Saturday, September 22, 2012

The #iPhone was the biggest star at NYC #FashionWeek.

I work in digital and social marketing. It's pretty awesome.

I also turned an extra bedroom into a giant walk-in closet. That's how much I adore fashion.

Imagine my delight when I recently attended Fashion Week in New York. I was there for work; to report on trends, mingle with trendsetters and ultimately have a presence at one of the most influential events in the apparel industry. So that was cool.

We saw it all; leather, lace, blue eye shadow, high ponytails, low chignons, red RED lips, nude lips, nude nails, nude in general, stillettos, smoking shoes, platform heels, skinny jeans, wide belts, high waisted billowing trousers, peter pan collars, pencil skirts, fur, blazers, shorts, animal prints and more. Every where we turned was an outfit, a personality or a trend just waiting to be discovered. 

But there was one thing everyone had in common. The iPhone. 

At NYC Fashion Week, the iPhone was the shit. 

Check it out...






Friday, September 21, 2012

Me wee little meme

For all those moments where only a bunless burger seems like the right thing to do...

I introduce me wee little meme. Expect to see more of her as I report on the most fascinating news of the day. She makes everything just a little more bearable. Don't you agree?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Never cease to wonder.

Back in January, I asked Google a question. "If Wonder is gone, what's left to discover?" Read the original article here.

Then in July, I supplied the answer in the form of another question. In a post titled, "What's your (Pinterest) image strategy?" I laid out an argument for how I've seen a fundamental shift in moving from curated editorial experiences into instant images of gratification that would allow a busy, busy person to do one thing. Wonder. Ahhhhh. That's nice, yes? 

Of course, things have evolved since July and now the world and internet browsers alike are getting to experience more Pinteresting sites that allow the user to take charge of what type of content and images they search for and include on their dashboard. And the best part is the wildcard space that makes a user feel like they "discovered" something. Clever algorithms and tons of datapoints need not be exposed to the average user, but it turns out that the art of wonder is more like a science. 

Studying customer behavior is nothing new, especially in the world of retail marketing. For sites that curate commerce just for you or people just like you, like OpenSky, Fancy, Stylmx, Houzz, Stylemint, ShopStyle, StreetEtiquette and even Google's and the super fancy, it's becoming more clear that data can -- and will -- be used by business to project a certain personalized online experience. Rending wonder once again an elusive idea. 

That's why Pinterest remains in the lead. Ben Silbermann was thinking less like a salesman and more like a human. He said in a recent article that, "to create a pinboard is to tell the world, here are the beautiful things that make me who I am." And he hit it on the head. People are not dumb, they are just busy. And they want freedom. No one wants to know that Netflix only displays content that has been found among 80% of your circle of influence. No one wants to know that Google shows search results according to, among other things, sites that you are somehow connected to in a ranking of paid advertising. No one wants to know that the average sale resulting from a Pinterest user back to the original image is $180, compared to $80 for Facebook and $70 for Twitter. (Data from RichRelevance. Source is Ben Silbermann's interview in Fast Company, September 2012.) That's not the fun stuff we want to associate with when we post something and tell all our friends about it. We don't care that the data stream is solid, instead we want to think that we are trend-setters and helpful and dare I say, relevant to our own personal audiences like our daughters and our girlfriends. We want to showcase our individualism and we don't want to willingly exist in such a shackled Big Brother environment.

Instead, we want the freedom to Pinterest. Or so we wonder. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My First Skate Park Experience. It's not what you think.

Yesterday I went for a long run and on my way home I passed by a skate park. Settled in the middle of a large apartment complex near the downtown train station, this skate park is probably a refuge of sorts for the kids in the neighborhood. I've passed it before but never really paid much attention to it.

It's pretty cool, actually, to see that local taxpayers dollars are going to keep up the park and make a safe haven in a rather unconventional space. There are ramps and stairs and slides and more. The kids turn tricks, fly fast and do jumps here and there. Some of the kids even have boards that have multi-colored wheels. And the designs on the boards are pretty awesome, too. Some have shapes but others are pictures of people and one even has a girl on it. 

I know all this because I stopped to watch for a minute and someone told me all about it. I stopped to watch because there was a little guy standing right outside the entry way, clasping the chain link fence, pushing his tiny face closer to all the action, but not at all jumping in. He was maybe 8 or 9 years old. He couldn't skate; his body would not let him. His little body was supported by a medical device and his shoes covered braces that helped him walk. He just stood there in awe of this big group of boys with bodies that let them participate in ways he only dreamed. But he was not merely standing and holding on for dear life; he was swaying his body and mocking jumps. He was an important participant in this moment in time. He wasn't a lurker; he was an active contributor in this social ecosystem...and it was pretty cool to see. I was drawn to how excited he was to be in the presence of these skaters and I felt his hope and joy each time one would try a trick. I probably would not have stopped if it weren't for this guy. His smile was magnetic and his enthusiasm was catching. He drew me in and before I knew it, I was part of the scene. My very first skate park experience.

When I approached him, he smiled at me and immediately began chatting it up; telling me how cool these kids were, how awesome they were, and what great skaters they were. I sensed the skater boys knew they were being idolized and they seemed to respect something very true and good about this tiny fan. They seemed to come together and each of their moves seemed to compliment the next. There was no competition or angst. I even witnessed a few 'atta-boy's and a few high-fives and even more than one smile aimed at the little dude who would not skate today. I liked what I saw because I sensed an inclusive community due to one thing; the love of skating and the freedom to do so. 

I talked briefly with this little brave boy and then we parted ways. But I've been thinking about him since. There are two lessons I learned from this passing experience that I want to capture this lazy Saturday morning. One lesson is to be thankful for whatever it is that we have; able bodies, clever minds, braces to hold our spines straight or curiosity that drives us to wonder in spite of it all. Whatever it is; it's something. The other lesson? For me, it's to participate. Half the battle may indeed be showing up. But more important, is how we participate in the environment we exist. Existing is great, don't get me wrong, but thriving is better. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

You're amazing. No girl, you are.

I could do this all day.

Be told I am amazing, that is. It happens so rarely that when, to my surprise, I got an email from my new bff Michelle Obama, it kinda made my day a lil bit. Just saying.

JIC you don't believe me, here is the screenshot from my email inbox:

So, you know, thaaaat's cool.

But more importantly, it really demonstrates that social has gone beyond the point of just being cool and yet still remains cool. That is REALLY cool. It's really neat to see how the upcoming elections are having as much debate in the digital and social sphere as they are in those giant football stadiums where poor elderly people like Clint Eastwood get lost and turn to inanimate objects for help.

I'm joking of course, because Clint could still kick my ass even if he is like 100 years old. But I'm not joking about the fact that social and digital have a real place in our society. I just love that. We all  knew it had some degree of staying power, but this election seems to be bringing home the fact that social media as a channel is as powerful as television, newspaper and radio. It's amazing to see big - and little - brands embrace social in ways that make sense to the people who actually use it. It's amazing to see traditional content streaming through innovative technology platforms and social sites like Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Flickr and even Pinterest. I'm pretty stoked about that and look forward to not only watching but participating in the evolution of how we connect, why we connect and how we can each help one another to make just five more minutes of happiness a day.

I don't care who you vote for Michelle. I think YOU are amazing.