Monthly Archives: July 2013

Now that Facebook has become a mobile company, the money is starting to follow

Interesting observations about the value of social+mobile.

Gigaom

In January, the number of daily active users on Facebook (s fb) finally accessing the service from mobile devices surpassed those accessing it from the desktop, making it clear that Facebook had truly become a mobile company. As we wrote at the time, succeeding on mobile was no longer an option — it was an inevitability. But up until this quarter, the question of whether ad revenue would follow those users to the phones was a lot less clear, leading to more questions from investors as to whether Facebook could succeed with mobile ads.

But Facebook’s second-quarter numbers on Wednesday, which trounced analyst expectations and sent the stock up 19 percent to $31 in after-hours trading, are the numbers that investors were looking for when it comes to proving Facebook could make money on mobile.

Just a year ago, Facebook had hardly any mobile ad products at all, but in the second quarter earnings presented…

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All the important and surprising trends in mobile web browsing, in seven charts

One of the key reasons we’re experiencing this boom in social: more people are connected with tablets and smartphone. Take a peek at the recent usage numbers!

Community Pool

Here’s a fantastic example of #ThePowerOfSocial in action 🙂

The Daily Post

The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout, or anything else. If you have a post, page, or idea you want to bounce off someone, leave a comment. Your fellow bloggers can then click through and offer input either on your site, or in the comments here (feel free to indicate which you’d prefer).

Read on for the ground rules and to leave a comment . . .

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Social Storms Bring Happy Opportunities

“Technology is best when it brings people together.”

OK, that’s enough with the #Sharknado, right? (Did you see it on Twitter? Go Google it if you haven’t, I’ll wait 🙂

As much as I love mystery and intrigue, this post is a longform, down-to-earth exploration of how a silly little concepts become big ideas, and how this has value in your day-to-day life.

What’s a Social Storm?

Let’s start it off with a plain old definition. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the uncontrollable yet mighty power the internet brings in connecting ideas, opportunities, and people: a social storm.

Social storms shares a lot in common with regular weather storms:

  • They’re unpredictable – we have analytics and radar to help us make good decisions, but the ultimate result is impossible to determine until it happens;
  • They’re exciting – as humans, we simply love observing something new. Look at how big #Sharknado trended!
  • They make an impact – whether positive, negative, or in many cases, curiously ambiguous and hard to measure.

The only real difference? Social Storms happen virtually, through the power of our connectedness, and our belief in the idea at hand.

Whether the rain comes in from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, email, blog post comments, trackbacks, or favourites, they all say one thing: Someone’s listening, someone cares!

What a great feeling to have 🙂

Sharknado 2 – The Sequeling!

Sorry, but we’re talking about #Sharknado and Rocky Horror Picture Show for another minute. Feel free to skip this section if you’re in the loop!

So what exactly happened? Imagine, if you can, the time when Rocky Horror Picture Show was in theatres. The camp. The culture. The community.  I wasn’t even around at that time, yet I know of this and still hear stories told of midnight singalongs in dress! They may even still show the movie regularly, there’s that much love.

What happened then, happened now, only in a fraction of the time due to our hyperconnections.

From what I saw, people became aware of #Sharknado very shortly before it was made available to them, gratis, on the cable channel SyFy. The mystery and intrigue were too high and the risk was too low to resist exploring.

Of course, gotta love the ironic fact that the prize is a hilariously campy movie which I as of this time have yet to actually see. However here I am, fully versed in #Sharknado lore, taken with the story of the story rather than with the story itself. (And excited for the already-announced sequel!)

One could label #Sharknado as New-Age Marketing or even as a Social Media Marketing Success Story. One could even go as far as to say that it was a beautifully executed Alternate Reality Game with a Free Movie as a prize! As many know I’m not a fan of unnecessary labels, so I don’t feel the need to define it yet, but am enjoying observing the cause and effect results. There’s certainly something social/viral going on!

And they’re not the first. Another hot contender for Amazing Social Media Usage Of The Year goes to the makers of Pacific Rim, who successfully leveraged the long-tail targeted marketing capabilities of YouTube to quantifiably drum up interest and buzz, and who are now coasting on the buzzwave generated (and a huge Hollywood budget, but that’s another post)!

Does it work? Consider one of the most interesting use cases – yourself, now: if you hadn’t known about these two movies already, you do now. If you knew about them but hadn’t seen them, you’re one step closer to taking some kind of action. And if you’re already in the in-group, you’re smiling and will love to chat with me about them (and I full-heartedly encourage you do to so 😉

How’s THAT for new age marketing?

Happy Opportunities

Wait wait wait… This isn’t that “evil marketing” I hear about, now is it?

Let’s take a second to realign. Do the movie makers want to make money? Well yeah! Any wise business owner wants to generate revenue in some form or another. Even non-profits benefit by generating a larger resource pool from which to reinvest and achieve greater results.

What’s changed then? Why isn’t this “evil”?

Three golden words: Word of Mouth.

The simple act of having a chat and giving a recommendation inspires action far more effectively than any uber-designed animated poster.

It’s just one of those ironies in life, what else can I say?

Well, we could look at some numbers to help show, so let’s do that! On average, people are shown thousands of advertisements a day. How many is pretty hard to quantify, but people have tried. I feel it’s safe to say we easily encouter at minimum 5,000 old and new brands/products/ideas each and every day.

No wonder we’re tired of the old ways of advertising! We need a way to filter the signal from the noise. Trusting our friends and social networks is a fantastic way to start, and that’s where we’re at today.

Socialize Your Life!

I promised to tell you how this has value in your life, so let’s do it!

Of course, that would only work if there was one type of person in the world. Thankfully, we are all unique, and use tools in our own different way, so I can’t give you any solid reasons to believe that engaging in social media is one of the best investments of your time.

I’d love to tell you a story here, but interestingly enough, all of mine are still being written! I encourage you to read the pages that have already been created by perusing any of the social networks I’m on.

I can give you a bit of a teaser though: #LifeChanging.

I’m a big fan of learning by example. I’m rapidly learning I’m not alone in this belief. It’s amazing how many other opportunities are out there from those who believe the same.

I encourage everyone to get out there, put your toe in any social media that’s calling to you. I can’t promise no sharks, but you just might find your very own #SharkNado 😉

The difference between ‘seeing’ and ‘photographic seeing’

Here’s an insightful article discussing the illusion of photography 🙂

Will Hey Photography

Just a few days ago I was chatting with some fellow photographers about our most important moments of personal revelation in our chosen field. Anyone who has played about even half seriously with a camera has had one of these moments, I remember my first one happening the day I bought a ‘nifty fifty’ lens and I realised how useful a tool manipulating the depth of field could be when it came to isolating a subject.

Everyone I spoke to had their own experience but the one we all came back to as being the most important in terms of personal development was when we discovered the concept of ‘photographic seeing’.

‘Photographic  Seeing’ is based on the very simple but often overlooked realisation that the sensor does not deal with light in the same way that the eye does. The human eye can scan a scene and make impossibly quick…

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#wcmtl 2013 – WordCamp Montreal

What do you get when you combine a beautiful town with inspired and passionate WordPress users and lovers?

You get a #WordCamp!

Have you been to one before? Share which one and a link in the comments below for the world to explore 🙂 If you haven’t, head on over to WordCamp Central to find one near you, you won’t regret it!

Here’s the story of my experience at my first WordCamp Montreal 🙂

WordCamp Stats for Fun

Total WordCamps Attended: 2
Cities: Ottawa, Montreal
Countries: Canada
Roles: Volunteer 1, Speaker 1

Presentations I saw
  • Plugins, a Double-Edged Sword by Yannic Lefebvre. Great talk about the consequences of plugin use. Loved the line, “most plugin creators don’t test for UNinstalling the plugin” – really made me reflect on installing them casually!
  • SEO and Content Marketing with WordPress by Brian Rotsztein. Interesting insights into the philosophy of content marketing. Will have to review the slides and my notes such as in my pictures above to fully digest the info!
  • Professional WordPress Deployment with Rami Sayar. Great information, made me level up my game indeed!
  • Priming Your WordPress Canvas – Essentials for a Solid Foundation by Elida Arrizza. A fantastic introduction to starting things off right, covering backups and other particulars you may never have thought of. I highly recommend attending her talks!
  • How Video Can Boost Your Traffic with Richard Martin. Valuable insight into the power of video with great case studies. I loved his chat, and tweeted many interesting quips, including the fact that you can replace Youtube’s auto-captions with your own transcript.
  • WordPress Hack Fest with Dion Hulse et al. I’m not at all a Core hacker, but just being around these guys inspired me to contribute back to the WordPress community in the ways that I can, and I’m glad to say I’ve already begun doing so wholeheartedly! Thanks for the inspiration, friends 🙂
  • Steps to Securing WordPress by Victor Granic. Covered many other elements I hadn’t considered, such as the concept of using .htaccess to block comments NOT made directly on the site. Genius!
  • My own talk 😀 Read on!
  • 3.5 Ways to Make your Life Easier by Michael Corkum – As my friend Al knows, my mind was BLOWN during this presentation. Michael has so many timesaving development tips and techniques, it’s guaranteed you’ll level up by attending this talk! A+ will listen to again 🙂
  • Easy Responsive Themes in WordPress with Zurbs by Brendan Sera-Shriar. Not only is Brendan a charismatic presenter, this talk contained a fantastic level of insight into the Responsive design challenge. The simple thought of optimizing phone design for thumb position had never occurred to me, but makes total sense! Another superstar.
  • Keep your Code Organized! Templates, functions.php and Custom Plugins by Jeremy Clarke. Jeremy’s passion is what inspired me to come to Montreal, so I owe you big for that my friend! It was a delight to hear his passion for best practices and tips for WordPress development, such as using editor-style.php to load the site’s CSS into the WYSIWYG editor, a feature I know I’ll love setting up!
  • Matt Mullenweg’s Montreal 2013 Town Hall. This was fantastic in every sense of the word. I can’t wait to revisit the video and experience it again, because for me, I was so captured by that moment and energy in that room. I’m grateful to have been able to express my gratitude for him having followed his dream and to have asked what was the most unexpected outcome over the past decade. His answer will delight you, as it did me! Matt truly cares about WordPress and the WordPress community, that is plainly clear. I was left with nothing but excitement and passion for what will happen in WordPress’ future!
My Own Talk

This year was the first event in which I’ve spoken in this context – on stage, as an authority, offering advice and insight I’ve learned over the years. My talk was entitled The <a><b><c>s of HTML and at 10am on Sunday was well attended considering the afterparty on Saturday night! I was pleased to hear the audience open to asking questions. For me, the most valuable part of this experience was seeing the spark of inspiration in 6 people’s eyes, hearing people say and tweet about how they were finally going to learn HTML. Believing that one can do something, then doing that thing, is the most powerful force in this world, and I am honored that I could inspire others to taste the passion that’s led me to where I am today. Thanks to everyone who attended and who is viewing my presentation and slides online!

Inspiration Abound

I don’t want to sound cliche here, but this weekend changed my life.

Prior to this weekend, I hadn’t thought I had anything unique or special to give back to the community, so I didn’t. I didn’t attend Meetups, I didn’t engage in any community, I just didn’t. By fate, I attended Christine‘s talk in Ottawa about giving back to the community… And a switch flipped. Immediately I realized what I could offer, applied for Montreal, and the rest is history!

Thankfully this is only the beginning of a fantastic adventure. I’ve already reached out to the Ottawa WordPress Community to help make #WCOttawa 2014 a resounding success. I have a few ideas regarding local initiatives to connect and form greater WordPress communities. And I’m looking at speaking at a variety of WordCamps around the world! Have any recommendations? Let me know below 🙂

A big THANK YOU to everyone who I connected with over the past week. I am so grateful to be your friend, and look forward to many happy memories in the future!

The Magic of Copperfield and Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

Magic is a fantastic phenomenon, one that highlights the power and impact of illusion. We believe the laws of the world, yet they are seemingly challenged right before our eyes. If anything, you KNOW it’s an illusion, yet the means of achieving that illusion remain elusive.

In this light, I’ll start this series off with some edutainment: one of my favourite magicians, David Copperfield! I’ve taken inspiration from his techniques, and feel that he has insight to offer in the fields of interactive engagement… Plus, who doesn’t like a magic show 😉

The thrill of interacting with this act added greatly to the impact of this interactive video. As always, there is a way to break the illusion down to its factual components. But doing so takes a bit away from the mystery and delight… Or offers additional insight into creating your own illusions.

Here is one of his most acclaimed illusions, disappearing the Statue of Liberty:

Sidenote: Gotta love that classic 90s style eh!

In my search for this video, the second most popular auto-filled suggestion was indeed, “how he did it”. Many of us have an inherit desire to understand a complex technology, and I respect that greatly! We’re tinkerers. We like to figure things out. I encourage this!

Here’s one of his more orchestrated acts, Death Saw. Watching this for the first time, it’s easy to get caught up int he fantastic spectacle. For myself, I love trying to figure out how he pulls it off!

So how does David Copperfield’s magic relate to technology? I put forth the thought that having a bit of smoke and mirrors in our apps and programs is an exciting way to increase interaction and comprehension. Adding a bit of mystery – such as through creative writing, smart user experience, predictive input, and targeted analytics – increases engagement, as people are given a drive or simple reason to figure the system out.

Yes, in an ideal world people would be naturally motivated to master their tools, however in today’s gamification nation it’s no surprise that people’s attention is taken away. I propose we take it back by bringing in a higher level of edutainment to our offerings.

Excitement is infectious in the best way. To have an ecosystem where users are intrinsically motivated to try and learn due to their own excitement – to me, one couldn’t wish for a better outcome!

What do you think? Leave a comment below 🙂

WordCamp Montreal #wcmtl

Strategy 1: Be There For Others!
The simple act of showing up, smiling, and answering questions with honesty will get one far in this mission.

Matt on Not-WordPress

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