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