Category Archives: Ranting/Raving

How Foursquare Makes Me A Better Person

foursquare badge buttonsSo there I was sitting in my corner being anti foursquare. I’ll admit, I was pouting because I didn’t understand what to do or know how to assign value to this tool. I call myself a social media lover (not guru, queen or any other grandly delusional title) but I enjoy social media and spend a good portion of my day utilizing it for both business and pleasure. Yet, here I was missing the boat on this craze.

It all changed when I changed… to iPhone. I’ll spare you the harp music, clouds rolling in, sun-shining-brighter-than-ever-before analogies that correspond with my switching to the iPhone… (But let me just say, I heard some pretty lovely harp music and saw some pretty freakin’ bright rays of sun the moment I touched this phone.) So, I guess to be accurate it was about four days into my iPhone love affair when some dude (@audette) rolls in talking about his new obsession with foursquare. I sheepishly admitted to not really being in to it and then thought wow, I can’t let this dude one-up me in social media – I better give this thing a shot.

So here I am, two days later (yea it only takes about one afternoon to become thoroughly addicted to the phenomenon that is foursquare), finding myself showing up to venues two minutes early so I can check-in, adding venues I frequent so I can make a run for mayor, diligently trying to oust @Audette as mayor of AudetteMedia Headquarters and pretty much finding any and every excuse I can to run errands so I can check-in at my favorite places.

It’s not only a fun, new social media obsession. I am a better person because of foursquare. Foursquare has made me:

1. Early to work and other activities – I find myself needing to be early everywhere to “check-in” and subsequently look like the go-getter at gym class, workaholic at the office or lunch-rush-beater that I am in fact not.

2.    Social – I get pretty stoked to see other people that might be in the same location as me. I want to meet them, exchange witty banter about how we both use foursquare and become lifelong friends.

3.    An insider – foursquare, or rather foursquare users, give me tips about the places I’m visiting. They might tell me to order one type of coffee over another, or how to find a good deal. They might tell me to avoid the lunch special because it’s gross. I wouldn’t know any of this without foursquare and I am now more valuable to myself and others because of it.

4.    That much closer to a becoming a social media guru – I wasn’t using foursquare, I was pouting in the corner with no badges or mayor titles to speak of, and now I am checking in at multiple venues throughout the day, communicating with other foursquare users and blogging about it here. I don’t know everything about social media, and I won’t claim to, but I know a lot… maybe more than you, and I feel that much closer to being a “social media guru” for having branched out to try something I was scoffing at, just to realize I look like an idiot for scoffing. Try foursquare. It’s good.

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I’m Awesome… At The Numbers Game

Pigs racing You have 14,000 Twitter followers? Wow, that’s awesome. You blog twelve times a week? Wow, that’s awesome. Your Facebook page has 7,000 fans? Wow, that’s like totally awesome.

So many bloggers, business owners and general internet dwellers out there are playing the numbers game. The more I tweet, the more I automate, the more I push myself on people the greater gain I will get in return. While a lot of followers, participation and fans of your stuff is great and all, you’re nowhere without engaging them.

Are you sitting there, reading this and thinking “but my marketing/social media/branding manager said I need to reach X amount of followers by X date”? Yeah, I know lots of people out there are running to get to a finish line where the numbers tell their success story. The problem with this is at the end of the race your trophy is just filled with a bunch of people who know a big fat nothing about you… And you kind of look like a pig.

What you need to do is make a plan. If your plan includes participating in social media, in any way, whether it be for your business, personal use or whatever, then decide to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. Or however that goes. We all hate the teeth whitening tweeters, auto DMers, nonsensical bloggers and annoying Facebookers. So don’t be one of them.

Get out there and really communicate what you’re all about. Be open, transparent and oh snap, real. Be authentically awesome. Because if I don’t think you’re awesome just for having a butt load of followers or hammering my Google reader with posts you’ve written in seven minutes while eating your bagel, the people you think you’re engaging probably don’t care either.

Don’t get me wrong, those of you that do a lot with real, quality output I’m proud of you. We should all be like you. But if you can’t commit to quality engagement online, step back and reevaluate why you’re there in the first place. Your 600 followers will appreciate your funny, informative, original tweets much more than 10,500 spammers ever would.

Love Fest: Chromemance

What was that you said? I couldn’t quite hear you over my screamin’ browser speed…

Google Chrome

I am smack dab in the middle of a full blown romance with Google Chrome. I’m currently operating Chromium OS, the open-source project behind the Google Chrome browser and I’m searching with unbeatable speed, pages are loading before I can blink my eyes and the plug-ins, minimal browser interface and seamless video streaming is a dream.

Between Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, and now Chrome how is one to choose a browser? Well a.) don’t choose IE… Although as recently as two years ago, almost half of you people poking around the interwebs used Internet Explorer 6.0—the slowest, jankiest, most security-flawed browser on the market. Phew, now that that’s off my chest – I’m gonna say you’re left with Firefox, Safari and Chrome to choose from (Opera – Who? What is that? Who cares? Oh that’s right no one’s really cared since 1996). Nevermind the PC vs. Mac browser debate… And since Safari is a Mac-based browser let’s just skip right over that one too.

All these browser programmers have been competing for speed, stability and intuition for quite some time. Firefox by Mozilla is constantly updating and improving and without a doubt it’s a fantastic browser. Great for speed, great for stability and a pretty intuitive interface (not to mention great add-ons, applications and powerful tools.) Firefox is flexible and the perfect back-up browser.

On to the love affair…

Chrome is addictively fast… I find myself opening new web pages to see how quickly they will load and drooling over the speed at which I can transition between tabs and windows. Chrome is the first browser to keep its processes separated – each tab is given individualized access to your computer’s resources. What?! That means that if one open tab encounters an error, the rest of your browsing session remains intact – that’s right! No more “Oops, this is embarrassing – Please wait while we restore the 24 tabs and 6 important projects you had open” messages.

With Chrome you can Google (that is the new term for “search” right?) right from the address bar. It’s the best way to navigate the web. Chrome will give you search results right in the search bar with drop downs to pretty much everything you might have been looking for. With Chrome you can sync your bookmarks directly from whatever sub-par browser you are using now and Chrome even offers Greasemonkey scripts and sweet add-ons.

In a nutshell: Google Chrome is better than your browser and you should probably get on it right now. Let your own love affair begin…

Your Most Annoying Facebook Friends

We all have them, the Facebook “friends” we wish we could “unfriend” because their status updates, event invitations, group suggestions, application announcements (or a hefty combo deal including all of the above) are just too much to take.

Introducing your 7 Most Annoying Facebook Friends

7. Work Out Updater Wendy – Wendy “ran 3.5 miles in 33 minutes and felt good.” Wendy “ran 2.22 miles in 19 minutes and felt good.” Wendy “ran 4.5 miles in 50 minutes and felt good. in the rain.” Wow, Wendy good job. Not only are you inconsistent with your mile pace, now I feel like a jack for not running this morning before work.

emotionally unstable facebook status6. Emotionally Unstable Emily – Not to discount or ignore Emily’s feelings… But come on. “Emily has the worst life ever. Boyfriend broke up with me, I can’t find my car keys and my job sucks. FML.” Alright pull yourself together. No one wants to read you blubbering on about your “terrible life.” If you’re that upset, call a real friend. Your Facebook “friends” have no sympathy. Or at least I don’t.

5. Play-by-play of My Day Paul – 7:18 am Paul “Good morning, off to work.” 12:25 pm Paul “Having a sandwich for lunch.” 5:01 pm Paul “Leaving work, heading home for some dinner.” 6:15 pm Paul “Having spaghetti for dinner.” 9:44 pm Paul “Off to bed.” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Wow! How fascinating! Bore someone else with your life, Paul… Not one of your 378 Facebook friends cares if you’re listening to music, waiting for the bus or laying in bed.

4. Bad Grammar Billy – Billy “Can any one give me some tips on how 2 right a good resume? I need a job!” Welp, Billy. You’re SOL. With that grammar, punctuation, spelling catastrophe I just read I think you need a GED before we can even think about getting you a job. Go back to school, learn how to write properly and then get back to me about writing a quality resume.

3. Stalker Steve – So Steve and I are out with a group of friends and he starts a conversation by saying, “Wow looks like you had a lot of fun at that Oregon vs. Cal game, crazy!” Hmm… Stevey, you have never sent me a message, written on my wall or even shown up in my Facebook news feed. I didn’t even remember we were “friends” on Facebook? So, how is hiding in the shadows of Facebook and reading my updates? Engage once in awhile buddy, you’re creeping me out.

facebook quiz fail

2. Application-happy Amy – No, I don’t want to join your Mafia. No, I don’t want to play Farmville with you. No, I don’t want to take your “Single Ladies, Should He Put a Ring On It” quiz and I certainly don’t want to be a fish keeper in your Happy Aquarium. Not only do I not want to join you in these sure-to-be spam, nonsensical games but I’d appreciate it if you would stop playing them so they would stop showing up in my Live Feed. Thanks.

1. Aunt Milly – While Aunt Milly might be great for baking holiday cookies, sending birthday cards and always showing up for Easter dinner, she doesn’t belong in your Facebook feed.

Dear Aunt Milly,

Please understand that when addressing me on Facebook via my “wall” you do not need a salutation. Your name, appearing right next to a rather sizable picture of your face, appears each time you write to me. Therefor, writing ‘Love, your Auntie Milly’ is unnecessary. Not only can I see that it is in fact you writing me a message about eating my daily vitamins, but all my friends do as well.

Also, when you are writing to me to remind me to eat my vitamins, please post this in a message directed to me or on my wall if you must. Updating your own status with a message to me is futile. Not only will I not see it, but your entire list of friends will be utterly confused. The whole Facebook world doesn’t need this message so click on the name of the person you wish to speak with and “Write something…” in the Wall portion of their profile.

Thanks.

PS – if these tasks seem like more than you can take on with the Internet right now, please cancel your Facebook account. Or better yet, just stop logging in. It will save us all a lot of hassle. See you at Christmas.

If You Have a Funny Commercial, It Really Should Be Online

If your game is to produce commercials, and they happen to be extremely informative, interesting or funny, you really should be putting them online.

vanessa hudgen uses flip video camcorderI recently saw a Flip Video commercial featuring a woman taking biscuits, or some other form of delicious baked good, out of the oven, at which point her boyfriend/husband/friend walks in (Flip camcorder in hand) and shouts “boo.” She flips the baking tray up in the air and in her terrified stupor spills the delicious baked good on the floor. I found this hilarious. I then thought my friend would also find humor in this woman’s misfortune and attempted to search for this commercial online… to no avail. I Google searched, scoured YouTube and even clicked incessantly through the Flip website to find the commercial. No luck.

Now, this bummed me out on the first level (the level at which I wanted to share a laugh with my friend over spilled baked goods), but I also found myself bumming over the fact that Flip hasn’t utilized their personal video commercials on the web. My guess is these personal home videos, used for public commercials, are sent to Flip via their “Flip Video Sightings” program. So my thought is, ‘hey, Flip… Why don’t you place these videos in their commercial form on a page on your website where visitors can watch every one of your hilarious commercials?” Then, moreover, create yourself a YouTube account and distribute your commercials there.

Video content is a big win for SEO, awareness and website content. You can optimize video to feature keywords you wish to target, brand the heck out of it if you’d like and get yourself an easy way to refresh your website with interesting content (not to mention something that now has the potential to go viral… that came from you!) Without getting into the hairy details of SEO for video, the bottom line is people like videos, people like funny and people will end up at your YouTube channel or website to watch your funny videos. I can’t be the only person alive to have searched for “funny biscuit flip commercial” and Flip Video could be ranking with a “Commercials” page for this, if they took the time to add commercials to their website.

A Letter to Matt Barkley

Originally featured on the LA Times Sports Blog

Dear Matt,

Wow! What a year for you so far! Rarely do we see true freshman quarterbacks such as yourself play so majestically, especially under pressure.

Fabforum We love the fact that you are a 19-year-old kid from California making national news on the gridiron. Way to represent the West Coast, kid!

We have been watching you for quite some time now. Your first performance (vs. San Jose State) didn’t particularly wow us, even though you went 15-of-19 with 233 yards and one touchdown. We all pointed out that it was against San Jose State, and that Pete Carroll himself could have put up those numbers.

The big thing we were all waiting for was your first away game, which was at the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio, no less. We all wanted you to fail miserably and prove to the nation that you were just a fluke, and that the University of Southern California would be garbage in the Pac-10 this year.

Boy, were we wrong!

Not only did you keep your poise, but you came out the victor over Ohio State and the hated Terrelle Pryor and really proved your worth nationally as well.

You wholeheartedly earned your respect and dismissed any notion of you being a 19-year-old media darling who was getting attention just because of the team you play for. Once again, congratulations.

As we monitored your progress (we know you would have beaten the Washington Huskies had you been healthy), the excitement started building within us, and we marked the date of your visit on our calendar.

We are so glad that you have continued to play at a stellar level, because we want your status as a top-tier quarterback to still be intact when you pay us a visit. We want you to believe that you are truly a great quarterback, and that nothing can stop you. We want this confidence.

Then, of course, we want to obliterate this aforementioned confidence on Halloween night.

Playing at home in Southern California is no doubt a comfortable, safe atmosphere. Playing at the Horseshoe might have gotten a little noisy, but you have proven that just a little noise won’t rattle you.

After you beat our neighbors last week, we just wanted to give you a little warning: When someone beats up on our little brother, then, as big brothers, we have no choice but to retaliate and show you that only we are allowed to pummel our lesser siblings.

Be warned.

Also, we would like to direct you to the words of Adrian Peterson. He has witnessed great success in the NFL; he survived his trip to visit us, and we wish you the same success in the future.

“It was like some sort of crazy torture in the movies. How do people do that so long without taking a breath? I think my ears are still ringing.”

Mr. Peterson lived to tell about his visit and is now the best running back in the NFL; we want you to survive your visit as well and become a good quarterback. After all, we don’t want to kill you.

We just want to make sure our team comes out on top this year. We believe that a small sacrifice will be needed. Your eardrums are what we are after—and we will stop at nothing to get them.

When you burn a timeout after your very first huddle, just remember that there is no shame in doing that. It happens to all first-time quarterbacks when they visit us; they just aren’t used to having to communicate with their motions.

After Oct. 31, we wish you the best of luck in the future. We know you can make it big, and we apologize in advance if your visit creates any chronic long-term health effects, mentally or physically.

Just wanted to say one final thing though: Whatever happens this Saturday, it’s nothing personal. If anything, take it all as a sign of respect.

We know you are just 19, and hey, if you really do want to get your revenge, you should still be around to visit again for your junior season. We’ll be waiting.

Once again, no hard feelings, Matt. We just really want that Rose Bowl this year.

Love,

The University of Oregon

P.S. Nice hair.

9 Things You Really Need To Stop Tweeting

Or You’ll Be a Twitter Fail Whale…

#9: Your To-Do List

While I find it mildly impressive that you have to drop the kids off at school, grab coffee with Suzy, complete a writing assignment, watch Mad Men and do laundry all in one day… I do not need to see your list of activities every afternoon. Although you are enthralled with the 5 things you will be doing today – I am snoring and would much rather see a link to something worth knowing.

#8: Things That Are “Awesome”Twitter fail whale

I do appreciate awesomeness just as much as the next guy, but your tweet: “This is awesome [link]” does nothing for me. You could be spam or linking to a video of Heidi Montag. Both of which I want nothing to do with. Give me a little bit more reason to click on your link, I want you to have to work for it.

#7: “Goodnight”

Ok, it’s 11pm and you’re all set in your PJs ready to crawl in bed… and the one thing you just have to do is grab the Blackberry (or laptop) and say “goodnight” to Twitter? Honestly? My good friend Ben Goodsell, and author of Optimistic Pessimism, has created what we call “Weener of the Week.” And you, “goodnight twitter” tweeter make this list.

Follow him @BenGoodsell on Twitter for future weekly weeners!

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