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Just Friggin' Peachy
Just Friggin' Peachy

business, digital strategy, & life in the #atl

NASA Scores Major Social/PR Win With Mars Landing

For those of you keeping score, NASA not only landed a direct hit on the planet Mars early this morning, they also landed a huge PR win via social media.

According to my data; in the last 24 hours, conversation about NASA has jumped over 350% thanks to smart tweeting by NASA’s social media manager, Veronica McGregor and, surprisingly also by JPL’s flight director Bobak Ferdowsi.

McGregor, no stranger to the social media limelight, lit up Twitter with the amazing personality she powered up for the mission’s official Twitter handle, @MarsCuriosity:

Meanwhile, Ferdowsi himself became an instant celebrity adding more than 20K followers since the start of this morning’s live stream. Perhaps not intentionally, Ferdowsi became the face of the new, modern NASA with his stylish haircut and {achem} dreamy smile.

He even managed to inspire his own internet meme and fangirl/fanboy tumblr:

Maybe I’m just a huge geek but I can’t help but feel really inspired by not only the mission but the smart risks and new energy being brought to NASA PR. Congrats to Veronica McGregor, Bobak Ferdowsi and the entire NASA-JPL team!

Just Stop With The Self-Pics At The Gym, Will You?

Of all the stupid things people do on social media, I hold that posting pictures of themselves at the gym is by far the worst.

Sure, its great to let people know that you’re active and fit. In fact, there’s even scientific proof that people that have friends that post actively about their exercise regimes are more likely to be active, themselves.

However, unless you’re Kelly Olexa or a similar fitness-based blogger, your motives for posting a photo of yourself in that over-priced designer tank top are pretty transparent. You might as well stamp the photo with your measurements and phone number and save yourself the trouble of posting it to a “dating” site.

For those of you who are proud of all the weight you lost, I applaud you. For the love of Zuckerberg though, can’t the duck face wait untill AFTER you take a shower?

Seriously, if you were that great of an athlete, you would get yourself out of the gym and demonstrate that physical prowess in some sort of sport. Posting photos of teammates, running medals and even your new athletic shoes are all inspirational no matter how deep you are in your fitness journey.

Taking a photo of yourself, however has only one purpose; to say to the world that you think you’re hot. I am here to say here and now that you will get no such validation from me.

If you need that kind of reassurance, go to a bar. In the meantime, I’ll be the one on the elliptical watching just waiting for my chance to photo-bomb you.

Social Media Intellectualism Outside The Bubble

Though I don’t credit my time at a “big box” social media agency for a lot of personal growth it did do one thing for me, instill a hefty respect for the exchange of real-time, valuable social media intellectualism. You know the kind I’m taking about…water-cooler exchanges about the changing nature of social media and it’s implementation, right then and there for the benefit of a client.

Once you leave the bubble, you’re faced with keeping up with news and trends without the support network of being face-to-face with dozens of other social media fanatics, like you.  This week I encountered two very different reminders of this and why social media intellectualism outside of that bubble is still an ongoing search.

The first reminder came during a networking event I attended with bloggers here in Atlanta.  By all accounts it was a fabulous event and I got to meet a ton of really smart individuals who were using blogs to turn their passion into some sort of profit.  The challenge was that the event was heavy on the doe-eyed, new-to-the-social media sphere kind of mentality.

I shared my frustration with a friend of mine who I had accompanied to the event, lamenting the fact that in terms of our own takeaways, we weren’t able to learn that much.  Instead, it was a great exposure to other points of view which is, I guess, just as good if not better.  Still, it left me hungering for networking opportunities that would teach me something new.

The second reminder came with a comment posted to one of my work blogs.  Unlike my personal blog, I try to simplify social media strategy down to the bare essentials as that’s what the audience is looking for.  I should have known, however that simplifying things would carry its own set of problems.  An author whose work I had cited found the article and proceeded to “rip me a new one.”  She accused me of missing the entire point of her work by failing to disclose the complexities of that particular issues.

The problem with the author’s work was that though she had put a lot of smart theory forward, there wasn’t really any tactical substance to it.  Like many intellectuals in the social media field, she spent a lot of time working out the complexities of the topic without really connecting it to the realities of implementation on a day-to-day basis. Though I tried to fill in that blank by offering an operational example in my post, I guess the author thought my attempt to put her work to use devalued the complexities she had built-in.

Both experiences left me understandably sour on the state of social media intellectualism. Where are the social media geeks that both know their sh&^ AND make it work? There’s a lot of room in the middle to discuss sensible, practical applications of social media outside the constant parade of “5 Ways To {INSERT BUSINESS VERB HERE} In Social Media.”

Perhaps it’s that those of us who need it most are all too busy with work?

Though “big box” social media agencies tend to promote a very production-oriented rather than a client-centric vision of social media execution, that bubble does have a benefit.  Its create a “live-wire” environment of thinking and theorization that is applicable in real-time.

Agree/Disagree? I would love to hear from other social media professionals their take on things.

It’s Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer In The #ATL

The summer has barely begun but if Memorial Day weekend is any indication, global warming is alive and well here in the #ATL and it’s going to be a long summer.

Just in case you’re new here or are one of my friends that hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing a summer here in the heart of the deep south, there are three things you need to know.  Summer in Atlanta is about heat, humidity and hills.  Classically used to describe the annual Peachtree Road Race, I’ve also found those three things dictate just about every aspect of life between the months of May and August.

First, everything here revolves around the heat.  Whether you’re trying to escape it indoors or taking advantage of it poolside, daily life is pretty much about the heat. Sure, other cities have heat as well but Atlanta’s type of heat is the kind of stifling heat that permeates everything it touches no matter if its shaded or not.  All you can do is hope Georgia Power doesn’t ravage you too badly on your monthly electric bill.  Luckily, Atlanta has no shortage of pools and whether or not you have access to one is a key determinant the strength of certain friendships.

Second, no matter how progressive Atlanta gets, there’s nothing like humidity to remind you that you’re still in the Deep South.  Walking outside in Atlanta from the safe haven of air conditioning is like running smack into a brick wall of moisture.  The worst part is that the humidity brings with it bugs like you can’t imagine. My only advice here is to invest in bug spray – and plenty of it.

Finally in my little trifecta of Atlanta summery goodness is the hills.  Familiar to every runner in the city – Atlanta’s hills are famous for becoming three times their size when combined with the heat and humidity of the summer. Likewise, hills tend to dictate a lot of what you might do, otherwise.  The prime example is Piedmont Park.  Piedmont Park has plenty of space but many, many hills.  The key to finding a good place to park yourself for a picnic is easily determined by how many hills you are willing to climb.  Such is Atlanta, the hills can just as easily be a Darwinian test of convenience and solitude as they are a runner’s potential workout.

Basically this is three ways to say that Atlanta is hot as bloody hell in the summer.  I’m sure you’re all writing into Monica (Kaufman) Pearson with the scoop as I type.

Seriously though, it’s going to be a hot one.  Good luck, stay cool and I’ll see you at the Peachtree ;-)…

Of Dogwoods & Gratitude

I was originally was going to make this Part II of my Maslow post but I wanted to preempt it to share something that ran through my mind today.

Amid the insanity of a couple thousand OTPers descending on Midtown Atlanta, I was still able to make it out to the Dogwood Festival.  Though the festival was made up of mostly the same artists and food vendors you see year after year, it was the first time a couple of my friends had gotten a chance to see it so I agreed to be a guide.

Along our walk, I decided I wanted to show my friends the newer section of the park including the Legacy Fountain.  In contrast to the main sections of the park, the newer area was almost completely void of visitors.  It made for a nice calm and with the cool wind whipping around us, it made one of my favorite poems come to mind:

“I walked in a garden today
Where loving hands had wrought
She could not have known
As she toiled there tirelessly,
That I would come today
Despairing, lonely and afraid
And that her garden
Would restore my peace of mind
And give me hope and faith.
I walked in her garden today and
Tonight I thank God for her
Who toiled there tirelessly.”

O.R.W. – Cheekwood Botanical Garden

Though the last few weeks have been an interesting mix of productivity and drama, the thing that has stood out the most is how much I am learning about the finer points of cultivating serenity. Sure, it sounds kind of fluffy but you never know how important it is until you need it to kick your goals into high gear.

That poem and, in particular, the timing it had running through my head reminded me that building that sense of serenity is a two-way street. In one direction, we’re trudging a road paved by others.

When you’re looking for that serenity and you’re a typical “Type A” personality, that journey usually requires the help of people that have been there before.  There is an enormous amount of gratitude to be found for those people who are there for you be they family, friends or just someone with a big heart who is willing to help.

In the other direction, you’re maintaining or paving that road for people who may come after you. Like the poem says, you may never know who comes after you but that road may indeed mean quite a bit to them.

The friends I took through the park had a chance to experience what I’ve gotten to experience dozens of times before.  In sharing that experience, though – this time it was somehow more profound.

Like I said, it was kind of a fluffy moment but when you work hard and care a great deal about what you do, these moments help remind you of what’s important. If this sentiment means nothing, I promise the next post will be fantastically geeky enough to make up for it.

If the sentiment did mean something to you, that’s even better. In that case, I encourage you to try it out for yourself and pass the feeling forward.  You’ll be glad you did.

Photo Courtesy of brettlohmeyer

Maslow, Consumers & Motivation in Social Media – Part I

If Abraham Maslow, father of modern consumer psychology, were alive today I am fully convinced he would take one look at what’s going on in social media and rip his famous Hierarchy of Needs to shreds. From over-sharing on Facebook to 140 character trends on Twitter (like We Want Justin [Bieber] Shirtless Tour), the psyche of the online consumer is so warped that even Maslow would agree we need a new model of consumer motivation.Continue Reading

‘Tis The Season For Awkward Moments With Your Jewish Friends

Face it; whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile (a non-Jewish person) this time of year is always a mixed bag for inter-religious gatherings. You might love holiday parties and you might love hanging out with your Jewish or non-Jewish friends.  Nothing puts a fly in the eggnog  though like those awkward moments that inevitably pop up.Continue Reading

The Theory Of Dating Momentum

Of my theories about dating, the most prominent is what I call the “Theory of Dating Momentum.” Simply put; the Theory of Dating Momentum states that the more closely timed the first real-life interactions are, the better the chances that whatever you have will turn into a relationship.Continue Reading

Three Sources of Statistics to Aid Year-End Digital Planning

This year, instead of waiting till the last-minute, I’ve been keeping my eye out for statistics that can help make my case for an increased role for digital in 2012 planning.  I wanted to share three of the best I’ve found to help if you find yourself in similar situations.

The Edelman Trust Barometer (PDF)

Conducted every year, the Edelman Trust Barometer looks at who and what consumers trust.  The study not only covers trust by source but also by industry and country.  I find Trust Barometer statistics are really effective in putting the role of traditional media in perspective vs. online influencers.

WOMMA’s Word of Mouth Infographic (JPG)

Though it’s really an aggregate of data from five sources including the Wall Street Journal and Experian, data from this infographic is perfect if you need to build a case for word of mouth marketing.  Highlights include the tonality and impact of brand conversations on purchases.

Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Usage Over Time Spreadsheet (XLS)

Call me hopelessly geeky but there’s a certain rush I get when researchers offer up spreadsheets of data directly to users.  It means you can play with and cut the data as you need it and there’s no better source than the Pew Internet & American Life Project.  My favorite is their Internet usage study where you can slice and dice the data to help build your case that specific digital channels are growing with specific demographics.

Enjoy and use these statistics with intelligence!  If you know of others I may have missed, please by all means leave a link to them in the comments.  I would love to get a running list going.

Honkies For Herman?

As I was running errands this past week, I ended up behind a truck sporting a special kind of bumper sticker. At first, I thought it was a joke.  I mean, “Honkies For Herman?” Seriously?!

Of course, I googled the phrase when I got back to the office expecting full well to find some sort of parody website.  Lo and behold – they’re real and apparently semi-legitimate.  Here’s how they describe themselves:

“When we watch Mr. Cain and when we listen to Mr. Cain, we see Ronald Reagan and we hear Ronald Reagan…

Since racism, race bating, and classism are staples of leftist politics, we have decided to proudly be Honkies For Herman as a way of taking the issue away from the left…

We will not be producing any ‘Honkies For Herman’ t-shirts, bumper stickers, or buttons…”

What was that last part?  No t-shirts or bumper stickers?

I am all for political diversity. When you come from a town that has be-gifted the political scene with both Newt Gingrich AND Herman Cain though, you start to wonder if there’s something in the water that adds that extra bit of crazy.

Honkies For Herman, congratulations – you’ve just a coveted WTHATL?! award for the month.

Legacies Matter

A legacy never feels like a legacy when it’s being created.  It feels like a constant grind. What results though is something that outlasts you.  I found reminders of this fact not once but twice this past week.Continue Reading

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