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Archive for January, 2009

Protected: article by UjENA.com – What Your swimwear Says About You?

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.17.2009

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two theories regarding social media, human dimensionality and community fragmentation

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.13.2009

Social media is at once a new and old field. Those such as Christopher Locke, his fellow authors in The Cluetrain Manifesto (website or book) and others who have been around since the internet’s inception would say the foundations were lain decades ago. Those who have entered the field in the last couple of years are still considered early adopters. Yet there are many more that have yet to realize that those giants known as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are just the biggest in a seemingly endless stream of social media channels.

Like so many fields in fledgling states, the early adopters are in a mad rush to understand the trend, define the vernacular, explore the potential and forecast the implications. Social media is deconstructing conventional notions of relationship building, information sharing, and personal and brand engagement. The implications will be numerous, diverse and far-reaching.

Some would consider me an early adopter…

I’ve been sitting on two theories for several months. They are theories that I think few people, if any, are talking about. And they are theories the have emerged as what I’ve learned in the relatively short time I’ve been engaged in social media has subconsciously intertwined with the semblance of knowledge gathered during my years as student of architecture (UNM and ASU).

To date, I’ve done nothing to push, publish, or promote my theories, largely because I have felt a bit intimidated by the amount of research that I think will be required to adequately explore them. But time to sit no more. Time to give my thoughts public face. Time to talk less and DO more. (Thanks to @templestark for callin’ me out).

one: social media facilitates the re-piecing of human dimensionality.

Driven largely by our car-dependent culture and the specialization of industry knowledge, we have come to live very fragmented lives. We live in one place, work in a second, and play in a third. We give our time to this group and our money to that one. In each place, neighborhood, district, and organization, we associate with specific groups of people, each representing a niche, and often isolated, community. We project the parts ourselves relevant to each community’s respective cultures, operating within specific norms and talking about specific subjects. We are perceived accordingly and we are encouraged to maintain certain boundaries lest one area leak into another and compromise our standing in both.

With little crossover between our personal, professional, recreational, and hobby interests, most of the people we encounter only experience a small sliver of our personalities. Yet what makes humans so fascinating is the interweaving of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, skills and knowledge, indulgences and aspirations. These things interweave to create depth, breadth, complexity, and richness. They create dimensionality.

Social media opens the door to the fuller picture of our selves. We may still generally correspond with friends on Facebook, network with colleagues on LinkedIn or Biznik, and share ideas with people of similar passions on any number of niche interest sites, but the barriers to connecting with any one person in any number of communities are dramatically reduced. Time and distance are only nominally relevant. We’re easier to find. We’re easier to observe. We’re easier to engage. Indeed, it almost seems taboo to deny “friendship” in one community when it’s already been granted in another.

Each new request in a subsequent platform, whether online or off, flows from an interest that extends beyond the slivers of our personality toward the greater whole of our dimensionality.

two: solutions to community fragmentation will be found first in our online communities, and if they’re paying attention, urban planners and designers may be able to extrapolate the learnings for application within our physical communities

The fragmentation of our physical, neighborhood, and civic lives has long been a concern for urban planners and community developers. Whole genres, such as New Urbanism, have emerged from the search for design solutions that will help us patch the pieces back together for more cohesive lifestyles. Organizations, research efforts and books are dedicated to identifying causes and posturing solutions. There will be no one right answer, but there does not yet seem to be a satisfactory answer.

The proliferation of social media platforms is trending to a similar fragmentation of online communities. Blogs, videos, networks, bookmarks, games, podcasts and live-streams all provide means to produce, distribute and share content. Even within a single content type, there are a multitude of platforms. Consider YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, Ustream Tv, and many more, all operating in the video space.

Early adopters jostle for beta invites from each new launch. We play with the functionality, features, user interface and mobile capabilities. We play with the other users. We love an application and become loyal users and evangelists. We hate it and they migrate back to another preferred application. Or we fall somewhere in the middle, neither passionate nor dispassionate. Over time, we collect a pocketful of applications we use frequently, as well as a vast network of friends/colleagues/associates unique to each application. We collect fragment communities.

The online world grows, adapts and evolves much faster than the physical world, so while online communities mimic that which has already undermined our physical communities, they will also find solutions much quicker. From inception to prototype to product launch, maturation times drop and results evidence sooner. The quest for solutions has already begun. Feed aggregators and application sharing are only the beginning. Urban planners and designers who take heed now will experience a virtual living lab, and the learnings will be invaluable.

Posted in blogging, community, human dimensionality, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

is money falling into the lap of a merciless flirt?

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.12.2009

I’ve had numerous conversations with people regarding the inspiration and intention for merciless flirt, and inevitably the subject of monetization comes up. Many seem surprised that I currently don’t have plans to monetize. Not that I’m against it, but my goals, in order of importance, are:

  1. Have fun with a moniker that arose via Twitter.
  2. Test my hand at branding, marketing, and curating content for a niche interest microsite.

Certainly there is a wealth of opportunities to monetize the site. Flirtation, as a natural means for demonstrating interest and attraction to a particular individual, plays well into everything from date designing* to match making to pleasure products. I may strategically pursue monetization in the near future, but only after I have outlined a path that is consistent with my brand intentions.

So what do I do when an opportunity to monetize falls into my lap? Besides be wary?

Consider this very short email from Dulce Liebe:

To the site administrator:

I’ve just visited http://mercilessflirt.com/

I was wondering if maybe I can pay for a text link ad on that site. Kindly email me back if you’re interested so we could discuss pricing and other details.

Thank you for your time.

My first thought is spam/scam. Funny how often the two seem intrinsically linked. But back on point, what kind of name is Dulce Liebe? Dulce means candy or sweet in Spanish. I have no idea about Liebe. Liebe means love in German (via @timebarrow and @1Tap), creating a bilingual play meaning Sweet Love. Also, there is no reference to a company name. I ran quick Google search for “Dulce Liebe” and came across several blog comments similar in vein to the above email, increasing my wariness.

On the other hand, there is no commenting capability on merciless flirt. I have a mercilessflirt.com email address for contact purposes. Interestingly, the above email did not come to that address, but to the address on file with my domain registrar. I’m a bit of a novice, so I assume finding this address would require a bit of research. But I’m not so much of a novice to not guess that sniffing out the emails of domain owners is something a bot could do.

So is it legit? Or is it spam/scam? I don’t have a lot of information to go on and I don’t have the skills to mine the internetz. I know what my gut tells me. I don’t want to rush to conclusions. And I’m curious… What you think?

* Unsolicited plug for Date Designer. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist. I think the concept is cool and Beau Frusetta is Hot Like Fiya.

Posted in blogging, marketing & advertising | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

7 things that are not like the others

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.12.2009

I got memed. Just before the new year. That tattle tell known as Google alerted me that someone had been talking about @MsHerr. I employed my keen detective skills to discover that Dani Cutler had tagged me in one of the two circulating memes. I love memes. Isn’t meme just web jargon for chain letter? And I love chain letters. Especially the completely irrational, yet annoyingly persistent, feeling I have of letting down friend/family/acquaintance/imposter while I blatantly ignore the letter.

But I’ve been known to look on the bright side of things. I thought it could be a good way to kick off ‘09. So I started writing…

one: I want to adopt at least one child.

I think that there are people who have an obligation to love each of us, and the first among these are the two people whose actions conceived us: our birth mothers and fathers. Yet real life rarely follows the shoulds. Families form through blood and change through choice.

My birth father was absentee before, during, and after the short nine months he and my mother were married. When I was four, another man came into our lives. When I was seven, this man became my mother’s husband. In sixth grade, I was given three choices: keep my birth name, change my last name, be adopted. I chose adoption. But he became my dad long before that, and I have been blessed to receive a father’s love from a man who had no obligation to show such concern.

Consider that there are many children in this world who, for whatever reason, have birth parents but no mom and no dad. I want to share the blessing that I still enjoy. I want to love and care for, to adopt, a child who is in need of a mom.

two: I used to be a puppeteer.

Growing up in Gallup, the church I went to had a couple of youth groups. One was a puppeteering group for 6th through 12th graders. We’d learn skits that we’d then perform during services or various public events throughout the community. Some were funny. Some were dramatic. Not all were religiously-themed. But all had a lesson of some sort. We had a large collection of high quality puppets and props, a stage large enough for up to seven puppeteers, and a sound system. Not exactly small-time for a church youth group.

Besides being moderately interesting, I share this because, believe it or not, there is some serious technique to operating a puppet. Rather than explain it, check out this video from Puppets and Stuff and Expert Village.

Then verbosity became my downfall. I had set out to briefly capture the story behind each of these seven things, but the lack of a consistent theme has plagued me. My attempts to be consistent in voice, inspiration, and length have been thwarted. Each time I put finger to keyboard, I’ve spun time’s wheels. So here I take a page from Jeremy Tanner’s book, err… blog. Keep it simple. Keep it brief. Stick to the headlines.

three: Kid-in-a-candy-store is my favorite flavor of happy.

four: Braiding my hair is my one pre-race ritual.

five: I enjoy traveling alone.

six: Of all the virtues, patience is the one I dislike the most.

seven: I’d love to work for Harley-Davidson. Corporate. *

There. It’s done. It’s no longer the start of new year. That shiny newness has worn off. The novelty is gone. That unalterable pattern of 24/7 has reasserted itself. It’s only the start of the remaining 96.9% of ‘09, a rather arbitrary statistic.

And so I close with an offer… Should you find any of the above headlines so intriguing that you want a story, holla at me. I will gladly oblige.

And a promise… I shall not meme anyone unless you, again, holla at me.

* Don’t worry Phoenix, I’m not leaving you yet. There is too much great stuff going on here, now, that I want to be a part of. But someday, perhaps two or three or seven years from now…

Posted in blogging, KIACS, randomness, self-portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

a few considerations before starting that 2nd, or 3rd, Twitter account

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.6.2009

“Who should I follow?” It’s a question every new Twitter user asks. But it’s also a question that established users continue to grapple with. As our following counts escalate, so do the challenges of keeping up with it all. The questions may shift to more narrow focuses such as follow etiquette, data quantity and filtration practices, but the root question is the same.

There is a worthwhile conversation emerging on this subject on Tomas Carrillo’s blog. I highly encourage you to read both his original post and the comment string before continuing with the rest of this post.

Tomas is leaning toward creating a second account so that he can manage his professional and personal interests separately. For many, this can appear an attractive solution.

The jump into multiple accounts is a critical step with a variety of implications. The benefits will vary depending on your goals, but there are some ramifications, for both user and reader, that are easy to overlook.

  1. Compartmentalizing business, personal, and niche identities as separate entities forces others who may be interested in the multiple sides of you to follow multiple streams. It’s easy to think others might only be interested in the _blank_ side of you, or that you’re only interested in the _blank_ side of others, but that’s rarely true. Being one-dimensional is usually considered a character weakness.
  2. Maintaining multiple accounts is likely to increase your overall time investment on Twitter. Just as you are forcing a reader interested in the multiple sides of you to read multiple streams, there will be individuals you engage both professionally and personally. On which account do you then follow them? More often than not, you’ll probably choose to follow them on each of your accounts, increasing the redundancy of your feeds.
  3. One account is likely to become favored, while another will become neglected. While your time invested on Twitter increases, time available in a day remains static, making it less feasible to devote equal and adequate attention to each account.
  4. You may undermine your brand. Whether you are a company or an individual, your brand is the unique composition that emerges from a variety of facets, from history to aspirations, from deep-seated values to social connections. As you siphon off certain facets for promotion in other channels, you risk the overall richness of the fuller brand. This risk is greater for freelancers and sole entrepreneurs. Your business is most likely an extension of yourself, and as such, your professional and personal lives are mutually reinforcing.

Using multiple Twitter accounts to separate interests is a growing trend, but in general, it’s something I would advise against. The exception may be for highly niche interests. For example, I maintain @PhxArtYC to provide updates on events at the Phoenix Art Museum. And consider Francine Hardaway who tweets as @Earth911 which is dedicated to environmental and recycling content.

Unless there is a need separate a niche interest from your personal brand, keep a single stream and show of all the different sides of you.

Posted in blogging, marketing & advertising, self-portraiture, social networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

the best auto-post-follow DM

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.5.2009

I’m not a big fan of auto-thanks-for-follow direct messages on Twitter. In part because I’ve received enough of them that each one feels less personal than the last. And in part because I’ve thought about creating one for @PhxArtYC, a rogue account that I created to support the Phoenix Art Museum and the Young Collectors, but I have yet to draft one that feels personal. The bottom line is that an auto-DM can never be personal because automatic is not personal.

This is not to say that they can’t be useful, or even well received. The best auto-post-follow DM I received was from Scott Monty, the head of social media at Ford Motor Company. It was a simple thanks plus “If you ever want to get my attention, just “@” me.”

At the time, I didn’t initially know Scott’s DM was an automated response. I thought I was special. Scott, social media guy for Ford with thousands of followers, had followed me. Little ol’ me. I presume because our names came up in tweet(s) about a poker game with several other notable individuals following the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer in Scottsdale in late October.

I immediately reciprocated Scott’s follow, received said DM, and DM’d my own reply. He responded once more, closing with “Nice hanging with you at the poker table.” In truth, we were on opposite ends of the table, and I don’t recall any one-to-one conversation between us. Hardly a direct connection. But I still thought I was special.

Within a week, I learned that first exchange was an automated response. So much for thinking I was special. Burst bubbles aside, months later, Scott’s message still counts as the best auto-post-follow DM I received for two key reasons.

  1. He didn’t ask me to go to his blog. Or Ford’s site. He didn’t promise to look at my profile or read any of my tweets. He invited conversation with by simply suggested the best way to engage him – not privately via DM, but publicly in open discourse.
  2. He provided context. Context links to meaning. Meaning links to relevance. And by referencing the shared experience of playing in a relatively intimate poker game, he made the sum of the exchange personal.

Posted in social networks | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

rant: the resolution waiting game

Posted by Ms. Herr on 01.1.2009

I like goals. I dislike resolutions. New Year’s resolutions specifically. They go a little something like this…

Spend the last day(s) of December reflecting on the prior year. Identify one or more things that you want to change. Make sure they’re significant enough so you can feel accomplished when you succeed. But not so significant as to set yourself up for failure. Set a start date of January First. Celebrate the last hour(s) of the old year with general debauchery and proclamations of how great the new year will be.

Wake up January First and do one of two things:

  1. Succeed.
  2. Fail.

I’ve no issue with either success or failure. Each have their purpose. I do, however, have issue with waiting to start working toward some goal, whether ginormous or itsy bitsy, on some day that is rather arbitrary in the greater scheme of time. Days, months, years are just markers that while relevant to the documentation of historical occurrences and the planning of future events, are less meaningful than both history and future.

January 1, 2000-whatever ain’t nuthin’ but a number.

Whether you hope to make a lifestyle change or launch into a new project, does it really matter if the start date coincides with something so arbitrary? January First may be generally accepted as the dawn of a new year, but are the mechanics that change the dial from ’08 to ’09 really any more significant than those that change it from 2:59 to 3:00? Set a goal and start it today. Sure, today is January First, but what if today was April 17? Or August 29? Or December  23?

Celebrate beginnings.

But don’t wait for them.

Posted in events, rants, self-portraiture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »