The #BostonShake: Having Fun at Work

No, this is not a post about the Harlem Shake. It's a post about how much fun I get to have at work. ​

We are a creative bunch. We pay attention to online trends. Lately, the Harlem Shake has been one of those trends we've been following.​

We've been yapping about potentially doing one of our own Harlem Shakes. After a quick brainstorm -- and I mean like :30 seconds quick -- we decided to mash up the Harlem Shake with a flashmob. ​

​I introduce you to the #BostonSHAKE:

Brands Missing the Visual Point on Facebook

Interesting story over at about brands not getting what consumers want in terms of content on Facebook.

It's no shocker to me, but we (consumers) want visual content. Links and funny status updates are cool and all, but we're a visual society. Our attention spans are very short and if our attention isn't snatched in a three seconds or so, we're moving on.

Thus, the importance of visuals.

2012 Should be the Year PR Types, Mad Men and Digital Marketers Come Clean

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I've been in the journalism/PR/digital marketing business for 18 years (in that order). If you've ever worked at an agency, you know that the lines between PR, advertising and marketing has become blurred because of online communications, i.e. social media.

The space is become very crowded. Guru's are a plenty. Books are being written at a feverish pace; books on Google+, Facebook, social media in general, location-based stuff, etc.

It's never ending and to be brutally honest, it's tiring.

Here's what I'd like to see from PR, advertising and marketers in 2012:

The Social Networking Dilemma for Parents

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Today the Globe has a story about the dilemma parents face with social networking.

[Social Networking] It’s become one of the most pressing questions for parents of children growing up in the digital age: When should they let their children join Facebook or should they be on the site at all? An estimated 7.5 million preteens - including 5 million under 10 - are part of the social network in violation of Facebook’s terms of service, according to Consumer Reports.

I have nephews and a niece who are under the acceptable age for signing up for Facebook, but are on Facebook. I see the interactions they have with their friends and family. Sometimes I find it strange. Sometimes I find it cool (mostly because I can keep up with how they are doing in school, athletic activities, etc.).

A Battle for Social Web Traffic: Brand Pages

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So Twitter joined Facebook and Google today by launching 'Brand Pages'. So what, right? Well, if you're managing a brand or doing so for a client's brand, you're going to want to jump in on the action.

You see, brand's need social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They need to connect. They need to fuel the push and pull action that takes place between the people with products and services and the people that want them.

However, brands are very conscious about their image. They want "some" control over their presence on these networks. Brand Pages provide a false sense of brand security in that the social network dictates how your brand will be presented. There are a certain amount of spaces to fill with creative. There are certain places to put in your company info. And of course, there's always a segment of the network where you pump your sausage, i.e. your news.

This isn't control. These aren't "brand pages." They are apartments. Brands are renting these spaces and are generating loads of traffic (and ad revenue) for the social darlings of the web.

My advice is to take advantage of brand pages in order to avoid squatters, but don't forget YOUR website. Remember that thing right? The online face for your brand that you actually have 100% control over? Well, don't forget to use that and in fact, socialize it. Make your website, your SOCIAL website. Make it the center of your social hub for your target audience. Then, all those other brand pages will be just that -- pages -- whereas your website will be a brand experience.

Just sayin'.

QR Code Programs Need Good Brand Execution in Order to Succeed

For those who follow the social media space and are mobile nuts, QR codes add a cool aspect to both online and offline marketing programs.

In plain English, QR codes are basically bar codes that look like a printer spit ink into a square. Like bar codes, each QR code is unique.

When a mobile user takes a picture of the QR code (with the help of any number of mobile apps) he or she will be directed to something -- a website, app download, coupon, etc.

The biggest issue with QR codes is that your run of the mill consumer doesn't know what the heck they are. The adoption just isn't there yet.

Managing Your Social Content

I read constantly. News websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. When it comes to the social web, I realize that I can'y catch everything, yet it's my job to keep on top of the trends, news, new services, apps, etc.  Some ask, "How the heck do you keep up with it all?"

The answer is simplicity.

I keep things simple  because there are many ways you can slice and dice what's important to you in terms of content. There's content that's important to you personally as well as professionally. And as many of you know, there's LOADS of it.

So how do I keep things simple and keep it organized?

Well, I first break down content into three categories:

Social Content Venn Diagram


The MSLGROUP Guide to Facebook Updates

Facebook has made a variety of changes to how brand pages are presented on their site; what controls administrators have over content, engagement and measurement; and, even how content is presented on the page itself. If you haven't caught up on all the changes, don't fret, here's a cool resource put together by my agency, the MSLGROUP:

The MSLGROUP Guide to Facebook Updates

Why RSS Isn't Dead

With Facebook and Twitter being primary sources for news these days, are RSS readers still relevant?


That was the question posed in this article and this tweet, which of course, prompted me to write this post.

My answer is no and here's why.

I equate Twitter to a big river. If you've never stood on the banks of a river, big or small, you've at least seen one on TV, the web, etc. Basically Twitter is this massive body of water that keeps flowing no matter if you're on standing on the banks or not. We don't have time to stand on the banks all day long and see what swims by. We can't cast our fishing rods out every second to see what we catch. If you're following a lot of people on Twitter, the river moves faster and it becomes harder and harder to catch the content that's important to you. As a result, you end up building Twitter lists, using columns in programs like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc.

Simply put, you just can't catch it all and anyone that says that do, is lying.

Enter RSS readers.

Services like Google Reader and applications like Reeder and NetNewsWire are not fishing rods, but more like mesh nets that you can stretch across the river of content that's important to you. Yes, you won't catch breaking news this way, but you will stop content that's important to you from slipping by. And with the web littered with blogs and social media services, the content river is getting bigger and bigger. Twitter will eventually become ineffective for catching all the news that's important to you. Yes, you might catch breaking news if you trolling around the service at that particular time, but you still need a fishing net to help catch the other stuff.

Do you think RSS is dead?

Anti-Predictions for Social Media in 2011


With 2010 coming to a close, the blogosphere is littered with predictions for 2011, including for the social media space.

This isn't one of those posts. This is a post about stuff that won't happen in the space next year.

Facebook Won't Be Bought, Ever: The social networking giant is never going to be purchased. Zuckerberg and company have come to the realization that what they built is bigger than any other business in the past five years. The company is the voice of the web. It is the home base for marketers and social media junkies. But it's also the web-home for mommy's, kids, aunts, uncles, colleagues, parents, corporations and the like. Basically, Facebook owns the web and that ownership will only grow. At some point, the company will go public and that will be the end of the company's coolness.

Location-based Services Will Never Go Mainstream: Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite, Yelp, etc...they are cool applications, but have no real value to consumers. Facebook Places on the other hand, will be successful and have consumer value because of the volume of users on the social network. As for the B-team, these services will continue to create noise in the space and compete against each other — in essence, canceling each other out. Facebook will be the winner here.

Twitter's Advertising Strategy Will Not Be Successful: No one wants ads in their stream. Some brands might pay for paid tweets, but users will glance right past them, just like they do with ads within third party apps. They are an annoyance and don't provide any value to the user. Period. The only way Twitter will make money is if they close the network and charge for premium accounts. However, it won't work. It would be like if Google was going to start charging consumers to use their search functionality. Users will find other means, i.e. Bing and Yahoo.

What do you think won't happen in social media in 2011?

Article first published as 3 Social Media Anti-Predictions for 2010 on Technorati.