Social Media Blogger/Online Citizen Journalist hybrid. LA born. DC made.
Photo credit: MetroPlanning.org
It’s being called the commute of the future. Cleveland and several other cities are trying it. The Wall Street Journal has the report on a new kind of bus:
“To woo workday commuters, Cleveland and select cities across the U.S. are trying to replace the image of the gritty, pokey, crowded bus by sending sleeker, more spacious and trainlike buses onto certain commuter routes. They are packing these buses with amenities cribbed from the handbook of other cities’ commuter rail and light-rail trains.”
Those amenities include things like wi-fi and off-bus ticketing for quicker boarding. These bus systems also include fewer stops and quicker arrival times. The fleet belonging to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, for example, is equipped with signal transmitters that send alerts to traffic lights. As a result, the lights stay green to give an efficient path for busses.
The move is being adopted to attract new customers, ones who who don’t typically use public transportation, in hopes that these commuter passengers will reduce traffic congestion.
It’s a good move on their part because it takes into a account a niche audience that will likely take up the offer. One upside: Time spent in traffic on the way to the office can instead be spent in a comfortable seat and air-conditioned vehicle to get work done. In today’s world, being connected to the net on a mobile basis is a huge plus.
On the morning of September 21, Californians stepped outside of their houses, workplaces, and schools to witness history. For one last time, the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew up in the air. It was the last of the space shuttle fleet to do so.
This final flight was atop a massive 747 aircraft and cruised at low altitude flybys over the state’s famous landmarks and cities. En route to Los Angeles International airport, California was the final leg of a journey across the United States to the shuttle’s retirement home at the California Science Center.
The event was big hit online. The official hashtag #SpotTheShuttle gathered thousands of tags on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks to the now most popular photo-sharing app, science enthusiasts can browse snapshots of the historic moment through the eyes of others. Crowd-sourcing win for those who have the time. That doesn’t count the photo uploads on Facebook shared among friends.
According to Tweet Reach, which measures how far tweets travel, #SpotTheShuttle is still earning mentions on the micro-blogging site. That’s most likely because, in about a week, it’ll be pulled through the streets of Los Angeles to its California Science Center home. Unfortunately, despite previous promises, the public will only get a few chances to spot it.
It’s official. Starbucks Coffee Company has signed up for Square, the revolutionary mobile payment system disruptor.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square, announced the news in a letter dated August 8, 2012.
“It’s amazing to think that Starbucks began as a single coffee shop in Seattle. The concept of taking a good idea and helping it grow is not foreign to them, and Starbucks doesn’t just view Square as the simplest way to accept payments. They see an opportunity to extend and accelerate a model they grew up with: the idea that business is local and that community plays a vital role in job creation and economic vitality,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey also said that his company’s partnership with Starbucks demonstrates that the coffee giant has validated the core ideas that drive Square. According to the company’s mission, everyone should be able to accept credit card payments in an easy and free setup process. Furthermore, it should be readily adaptable for any size business with technology that people already own.
Starbucks will build the Square Directory into their apps and their in-store Digital Network. The territory that Square will be charting with the new partnership is huge. Over 7,000 Starbucks stores will adopt the mobile payment system, a mark for other companies to follow.
So, who’s the next major player to partner with Square? People who pay close attention to the tech industry are already asking the question. It’s not a matter of if, but when. I’m going to swipe my money on Chipotle. They have a fantastic social media team along with a sweet app that customers can use to place orders. They’ve fairly recently partnered with Foursquare to some extent.
Square seems as the next perfect fit for Chipotle.
Major League Baseball celebrated its 83rd Midsummer Classic on Tuesday. The National League dominated the American League, effectively shutting them out 8-0. Besides the National League’s stellar performance, one other significant and very noticeable factor was the MLB’s effort to enhance the game experience of baseball fans through social media channels.
Matt Kemp, center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made Twitter history by becoming the first MLB player to send an in-game tweet.
— Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) July 11, 2012
The public relations arm of Major League Baseball also made it a point to note this in their own Twitter feed soon after Mr. Kemp sent out the tweet.
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) July 11, 2012
Social media efforts to engage fans didn’t end at that point. Besides establishing hashtags for the game (#ASG) and making those hashtags visible to the television audience (by placing them on the billboard behind home plate), the MLB took it a step further by setting up laptops near the field for celebrity personalities to use at various times during All-Star festivities.
The league also made it a point to connect baseball fans with their favorite players by setting up Twitter lounges for players to chill in and tweet from after playing an allotted number of innings in the game. The MLB FanCave, a direct-media experience aimed at immersing baseball fans in games throughout the long season, even had a whole Facebook album devoted to professional players tweeting on computers.
Sports and “new” media appear to be emerging as one of the best combos. Given that passionate fans go online to be activists for their teams, it seems as if its perfect marriage. As social platforms continue to evolve and add more features, be on the lookout for sports organizations to find even more effective ways to engage fans.
Today’s world is more social in nature. Enabled by the internet- one of the greatest inventions of all time- the rise of social networks and apps has made the world more open and connected. It’s forever changed the way we live our personal and professional lives. We can instantly know what’s happening in places near and far. We can also connect, bond, and share in the experiences of people with interests similar to the ones that we have ourselves.
If there’s any solid example of social media bringing people together, just take a look at the sports world. Fans Facebook, tweet, blog, Instagram, and Pinterest their favorite teams. They have two way conversations with fellow fans, congregating online to share in the highs and the lows of their favorite team(s). One thing you’ll notice is that no matter how their team is doing, fans that are connected online are intensely loyal and will defend their team to the end from the naysayers and labeled “haters.”
The front offices of sports teams are starting to take notice of this loyalty. I live here in Los Angeles and saw it with the Kings Hockey Club as the team’s social media team recognized the online activism of local fans all throughout the magical Stanley Cup run.
More than any other sport in my town, I’m an enthusiastic Dodgers fan. Given my background and experience in social media, I was pretty excited when I saw that the Dodgers are taking yet another step in recognizing their online and connected fan base. The team recently announced a Dodgers Digital Series aimed at a “one-of-a-kind social media experience built to create a Dodger experience tailored to fans’ hobbies, interests, and/or passions.”
You can learn more about and sign up for a chance to be a part of the Dodgers Digital Series by clicking here. It’s one that will be an unforgettable experience for the lucky ones chosen (of whom I hope to be one).
It’s great to see that my favorite team in L.A. is making an active effort to empower its online base of influencers/activists. I still remember that time earlier this year when the team’s official Twitter feed retweeted me in recognizing my heartfelt sentiment to see Dodger Stadium turn 100. Even if I don’t get picked to attend the Digital series, I’m thrilled to see that the Dodgers know the potential of technology in firing up their fans.
Onward, Team Blue!
I recently had the chance to hang out with my cousin Steven in Old Town Pasadena. We started out at Starbucks- and then we got hungry. That’s when we hit up Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries. They’re a fairly new pizza joint in the area with tasty pizza slices and coupled with various kinds of seasoned fries. Good place. Very much recommended.
Aside from the good food, something my cousin said really struck me. When noticing the restaurant’s logo on their wall, he said that he’s seen it some place previously. Being the social media kind of person that I am-taking pictures of good food places that I eat at for one thing- I remembered that I uploaded a picture of the Brothers’ logo to my Instagram profile 32 weeks ago (according to Instagram that is).
[By the way, my username is “therealchrisguzman” if you want to follow me.]
Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries has a catchy logo. Instagram is a mobile application. Put the two together, that means that my cousin initially became aware of Brothers Pies n’ Fries on his mobile iPhone through Instagram. It’s just one concrete example of how mobile photo apps are playing an important role in generating brand awareness of various businesses.
There are some people who are not the biggest fans of Instagram, but there’s one thing that’s for certain.There are others who want to see photos of their friends’ life experiences. Facebook does a good job making those experiences enjoyable ones. With a rapidly growing user base, however, Instagram does a competitive job of amplifying those visual experiences in creative ways.
Why do you think Facebook bought Instagram for a nearly $1 billion?
People are going to snap pictures of things that catch their eye with apps like Instagram. It’s a popular practice now. And their friends will see such pictures.
In a world where people are becoming more visually aware and are documenting their experiences on social networks, the visual coupled with exceptional customer experience could go a long way in expanding the advocates of one’s brand.
I could say without a doubt Brothers’ Pies n’ Fries has made my dining experience a pleasant one. Every time I see their logo, I’m reminded of the care that they take to make their customers feel special.
I’m sure my cousin feels the same.
President Barack Obama’s digital grassroots efforts have been a staple and innovative approach since his path to the White House began in 2008. Super Bowl Sunday this year was no different as the president’s campaign team pressed on in getting closer to an anticipated second term.
At approximately 5:40p.m., those subscribed to President Obama’s campaign updates via their mobile phones received a message urging them to donate campaign funds at this link. In what seemed to be good fun, the message also took a shot at the famed commercials aired on game breaks.
It might turn out as a smart move for the Obama campaign. The call to action blasted out on the biggest sports day of the year, one that enjoyed a record television and internet audience. It’s unlikely that the message would have received the same attention during the NBA Finals or a NASCAR race.
As for the potential invasiveness factor of getting a message asking for money, it’s not likely that President Obama’s critics would be subscribed to his text messages. Therefore, only his most engaged supporters would likely be receiving the fundraising call.
They’re the ones most likely to donate. The core. The base.
Interestingly enough, the text came very close to Clint Eastwood’s “It’s Halftime” ad.
If there’s any indication of the increasing role that mobile is playing in carrying out a given campaign, look no further than the the current 2012 presidential race.
Politico is reporting that the Obama reelection campaign is hooking up headquarters staff, field organizers, and volunteers with the ability to take campaign donations with their mobile phones.
Square Mobile, co-founded by Jim McKelvey and Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, is making this effort possible. Payments will be able to be processed with the company’s special credit card readers on Android phones, iPhones, and iPads. Politico’s Byron Tau says that the Obama campaign is the first to use the streamlined process on the national level.
Curiously enough, what Tau’s coverage didn’t report in his post about Square Mobile is that the Mitt Romney campaign is also using the fundraising platform. PCMag.com’s Leslie Horn and Mike Flacy of Yahoo News reported on this aspect of the mobile campaign.
With President Obama and former Governor Romney likely to face off in the November presidential election, it’d be pretty informative to see who raises more off the mobile platform-it could be one key indicator of who’s doing the better door-to-door organizing.
If anyone should try to leverage Square Mobile in the presidential campaign, it’s Texas Congressman Ron Paul. His campaign has already proven quite effective in big amounts of cash in little time with his trademark internet money bomb. If his followers are able to organize on the ground just as effectively as they do online, Congressman Paul can be doubly equipped to keep his firepower packed to stay in the race for the long run.
There was a time that I took my lunch break at a popular Mexican joint that also had a Foursquare check-in special incentive. Unfortunately, I encountered a bit of a problem when trying to apply their call to action toward my meal purchase.
Here’s how it all went down:
A flier posted on the restaurant’s window encouraged me to check-in and receive a rewarded discount in return.
Being the social media enthusiast and entrepreneur that I am, I was more than delighted to check in to one of my favorite eateries. However, there was no such special connected to checking into the place when loading the venue on my iPhone.
This spelled major bad news for the venue because there was not only a conflict of advertising messaging between the flier on the window and the actual smartphone app. There was also the relational aspect of dashing your customers’ hopes of getting rewarded for doing something.
Potential. Snowball. Effect.
If it hasn’t already to some extent done so, this in turn could have led to the deeper problem of lost customers who will Facebook, tweet, blog, ect. about the pseudo-special. This might account in some ways, from what I’ve observed, for the reason the place is practically empty on a nightly basis.
When I approached the cashier about the matter and to pay for my order, she tried her best to help me but couldn’t understand how Foursquare worked. While upper management may know about the advantage of using location-based apps for business, the likelihood of seeing a major return on investment is low if the employees on the main floor know nothing about how to use mobile apps for the business.
My situation is a classic example. Despite the cashier’s goodwill and genuine efforts to help me with figuring out why there was no special popping up on my phone, she couldn’t help me in the end because she didn’t understand Foursquare.
Any company that chooses to leverage a social campaign should make sure that everyone’s on the same page in knowing how they work.
The good thing about my recent experience at this particular restaurant is that the cashier allowed me to briefly explain to her the concept behind location-based apps. After listening to my short lesson, she put my advice into immediate action by rewarding my check-in with a free drink to compliment my meal.
[Update] I’ve recently visited the the restaurant again since my last ordeal. They have updated their Foursquare special so that it pops up on the iPhone; however, they still ought to train their employees to become familiar with mobile apps. It’s in the interests of the business as a whole.
Could tonight’s Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz boxing bout go down as one of the most viral matches in social media history? That just appears to be the case as Pay-Per-View watchers across the country as well as the live crowd in Vegas got more than they bargained for in a WWE Smackdown-like affair.
Mayweather’s “controversial” move on Ortiz that knocked the Vicious One out in the 4th round immediately set off an online firestorm with viewers. While reaction was mixed, it was the Vicious One that got most of the earned negative media for forgetting the basic boxing principle of PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. Boxing fans also decried Ortiz’s attempted kiss and makeup with Mayweather for the initial incident.
The biggest story of the night, however, was the unexpected confrontation between Floyd Mayweather and HBO announcer Larry Merchant. Watch here.
Merchant quickly climbed his way up the Twitter trend latter to claim the highest non-“promoted” spot at least in the Los Angeles region. In Vegas, the top trend was a jab at Ortiz with #YouLookRealStupid.
Most certainly, while some may say that Victor Ortiz will be forgotten about in a week, tonight’s match has probably provided boxing fans and internet meme enthusiasts with enough rich content until the anticipated rematch.