Year: 2018

Instagram Party Accounts

Only a matter of time before us 40-year-olds start spinning up Instagram party accounts (just like we took over Facebook)!…

While Facebook event pages make clear who their organizers are, Instagram party accounts frequently don’t divulge that information. The anonymity of a party page allows for plausible deniability if the account gets discovered by a parent. If a party you spent weeks hyping up on Instagram gets out of hand, you can simply “be like, ‘Yeah, I had friends over and more people came,’” says Brown.

Source: What Is an Instagram Party Account? – The Atlantic

Tackling Tech Bias for People with Disabilities

Fantastic post… every organization, nonprofit, and church could gain valuable insight from the takeaways here:

The best path ahead is to seek out the affected stakeholders and work with them towards a fair and equitable system. If we can identify and remove bias against people with disabilities from our technologies, we will be taking an important step towards creating a society that respects and upholds the human rights of us all.

Via Venturebeat

NASCAR’s Social Media Leaderboard

Marketing and NASCAR are two of my longtime passions (lots of overlap on that Venn Diagram)… so I couldn’t resist sharing these stats.

Interesting to note that Danica retired from NASCAR after this year’s Daytona 500… that doesn’t say very good things about the health of the sport from a marketing perspective.

Kyle Busch led all drivers in engagements and total video views, with Danica Patrick coming in a close second. Busch and Patrick are both sit near the top in nearly every category.

Source: NASCAR’s Social Leaderboard: How the Top Drivers Stack Up | opendorse

The future of computers

In-ear devices will be the way we interface with our “computers” (AI assistants) within the next decade…

Kuo reportedly says that AirPods are Apple’s most popular accessory ever, and predicts that the company will go from selling 16 million in 2017 to more than 100 million by 2021.

— Read on www.theverge.com/2018/12/2/18122232/apple-airpods-upgrade-first-quarter-2019-ming-chi-kuo-rumors

You’ve already been hacked

Yet another reminder to change your passwords, use Two Factor authentication when you can, keep up with your credit and debit card statements, and don’t think for a second that all of your information isn’t already “out there”…

For 327 million guests, the information exposed was strictly personal: birthdays, passport numbers, email and mailing addresses and phone numbers.While some credit card information, card numbers and expiration dates, may also have been compromised, it was stored using a more advanced encryption method. Still, Marriott said it had “not been able to rule out” the possibility that card information had also been stolen.

Source: Marriott discloses a massive data breach affecting up to 500 million guests – The Washington Post

Churches, We Need to Talk About Website Accessibility (and Discrimination)

Open Door to a Church

“Failure to comply with Section 508 of the Department of Justice’s ADA (American with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design could expose your company to hefty fines, the risk of expensive criminal and civil litigation as well as a reputation for being unfriendly to the disabled.” https://userway.org/

I’m going to make a rant here. Forgive me (or just don’t read if you’re not up for a Sam Rant™).

Cheap website builders really upset me. For a number of reasons.

We’re working on a couple of large church website revisions for clients this week. These are content-heavy sites with numerous pages that are all info-dense with text, video, audio, podcasts, galleries, and just about every measure of content you can imagine. They are both complicated builds with lots of moving parts. So, we are constantly doing checks and QA (quality assurance) tests to make sure everything is working. Building websites of this scale might be sold as an easy thing to do on Super Bowl ads, but they are definitely not easy or “quick” things to do if you want to do them right.

One of the pitches I make to clients like this when they want to know what Harrelson Agency does differently that they couldn’t get done if they just used Wix or Squarespace or Weebly or one of the many other “website builder” apps is the care and attention we give to details such as Search Engine Optimization, mobile user experiences, payments and online giving (those %’s really do add up when you start receiving online donations), and security. It’s not that the website builder apps don’t offer those services, but items like SEO or mobile experience and especially website security tend to be the last things that someone volunteering to build your site checks (if at all). Plus, there are just better tools that last longer if you know what you’re doing, which is a cost saver over time. That’s especially true of security in 2018 and 2019.

However, one of the newer pitch items I’ve been including out of my own interests and passion is accessibility. I’ve always been interested in the subject, but that became especially true during my time in the classroom as a teacher. I frequently became frustrated with books or apps or computers or websites that students were forced to use but designed specifically with no regard to accessibility or usage issues. Over the last few years running Harrelson Agency and working heavily on website builds and designs with companies, individuals, churches, and nonprofits I’ve noticed that accessibility definitely takes a back seat to other concerns. That’s ESPECIALLY true with resource-strapped and budget limited churches and nonprofits.

However, that should not be the case. In my mind (that’s admittedly full of “too much righteous indignation” as a mentor once chided me), churches and nonprofits should be leading the way to make their websites true open doors to the public in a way that does not discriminate against anyone, including those who need usage, visual, or auditory accommodation to participate in that invitation.

  • 1 in 5 Americans experience permanent or temporary usage, auditory, or visual disability
  • 7.6 million Americans are auditory impaired
  • 8.1 million Americans are visually impaired
  • 2.2 million Americans suffer seizures and epilepsy
  • 2 million Americans are blind
  • 19.9 million Americans are motor impaired and cannot use a computer mouse

Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone.

Apple is one of the most forward thinking and acting tech companies when it comes to raising awareness of accessibility issues for users. It’s one of the reasons I truly love that tools such as iPad are available for students and all people who seek to participate in the global experience that is the world wide web.

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/

Why aren’t churches talking the similar language and instead forcing everyone to fit through a very narrow door and definition of visitor abilities? We wouldn’t do that in the physical world. It’s time to take the digital world just as seriously and stop passively discriminating because of poor website build decisions.

Take your website’s functionality seriously and allow it to empower and welcome ALL. It’s a matter of mixing philosophy with theology with technical know how. And the trick is that it won’t even cost you that much, but you’ll gain so much more and perhaps share the love of God with someone who is looking for a real open door.

Instagram Stories Maker (for Churches, Nonprofits etc)

Just this past week I was having coffee with a friend who volunteers to manage all the social media and website duties for his church (bless them). They’re savvy and very good about getting their church on Facebook Live each Sunday and creating shareable content throughout the week.

I brought up Instagram Stories during our conversation and remarked at how “hot” Stories are from a marketing point of view compared to the FB Newsfeed or Instagram’s photo feed and how more churches need to be hopping on the bandwagon to increase engagement (if that’s your sort of thing).

I just happened to stumble across this iOS app today to make creating Stories easier… will have to give it a shot this week!

Templates You can choose from 40 templates of many different styles. All are 100% editable. · Text Styles There are 50 different texts styles you can add to your stories. All styles are beautifully animated. You can customize fonts, colors, sizes, positions and alignments. · No Account Required…

Source: ‎Mojo – Create Video Stories

“Everything that rises must converge”

Twitter, and social media in general, is a harsh lover. I’ve heard similar laments from other Twitter personalities and I think we’re reaching a tipping point…

“Translating the essence of who you are into a digestible product is a strange way to live, especially when you’re a young adult and your sense of self is in flux. It was never my main intention to peddle my personality for a living, but in the era of social media, the personal brand reigns supreme.”

Via First Twitter Gave Me Power. Then I Felt Hopeless by Eve Peyser on Vice

Being a Productive Dad That Works From Home

I intentionally work from home most days. I’ve had an office on Main Street in a big high-rise, I’ve tried co-working spaces, and I’ve had my own building… but working from home is the greatest.

HOWEVER, it’s not without its ongoing challenges that you must tackle and figure out if you’re going to run a business and be successful. Here’s a great post…

So you’ve made the decision to work from home. Whether that be an opportunity to work on a new business project of yours, or maybe you’re just fortunate enough to enjoy the ability to work where you want due to your career—working from home is an incredible experience.

But that doesn’t mean it’s as easy and fun as everyone thinks.

Source: 7 Ways to Be More Productive While Working from Home

Mailchimp Rebrand

They’re based in Atlanta…

The email marketing company Mailchimp, which today is announcing a complete rebrand, could have easily given up the quirkiness that defined its branding as a young company the way many other giants have. Instead, with the help of branding agency Collins, Mailchimp is doubling down. It’s keeping its logo-cum-mascot Freddie the Chimp, for starters, and using an analog typeface from the 1920s as its new wordmark, and illustrating its new brand with a series of almost childlike drawings that look unpolished and rough by design. Weird branding is alive and well in Silicon Valley.

Source: Mailchimp rebrands as an anti-tech company

 

Instagram Stories for Churches and Nonprofits

More and more of my clients on the nonprofit and church side are asking about Instagram Stories and experimenting with them in some form to help with outreach. Like anything on the web or mobile, it’s always fun to dive in and try things out. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you’re looking to make the most of your time (especially given that most nonprofit marketing is done on a volunteer basis!).

Here’s a handy guide that makes some of the same points that I do with clients… shoot vertically, don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t be afraid of stickers, be afraid of hashtags, and (most importantly!) PLAN PLAN PLAN with a calendar that you’ll stick to…

Consider treating your Story like a TV network with scheduled programming for the week, or even recurring “episodes” that happen on certain days. Thinking in advance about what kind of content you’ll be sharing and how your Story will flow will help you craft a more addictive and consistent experience for your viewers.

Source: Instagram Stories: Everything Businesses Need to Know

NASCAR’s Marketing Decline

I’ve been a fan of NASCAR since I was a small child (runs in the family) and got to experience the peak of the sport in the early 2000’s. Sponsors and money and TV deals were rolling in and it was just an exciting time to follow races despite the gimmicks that NASCAR leadership started introducing to keep the numbers growing.

The last few years have been difficult for me to watch from a marketing point of view. Major long term sponsors have abandoned the sport and its top drivers as costs of sponsorships skyrocketed (at least $25 million a year for a top team) and returns began to decline. Sponsorship is difficult to give firm ROI numbers for generally, but requires more than just writing a check… there’s the notion of “activation” of branding that has to be done at the track or in special events that tie in with the billboard cars moving at 200mph. In the mid 2000’s, races were destination events in themselves complete with large areas of entertainment and vendors provided by the same companies sponsoring teams. “Win on Sunday, sale on Monday” was a real and measurable metric. That’s just not the case these days. When I go to races and see the anemic amount of vendor stands and trailers, it makes me miss the fun times from the last decade.

With an aging fan base (the oldest of any sport in the U.S.) and historically low ratings, it looks like the marketing angle is not going to improve any time soon for the sport…

Kyle Busch‘s win ranks as the lowest rated and least-watched NASCAR Cup Series race since at least 2000. The previous lows were a 1.2 (multiple races) and 1.99 million (New Hampshire last year). Six of the ten lowest rated and least-watched races have taken place this season alone.

More races have had less than a 1.5 rating this season than in the previous 17 seasons combined.

— Read on www.sportsmediawatch.com/2018/09/nascar-ratings-lowest-years-richmond/

History of Auto-Tune

I still remember the first time I heard Cher’s “Believe” while in college … I didn’t like the song, but it felt like something important was happening musically at a time that innovation was needed on the radio as we recovered from mid 90’s pop-rock in the post-grunge / machine-rock / neo-reggae era…

Rihanna is the dominant singer of our era, in no small part because the Barbados grain of her voice interacts well with Auto-Tune’s nasal tinge, making for a sort of fire-and-ice combination. Voice effects have been prominent in many of her biggest hits, from the “eh-eh-eh-eh-eh” pitch descents in “Umbrella” to the melodious twinkle-chime of the chorus in “Diamonds.” Then there’s Katy Perry, whose voice is so lacking in textural width that Auto-Tune turns it into a stiletto of stridency that—on songs like “Firework” and “Part of Me”—seems to pierce deep into the listener’s ear canal.

— Read on pitchfork.com/features/article/how-auto-tune-revolutionized-the-sound-of-popular-music/

Walking Away from $850 Million

Fascinating story of morals, standing up for your beliefs, and watching others ruin what you created…

Under pressure from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to monetize WhatsApp, he pushed back as Facebook questioned the encryption he’d helped build and laid the groundwork to show targeted ads and facilitate commercial messaging. Acton also walked away from Facebook a year before his final tranche of stock grants vested. “It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don’t want to do,” Acton says. “It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did.” It was perhaps the most expensive moral stand in history. Acton took a screenshot of the stock price on his way out the door—the decision cost him $850 million.

— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2018/09/26/exclusive-whatsapp-cofounder-brian-acton-gives-the-inside-story-on-deletefacebook-and-why-he-left-850-million-behind/amp/

Instagram is Dead

For starters, this is the end of Instagram as we know it. Systrom and Krieger were deeply involved in day-to-day product decisions, and retained an unusual degree of autonomy over the company. For years, they were careful to the point of being obstinate. Even as they began to expand Instagram’s suite of offerings, they remained deeply cautious. (Features for creating groups of “favorites” and a standalone messaging app have been in testing for 15 months and 10 months, respectively.)

— Read on www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/9/25/17903556/instagram-founders-quit-kevin-systrom-mike-krieger-facebook

74% of Facebook users say they have changed their usage in the past year

Wow, these are astonishing numbers…

Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.

Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook – Pew Research Center

Will the internet split in two?

Not to mention the impact that artificial intelligence will have on the web and our daily lives within the next decade (which China is investing in much more heavily than the US Government)…

Speaking at a private event hosted by Village Global VC yesterday night, tech luminary and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that the internet will bifurcate into Chinese-led and US-led versions within the next decade.

— Read on www.cnbc.com/2018/09/20/eric-schmidt-ex-google-ceo-predicts-internet-split-china.html

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