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The most annoying phrase I hear over and over is: "Social Media is changing everything, we've got to get involved." While it may be true that social media is changing things, it seems to be unclear exactly how and what it's changing. This is an observational blog, documenting the cultural and communicational shift of millennials (15-30 year-olds) to social networks and mobile devices.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thesis Writing

Greetings folks,

It is now the time for me to begin writing my Masters thesis and will therefore take a short hiatus from posting to the blog. No worries, once it's finished I'll be back online.

Thank you for reading. See you soon!


Sunday, October 7, 2012


The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Facebook, The Branding Era

As many of you know, I swing as a blogger for Rodgers Townsend. I wouldn’t ordinarily re-blog a post but this one seemed to fit well here. The original can be found at
There’s been quite a bit of chatter about Facebook’s latest update lately. Perhaps you recall our own Jeremy Hagen lending his voice to the debate. March 30th is the official migration date for all ‘Page’ users to Timeline. Folks managing brand pages have circled the date.
The original Facebook was never designed with brands in mind. In fact, Pages and Applications only came about in 2008 and 2009. Pages were stale and forced, while Applications were just plain annoying. Facebook created its own dictionary of terms that changed just as soon as a brand thought they understood. They don’t even offer support or assistance over the phone.
Here’s a huge warning: Don’t be fooled by the fancy new layout. There’s more to Timeline than a Cover Picture. Brands that neglect to check out Timeline’s features, or more importantly take advantage of the preview feature, will most assuredly crash and burn in the transition.
To me, Timeline is a much bigger opportunity for brands than Facebook 6.0 and 7.0 ever were. This time, brands get to tell their story from start to finish with much more control.
Take Coca-Cola for example. Not only are they filling their page with the brand’s legacy, they’re encouraging followers to contribute. They have promotions and coupons in their Application bar too; who doesn’t love free Coke? And here’s one better: they’ve got videos and branded entertainment front and center.
Coca Cola
The brands doing well on Timeline have edited themselves and created a story worth telling: Coke is sharing smile stories, Livestrong is sharing inspiration and survival stories, and Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign is sharing support stories. Every single post suits the brand and fits into a larger picture. There was some serious strategy at work.
New features like Highlights, which populates top stories, Starring, or featuring stories, and the new Application bar, are really changing the way brands can use Facebook. So think about it. Don’t just change your cover photo and call it a day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Generation ... C?

Digital Consumers

Check this out, Nielsen study about Millennials, or ‘Gen-Y’, or people aged 18-34, proves that their a generation about connections and communication. They make up 23% of the population but make up nearly 27% of online video/social network consumption. Even more crazy to think about 33% of them own tablets and 39% of them own smartphones.
(Okay, let me be honest 39% seemed a little low but I have to remind myself that my friends and I are the exception.)
Nielsen writes: “Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike…Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more touch points for marketers to reach them.”
Pretty interesting facts for a Wednesday, huh?

Here’s a link to the report.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Brand Identity Through Pinning

Everyone these days wants to be heard; that's why Twitter and YouTube are so popular. We have opinions. We want to be understood. We want to show the world what we can do, what inspires us and what we're interested in. Perhaps that is whythe hottest Palo Alto start-up, Pinterest, has been on the lips of nearly every media source for about a week and a half.
We get it. Pinterest is hip.
It's a step beyond 'traditional' social media: it shows rather than tells. Users follow boards of like products grouped together by category and posted by their own personal board of trusted, opinionated influencers. It's basically a highly evolved form of raiding a friend's closet, desk or fridge.
People are more visual now than ever before and we're entering an age where digital is as much about utility as it is about art. Brilliant content is everywhere and anywhere.
Call me crazy, but there seems to be an alternative application to Pinterest where brands can leverage their personality through curating rather than displaying products and offers.
With Pinterest, brands like Gap and Chobani are so much more than retailers or manufacturers-they're showing followers how to work out, what to make for dinner, how to stay on top of the latest style ideas and trends and more. It's an opportunity to personify the brand in a way that lets followers discover their identity organically, letting consumers peek behind the scenes and gain a rounder understanding of what the brand is all about.
Check out how these four brands are using Pinterest in innovative ways (click images to visit pinboards and explore):




Travel Channel
Travel Channel

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yoda and Steve: Millennial Jedi Ghosts

This morning, amid a frantic and dizzy haze left over from my first Agency party, I took a moment to chat with an old friend. He’s my age, 23, and an avid Apple user. Of course the one topic we get stuck on was Steve Jobs passing; I’ve heard it over and over from my young friends, “I never thought I would have such an emotional reaction to a stranger’s passing.” Yet many young people have been very emotional about it.

If you think about it, Steve really touched a lot of people, connected families, educated the masses, and expanded (for better or worse) media’s reach. He, and Steve Wozniak, saw a word full of technology—with computers tiny, in hand, in every home. I owe a large part of my education to these men. I’ll go one step further to say I wouldn’t be writing this blog without these men--Lord Zuckerberg probably wouldn't be the millennial god he is today, and our beloved Twitter Jack and Myspace Tom would be average Joe's. The Steves, and in particular Steve Jobs, somehow became this generation’s voice. He’s like our Lennon, our Yoda, our connective voice from which great timeless wisdom flows.  Young people were are incredibly attached to Steve, not because he created cool phones and computers. They see in him enabled inspiration, through inspiration. 

We dream to change the world, which is what he accomplished. We dream to understand how he understood.

Apple Store Memorial

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something.

Thank you Steve. Thank you for everything, really.

Monday, October 3, 2011

OccupySTL Observations

Today I took some time and visited a group of protestors in the city. I’ve never really been to an official protest so I didn’t know what to expect, maybe a manic agenda and a guy in red and white striped pants shouting about ‘Viet-fuckin-nam’. For about two weeks Crystal and I had been following the Occupy Wallstreet protests in New York; it finally spread nationally, with a meeting place right here in St. Louis, MO.  Of course there are hundreds of social and political issues at hand here, I had a only few note-worthy observations.

Disclaimer: These are just some of the generational takeaways I had, great fodder for emerging ideas. It should also be noted that there was not a community manager on ‘staff’, so tweeting, hash-tagging, checking-in, all kinds of fun mobile social networking wasn’t on their radar. If you want more, check out Rodgers Townsend’s blog. If you want to join the protest, or help out stop by Kiener Plaza downtown…and for God’s sake bring them some food and water.