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Are you sleeping with too many people?

15 Feb

Awake to the warming glow of technology

I sleep with too many people at night.

I am guilty. I text, respond to emails, check out Facebook, read endless streams of tweets, and sometimes even play Angry Birds.

I often have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep for hours. Other times, like last Sunday, I wake up at 4am for no reason, completely unable to get back to sleep.

I have no idea what the problem could be.

Yes, I am delusional. Of course messing around with my phone in bed is the problem. I should stop but it is just so tempting. When I set my alarm those little alert icons are too much for me to ignore.

Too many of us take our smart phone, laptop, iPad, and whatever else to bed, but it is atrocious sleep hygiene. You might also be sleep-texting, which I assume is much like “drunk-dialing” but less coherent, and more unnerving. The theory is that we are so plugged-in during the day that we can’t separate ourselves from it at night.

The 2011 iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report found that 52% of mobile workers felt that their mobile work habits affected their sleep. Terrifyingly, the report also concluded that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night makes you 12% more likely to die before the age of 65, compared to your friend who gets six to eight hours of sleep a night.

Apps that track your sleep patterns are out there, but I wonder if they aren’t the original problem repackaged and rebranded. The fact that we eat, sleep, and breathe our devices presents enormous opportunity for the industrious among us. Even so, the dependency probably shouldn’t be encouraged.

As of tonight I am challenging myself to keep my phone and laptop out of the bedroom. I’ll plug in my forgotten alarm clock and draw some much-needed personal boundaries. If the American Sleep Association says that the bed is for sleep and sex only, then who am I to argue?

(Photo courtesy of


A Winning Idea

27 Jan

Yesterday, Maude Hunter’s Pub posted a single Lottery ticket on their Facebook page and announced that they would share their winnings with everyone that ‘liked’ the post.

With a 50 million dollar pot on the line, the stakes are high – no pun intended. In less than 24 hours, the post has garnered 1,351 likes and 40 comments. For those keeping score, that’s about $37,000 for each person. You’ll have to hurry though if you want to get in on the action – the  numbers are drawn today at 6pm.

But, if we can stop planning out our future fortunes and refrain from pre-selecting our favorite friends for just one second, we can talk about what a brilliant social marketing tactic this is.  Many people wonder how Facebook ‘decides’ what to display on your news feed. Well, we know from social media speaker Jay Baer , it’s not random. There is actually an algorithm that dictates whose posts you see. The probability your activity will show up on someone’s page is based on 3 things:

1. Your affinity with the other party as a whole

Are you in pictures together? Do you have mutual friends? Are you posting on each other’s wall?

2. Your previous action with similar content

Have you liked, tagged, or commented previously on similar content?

3. Time

How long ago was the content created?

Hence, the more you like a brand’s page and like/comment on their posts, the more you’ll start to see their content flow through your news feed. From a marketing perspective, this is the winning ticket. It’s why you see brands transfixed on getting likes.

Red Bull's Like Us facebook pageI’ve written before that a blanket plea for likes just doesn’t cut it anymore. So, it’s refreshing to see some out-of-the-box thinking and content that actually warrants a click.  It’s not the first time too that Jaryd Zinkewich from Maude’s has impressed us with his marketing savvy. Check out the Pint for a Pic post.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to see a man about buying a pony.

Photo Credit: Jay Baer

And the winner of our student contest is…

30 Sep

Copeland's contest winner Grace CampbellGRACE CAMPBELL!

This could have ended up being one of those classic Dewey Defeats Truman stories, because Grace dueled with Brandon Wright of UVic until the very last minute to see who would claim the win, become our Managing Director 4 a Day and pocket the $500. The two of them went back and forth with the lead, proving their resourcefulness and dogged determination to win. Epic!

With 1402 votes in, Grace’s margin of victory was only 4 votes. She was trailing by 19 with two hours to go and I actually wrote this post announcing Brandon as the winner. I then had to throw another one together at the last minute! It was as hairy for us as it was for the contestants.

By her own admission, she took the contest very seriously, handing out flyers, hosting meet & greets at Royal Roads, and getting included in the university’s e-newsletter that came out Friday afternoon.

Well, congratulations Grace. You squeaked it out. This native Yukoner, back in school after a 5-year break planting trees, showed what a quick study she is. To get her votes, Grace also created a Facebook Group called Grace Campbell Needs Some LOVE, and worked her Facebook and Twitter friends and followers  to death throughout the week.

Grace Campbell's tweet for votes

Our thanks to the other finalists Brandon and Connor Bildfell, for making this a hugely entertaining and good-spirited contest. Especially Brandon who was closing the gap for the umpteenth time as the contest ended. Amazing effort.

And our appreciation to our judges Kathi Springer of The Pace Group and Brian Hartz of Douglas Magazine.

Is social media becoming uncool?

3 Aug

The celebrity backlash against social media is in full swing these days.

The new school of cool is about being an abstainer, rather than a devotee. Hollywood is starting to bash it, athletes are avoiding it and regular folk are weighing in.

“Woke up this morning, had an egg?” mocks actor Daniel Craig in this piece. “Social networking? Just call each other up and go to the pub.”

His pronouncement was followed by a mighty chorus of Hallelujahs, as you will see in the comments after the story.

From his quote, it’s easy to presume that Daniel Craig’s knowledge of social media is limited to things he has either heard or read about but not experienced. You say stuff like that if you don’t get social media.

The Fonz is cool/uncoolBut with the massive popularity of Facebook and Twitter, what gives with all the high-fives trailing his comment?

Has social media become so mainstream that it isn’t cool anymore?

Or has it become such an elitist undertaking – surely you’re on Google+ by now – that ordinary Joes and famous Dans feel excluded, and the dissing is just a self-protective reflex?

Whatever your take, you cannot argue with the numbers. And make no mistake, for businesses, social media is very much a numbers game. But it’s also about influence, and that’s where the bashing trend starts to get interesting.

I say if it works for you and you can work it, that is cool.

What do you say?

6 reasons why Google+ will Zuckerpunch Facebook

13 Jul

Simply put, Google = search, Facebook = social, but when Facebook’s 2006 deal with Microsoft expanded to include search, Google got nervous. If the world’s largest social network could offer full search then why would you go anywhere else?
Fast forward and we’d all have to name our children based on availability of profile names, likes would replace exam results, BBQ invites to friends would have to be approved by the Lords of Facebook… digital apocalypse!

Google+ squares up to FacebookStepping back to reality, Google needs a social product in order to protect its search empire. Initial offerings Google Wave & Buzz were overly complex and poorly received, but its latest offering, Google+, looks to have the cojones to square up to Facebook’s dominance of the social domain.

It’s early days, but a few of us here have been playing with Google+ for a week or so  and here are 6 reasons why I think it can step into the ring.

1. The +1 button
If you haven’t seen it already then you will shortly see the Google +1 button appear alongside other social media icons on a website near you. It functions much like the Facebook Like button as a way to quickly flag something to your social network.

The difference is that the +1 button also appears alongside Google search results and if like me and millions of others, you sign into gmail in the morning, you’re going to start seeing those +1s a lot more than Facebook’s Like button. As your social contacts click those +1s their preferences will appear in your search results bringing the incredible power of peer-review to Google search, a feature that was until now, missing.

2. SEO & Control
Google have suggested that people clicking on +1 for your content will boost your web-site’s placement in search results. Dutch company SEOeffect detailed an experiment in using the +1 to augment their search rankings and found a strong positive effect.

If placing a +1 button on your website can improve search ranking and ultimately traffic to your website, this is a going to be a huge draw for millions of website owners, brand managers and stakeholders uneasy about ceding control over their loaned content by placing it on Facebook.

3. Integration
If you use one of the legion of google apps, then you’ll notice that Google+ is built into the suite interface. You can monitor all Google+ events (updates, messages, etc.) as well as share content while reading gmail or composing a letter in Google docs. A visit to Facebook requires a new browser window and login. While hardly a back-breaking chore in itself, good user experience and usability is about streamlining tasks, removing small hurdles and making the actual interaction invisible.

4. Usability
When Facebook moved the messages notification, it took me months for me to find it again, and I’ve only recently figured out that control+return let’s you force a line break in the message/update panel and not submit a partially composed update or message.
With lessons learned from Wave and Buzz, Google+ seems to have the got the balance right and delivered a product with solid user experience and clarity, sprinkled with some charming touches. It makes the usability mess that are the peripheral functions in Facebook look old fashioned.

5. Filtering
Understanding that people have different relationships with one another and what offends one audience may delight another, Google has created a simple way for user to group people. Called Circles, they allow you to choose which group will see a particular update and provide a way to filter the stream of incoming updates. Filtering is the strength of apps such as Tweetdeck and it’s still surprising to me that it hasn’t been added to the core of Facebook with its ‘everybody sees everything’ approach.

6. Curation
Built into Google+ is a service called Sparks. Think of it as an RSS reader. Sparks will find content based on your interests, but its strength is its integration into the Google+ interface. It has the same sharing functionality as the streams for your Circles so sharing is effortless. Facebook doesn’t have any curation functionality other than what your friends have already found or what’s served to you via ads. Another + for Google (excuse the pun).

Canada’s social media town takes it up a notch

4 May

No surprise if you’re from Victoria to hear that the provincial capital is nutso for social media.

Now, the organizers of Social Media Camp, Chris Burdge and Paul Holmes, have introduced regional awards into the mix.

The first-ever West Coast Social Media Awards are now open for nominations. There are 4 serious categories, and 3 that are more about laughs and twugs than plaudits.

Anyone in Western Canada can nominate and be eligible. So please go to the link here and nominate worthy candidates for the serious:

>> Best Social Media Customer Service Award

>> Most Inspiring Social Media User

>> Social Media Campaign of the Year

>> Best Blog

And the not so much:

>> Funniest Profile Picture

>> Funniest Tweet

>> Most Likely to become a Social Media Celeb

The judging takes place at the end of May and the awards will be handed out during the Social Media Camp networking dinner reception on June 3rd.

Share it, tweet it, post it and plug it!

What is our obligation to students?

26 Apr

Over the past month, we have profiled 6 remarkable local students here on the blog. (Click on a photo to read the post.)

But it simply isn’t enough to acknowledge great students.

As a business community, we have to support them on an ongoing basis as they get their sea legs in the professional world.

Not just this tremendous group, but students period.

Here’s how we can do that:

  • Follow them on Twitter.
  • Connect with them at networking events. Invite them to join you at one.
  • Read their blog posts, comment on them and share them.
  • Check out their Linkedin profiles.
  • Point them in the direction of opportunities you hear of.
  • Recommend them.
  • Offer to meet with them to find out how you might be able to help.
  • Mentor them.
  • Introduce them to people who could benefit them.
  • Offer to speak at their schools.
  • Invite them in to your business as interns.

Most importantly, we need to make this a regular part of how we work. These 6 top students are just the tip of an iceberg flowing out of our schools and into our work force.  I could have written dozens of profiles. Who are their advocates in the community if not us?

We are all students at some stage making the transition into the working world.

What are you doing for a student this week?