A Social Media Storm

Many watched the progress of Hurricane Sandy and reports of the devastation it caused.  Nicknamed “The Perfect Storm” and “Frakenstorm,” the images of destruction were shocking.  I hope you and your family survived the event safely and with minimal damage.  I’m very thankful that my family did, including those directly in the path.

This isn’t the first major storm where social media played an important role in reporting the news.  However, I did find it interesting that so many media outlets encouraged viewers/readers to engage them via social media to get current news.  Rather than wait for the next news cycle, which could be hours away, people were encouraged to follow on Twitter, friend on Facebook, pin to Pinterest, download weather apps, etc., etc.  It makes me wonder how many new followers/friends/app users these media outlets gained as a result of this natural disaster.

While social media is a great resource for current news as it unfolds, you do need to be cautious of what’s posted in terms of accuracy.  I had several friends share pictures to social media that were allegedly taken during the storm.  Virtually all turned out to be a hoax – either doctored using Photoshop or taken from a disaster movie.

With smart phones becoming the dominant type of cell phone and tablets increasing in usage, people could stay connected with friends, family and media – even if their home lost power.  In America, we’ve come a long way from candles and transistor radios.  Several friends who lost power could still post messages to Facebook letting friends and family know their situation.

Having grown up in New Jersey, I have several friends and family in that area who were significantly impacted.  My thoughts and prayers are with them and I hope their recovery is quick and smooth.

How did you use social media during Hurricane Sandy?

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Big Lessons From A Mini Contest

This past weekend I was selected as the second winner of Dorschel Automotive’s #winsmall contest.  I won a free weekend-long test drive of a Mini Cooper and now have a 1-in-12 chance to win a free 2-year lease of a Mini.  It was a great experience to trade in my Mini Van for a Mini Cooper, even if just for 3 days.

Their contest had 3 great components which could be applied to many marketing campaigns.  Learn more about them in my first video blog!

Yes Virginia, There Is An App For That

Unlike the retail industry, which seems to start the holiday season earlier each year, I can fully embrace the season now that Thanksgiving is behind us.  If you’re over the age of 20, you’ll probably remember holiday seasons in the pre-internet age.  You know, the Stone Age.  😉

I remember looking forward to receiving my Sears Wish Book every year.  It seemed like a thick encyclopedia of toys, with pages upon pages filled with an assortment of things to ask Santa for.  I’d sit down with paper and pencil (again, well before the internet) and write a list of things I hoped to get on Christmas morning.  In 2011, that sounds quaint, doesn’t it?

As a parent in the 21st Century, it’s interesting to witness how technology has changed things.  Yes, printed catalogs still arrive in the mail.  However, kids can create online registries so Santa can fulfill their wishes with a click of the mouse or a review of an email.  Articles, blogs and websites can detail the most sought after toys, compiling lists, providing reviews and checking for best pricing.  Sound amazing?  That’s actually old news . . .

Sears Canada recently announced the creation of a Wish Book app for the iPad.  According to an article in Chain Store Age, the app allows “thousands of items to be viewed, added to Wish Lists or purchased with the tap of the finger on the iPad.  The application also includes a built-in gift list organizer to manage holiday gift giving and shopping.”

So when that little girl asks about Santa and whether he’ll see her list, you can reply, “Yes Virginia, there is an app for that.”

How are you and your family using new technologies this holiday season?