As another year comes to a close, I wanted to take a look back at the media that shaped my life during 2012, or at least a few of my favorites. Like most bloggers I love makings lists, and since my career is in communications and marketing I spend a lot of time watching, listening, reading, and playing with the latest media across devices; I’d like to think I’ve developed some critical experience (if not expertise), enough to make a few recommendations While this blog has written more about measuring my own media usage and the quantified-self, these lists take on more qualitative measure to rank what ideas were most interesting and useful over the last year.
Top 12 Memes of 2012
Top 12 iPhone Apps of 2012
Best New App:Timehop. While most of social media emphasizes the daily pulse of online buzz, Timehop makes your past posts useful again by bringing you daily doses of nostalgia. I’ve been using Timehop for the past 2 years over email, and now it’s even more useful as an app by giving the ability to share old updates with friends.
Most Improved:Facebook. Recently upgrades to Facebook’s iPhone app, which made it into a native app rather than universal, have improved the app’s functions and increased the rate of upgrades to the app.
Notable Mention:Aereo. It may not replace a cable subscription, but it will help you watch TV on whatever device you want, including on the iPhone. It’s not strictly an app, but the mobile screen first approach for this great technology merits a mention in the
Other apps considered: FitBit, Pris, Sonar, Untappd, ScoreCenter, various Subway apps, CinemaGram, Movember, and GetGlue.
Top 12 Mobile Games of 2012
Best New Game:Turf. This Kickstarted project turned Location-sharing iPhone app turned my daily routine into a real-life game of Monopoly. Picking up where Foursquare’s gamification left off, Turf is an addictive game with creative pixel-art graphics that won me over in 2012.
Most Improved:Pocket Planes. This pixel-art inspired spin-off of the Tiny Tower franchise makes simulator games fun again, by making players into owners of their own airline empire. I started playing the game over the summer, and many tweaks and improvements (including one update doubling the maximum amount of cities you could own) kept me playing through the beginning of 2013.
Notable Mention: Draw Something. The first few months of 2012 belonged to a game called DrawSomething, which put a Facebook-connected game of Pictionary into the hands of millions of smartphone owners. Like many others, I’ve found myself playing this game less as the year went on, but it was fun to play with my friends.
Other games considered: Game Dev Story, Tiny Wings, “Zombies, Run!”, Ghostbusters, Sonic Jump, Tetris, Epic Win, Sonic 4, and Tiny Tower.
Top 12 Social TV Apps of 2012
Best App:GetGlue. This isn’t a new app, but GetGlue continued to be the best to discuss TV, Movies, and more with like-minded friends. Upgrades to their app this year made GetGlue into a program guide, using your own checkins to recommend new shows, and creating new tools for shows to interact with some of their most engaged fans.
Most Improved: IntoNow. Another popular app for Social Tv already made checkins a breeze with its audio fingerprinting, but the app added several new social tools. My favorite new addition allows you to use stills from the episode to write your own LOL captions.
Notable Mention: Olympics Apps. If 2012 was a breakout year for Social TV, then the Olympics was it’s coming out party. When NBC released a series of apps which allowed for viewing and engagement during the games, it encounted some backlash from experienced digital natives, but it also brought new casual sports fans to the social TV party
Other Social TV apps considered: Miso, Viggle, SocialGuide, Yap.TV, Tunerfish, Zeebox, Clicker, Hulu (kind of), and Boxee.
Top 12 Music Albums of 2012
How I listen to music changed significantly during 2012, as streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio made a bigger portion of my time spent listening to music. As a result I had the chance to listen to more new releases, but also to explore older albums of favorite artists and making new discoveries of my own. Still this post is about what was new and great in 2012, so here are tracks from my own top 12* albums in 2012:
Movember is about much more than growing a mustache, it’s also about putting a new face on men’s health issues. When I first heard about No-shave November I didn’t know about the connection to men’s health, so I had no reservations about shaving my mustache for a job interview. But a year later when my new employer sponsored Movember participants I learned all about their fundraising for cancer research and raising awareness for health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. For a third year I’m participating in Movember, but the history of Movember actually goes back much further and serves as a great case study of using social marketing to promote men’s health.
When Movember started in 2003 it was just a fun idea between two friends in Australia, but it quickly grew into a global phenomenon. Within a couple years their small group of friends expanded to reach thousands in Austalia raising millions of dollars for prostate cancer research, incorporating into the Movember Foundation by 2006. Gaining charity status in the US in 2009 helped the organization grow abroad, but also to attract partners to their cause alongside individual participants. Today Movember has nearly 1 million participants in 14 countries who raised over $100 million last year.
Key to Movember’s success is not just the great cause it supports, but also the global marketing campaign that promotes it. Anyone who visits their website will be impressed by the creative media ; everything from videos starring famous mustachioed celebrities to personals flyers and smartphones apps, used by participants and for supporters of Movember. But perhaps the most important promotional tactic is much more personal- their mustache growing participants:
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.
Another popular part of Movember is their own social network, MoSpace, which gives each participant their own page to raise funds and interact with supporters. Mo Bros and Mo Sisters use the social network to make updates on their progress and also allows them to share their Movember campaigns on other social networks. The site also serves means to personalize their Movember efforts within their social group, a proven tactic whether to raise funds or awareness within a social marketing campaign.
Comparing how the Presidential candidates are using new media this year, the 2008 race looks like the social media stone age. Back then Myspace was still the largest social network, Facebook was considered a mainstay for mostly students, and the most followed account on Twitter was then candidate Barack Obama. That campaign was noted for it’s pioneering use of new media, at a time when few politicians had social media profiles, but the benefits were immediately understood and adopted by nearly every campaign since 2008.
I never thought it could happen to me, but last year I had an iPhone stolen out of my own hands while riding the subway late one summer night. Even though I had read news stories and blog posts before about how the theft of smartphones and iPads was becoming more common while riding public transportation, I thought I was safe until I became another victim.
My first instinct was to share my experience through social media, where I learned that a few more of my friends had also had their phones stolen riding the subway. A little further research led me to see the problem was growing across the US, and that many more shared my frustration being unable to recover my handset, even using the Find My iPhone feature. Most recently, in acknowledgment of the growing theft problem the FCC proposed changes to how the carriers manage reported thefts, hoping to help consumers avoid the hefty costs often associated when their stolen phones.
As television networks kick off the upfronts introducing new programs and picking up where existing series left off, there is increasing conversation about using social media to connect fans and viewers with their favorite shows, as well as how many may be cutting-the-cord altogether. Full disclosure: I’m an employee at Nielsen, who have a great perspective of cross-platform insights into what consumers watch, but the measurements shared in this post are my own and are not necessarily shared by my employer.
First, here’s a funny and surprisingly accurate primer on how TV viewing is measured in the US (from Jess3 and ESPN):
For the last two years I’ve been using social media tools like Get Glue, Miso, and IntoNow to track my viewing and to share my favorite TV shows with friends. These social networks use websites and smartphone apps to encourage more social viewing, opening up the sometimes isolated TV watching experience by connecting viewers who check-in to the same program and generating conversations among fans of the shows. For example, here are some of the shows I’ve checked-in to most recently: Continue reading TV by the Numbers: How I cut-the-cord and share my viewing online→
As a communications professional I see my work not just as copywriting, but ideally to tell stories through my writing. My storytelling can take many forms through the written word, including blog posts or social media, and even tactical media like press releases or fact sheets. But of course writing isn’t the only way to tell story, and as a visual storyteller I’ve created a number of infographics
and visualizations that intergrate data with images and text to help make complex stories more accessible. Not to mention my work as a film student writing and editing short stories in video.
Another kind of visualization that is helpful for telling narrative stories is a timeline, which spacially represents key events over time. In a timeline events can be as significant as a milestone/landmark developments which culminate from continuous iterative progress which is illustrated over time, or as simple as a tweet/status update that shows a conflict’s initiation/resolution. And like all narrative storytelling there are key elements like context/setting and esclating conflict which should be resolved by the end. Continue reading Using Timelines for Visual Storytelling→
Ever since I started blogging in 2004 I’ve been trying to better understand my audience of blog readers through stats like unique visitors, pageviews, social media shares, or the number of comments readers add to each post. Analyzing these data points gives me a better a understanding of which pages interest my visitors most, and helps me think of new blog posts I hope will resonate with my audience. As an online marketing strategist I also try look at how readers come to my blog, focusing my efforts on what content I can offer which will introduce new readers to my blog, as well as how to connect with them outside my own website.
In the interest of trying to become more transparent as a blogger, here’s a look back measuring my own blog’s audience during 2011:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
In 2011 there were 15 new posts on the blog, growing the total archive on this blog to 61 posts so far.
Twitter and Facebook were my main sources of referral traffic, but increasingly Google+ brought new readers to my site.
I’ve had far fewer comments in 2011 than in previous years, and average less than a comment per post.
My most read posts in 2011 were actually from previous years, bringing in visitors searching for “Twitter internships” and how to become “Social Media Marketers“, showing the long-term value of SEO built through blog writing.