Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ben Huh's 3 Lessons

Ben Huh, the  CEO of the infamous I Can Has Cheezburger, posted his story and lessons on Medium today. He detailed his story of the struggles of the business, including multiple rounds of layoffs and falling revenues. He also explained his side of the story, and even owns up to the fact that he lost his focus and vision throughout the way.

Near the end, he discusses the three lessons he learned over the last three years. I found it refreshing and interesting to hear about one CEO's struggles, especially that he is able to see where he went wrong.

The first lesson: "Consumption is learning"
He talks about learning from others, and I think this fits really well with what I am learning these days. Social media moves so quickly that many universities are only just now figuring out how to teach it. Much of what I know about the internet and social media isn't stuff I learned in a classroom. It's stuff I learned by seeing others use it. I learned the little tips and tricks about hashtags from the thought-leaders I follow. When I was hired to help run a facebook page, I had never run a facebook page before. I learned how to properly do it by seeing what other facebook pages were posting. I learned through consuming other people's posts.

The second lesson: "Remixing is cooperation"
He mentions that everyone should be open to criticism and cooperation. By inviting others to comment, modify, and remix your work, you can grow and develop something better than anything imagined. Social media is inherently social (maybe that's why they call it social media!) and it pays to have people suggesting new ideas. Creativity isn't a one-person operation; it comes out of many people working together to create something through cooperation. I'll never understand facebook pages that don't let people comment or twitter accounts that don't read their mentions. Afterall, how can you create anything new without listening directly to your consumers.

The third lesson: "Friction kills. Speed wins"
His take on this is that you need to get out of the way of the users to allow them to do whatever they want. His take on speed is that people don't want to wait, and that you need to get the product to the consumers as fast as possible. This applies in every aspect of life I think; I can't be the only one who hates waiting around for the newest product or innovation. Social media is about speed. If I take a good picture on my phone, you can bet I'm posting it to instagram right away. I think the biggest annoyance is waiting for content. For example, last week Laurier SOS took a picture of me holding one of their signs for a contest. They told me that once it was posted, if I tagged myself in it, I'd be entered to win. I went home and looked for the picture to no avail. I quickly forgot about it. Today, the pictures were posted and someone mentioned it to me. I couldn't believe that - a whole week to post some pictures?! Of course I completely forgot about the contest and the picture. Speed wins, and in this case their lack of speed killed.

It's interesting to hear his version of these lessons, and I liked that they're coming from a place where he was failing the company. So much of the advice we get is from people who are doing well and have always done well. I really liked reading the perspective of someone who struggled so much, and not in that "rags-to-riches" way but "here's how I almost destroyed everything" way.

Monday, 17 November 2014

StageIt: The Online Concert Venue

About 11 months ago, one of my favourite bands Anberlin aired an acoustic performance on StageIt. If you've never heard of StageIt, they call themselves the "online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived."

So in a nutshell: I paid $20 to watch a live performance of my favourite band online.

Last week, I watched a live performance of my favourite band online for free.

The difference? The experience. Last week, my twitter feed was blowing up and it was hard to keep up with all the different fan interaction. The StageIt performance was inherently exclusive - you had to pay for it and only about 50 fans actually paid for it. This meant that the comments went slow enough that the band could actually read them. They directly interacted with the fans, they answered our questions and they played the songs we wanted to hear.

I noticed that a lot of bands are now doing StageIt. It seems like the secret is a super dedicated fanbase who don't mind paying for something that tends to end up on youtube. Bands include Korn, Plain White T's, Bowling for Soup, and Jimmy Buffett. I wonder how successful they've been for the other bands.

It seems like this might be another way to communicate with your favourite band, but something about the fact that you have to pay for it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Anberlin, for example, does live shows pretty frequently, and they'll play acoustic shows a lot for free. However, at the same time, I love that it's another way for the band get the much needed funds in order to keep doing what they're doing.

Would I pay for the experience again? Maybe not. But it's really neat that for that hour or so, I knew my favourite band was reading my comments and even played the songs I requested.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Anberlin: The YahooLive Stream

Last night, one of my favourite bands Anberlin, livestreamed their concert in New York City. While watching bands live is always my favourite, watching them live in my living room is a close second.

I curled up on the couch, and hooked my computer up to my tv to watch the whole thing on the big screen. The band played a whole bunch of hits, mixing it up from their previous shows. This is their final tour - they only have 11 concerts left as a band before calling it quits. That might be why it's so powerful, and it might be why so many people tuned it to watch.

The livestream was well done; they only started 2 minutes late. At first, you could tell the cameras weren't sure what to look at, but they quickly got it together. It was a fun show, with some crowd shots and you could hear the crowd singing along (my favourite part). The cameras focused so much on Stephen though, it was kind of disheartening. I wanted to see more of the whole band, not just the lead singer - despite the fact that he's so amazing. I love the band as a whole, and I would have liked more than one or two shots of Nate.

The biggest complaint of everyone (we have a little Anberlin community - #fangirl) was that they cut the livestream before the encore. Anberlin always does an encore of *Fin, and it's one of the most powerful songs they've ever written. It's a fan favourite, and it might be one of the best parts of the concert.

Yahoo stopped filming and cut the stream the moment the band stepped off the stage. They didn't turn the cameras back on when the band inevitably came back for one last song. It ruined my night, and what I was looking forward to the most was that final ending song.

The livestream was great. But it says a lot about Yahoo and the fact that they didn't know enough about the band to know that they always do an encore. It was disappointing, and I really feel like we didn't get the full experience. They probably should have asked the band for a setlist or something so it wouldn't have happened.

I still love the internet, and I love that I got to see my favourite band live in my living room before I see them live for real next week.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What We Can Learn From Jian Ghomeshi

Originally posted October 27, 2014.

 Looks like Canada got it's biggest sex scandal in a loooong time. Over the weekend, I watched Twitter like a hawk for everything that was happening surrounded the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Long story short: CBC fired the Q host, and an hour later Jian posted his own statement about his sex life. In a nutshell, he claims CBC fired him because of his sex life and preference for BDSM (think 50 Shades of Grey). He claims that everything he has done has been with consent. However, four women have come forward stating that the sexual acts were not consensual. Whether the acts were done with or without consent is one thing. However, it has been very interesting watching the uproar and backlash. And with every good scandal, a lot of celebrities and personalities have been showing their ass through social media.
Case in point, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party. Tweets began pouring in about how she supported a potential rapist. She has since backtracked and apologized, but the damage was done, and she looked like quite the idiot. It seems obvious, but you should always always ALWAYS read the whole story before commenting about it. And even if this is your friend you're defending, you probably should avoid defending someone who has these types of allegations levelled against them. #TeamJian was trending on Twitter earlier. People are still tweeting their support for the host, despite the front page article in the Star today. As far as I'm concerned, the allegations didn't come from nothing, and this is far from the first time Ghomeshi has had rumours surrounding him. Regardless of whether he did assault these women or not, supporting a potential rapist never looks good - and your best bet is to probably remain silent until you know the facts (as much as you can). And I never liked him anyway.

The Most Basic of Basic Tips

Originally posted October 21, 2014

Music is my life. I eat, breathe, sleep, and live music and everything that comes with it.   I love musicians. They're my favourite types of people and I often surround myself with them. Maybe I got it from my dad, who often worships Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, or maybe it just happened when I fell in love with David Bowie for the first time.   I've also learned that many musicians, while great musicians and performers, don't understand anything to do with basic social media promotions. I've seen musicians without facebook pages, ones who fight with fans, ones who post wildly inappropriate (usually racist or sexist) things, and ones who just don't post. My biggest pet peeve when I was creating the #KOIFest14 mobile app was bands that didn't have any information anywhere. I mean, so many bands didn't have pictures, biographies, websites, social media pages, or even basic hometown information.   My basic tips for small, independent bands aren't that difficult, and I honestly can't believe they aren't common sense.
  1. Create social media pages. These include a facebook page, a twitter page, a youtube channel, and an instagram page. If you have a cool band name, you'll want to snap these up before someone else does. You also want these to all be under the same name if you can, it'll make everything so much easier.
  2. Take some good pictures. Put them on the social media pages you just created. Any pictures are better than no pictures. It helps to personalize the band, and despite what might be ideal, image does matter. It's nice to be able to put a name to the music, especially if I want to see your band live sometime.
  3. Fill out the boxes. If I'm just discovering your band, I want to see where you're from, what kind of genre your band is, upcoming shows, and the names of the band members. I like learning about new music, and I love going to shows so much that if I even like you a little bit, I might just come out to a show.
  4. Keep it updated! You'd be surprised how many bands just don't bother. I want to see what you've been up to recently, I want to see updates, and I especially want to see new music.
  I'm a fan first, and I only want to see my favourite bands succeed. Keep your eyes peeled for more tips I've learned through my adventures in music and social media marketing.

New Blog Focus: Social Media

This blog hasn't been used in waaaayyy too long, but I figured I'd make use of it now anyway. Afterall, it does have my name up there at the top.

As part of my Marketing and Social Networks class, I've started a different blog under a different name. I've decided to merge these two together, that way when this one comes up (it's like the second page of results from my name) it's actually relevant stuff. It's especially good because I've decided to go into social media marketing (for now), so I'll actually be blogging for interest as well.

The next two posts are ones that I took from my social media blog. All posts before this one (from years ago) are less focused and are more about personal life stuff. I'm going to keep them there, partly as content and partly as a personal time capsule, but I urge you to read them with a grain of salt (if you're going to read them at all).

As always, comments are always welcomed.

Monday, 13 January 2014

My Adventure with Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicure

A few months ago I got a pack of Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicure from Inflluenster, and with the busy holiday season I only just got around to trying them out.

I received a box of Holla! And while they looked neat in the box, overall I was disappointed.

They were super easy to apply, but I had trouble because my nails are already pretty long. These fake nails aren't made for people who have long nails; they were too short and often didn't reach the end of my real nails. I filed mine down and made them fit, but I wouldn't do that again.

Once I had them all on, they looked good (not real, but good). I wore them out for about an hour before the first one fell off. I figured it was just a dud one, and I stuck another one on.

Not a dud! Within a day, all of them had flaked off. It wasn't like I hit them off something or that I was doing anything particularly challenging with my nails. They just... fell off. I was not impressed. At least they didn't damage my nails.

They can be pretty expensive, and I definitely wouldn't pay full price for them. If I'm going to an event that'll only be for an evening or something, I might consider wearing them.

I really just don't recommend them though.