Catvertising

How do I apply for my kitty to be a Catvertising star?

NewsFeed

Toronto-based ad agency John St. knows what the people want, and it’s not commercials. It’s cat videos.

In this parody video, the agency who brought us the viral sensation “Pink Ponies: A Case Study” is now turning its attention to another animal, one that has effectively taken over the Internet: Cats. That’s right: Fluffy, funny and adorable cats.

(MORE:Kitty vs. Metronome: The Epic Duel, in 3/4 Time)

The serious (and hilarious) video discusses how cat videos are becoming “an unbelievably effective new business tool,” which John St. promises to capitalize on by creating the world’s first and only catvertising agency, complete with kitty video studio. Their stated goal is to integrate cat videos into every part of the consumer experience. We say, bring it on.

In fact, while this video is supposed to be pure satire, we think that John St. is on to something here. Catvertising…

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Are you blogging for the sake of blogging or a burning desire to write?

I recently got into a little discussion with Chris Brogan on his post about his idea to sell ideas for blogging. It seems odd to me that there are people who want to write a blog but have no topic and will pay someone to give them an idea.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Chris Brogan – I subscribe to his e-newsletter, read his blog, follow him on Twitter and I highlighted him in a previous post here on Social Kitty. I also hope he makes a ton of money from people who can’t think up a topic for themselves.  But I can’t resist a good debate so here is what appeared in the comments section under his post Blog Topics Rides Again on July 16, 2012:

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sgregory57 • 2 days ago

Just MHO: if you have to ask someone else “what should I blog about” then you shouldn’t be blogging.

Chris Brogan MOD • 2 days ago • parent

Some folks feel that way. In 2011, 624 people felt differently.

sgregory57 • a day ago • parent

Hope my comment is not considered an affront. I am interested in human behaviour and wonder what motivates those 624 people. They are the ones that want to blog but have no topic, yes? Doesn’t that seem odd to you?

Chris Brogan MOD • 15 hours ago • parent

Athletes have a coach.
Chefs look for recipes.
Masters students go for PhD.

There are lots of cases where people look for inspiration externally to spark internally.

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After his last comment, I was going to reply again.  But I thought if I keep on debating this on his blog, people might mistakenly think I just want an argument and enjoy being belligerent.  (Opinionated, who me?)  Really, I just like to analyze human beings to bits and pieces so I apologize to anyone who thinks I have gone too far. So here is my next comment, but I will not post it on Chris’ site since it has turned into a post of its own:

Yes of course you are right Chris, we all need inspiration. But an athlete, a chef and a Masters or Ph.D. student would clearly all have a topic in the first place, even if a little inspiration was needed.

Asking someone what to write about (and actually paying them for ideas)? Well I don’t know but to me that just seems backwards.  IMHO a writer has a burning desire to record their thoughts, ideas or stories.  It could be typed or written in a personal file or journal or diary.  I think you do it for yourself first.  A blog just takes it that step further into sharing with the world if desired.

I think that writing comes from somewhere inside.  To me it is about an uncontrollable urge to discuss, debate, record, offer or analyze something you are passionate about. It comes from a desire to share something which is maybe entertaining, informative, educational or helpful to others. It may be a desire to share your history or simple stories of the past. It may simply be about how cute your cat or dog is. I think it comes from a natural tendency to explore and discover the world, relationships, nature, the cosmos, business, how things are made, human behaviour, cute things that kids say . . . whatever.  The list could go on forever. It really doesn’t matter what the topic is. And there are people who want to blog but have no topic? I think they should look at their life experience and draw from it. And if they have very limited life experience, not to worry – it will come.  Maybe they should just blog later in life.

If you let them, your ideas will spring forth and will not be controlled – they will have a life of their own and your blog is just the instrument that puts it out there for the rest of the world. If others find it valuable, then that is the icing on the cake. But then icing a cake would be a topic for the chef mentioned above!

Parks Canada issues gag order

Have you read this article about Parks Canada issuing what essentially amounts to a gag order on its employees regarding the agency and the Conservative government?

IMHO, this agency is just asking for trouble.  Do the communications staff at Parks Canada not understand the power of Social Media?  With so many online platforms and networks available to them, I predict that staff will rebel!  They will find a way to say anything they choose, possibly even when restricted by a formal agreement as part of their continuing employment.  Just one question:  Have you ever heard of the online group called “Anonymous“?  Anonymous will probably grab this headline and build a fire with it like you just provided them several thousand Airmiles for free gas.

I plan to follow this story to see how courageous the union employees become.  Management will toe the line, I’m sure.  It will be especially interesting to see what ex-employees have to say after many of them receive their termination papers due to cuts.  And in support of free speech, retirees might have a mouthful to contribute!

I was a civil servant for many years and had lots to say about the municipal government for whom I slaved (opinionated? who me?).  But even I, a lowly supervisor, felt the potential wrath of those with power. So through better judgement and a desire to have a roof over my head and eat, my thoughts remained in the bubble over my head.  I did not utter (write?) a single critical comment publicly.  Of course I didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Google+ etcetera back then.  Hmmm, what might I have done if all these networks had been available to me then?  Maybe I’ll reach back to the craziness of the 1990s leading up to the day I was called to the big HR boardroom at Metro Hall to receive my final papers and tell the story all these years later.  What have I got to lose now?  And let me assure you folks, it’s a doozy!

Use the internet to get off the internet!

How many of you use the online app meetup.com?

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I discovered this site when I was looking for groups of women like me to have some real life fun.  I only see my long time gal friends infrequently because we are all so busy and don’t live near each other.  So I was delighted to find a wonderful group of women in my area who go to a variety of events, restaurants, movies and any other activities that interest the participants.  I am a total social animal online but I enjoy face to face social contact even more.  So I had to do something to vary my information intake and reduce my screen time. I wanted to hear the chatter of people’s voices and see the expressions on their faces.

Thanks to the organizer, the group has had a wonderful time meeting, chatting, bowling, eating, dancing, relaxing, going to each others homes and so on and so on.  I am sure that meetup.com stimulates business because I don’t think any of us would have spent our money in some of the venues available in our area had we not met each other.  Here are some of the places we have been and had such a wonderful time that I just had to tell you about them:

The Briars – In March 2012 our group organizer managed to secure a great rate for one of the lodges that could accommodate 10 of us.  We’ll never get that price again so I am very thankful I was involved.  We ate, we danced, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we had spa treatments, we treasure-hunted, we ate, we played games, we swam.  We became known there as “THE TEN” and had a  fantastic time!

Eggsmart –  This is a nice little breakfast place we went to one Sunday morning not too long ago.  Diner style with great food, great service, average price.  There are several locations so we went to the one closest to us.  There is a store locator on this website so you can find the one nearest to you.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We met some new members and had a nice chat that day. The place was packed!  They did not get great reviews on Urban Spoon but I would not let that stop you.

Nino D’Aversa Bakery –  The group meets up here occasionally for coffee & treats or brunch.  The service is a running joke between us all but we still like it and continue to go there.  They seem to have lots of customers but if you read the reviews you will wonder why!  They are not complimentary at all and I know why from first hand experience. Once we had to share our ketchup bottle with the whole restaurant.  However, we are a pretty easy going group and like to linger over our food & drinks.  They never rush us out and the location is convenient for us.  Here is another Urban Spoon review.  The negative comments about the service are all true but again, don’t let that put you off.  The desserts are a little pricey but just amazing!  My favorite is the Fudgy Wudgy Chocolate Cake!  I gain weight just thinking about it!

The Chance Dance Centre – I am not attending this meetup but a bunch of our members are taking some classes there and seem to be enjoying it immensely!  The organizer was smart enough to ask for an introductory price for the group and the owner actually did the first lesson for free!  Smart move because they got business out of it for doing so.

If you find yourself online 16/7 or more (like me), then USE THE INTERNET TO GET OFF THE INTERNET! Check out meetup.com and look for a group in your area.  You will be amazed at the variety of interest groups there are with people who want to get together to learn, have fun, meet professionals in their industry, read/review books, eat, dance, etc, etc!  The choices seem endless but if you don’t find a group that fits your interests, you can start up your own!

And if you do sign up for a group, please come back here and let me know what you did and if you enjoyed it!

Whats My Line: Community Manager?

Those of us who are interested in working in Social Media Marketing might go searching various keywords on job boards online, including Community Manager, Communication Coordinator or Social Media Professional.  However, I do not like these titles.  I would like to see a new term being used to described these members of the marketing team.

The whole point of Social Media networks is for the participants to create content, engage and get into the 2 way nature of the communication.  So do they want to be managed?  I doubt it.  I think most of us register on the various platforms because we want to have a conversation about something we are interested in and we want to find others who are interested in the same thing.  We want to share information or our thoughts or experiences.  Do we want some “Social Media Professional” poking their nose in and directing us to products or services they are trying to push?  I do not think so.

Now this “Community Manager” or whatever, may be quite welcome if he or she is solving problems, answering questions and providing valuable customer service on their sites in which case there may be an argument for calling them by that handle.

However, I rather like to think that the person who works for the organization is also a person who just likes to talk about what they like and share information from the point of view of  just another group member.  So my vote for the most common professional title to use would be “Community Participant” or “Social Media Participant”.  What do you think?  Do you have another title that fits?

Four Fellows I Follow

One of the best things I’ve done for myself since trying to become educated about Social Media Marketing is to follow the big names.  My attention has been drawn to many of the current gurus by browsing at the marketing section in Chapters and of course plain old web-browsing.  I’m highlighting four fellas in particular today because they have given me so much to think about while reading.  You may already know them but in case you don’t, here they are in no particular order:

1.  @chrisbrogan @broganmedia

   He’s probably the biggest Social Media Marketing rock star out there right now but I never heard of him six months ago so he’s a big deal to me.  He co-authored the book “Trust Agents” which is well worth the read.  I like Chris because he writes in a personal style and just seems like a super nice guy. That’s it!  Read his blog or pick up one of his books – you just can’t help but like this guy. He responds to tweets, returns comments and makes digital media marketing seem like a party that you just can’t wait to be invited to.  He hangs with Mitch Joel.  It looks like Chris’ blog post inspired Mitch’s post on how he blogs.    

2.  @Mitch Joel

  Mitch’s post Watching Me Blog is a current meme in which he invited other notable bloggers to describe how they do it including Jason Falls (my next main man listed below).  Mitch is a bit like Chris Brogan – very likeable.  His blog tends to have a lot of references so if you are doing research it can point you to many different places you may want to investigate.  So far I’ve read only select passages from his book “Six Pixels of Separation” but what I did read gave me great ideas and plans for future activity in the digital world.  I just started following him on Twitter.

3.  @Jason Falls

   Author of “No Shit Social Media“.  I really like Jason and follow him on Twitter too.  I liked him immediately while  watching a video posted in my Algonquin College Social Media course where he  interviewed Katie Paine and exposed the honest reality of Social Media’s ROI.  The conversation felt so authentic that it was like I was sitting right beside them and wished I could chime in and ask questions.  Now we can ask Jason questions:  recently I have found Jason’s online service Exploring Social Media created to answer your questions about the use of social media.  This is a paid service so I won’t be subscribing any time soon. I wish Jason would give us a trial period.  I imagine it to be a terrific service and would like to see it reviewed by my social media friends (yes that’s YOU – please  comment).  Jason was also infected with the Watching Me Blog Bug here  in his blog Social Media Explorer.  Oh yes, and I also like Jason’s cute accent!

4.  Pete Cashmore – @mashable

    Mashable is an absolute must read for anyone who wants to stay on top of current trends in social networks, digital media and technology.  I follow the founder of Mashable, Pete Cashmore, on Twitter but he doesn’t really tweet everything since there is a constant stream.  There is a staff at Mashable that does it for him, but the tweets consistently provide links to excellent content.  I have found so many popular sites and blogs this way that I am overwhelmed by the firehose nature of the feed.  I cannot take just a sip from this hose – it drowns me.  And I can’t turn the hose off because I don’t want to miss anything! Anyone know how to drownproof?

Does anyone else follow any of these four?  What do you like about them?  I have more digital media professionals I would like to highlight but please let me know if you want me to add someone to my list!

What’s Your Klout Score?

Have you ever wondered just how many people are reading, sharing and reacting to your Tweets, your comments or your posts?  How influential are you?

Let’s admit it:  Us social media addicts want the whole world to notice and react to what we are doing online.  Did you ever post something and no one responded?  You felt disappointed, didn’t you?  But at some point you’ve probably posted something that resulted in a lot of  responses.  And I bet you were just thrilled!  If I’ve got you pegged then it sounds like you’d enjoy Klout.com, a site that measures your online influence on a scale from 1 to 100.

So it’s game on everyone!  If you are using Klout, let’s have some fun right here online and check out everyone’s Klout score!  This is no time to be bashful – it’s time to talk about yourself and tell everyone about your score and what happened that increased it.

I had a recent surge in my score so I am going to lead off the brag-fest right now.  The surge happened right after my favorite author re-tweeted a link that I sent her.  Alright, I cannot contain myself – it was Margaret Atwood.  Honestly!  I could barely sleep that night!  So go ahead – now you will not be the first brag about your own score.  Don’t be shy!

Here’s an analysis of my current score of 37 which could easily go down within 90 days if I don’t keep up the activity that created it in the first place.  The analysis helps you understand how the Klout score is generated.  It is a combination of your Reach, Amplification and Network.  Klout does a good job at helping you understand influence and it’s fun and exciting when you see your score go up!  Here are some screen shots explaining these terms which are also described in detail on the site.

First, here’s the above-the-fold screen giving me the thumbs up on overall influence:

True Reach is a measure of how many people you have influenced:

Amplification tells you how much people in your network react to your activity:

Your network impact tells you about the influence of your network – not just your contacts but your contacts’ contacts.  This is probably the component that created my score surge after Peggy (my best friend now in my own mind) re-tweeted my link.

The site is rich in information, features and details.  It shows you who you are influencing and who you are influenced by.  There are opportunities for giving recognition to others by giving +Ks and inviting your friends.  It even offers perks (products to try) that the Klout team could send you in the mail if you have a high enough score.  Of course the hope is that you will use the products and comment or post about them but you are not obligated to do so.

So give it a go if you don’t already have an account.  And if you do, please comment here and BRAG about your score!  What did you do to attain it?  Who did you connect with that helped raise your score?  And do tell us all, what are your impressions of this site?

Here’s a link (embedded) if you want to read more from a different point of view regarding the use of amplification as a social media metric.