Monthly Archives: April 2009

Bravo your Brand

bravo1For the first time, I saw an ad targeted to companies in regards to product placement.  Here it is to the left, snapped by my archaic phone.  Interestingly enough, it was on a subway platform.

It makes sense that the people who make these types of decisions ride on NYC subways, but it still interests me to see that it’s now a-ok to do this outright for all eyes to see—even the ones whom this type of initiative is intended to influence.  I guess it just goes to show how salient product placement has become.

Furthermore, check out the website that this ad refers to: It’s as if Bravo is bravo2announcing:

Hello everyone! Bravo peeps in particular… Here is how we define and categorize you!  Here is how we sell you!  Come join us!

So, I have to ask.  If you were watching, say, the Food Network and Mario Batalli used a specific wine to cook with, would you prefer this or a non-brand?  I can see both sides of the picture, and may just prefer the former, assuming the celebrity chef valued his or her own brand enough not to sell out.  And this begs another question: Can we trust that they do?

When brands run together, each then has the potential for an opportunity to become stronger through associations and/or a risk of becoming downgraded or damaged.

These variables leave all of us consumers in a new place. It could be good, it could be bad, but I think the important thing is that we’re all at least aware (and, thanks to companies like Bravo, you’d be stupid not to be), if not actively prosuming.


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Beginner’s Guide to Twitter

birdieA while back a Twittering friend of mine, Elizabeth, shared with me a great cheat sheet for using the tiny tool. (She is finishing up a paper about Twitter as literature for an NYU class, so I regard her as an expert. :))

Anyway, this guide has helped me as a reference when navigating Twit-Jargon. Check it out on Deanna Zandt’s blog. And enjoy the continued chirping of all the little birdies—both in the Twitter-sphere and in our own real atmosphere on this lovely day.

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Calling all Numismatics!

This one has a S, but my grandad wants D.

This one has a S, but my grandfather wants D for Denver.

My grandfather, an early adopter of the cell phone and of the fax machine, cut off his new adoptions at the computer and the internet.  He did try for a period, but got too confused by “sloppy disks” and “flap tops” as he called them.

But, this doesn’t stop him leveraging the networking benefits from computers. He just uses my dad to distribute information about basketball bracket standings, old photos, and, most recently, his coin collecting needs:

Hi all; Granddad is looking for quarters from 2003 through 2008 with a “D” mint mark. (Not a P). These “D” mint marks indicate they were made in Denver. He will pay you 50 cents for any you can find.

Clearly I can’t help but pass along the message, too, because we’ve got to give this 84-year-old credit for understanding the power of online sharing.

Let me know if you find any of the quarters he is seeking—you’ll make an old man’s day by taking the time to look. (I think he needs 20 or so…) And the 200% ROI isn’t bad either.

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Green Confessions, hosted by Zipcar

zipcarCheck out this great email from Zipcar yesterday. It looks like they (and a few partners) are attemping to foster real-world comraderie among their location-fragmented, island hopping Zipsters—all while shining a spotlight on our lovely planet. There is nothing like free booze to lubricate the conversation.

(My confession is that I took a cab to work today because I was running late. That didn’t save money or the earth! What’s yours?)

Happy Earth Day! (And check out Verdantic.)

Hi Christine,

Ever leave your lights on when you leave the room? Forget to recycle? We understand that nobody is perfect, and that’s why we’re inviting you to confess your eco-sins at Zipcar New York’s first-ever Green Confessions party.

We’ll be at BLVD at 199 Bowery (at Spring St.) tomorrow (Earth Day!) from 6-9pm collecting your green confessions. Be sure to rev up your Twitter accounts and activate your mobile device (install TwitterFon for iPhones or TwitterBerry for Blackberrys) so you can participate in our live Twitter feed of confessions. Flash your Zipcard at the door for plenty of snacks and libations.

And as an added bonus, if you bring a friend to sign up for Zipcar, you’ll both get $75 in driving credit—not a bad way to repent.

See you tomorrow,
The team at Zipcar New York


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UCSD: Accountability for oversights?


A while back I discussed the ever-annoying “reply all” emails that lazy individuals e-vomit into inboxes. In those cases the senders are aware of their messages, albeit possibly only semi-consciously.

So what about accidental emails like the one I sent in college to a non-responsive interviewee in which I was complaining about said interviewee? It was meant for my instructor, and it got to her eventually, but not before I angered the unintended receiver and made him think twice about speaking to my class ever again. Shit. 

Some of goof-ups are harmless, sure. And sometimes flub ups simplyteach us the hard way to be more careful.

But some of these mistaken messages could be harmful. Take the congratulatory email the University of California – San Diego sent to 28,000 rejected students (in addition to 18,000 accepted students) last month. Ouch! While apparently the admissions staff “acknowledged the pain” they caused and spent time replying to every inquiry,  I have to wonder: If they aren’t sued for this, when will the next similar situation occur wherein the faulty sender is?

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I am not a link clicker

Back in college, my friend Jess would often declare to our group of friends, “I am not a link clicker.” At the time, several of our other friends and I thought she was silly to avoid them, that she was paranoid to think anyone could track her behaviors or that links could bring harm. She was, after all, into books and telephone conversations more than AIM, which, at the time, was all the rage. (She did eventually join, as it was the best way to be in regular touch with friends at other schools.)  She just didn’t understand—it made common sense that so long as one knew the sender there was nothing to worry about. 

Close to ten years later, it’s clear that Jess was on to something. Yes, considering the link sharer before clicking is still a no-brainer. But, link clicking in general is more and more risky with each passing day thanks to sophisticated pharming, sabotaged email and Twitter accounts, and shaded origins hidden in condensed links. 

It may just be that the “non-link clickers” segment will grow. Goodness knows I am now a “think twicer.”

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Digital Sharing Dictionary

Here it is. The official Sharing Cyclone Social Sharing Dictionary.

I’ve been researching these for a while, but this list is not exhaustive. Every time I try I find dozens more. My conclusions after compiling this list are:

  1. I thought about categorizing these by type—the news elevators, the blog aggregators, the friendly gossipers, the link savers and shares—but, frankly, the overlaps make this impossible. Sharers have blogs. Messagers allow saved links. Blogs have highlighted tags. FeedmeLinks Twitters, but they haven’t for a year. Ayayay.
  2. In total, we have a discombobulated mess. If you’re happy, stick with what you’re doing.
  3. Easy come, easy go. Diigo absorbed Furl. Yahoo MyWeb morphed into Yahoo Bookmarks.
  4. Social Bookmarking options are vast, and they’ve run amok. I’ve emboldened the options that stand out to me in terms having a focused audience and a simply user interface. And I look forward to trying out some of these options which pertain to my life (bargain shopping, yes, online gaming, no).

So here you go. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these. It will be fun to look at this in 10 years and see what has survived…

AIM –  The original chat. For people like me, it was THE digital social networking tool throughout college. It’s where you expressed your excitement, your frustration, and your whereabouts (from the library to the shower to bed.) Now it seems to have grown with technology, but usage trends have shifted from this to Facebook, Google Chat, and texting.

Backflip –  A bookmarker and tries to be a bit more. Been around since at least 2000, and looks like it, too.

BallHype – Sports oriented stories, blogs aggregator/sharer.

Bebo – My friend says this is more popular in Europe (her boyfriend is Irish). It appears to be trying to be a one-stop-shop for content, sharing, and aggregating multiple social networks. Seems to share a log in with AIM.

Blinklist – Sharable Bookmarks. This claims to be fastest for saving and finding (“lets you sort pages like iTunes”)-and allows saving of websites for review when one is no longer online.

Blogmarks – Just like it sounds: Blog-based “collaborative link management project based on sharing and key work tagging.” Whew. Cliché mouthful.

Care 2 – An online Community for healthy and green living. Part of me wishes it had only one position instead of two, but I can see how they go hand-in-hand. I give them points for having some sort of good-natured focus.

Current – This is the only 24/7 cable and satellite TV network and internet site produced with the audience. It has a lots of partners (iTunes, Cable companies, etc.). Prosumers submit, the best are filtered, and submitters can grow in reputation. I’d like to look more into this…very cool.

Delicious – The Original. Social Bookmarking. It’s older than Facebook (!) and owned by Yahoo.

Dealsplus – Broken down this is just what its name implies: Deals Plus. Not to be confused with the similar-looking, it’s a bargain shopping aggregator. Nice.

Digg – The famous news aggregator, where the most popular items bubble to the top.

Diigo – Think sticky notes and highlighters that you can see from any computer and share with others. Apparently this helps you read the web.  TechCrunch likes it.

Facebook – Oh come on, you know what this is. It’s the mother network.

Fark – “Edited” news aggregator; not a very pretty interface. Perhaps that their thing, though?

Faves (Bluedot) – “Sites you love from people like you.” Though I must admit that the Bluedot thing throws me off.

FeedMeLinks – Super techie, and the mission appears to be accomplished because they aren’t taking new users. It’s in language called LINUX APACHE MYSQL PHP.  Here is the announcement on the homepage (in currier new font, I’ll add):






Fresqui – I think the question this prompts is “What’s important?” or “What’s fresh?,” but my Spanish is terrible. Another news aggregator, seemingly skewed to video, but I could be wrong. Man, do these span the globe.

FriendFeed – For sharing and discussing with friends. Perhaps a watered down Facebook? My favorite characteristic: The dizzying link love run down on their about page:

Furl – YIKES!  Look at this, posted on the homepage. It’s vaporizing tomorrow:

Furl will be shut down on April 17. Furl is being absorbed by Diigo and will no longer be available. 
Click here to transfer your data to Diggo. For help, please contact

Google Bookmarks – Part of the loveable iGoogle suite

Kaboodle – All about shopping!  Helps users share shopping spaces and deals, and coordinates with Friendster, too.

KiRTSY –  Social Bookmarking, but quite girly. Categories include Design/crafts, Family/Parenting, Fashion/Style, and more. Here is the description. Sounds like they’ve taken Jim Eiche’s positioning class (brand character anyone?).

kirtsy is a social media platform of pure goodness. A plaza for the peachy. A portal to the pretty. A place to find cool things. To read smart scoop. To connect with fab ideas, exceptional people, useful information, excellent products. All of it. And more.

kirtsy is just like that friend who always finds the best stuff. Only better.

Link-a-Gogo – FREE online links manager (are any of them not?). Whoopdedoo. I don’t see what’s different about this and the million others; except that it is uuughly.

LinkedIn – This sits on the networking side of social networking and comes with a more profession (aka job search) connotation.

Live – MSN google. (Note my non-proper noun use of google. That’s right, the brand has become the generic. Too bad for you Live because you’re not it.)

Magnolia – YIKES! This site lost everyone’s bookmarks two months ago. It dug (not to be confused with Dugg) around for a while but to no avail. I wonder what its trusted users think about how everything is-poof-gone. Now it recommends Diigo. And a video explanation of what happened. Read the apology notes on the homepage. Wow.

Meneame Like Digg, with voted on categories, but in Spanish.

Mister Wong – This reminds me of Delicious, but with a more international flair.

Mixx – “Your blend of the web” it says. Another aggregator, with a cute logo and name.

Multiply – More media sharing, this one with a safe, family angle. For “sharing with people you know and not with people you don’t.” Smart position-like Volvo plus multiplying rabbits.

MySpace – Not to be confused with Facebook. Or, to quote a good friend Joe, “facebook or spaceface or facetwit or myface.” Ay, ay, ay.

N4G – Not to be confused with N4C (Northern California Camera Club), this is news sharing and community for gamers. Video/internet/console/moble gamers that is. Nicely targeted.

Netvibes – A “startpage” as they refer to it, similar to MyYahoo or iGoogle, where you can have everything (weather, email, favs) pulled together on one screen when you first hit the net.

Netvous – Online bookmarks, again. Share with friends, again. Discover new websites, again. Green and blue coloring, again.

Newsvine – One click here and I see both a) who was eliminated on Dancing with the Stars last AND b) a story about how Homeland Security is cautioning Rightwing extremism. Similar to Digg, with popular stories bobbing to the top thanks to users, but, like the name says, is more news related.

Oknotizie – Like Newsvine, Italian style.

Propeller – Run by AOL, another user-decided story feed.

Reddit – If you read it, you can Reddit. (Or at least I believe that is how it’s pronounced.) Another news article aggregator, with popularity votes by members.

Segnalo – More social Bookmarking Italian-style. Bravissimo!

Simpy – Another all-in-one: allows users to save, share, tag, search, bookmarks, etc. Lots of verbs. Probably not a lot of users.

SlashDot – A one-stop news source for Techie things-in particular Linux and Open Source platforms. The name says it all. I wonder if the .org means it is a nonprofit?

Spurl – I’m running out of descriptions for these bookmarking sites. Ugh. So many.

StumbleUpon This site uses both user recommendations and machine learning to recommend websites, based on pre-determined preferences. Interesting. Here is a cool and complex diagram of how this works.

Tailrank – This feeder is Blog-focused, scanned posts for common topics. Some say is the closest thing we have to Blogdex, which shut down three years ago when the founder went to work for Facebook.

Technorati – Similar to Tailrank, but with news aggregation in addition to blogs. From my experience with it, bloggers can register and “claim” their blogs to create credibility and more frequent bot visits.

Twitter In a twisted way, all of these dictionary entries are like twitters because they short, sweet, and all jumbled together.

Yahoo MyWeb Yet another casualty. This shut this down last month and transferred all data straight to Yahoo Bookmarks. Why? To “focus,” to “streamline,” and to “reprioritize” efforts to Yahoo Bookmarks for personal bookmarking and Delicious for social bookmarking.

Yahoo Bookmarks – See above.

Yahoo Buzz – Yahoo’s version of Digg, plain and simple. Again, see two above.

Yardbarker – Another sporty one, here is their “about” description:

Yardbarker breaks down traditional barriers, allowing fans and athletes to debate sports, read and write articles, and watch videos. In the Yard, even the famous athletes are treated like fans.

We feature thousands of sports websites and blogs, so you’ll get news, rumors, photos and videos that you won’t find elsewhere. We make it easier to follow your favorite teams, talk sports, and submit links to interesting articles found elsewhere on the web.

You don’t need your own sports blog to join the discussion on Yardbarker. All you need is an opinion. But if you do have your own blog, join the Yardbarker Network. We will promote your site, increase your traffic, and put money in your pocket.

Yigg – Similar to Digg, but in German.


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