Chatroulette Wrecking Ball. Yes. It happened.

If you asked me this morning to bet on the current existence of Chatroulette, I would have given you a hard pass (#pitchperfectjoke). And then, my wondrous friend Adam found this. Props to you Roop. Mad props. This is amazing.

  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6DmHGYy_xk&w=560&h=315]

What the Heck is an Instagram Video Share?

As posted on Advertising Week 

I came across an article recently that discussed the top shared brands on Instagram Video. Brands to earn this high acclaim include MTV, NBA, Peanuts and GoPro, to name a few.

My thoughts – great – but what the heck is an Instagram Video share?

As of this moment in time, users cannot seamlessly share videos from Instagram to any other social network. By that I mean, from mobile, which is where pretty much all Instagram videos views take place, you cannot click, tap or do anything to get that video from point A to point anywhere. So, I ask again – what the heck is an Instagram Video share? I have no choice but to assume it’s a copy and paste of a URL from Instagram WEB (not through the app, that’s not possible) to another social network which may include Twitter, Facebook, etc. Seems like a superfluous number of steps to take right? You must really want to share that video.. or rely on the brands themselves to do it so that you can share that aforementioned super sick video to your own networks. Then though, isn’t that <quote> Instagram Video </ end quote> simply a piece of content that is ironically optimized for a different social network than the one you’re sharing it to? It is. Trust me.

I then got to thinking about sharing in general and, when it comes to mass exposure of trending topics, my brain naturally took a stroll down hashtag lane. In case you still don’t get them, let me break it down for you. Hashtags are a super cool (#nerdmoment) way to consolidate a potentially world wide conversation by pairing a coined term or phrase with a symbol you used back in middle school to lock up your name with your jersey number. Mind you, this millennial trend has evolved, as all things do, to have a totally different role in social vernacular …but that’s for another post.

My point in bringing this all up is that in our forward thinking day and age, we have managed to not only miss, but whiff the mark when it comes to social integration and our perspective on it. We do not have an even-close-to-seamless way to look at the bigger picture when it comes to trending topic reach and content across the World Wide Web as it stands. Hashtags exist and are used universally on Twitter, Instagram and most recently Facebook but yet, there is no way to consolidate the analytics derived from those into one place. Not being able to share or #regram naturally from the Instagram mobile interface (be it video or image) may be intentional – and if it is I respect it – but calling out shared video links from Instagram web on other social networks just plain doesn’t make sense.

It seems to me that the social measurement space is suffering from a forest through the trees-esque syndrome. They’re looking forward through blinders as they frantically race to keep up with the tech centric joneses. The bottom line is that we don’t really know what we’re looking at or what any of it means.

So the question remains: What do we do about it?

My call to adventure is to look up and find a way to call a spade a social spade. Find a way, Internet world, to create a social map – a hashtag web if you will. That way we can at least have some idea of how far and by what vehicle our content travels. Then we can adjust our strategy accordingly. If not though, maybe we just accept the fact that quality content trumps. We should take advantage of the ready made tools in our tool belt, know that content is content first – and the way you alter it for different marketing channels, be they social or otherwise, is your intelligent attempt at catering content based on the audience you’re speaking to.

To bring this puppy back full circle, it makes zero sense focus on empty Instagram video shares. You are, quite literally, sharing content optimized for Instagram, which has a language and a user base entirely its own, to other, completely unique networks. It’s pretty much like going to a different country and assuming they’ll speak your language. That’s naive and lazy; come on son, you’re better than that. You should be focusing instead on the killer content you create and how to best disseminate that to the masses based on the mechanism through which you’re pushing it. Be better. Strategize harder. Market on.

Buzzfeed + Gary Vaynerchuk Unite ... peel banana, peel peel banana*

BuzzFeed_Authorized_Storyteller_2   +    GaryVaynerchuk So it's been a while since I've posted something industry-informative so here goes. Buzzfeed has now officially (yes officially, it's on the wire) partnered with VaynerMedia - Gary  Vaynerchuk's agency-  to test a pilot Social Storytelling Creator Program. Vayner-folk will help test the program with extensive training from the Buzzfeed team and will work with brands including GE (who's lighting division is a client of EFM - my new agency), Milkbone and Trident.

According to my main man Gar, “Brands need to do a better job storytelling and bringing value to their customer. The age of disruptive ads is coming to an end, and models like BuzzFeed are the future of advertising. VaynerMedia is beyond humbled to be piloting this program with Jonah, Jon and their amazing team.” I agree and would like to proclaim this partnership 'one to watch'. In doing a bit more research, I found an AdAge article from January of 2012  claiming that a GE Study Proves Consumers Respond More to Shared Content Than to Paid Placements. Seems a bit ahead of its time, right? I feel like the masses didn't fully subscribe to this metaphorical bandwagon until more recently. I tip my hat of innovation to you GE - touché.

Paul Marcum, Director of Global Digital Marketing and Programming at GE said this about the partnership: “Like GE, the BuzzFeed community has an inexhaustible appetite for invention and we’ve long enjoyed sharing our technology stories with them. Now, with our partner VaynerMedia and the Social Storytelling Creator Program we see an exciting platform for increasing our speed and growing overall engagement."

This partnership seems sound and I'm curious to see how the future content differs from the past - as GE's content has been pretty stellar thus far. From nerdy math jokes and you know you're a creative when, to making fun of Instagram and improving efficiency with awesome apps, you're gonna want to take a look at their Buzzfeed profile. They successfully fuse their brand name and voice into the content they create in an unobtrusive way. As a result, I, as the consumer am more engaged and  likely to share. They make me like their brand - no, not just on Facebook, but like the persona they've created to represent it. That my fare marketers is the way all this is going. Make me like you, I'll have your back for life. #smartmarketing.

In closing I'd like to give a shout out to my fellow Bruin and pal Geoff Lewis, content creator master flex at VaynerMedia - who will undoubtedly crush it in his creative and entrepreneurial hustling... now tell Gary he needs a website redesign. 

*anyone get this besides Julie Insinger? 

Harney Sushi Introduces Edible QR Codes

harney-sustainable-11Apr2013041830180202 No guys - I'm absolutely not kidding, Harney Sushi has introduced edible QR codes set amidst your favorite sashimi selections. They're made of tiny rice paper squares with a safe-to-eat ink in an effort to 'roll' (ha, get it?) out  their latest sustainability initiative.

Scan the code with your phone and it will direct you to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) FishWatch website. The reason? Exec Chef Robert Ruiz was frustrated at the limited and often inaccurate fish information available in San Diego. He insists that it's important to know what you're consumer and where it came from.

According to DiscoverSD, Ruiz recently met with Bill Fox, the Vice President of the World Wildlife Foundation who works on sustainability at a global level in the United Nations. Bill is super excited about the potential of these QR codes and the headway they will make toward giving consumers the tools they need to educate themselves about sustainable eating- and subsequently expect transparency from local restaurants.

Ruiz also noted that they, "discovered a giant hole in the sushi industry, and the hole is that no one knows where their fish comes from". Too many sushi bars rely on customers being uneducated so that they can sell whatever they want. The codes create traceability ... and another #win for #socialmedia.

In sustainable sashimi and socially savvy sushi,

Nic

 

dear Dove: you are a smart soap and i will buy you because you are smart. love, me

To continue their 10 year long "Real Beauty" campaign, Dove decided to target the creatives responsible for 'manipulating our perceptions' of reality in an uberly clever way. Of course we don't know how many targets actually downloaded this 'Beautify' Photoshop action... but that really doesn't matter does it? This is what Dove stands for and I give them kudos for their out of the box ingenuity.  

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0JF4QxPpvM&w=560&h=315]

Internet Explorer Overcomes Mass Hatred with a #90s Throwback

I must admit -  I - an Internet Explorer hater - am gosh darn impressed by their brand reinvention as of late. From their "Do you know this guy?" video and the 'More Beautiful web' campaign, to finally, the 'Child of the 90s' video that stole my heart... I'll admit that I'm tempted to download the latest IE and give it a whirl. Aside from the fact that they call out slap bracelets, floppy disks, fanny packs, and even Oregon Trail, they have brilliantly played on the fact that well - everyone hates them.  IE has been a huge #fail for those of us in the biz. From websites loading at a glacial pace and error reports galore, to computer crashes and more, IE has not been any friend of mine in recent years. Instead of being defensive of their short comings however, they have managed to make the truth their biggest asset. The latest video's tagline, "You grew up, so did we" targets the perfect age group of IE haters (ie: -ha, get it? - myself and others now in their mid to late 20s) and challenges us to experience their grown up reinvention by appealing to things we hold dear. Not gonna lie - anyone who knows me is well aware of the warm fuzzies I get when I think back to skip its, troll dolls, and slamming pogs. True story.

The following video is a gem worth watching. Whether or not its worth an IE download is entirely your call but take a moment, a gander, and appreciate some smart marketing.

  [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkM6RJf15cg&w=560&h=315]

Why Blogging Matters

Tis the season for checking annual analytics and check them I did. I thought I’d take a look at the numerical proof in the pudding from December 2011 until now. What I found was pretty darn interesting if I do say so myself and as such, I thought I’d share it with you all.

Generally speaking in web analytics land, we expect the top 2 referral traffic sources to be, you guessed it, search engines and Facebook. I’d expect a third and fourth for me, to be Twitter and Pinterest, as those are really they only ways I push out content. To my surprise I found the following:

#1. Facebook with 3,829 referrals

#2. Search Engines with 3,398 referrals

#3. ChaCha.com with 587 referrals

#4. Twitter with 353 referrals

#5. Pinterest with 238 referrals

#6. LinkedIn with 20 referrals

#7. thepensblog with 19 referrals

Chacha.com, a site I’ve never heard of, posted the following picture earlier this year.

Screen shot 2012-12-14 at 11.28.56 AM

They sited me as you can see in the top right and in doing so, referred nearly 600 visits to my site in less than 1 year.

Obviously a pretty solid drop, but still significant is thepensblog.com. Someone I don’t know posted the following in a comment thread of an unrelated post.

Screen shot 2012-12-14 at 11.32.01 AM

Mind you, 20 isn’t a huge number but for someone I don’t know to copy and paste my url into a comment thread (when they could have just stolen & posted the image) and thereby inform 20 brand new people about my site, is pretty awesome.

Also noteworthy is the wonder that is Pinterest. I’m lucky in that I have a lot of active friends with similar senses of humor on this wildly addicting site. The list of my site’s pin referral traffic is too long to take a screen shot of – but know that Pinterest is a blogger’s dream. Want people to see your stuff? Make it good, not self promotional and relevant. Your friends – and your friends friends – and your friends friends friends will take care of the rest.

In closing, I’ll leave you with the inspiring possibilities that come with the idea of actually trying to market your stuff (because what I’ve done is the bare minimum). Imagine what would happen if you set aside 2 hours each week to create content. What if you implemented even a basic SEO strategy? Could you increase your traffic if you tweeted more, pitched your stuff to local or even national bloggers, started an email newsletter? The possibilities are endless.

Be inspired.

As originally posted on the JT Creative Blog.