cool kids again by promoting a #holidaywindows hashtsag and had those display in the window in Saks in NYC. Guess what? It backfired as it was jacked by Apple lovers. Or, as Microsoft puts it: Nuh-uh!

And every week: OMG sports drama and OMG celebrity drama!

And Twitter (and the world) is totally in love with the Muppets' Bohemian Rhapsody

And if you haven't heard already, Facebook and Twitter are being rolled out in full force for Black Friday. Here's an article to get you started.

Have a great Turkey Day and never forget to give thanks for all the wonder in your life!

Web 2.0 FAIL

Web 2.0 Fail

Ever look into the mirror and see the back of your head? Weird.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Film: P-P-P-Poker Face, FAIL, Cute, Today Show

Will I ever consistently title this Friday post? No. Probably not. Friday Film good? Maybe Terrible Tube? We'll figure something out. Or not. Here's your ration:

Can't get enough p-p-p-poker face? Here's a triple dose with Lady Gaga vs. Christopher Walken vs. Cartman. Worth every second. A cowbell reference here would be trite.

Did somebody ask for an epic FAIL to wrap up their week? Of course! But you'll be emphatically sore for a while after watching See Saw Epic Fail

Ooh, sorry about that. I know it hurts. How about cute to cure that ache?

Dang. Too cute. How about some pseudo-news? Kid reporter on The Today Show? Deirdre. And the freak out that follows...

Good round for the week. Anything you would've included? Not included? Let me know, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Googling Out Tech Thursday

I'm a Google addict. I admit it. I use Gmail, Google Apps for my website email, Google Voice for my local number, and I've got a Google Wave invite coming from a friend as soon as Google gets on the stick and plops it in my inbox. I even occasionally drop Firefox for some Chrome browser time. So today we'll just talk a little about Google.

I just mentioned Google Chrome. How about a Google Chrome OS? "What's that?" you ask.

That's what that is. And today they open sourced Chromium OS a year before the OS is targeted for release. Sheesh!

If image search and vision technology are your thing, check out this info on Swirl, Google's new Labs pet that groups visually similar images. Sweet.

And while I could write thousands of words on Google stuff I'd like to close today that those of you waffling between iPhone and Android (Palm Pre's pretty sweet too, guys!), hold on to your panties. Reports this week reignite the hopes we all had what seems so long ago and it appears Google and HTC are Wonder Twin Powers activating a Google Phone. For reals. But what does that mean for the Droid?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twitter Headlines Wednesday: Gaming, Lists, and CSRs


Okay folks, let's make this quick. I've got to get to my DVRs of Heroes (yeah, I'm still doing that), CSI: Miami, NCIS, and V.

Looks like the mass integration of every social media interface to every other social media interface is almost complete. I've got my Tweetdeck pushing to Twitter and Facebook, my Linkedin linked in to Tweeting, and my ping.fm as the one site to rule them all.

And along comes Microsoft and Sony. Facebook and Twitter for everyone! (Okay, so the PS3 still lacks Tweet capability but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.) My biggest question is: Who wants to pause a battle with a Big Sister (reference to forthcoming Bioshock 2 - yay!) to txt a tweet about how you're going to have to reload your last save file? Interesting integration, but not sure how well it'll be received.

Twitter's doing some things to refine the lists process. Biggest complaint I have on the lists bit is: You rolled this out when I had almost 1000 followers? Now I need to categorize them? Argh.

Here's something happy about how a company can use Twitter to make customer service that much better.

And on the side: some sports pros angered their coaches, everyone's goofy over "New Moon" (Read some Anne Rice!), and something about Lady Gaga. Or something.

Until Next week, hold on to your Tweets! (or let them go, and if they come back they love you; if they don't, it was never meant to be.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Social Networking: Check the Politics at the Door?

I attend several networking events every week and for the most part I've been wonderfully pleased with the interactions, meeting people briefly, getting to know the face to the tweet, setting up some 1 on 1's. All very on the level, always a step in the right direction.

But I was at a networking event last week attended mostly by business owners and service providers and listened as someone used a good deal of their time to promote the Tea Party Movement. And I was quite surprised.

Cincinnati has always been described to me as leaning conservative. Hamilton County went for the Democratic candidate in the last presidential election. There is a good mix of people on both sides of the political spectrum in this - and most - cities around America. And right now, politically, people all over the country are very polarized. And to take a solid stance on one side of the political arena might be off-putting to those on the other ideological side.

I'm not going to dig into my own personal politics here, but I would have been just as surprised if someone had announced something as polarizing from the other side. Actually, I was. If I remember correctly someone else took some time to promote the idea of ending all war.

It all gets quite messy. But the purpose of this post is more to pose a few questions than anything. I respect anyone who has a passion about politics, a drive to change things for the better. But is a business networking meeting the right place to do that? Is it better to alienate a portion of your potential clientele or business contacts in order to build a greater respect from others? What do you think about mixing politics and business?

Is there a solid answer?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Videos: Wicked, Voice Acting, FAIL


This recording of the Glee cast recording the Wicked song "Defying Gravity" has gotten a lot of play and has turned people onto Glee as well as Wicked, which I saw at the Aronoff Center for the Arts about a year ago. I've never seen Glee, but did grow up (and still occasionally partake in) acting in the theatre. It's a fantastic song from an amazing musical.

Here's Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth performing Defying Gravity at the Tony Awards, if you want to know what it looks like. [insert superlative here]

Wouldn't want to get too silly with the art stuff when we could get silly with bad voice acting. Here's the top 50 worst voice acting clips from video games. Evar.

And then there' Risky Business Gone Wrong, for a piece of FAIL this week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twitter News Roundup: TV Fame, Durgs, Linkedin, You're Fat!


Twitter to TV

Examiner reports that CBS has ordered a script for a domestic comedy based on the Twitter account Sh*t My Dad Says. I'm blocking out the curse words for propriety sake, but if you haven't visited the account and don't mind cursing, go there now. Start at the beginning. There are less than 75 tweets - and if a script based on 75 tweets tells you anything, it's hilarious. Enjoy gems like this:
Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don't realize until later that it's because it f***ed you.

Does anyone your age know how to comb their f***ing hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started f***ing.
...and the rest will remain a wonderful surprise. Enjoy!

Point of this one? If you're clever enough, social media can vault you to popularity at a much higher level. That kid Fred on YouTube showed up on an episode of iCarly. Now a Twitter account with less than 75 tweets is deemed script-worthy. I'm waiting for the opening credits of a film to say "Based on a real Twitter Feed."

Durgs fur Eberybody!!

The drug industry is not complacent with magazines and ads on the teevee; they would like to have Adwords and Facebook and Twitter accounts too. And because they do not actually understand social media, they think that offers and information on pills will be of any value to any person's Twitter circle. Or we'd all join the Viagra Facebook fan page.

I believe they need a consultant. My contact information is on the right.

Twitter n Linkedin r Married!

Twitter's got some good things going with their integration with Linkedin. Turns out you can hit one and it populates the other's status. I hooked into Ping.fm this week and update 10+ statuses in one shot. So...meh.

Twitter-Equipped Bathroom Scale Tells the World How Much You Weigh

Kind of cool. But...why?

Yeah, I think that's about it for this week. Oh, and some celebs whined on Twitter and some coach got pissed about a player Tweeting disparaging remarks about his coaching, just like every week. But we're above that at this point.

Get into that first story. Hilarious.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Media Tuesday: Ping.fm

No, it's not a radio station or a ping-pong website, or a ping-pong website that works as a radio station that adjusts on how you play the game and your aggregate score.

Ping.fm went public a little over a year ago and hadn't been of much interest right away for me. What is it? It's a simple way to organize your updates if you just need to blast something out.

For example, I signed up for Ping.fm and linked my (deep breath) Twitter, Facebook, EJM Designs Facebook Page, MySpace, TBN Ning, Google Talk, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Plaxo, and Yahoo status.

I probably hit my Twitter 2-5 times a day, Facebook and LinkedIn every day or two, and ...wait. I still have a MySpace? Exactly. As a part of so many social networks, I don't really have the time to dig into every single site and update each status. And because stagnancy and silence is the death rattle of social media credibility, Ping.fm rocks out to that purpose. I'll still personalize my Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn more often, but to keep the rest fresh, I love this for a simple solution every couple days or so, or if something that important needs to be passed on.

The best part? Simple. Email, password, name if you choose. The rest is just setting up logins. One post and BLAMMO - everyone knows your business.

Let me know if you've had any experience with Ping.fm and if you have if it's been a positive or negative one.

Bonus Trivia: the top-level domain name ".fm" is for the Federated States of Micronesia. Awesome!

Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Get the Internet

From Sky
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has suggested the company's online newspaper pages will be invisible to Google users when it launches its new paid content strategy.

He claimed that readers who randomly reach a page via an internet search hold little value to advertisers.

When asked by Sky News Australia's political editor David Speers why News Corp has not stopped Google from finding its content, Mr Murdoch replied: "I think we will."

(feel free to watch it)

This is quite possibly the most naive thing I've heard about content on the internet - or the internet in general - in a long while. I remember the moment, actually. Perhaps Mr. Murdoch and Ex-Senator Ted Stevens should get coffee. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you may want to review Stevens' Senate floor terribly inaccurate diatribe about how the internet works while arguing against net neutrality. "Series of tubes" ring a bell?

But back to Murdoch. First off, many national news websites publish their news as re-extruded wire news, so the idea that anyone is "stealing" content by reading it is absurd. Secondly, what does Mr. Murdoch see as the reality of the situation, if he really intends to block all content from Google?

For example, let's say this ludicrous plan gains some legs and Fox News gets blocked. Okay. Then you've got to block all Fox affiliates. That's right, that means that Fox19 here in Cincinnati and every other local Fox station would need to be blocked as well. And because local television station URLs are not standardized, unless you've got it bookmarked or memorized, you can't exactly Google it. And then once you get there you have to pay to read the content.

People have, for much too long, come to expect free news on the internet with little hassle. Attention spans are measured by portions of seconds. Taking an entire news enterprise and hiding it from content aggregators and search engines is a death sentence for that enterprise. If someone cannot find your content or has to work harder for that content, especially if most of that content can be found elsewhere for free, that someone will go elsewhere and you and your business will wilt.

I'm not even sure if I can put into words how silly this idea is. Or if I already did.

This is why you hire experts to educate and speak when you do not know how something - especially something as ubiquitous as the internet - works.

And what's the take-home? I'm not just poking at Murdoch for the lulz (and there are many), but all too often I see people making decisions about websites and businesses that are represented by them that are not informed decisions. We are an internet culture, and anything less than a polished, comprehensive web presence does not cut it anymore. If you don't know if you're where you need to be, talk to somebody who does. If you don't know somebody, call us. It's free.

Now have a great day!

Bonus insight: "News Corporation is a major shareholder in BSkyB, which owns Sky News," meaning that if Mr. Murdoch had already had his way, I probably wouldn't have known about it or posted this because Sky would've already been strong-armed into hiding their own content.

Bonus question: When I say Murdoch, what do you think of first: a news mogul, MacGyver's nemesis, or the crazy one on The A-Team?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Motivation Monday: Inside and Out

How do you get out of bed in the morning? What drives your awakening? What's the fuel for that drive?

Some people wake up every morning and think about reasons to do what they do that revolve around how much money they'll make or how much closer they are to a flat screen plasma or simply making sure their boss or spouse doesn't get angry at them. That's what's called extrinsic motivation: a push you derive from something outside of yourself. It can be either a potential positive or avoiding a negative. Either way, it's gaining some peace of mind from what is "out there" in one form or another.

Other people wake every morning with a drive that comes from something internal: intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation could be a focus on a certain challenge you know exists, something that conquering would deliver personal satisfaction. The desire to do well for the simple desire to do well is that internal drive.

So what?

Extrinsic motivation depends on other aspects of rewarding for fruition: a pat on the back from the boss, enough money to buy a new car. And intrinsic motivation is driven without those "things" and is dependent only upon yourself. Of course it also only leaves yourself to blame.

But I tend to look at it this way: Every challenge I meet and beat and every hurdle I jump, I get to see myself grow. A television or a car can break, a boss's validation can be temperamental. Success in yourself and faith in yourself is not stuff, and becomes a solidified part of not just you, but how you deal with the world.

Bring on the success.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tech Geek Thursday: Anti-Gravity, Alien Arms, LHC

An Anti-Gravity Emdrive?

Okay, so the video's not that exciting, but perhaps we're looking at the Stage0 of the Jetson's flying car!

Granted, it's got some scary military things going on for it (click the link in the subject title) but at the least, a Skywalker speeder?

Aliens (the movie) Robot Arms!

Aliens Robot Arms
Panasonic-owned firm Activelink Co. built this robotic exoskeleton called a Dual Arm Power Amplification Robot. The Activelink slogan is delightedly science fiction-esque: "Creating a New Human Machine Age." According to the company, "Using Robotic Technology equipment anybody can become a superman. We are bringing this dream one step closer to reality." They should hire Sigourney Weaver as the Activelink spokesperson.

...so everything Ellen Ripley said was right...

LHC Breaks (because of) Bread
Here's one for the books. CERN's Large Hadron Collider has once again been shut down. No catastrophic helium leak or failing magnets this time. The culprit? A speck of bread, which officials believe was originally part of a larger baguette. To make it all the more ridiculous, it's thought that the piece of bread was dropped into the works by a bird.

The morsel found its way into the doomsday device's outdoor machinery, sparking a temperature differential that triggered an automatic shutdown sequence. I know, I know — I'm sure that ruins all the images you had of a bird navigating the LHC's 17-mile-ring like a Death Star trench run, but there it is.

Yay Science!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Networking Cincinnati: Do It In Person - Positively!

Those of you who have been reading along have noticed that one of my running themes has been the "in person" aspect of networking (a couple months back I got a great response from an overview of Cincinnati's social networking events).

As I mentioned in a few past posts, a smile and a handshake is worth a thousand Tweets. And then some.

Whenever I encounter someone who bemoans that their Twitter account is not making them money, my first question is: What value do you add to your followers?

Because it's not about what services or products you offer - not right away, and never for some followers - it's about what value you add. Who is going to pay attention to you if all you're doing is tweeting a product and linking to your site 3 or 10 times a day? Who's going to even keep following you?

And it goes further than that. Even beyond the value you add to your readers is: how well do they really know you? After you've done what you can to add value and gain genuine followers and connect to the online community, what are you doing to connect to the local community in person? What are you doing to be the face of your brand, the smile, the handshake in the living flesh?

You need to get out there. In the post above I mentioned several of the in-person types of groups or ways to find groups.

You need to stick it out there, both online and in person, risk flowing into reward. Especially for small businesses, social media almost requires that your face is now a recognizable part of your brand. Brand is not just a logo or the crafted copy of your website; it's the personality you inject into your blog and Tweets, it's your avatar, and it's the attitude you show when you meet someone else. Again: risk and reward.

Plan accordingly. We'll cover some other issues in online etiquette in another post, but if you're a grump in the morning, don't attend morning networking events. If you go to bed at eight or have a personal grudge against anyone who raises a beer, don't attend after-hours events. Play to your strengths, show up your best, and that's what people will remember.

Just remember to smile. And keep that handshake firm.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inspiration Monday: The Muddy Road

In collecting my thoughts and gaining a handle on what is often a busy day, I sometimes use some of the readings of Zen Buddhism to refresh my memory of what is important and what is calm and what is flow. One of my favorites (I even used it in a piece of inspiration to a family member recently) is an old koan entitled "The Muddy Road:"
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. As they came around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at an intersection.

"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

Simple yet brilliant. Dwelling and ruminating and worrying get you nowhere. Something either is or isn't. As Mark Twain once said, "Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you don't even know if you owe."

But at the same time this koan makes me remember that all is change, all is in flux, and that focusing on one aspect of something for too longs adds nothing but stagnation to your river, for lack of a better analogy.

Take things as they come. Say "Thank you" for blessings. Overcome obstacles (then say "Thank you" again). You'll come out a better person, and others will see you as geniously anticipatory when all you were was flexible and mindful.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Videos: Moonwalk Fail, Shake Weight, N64 Kid

In the tradition of keeping things within the range of the attention span of the internet, I present you with 3 videos under 2 minutes:

Moonwalk Fail

Not much to be said - plays as advertised.

Shake Weight

Only 4 million reps? Please comment your own conclusions. :S

N64 Kid

Because a classic is always a classic. Seriously, that's not me. I'd be way more excited.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eric Marschall on That Marketing Show

That Marketing Show

This week I'm featured on Rodger Roeser's That Marketing Show!

That Marketing Show is the official broadcast of the Public Relations Agency Owners Association.

My discussion with Rodger centers around how we handle the discussion of public vs. private and personal vs. professional when it comes to social media. What happens when your personality is part of your business or you want to inject some personality into your blog? How far do you stick it out there? Is there a line?

These are just a couple of questions we address in this excellent and informative marketing conversation. Take a listen!

How Much Does a Domain Name Cost?

$10 or less.

Back after the internet transitioned from military to civilian and Network Solutions set up a fee schedule and was the only way to register, it was $100. Now it has been decentralized so much that you can get domain names for $7 - $10 at places like GoDaddy, NameCheap, and many more sites.

The reason I mention this is that I've had experiences with clients (see my post on Portability) who were not aware of their options and I even received a letter from a company today - a company with whom I did not register my domain names to begin with, but who wanted me to transfer to them at $30 per year.

These companies are not just trying to stretch their profit margin, they are preying on people who simply do not know better. This is bad business and unethical by its very nature

To be clear:

Under no circumstances should you ever pay more than $10 per year on .com, .net, or .org domain names.

Be wise. Shop around. And always have someone you can talk to (for free) if you have a question about web stuff. It'll keep more money in your pocket.

And if you don't have that person, my number is in the sidebar ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Twitter: Creepy, Driving Celebs on Pandora


Creepy Google Search turns out to be the same creepy Google search, just on social networks. Surprise, surprise!

Adam Lambert drama ensues with whining about his album cover. I didn't know the guy in Highlander was doing an album. Oh, that was Christopher Lambert? Nevermind.

Oh noes! It's Twitter. In traffic! Lots of whining on the Bay Bridge. Cheese vendors requested to add complimentary tastings to the whine.

Lost fans? William Atherton was trick-tweeted in the latest version of JJ's trickery. Dick? Anyone?

Finally, what we've all been waiting for, it's Pandora doing the Twitter (and FB) dance. Bring it.

Plenty of joy on Twitter this week. Love on it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Video Roundup: Fun Theory, Biden Sneezes, Facebook Abuse

Fun Theory: Deepest Bin and Piano Stairs

Biden Sneezes? The Nerve!

Gaffe-Prone Biden Embarrasses Nation Yet Again By Sneezing During Meeting

Man in a Box

Don't know if you've caught this web series, but I'm including it because it's specifically about Facebook abuse and hilarious. Be forewarned: swearing in video.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Twitter: Meteor, Spies, Death!


Happy 5 Billionth!

Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday...wait. That's not right. Twitter hits 5 billion tweets - or 10,000 if you only include the intelligible and not-spam. Either way, congrats!

Orionid Meteor Shower

The shower peaks tonight! Best time is reportedly 1am wherever you are. "'That’s when the patch of Earth you are standing on is barreling headlong into space on Earth’s orbital track, and meteors get scooped up like bugs on a windshield,' said Robert Roy Britt on Space.com." And, of course, don't forget #meteorshower!

Spies Like Us

Well, they don't tweet but the CIA will read yours - and your blog! Surprised? You shouldn't be. From Carnivore and probably before to wiretaps, communications have been monitored in the US under the auspices of national security for ...well, as long as there have been communications, probably. And this stuff is public. I would venture to guess it's a waste of money to filter what has now become 5B tweets, but our government has always been good at that.

Oh Noes! Celebs! Not Again!

Someone was all "RIP Kanye West" and BLAMMO it was like everywhere on Twitter and then DaRealAmberRose was all "Its in extreme poor taste to have that as a trendy topic. It's totally disrespectful to make up a story like this where all human" so I guess Kanye ain't dead. Or its trendy human where or something.

Meghan McCain wasn't really a celeb until she decided to post a "spontaneous" twitpic of her cleavage ...and an Andy Warhol biography. Crazy? You bet! But not as hot as this week when Pink decided to let her 600K (!) followers suggest what she dress up for for Halloween. Yowza! I don't know what's nuttier: Pink's dilemma or that someone writing for MTV still thinks Octomom is "topical."

*sigh* Does everything eventually become E!?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Inspiration: The Universe

As a tech geek and armchair scientist, I often find inspiration in science. Today's inspiration is based on that, and gives us a little perspective. When you get tied down to a computer or an office or even a city, a reminder that we are only a small part of the universe, a universe that is HUGE, can help us remember that maybe our problems and issues aren't so incredibly large.

Or, like Zaphod Beeblebrox, you may just imagine that as a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot you are the most important thing in it. Either way, enjoy the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. If this does not inspire awe, I do not know what can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Videos: Wild Things, Balloons, Bats

If you haven't had enough of the "Where the Wild Things Are" preview and the accompanying Arcade Fire music, feel free to click play. For me, it inhabited my dreams last night and will not leave my head.

Balloon boy? "You guys said... we were doing this for the show." Did anyone else relate this to the sub-sub-piece in 12 Monkeys where Bruce Willis heard the story about the missing kid on the radio, remembered it from his childhood, and said that it was a ruse and the kid was in a barn? Maybe just me?

And now for something completely different: The Onion News Network hits on a gem about a bat.


Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music as an Inspiration

Some days inspiration does not appear as empowerment or an intrinsic motivation, and you need to find an outside source.

Okay, maybe that's most days for some.

But on those days, when you must seek out some inspiration, you have the option of going no further than your network connection. Because music has always had the ability to inspire and lift us up. And with the internet, you're not tied to going to your local music store to pick up an album.

Trouble waking up in the morning? Knock out something to get you on your feet. Feeling down? We all have music to bring us up. Losing energy in the middle of the day? Get moving again!

Below I've got a couple of my favorites. But I know you have yours. Whether you're used to noise while working or need quiet, take a break. Recharge. Your day will run more smoothly in just taking 10 minutes a couple times a day to just enjoy.

Wake-up Music: "I'm Free" by The Soup Dragons

After-lunch blahs: "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by Ministry

Something poppy for a dragging day: "Angry Kids of the World (Unite)" or anything else by Tiger Tunes

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Video Roundup: NASA, Kitteh, Fred

LCROSS Mission

Yay, we're blowing up the moon! Actually, you don't see anything on the video from this morning. It's a shame it wasn't a little more spectacular because of all the hype it got. I hope NASA gets some seriously good data.

Sneezing Cat

I offer you a sneezing cat to reflect my home life. I, my wife, and my daughter - along with our two cats - apparently have a cold. I've never seen cats sneeze so much and I've had them for over 7 years.

Our dog is somehow unaffected.

And Fred Gives Advice

Again, from my daughter, only to shield you from the hell that is the She Wolf video. Feel free to put in the ear plugs or smash your computer monitor.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Twitter: Celebs, Celebs, Celebs


I found so much drab news about Twitter this week, I thought I'd poke a little fun at the vapid foolishness that is celebrity Twitter simply by posting the information; no other clarification is needed.

Elizabeth Taylor announced this week via Twitter that she's going in for a heart operation. Miley Cyrus quit and deleted her Twitter account, leaving 1.1 million followers partying in the USA without her. A waiter in LA got fired for Tweeting about celebs and whining about waiting tables. Waaahaa! Drew Carey will donate $100,000 to the Armstrong Foundation to claim @drew Twitter name if he gets 100K followers by Nov 9th. Okay, that's not so vapid. Follow @DrewFromTV.

And that's the condensed soup version of this week's Twitter headlines. I'm looking forward to something a little more compelling come next Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Portability: Who Really Owns Your Website?

Don't be chained up

In the past couple months, with clients and potential clients and friends and some folks I'm just advising, I was both surprised and horrified that the topic I'm going to be addressing here actually needs to be addressed. But I guess there are those businesses out there that need to make the extra buck and/or need control and really don't have the client or end-user in their best interest.

The question is: Are you portable? In other words, if your registration or hosting or even development company folded, would you be able to switch without a complete crippling of your website?

Who really owns your website?

Here are 4 things you need to check.

1. Domain Name

What's your website domain name? You know, that WWW thing, that branding that you can recite in your sleep. Excellent, you're doing great so far.

Now: do you know exactly where it lives, how to access it, and who actually did the purchasing of that name?

Your domain name has a home. That home is a registry or hosting (or both) company. Through that account, you can renew the ownership of the name, control where the name points to go for the website files, or redirect it somewhere else.

I have seen very recently an instance where a non-profit group had an internal spat and the person who originally purchased the domain name logged into the registration site, renewed the site for 7 years in his name, and changed the password.

I've also heard tales of companies like AT&T doing the registering on the client's behalf but maintaining control to guarantee a service contract.

Take-Away: You need to guarantee from inception that you have control over your own site name, that either you or someone you trust registers that domain name - in your name - and can (they should immediately) provide you with login information.

2. Hosting

The hosting service is where the files for your website live. This can be the same company (like GoDaddy.com or namecheap.com) where the domain name lives and was registered. And that's fine. Problems arise in the same way as they do with the domain name issues.

I spoke with a client I'd just begun working with a few months ago when they forwarded me an email from their dual registry/hosting company. The dual company claimed that if my client did not renew their previous registration at some $50/yr that when it expired they would hold the website in default until a $200 fee was paid to them.

This is fraud. Quick 101: Domain registration can be found reasonably from $8 to $15 per year, depending on how many years you're renewing. If someone is threatening a hostage act like this, they fully intend to wait for the second of expiration and buy the domain name themselves, as any person in the world could do. Then they point it wherever they want. And when you pay, do you get control back? Or do they maintain ownership?

Take-Away: Often said is "Possession is 9/10ths of the law." That may not be fair, but it is true. Unless you have full copyright on your business and paperwork that you've purchased your own domain name and hosting through your company, fighting for control could be expensive in both time and dollars.

Do you have all hosting login information? The login to the hosting account and FTP information? Who else has it?

3. Programming

There is a city on the East Coast that I do some newsletter work for from time to time. They awarded their government contract for a website to a company that built their site in a proprietary content management system. The company also maintains the site. When discussion began about the city doing their own updates to the site through the CMS (which is - generally - the intent), the company said "Sure - as soon as you go through our 80+ hours of training on how to use the CMS."

Their website is being held hostage by this company and their only options are to continue paying the ridiculous monthly fee, paying a great deal more money to this company for training, or paying about an equal amount to go somewhere else and have the site reconstructed.

Take-Away: if something goes wrong with your service provider, are you able to walk away with those files? If you are, will another programmer be able to take those files and understand how to change or manipulate them?

4. Pay Per Click and Social Media

Pay Per Click campaigns, whether Adwords or Yahoo or Bing, can either be created separately and managed at a central location or created within one account. If you have someone create an ad campaign, do you have access to it? If you don't like the job someone is doing with that account, can you take it with you?

The same login issues exist with Social Media: Do you control the account? Did you create it? Was your Facebook fan page created and administered through your own Facebook account or someone else's?

This is the essence of portability when it comes to a website: regardless of who you have doing the design and build and programming and optimization and social media, you should have logins and administration ability for everything, even if you don't want to touch it.

That way, should anything negative happen, should anything unexpected happen, and you have the need to change service providers or just get rid of the one you have, you control all the assets.

As owner of EJM Designs Limited, that is one of the most important aspects of how we work, and a subtext of guarantee for any client we work with: we build on best practices and portability.

Make sure anyone you are currently or eventually going to work with does the same. It's good business.

As always, feel free to ask any questions in comments, or directly at eric (at) ejmdesigns dot com or any of the other connections you can make through the website.

Why Issue 7 and Our Libraries Are Important

I know we usually discuss social media on Tuesdays and I try to keep politics out of the blog as much as possible, so I thought I'd touch on something important and social an ...contains media and is relatively void of politics.

I recall, as a child, some of the best weekends in memory included a bike ride to the park, running around with my siblings and parents, and following that up with a ride over to the nearest library branch. I would get lost in the rows of books, the expanse of knowledge, and that slightly musty smell of age and wisdom. My love of reading and knowledge carried into adulthood and I can still get lost for hours in a book store or library, and my daughter now enjoys all that the library has to offer.

But they're in trouble.
1. Why does the Library need to go on the ballot now?

The Library has seen a 28% reduction in State funding since 2001 which will cause a deficit of over $16 million by the end of 2009. Without new funding the Library will be forced to make dramatic cuts including closing branches, cutting services, and hours.

A reduction in services will affect thousands of individuals who rely on our Library system every single day for important services such as job placement, homework help, children's programming, and at home services for the homebound and elderly. Although the economy has taken a downturn, the need for these services has not decreased, but only increased dramatically as we have seen circulation numbers hit all-time highs in 2008 and record numbers at the beginning of 2009.
They do not receive any city or state funding. This levy will cost $2.50 a month for every $100,000 of value of your home. And between the books, internet access, and a generally stunning DVD collection, you can't beat it.

You can see their FAQs here, but one of the things that is not always forthcoming is that if it does not pass, branches will begin closing on December 1st.

If you live in a county that has a library levy on the ballot, please vote for it, and keep a tradition and priceless resource alive.

Because as Robot Chicken reminds us...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Carl Sagan - A Glorious Dawn Remix

A fantastic, beautiful, chilling, geeky mash-up.

Inspiration Monday: In Short: Best Always

Obviously, the first directive of your mind when you arise is to review what you expect to be your day and a quick visualization on how you might accomplish everything, how you can be your best and most efficient all day long.

But that can be daunting.

Instead of a large concept like "all day," quickly visit each task as you know it, and think briefly on how to optimize that task.

When you break things into bite-size pieces, they're easier to chew, easier to understand, and easier to bring success to.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inspiration Monday: Excuses and Others and Bill Murray

I'll kick off this Monday's inspiration with a quote from the newest entry in the Whedon-verse, "Dollhouse," from the first episode of the second season.
Everyone I know is pretty poorly constructed. Everyone has an excuse for not dealing. But eventually, that's all they are. Excuses.
The take home on this one?

Stop making excuses. You are tired, you are worried, hundreds of things are going on in your life. But you have amazing potential. For the most part, why have you not achieved? Excuses. Stop making them, take control and open yourself to success. Excuses never cut it, especially now.

I also heard something this weekend that made me think of this post:
What you do for yourself will die with you. What you do for others will live on forever.
The sentiment is solid. Give to others first.

Today's lesson? Stop making excuses for why you're not succeeding and succeed. And do something - today - that is completely selfless, completely for someone else, and realize that you are not wasting time but gaining personal satisfaction. Talk to someone... and I am reminded of and revert to the end of Scrooged with Bill Murray.

Enjoy, don't just do this today but every day, and if you haven't seen Scrooged, see it. Now. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Twitter: Jaclyn Not-Dead, Sports Again, Myspace?, and AP Ignorance

Not surprisingly, these bits of love I gather that bring Twitter into the headlines are generally gathered on Wednesday to be as timely as possible. The problem with that is that Twitter and news headlines are juxtaposed so ubiquitously that this post rarely spans more than two days of time.

In the future I promise to check a couple times a week to guarantee you're getting the cream of the Twitter crop when it comes to news once a week.

And starting today, the link to the article will simply be the subheader which will always double as the copy for the headline of the article. No reason to get all complicated.

Jaclyn Smith announces she is not dead on Twitter

Wow, that's funny that she had to... um, who?

Just kidding. Kind of.

Jaclyn was the victim of [Celebrity below serious fandom] was in [foreign country] and died when [an accident befell them]. Recently happened to Jeff Goldblum.

She put down the rumor with one tweet: "Jaclyn is safe and home with her family. She is not in Honduras. It is a lie."

Lesson? People, please verify things. You're like a nation of my aunt forwarding emails that Bill Gates is going to give you money with your RT buttons. Yes. That bad.

Redskins & Twitter

Fans booed Redskins' Coach Zorn. Rookie linebacker Robert Henson sends tweet "saying that the booing fans were dimwits. Henson also wrote: 'Who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at McDonalds.'"

Boo hoo. The Sports-coach-player-Twitter meme was tired weeks ago: Player tweets something, rules are undefined, drama ensues. They need to make a policy and assign fines and be done with it. So unless we have crime or espionage in that loop, this'll be my last sports related Twitter reporting.

MySpace Expands Twitter Syncing To Six New Countries

MySpace is allowing you to synch your Twitter 2 ways with your MySpace account. While I do still appreciate MySpace for my indie music fix, this innovation is tantamount to announcing that the VCR can make toast. "What MySpace won't tell me is how many total users have synchronized their accounts so far." I'm sure it is a closely-guarded and heart-wrenching number.

MySpace still has its place and still does a couple things quite well, but is, well, like talking about Jaclyn Smith at the Oscars.

Actual people physically gather to talk Twitter

This inept platitude of a headline may be witty in circles that know next to nothing about Twitter, but a solid case in point for news organizations having someone who knows what the heck is going on in social media. The blurb is talking about the Twitter conference in LA.

One of the things I have been evangelizing about over the past several months has been social media - including Twitter - being the bounce-off point of real, human interaction. We are currently living in a society and job market where a presence online is not enough. Social media is not enough. If you want the job, if you want the contact, if you want the contract, you show up and put yourself out there, and Tweetups are nothing new. Commerce is decentralizing and you need to be the expert in your field and the face and the brand and the salesperson. All in one.

Twitter and meeting is no longer new; it is necessary.

And the AP headline about the Twitter summit (which in and of itself appears to be more hip than practical) was, plainly, ignorant.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lacking for Inspiration

This morning, inspiration wasn't an inherent quality in my drive to write to you today; I had to search for it.

There weren't any specific quotes that stuck out for me, or perhaps today I could simply not remember them.

I went through my morning exercises in order to drive up some emotion on it, to have something bubble to the surface, but wasn't inspired by any of the ideas that passed through my calming mind.

I paged through some books about business and about spirituality and even about quotes. I googled inspiration (and even used Bing). But came up empty. Oh, there was plenty of material out there, anything I could simply masticate and spit out sickly sweet to the world about how to drive and move the world, but I was not particularly driven or moved by the words. And being true to myself in passing along information like this is truly important to me.

I don't just fish out some glurge from the swamps of the internets and hose it off and put it in a pretty box and say "here: use this."

And I'm still looking, though I'm not sure I'll find it today.

And that's reality. Unfortunately, today you get not direct inspiration but a realistic vision of life: sometimes, some days, inspiration is difficult to come by and it just won't stick. Sometimes in searching and trying so hard to light that fire, by the time you find it you're exhausted for trying. Sometimes you have to accept that today's not a driver, not blow-out, crazy, get everything done kind of day. And you have to be okay with that.

I guess in that comes another kind of inspiration: knowing tomorrow will be a better day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Linkedin Comment FAIL

Linkedin Comment Fail

Anyone else ever notice that if you submit a blank comment on Linkedin that instead of there being a warning that you have not actually entered anything you get your home page with the warning above?

This is very basic interface design and a surprising and annoying piece of what I previously thought was a pretty polished design.

Always interesting to find these quirks.

Friday Videos: Fishin Kitties, LOLCats, Gaga, and, Well...

Fishing Kitties

Adorable joy from the Cincinnati Zoo - Fishing kittens. This is not your average LOLCats.

I Can Haz Pancakes?

Um, but this is.... Sorry.

Lady Gaga

Did you see Lady Gaga's VMA fashion statement(s)? Do you care?

And Then There's This...

See you next week with more video fun!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Your Website Was Build in Flash Sympathy Card

I love getting a request for an analysis; it's time to hit the internets and help someone out and let them know how to increase exposure and, potentially, improve design to get more reaction and visibility (seriously - I'm not even charging for analysis right now, check site for details).

But every once in a while I punch in or click that URL and my heart moves from thrilled to a flopping drop into the pit of my stomach the second my eyes convey to my brain that yes, it is a loading bar before my eyes.

"But no! Wait!" I shout and hope wells up even though I know I shouldn't indulge in that wellspring that so often fails in these situations, "Maybe it's just the part of the site; I mean, it happened so fast."

And I right click. And right click. And right click, to find and find again that I am only repeatedly greeted with the same grey gaze, a grim, unfeeling menu that begins with prompts to "Zoom In" and ends with "About Adobe Flash Player 10...." And it is done.

Melodrama aside, a website developed entirely in Flash will still suck the life out of any SEO campaign. There is some evidence that search engines are starting to parse some information, but even in a best case scenario where all content is read, it's still only one page of content.

Writing up what I am sure will become my stock "Flash Analysis," I wondered if there was an existing sympathy card that could properly convey my feelings - not that I would ever send said card as that would be unprofessional.

There was not, so I created one. Enjoy. And educate yourself about Flash and SEO before beginning any website endeavor.

Ironically, this card is an embedded Flash object.
Here's the link if it fails to load.