Posts tagged ‘Fun’

June 14, 2012

Father’s Day and your Digital Dad

When I was a boy (way back in the 1900s), Father’s Day and Mother’s Day were easy. You got together with family, ate a lot of food, and gave mom and dad cards and gifts. Simple, easy, done. But earlier this week, I started thinking about all the other bases I have to cover because my dad is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and of course email. I figured that this now means a wall post, tweet, G+ hangout, and possibly a lame animated eCard. But after a little bit of my daily internet rummaging, I realized that the wonderful world wide web has a lot to offer if you’re looking online for Father’s Day ideas…Here’s what I found:

Social Coupons. Groupon, and other community buying services, are tailoring their offers this week for dad. You can get a great deal for dad on: 5-hour competition BBQ cooking classes, exotic car racing laps at race tracks, $150 worth of golf equipment, photo mugs,  6-hour charter salmon fishing trip, etc.

As a mild warning, I bought a Groupon from FTD florists this past Mother’s Day and was seriously disappointed. The flowers never showed up. So I tweeted about  the issue, and within 24 hours I was refunded in full and a great bouquet arrived for my mother. Good customer service from FTD and Groupon to make this right.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas. Sure, there are plenty of retailers and other websites offering their ideas for dad, but my favourite has to be the 10 Best Father’s Day Gifts for Geeky Dads from @Mashable. Here you’ll find binary code t-shirts, lego tie clips, Moleskine notebook shell cases, and more.

iPhone Apps. Appadvice.com curated a list of iPhone apps dad might like. With offerings of primarily sports games and reading apps, this list left me scratching my head a bit; perhaps it is designed for the teen-dad in your family.

Google Doodle. Google has showcased a Father’s Day Google Doodle (log0) every year for over a decade, so watch for a new one this Sunday. I anticipate they will use the one below originally posted March 19, 2012 when Father’s Day is celebrated in some European and Central American countries.

And, of course, if you were out late on Saturday night and you’re due at the pulpit in 15 minutes but forgot your sermon at the pub, don’t worry: pull out your smart phone and check out these Father’s Day sermons from preaching.com.

Hope everyone has a great Father’s Day full of red meat, relaxation, and good beer!

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May 1, 2012

Want to know if you’re an online jerk? There’s an app for that! [Interview]

Tom Scott – Creator of Klouchebag

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Klout.com, a service that attempts to measure how influential your social media profiles are. People are scored out of 100 by an algorithm and are assigned influence ratings on topics. They can also compete for titles and rewards. It’s the gamification of influence online. Some people love it, some hate it. Last week one Londoner decided to poke fun at it by creating his own service designed to measure your online “asshattery“.

This new parody site, named Klouchebag.com, was created in a few hours by Tom Scott  (@TomScott) – a British geek comedian, programmer, and social media contributor.

Klouchebag ranks Twitter accounts by evaluating online activity using the ARSE system:

  • Anger: use of profanity and rage.
  • Retweets: “please RT”s, no or constant retweeting, and old-style.
  • Social Apps: sharing every useless check-in on Foursquare or its horrible brethren; and
  • English Usage: if you use EXCLAMATION MARKS OMG!!!, or no capitals at all, this’ll be quite high.

Getting a good chuckle at this site, and learning that I’m “Quite Noisy“, I shot Tom a quick email to get some more background on his latest creation. Here’s what he said about Klouchebag….

What spawned this idea and how fast did it come together?  
I had the idea on April 26th, 2012, after reading this article in Wired. I’d been annoyed with the idea of Klout for a while, and that crystallised it. On April 27th, 2012, I registered the domain name (sadly, “klunt.com” was already taken) and built it in a couple of hours of spare time.

What type of feedback have you been getting so far?
Almost all positive – fortunately no-one seems to be taking it seriously!

How much traffic did you get on the first day?
No idea. The stats won’t be in for a while. It’s certainly the fastest-launching project I’ve ever had.

Is there anything that you left out that you would have liked to have included?
Given another few hours, I might have added some awards or badges – but I’d worry about people competing for them!

Who, besides yourself, has the highest score?
Someone did discover one natural 100, which I didn’t think would be possible – a US morning radio show! For their sake, I’ll keep quiet as to who it is.

After a little Googling, I found this…

Do you have an axe to grind with Klout? or could this have been any “influence rating” service? 
Klout annoys me for the same reason that search engine optimisation annoys me: it’s an enormous amount of effort designed to game an arbitrary and often-changing system. Imagine if all that time went into actually making interesting things, or caring about the people around you. To quote the WOPR computer from WarGames: “the only way to win is not to play”!

Social media in a business context is all about measurement. If influence isn’t a viable measure for ROI, how would you suggest evaluating the effectiveness of social media campaigns? 
I’m not sure I can actually answer that question without throwing up a bit in my mouth.

Now what do you think? Do  you care about your Klout score? Do you try and improve it?

March 7, 2012

Ladies Love Pinterest…87% of users are female [Infographic and eBook]

If you’ve been following social media trends over the past few months, you will have noticed that Pinterest has been something like a phenomenon. Although not a “new” social network (launched in early 2010), users have been joining in the millions since fall of 2011. And if you have recently jumped on the “Pinsanity” bandwagon, you’re probably a woman… at least according to the infographic below – created by mdgadvertising.

Women have traditionally out-participated their male counterparts in social media, with the exception of Google+, so this finding isn’t shocking. I was, however, a little surprised that the gender gap was so big on this network – 87% of users are female.

Even though I’m part of the 13% – I really like Pinterest for a number of reasons:

Pinterest is highly visual. Your main job as a “Pinner” is to share, and re-share, photos and videos.  This creates, often stunning, “pin boards” of content. Pairing the demographic information with the ability to tell a visual story, marketers have done a great job using this newly-popular social network. Most of the top ten brands using Pinterest focus on home design/decorating, beauty tips, and fashion.

It’s a home for different content. Pinterest is not just another place to post the same content you have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr.  No matter what, your Pinterest content has to have a multimedia component. Though this does make for a very “pretty” user interface, the heavy priority placed on the visual can limit your effectiveness of sharing blog posts, or articles, that don’t have a quality image. In some cases (not many) I have not been able to pin stories because a relevant image wasn’t available.

Solid referral traffic. Pinterest is showing early signs of being a real player in the web traffic referral game. Since starting to use Pinterest, I’ve noticed a modest boost in web traffic on my blog, with a few hundred referrals from Pinterest. This could be due to how active and engaged the users are – It seems like “Pinners” are not being shy about “liking”  or “re-pinning” posts.

But watch out for the copyright cops. If you read the Pinterest terms and conditions closely, you will find that by using the service you declare that you are the lawful copyright owner of all images, and videos, posted. You also grant Pinterest permission to use your content as they please. This has the potential to leave you open to a lawsuit. I don’t think it’s very realistic to think that the average user will be targeted… but you never know. You can learn more about the Pinterest copyright concerns on Social Media Today.

Now for the infographic:

If you are hungry for more information about using Pinterest for yourself, or your business, HubSpot has created a great eBook. The first two chapters are “What is Pinterest & Why it Matters”  and “How to Create a Pinterest Account and Get Followers”. Then it goes on to discuss how to use Pinterest for Marketing and provides some examples of how brands are currently using the platform. If you’re interested in Pinterest, this eBook is a must.

December 22, 2011

5 great Christmas Hashtags

‘Tis the holiday season, and most of us are off to Christmas parties, holiday networking events, family gatherings, and neighbourhood gift exchanges. All of this human interaction creates fertile grounds for discussion, commentary, and sharing complaints not just in person, but also on social media networks.  Over the past week, I’ve been on the hunt for some of this year’s twitter hashtags. I came across a number of the old-standards, but a few also stood out. Here are 5 hashtags to check out this year.

1. #FilltheKettle This one from the @SalvationArmy has to be my favourite. This organization stands for what the season is all about; giving, compassion, and caring. Their bell ringers and fundraising collection kettles are a Christmas tradition and they’re using social media to help spread the word. Along with visiting their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr pages, you can also make online donations to the “iKettle“.  Individuals and businesses can host their own “iKettle” and compete against other teams to be at the top of the leaderboard.

2. #ThingsNotToDoAtChristmasParty Most people have to go to awkward professional functions at work, so why not organize it with a hashtag? This one has some funny posts and good tips, but the big ones are, “don’t drink too much and make a fool of yourself”, and “don’t abuse the mistletoe concept…it’s not funny”.

3. #Istoppedbelievinginsantawhen I first noticed this one trending in Toronto, Canada, and it features some funny, and some heartbreaking, stories about when people first found out that Santa wasn’t real.

4. In the UK, people are using #Replacea1Dsongwithsanta and #ReplaceATWSongWithReindeer. I had to do a little research on what  a “1d” and a “tw” were. Wiki to the rescue –  “1d” means One Direction and “tw” means The Wanted, which are the names of two UK-based boy-bands. I think these are kind of interesting, but some people are less than impressed (@CharleyHarris). Perhaps a #ReplaceAJustinBieberSongwithChristmas” is in order for Canada?

5. #Scrooge This one is for those who like to chuckle at the frustrating side of Christmas. Often you will find people venting about Christmas music, shopping, inlaws, food, bad gifts, having to work long hours, etc. Ironically, the laughs I got from reading these tweets helped to get me into Christmas mood, so if you’re lacking some Christmas spirit, this is the hashtag for you.

If you’re looking for more holiday hashtag fun, here are a few of the standards:

Do you have  a good holiday hashtag this season? Share and let us know.

June 21, 2011

The Social Media Yearbook – If social media was a school, how would each social network fit in?

I came across this fun little infographic from FlowTown a few months ago, and I decided to hold on to it until we were in the full-swing of convocation season at colleges, universities, and high-schools around the country. Since today marks the first of five graduation ceremonies at Algonquin College (my alma mater and current employer), I thought it would be the perfect time to share.

So, if social media was a school, how would each social network fit in? Who’s the AV nerd? Who’s the hip art kid? Who’s the over-achieving class president?  Who’s the dumb jock? Take a look below and see what the Class of 2011 has in store…

January 1, 2011

Social Media in 2011: 4 trends to watch

The ThinkerSocial media made some great leaps in 2010: Facebook reached 500 million users, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga battled for most viewed videos on YouTube, and the Gulf oil Spill was the highest ranked trending topic on TwitterWe even saw a big-budget Hollywood Blockbuster bring home almost $100 million, telling the story about the controversial beginnings of Facebook.

As exciting as the past year has been, 2011 will undoubtedly continue to build on the social media movement as we connect with companies, colleagues, and friends. Here are my thoughts on what to look for in social media over the next 365.

Continued and rapid monetization: Especially with third-party apps and clients designed to help users interact with their social networks. Advertising, data mining, and promoted tweets are the current answer to the question “how do we make money out of this?” With continued “upgrades” and new features added, users are prompted for more personal information. At the same time, advertising and fee structures are being implemented for use of some social networks ot the tools we use to access them. The common user will not see much of a difference, but organizations can expect to begin to pay for previously free services.

Community buying boom: Expect more deals, not necessarily better deals in 2011. We’ve all heard of the community buying giant Groupon, mostly due to the recent interest Google has paid to it causing the estimated value of Groupon to reach over $4 Billion. Don’t expect the interest to calm down in 2011. Groupon will continue to be number one, but several other services have, and will, continue to sprout up to challenge for market share; a few to watch:

Geo-tagging networks popularity: This is a controversial one, but I believe 2011 will be the year users and businesses really get to know these tools and harness the social power of geo-tagging games/services.  Increased integration with existing networks (Facebook Places) helps users see the social value of these location-based services. Businesses will continue to integrate geo-tagging into sales and awareness campaigns. Some businesses are offering deals to the “Mayors” of their shops, but most are reaping the simple value of awareness. Aside: I recently tried a sushi place I learned about through Foursquare without being offered a deal, just a recommendation. It’s more than just Foursquare and Facebook Places. Others are already getting into geo-tagging:

Interest in “International” networks: By nature, all social media is international, but all social media is not necessarily popular on an international level. Businesses around the world will look to Social Media networks that have taken hold in other countries to connect with potential customers.  Opportunities exist in some of the world’s largest populations.  In China, QQ is the most popular IM tool; and 90% of the worldwide traffic to YouKu.com comes from China. Orkut (by Google) is very popular in Brazil and India, making up 70% of the worldwide user base combined. Check out this great post for more examples and details on international social media opportunities.

Final thoughts: 2011 is poised to be another great year for social media. Everyday, more and more users signup and engage. More users + more conversations = positive Social Media outlook. Signup, engage, and enjoy 2011.

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