EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Inspiration: A Moment of Quiet

So often we look to sources of inspiration and motivation to get us fired up and rocketing forward. But what about those things that keep that fire burning? What about stopping for a minute, letting the engine cool down, and taking a deep breath?

Meditation can take many forms from a walk in the park to breathing and silence to praying to full-body chakra alignment, and is completely subjective and particular to every individual. It can be a spiritual moment or a purely physical calming. And anecdotal benefits range from increasing productivity and brain power to having a higher sense of fulfillment during the remaining part of your day.

There are as many motivations as there are methods when it comes to meditation, so let's review one simple method:
  1. Get comfortable. You can do this in an office chair, sitting on a couch, the floor, or even lying down. (NOTE: I suggest not becoming too comfortable, especially if you're prone to nodding off.)
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Establish a deep breathing pattern. You can try a 5-7 second inhale, hold it for a second, slowly release, but make it yours and only do what is comfortable.
  4. Clear your mind. No, this is not as easy as it sounds, but don't waste focus and get frustrated when thoughts enter your mind; simply acknowledge them and let them move on.
  5. Continue for 5-15 minutes or as you see fit.

And there you have it: a basic meditation that - done once or twice during the day - can just flush your head of clutter, give your processing centers a break, and allow you to re-engage your work with renewed vigor.

Let me know if you have any specific methods or ideas for taking that few minutes of calm and how they work for you. And have a great day!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Internet Video: Wedding Proposals and G4

I must apologize that I missed you all yesterday. While I did not post on tech fun yesterday, I did spend about an hour with Daniel Johnson, Jr. and Don Sceifers discussing the upcoming New Media Cincinnati Second Saturday. The theme is Colleagues or Competitors and we talked about the WHY behind New Media Cincinnati's attendance and the spectrum between trolling for clients and showing up to offer your knowledge up for the betterment of the group. September's meeting will be an interesting one and I can't wait to hear insights from all the attendees.

But do not fret about yesterday's missing post; you can expect some gravy tomorrow as I've got a backlog of bookmarks, stories that need some commenting. I've also got to update everyone on my Palm Pre love and the wonder of homebrew and the announcement of a new project I'm beginning. Stay tuned!

But on to the Friday videos! We start today with a video from Mashable and the Social Good conference from NYC. The video is 2 hours long and very good, but if you click to forward it to the last few minutes (1:58:00 or so), you get to see a marriage proposal. Tasty.

No, he did not utter the words "will you marry me," but I speak from experience when I say that proposing to someone in front of a couple hundred people makes reality turn into jell-o and supposed plans are left to a higher universal order. I applaud him.

And since I always enjoy Attack of the Show on G4 and their Around the Net segment and Kevin and Olivia are on vacation this week, let's take their most recent bit and enjoy a bevvy of internet lovin'.

Wink pants: Do Not Want.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Twitter Headlines: Golden Ratio?, Ted Kennedy, No Teen Twitter for Privacy?

EJM Designs Twitter

Twitter's Golden Ratio

The Washington Post has an article called Twitter's Golden Ratio in which they begin:
If you're new to Twitter, life is easy. A notification comes in that someone is following you, and you probably follow them back. After all, you're going to want some tweets in your stream. After a couple dozen of those, you may start using more discretion, looking over the person's profile and their most recent tweets. But that gets old quickly as well, and inevitably you turn to using the secret ratio that nearly everyone knows (whether they realize it or not) to determine who is worth following back: "Followers" versus "following".

It's cute and endearing from the point of someone who actually manages their follower list. They may have nailed one item or two, but if you've read my post on 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You Back on Twitter, it's a moot point.

There are at least 10 (and probably 20-30) reasons why any one person will not follow another on Twitter if they are deliberately trying to increase the value of what they see daily on their stream. And a golden ratio is not a be-all, end-all of any sort.

It is nice to see the mainstream media taking notice - and a shot at understanding - for those of us in it every day.

Ted Kennedy

Whatever your politics, we lost an amazing statesman early this morning. Check out this article to see some of the comments.

Sorry, but they're also novices and apparently no one thought to use a hashtag.

R.I.P. Ted Kennedy. You will be missed.

Teens Shunning Twitter

This article from PC World talks about how teens would rather text than tweet. That can make sense. Until you see this bit:
So why aren’t the kids down with Twitter? Perhaps because they don’t want the authority figures in their lives — parents, teachers, and other downers — knowing what they’re up to. Texting, by comparison, is an inherently private conversation between friends. It’s the wireless equivalent of passing notes.

First problem: no one's been "down" with much since '03.

Second problem: Accepting the "they don't want authority figures in their lives" argument completely side-steps any of these so-called "private" teens' complete embracing of Facebook.

Facebook updates and comments are an enormous, thorough view of what those teens are doing. No Twitter? So? They're pushing more of their lives via updates and comments and photos and tagging photos via Facebook with less effort and software or interfaces than they'd be able to with Twitter.

To say they're eschewing Twitter because they're into privacy is a fanciful, ignorant romp into social media. NYT may not know better, but I'd expect PC World to have a better finger on the pulse of what the hell's going on in social media.

You turn! What do you think about these stories? Does the Washington Post have a finger on the pulse of Twitter behavior? Is Tweeting TK's death okay? Does the NYT or PC World have any idea about what's going on in social media?

As always, comments appreciated.

Wednesday's Tuesday's Social Media Post ...on Time Management

Last week I got a great response from an overview of Cincinnati's social networking events, and one of the comments that came back was:
And people say it's hard to network in Cincinnati! I actually have heard that several times per month. I can't get to everything I want to do because, well, sometimes I actually do have to do work. :)

And I chuckled out loud and gave Lappy (my laptop) a little fist bump. And then I looked at my calendar for this week and it made my face scrunch up in a way that made me quite happy that Lappy's built-in webcam was not broadcasting me live.

Right now, on Wednesday evening, I have had 8 different appointments (a couple fam-related that don't even appear on the calendar) that while both necessary and rewarding have nothing to do with me actually working on current projects.

And while the magic that is striking that balance will be a future writing (doesn't do me much good to say "FAIL - but, um, here's how I would do it..."), this post has a different crux, point, and/or apex.

You may have read the originating post about the EJM Designs Blog schedule and shouted "Rah!" and looked forward to what was coming and yesterday mumbled "WTF?"

And I'm here to say "Yes, a blogging schedule works! It does!" But it does not do so without a daily schedule. I may have a great idea already set up for me when I get to blogging, but if I don't have a time every day set aside to address that issue, then I may as well be posting Wednesday evening about my Tuesday topic and thinking about the forthcoming Wednesday post as well.

Lesson: If you're serious about doing something every day, you need to set aside time to do that thing every day. Period. No excuses.

(And it doesn't hurt to nail down a rough schedule of other important daily items like exercise or meditation.)

So today(yesterday)'s response question is: what is your daily event? Your daily chore? Your daily necessity? How do you do it and are you successful?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday's Inspiration: What You Use It For

A yellowed, frayed piece of paper has hung from our fridge for years. It is my wife's and she had it for years before she met me. She reads it every morning. Sometimes I forget it's there. Here it what it says:
This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind. Let it be something good.

I can't say there's much disagreeing with that sentiment. We have to realize every day that that there is great work to be done in one way or another. And we have no room to complain if we have not done our absolute best. So today, just today, do that; be the best - in interpersonal interactions, in business, online. I think you'll find it's addictive.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Internet Videos: Cameron's Avatar, Fatal Farm, and Fred

Time for another round of online videos that you may or may not have caught this week.

James Cameron's Avatar

Many, many people have been awaiting a glimpse of this trailer from famed Titanic (or if you're like me: Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss) director James Cameron. And here it is:

I loved this movie when it was called The Emperor's New Groove.

What? Everyone already got their snark in. That's mine; the avatars kinda look like when the king turned into a llama.

Seriously, though, I'm thrilled by what I saw. I'm a huge fan of quality science fiction fantasy and a guilty pleasure fan of movies for CG sake, so I can't lose either way. Solid prediction: the video game will probably suck.

Fatal Farm Leftovers

Fatal Farm had some leftovers from the MTV Movie awards, some wonderful parodies. If you cannot laugh at this, ...you must've had an amazing week.


I'm going to go ahead and warn you: this was a suggestion from my daughter, thought I've seen quite a few of Fred's videos. Fred has risen from relative obscurity on YouTube to an internet and is now real-life star of sorts (he sells clothes at Justice and had a cameo on iCarly). Worth the watch to shake up your reality and keep in touch with a younger generation. Oh, and it's hilarious.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tech Fetish Thursday: Wordy Clock, Skinny-Mini PS3


The QLOCKTWO caught my eye immediately, probably because I have a deep thing for timekeeping devices that rivals only my fascination with cartography. But this clock, created by German company Biergert & Funk is unique in that it eschews those concise, simple numbers and goes for the linguistic version of time.

It also goes for the expensive version of price at about $1600. Many colors. Collect them all!

The Skinny PS3

This skinny-mini version of the 120GB PS3 came with a $299 pricetag this week. Not a huge surprise since Sony did this to the PS2 back when.

PS3's still come with some pretty high-end Blu-ray action ...and are still not compatible with my library of PS2 games. For now I'll stick with my PS2, Wii, and 360, though I'll probably be waiting a while if I hold out for an Atari-esque drop in price ("The fun is back, oh yessiree!"):

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Twitter News: Western Wall, Stable Tweets, and NBA vs. Twitter and Law

It's time for the Twitter headlines of the week. Yay!

Western Wall
You can now Tweet your prayers to the Western Wall.
Economics student Alon Nil delivers Twitter prayer messages to the Western Wall, which was part of the Jewish Second Temple of Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. At this sacred spot, people from around the world stuff prayers written on pieces of paper into the cracks of the wall.
Check out the tutorial here.

Stable Twitter?
Don't we all wish for it?. Between the recent DDOS and the apparent scalability, it's a lingering issue. Thoughts?

Knicks' Nate Robinson
Story reads as such:
Nate Robinson hasn't been able to get signed in New York since becoming a free agent this off-season, but Tuesday he was able to get booked up in The Bronx, charged with driving with a suspended license. Cops say they pulled Robinson over for not having his seat belt on while driving down the Grand Concourse in Bedford Park, but the Knicks' two-time dunk contest champion tweeted, "Cops pulled me over cuz my windows were 2 dark (but my windows were down) lol how funny is that." Doesn't an NBA star get tinted windows specifically for 95 degree days driving down the Grand Concourse? In any case, cops discovered that Robinson's license had been suspended in June for the fifth time after a series of infractions around the area including traffic violations, speeding, driving without his seat belt on and for driving while talking on a cell phone.
And I can only hope most people - worldwide - have a better sense in them.

But then I'd be denied some of this weekly entertainment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Social Networking in Cincinnati

I've been doing a great deal of networking over the past few weeks and have had some excellent experiences and met fantastic people. Here's a quick guide to some of the events and groups I've been interacting with.

Cincinnati AMA
The Cincinnati chapter of the American Marketing Association has over 600 members in the Cincinnati/NKY region. With about a dozen monthly events planned around SIGs like Business-to-Business and International Marketing, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know people in your niche in both structured learning environments and more social mingling that the Young Professionals group gravitates towards. The fee is reasonable and scaled for business size, but non-members can attend just about every event.

Tristate Business Network
TBN's mission is to bring businesses from all over the Tri-state area together to meet, network and help each other grow business relationships. They have a monthly speed networking event (90 seconds - go!) and daily - yes, I said daily - meeting and networking opportunities in and around greater Cincinnati. With over 200 official members and a constantly changing flow of visitors, TBN focuses on giving first. A modest membership fee is worth the friendships and connections.

New Media Cincinnati - Second Saturday
If you don't know about this one, check out the New Media Cincy site. A relaxed gathering every second Saturday at the Pub at Rookwood organized around new media of some sort by Daniel Johnson, Jr., you can see some of the Twitter traffic by searching #newmediacincy. Event is free, food and drink are attendee's responsibility.

Jelly Cincinnati
This is the #CincyTweetup coworking event that takes place at Crossroads at Ridge and Madison once a month. "The idea here is to have folks who work in many different job functions working together in an open environment. The expectation is that creative juices will flow and new friendships will be forged." Honestly, more networking happens than actual work getting done, but there are people coming and going all day and always someone interesting to talk to and learn from. Was started by @researchgoddess (we'll miss you!) but is now headed up by @hellogerard and @blecount. Event is free.

Market and Profit (MAP)
Twice a month a speed networking event (where you're the only in your field in your group) followed by open networking and a meal. Excellent turnout every time. Very small fee to attend (joining group is free) and another great way to meet professionals and business owners in Cincinnati. Keep abreast of the events through the Linkedin Group. Over 600 Linkedin members.

Social media helps you get out your message and helps to build your presence for your face and your brand online. But nothing substitutes meeting people face to face and growing real-world relationships. Remember: A smile and a handshake is worth a thousand tweets.

So where do you go to network? What groups do you belong to or mingle with? I'd love to get your feedback.

Thanks to some great feedback through Twitter from @newmediacincy and @hellogerard, we've got some more resources to toss in there, and some things I needed reminding of:

Job Search Focus Group
The Job Search Focus Group of Hyde Park is often lauded in Cincinnati as one of the most extensive "in transition" groups in the region. I was able to attend once and the resources and networking are great; if I ever moved from owning my own business to in transition, that's the first place I'd stop. Follow some of the Tweeting with #jsfg

Cincinnati Social Media
Follow the tweets at #cincysm. And set your alerts! The Enquirer event coming up 9/9 knocked down 50 seats in 45 minutes and the Social Media Breakfast usually goes faster than that.

Resources for Women
I've heard nothing but good things about the Cincinnati Women Bloggers (@cinwomenbloggers), Girlfriendology (@girlfriendology), and the women's publication Cincy Chic.

Additionally, Breanna Gaddie's Networking With Passion blog is always a great read, and Krista Neher created a post a while back that covers some of the items I did not in this post.

Oh, and Thursday, August 20th is networking at the Hofbrauhaus in NKY at 11:30 (thanks @justinrains

Anything else? I'm always up to update!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday YouTube: Alien Elephants, Star Wars Odd Couple, Miley Cyrus, Bus Ride Fail

Couple things you may not have seen on YouTube lately.

Alien Elephants
Specifically, bungee jumping alien elephants.

Han and Chewie: The Odd Couple
I just don't know how those two can live with each other.

Miley Cyrus performs "Party in The U.S.A. live on Teen Choice Awards 2009
At 1:08 the something way to akin to a stripper pole comes out. Yes, she is only 16 and this was the Teen Choice Awards.

Bus Ride Fail

So what are your thoughts on YouTube Friday? Anything specific you'd like to see?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Tech: Cameras, Books, and Hubble

This week in technology, we're hitting some serious issues on cameras, books, and a sweet treat on Hubble.

Front LCD
After years of MySpace angle shots, camera phone trial-and-fail, chrome convex lens companion and even the Pre mirror, someone grew a brain on this one: why doesn't anyone put an LCD in the front of the camera? Dur.

Samsung unveils TL225: point-and-shoot camera with front-facing LCD


I now expect much more savvy MySpace/Facebook angles.

Book Scanning
If you wanted to scan a book, what would current technology lead you to do? Well, you'd have to open, flatten, and scan each page.

But not any more! Engadget is reporting on a new book-scanning proof-of-concept.

Basically, flip through an entire book - fast - and the 1,000 fps camera will adjust for light and digitize the work. As long as the character recognition is up to par, we've got a winner!

Hubble 3D
I hope you got your helmet on, 'cause your mind's about to get blown!

"Over the course of 10 full days, photons that had been traveling for over 13 billion years finally ended their journey on the detector of humanity's most powerful telescope."

Seriously, if a grain of sand at arm's length revealing 100,000,000 galaxies, each with billions of stars doesn't set your armhairs on end, doesn't drop you into a sense of stunned awe, I'd be surprised. I don't know what else, what other idea or thought, can humble a person that thoroughly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twitter: Down, Showers, Babies, and the 360

More Twitter News!

Down Again
Twitter was down again for about 30 minutes today. Bad Twitter. Bad.

Seriously, why Twitter? Why the DDOS? Iran? China? Nasty.

Golden [Meteor] Showers
Woohoo! Showers!
The Newbury Astronomical Society in the United Kingdom held a "Twitter Meteorwatch" party with thousands of stargazers from around the world Tweeting live pictures of the celebrated annual meteor shower.

Even geeks can appear normal once a year.

Tweeting Babies
Wife of Twitter CEO tweets birth.

I mean, well, yeah, what else would you do during the birthing of your child?


I'd probably have done the same thing. If I was a woman. And having a baby. And married to the guy that invented Twitter.

Being none of those things, I have no words.

XBox360 & Twitter?
XBox 360 is looking at including Twitter into the set based on some news on the new upgrade.

Just a rumor at this point, but how would you feel if Twitter showed up as an option in your Xbox360 experience? I don't know that it would integrate very well. I play games occasionally and know there's a keyboard component you can purchase for the controller, but - how exactly would that work?

What are your thoughts?

New Schedule for The EJM Designs Limited Blog

I recently wrote on why a blog publishing plan can save you many hours the rest of the week.

And this is the next step in that idea, which is creating a thematic calendar for you to follow. The upsides to putting together a calendar for yourself are twofold:
  1. I have just created a template for myself. That means no more fretting about what to do for each day; I've already got a topic. And I've just saved myself more time by creating that lens for each day.
  2. For your readers, you are giving them (that'd be you) something to follow, an expectation and a repeat business. Keep up with that schedule and you grow a dedicated following.

Here's my weekly list of themes that can be seen in my right column from here on out:

And...GO! Getting your week going, on Mondays we'll be addressing items of motivation and inspiration, or how to avoid lack of those things when running your own business.

Social networking ideas. What's going on in Cincinnati and elsewhere in the world of marketing and networking and making it personal. Yes, that means getting out there and shaking some hands.

Twitter in the news! We use Twitter every day. Here's how that's playing out for other people through the headlines. You'll be sure to find humor and concern as people misuse, disuse, and learn to cope with ubiquitous technology.

Tech Fetish. Tech wonders from around the world - what's hot, what's new, what's way the hell weird. All brain candy.

YouTube you need to tube. Interesting videos that might provoke thought but will probably just hearken LOLz. It's Friday. Just enjoy.

Saturday and Sunday
That's the time I spend with my business, myself and my family. Move along folks, nothing to see here. But there might be. And that would be bonus for you.

And 5 posts a week is not the be-all and end-all of the plan. There will always be something more during the week. Maybe not daily, but I've got a whole lot to talk about.

Point being: putting together a vague plan is not an option. You must court your audience with promises of certain types of news. The witty commentary is up to you.

Thoughts, recommendations, experiences with scheduling? Comments are always open!

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Are Dead to Me! My First Twitter Block

EJM Designs Twitter

If you read one of my previous posts - 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You Back on Twitter - then you know I have a set of criteria that governs the decision whether or not to follow back.

Generally that is enough. If I'm not following them, I don't see their updates and no worries. However, there is one step beyond the passive "not following," and that is to block someone. If you get email alerts that someone is following you, the link to block them is right there in the email. When you visit someone's profile, in the column to the right you will see "block" user (just under "message" if they're following you). Tweetdeck has it on the avatar under the "Other" star > User > Block.

What is blocking?
When you block someone, you do not see their updates, they do not see yours, and they are not able to follow you.

Why would anyone block?
As I said, just not following is fine. And PersonXYZ (no, I will not say who) was ignored for multiple reasons: 0 updates, no profile pic or location information or bio information. But then PersonXYZ followed me again. And then again. At the third time I sent PersonXYZ a direct message stating that I only follow accounts that add value and they had no updates. Then I was followed again.

And that is why I blocked PersonXYZ. If you're not going to add value and constantly follow me over and over again, that is annoyance and lowering the value you add to a negative number. Done.

There are dozens of other valid reasons to block someone, and I'll cover that in a future post. But this was my first official block and I wanted to share that experience with you and - if you've never done it - let you know that it's okay. It's part of the etiquette cycle within Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Should blocking be used more liberally? Never at all? Comments always open.

Smile! 30 Seconds to a Positive Outlook

Smile to a Better Today

One of the most important aspects of having a powerful, productive day is first generating that positive attitude that will carry you through your tasks and experiences.

How can you do that in 30 seconds? It's a basic psychological trick.

Action --> Emotion

If you're groggy, apathetic, or downright negative first thing in the morning, you can turn that right around. Because actions can change your emotional state. Why do you think that actors and actresses who act as lovers so often end up as lovers in real life?

Action --> Emotion

So here's your trick: Stand in front of the mirror and smile. Hard. And by hard I mean contort your face into the most exaggerated smile you can contrive. And hold it for 30 seconds. You may begin laughing. That's fine. Don't fight it.

And when you're done, your outlook on the day should be much brighter.

Why does it work?

Your brain has a very strong link already built in concerning smiling and the neurochemistry associated with it. Like Pavlov's dog salivating to the bell, the simple activation of the smiling muscles elicits the activation of some of those chemicals that - under normal circumstances - trigger the smile. The psychological component is an internal justification for smiling; your brain says: I smile when I'm happy, so if I'm smiling, I must be happy. And the final piece is the mirror. You recognize yourself in the mirror, smiling, and reinforce the psychological component of the justification loop.

Action --> Emotion

If it didn't work well enough, do it longer. If you need a refresher, do it often. But be warned: it works negatively for frowning. And if you're dead set on being melancholic, it probably won't do much good.

So smile in the mirror every morning, smile at people all day, and keep that positive attitude and drive. You'd be amazed how it can change your outlook.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Everyone's Got One

Spotted on Craigslist for Columbus, OH:
I have multiple ideas for Iphone apps, but need a developer to turn my dreams in to a reality. Split profit will be offered.

I can respect an eager attitude about new technology, but you really need to do the research on:
- What apps are out there and being developed
- What it takes to build an app

I can imagine a conversation with this poster:

"So I got this awesome app idea for iPhone. You do all the work and I'll give you half."


The morals of this story are:

1. Even if you are brilliant, if you do not compose posts in an authoritative and intelligent manner, you will look silly.

2. Craigslist is endlessly entertaining.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Microsoft Cooperation Fail

Does anything about this seem ...disconcerting?

Microsoft Security Internet Explorer Fail
Hey, wait. Aren't we friends?

XKCD: Growing Up

XKCD Tackles the big issues
(full comic here)

I was reading the last couple of posts of XKCD - probably my favorite web comic - and laughing the hardest I had all day and suddenly realized that I had not made a post dedicated to XKCD.

I occasionally run into a theoretical reference I have to Google, but if you love tech and computers and internets and geeks and funny and just plain thinking about life, you will love this comic.

If you're anything like me, you'll read a dozen of them then just go to the beginning and waste half the day. Don't forget to mouseover the actual comic. I'm not the only one who uses the alt attribute.

p.s. My favorite, by far, is this one.

It's Twitter! Somebody Call 9-1-1!

Twitter is apparently back online after a Denial of Service attack earlier today disappeared it from the internets. However, on the best of days Twitter can have a tough time keeping up with traffic. With one hand fighting the continuing attack and the other trying to keep it online and millions of people more insistent than ever to get on and update and thousands who never would hearing about the DoS attack and pinging the address and a handful of malicious fools sitting all morning hitting F5 because they have some misplaced aggression targeted directly at Twitter users, I'm guessing it's going to be a while.

(Why Twitter? Is the Iranian government posturing for the aftermath of Ahmadinejad's swearing in?)

The interesting thing is how one link in the social media chain breaks and everything else falters a bit. Twitter is down so when I post this, I won't be able to tweet about it for a while and that reduces potential clients getting to my website. So I'll settle for posting it on my facebook account and EJM Designs Limited fanpage for now and might even resort to friendfeed, which I just posted on my friendfeed is "like reading when the electricity goes out."

But we'll carry on. We'll bring out the candles and cards and Trouble with its pop-o-matic bubble. And we'll wait and hope and flinch every time a car goes by because maybe, just maybe, the power is back.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Twitter in the News: Paula, Military, NFL, and Tweeting from the Dead

Twitter's not just a social marketing tool - and just plain fun - but it's appearing more and more in the news. I'm committing to posting Wednesdays about what has been going on in the past week.

Paula Abdul's Official Tweet
Item! If you haven't heard already, Paula Abdul will officially not be joining the monarchy of American Idol this time around. And how did we hear such news? A tweet, of course! Word is that the producers lowballed her on the offer hoping she would opt to not renew her contract. Boo. Seacrest is voicing a desire NOT to do Idol without Paula and OMG, it's crazy.
With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to #IDOL. I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all..Cont'd...

Before I start sounding like Perez Hilton, the main point when it comes to social media is that a major television reality show running cast change is being made official via Twitter. We really getting much of our information that way these days.

US Military Unsure About Social Media
So this week the Pentagon is reviewing the benefits and dangers of military use of social media sites, including Twitter. According to the article, there is no military-wide ban, though the Marines formalized their ban last week. Of course, this comes only a month after the ARMY placed an official order to stop blocking Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.

Now, before you say "Meh, that government..." I have to say that the confusion, the flowing dichotomy of whether social media presents an opportunity or a threat, is one I've heard in person and online about corporations worldwide. If the company (or government) does not understand social media, they become fearful. And we can't have anything that we fear running around.

But they're concomitantly missing the opportunity piece of it: joining the conversation, owning the conversation, brand management, and overall social communication to build relationships. Lack of education about social media is one of the biggest obstacles I see on a daily basis, and it does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon.

NFL Working on Official Twitter Policy
Everyone's got a twitter account, and that includes NFL stars. Some are tweeting inappropriately, some claim they will tweet during the game, blah, blah.

Owners and coaches are a little worried about this. For the same reason the military is: part fear and misunderstanding and part real-world CYA. Though losing a football game and a life because of a tweet are very, very far removed from one another.

In order to bring down the hammer on stupid, inappropriate, or giveaway tweets, the NFL is seriously working on an official gameday policy. Stay tuned for more on this one - looks like it's going to be interesting battle of management and egos.

Tweets From the Dead
Starting today, John Quincy Adams will be tweeting his trip to Twitter...that took place 200 years ago. You can follow JQA here. As the article says:
Sure, Adams' tweets may seem a bit dull compared with what we're used to seeing on Twitter, but what they lack in emoticons and LOLs, they more than make up for with lots and lots of geographical coordinates.

I think one of the most exciting things about living today and being so involved in social media is to see not just the tools emerge but watch to see how those tools evolve and change and offer us new and interesting venues.

I love this, and it inspires me to start something new.

I'll have at least a rudimentary idea and announcement by Friday.

Stay tuned, comment, and connect (right column) in any way you can. Have a great day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Really?: In Memoriam

Having been born of its cousin decades ago, Really? had been used as a one-word, sarcastic commentary as a foreshortening and akin to such phrases as "Are you really going to wear that?" and "Is that really your answer to this situation?" for over a decade but had received an injection of sarcasm in fringe popular culture that recently bled into mainstream popular culture.

It is uncertain whether the filming of the Lowe's commercial featuring massive abuse of Really? or Eric Marschall's mother's use happened first, but it is suspected that both occurred in a single, monumental synchronistic moment that stretched its little heart too far. Too far indeed.

Really? passed away quietly in its home sometime last week. Overexertion is the suspected cause of death.

Really? is survived by its cousin, really, a modifier that - despite constant and extreme overuse - has survived throughout the ages and even increased itself in exposure.

It could be said that Really? would be missed, but we'd be lying. Any future attempts to resurrect the single-word phrase from this point forward is considered a foolish attempt at both wit and humor and should be put down immediately. A moratorium has been called for in respect for this loss.

Really?, we wish you well.