- The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet [Infographic]
- Take A Trip Down Memory Lane With Susan Kare's Illustrative Icons
- When There's Solidarity Among Game Characters
- Delicious Style: Raspberry Scratch-N-Sniff Jeans For Men
- The Mac Apple Studio Display Cat Bed Mod
- Cook Your Food & Charge Your Gadgets With The Same Device
- Humanoid Decor: Hand Painted Robot Light Switch Covers
- Business & Brand Communication: The Impact Of Your Words Matter
- What Your Valentine's Gift Says About Your Relationship [Infographic]
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 03:00 PM PST
It's always good to know what outlets you should be using in order to get your message out. However, right when you think you have mastered the trade of marketing, you will find that something new comes along and throws all your knowledge out the window. This is a fast paced technology landscape we're living in, and keeping up with the latest trends and features is anything but easy. The only way to really be able to keep up is to try out all the new stuff and see what the uses are and how they affect your marketing. Marketing is quite a broad word though. It not only involves advertising and getting the word out, but it can also involve building a larger user base or just getting more people to like what you do.
As mentioned, it's not easy to always know what social media service to use if you are a small business with a lot hanging on the line, for example. You have to be super dedicated, and to some extent, know at least where to start. That alone can be really hard if you have never touched a social networking service before. I guess that's why Flowtown (in collaboration with ColumnFive) put together this really useful Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet.
I am quite amazed how easily they have managed to make the whole social media ecosystem a whole lot easier to understand. With this cheat sheet, you will definitely be able to pinpoint the services that you want and should be using. Everything from what the services are all about to what certain social networking terms mean is represented. If you are a novice in the social media world, just print this thing out, hang it on the wall, and keep being dedicated. Without dedication, you will find that pretty much everything will slip out of your hands. There are of course hundreds, if not thousands, of different guides and tutorials out there, but the one you should be following the most is your own personality. What makes you connect and what inspires you? Those two questions alone will take you a long way when deciding just what social networks to focus on. Happy socializing!
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 02:00 PM PST
I have two words, iconic designer. Which one? Susan Kare is a profound contributor to the original Macintosh. I am fascinated by the female geeks of our world. The release of her coffee table book provides sentimental delight for any Apple user or design lover. While the world is fully aware of the impact Steve Jobs had on every industry with the creation of the Apple computer, his team merged all things both beautiful and functional into a friendly user experience.
Recently, I began a trip down memory lane (from 1998) thinking about my experience of pulling my very first brand new Macintosh out of the peanuts and packaging. I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. How exciting and heavy that machine was! I was amazed it rarely crashed (think Susan's bomb icon), and I never had a virus on it. It took me a long time to permanently part with it.
Susan is often referred to as a "pioneer," but that metaphor just doesn't work for my visual brain. Let's say, in my opinion, she is the Princess (as in Leia) of iconic user interface graphic design defending the battlefront for computer users and future design stars to fight the good fight. Susan says, "I believe that good icons are more akin to road signs rather than illustrations, and ideally should present an idea in a clear, concise, and memorable way."
Susan also worked on development and designed some of the first computer fonts. She made them easier to read on a monitor. Do the font names Monaco, Geneva and New York sound familiar? Her design execution and style made our Macs 'user friendly.' Susan's enhancements helped launch a piece of technology history. While those first user interface icons feel like the pioneer days, described in tech years, Susan is still producing strong work using her bit mapped block illustrative style that has become her stylistic trademark.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 01:00 PM PST
We all have our days when things just don't fall into place. On those days, it can be particularly hard to motivate ourselves to get things going the way we want them to. However, there are always things we can do to get the creativity flowing even if we are having a bad day. It all depends on what we feel is inspiring enough to get our engine running. But if you thought that you were the only one with these dips and congestions in your every day life, I will make you feel a little bit less alone. It so happens that not only are there other people who feel the same way, but this phenomenon is present even in the average game character hero's life.
We can't all be heroes all the time. We go through life in different grades of our chosen colors, and we try to do our best to live up to our own goals. But every so often we fall short of the finish line, and even though we get up and finish, we feel bad about not being able to deliver it all in one go. Just have a look at these game characters in a series which is called "I Know That Feel, Bro" who also have a day short of the spotlight. They are illustrations done by the heavily talented illustrator Chris Gerringer aka Paperbeatsscissors.
Even though my short pep talk might not do you any good, at least look at these and have a smile. If you think about it, every good day starts with a smile, right? So next time you feel down, just remember to smile, for whatever reason, it doesn't really matter, and you will find that living up to all the expectations that you and other people have is not such an important factor in the whole scheme of things. Then, when you feel a little better, brush that dirt off your shoulders and keep on marching. We are all fallen heroes. We're just not superheroes.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 12:00 PM PST
This is so much fun! I've heard about scratch-n-sniff jeans for years, but I always thought they were an urban legend. Today I found out they are for real, and dannnnngit, I wish they didn't only make them for men. Wait a minute; I've worn men's jeans before, maybe I can make this work. I read that they will introduce these for women next season, so I will probably just wait until then.
The only problem is, the company who makes these, Naked and Famous Denim, only made 500 pairs. They are part of a limited edition collection that is apparently very limited. They cost $150 a pair, and if there are any left, you can order them by calling 702.463.3322 in the States. I just called to ask a few questions, but they're in Las Vegas, so they're still sleeping over there. I got voicemail.
This particular pair smells like raspberries. The smell fades over time; however, it will last for at least five washings. Since blue jeans don't have to be washed a lot (really, they don't, read the science behind jeans germs), that means you could probably make these jeans keep their raspberry scent for several months before it starts to fade away. You can read an interesting interview with Naked and Famous Denim's founder on Rawr Denim. I want a woman's pair that smells like dark chocolate, caramel and marshmallows. I wonder if that's possible.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 11:00 AM PST
As humanity moved inside into caves, huts, and later houses and apartments, so did the animals that we held dear and sometimes earned our living from. We even moved animals that were born to be outside into our own humble homes to give them a warmer place to stay. Of course, it is easy to feel sorry for a cow or a horse that has to stand out in the rain, no doubt about it. But when it comes to making our pets feel comfortable, there seems to be no end to what we'll do. We give them small houses to live in, better food to eat, and sometimes they even get to push us off the bed in order to lay there themselves. Have we taken things a little bit too far? I guess not.
One thing I like is when we take what we used to hold dear and instead of throwing it away, we recycle it to give it a second use. It's always good to preserve the environment, and whatever we can recycle is all good with me. This following thing is particularly awesome. It's actually a Mac Apple Studio Display that has been gutted and turned into an insanely comfortable looking cat bed. It's a bed that every human would probably like to have in a larger scale for themselves.
It comes from the cat loving people over at AttomicAddic who I have written about before in my article about upcycled stuff that became cat beds. This particular one is new and is for sale at $129. It's a pretty nice price for something so awesome. Not to mention, you'll be able to push your cat into the 20th century without having to bribe it with some cat candy or whatever you have around. As always when it comes to Etsy, it's first come first served. So, if you want this badboy for your cat, I suggest you hurry that bottom of yours over there and slam your order right up that bunker.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 10:00 AM PST
I love giving my hubby geeky gifts. Honestly, sometimes they don't even hit my radar because companies do a poor job of marketing to women. I started thinking about this marketing problem today after listening to a Google+ Hangout that was hosted by Lynnett Young discussing the use of Pinterest. She had some interesting people on her hangout including Simon Salt. They were discussing the lack of men using Pinterest, and Simon was discussing how he uses it. My ears perked up when he said he created a pin board to help women find gifts that men would actually love to receive.
So, I popped on over to his space and followed his board full of fantastic geekery! The first thing that caught my eye was this environmentally thoughtful small stove that charges your smartphone, lights and USB gadgets when you travel or camp. The stove is created by a company called Bio Lite, and they recommend using wood or twigs (clean energy) that can be found around your campsite to fuel the fire. I know a few men who would love their significant other to buy them a cool item like this as a gift.
Personally, I love that the creators are passionate about supporting a better world and creating solutions to current energy and resource problems. That's a gift I can get behind the purchase of. The stove showcases some pretty eye-catching product design. I can't help but admire a company whose motto is to support a better world. They have great video footage highlighting HomeStove in action in countries where material poverty is prevalent and outdoor fires can be hazardous to humans and the world's environment.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 09:00 AM PST
If you have a room in your home that needs a little jazzing up, sometimes it only takes a few minor changes to give it a whole new look. For me, that room is the bathroom. I like my bathroom to look a certain way, and I get bored with it easily. It's nothing for me to zip over to the hardware store, pickup some paint, and spend Sunday afternoon repainting it to give it a whole new fresh look.
Another thing you can do to give a room a little added personality is remove the standard, plain light switch covers and replace them with custom covers. It takes less than five minutes to unscrew the tiny screws, take off the old cover, and screw on a new cover. It's so fast and easy.
I recently saw some light switch covers that are just as cute as can be, and I wanted to share them with you. If you or your children are fans of robots, you'll love these. Each one is hand painted, one-of-a-kind, and full of colorful details. These were created by Natalie McKean, and they sell for $25 – $30 in her Etsy store, Natalie's Robots. Each one is numbered in the series, and they are all her original designs. The red one below is my favorite of her whole collection. What a cute little robot. I just love these little guys!
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 08:00 AM PST
Coming from a family of orators – both my parents gave a speech, Voice of Democracy, in a high school competition. It's quite a romantic story how they met each other. It has given me pause recently when giving professionals feedback on the impact of their communication, the different venues of delivery, and the power of their words.
Where did we miss learning that in each unique venue your communication will land differently? For example, I now know my mother is intellectually stimulated and that is how my father attracted her, with his voice and words. She heard him via radio delivering his speech before she saw him (it got even better since he was rather handsome). The impact of his words was not just WHAT he said, it was with the pace, the fluency and the rhythm of his words and the sounds of his voice combined. Mother said she fell in love with him before she ever met him, just by listening to his message.
How can your communication work for you in the same manner? You might not want everyone to fall in love with you physically, but what if you want them to fall in love with your message, your business, and your brand? Then the impact of your words takes on a whole new meaning depending on how and where they are delivered. A presentation or speech has been the accepted norm of communication over recent years. It is very effective when done well. When you understand all the components of a good presentation, you are on the track to attracting your ideal client, customer and audience with your message…
It is not about having:
That is LAME and very old outdated advice. It's a recipe for disaster in a world where people can tweets about you, and in 5 seconds, slam your credibility. If you are thinking all communication is the same in today's business environment, wake up to the empowered audience.
It is about having:
A speaking style that aligns to who you are as a brand and a speaker.
Great places to learn how to be a more effective speaker are:
Toastmasters International – They are an international company that has local groups where you can learn presentation skills at your own pace, with peers as mentors. They use the most effective training I have seen. It allows you to go as fast or as slow as you can handle the learning process. It is orderly, simple and easy to use.
Speakchat – is a community of speakers that focus on up-leveling their skills every year. They are a collaborative group. They are supportive of seasoned, as well as new speakers. They meet via Twitter every Monday using the hashtag #Speakchat at 9:00pm EST.
Another area that is vastly misunderstood: Interviews
That we will leave for my next post: How to have a positive communication impact with interviews.
Posted: 10 Feb 2012 07:00 AM PST
Valentine's Day is almost here, and I'm sure everywhere men are scurrying to find the perfect gift for their wives or girlfriends. When I want to give a special Valentine's Day gift, choosing the gift itself is easy, but the choosing the card is hard. Which is better, a funny card or a sappy card? I don't normally like Hallmark to write my feelings for me, so I normally chose a funny card and write something mushy-gushy in it.
If you are guy who has trouble with the gift, just know that you can't go wrong with a few dozen red roses and a huge box of chocolates. Also, a homemade dinner (prepared by you) along with a nice bottle of wine is always a nice touch. I recommend something deliciously fattening since Valentine's Day is a diet cheat day for so many girls. If you've decided to venture away from roses and chocolates this year in favor of another special gift, are you sure it will send the right message?
Is it possible that you could be revealing some fundamental secrets about your relationship based on the gift you choose? Apparently so, according to this infographic created by Ultimate Coupons. I guess the moral of the story is, just don't give her nothing. Get her something, anything. Well, not a tattoo on yourself with her name, because then you'd be psycho (according to this), but anything else. Thank you, Matt, for sending this to me.
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