In the early days of the internet, premium sites put their content online for all to read. And it was good.Then came user generated content. “Information has been democratized!,” the people cried. “No longer are we slaves to the tastes of the elite!” And it was good.Then a dark…
Pinterest: It’s not all about recipes and crafts
Before joining the Engauge team last week, I didn’t think twice about Pinterest. I would hear about it in conversations between two girls and the conversations usually revolved around recipes or crafts – two subjects that don’t really spark my interest. I did, however, know about Engauge’s Drew Hawkins before joining the company. I knew him and his team of contributors had created The Board of Man. When I joined the team, I became a contributor and that is when I truly discovered the whole new world of Pinterest.
Board of Man has had explosive results mainly because of one reason: it is something that “shouldn’t be on Pinterest”. It is the counter culture and bends the lines and “rules” of what is appropriate to post on Pinterest. Using this inspiration, I dug around the platform to try and find brands that may not “belong” on Pinterest but are using it effectively. Keep in mind, Pinterest still does not have a large brand presence and the presence that is there is usually occupied by bridal magazines, cook books, artists, etc.
AMD was one of the first brands I searched for on Pinterest (yes, I am a nerd and a huge fan boy). I wanted to feature AMD in this blog for the sheer fact that they are a brand that you would never think would be successful on Pinterest, yet they are doing it right. AMD has boards that feature their latest products and technologies. The brand also utilizes boards to showcase their partners, developers and presence at industry events. This just gives the public another reason to choose AMD over NVIDIA, right? ;)
Ah, Case Mate. This brand is extremely successful in the social space and extremely creative. I wasn’t surprised that this brand was on Pinterest, but I was extremely surprised at how successful they were at utilizing the tool. Boards include new products (cases for iPhones) as well as style guides and inspirational pieces.
Nothing is as boring to Pinterest’s target demographic (young females) as AARP. However, this brand utilizes Pinterest to highlight inspirational quotes, healthy recipes and entertainment/technology for those over the age of 50. AARP doesn’t do anything mind blowing on their Pinterest and follows the trend of duplicating content from their magazine onto their boards (like most magazines do). I am, however, impressed that this brand made the jump to the tool.
This could be my favorite brand on Pinterest. GE does a tremendous job utilizing Pinterest. First, GE has creative board content and names, which gives insight to their company culture. The brand has a board titled “Badass Machines”. The photos used are pulled from Instagram, filters and all. The brand also utilizes Pinterest’s search tool and comments on anything that is pinned to the site with GE in its title. Of course, a member of the GE team, personalizing the brand, signs these comments.
It may not be a surprise that this brand is on Pinterest. It caters directly to their content in terms of interior decorating, crafts, recipes, etc. The reason I wanted to highlight this brand is because they have public contributors on their boards. These contributors could be members of the HGTV team, but to publicize this information (none of the other brands searched did this) makes the brand much more transparent. Bravo, HGTV.
Pinterest didn’t stick out to me in the past because of the stigma it had. What I have come to realize is the potential of this tool. Any type of content can be shared. Users and brands are both starting to realize this and Pinterest continues to grow.
You can follow me on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/chadatl/
Or visit the Board of Man here: http://pinterest.com/drewhawkins/board-of-man/
The Future of Gaming
My gaming career started in my grandpa’s basement when I was a toddler playing Mario and Zelda on the original Nintendo. Since my first experience, I have not put down the “sticks”. Video games provide entertainment, a visual escape and also displays humans’ continued digital innovation. I credit video games for shaping me into who I am today. They were an outlet for creativity, a social escape (when online gaming became big) and provided a window into technology, which fueled my passion to continue to learn and become a member of the industry in which I work today.
Developers have continued to evolve the video game space and because of these achievements, the gaming industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Let’s take a look at what innovations today are driving revenue and look ahead to what is in store for this ever-growing industry.
Today - COD Elite: Blending Social w/ Gaming
The top selling franchise in the gaming industry is Call of Duty. With every new release, Call of Duty breaks it’s own sales records and projections. Activision’s latest venture, Modern Warfare 3, which reached $1 billion in sales in just 16 days, gives gamers the option to join a Call of Duty social network named Call of Duty Elite. This service records and aggregates statistics for the player as well as gives them the opportunity to create/join groups, compete in tournaments and connect with other gamers on the platform. This application also allows users to upload videos and works in conjunction with the player’s Facebook and YouTube accounts. Users now have the opportunity to share their gaming experience with their social networks in a way that never existed before, exposing the old “underworld of gaming” to the mainstream population.
The Future – Allowing Physical Objects to Appear in Digital Space
Virtual Reality has been a dream for gamers for decades. Since the beginning of the gaming revolution, the gamer has wanted to physically participate in the fantasy worlds that their character lives in. With the introduction of motion sensor technology, first steps have been made with Xbox’s Kinect, Playstation’s Move and Nintendo’s Wii. The next steps are being made in this direction. WowWee recently developed AppGear which allows users to interact with their action figures in a whole new way. Each action figure interacts with both iOS and Android devices to allow the user to play with their action figure in a digital space using augmented reality. Activision has also developed a title “Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure” which uses a cross-platform panel that allows users to play with their action figures in the video game.
Video games played a huge role in my life growing up and continue to develop me into a better person today. As they continue to evolve it will be interesting to see how these technologies are adopted by other industries to benefit users in all walks of life.
A New Challenge Awaits…
Editor’s Note: This blog will not contain many personal posts, but something like this should be documented and shared.
My journey at No Limit Media Consulting has come to a close. For two years I have learned more than I could have possibly imagined about public relations, social media and franchise development. Before coming to No Limit I had little to zero knowledge about franchising, but today I can honestly say that I could hold my own in a conversation with franchise execs from a number of industries and advise them on best practices. The best part? They’d listen.
No Limit gave me the opportunity to showcase my talents in front of executives of gigantic franchise brands. It taught me to be a leader and improved my communication skills both internally and externally.
A new challenge awaits and I could not be more excited. In January, I will be starting at Engauge, a full service digital agency based in Midtown, Atlanta. I am looking forward to working with a completely new cast of characters and learning much, much more about the digital space. Engauge is seen as a leader in the space and was recently named a Top Digital Agency Work Space that Invokes Creativity by Mashable.
For more info on Enguage, visit their website @ www.engauge.com
New Twitter is Here!
The new Twitter is here, well I don’t have it yet, but it is here in theory! I am extremely excited to try out some of these new features as well as play around with the layout. A question always comes to mind when these updates roll out though, “How often do I (personally) use the native Twitter website + app to actually tweet, search, discover, etc?”
All of the new features of the new Twitter can be found here: http://fly.twitter.com/ as well as in the video below!
Facebook Timeline Distributed to the Masses (Sort Of…)
According to Mashable, Facebook has officially removed the “beta” tag from their new Timeline feature. Back in early September, Facebook announced Timeline (along with many other changes) but only made the feature available to select individuals. The feature completely overhauls one’s Facebook profile, allowing users to unleash their inner creative with a more visual layout.
Some of the major features of Timeline include:
Cover Photo: This allows users to create a “banner” of sorts for their Facebook profile.
Resurfacing Past: Users can now easily scroll back to earlier periods of their life (that have been logged on Facebook) and add ‘Life Events’ to their profile.
Monthly Reporting: Timeline highlights the current month of the user. At the bottom of each month, there is a summary of user activity on Facebook including new friends, new likes, application usage summary and wall postings.
Wall Overhaul: In addition to your friends blurbs, the wall is now more so a canvas that displays all social activity shared on Facebook. Each event is staggered on the left and right hand side of the Timeline, once again adding a more visual component.
Photos: Photos and albums are now tile based. Photos also appear larger and more prominent emphasizing the visual overhaul.
The full functionality of Timeline has yet to be seen as Facebook still has not made open graph and frictionless sharing completely public to developers. Currently the major applications that can be seen on Timeline include Spotify and reader applications (logging each article one reads and publishing it to their Facebook network).
When Facebook first announced Timleine in early September, I was lucky enough to be one of the first in my network to receive it. My colleague, Evan, and I took it for a test drive during a Livestream. The video can be seen below.
Keep in mind that this was the first we had seen of Timeline at that time. It is interesting to listen back and realize how “new” everything was compared to today, where we feel much more comfortable with the changes.
Timeline is rolling out in New Zealand currently with plans to open in other regions in the “near future”.
With this roll out, I fully expect an outrage and protest from the Facebook community. In the past, the smallest changes with Facebook caused a complete uproar with its users. This is a complete overhaul of one’s personal, public life on Facebook. I am hoping that with this delay since September, Facebook has learned how to handle these changes and has also implemented changes into the current format of Timeline to make the transition smoother for the more casual, less tech-savvy user (the majority).
Spotify Releases Apps and Brings Me Back to High School
Oh Spotify, how did we make it through the work week without you? Spotify has burst onto the scene and has definitely made some noise, surpassing the 10 million user mark recently. Since Spotify launched in the states, it has continued to evolve and improve the experience for users, none bigger than its partnership with Facebook, making it a number one contender in the streaming space.
Recently, Spotify released a major overhaul with its launch of social apps. These applications are built within the Spotify client and are currently in beta stages. The best news? Last.fm is included in the initial batch of apps which can be tested. Last.fm has been my streaming service of choice since 2005 (see my profile here). Last.fm’s discovery algorithm helped me discover hundreds of new bands during my high school and college career. With the implementation of Last.fm’s application, I found myself this week A) listening to my versions of “classics” from high school and B) discovering brand new music that has adjusted to my tastes as I grew older.
I’m flat out thrilled that Last.fm has found a way to become relevant again and partner with Spotify in a space that will be extremely interesting to keep an eye on during the next year. With Last.fm’s discovery algorithm implemented into Spotify, I can only hope that my musical journey of discovery will continue. If you want to learn more about Spotify’s new apps, watch the video below: