I <3 Pinterest But ….

But it’s not right for everyone.

It pains me to say that – but it really isn’t perfect for every company.  I know, I know – I’ve said it a million times how much I love Pinterest, how excited I am that I get to use it every day at work for clients, how I use it to find and share great recipes, and how awesome it is that I’ve even been interviewed, and quoted, on the topic in Crain’s.

So how do you know when NOT to use Pinterest? That could be a whole other blog post – or even a blog post series – but here’s a great infograph I found today that lays it out nicely – enjoy! (click on image to view original source and make it larger)

How Many QR Codes Can I Find in One Day?

QR Codes QR Codes Everywhere … and not enough time to scan them!

Just this past week, I was excited to be quoted in Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal within an article about QR codes. I was sharing this article with a few friends and was astonished to hear that some of them had never even heard of a QR code! This made me begin to wonder – am I in the know because of my marketing and social media background and interests – or are they really not as ubiquitous as I believe?

SO of course I conducted my own experiment. How many QR codes could I find in an average day in Cleveland? The answer? A lot! Check out the play-by-play, below:

QR Code #1 – Home, morning: Getting ready for work, I put some raisins in my cereal. What do I find?  A QR code on the box!

QR Code #2 – In the office: First thing I see? My nameplate, with corporate photo on it. What am I holding in my photo? Oh that’s right, a QR code!

QR Code #3 – Again in the office: The copy paper boxes have two QR codes on them!

QR Code #4 – Still in the office: Mailtime! Victoria’s Secret is using QR codes in its recent mailer.

QR Code #5 – Lunchtime: Spot the next QR code while enjoying lunch at the Market.

QR Code #6 – Back in the office: While listening to music on YouTube at work I find the next QR code!

QR Code #7 – Walking home from work and round the corner: Turning the corner I see a QR code in an empty window, promoting a new aerial skills class!

QR Code #8 – Walking home from work: The Red Bull girls are out and about downtow.! I snag not only a free Sugar Free Red Bull, but also a key chain – with a QR code!

QR Code #9 – Home, evening: Heading out to workout and as I’m lacing up my shoes I notice a QR code inside them.

QR Code #10 – Out to dinner: There’s a QR code on my ketchup!

That’s TEN QR codes – in ONE day. If I had gone to the grocery store, I likely would’ve found even more – case in point, the QR code found on this quinoa vodka, below.

Also, I didn’t count the QR codes on all the buildings in my neighborhood such as the QR codes on the Cleveland Welcome Center and Cle Clothing Company. OR the QR code in the Crain’s article I was featured!

Oh, and while I’m writing this blog post? I can’t help but take a photo of another QR on the table in front of me! 

Are you familiar with QR codes? Are you a fan? Have you ever counted just how many QR codes you see in one day?

Hashtag Mom Will Make Your Mom Happy

Hashtag Mom is Brilliant.

“Honey, can you text me when you get in? I know it will be late but I’ll look at it in the morning.”

“Can you text me on your drive back to Cleveland? Just want to make sure you’re having safe travels.”

Does that sound familiar? Whenever I travel, no matter if it’s driving back to Cleveland from the holidays in NY, or flying out west for work, or driving to Toledo for a meeting, I often hear the above from my mom. While I usually groan (Moooooom, I’m in my mid-to-late twenties!), I almost always send a text or a few along the way and when I arrive.

Getting tired of texting mom? Wish that your tweets, Facebook and foursquare check-ins were enough? That’s where the brilliant folks at #mom come in. They’ve started a service that texts your mom for you! Here’s how it works – tag your Foursquare check in with the hashtag “#mom” and your mom receives a text OR a call! What does this mean? No more worried moms!

Visit http://hashtagmom.com to learn more.

 

Yet another one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” ideas. Pure brilliance.

(via http://sarahsfav.es/).

 

How I Changed my Mind About Pinterest

There’s been a lot of buzz flying around about Pinterest over the past few weeks, and I hate to contribute to it – but I’m in love.

It wasn’t always the case. I got my invite to join in February (8 months ago, which as you know, in social media years might as well be 8 year ago) and really didn’t see the point. I logged in, visited some other boards, and logged out. I really didn’t see its purpose in MY life and didn’t think I needed it. Here’s why:

  • I was feeling social media fatigue. Doesn’t it seem like we’re getting invites for all the newest, greatest social media sites all the time? Take Google+ for example. I’m still working on using it – I understand its value and check in every so often, but for me, most of my friends/connections/etc. are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so that’s where I spend most of my time right now.
  • I already have a bookmarking site! Why would I need ANOTHER site to keep track of my favorite blogs, recipes, news articles, etc. when I’m already such an avid user and fan of delicious? Why would I need another site to keep track of my favorite blogs/rss feeds when I’m such an avid user and fan of netvibes?
  • I already have a site where I keep track of things I love/want/that inspire me. It’s called my blog or my tumblr site! To me, tumblr seemed to have everything I wanted and could ever get out of Pinterest.
  • Nobody I cared about was using it. Back in February, the people whose ideas/opinions/styles/etc. I cared about were simply not on Pinterest. And as a social site, I wanted to try out the social aspect – if I couldn’t find any users or boards to follow, what was the point?

Well, I’ve been swayed. I joined Pinterest in the essence of seeing what it was about, connecting with others, getting smarter about social media, etc. And now I’m hooked. Why did I change my mind? Well, I learned that it’s NOT the same thing. What do I like about Pinterest that the other sites don’t have?

  • It’s pretty! It may sound superficial, but I love the clean way it looks. Yes, tumblr is pretty but Pinterest lets me see my bookmarks at a glance (like netvibes) but is visual (unlike netvibes). And it’s so much easier to find my favorite recipes by just looking at the pictures, as opposed to just searching my delicious keywords (which I’m horrible about keeping consistent). So what does this mean? It’s NOT the same as all my other favorite sites – it’s got aspects of all the sites that I love.
  • I was wrong ... my friends ARE on it! Okay, not all of my friends are on it (most of my real-life friends aren’t social media users) … my coworkers, social media friends and some of my favorite bloggers are there, which means every time I log in, there’s something new and cool for me to see.
  • There are so many ways to use it! Not using it yet? Still on the fence? Well, here are just some of the awesome ways I’ve seen people use it: Crafting/DIY inspiration; Fashion and style trends; Cool products you want to remember / inspiration for the upcoming holiday season; Virtual recipe book; Home décor inspiration; Inspirational quotes, photographs, sayings, and so on; collaborating with others on any of the above – you can change your settings so your boards can accept pins from multiple contributors

Once you join, be sure to check out my ever-growing collection of boards and pins: http://pinterest.com/koskim

 

New App for Lovers of Cleveland, Walking AND History

I’m really excited about this new app I just came across – the Cleveland Historical App, available for Droids (and their ugly stepsister, iPhones, too).

According to the website, the site was developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at CSU. I haven’t tried it out yet (but I did download it!) but I hope to use the app to explore various areas of Cleveland (downtown and outside downtown) and get a historical perspective. I plan on taking a walk and seeing where my phone leads me! The site says, “Explore the city’s rich history through the GPS-enabled map, curated walking tours, historical essays, archival photos, oral history audio, and documentary films.”

The GPS is currently not working on my phone (ugh) but once it’s up and running again I can’t wait to try the app out fof myself.

Mayo Clinic launches a Center for Social Media

Now here’s a cool idea – the Mayo Clinic recently launched a Center for Social Media to teach social media to staff, physicians and patients. Traditionally, social media has been seen as a purely marketing function and under the Mayo Clinic’s PR and marketing team; however, this initiative will take social media to doctors, patients and even other hospitals.

Internally, the Center for Social Media will educate doctors on how they can communicate with their patients via YouTube, blogs, and other social media tools. The Center will also help help other health care institutions learn to do the same, offering use of the Center (for a fee of course) to other hospitals or patient foundations.

According to a Wall Street Journal interview with Lee Aase, one of the center’s leaders and currently manager of syndications and social media at Mayo, the focus of this project is to “provide in-depth information for patients in a much more comprehensive way, and to create connections between researchers, physicians and staff.” The Center will employ about eight full-time employees, including a medical director and have $800,000 a year in initial funding.

It’s great to see such a large healthcare institution look to new ways to engage its audiences – both internal and external. I’m really excited to track the progress of the Center, watch it grow and see if any other medical organizations follow in its footsteps and begin offering the same sort of social media education. In the past, healthcare institutions (not including the Mayo Clinic) have been slow to dip their toe in the social media waters, perhaps due to all the issues – privacy, ethics, etc. – and potential repercussions of sharing information online. Still, patients are already using social media to learn more about their illnesses or the conditions of friends and family. A recent Pew Internet study revealed that 8 in 10 internet users, or two-thirds of U.S. adults, look online for health information. People are looking for answers online, and now doctors can have the tools and education to know how to appropriate respond to this growing audience.

BODIES Cleveland and House of Blues Tweetup – Tomorrow!

Looking forward to this event tomorrow … you MUST RSVP and be a Twitter user to attend.

Language from event site:

Twitter users* can get a private look at the real three-dimensional human bodies that have been preserved for BODIES . . . The Exhibition as Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (NASDAQ:PRXI) on the tweetup on July 27.

This is the exhibition’s first visit to Cleveland. Currently receiving worldwide acclaim and attracting more than 15 million visitors in cities including New York, DC, Las Vegas, London, and Madrid, the Exhibition will remain in Cleveland through October 2010 and offers an amazing look into the human body unlike any science book or anatomy model.

Attendees will also receive a 20% off BODIES discount code to share with their followers. After the tweetup, attendees can join their fellow tweeters next door at the House of Blues. By showing their BODIES Tweetup Badge, (received upon checking into the Exhibit), you’ll get the following food and drink specials: $1 domestics, $2 imports, $3 house wine/cocktails and 1/2 price appetizers. In addition to the specials, House of Blues will also be providing some light appetizers for attendees.

This is a limited registration event — you MUST RSVP in advance to attend.

* You must have a valid Twitter account to attend. We cannot allow non Twitter users into the Exhibit during this time.

Parking in the Area

  • 515 Euclid Garage: located at the corner of E. 6th St and Euclid Ave. Entrance is on E. 6th St. north of Euclid Ave.
  • 200 Public Square (BP Building) Garage: Entrances located on Euclid Ave or Superior Ave. between Public Square and E. 6th St.
  • Surface lots located at E. 4th St. and Prospect Ave

NOTE: BODIES Cleveland is a client of mine. I helped to organize this event.

Kudos to LOFT – Another Brand That’s Listening

For those of you who know me, you may know that one of my guilty pleasures is reading fashion blogs. Fashion? Social media? Count me in!

A few months ago, you may remember that Ann Taylor LOFT was caught red-handed in participating in a blogger payola program, to which the FTC promptly said “nuh uh!” LOFT was offering bloggers a chance to win a $500 gift card if they blogged about a LOFT-sponsored event within 24-hours of its occurrence.

Well, it seemed that LOFT had done it once again — tried something fun with social media — and failed. Wednesday, LOFT’s Facebook page included photos of their new “drapey silk cargo pants.” No, the fail wasn’t the fact that they had created silk cargo pants — or in the fact that they shared them on social media. It was the WAY they showed the pants being worn. Some fans commented that the pants looked good on the model, but wrote that the pants weren’t
“universally flattering” and wouldn’t look great if you’re “petite,” “curvy,” “a mom,” etc.

The Infamous Silk Pants

So what did LOFT do? Did they ignore the comments? Did they tell facebook users to get off their lazy butts and work out if they wanted to look good in the pants? No — they responded. They created two new albums: How I Wear Our New Silk Cargo Pant, where Julie, LOFT’s Digital Media person shows how she’d wear the pants and How LOFT Is Wearing Our Favorite New Pant, where other LOFT employees of all shapes and sizes share how they’d wear the bottoms.

The response, through nearly 50 comments on each album (as of Friday) has been great. Most readers have even suggested that after seeing it on a LOFT employee with their shape, they’d be likely to buy the pants.

Looks like LOFT did a good job this time!

The Cleveland Indians Have Gone Social!

Have you heard about the new Tribe Social Deck?

The Cleveland Indians are doing something really cool and, well, social. They’ve created a new social media section at Progressive Field for social media folks (bloggers, tweeters, and other nerds  cool people like myself) to have an exclusive view to the game. No longer is traditional media the only group who gets an insider’s view — now social media people can as well!

As you may know (but probably don’t because  I should have written a post about this already), I was lucky enough to be one of the first social media folks to try out the Social Deck at the Indians Home Opener. I received an email a few days before the game from the Indians’ new PR pro, Rob Campbell, that read:

“As a fellow member of the Cleveland social media community, we at the Cleveland Indians have identified you as a key player with a passion for the City of Cleveland, as well as our baseball team.  The Indians organization would like to extend to you the opportunity to attend Opening Day at Progressive Field … seated in the newly created Tribe Social Deck. The Tribe Social Deck sits atop the left field wall at Progressive Field near the base of Section 180 in the bleachers and provides not only stunning views of the action on the field, but also the opportunity to network with 9 other social media peers in your very own private section.”

I was slightly skeptical, having not heard of the Deck before, but accepted the invite to see for myself what the Social Deck was all about. Basically it’s an “invite only” section behind third base, right next to the bleachers. There are ten seats (two rows), a TV for another look at the game AND a sign that reads “social deck” right behind you, so you can feel REALLY special.

I had a great experience at the game with only one gripe — no wireless! I was able to tweet and check into foursquare (thus earning my first swarm badge!) using my Treo, but the reception was spotty and for most of the game I was unable to go online. I’ve heard that since that game, the Indians have installed electrical outlets and special WiFi for laptops/iPads/other cool things, so hopefully this should no longer be a problem.

So why am I writing about this experience (which yes, happened nearly two months ago) now? Great news — the Indians have now opened up the social deck to everyone — meaning you no longer have to wait to be contacted by them! They’re accepting applications, so if you’d like to participate you can visit this page on the Tribe website.

I definitely recommend you apply. It’s a great way to meet other social media folks in Cleveland and catch an exclusive view of the game. Plus, there’s a rumor that if it’s a fireworks game you can watch the fireworks from the dugout!

I think this is the first MLB team to try something like this – ESPN the Magazine did a short blurb about the social deck a few weeks ago, which you can see here.  (yes, that’s me in the red sweater!)

Thanks again to @tribetalk and the Indians for this invite. Kudos to what you’re doing. I hope to be back later in the summer!

Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions – Part Three: Using Social Media to Go Green

Is 2010 the year you’re going green? Have you vowed to help the environment, start recycling more, use reusable grocery bags, drive a hybrid car, etc? If that’s the case, then social media can help. Social media offers a variety of resources that help you make greener choices, find environmentally friendly solutions and meet like-minded environmentally conscious folks.

Some places to check out if going green is your goal for the new year:

Bringing new meaning to reduce, reuse, recycle

Freecycle: Hate throwing out things? Wish you could find someone who needed your old stuff? You’re not alone – the Freecycle Network is for you. It’s a grassroots movement of people throughout the world who are donating and receiving stuff for free in their hometown. Freecycle is an online community of more than 4,800 groups and nearly 7 million people worldwide, all devoted to recycling and “keeping good stuff out of landfills.” To join in the movement, go to freecycle.org, type in your location, and the site will take you to local group’s homepage (sponsored by Yahoo Groups) where you can browse current listings of free stuff or post your own.

Making greener choices throughout your life

Sustainablog: So you made the commitment to living a greener lifestyle. But where do you even begin? If you’re looking for information on how to make your home or business more sustainable, Sustainablog provides a huge database of products designed to help you live a greener lifestyle, including products in or a variety of different categories, such as home & garden, bed & bath, health & fitness, eco child, clothing, cleaning and food. Sustainablog has it all – where else would you be able to find eco friendly staplers, green bedding, eco laundry products and a fair trade basketball all in one place?

Get informed and take action

Treehugger is another great resource if you’re looking to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a green news site with daily newsletters, blogs, videos, an online community and more. If going green is a completely new concept for you, visit Treehugger to get educated on all the issues and trends, from green fashion to sustainable energy. Nielsen rated the site the best sustainability blog in 2007.

Connect with people, organizations and causes

Care2 is an online community devoted to those who want to make a difference in the world. The site has four main sections: causes and news (with info about causes such as global warming, animal welfare, etc.), healthy and green living, take action (where you can find causes that need volunteers, create and sign petitions) and an online community. If you’ve decided to live a more sustainable lifestyle this year, consider joining this social networking site to learn about what you can be doing and meet others with similar goals.

And there’s more:

Not satisfied yet? Here are some other sites to check out:

Terrapass: site provides tips on how to stop global warming by reducing your carbon footprint. The website even has a cool carbon footprint calculator.

WikiaGreen: Launched by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, WikiaGreen is an open-source online community for the environmentally conscious. Think of it as the Wikipedia for green-minded people, with its content written from an environmental focus and featuring a call to action.

Skin Deep Cosmetic Database: Very specific site, but one of my favorites. One of my best friends from college showed me this site – it provides a database of all the cosmetics, creams, lotions, etc. that you could use and ranks them by how many chemicals they have, testing on animals, etc. You can search by product, ingredient or company and learn more about if the makeup you’re using is just as sustainable as you think!