Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pressing Pause

In television, every serious life matter can be adequately dealt with in just under an hour. It's a damn near miracle considering how long it takes me to drive to the office each day, but it's true. Seinfeld can find his Chunky, Timmy O'Toole can be rescued by Homer Simpson and teenagers across the nation can lose their virginity and find happiness on Glee. All before I make it one way. 

Pressing pause -- in media and in life -- is a simple but true step that everyone needs to do every once in a while. Popcorn has to be made, potty breaks have to be taken, clothes need to be switched from the washer to the dryer and puppies need to be let back in from the backyard. 

We are all human, after all, and just because we want to watch a movie from start to finish, sometimes our own bodies betray us and we are not allowed. It's okay, really. It's okay to press pause. 

I was just telling my dear friend to go ahead and embrace the ability to press pause. She woke up quite recently and life had unfairly smacked her square in the jaw. Stomp on pause, if you need to, we both cried this weekend. And then it hit me. I want to hit pause. I want a little more time to breathe and a little less time hurrying and scurrying and feeling guilt no matter what. 

The problem is, I'm not sure what my pause button looks like. I'm certain it has nothing to do with this laptop or any of my 4 Apple products or my other two non-portable computable devices in my household. In fact, I fear those vices are among the reasons I ache for such a pause. This idea of being connected at all times has left me feeling a bit disconnected in all the right ways and a smidge overwhelmed in all the wrong ways. And to tell the truth, if I found the pause button in life, I just may use it on behalf of others who are too bothered or too distracted to do so themselves. I would hope they would return the favor if ever I needed it. It's that important, I think, to the rest of the story. Indeed, I believe the pause button is so powerful that it may influence the end of any particular narrative. A perfectly placed pause may change it all. That's something to think about, now isn't it? 

So I'm off in search of that giant red pause button. Let me know if you stumble upon it. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Crinkle, Crinkle, Widdle Star

Today, a man took a giant leap out of a little metal box while traveling among the stars. My baby pooped in the potty. A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. I used the last of the cottage cheese for a dirty lasagna dish for dinner. 

Filled with fear, delight and wonder, it's been just another Sunday afternoon. Hang in there Cara. Life is certainly a shit show, but we really only need to take one small step at a time. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Places like Pinterest

I write about things I love.

It's that simple. Call me naive, but life is too tough to not look for things that make you smile and then find ways to have more smiles. 

For a lot of my friends and colleagues, places like Pinterest have been delivering more of those smiles. In social media, we know what happens when that happens. We share.

Back in 2010, Chad Mueller of Inspiredology wrote an interesting article on the jQuery Masonry plugin. You know the one. It's the foundationary design behind Pinterest and all the other sites that look or act like Pinterest. Mueller originally described the unique design template as one that would allow page content to be organized yet also appear free-flowing and organic. Seems Chad was onto something.

In February 2012, Sarah Kessler of Mashable Design published an article on How Pinterest is Changing the World of Web Design

I've covered this topic a few times, because I write about things I love. And I love wonder. 

And then just today, Neha Prakash of Mashable Lifestyle penned an update in the evolution of image-based social commerce by announcing that Zappos just launched Pin-Pointing -- a companion tool for shopping Pinterest. 

I tried the tool out by searching for my Twitter handle and it turned up some interesting results. Most of the content correlated nicely with my real interests and topics of online intrigue. But let me be clear, the only reason there is a Wedding category is because I entered to win a ridiculous wedding vacation package from a popular style site so I could learn from their UX. I AM NOT PLANNING A WEDDING. However, this content from Pin-Pointing reminded me that with each online move I make across the world wide web, I may be affecting future online experiences just like this. The more the average consumer knows about this type of data algorithm, the smarter we will all be. I only wonder how long it will be before we treat our online browsing as commerce itself.  

Oh, and seriously, I really need those leopard print smoking shoes. And I don't even smoke. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

One Billion Hamburgers Sold to One Billion Facebooks

All good things come in three's. Or, if you would rather, Alle guten Dinge sind drei. Same thing.

Back in 1962, McDonald's sold it's billionth hamburger and in the same year introduced that goofy red curly-haired clown so that the fast food chain would appeal to kids better. Insightful, the leaders of that Oak Park, Illinois burger chain were as they saw that people -- and kids too -- needed a reason to connect with a brand. On a very personal level. "You like clowns? You'll like us." They seemed to say.

Fast forward fifty years and we haven't changed. We still eat burgers. And brands still want to connect with us. In real and relevant and not so obvious ways. That's why I'm not at all surprised by the latest billion brand boaster. 

On October 4, 2012, Facebook announced that they have more than 1 billion registered users. That's one in every seven people on the planet. That use Facebook. Some every day, hour and some may say, minute. Some have long since abandoned the platform for one reason or another. But most of us fall in between those two extremes. 

The interesting correlation between a McDonald's hamburger and Facebook is that in all reality, we need neither product to thrive, or even survive, this world. Goodness knows there is far better food choices than what McD's pushes across a counter a million times a day. And all the news, gossip and conversations that occur on Facebook live outside the frame of a screen in more ways than necessary. We need not the burger nor the network, but we love them both. 

As for menu items and page attributes, we both fear and eagerly await the next newest addition just as we cheered for the McHotdog  but mourned the death of Facebook Places. But why do we care? Because at one point we connected with this particular brand and for five more minutes of a particular day, we were delighted. 

It's those moments of wonder and delight that keep us alive. My only question at this point; where's the beef? Maybe it's the third...