Social Media Never Tasted So Good

October 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Twineup2

Last night’s Himmarshee Twineup Take 2 at Himmarshee’s Side Bar in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale was a “pairing-and-pouring adventure!” The event featured three wine flights paired with passed appetizers, and was sponsored by Matthew Horbund, @mmwine, and Jan Idelman, @janIdelman.

If you’re looking for a classy alternative to the normal tweetup setting, this is an idea for you – wine, food, friends. There were prizes given away sponsored by PokenGirl and Pickchur, and along with the price of the tasting everyone received a coupon for $20 off of a $60 food or wine purchase at the venue.

To start the evening we had a 2008 Murphy-Goode Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma County. This light, crisp wine paired well with the petit crab cakes with pickled habenero tartart and island spiced shrimp and yucca croquettes with drunken mango salsa.

The second flight was an Australian born 2005 Hope Shiraz. This Shiraz was more fruity and less peppery than most tend be. The pairing for this was amazing! It was a duck confit & sweet potato empanada with vanilla-shiraz macerated cherries.

The final tasting was a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Tahuantinsuyu from Mendoza, Argentina – one of my favorite regions, especially for Malbec! This was paired with mushroom & cambazola toasts with oil cured campari tomatoes.

The evening had a mix of good food, good wine, and good conversations – what more could you ask for? It was nice to meet @PamRockSoFl @enzobalc, @stacykinney, @SisterMary, and thanks to @mmWine and @jidelman for hosting the event! If you missed this twineup, information on the November one will be posted at A Good Time With Wine.

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Cool Beans – A Tale of the Coffee Tasting Tweetup

October 15, 2009 at 12:05 am (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Caffe_Rustica

Are you tired of attending tweetups for the masses? Here’s a new spin on the twitter universe – a coffee tasting tweetup. Think of a wine and cheese paring party, but with coffee and cookies. And what overworked designer, developer, geek, or business maven doesn’t like a good cup of coffee? The best part of an event like this is that there is a smaller turnout than many other social media events allowing for more chances to meet and converse with new people.

If you don’t follow what I’m saying, imagine this: you’re a social media newbie, maybe more introverted than some, and decide to go to a social media event. You stand in a corner doing your best wallflower impression and don’t know how to break the ice with people who are part of the “in crowd.” I mean you don’t want to linger like an awkward stalker outside of an ongoing conversation, and busting into someone’s chitchat that you don’t know can come off wrong or just seem rude. An event in a more intimate setting with a small group is a great way to expand your social circle and your comfort zone in unison. So why not hold smaller gatherings to help welcome newbies and make new friends

Tonight’s event was held at Caffe Rustica next to the Gateway Theater in Ft. Lauderdale. The coffee shop was like the Cheers bar, Wings café counter, and Central Perk from Friends all combined into a charming little spot with less drama and better coffee. If they didn’t know your name when you came in, they knew your twitter handle when you left.

We were a little late, so we had some catching up to do. The tasting had started with India Mneb it was like a strong tea, more refreshing than you get from your get-out-of-bed in the morning variety joe. Next up was Brazil Morenhina Formosa made with the Raisin Process – Jim the owner/barista is very knowledgeable in the art of beverage preparation and shared a little about the history, roasting style, and background of each brew. Third tasting was Guatemala Acatenenango Gesha a little stronger than the others, but still very good. The final flight was the strongest (and favorite of mine – the 3 cup-a-day drinker) Ethiopa Bonko made with a Wet Process. This coffee was much more robust than the others, some might say it’ll get you up in the morning and give you a shave, but I just think it was a good strong coffee.

Between flights and after all the rounds had been finished the small group of coffee lovers sat around discussing a variety of interesting topics from camera equipment to anecdotes of everyday life. My favorite conversation centered around Starbucks’ new instant coffee. The most insightful part of the discussion came when someone quipped that they didn’t know what Starbucks’ taste testing ads were supposed to prove. Are they raising the bar for instant coffee or lowering the standard by which we hold our $8 sugar infused creation of fast food-like coffee? If you think about it it’s either one or the other. It’s like up-selling your product while simultaneously devaluing it.

I’d like to thank @CaffeRustica for hosting the event and @MoreWillie for organizing it. It was nice to meet @DavideDiCillo, @ggadventures, and @stefaniwhylie, and apologies to those who I didn’t get your handle. I look forward to the next foray into the world of the caffeinated arts, whenever that may be.

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Can’t Email That Important Client? Facebook Them!

October 7, 2009 at 10:19 pm (marketing, networking, News, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Rose Brand's Crystal Series at the University of Tampa

Rose Brand's Crystal Series of stretch fabric at the University of Tampa

Through my blog and twitter updates I have cited many case studies of social media as a networking and branding tool, way to maintain community involvement and policing, and even a case or two of how it can make you unemployed or put in jail. But I saw a tweet on September 25 that gave social media a true business-to-business validation. The tweet came from @Rosebrand and simply stated,  “Just used facebook to communicate with a client regarding an emergency order. Was not able to connect via phone or e-mail but FB worked!” This got my attention.

Here’s the back story – who is Rose Brand: “Rose Brand is the leader in flame retardant fabric, theatrical draperies and production supplies for entertainment, schools, events, exhibitions and houses of worship.” If you have attended a concert, corporate event, tradeshow, or theatrical performance, chances are you’ve seen their work.

…And now for the story: Toward the end of the day on a Friday a member of the Rose Brand West sales staff received a call from a major scene shop in Las Vegas. They had ordered a large amount of NeoFlex, which can be considered a specialty item due to the specific parts and pieces needed. Unfortunately the contact information on the order, and the contact for the project were not one in the same. Thus conventional communication methods – phone, fax, email, smoke signals, semaphore, etc – were rendered moot. Due to the time difference the East Coast office was closed, and the original sales person was unable to be reached. In addition to these communication problems, the item in question was only available from the New Jersey warehouse. Rose Brand operates two warehouses, one on each coast, but they have a vast inventory so some items are only available through one warehouse.

So how does social media come through and save the day? The client contact in this case is a “friend” on Rose Brand’s Facebook Page, and happened to be online at the time. A quick message was sent via Facebook that explained the predicament. That message led to the acquisition of the proper contact information and then a call from the client – 5 minutes later, problem solved. As a Rose Brand representative stated: “In this case Facebook proved to be invaluable. As the end customer was on location and time was running short, it might have been impossible for the client to be reached during normal business hours.”

Social media for the win!

In early 2009 Rose Brand created a Facebook page and Fan page. The company, and members of its staff, are connected to TheatreFace, ProLightingSpace, LinkedIn, and other social media forums. Like many other companies Rose Brand is finding that there is no exact science to the way social media is used, but the real-time learning and conversations that it provides proves invaluable in the day-to-day, business-to-business world.

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Design Star – Tony Pulls It Off

September 15, 2009 at 12:45 am (Design) (, , , , , , , , , )

Picture 20

I HATE reality TV! With that said, I enjoy Design Star on HGTV …I know it seems a bit hypocritical, but it’s my blog. I like this show because the contestants are critiqued in a similar fashion to what we professional creatives sometimes hear from our supervisors and/or clients. Vern Yip is my favorite when it comes to comments. Season after season he comes up with some real gems like: “It looks like a rainbow threw up in there” and “I always think the goal of this exercise is to not make it look like you shopped at the 99¢ store.”

This season I was betting that Dan and Antonio would be the last two designers standing, but what happened next I was not expecting. Both designers have shown real strengths in design, and Antonio is the only designer in the season not to have ended up in the bottom two (Dan was there twice, if I remember right). I was betting on Dan. He is branded more for HGTV and has pushed the envelop with class. Antonio is cocky, but knows how to get the work done. He came up with some elements that the judges really liked – think pink geese on a white wall – he definitely pushes the envelope and a different, and sometimes unexpectedly, and exciting way. He enjoys what he does, and by working as a set designer knows what tight deadlines are really like.

I thought Dan had the upper hand in the final challenge. His design was mostly finished and polished; he presented a cohesive aesthetic experience that included flow and real world solutions. Antonio’s work I thought lacked overall composition and aesthetic aptitude. The use of green was too prevalent, the groupings of accessories and wall-mounted artwork were done poorly in respect to balance, and the space plan was confusing. His past work was much stronger than what he showed in the final challenge.

One really cool thing about this finally is that I was monitoring and contributing to the #designstar hashtag on twitter in real time. I could sum up what I thought of Antonio’s space with:

“Antonio’s house on design star looks like a college kid had a budget and some time …sorry Tony, Dan’s gonna win”

but to my dismay Antonio pulled it off, which warranted this tweet in regards to Dan not making the final cut:

“That’s like Kevin Dyson falling at the 1 yd line to lose Super Bowl XXXIV

According to the poll on AOL, I’m not the only one who thinks that – at this time 52% of voters feel Dan should have one to 42% who voted for Antonio.

This season of Design Star was good; I think I’ll continue to watch next season. Antonio, you are a talented designer and have the cojones to stick to your guns. You may represent a new direction for the HGTV brand, and I wish you luck with the new show.

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Pizza, Pizza, Pizza Party!

August 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm (Florida, free, Miami, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Pizza-TweetupThis evening was the Pizza Tweetup held at Pizza Volante in the Miami Design District – a special thanks to @Lapp and worstpizza.com for organizing the event. The restaurant offered an intimate space inside, and sidewalk dinning outside allowing for conversation with many groups of people. I always enjoy a good face-to-face discussion with people every once in awhile. Tonight was no different; some of those I carried on conversations with were: @Ines, @jarret23, @jeffreycohen, @valpass, @IamNezer, @alexdc, @johnnybond86, and of course @Lapp. The food was delicious, the company was good, and the bar was serving, so it was great night.

Check back on PizzaTweetup.com for the next event. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make tomorrow night’s RefreshMiami, but there are plenty of upcoming events for the South Florida social media community like Nuvo Tweetini, Herald Tweetup, a hands-on social media training workshop, and rumors of a Beerup (unconfirmed).

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How Does Social Media Affect You?

August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm (advertising, Branding, economy, marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

What is social media, how do people use it, why do they use it, and how does that effect you as a designer, advertiser, marketer, etc? Watch and learn:

Thanks @saribrooke for the link!

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Twitter Ho – Sponsored Tweets vs. Self-Branding in Social Media

August 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm (advertising, Branding, economy, marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

twitter_pimp_illustrationA recent tweet from @pbarbanes put forth the question “Have you heard of “sponsored tweets”? If so, any thoughts or feelings?” This simple question opened into a discussion among the South Florida tweeting community about how sponsorship affects social media.

Social media generates societal systems as overlapping and diverse as any other form of community. Social interaction is built on a few things, I believe trust and interesting dialogue rank among two of the highest. We follow, friend, connect, and link to who can provide us attention-grabbing worthwhile content from sources that we can trust, much like we engage in face-to-face conversation with people that interest and entertain us.

What happens when a relationship is based on a monetary transaction? To paraphrase a line from American Pimp, “pimp’n & ho’n is the world’s oldest profession.” So why not have prostitution in social networking, it’s part of every culture? Instead of waxing poetic about how sponsored tweets are like prostitutes, just read The Branding Professor’s posts about it…I pretty much feel the same way. In response to the subject of selling your avatar and username to the highest bidder @ctiedje had this to say, “Money corrupts. Influences opinions. As soon as paid ads take over a social media space – it begins to die. (i.e. MySpace)” I’ll even admit to trying to put ads on Facebook to sell my t-shirt designs. Turns out I would have had better ROI by putting $100 worth of singles into a cash cube and grabbing for them as they blew by.

The sponsored tweets discussion presents an interesting dichotomy between social media used exclusively for capital gain and social media as a corporate branding tool. Many of the people I follow and connect with, myself included, use social media for self-branding. However, intermixed with our self-branding message we try to add to the user experience with interesting links that may, or may not, directly relate to our brand. People follow us because they find us interesting, and enjoy our conversation, company, and content. Just as in real life, if followers don’t enjoy your online persona they will stop following you. For me nothing expedites this process faster than someone who only pimps their product, or someone else’s, while not adding credible information to the conversation – e.g. I recently unfollowed someone who would tweet twice a day “read our blog and follow us on twitter.” Now why would you put “follow us on twitter” on twitter? I already am following you on twitter, or at least was interested enough to look at your page – until I saw that you are adding nothing to the communal melting pot of quality information except for bot-like commands that order me to look at a blog you have supplied me no information about.

We’ll have to see how people react as sponsored tweets and advertising status updates gain a stronger foothold on our beloved social media sites. Will people stop following users due to them abusing our valuable time with more advertisements, or will they let them fade into the shuffle like billboards on the highway?

Just remember, my dear subsidized tweeters:

you don’t have to put on the red light
those days are over
you don’t have to sell you tweets to the night

you don’t have to sponsor that brand tonight
text the tweets for money
you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right

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Online Identity – How We Use Social Media

July 21, 2009 at 5:42 pm (marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Social_media_superhero

The other day I was sitting in a conference and heard a continuous and steady ticking noise – the sounds of twitter and facebook being updated, text messages flying, and emails sending. Isn’t it funny how social norms have changed? In the past it would have been rude to be completely enthralled in something other than what the speaker was talking about. Now, at least in some arenas, it is not only accepted, but expected, that people will be using social media throughout the entire presentation. The job of stenographer has been passed to anyone with a cell phone, laptop, or other portable uploading device.

Many of us are fully connected to each other through social media. We can get a minute-by-minute update of conferences or events through the use of hashtags, podcasts, and micoblogs. Not only are these forms of social media developing their own unique set of rules and personalities, but they are reshaping social norms in the real world.

Some of the personalities I have witnessed in social media are as follows:

  • Class President – Organizer of social media meetups, tweetups, mashups, etc. Usually just known locally by the social media groups in their own region.
  • Professional –  Social media is their job. They produce content to drive people to their company’s site, promote their products, etc, but still provide relevant and current information and news.
  • Networker – They are involved in meetups, online conversations, sharing information, and the like. They don’t always create their own content, but can find something relevant to any topic. These people are constantly connected.
  • Reply and Retweet Informant – This person has no original content. Their sole purpose in social media is to regurgitate what someone else said, or comment on what others have posted.
  • Comedian – Their updates are just to get a smile out of readers.
  • Business – Click here and buy, endorse, or promote my crap.
  • Diary Keeper – They let us know every little detail about their meals, workday, bodily functions, or whatever other monotonous thing is happening.
  • Porn – The people that for an unsolicited reason friend, connect, post, and pursue you because they have an army of 22-year-olds who match you perfectly based on God knows what.

I have also noticed that social media is used in different ways:

  • Retribution – To get back at those who physically or mentally harmed you in the past by showing how great you life is now
  • Self-esteem – The people whose online persona looks like they are living the highlife and loving every minute of it. In reality none of it is true, but it makes them feel better.
  • Therapy – These people share their problems with the world; everything is drama.
  • Bragging – Their life is going well, and they want everyone to know it.
  • Reconnect and Friend –  They really do want to know what happened to everyone, and how they are doing.

I think it’s funny how we all hide behind our personally constructed online identities. Like superheroes in masks and colorful costumes, it’s usually not that hard to tell that Clark Kent is Superman with glasses. I’m sure there are more personality types and reasons people use social media than I listed here, these were just the ones I see the most. There’s a great presentation by Social Interaction Design specialist Adrian Chan that describes social media personality types in a more detailed and professional way. It will be interesting to see how social media psychology and etiquette develop over the next few years, and how it will interact and influence our traditional social norms.

What kind of online personality am I? Find out: @IamBartleby

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Tweet, Tweet – The News is Calling

July 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, marketing, networking, News, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Social_media_header2

What happens when you stuff 100 people into a room to listen to 6 panelists discuss “How Traditional Media is being influenced by Social Media?”

A lot of tweeting!

Last night was the Social Media Club of South Florida (@SMCSF) Meetup held on the 12th floor of Broward College’s downtown building. The panel was moderated by former journalist Agustina Prigoshin (@AgustinaP) and included:

Niala Boodhoo (@nialaboodhoo), The Miami Herald
Chris Tiedje (@ctiedje), South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Mathilde Piard (@mathildepiard), The Palm Beach Post
Jessica Sick, NBCMiami.com
Trina Sargalski (@wlrnunderthesun), WLRN 91.3 FM
Adrienne Roark (@AdrienneRoark), News Director at CBS4

Back in the day we had town criers, then newspapers came about to deliver our daily dose of news. Now a new generation has ushered in a variable feast of town criers through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and even Flickr. They hawk their own brand of news through every available outlet, from PDAs to computers screens and any other conduit that’s backlit in RGB. So, what does this panel of traditional newsies have to say about the brave new social media frontier?

They almost all agree on several points:

  • That they have gone through a trial and error phase of what works and what doesn’t, e.g. While Facebook fan pages are great, they may cause problems with RSS feeds.
  • Though their circulation is down for physical products, their media reach is actually growing. This is due to the fact that they are reaching audiences who would have otherwise been inaccessible through traditional media outlets.
  • There has been a shift in importance causing reporters to write for the web first, and print second. The reporting staff has adapted to use social media, web, photography, and other non-traditional avenues in their coverage.
  • Social media is a valuable tool in gaining real-time leads and also feedback to how the consumer feels about changes in interface, style, etc.

The panel discussion was very informative. There was a chance to meet with everyone in a face-to-face social atmosphere after the event at Off the Hookah. Due to time constraints I was not able to attend the post-event festivities, but hope to be able to next time.

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Jeff Goldblum Eulogizes…..Himself

June 30, 2009 at 11:22 pm (marketing, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

nov08-geeks-goldblum

Jeff Goldblum died June 25th. Apparently he fell off of a New Zealand cliff while filming a movie as reported by the Today Show in New Zealand. Both the New Zealand Police and many a Twitter feed confirmed this report. And as we all know, Twitter is more infallible than the rest of the world wide internets.

To further corroborate this story Jeff Goldblum appeared on the Colbert Report saying:
“No one will miss Jeff Goldblum more than me. He was not only a friend and a mentor but, uh, he was also…me.”

Jeff Goldblum has been appearing on the Colbert Report for the last week promoting his new role on Law & Order Criminal Intent. Each night he provides a monologue centered on a non-related topic, then ending with a plug for his show and a simple “Goldblum out.” I think it is a humorous and clever way of integrating product placement into the show – Colbert usually does this with the flair of the old variety shows, by using the product and prominently displaying the package, while saying the name.

Jeff Goldblum is one of the few actors who can pull a stunt like this off. Last night he finished eulogizing himself by stating: “I will be missed, especially Sundays at 9 pm on Law & Order Criminal Intent on USA Network. USA, Characters welcome…Goldblum oooouuuut”

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