Death to SPT?

We haven’t posted in awhile. This I know. This we all know. But I promise it is not to death to SPT. Not on my watch. There are things in this world I will fight to keep alive, and this is one of them. In honor of our nondeath, I proclaim death to other things.

DEATH TO VAGUEBOOKING

"I hate Thursdays."

Vaguebooking, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is the act of posting vague things on your facebook in attempt to elicit sympathy. “Long day, I need the weekend,” “I just need one break,” “Worse day ever!!” and anything involving “FML” are all good examples. I’d rather see any humblebrag of minor celebrity run-ins or pictures of delicious looking food any day than Vaguebooking. So Death to Vaguebooking!!

DEATH TO THE NFL LOCKOUT

I never was a huge NFL fan, but I’m glad this lockout is over. Mainly so people will stop talking about it. But also because the sport is great and so many people love it. GO RAIDERS and Death To The Lockout!

DEATH TO GOOGLE+

Let’s all admit it: Google+ was a cool idea and seemed really cool when it came out. But now? It’s just another social media site we all don’t want to update along with our other 2, 3, 4, or however many else you have. It’s cool and all, but I think it’s done. Death To Google+!

DEATH TO HIPSTERDOM

"I don't believe in dentistry or paying taxes"

We get it. You bought into the counterculture culture of counterculturedom to show you have your own culture. You like your lensless clear Ray-Bans. You like Band X and Band Y and this and that and whatever else we all know about Hipsters. It’s time for the next trend. Really. I can only hope it involves something stripper chic and tennis visors. Death to Hipsterdom!

DEATH TO WOMEN’S SPORTS HATERDOM

As the Women’s World Cup proved, Women’s sports can be interesting and entertaining. I think we all agree they’re not the same as the big boy sports (ones with dudes) but they have their own place. Stop hating on them because it’s cool. I admit, I’m minorly guilty of this but fuck it, I endorse women’s sports if only to watch them on mute. Especially women’s beach volleyball (Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh baby!!) Death to Women’s Sports Haterdom!

That’s the list for now. SPT isn’t on it. Because we’re still here.

Continue to enjoy our shit.

shmek

SomePeopleThink This Is Why Americans Are Fat

I came across Epic Meal Time a few months ago, when it came up on a friend’s Facebook newsfeed. My friend quickly shared it with me, knowing that any video on Youtube with a couple million views – good or bad – will always catch my attention (as my internet wet dream is to have a viral video of my very own).

I proceeded to watch every video that Epic Meal Time had posted. Ranging from 2-5 minutes, the videos feature a group of six inebriated, 20-something Canadian guys, cooking the most outrageously gluttonous food you’ve ever seen and never could imagine.

A 100,000 calorie burger, nicknamed the “Ben Rothlisburger”. Their take on the turducken, but with 5 birds and a pig. Four loko chili. Bacon-covered, Jack Daniels-drowned everything. Epic Meal Time intelligently parodies the locavor movement, on their organically sustainable high-horses, with meat, meat and more meat.

Now beware, I’ve shared these videos with friends and co-workers, and there’s been some mixed reactions. Granted, it is pretty filthy watching a wasted guy (nicknamed “Muscles Glasses”, a wonderfully ironic moniker) eat chili with a paddle. But the inventive ideas and surprising knowledge of cooking is certainly worth it.

My advice? Start from the earliest videos and watch through to today. There’s an interesting progression in the scale of the recipes and the desire to monetize.

Because isn’t that the question, ultimately? How to transform a viral video sensation into a lucrative business venture (or at least make a couple bucks from the 5 million viewers freely watching your content). In a recent video, several seconds were dedicated to shilling for Gamefly, offering a promotion for viewers who visited gamefly.com/bacon. I’ve also read some articles suggesting the possibility of an Epic Meal Time television show, though I’m not sure about squeezing another 25-27 minutes out of this concept each week.

For now, though, I’m content to follow the Epic Meal Time gang, as they eat lamb heads and get wasted.

epicmealtime.com

youtube.com/epicmealtime

twitter.com/epicmealtime

Some People Think Social Networking Changed with America

Social networking. It’s kinda like a big deal. Every company wants to make money off it because nearly every person is a part of it. There’s the whole privacy vs. information innovation battle. There’s always new ways to reach consumers. There’s even ways to tell your friends where you are at all times (remember when Facebook’s newsfeed was stalkerish?). I just wanna take a minute and look back at it’s origins and where I think it’s headed. Cause I think it parallels our country’s evolution from the ‘90s to today.

Remember the first Real World?

I don't know any of them.

Me neither cause I’m not an old fuck! Just kidding, but I am too young. Anyways, it was a simple idea: put strangers in a house and people will watch. That’s kinda like AOL, which I consider to be the origin of social networking. It was a simple concept: put everyone in one online room, and people will pay. Their CD mailing program was a great way to get people hooked as well, and plus now if you have the packaging they make good retro coasters. Anyways, everyone and their fucking mom had AOL. Hell, everyone’s mom still has AOL. It had email, yes, but it also had IM, chatrooms and more. You’d just log on with that cccrrrrhhhh  rrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhh di-duummm di-dummm modem sound and you were in touch with your friends. It was also the beginnings of the widespread use of smileys and shit like 143, lol, and <3.

aol? more like lol

It was the first time we could all connect and share things with each other from remote locations on a mass scale. And at low cost. It was the dawn of many people having an email address and screenname. It was also the dawn of Slingo and A/S/L. Praise Jesus for that. AOL really changed the country’s mindset towards the internet, online interaction and what we could and couldn’t do online. Before AOL, the internet was something you had heard about and maybe seen but it was so slow you didn’t even care. The technical growth along with AOL really formed the base of social networking for years to come.

I consider the next step to be MySpace, since each user had their own page, separating themselves from the rest of the pack. It was the dawn of the internet persona—real or fake, up to you. When people visited your page, they saw a glimpse of who you were, from color schemes, your bio and, of course, whatever shitty music you loved that you forced people to listen to. It was a way of the powerless exerting what little power they could through some terrible Coheed and Cambria song. But I fucking digress. This was completely reflective of the ‘90s thought process of individuality to the extreme.

He tried to look cool. He failed.

Facebook expanded on this model and thankfully discarded the music-playing bit. Everyone had their own page and whatnot, but Facebook did and continues to innovate on a level really unparalleled by anyone but Google. Soon after their launch, they added photos, changed layouts, added the newsfeed, mobile functionality, video uploads, etc. You name it, Facebook could pretty much do it. Maybe short of a nice massage. Obviously their updates have been met with mixed results, but overall it’s generally positive. We all know this. However at this point in time, Facebook is pretty impersonal. It’s changed from a network of college kids trying to see who is going to their school to nearly everyone in America and many the world over.

Consequently, we all friend people that we’re not really friends with. This is a point I will expand on later as well. “Oh, I worked with this guy once, I guess I’ll friend him” or “Oh yeah, that girl is cute, I should friend her,” or “Yeah, that’s Paul’s friend so I guess I’ll friend him.” It’s become a loose network of half-friends that we have a hard time sorting through. “What do I tell to who?” is the major question that social networking struggles with. It’s the main rift between real life and virtual life. When you’re with your friends in the real world, you have your inside jokes and things you appreciate together. But these things don’t necessarily resonate with all your friends and may even upset some of them, especially employers. We all know this. Shit, even Google knows it as they’re trying to compete with Facebook with Circles, a platform that’ll let you have different social circles—a la the Circle of Trust from Meet The Parents—who you share information with. But it’s still a struggle.

Another major problem with Facebook is its ubiquity. Yes, it’s great that most people you know (if you’re of my generation) are on fb, but it’s also pretty annoying. Your newsfeed is part annoying complaints “UGGGHHH I HATE SNOW!!”, part shameless plugs for money “Raising money for  ______!!”, part virus links that promise to show you who views your profile, and part pleas for attending events like, “Come see me grow grass outside for 18 hours!” Any major news that people once shared with their tight knit group of friends on facebook isn’t always something they want to share with everyone.

So Facebook’s purposes are much more compartmentalized, which makes it confusing and tiresome. The change in Facebook, like AOL and MySpace before it, also mimicked a cultural shift. Clearly after about a decade of being online America was used to sharing things. Facebook just took it to another level with what you could share and who you shared it with. But now, since it’s been so satiated, it’s become yet another thing you have to sort through to get to the good stuff, just like TV and email before it. Not only is this a comment on social networking but really American culture in general.

When I took German in college, my professor remarked that Americans have many more friends than Europeans, but aren’t as close with them. In Germany you have maybe 20 people you use a certain word for “friend” for and the rest are just people you know. Here everyone is just a friend, with the same title regardless of whether you saw them piss themselves in kindergarten. The same applies to Facebook. There’s no tiers of friends, everyone is the same.

Now, enter Twitter. I believe this is the most perfect form of social networking we have right now. It’s biggest selling point is its length, or lack thereof. It’s succinct, which makes it optimal for the trend of not only on-the-go social networking, but on-the-go lifestyle. Americans are constantly in motion and need everything, everywhere, always. You can also control who follows you, if you want, and it’s not as big of a deal if you deny someone as it is with Facebook. Twitter is also a direct connection to celebrities and companies’ customer service. These attributes combine—sadly enough—to fill two core 21st century American values of celebrity-worship and entitlement.

We’ve not only become a more online-savvy and –dependant culture, but we’ve also become more entitled and impatient. We used to connect at 28K and were fine with it but now even at speeds 5x faster, we complain. I don’t want to dwell on this too much, but we have become much more impatient of a culture. Greg Giraldo has a joke about restaurant staffs singing birthday songs to people, “That used to be for children at Chuck E Cheese. Now you can go to any restaurant, ‘HEYY IT’S MY BIRTHDAY DANCE AROUND OR SOMETHIN!’” The same goes for our social networking.

R.I.P.

This all adds up to the 21st century American social networking experience. Quick, impersonal, star-studded, entertaining, entitled. We wanna know everything instantly, yet we aren’t satisfied with it. Still, it can work as a way of reaching businesses, sharing ideas, music and more and also just simply staying in touch. It’s the best we have right now and is still pretty fun.

In the future, I think a mixture between the brief nature of Twitter and the ubiquity of Facebook—with easier and better privacy controls—is the optimal social networking option. Clearly people want to be online, and say whatever they want. However, the less time they spend censoring themselves and wondering who sees what, they more time they’ll actually spend on sharing things. Which is good for both users and business as they can sell more ad space. A model like Twitter that helps you reach a bigger audience and automatically either adjusts what you say or filters much better than Facebook is the next step. Something that can analyze what you say and decide who to send it to, without you even telling it to.

I think something will come and replace Twitter as the go-to social networking site. Yes, Facebook is the biggest, but I think it’s kind of played out. People will continue to use it but the novelty is certainly gone, and that’s part of the allure in America. Also, the privacy issues have been cumbersome and slow to resolve, and now that anyone can get one there’s no cache. We all think we belong in the VIP line, when clearly, we don’t. Sir, you work at McDonald’s and drive a ’96 Camry. Check yoself.

Maybe this is all one big ramble, but I think the change in the nature and format of social networking mimics the cultural shift of the USA of the ’90s to the USA of the ’00s and ’10s.

Some People Think NSFW Should be Outlawed (NSFW)

Some People think NSFW should be an obsolete idea to be excised from the corporate world. Personally, I’m glad I work in an industry where I’m allowed to do a lot of things most others can’t do at work. I can use facebook and Twitter, sometimes I even use it for work. No websites are blocked and we have an arcade machine in our break room. No dog or ping pong table, but clearly working in T.V. has its perks. So when I worked at my dad’s office in December, inputting product dimensions into their website, it made me realize that the way most businesses handle outside information like Facebook, Gmail, etc. is antiquated.

Far too many businesses view them as distractions, which is not the way most people perceive them. Employees only view them as distractions because they are conditioned to do so by their employers. It’s viewed as “cheating” or “sticking it to the man.” But if more employers were as progressive as, say, Google, I think it would do a lot of good for business.

First, when people are starting to space out at their desk they’ll take a break regardless of the availability of websites, etc. However, if you let them check their fantasy football team or do whatever else they want to do, people are generally more inclined to work harder when they do work. Isn’t the real motto of America not “E Pluribus Unum” but “Work hard, play hard?” (Greek Life UNITE!). Why not at work? (Within reason of course, porn probably shouldn’t be consumed at work. Unless you work at Vivid. Then Faye Valentine away until the sun goes down.)

Not only does it boost morale, but letting your people wander online can also help business directly. A teacher who’s teaching history could see an online article revising something that her 2-year-old textbook states, as she’s teaching it. An Ad man could stumble upon a competitor’s campaign and either scrap a similar one he’s been working on, or be inspired to write something better for his client.

An example from my own experience: I was GChatting with a friend and my producer mentioned we needed a photographer for a segment in an episode. So I mentioned that to who I was chatting with and got in touch with one of his friends. We didn’t end up using him but now I have an extra contact in my network. Additionally, I understand my business is different than most but thinking about things outside of work can help you “think outside the box” to use BusinessSpeak. It can lead you to places you wouldn’t have ventured without it, spur creativity and help the company’s bottom line.

I’ve recently been getting into Mad Men and it’s a great example of this cultural ideology. Clearly, it’s a little extreme with the drinking at work and the sexual harassment, but it shows how giving your employees a clear berth can be beneficial. Don Draper doesn’t give a shit if you drink at work, pass out and wake up 5 minutes before your presentation, as long as you nail it. Likewise, if your company has deadlines for employees and they enforce them, who cares how employees get their work done as long as it gets done and is up to par? Too many companies are Big Brother-y, and in the immortal words of one Erick Posser,  need to “REELLAAAAXXX.”

As an added bonus, there’s even new government legislation that entices businesses to not only chase profits but also keep their employees, or even the environment, in mind when making decisions.  Such “B Corporations” include King Arthur Flour, the 2nd largest flour-making company in America, and are immune from lawsuits by shareholders based on profit grounds. This basically translates to shareholders being unable to sue when companies make decisions that favor their employees over their bottom line. While this legislation is available in only 4 states, it’s a good start in making businesses legitimately tolerable places to spend ¾ of your waking hours of the week.

Maybe I’m just spoiled working in the industry I work in, but I think everyone should be allowed to surf the web and otherwise kill time to their desire at work as long as their work is quality and on time. Work hard, play hard.

Oh yeah: I promised this post would be NSFW so here:

You can read more about B Corp’s on the New York Times website here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/11/a-scorecard-for-companies-with-a-conscience/?hp

shmek

SomePeopleThink This Explains Social Media Pretty Damn Well

via: http://vanished-omen.tumblr.com/

SomePeopleThink Twitter is Hurting Scoop Jardine’s Game



The Syracuse Men’s basketball team is struggling. They have lost 6 out of their last 8 games, and have now fallen to 7-6 in the Big East, good for a disappointing 10th place in the conference. Some people think the recent slide of the Syracuse Men’s Basketball team can be attributed to the grind-it-out schedule of the Big East, the toughest conference (by far) in the country. Some people think Syracuse was overrated to begin with, so this slump comes as no surprise. Some people think it has to do with a lack of an identity/superstar. Heck maybe some even think it’s because of the stupid point shaving rumors. These are all legitimate claims for sure, but I have a much different perspective on the matter. I think that Syracuse’s season took a turn for the worse on January 5th, 2011…when Orange guard Scoop Jardine rejoined the Twitter world as @PhillyFlash11.

Scoop Jardine is the Orange’s best player. Before I get into my argument, I want to make this very clear. When he is on the top of his game, I am confident that Syracuse is a top 10 team. He may not be the best driver on the team, the best shooter on the team, or the best handler on the team, but he is by far their best playmaker. His pull up jump shot is a thing of beauty and his passing is unmatched by most, but what makes Scoop so integral to the Orange is his creativity on the court. Without him initiating plays and creating space for his teammates, the Syracuse offense falters. Players like Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche become one dimensional jump shooters and big boss Rick jackson gets doubled every time he touches the ball down on the block, making Syracuse’s half court offense easily containable. The entire Syracuse offense revolves around Scoop’s ability to attack and create. The 2011 Orange will go as far as Scoop takes them.

But we have seen a different Scoop Jardine since he rejoined twitter on January 5th. Since his first tweet back, Scoop’s stats have taken a significant dive in almost every single major offensive category. Most notably, his points per game has dropped 25% and his turnovers have increased 36%.

Sure you can make the case that he is up against tougher competition, and that these drops are to be somewhat expected, but to me it goes beyond statistics. It’s his body language – he’s no longer playing loose on the court. Since January 5th he has seemed to have lost his swagger, his confidence, his court-presence, whatever you want to call it. This sudden loss of confidence has lead to uncharacteristic mental errors and an unexplainable loss of his attack mentality. A prime example of this was seen in the most recent game against Louisville in which the Orange lost 73-69 after a ferocious 2nd half comeback. Scoop had a pretty good game (20 points, 4 assists), but the deciding two plays of the game for Cuse was his errant alley-oop to C.J. Fair and him failing to get back on defense after his turnover, resulting in a devastating layup with less then a minute to play.

You can almost see the weight build on his shoulders.  It’s painful to watch because Scoop Jardine is the type of player that wears his emotions on his sleeves when plays. I see this as a positive attribute to both his game and his standing as the team’s leader, but this characteristic can also be very detrimental. It tends to exacerbate the effects of a slump, making it harder and harder to snap out of a particular funk. This is the case for Scoop Jardine. This is no slight to him, but I believe his psyche is more sensitive than most players because of the pressure he puts on himself. He’s naturally a streaky player that feeds off confidence so it’s gotta be a tough time for him on the court as the losses mount. Obviously its easier said than done, but he really needs to completely clear his mind and refocus. My advice for Scoop…Get off Twitter.

Twitter is not healthy for any high pressured athlete, especially an emotionally-invested player like Scoop Jardine

Twitter is not for everyone. Plain and simple. Some athletes thrive on inciting fan reactions via Twitter. Chad Johnson comes to mind. Shaquille O’neal comes to mind. Paul Pierce definitely comes to mind, hes the man on Twitter. I love anyone who calls out Lebron James on Twitter. But Twitter has a shown a dark side to the sports world that can be extremely dangerous for a guy like Scoop as it destroys the much needed balance between athletes and fans. It greatly amplifies the pressures that fans put on athletes to succeed because it is a direct avenue for fans to voice their opinions in a completely open forum. I apologize for the lack of a better word, but I can imagine Twitter as being a huge mindfuck for an athlete because of the newly established ability for tweeters to literally destroy an athletes’ reputations within a matter of hours – Jay Cutler anyone? You can type in any high-profiled athletes name, and more often then not, you will see hate, hate, and more hate. This is seen all over twitter and I am fairly confident Scoop Jardine catches some of the negativity directed at him and his recent slump. All one has to do it type ‘Scoop Jardine’ in the twitter seach field during a Syracuse game and you will literally see his every mistake on the court questioned by the twitter world. Many are even directed to his twitter handle. This has to have some sort of an effect…right? I know athletes will put on a tough guy face when asked this question, but it’s got to take it’s toll.

What I see in Scoop Jardine is a mentally exhausted basketball player. Twitter will only exhaust him further, which is why I believe it would best serve Scoop to get off…at least until the season ends.

Some People Think This is Google on Acid

Some People Think Spezify.com is like Google’s artsy, right-brained, RISD grad student cousin. I won’t digress into what I think the possibilities of this will be for the future of search engines, or the possibility of this as a sustainable business venture. There isn’t much to Spezify – it is simply just a search engine. I will keep it brief  and leave you with 5 of my initial reactions:

Spezify.com

1) It’s clearly not as effective as Google or Bing, especially when it comes to ‘information seeking’ answers. Like, if I wanted to know what jobs were available in the Tulsa area – this isn’t the way to go. But…

2) It is interesting and certainly informative for seeking the ‘pulse’ of a topic. For example, today I entered in Spezify “Cutler’s Injury” – a day after the starting QB left the NFC championship game with a knee injury. It does provide a quick look at what people are saying, and links to concrete information about the topic, as well as a unique composition of tweets, Facebook posts, and a mix of articles –  from highly regarded sources to obscure blogs. In my eyes, this is an upgrade from Google’s constraint of returning the most relevant information based on search terms (since the general public opinion was what I was more curious about in this case).

3) As an add-on to #2, it works notably well for intricacies of language that Google can misinterpret. For example, a phrase that I really like is “tick tick boom”, used in the context to describe something amazing or exciting, or  sometimes used in the context of anger, as well. (Anyone who knows me will vouch that I have been trying to promote the positive connotation of this phrase for years, like, “This Chipotle burrito is the tick tick boom.”… That’s neither here nor there though). In Spezify, I find my search results to be much more meaningful in terms of what I am actually looking for, whereas for Google, the entire first page references The Hives’ Tick Tick Boom… (I just wanna see if my phrase has taken off yet…)

4) While not everything that appears on my Spezify search is relevant, this is a fun way to ‘reverse manage’ social media. There are plenty of companies offering services to help manage all of your social media platforms; but how about a platform that uniquely searches a variety of social media dialogue? I predict an eventual splitting of the internet – one half squarely for informaition and answers (Wikipedia, Quora, Google Maps) and another where people engage in conversations; this may be a precursor to a search engine that only explores the latter.

5) This will probably never compete with Google, but it does provoke thought about how different humans recieve information. It’s no secret that we all learn differently, so why would everyone ‘search and receive’ information the same way. I would confidently guess that a stringent list with blue hyperlinks may not be the best way for people to search the web considering how unique each person’s mind is. It almost seems like Google’s interface is skewed towards ‘left-brain’ thinkers who methodically sort through information. Spezify’s interface, especially in the way it populates,  seems more similar to the way creative thought occurs.

Some People Think differently… shouldn’t search algorithms think differently as well?

Some People Think Social Media Hasn’t Hit Puberty Yet

In 5 years, social media will transform from a confused infant into a well developed stud muffin

Some people think of social media outlets as just another venue for reaching audiences – constrained as a medium simply for communicating and directing traffic. I admit, at times the most popular social media outlets can seem cluttered with ‘white noise’– your newsfeed being bombarded with some obscure friend from high school asking for canola oil and monkey wrenches in Farmville, or companies who think twitter is for inundating space with trite sales promos. Many people are turned off for this reason and write ‘social media’ off as simply a ‘fad’. They see involvement as a hassle, leading to more accounts and more passwords to manage (especially with the multitude of platforms emerging), and a cheap form of entertainment for passing time. This viewpoint is incredibly shortsighted.  Social media is like a child growing up through adolescence in front of our very eyes – it is still at its ‘terrible-two’ phase, but Some People Think I have a good feel for where it will be at when it hits puberty. This is where I see social media going in the next several years . . .

Friction between platforms will fade away. Competition in the market will sift out the easiest to use, most effective social networks and rely on those to function cohesively. One of the biggest frustrations consumers voice regarding social media is the multitude of platforms that they need to maintain. I understand the complaints, but trust me, people who are far smarter than I am have got this under control. Like any industry, eventually the noise will die out and only the best platforms will remain. Gone will be the days of platforms that essentially perform the same function (i.e., there won’t be twenty ‘YouTube – like’ video-sharing sites or twenty music-listening communities). Competition will organically sift out the best platforms. The established social platforms will start to ‘talk’, or compliment each other through an individual’s social identity (whether or not each person is going to be reduced to only one is yet to be seen). Your ‘identity’ (which I am confident will become completely secure) will allow you to quickly and seamlessly jump in and out of social media networks. An update to one will directly affect your other platforms’ presences. For example, your music interests on facebook will draw from your Last.fm library, your twitpics will be auto-uploaded into flickr, and foursquare ‘check-ins’ will make it easy to also post reviews to sites like Yelp. Maintaining a digital media presence will become easy, making it less overwhelming for the masses. Slowly, but surely, real time and real experiences will harmonize with virtual presence into one living experience that can be shared. Forget having to update all your platforms.

Product integration and enhancement. This is where my supply chain background and marketing passion become intertwined and my true passion becomes evident. People still view social media as something you must access through a computer, which inherently causes it to lose appeal to those who are not particularly tech-savvy. As of now, the process is too long because there are several physical products that need to be synchronized. I predict a modernized horizontal integration of products (supply chain dorks unite!). The earliest example is the steady convergence of phones, computers, and digital cameras into smartphones. But that’s nothing new. Eventually, we will move past things that only fit in our hands to everyday objects – cars, for example, will perhaps be tied to your foursquare and Pandora accounts. As you commute to work, you will be able to ‘check-in’ or add a cool song you just heard to your social media library. Companies’ supply chains will advance by not only enhancing the digital experience, but the actual real experience as well. How about a snowboarding helmet with a built-in video camera that allows people to record their rides down the mountain or record insane tricks from their POV, then instantly upload them to a digital community? Or, perhaps an easy ‘yelp-like’ rating system accessible to the community that allows you to rate specific trails on certain mountains (rateable instantaneously after riding so even those on the ski lift can choose their next route). Or how about a device built into ski-helmets to instantly notify the ‘ski-patrol community’ when your helmet collides and exceeds a certain G-force impact unless deactivated? It would dramatically reduce the critical period after impact by reducing response time through instant notification and identification of your location. That’s right, I just made something as archaic as a ski-helmet safer. Doesn’t the word ‘community’ (even if digital) inherently represent a sense of looking out for one another? That’s where my last prediction comes in.

The improvement of society: Social networks will make society better. A lot better . . . not because I can see pics from your outrageous New Year’s Eve bash, or because I can read what my favorite NFL players say after the game,  but because social networks will help develop and promote social consciousness. Social platforms will integrate into products to make everything more efficient, including our own government. Social sites are already emerging, such as publicstuff.org, designed to allow users to notify local governments of problems, such as potholes and broken streetlights, in turn, making governments more efficient and maximizing tax dollars (and if you can report a pothole, why not suspicious activity?). Social media is bringing out the Good Samaritan in everyone, and the world is getting better because of it. But this is where I get radical.  Social networks will even force an eco-consciousness. Imagine if every product was linked to a digital community, even something as trivial as dishwashers. Let’s say you and everyone on your street were part of a social community that engaged people to measure how sustainable they were being. For privacy, you wouldn’t be able to see exactly who was who, but just how eco-friendly you were being compared to your neighbors. Imagine if all of your metrics were posted on a weekly basis, and you could see where you would rank amongst those next door (its like peer pressure to be nicer to Mother Earth, I mean, all the cool kids are doing it, right?) What would you do if you found out that you were twice as inefficient as next door? Besides sabotage, our inner-conscious would try to be ‘more green’. Talk about keeping up with the Jones’. It would be a way to push our selves and each other to become better people on this earth. (I am sure you are all freaking out about privacy concerns, but if my generation has no problems splashing up pictures of themselves getting wasted and ripping bong hits all over facebook, why would posting our electricity consumption phase us?) Especially, if it were only to help benchmark our selves vs. others in what is no longer a ‘green movement’ but rather, a ‘green lifestyle’.

Some People Think this is where social media will be at puberty.  For those of you who still just see it as a fix for gossip junkies, you are truly missing the ‘social’ part and only harping on the ‘media’ aspect. The internet, as it always has been, is evolving. Since the inception of the internet, there has always been something inherently fascinating about being connected to people everywhere. Social media is the fruition of this fascination, the convergence of real life into the digital world, and frankly, how we as society are finally starting to tap into the true power of modern technology.  ‘SomePeopleThink’ they are confident that information-based connectivity of ideas, people, and products for social movement is not only inevitable, but as powerful as anything that we have ever seen.

Some People Think Social Gaming is the Michael Vick of the Advertising World

Reach, Targeting and Performance. RTP. GET EM. These three words get advertisers salivating behind their desks in their fancy-pants offices.  And they damn well should be. It is a lethal, yet rare, combination in the advertising world. Its like being a football coach and having a quarterback with the speed of Michael Vick, the arm strength of Michael Vick, and the accuracy of…umm…well, Michael Vick. Just like Vick makes his fat ass coach look like the top dog smart, a branded RTP campaign makes an advertiser look like a genius.

I bring all of this up because there is a new advertising environment that has advertisers getting as hyped as this guy:

I am talking about the world of social gaming – The world of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and really annoying facebook messages from people you haven’t talked to since you were the man in high school. Ahem. Social gaming is sweeping mainstream America, in large part due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and Facebook. In the words of Robert Tomkinson, Playfish’s senior director of global marketing, “[The] iPhone put a gaming device in everybody’s pocket and massively expanded the market…And of course, free-to-play social games massively expand the market to bigger than all the console games combined. This is something that anybody can use.” What was once stereotyped to 36 year old Dungeon and Dragon enthusiasts living in their parents basement, is now dominated by 43-year-old woman. Grow those crops ladies, get that payper.

Here is an RTP analysis to show just how powerful this new channel can be for brands:

Reach

56 million Americans are playing social games and the numbers are growing by the thousands everyday. Maybe even more astonishing, online games just passed email as the second most popular activity online, second to only social networking. Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Do people have jobs anymore? I mean I know the economy is struggling, but that’s kind of pathetic people. Still though, many companies now know what’s up:

  • Ad spending on social gaming increased 60% since 2009.
  • Google is reportedly in talks with social-game companies to start a site called Google Games, having noticed that on Facebook, 40% of the company’s 500 million users regularly play social games.

Need another jaw-dropping stat to rattle off to your Inferiors coworkers? Check out the chart below. Many social games are outperforming the most popular television shows on cable. According to Mashable, 30 million players per day play the most popular social game, FarmVille. The most popular prime time television show last week, Dancing With the Stars, had about 24 million viewers. Obviously, the reach is MASSIVE. CAPS LOCK MASSIVE.

Targeting

What is so special and unique about social gaming is not the reach, but rather the conducive environment that exists in these games. In social gaming, brands can do wayyyy wayyyy more than make crappy commercials (this commercial is awesome tho) and corny billboards; they can actually make themselves apart of the game. Cascadian Farm (who?) took full advantage of this. Over the summer, they set up an agreement with Farmville to give the online players an option to plant their branded crop, Cascadian Farm blueberries, on their virtual farms. Remember, we are talking about 43 year old women. Big blueberry fans. Some people think they are at least.

Performance

So what ever happened with that blueberry company? Well, In total, 310 million Cascadian Farm organic blueberries have been planted by FarmVille players instead of the other stupid crops that i guess you can plant on a virtual farm. According to research firm Zynga, brand awareness for Cascadian Farms increased by 550%. And this is just one example of the several social gaming campaigns that have paid off big time for the respective brand. I am sure there will be many more to come. To all the companies that are skeptical: Time to get on the bandwagon! Social gaming transactions will generate $150 million in 2013 and reach an annual revenue of $318 million by 2015.

RTP. GOT EM. The perfect combination. Social Gaming is the Michael Vick of the Advertising World. Damnit why is he on the Eagles…

Some People Think Geolocation Apps are Marketing Gold – And Brands Must Respect It

I know what your thinking: What the heck is Geolocation? Is it that stupid foursquare stuff? That shit is nuts.

Yep thats right! and as ridiculously stupid I think this all is, its astonishing how much Foursquare is growing. According to USA Today, Foursquare now has over 5 million users. 5 million! Damn, there are a lot of crazy people in this world. I feel like these are the type of people that dominate the World….of Warcraft, reach a level 50 in Halo, and continue to talk about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the greatest tv series of all time. But maybe I am the crazy one after all. Honestly, compared to them, we are all huge noobs. And I know from experience, these people seriously Pwn Noobs. Shout out to Leroy Jenkins.

Typically, geolocation apps do two things: They report your location to other users, and they associate real-world locations (such as restaurants and events) to your location. Applications like Foursquare allow consumers to “check in” to anywhere in the United States using their mobile phone to share their location with friends, receive special on-site deals, and to see who else is “checked in” at the same place as them to begin online conversation/engagement with the other users. As much as I am against this trend, I cannot deny the incredible marketing potential that this posses for brands. Foursquare recently distributed a free analytics tool and dashboard (see below) that offers the unparalleled ability to engage with consumers at specific locations, learn where their consumers spend their time, and further gauge their characteristics thru their online activity. This is unprecedented access to consumer behavior and interactions. I am getting a huge chubby, it is essentially marketing porn.

By no means is this a fad. With geolocation-focused announcements heard from tech giants Facebook, Apple, and Google, the exceptional growth of popularity with geolocation apps will only continue to cultivate into a significant disruptive technology for marketers. Geolocation apps are no longer exclusively used by techies, but rather are currently moving into the mainstream consumer’s smartphone. Need evidence? I got ya. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. Also, following 2010 SXSW, Foursquare tweeted that they experienced “2.4 million checking and about 90,000 new users” during the week of events. Pretty damn impressive.

However is this new marketing ability to reach consumers and engage with their location-specific actions a good thing? I tend to think this is awful, but my opinion does not matter to a single person that will read this post. F you guys. It’s ok though, I know a guy who knows a little somtin somtin about all this – Industry expert, and a personal hero of mine, Ad Age author Dave Curry believes that this new technology could consume us if we are not careful; that we are setting ourselves up for geolocation apocalypse. In his article, How to Survive Geolocations Looming Apocalypse, Curry believes that if brands and consumers are not careful with the technology, we will experience swarms of geolocation services, armies of aimless apps, drowning in a deluge of data(See video below), and huge amounts of spam, not to mention crime cataclysm, stalker apps and misrepresentation. Where’s Nicholas Cage when you need him?

Its all bout respek

The bottom line is that this technology is coming to the forefront of mainstream America, and marketers need to realize the appropriate means in which to use such a powerful data source. The main rule for marketers is to ALWAYS respect the consumers privacy and to not abuse the knowledge of their whereabouts. If consumers are bombarded with constant spam, annoying bullshit, etc. they will be turned off to the respective brand or retailer. Thats a big Dikembe Mutumbo no-no to any marketer. To prevent this, it’s necessary to create an enjoyable experience that is valuable for consumers. A positive user experience will boost a brand’s perception to the engaged consumer, and will allow it’s marketers to legitimately harness powerful information from the interaction.

Geolocation is no longer the future for geeks, it is a present-day phenomenon that marketers must respect.

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