New Athletics pitcher Tanner Roark slated for Sunday debut vs. Cardinals

first_imgThe Oakland Athletics will have a new face in the clubhouse this weekend, and possibly an old face too.Tanner Roark, acquired at the trade deadline, is scheduled to make his first start as an Athletic on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals.Also, Stephen Piscotty, out since June 29 due to a knee sprain, could return to face the Cardinals for the first time since the December 2017 trade that brought him home to be with his ailing mother.Piscotty went 2-for-4 with a walk in his rehab start …last_img

Has Biomimetics Surpassed Biology?

first_imgAn article on Science Daily announced an invention that is “Better Than the Human Eye: Tiny Camera With Adjustable Zoom Could Aid Endoscopic Imaging, Robotics, Night Vision.”  While true that human eyes do not have zoom lenses, how does the comparison hold up?    The invention both imitates and surpasses human vision in some respects: “Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are the first to develop a curvilinear camera, much like the human eye, with the significant feature of a zoom capability, unlike the human eye.”  They even call it an “eyeball camera.”  PhysOrg shows a picture of the device, which “has a 3.5x optical zoom, takes sharp images and is only the size of a nickel.”    Previous research by this team, who had “drawn inspiration from animals,” had shown the optical benefits of curved photodetector arrays (08/07/2008).  This time they have upped the ante by controlling the curvature with hydraulics.  Both the simple lens and the photodetector array can have their curvature adjusted by water pressure, allowing for variable zoom.  “We were inspired by the human eye, but we wanted to go beyond the human eye,” said Yonggang Huang at Northwestern.  “Our goal was to develop something simple that can zoom and capture good images, and we’ve achieved that.”    Does the original paper boast about this being an improvement over the eyeball?  In PNAS,1 Jung et al began by saying, “Mammalian eyes provide the biological inspiration for hemispherical cameras, where Petzval-matched curvature in the photodetector array can dramatically simplify lens design without degrading the field of view, focal area, illumination uniformity, or image quality.”  Camera makers have already gone beyond nature by inventing zoom lenses: “Interestingly, biology and evolution2 do not provide guides for achieving the sort of large-range, adjustable zoom capabilities that are widely available in man-made cameras.”    The authors took note of two cases in biology where animals have a kind of binary zoom: (1) “in avian vision, where shallow pits in the retina lead to images with two fixed levels of zoom (50% high magnification in the center of the center of the field of view),” and (2) “imaging properties occur, but in an irreversible fashion, during metamorphosis in amphibian vision to accommodate transitions from aquatic to terrestrial environments.”  (Recall a related capability in cormorant eyes, 05/24/2004).  The “eyeball camera,” however, unlike animal eyes, would be capable of continuous zoom.    The new invention is admittedly simple.  Its resolution is only 16 x 16 pixels, compared to the human retina’s resolution of 126 megapixels (100 million rods 07/13/2001 and 6-7 million cones).  So as interesting as their device is, there is a huge disparity between what they achieved and what we take for granted with human vision (by almost six orders of magnitude in resolution and probably a similar amount in light-gathering power).  It is, however, an important proof of concept: “Although the fill factor and total pixel count in the reported designs are moderate, there is nothing fundamental about the process that prevents significant improvements,” they concluded.  The concepts they have demonstrated in this prototype “might be useful to explore.”1.  Jung et al, “Dynamically tunable hemispherical electronic eye camera system with adjustable zoom capability,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print January 18, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015440108.2.  This was the only mention of evolution in the paper.More power to this team and to all inventors inspired by biology.  Even if they succeed in improving on the eye some day, they will have supported intelligent design through and through.  Reverse engineering pays a compliment to the designer of what is being imitated.  In spite of their passing reference to evolution, their work has absolutely nothing to do with Darwin – you know, the old storyteller who got cold shudders thinking of the design of the human eye – and that was without knowing about its ideal optics (05/09/2002), waveguides (05/07/2010), clean-up crews (08/28/2003), image processing (05/22/2003), and much, much more.  “Biology and evolution do not provide guides,” they said.  Of course not; evolution is unguided.  It would be the blind leading the blind, so ditch the thought.    Human ingenuity can and does exceed biology all the time.  No animals explore space, or resolve distant quasars, or image the molecular motors in their own cells with X-ray diffraction.  God gave humans the minds and hands to expand their biological capabilities.  If scientists can invent eyeball-mimic cameras with zoom lenses, all for the good.  If they can get them to take high-def 3-D video at 126 megapixel resolution, repair themselves, reproduce themselves and run on potatoes, then we might consider them starting to come a little closer to a few of the engineering specs of the One who made “the seeing eye” (Proverbs 20:12).  Even such devices, though, would be useless without an even more complex brain to interpret them and to understand what it is they are seeing.  Let’s not be numbered among those who, having eyes, do not see (Mark 8:18).(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Backpacking in South Africa

first_imgIf you want an inexpensive way to travel through South Africa, find your guide to backpacking through the country, here:Backpacking through South Africa is an option if you want to save money as a traveller. (Image: South African Tourism, Flickr)Brand South Africa reporterIf you’ve got more time than money, there’s no better way to see South Africa than to backpack your way around its many offerings: spectacular beauty, a mosaic of cultures, incredible value for money, massive adventure potential – and an undeniable penchant for partying!Interested? Then take a few minutes to run through our quick guide …Get a kikoiFirst off, go out and buy a couple of kikois. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, macho or not, this sarong-like piece of clothing will be your life-saver when the sun’s blasting down, when the travel gear is rolling around in the washer, when you’ve got some downtime and you don’t need to dress up.The kikoi, which comes from Kenya, has been adopted by African overlanders and backpackers as the preferred chill-outfit from Cape Town to Cairo.Backpacking accommodationEastern CapeGautengKwaZulu-NatalWestern CapeRest of South AfricaDo your homeworkNext, go out and buy a travel book on South Africa. If you’re a surfer, you don’t want to find out about the perfect point-break B&B at the end of your trip. If you’re a birder, you’d like to know where to find the elusive blue swallow long before you hit these shores. And if you like to drink a lager at sunset with the best bathing in the southern hemisphere at your feet, it’s nice to know about Lookout Beach in advance, right?You’ll want something like the Insight Guide to South Africa or The Rough Guide to South Africa to get you started. And when you pass the Africa shelf at your local bookstore, you might want to flip through the array of coffee table publications on the country. Then check out South African Tourism’s website, www.southafrica.net.Once you’re in South Africa, all the major centres have well-run provincial tourist offices. Nose around there, and you’ll find the set of pamphlets you need to tailor-make your trip.TransportIf you’ve got a fantasy about riding around SA on the end of your thumb, lose it. This is not hitch-hiker country. South Africa is the kind of place where, if you know what to do and where to go, you’ll never experience a finer trip. But it’s not advisable to enter into the unknown anywhere in the world these days, and South Africa is no exception.So when you’re in the cities, like Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, use the public transport system, get a cab or hire a car. If you’re staying for a spell, you could do worse than buy a car – and sell it at journey’s end.Each city has a vibrant tourism centre which can advise you on day tours, bus routes to and from your hostel, and discounts where available.The bus services between cities are excellent, and so are the roads. And the backpackers’ delight, Baz Bus, is a convenient, value-for-money, hop-on hop-off door-to-door bus service to just about every backpacker’s lodge in southern Africa.If it’s in your budget, then the classic road trip through South Africa (hire or buy a car, share the cost with travelling friends) will offer up more delights than anything Route 66 ever dreamt of.Your foreign licence (as long as it’s printed in English) is valid for six months. If yours is in another language, then get an International Driving Permit before you depart for South Africa.Where to stayThe good news is, there are backpackers’ lodges galore in South Africa – see our backpackers’ accommodation box above – and you can book ahead by contacting Backpacking South Africa. The other good news is that backpacker bed rates are astoundingly cheap in this country.And once you’re staying at a backpacker’s, you can plug in to the local travelling network and find out all kinds of great things, like where to eat for next to nothing, or party until dawn, or find a long-lost friend. You’re in a well-run overlanding subculture here, so enjoy it.Your choice of where to stay depends on what you want out of the trip. South Africa is, to pound a cliche, a great smorgasbord of tourism opportunities for you to feast on!The peopleWithin hours of your arrival, you’re going to discover that South Africa is a great, heaving melting pot of cultures, colours, languages and traditions. And South Africans are very proud of our diversity.Your pocketbook guides will tell you about us, and how to behave around us. But, like most places, if you’re friendly and polite with the people you meet, chances are you’ll be met with twice the warmth.So prepare to spend time with a Zulu warrior around the fire at night, wake up at dawn and go on a game drive with a ranger who speaks Afrikaans, be served some exotic local dish by a beautiful Malay girl, share a bus with a bunch of transplanted Scots, and learn to say things like “Howzit?” (How is it/ are you?), “Hey, my bra, that’s lekka!” (Hey, my brother, that’s wonderful!), and “Sharp!” (cool!).SA slang is lekker, bru!TownshipsDemocracy arrived in South Africa in 1994 only, so the teeming townships of South Africa are, like the favelas of Brazil, poverty-ridden places where sensitivities are high.But there’s nothing to beat a township shebeen (tavern) pumping after midnight, full of laughter and jazz, or a township marketplace on a Saturday morning. There’s a sense of vibrancy in SA’s townships that cannot be met in the traditionally quieter urban suburbs. This is where you meet the soul of South Africa.But take a guide, go with an accredited tour, don’t just blunder off into a strange settlement. And with the right introductions, and a few simple safeguards, you’ll have the time of your life.Outdoor adventuresCulture’s fine, you say. But where’s the rush? Welcome to Adrenalin Central.South Africa is where you can toss yourself over the highest bungee jump in the world, where you can hit the white waters of our river systems in rubber ducks (inflatable boats), where you climb the peaks of our mighty Drakensberg mountains, where you can microlight through the hills of Mpumalanga, and where you can dive -in a cage, thankfully – in the middle of Great White Shark territory.There’s also another level of outdoor activities that includes horseback trail-riding, cattle mustering, hiking for days through mind-blowing landscapes, quietly fishing for the noble trout in our Highlands, or tracking the rare black rhino for hours in the safe hands of a trained guide.South Africa was built for the outdoors spirit, and we celebrate this in a hundred different ways.Food and drinkPrepare yourself for World Grub, a global gastronomic trip that could begin with chicken sosaties (kebabs) and end with mopani worms fried over an open fire. We have Chinese, we have Italian, we have American, we have good old British stodge – but we also have Cape Malay, KwaZulu-Natal Indian, boerekos (farm fare), and the finest lamb chops from the vast Karoo scrublands.The South African service industry is on a fast track, and you’ll have no problems eating out or self-catering.When it comes to beer and wine, you’ll find either of both of these to be plentiful, excellent and very cheap. South African beer, because of the hot weather, is a special favourite. And a tour of the Cape winelands will have you sending cases of Cabernet home.The nightlifeOur cities all have their clublands, catering to the various youth tribes in the country. Raves, folk clubs and jazz clubs are everywhere. And listen out for kwaito, our home-grown, township R&B rap style.Cafe society has finally caught on in South Africa. For decades, no one did anything but walk on the sidewalks, and now you literally can’t move for all the coffee bars and late night restaurants that have sprung up.Again, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town are night-life favourites, but prepare for after-hours surprises in places like East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.The mediaThe big cities have all got their set of daily newspapers, and there’s a lively magazine industry that supports tourism. Travel tips, lifestyle information and facts you can use can be found in all our bookshops and news agents. If you want to catch up on national news from home, most leading newsgents also carry offshore publications.Internet cafes have blossomed all over South Africa, and you’ll find them not only in the large centres but also in many of the small rural towns you’ll be passing through. Take time off to keep in touch with the family. Encourage them to come over and join you!SafetyThe same rules apply as for anywhere else in the world. Be careful. Don’t wander off alone down dark alleys at night.Try not to display all your electronic possessions.Pack cash, credit cards and traveller’s cheques in separate places. Let your lodge or hotel know where you are. Leave your expensive jewellery at home.Keep a look out for muggers, and store your wallet where it can’t be pickpocketed. Take care around automatic cash machines.These and many other safety rules are what you should be following back home and while travelling anywhere abroad. Crime is not endemic to South Africa.PhotographyDust is the enemy – always remember that if you’re carrying cameras in South Africa. One of the reasons our sunsets are so spectacular is because of mid-air dust, which also tends to foul up camera equipment if care is not taken.In the winter, you’ll find your soft light from about 3pm to 5pm, and in the summer it all starts and ends a little later. But, if you can make it, the African dawns are equally superb for photography. Try to time your photo-excursions for the “book-ends of the day”, leaving the harsh light of the lunch-hour for the poolside siesta.If you’re packing more than a little pocket camera, then consider dropping in a 300mm zoom lens for the long shots, especially when you’re out in the wilderness and you can’t get closer to those lions. For normal street-work and portraits, a smaller 28-80mm zoom lens is best.Last-minute check listHealth/travel insurance?Malaria pills for the summer months (November through March) for certain parts of the country?Relevant contact numbers?Luggage locks?Sunglasses and hats?An unbridled sense of fun and adventure?Check out some useful facts for tourists – and have a blast!This article was first published on South African Tourism. Republished on Brand South Africa with permission of the author.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

WSJ Offers Great Marketing Advice, Then Fails to Follow It

first_img the Wikipedia entry go read it now Most blogs put comments right below their articles. That encourages participation because readers see them after they finish, and dive in. That’s not the case on The Journal’s site. After the article all you see are ads. If you want to comment on the piece, you have to go back to a comment tab at the top of the page. The authors encourage marketers to “Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell,” yet by placing ads where most sites put the comments, The Journal is doing just that. (3) Ads Take Up Space Most Sites Devote to Comments — and Here’s what I mean: colleges after dozens of interviews with executives and managers. (whatever you say about Wikipedia, it is certainly a conversation). , written by professors from — “Don’t just talk at consumers — work with them throughout the marketing process.” That’s another one of the article’s excellent morsels of advice. Yet the authors fail to follow it. As of late Monday night, they weren’t participating in the comments, which means they’re talking at their readers. There is just one problem with the article: The authors and The Journal aren’t following their own advice. Bentley (1) Very Few Links What do you think? Does the WSJ practice what it preaches? Does HubSpot? Topics: , or, at the very least, Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack . inbound marketing If you haven’t read today’s piece in The Wall Street Journal about marketing on the social web, you should Inbound Marketing — The authors urge marketers to “Listen to — and join — the conversation outside your site.” Yet their entire article includes only two links, and even then they’re not links to related conversations. For example, since they offer a definition of Web 2.0, they should link to Babson Originally published Dec 15, 2008 9:02:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Tim O’Reilly’s seminal post on the topic (2) The Authors Aren’t Participating in the Comments It’s a great summary of many of the principles oflast_img read more

Common Qualities of Insanely Successful Viral Videos

first_img Topics: Originally published Jul 5, 2012 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 We all love watching videos online. From an animal doing something adorable to a how-to segment on cooking a meal, people are constantly watching and sharing them with friends. In fact, over 4 billion videos are viewed daily on YouTube, and over 60 hours of video are watched per minute. Chances are, your potential customers are among those 4 billion watching videos today.Which is why your boss asks you to make a video. Oh, and can you make it go viral, too? First of all, what a frustrating question; virality can never, ever be guaranteed. But there are some common qualities to many of the viral videos out there that we’ve started to notice. And those qualities can be replicated to increase the chance that your video might join the ranks of the other viral successes out there. Read through the tips in this blog post to learn how to create a high quality video, as told through the stories of other online video successes out there — and who knows, it may just result in your own viral video!Keep it ShortAccording to the New York Times, 44% of people lost interest in a video after 60 seconds. So it looks like shorter videos are more likely to keep people’s attention, which means increased social sharing for your video. For an example of a short but effective video, take a look at this video of an owner teasing a dog about food, which received 25 million views in the first five days, and currently has over 110 million views to date.The video is under 90 seconds long, and has the entertainment factor of a talking dog. Come on, who doesn’t love dogs? It’s also perfect to share with friends, because the point of the video is obvious in the first few seconds, so it doesn’t require explanation or context. Keep your videos similarly short and to-the-point, and you’ll see those video views creep up.Demonstrate a Strong, Consistent Brand PersonaYour goal is to get people to immediately think of you when they see the person or object portrayed in the video, so your video needs to clearly demonstrate your brand to viewers. To do this, first create a clear picture of what you people think about your brand — and what you want them to think. If you sell men’s clothing, but people are actually buying your apparel because of the lifestyle it promotes, creating a video about high quality clothing will not do as well as a video about the awesome lifestyle that men who wear your brand have.Take a look at the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, for example. With Isaiah Mustafa, it made a very strong connection between Old Spice products and the manly persona men want to be like, and that women want in a man. And they did it in all of their videos. He always remained in character, and was such a strong parallel to the brand that it actually become humorous — never a bad thing for video virality! It resulted in over 290 million channel views to date, and over 35 million views within the first 7 days of launch.The Old Spice campaign was entertaining, but still portrayed the characteristics men want to be, and women want in men — what Old Spice wanted to be associated with. Create a persona that can be easily identified with your brand, then find a way to embody like Old Spice did — through mascots, tag lines, copy, everything!Is That Real?Creating a video that makes people ask, “Is that real?” is a great way to increase a video’s social shares — if people see something unbelievable, you can be they’ll be sharing it to get others’ two cents. The eHarmony “cat lady” is a perfect example of this, plus it brought brand awareness to eHarmony in a humorous way. This video, created by a comedian, was so outrageous and unbelievable that people wanted to show it to their friends; it received over 2 million views the first day, and now has more than 22 million views.Why did this gem go viral? The video was so crazy people had to share it with their friends and debate the validity behind it. The lesson here is that crazy content — that can still relate to your brand, of course — is a one way ticket to online video success. So think to yourself: Is there anything in my industry I could parody that millions can relate to?Hilarious ContentWe’ve mentioned it a couple times already, but if you make people laugh with your video, it’s far more likely it will get shared socially. Just remember to create content that’s not only funny to you, but entertaining for your customers as well. The talking babies video, for example, went viral in 2011 with 20 million views in the first ten days, and over 70 million views to date. The video depicts two babies talking in a language of their own, quite the unusual sight, indeed! This video was appealing to an extremely wide audience, thus making it easy to share with friends and rack up those high view counts.Another thing to keep in mind when creating funny videos is that you don’t actually have to directly promote anything — though you could if you’re able to make people laugh despite the blatant promotion, like Old Spice did. This video could have been used for a variety of baby products to increase brand awareness; just focus on finding material that’s universally entertaining and unique.Newsjack With ParodyMaking a parody of a popular event, person, or song to reflect your company or product will create an interesting video people may be more likely to share with friends — because it’s based off of something millions already recognize and love. The video “Barack Obama Singing Call Me Maybe” parody, for instance, has over 17 million views in under four weeks, making it one of the most viral videos in 2012.Not only does this video play on the nation’s president — bold move — but it also uses the most viral song to date, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call me Maybe” which is #1 on YouTube with over 100 million views. Hey, sometimes using pop-culture can help your video go viral, and there’s no shame in utilizing it!Leverage User-Generated ContentLetting your customers or fans get in on the content creation is a great way to generate a successful video. Not only will you save time, but you’ll engage customers and encourage sharing — a great boost for your reach and reputation. Content contests are an easy way to get the content you need, and allow users to engage with the brand while using word-of-mouth to spread the message to others within their social networks. If it’s feasible for your product or service, a contest can increase your reach to people you originally would not have been able to reach with your own marketing. If you can, have other fans vote on the winning video, further increasing the reach of your campaign!Aflac did this in 2012, when they created the “10 Second Challenge” in which users were asked to create a short video explaining what Aflac meant to them. The prize was internet fame and $25,000. Over 180 video submissions were entered, which resulted in 250,000 video views on Facebook and thousands more to date on YouTube. Letting your users create content for you can save you time, and because of their pride in their work, the result may be more creative than you could have ever imagined!What other qualities of viral videos did we miss here? Have you ever created an extremely successful online video?Image credit: googlisti Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Video Marketinglast_img read more

10 Genius Ideas That Changed Marketing Forever

first_img Originally published Oct 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Trends This is an excerpt from our new ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing. Download your free copy if you want to see the other 90 ideas that have changed our industry forever!At the beginning of this year, we set out to create an infographic that gave a rundown of the history of marketing. And as we looked back, we found that one idea from all the way back in the 1400s — the invention of the printing press that made mass media possible — totally and completely changed the entire trajectory of our industry. Heck, you could argue it made our industry possible!That made us think of all of the other advancements that have rocked the marketing world. Because we kind of have a thing for shaking things up 🙂 So, we compiled this ebook, 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing, and we wanted to share 10 of the highlights from it right here. Take a look, get inspired, and let us know if we should add a one-hundred and one’th (one’th? That’s not right, right?) idea!10 of the 100 Ideas That Changed Marketing Forever1) AgileIf you’re agile, you can easily and gracefully move at a rapid pace. In 2001, through the Agile Manifesto, the idea of agile was introduced to software development, and it defines aniterative approach that promotes flexibility and customer collaboration. “In many ways, marketing used to be a lot like software development,” wrote marketing technologist Scott Brinker. “Yearly plans of a few major initiatives would lumber forward with rigid hand-offs between the different stakeholders — researchers, strategists, creatives, media buyers, etc. The end-to-end process was time consuming and difficult to alter midstream.”By implementing an agile approach, marketers should be able to make iterations faster and respond to change rather than simply follow established processes. Today, with the proliferation of new technologies, the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing marketing landscape is becoming increasingly important and necessary for business success. As Michelle Accardi-Petersen wrote in her 2011 book Agile Marketing, “the old integrated marketing methods don’t work … that is, unless you have an agile process that allows you to move much faster and to adapt to these marketing pressures on the fly where necessary.”2) BloggingAs inbound marketers, I think we’re all familiar with this … but when’s the last time you took a step back and realized, “Wow, blogging is one of the strongest marketing tools in my kit.” The times they are a-changin’ eh?Short for web log, a blog is a term used to describe a series of online articles displayed in chronological order that generally encourage comments from digital readers. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or group of people and will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and videos. A blog is a long-term marketing asset that brings traffic and leads to your business. It introduces you as a thought leader in your space and allows you to earn people’s trust.Nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes. “This platform, if done properly, can generate tremendous traffic, leads and sales for your business that youotherwise would not have had,” wrote Marcus Sheridan, Partner at River Pools and Spas and Founder of The Sales Lion. First, business blogging helps you in respect to search engine optimization (SEO). The more blog posts you publish, the more indexed pages you create for search engines to display in their results. Second, your blog is an asset that introduces you as a thought leader — it will help you earn people’s trust and stay top of mind for many in yourcommunity. Finally, a blog gives you real estate to place calls-to-action in order to generate leads.The thing about blogging is that anybody can do it, but remarkably, not everybody does. This gap represents a huge opportunity for serious marketers to differentiate themselves — with their bosses, and their leads and customers.3) Citizen JournalismThe new media landscape has reshaped the ways in which audiences access information. A Pew Research Center report showed that some 46% of Americans visit from four to six media platforms on a typical day, and only 7% have a single favorite one. For their daily information, online readers consult various sources, including newspaper sites, email, and social media. Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have fostered recommendation systems that increasingly shift the power of information distribution in the hands of non-journalists. In these environments, one’s community can make editorial decisions by endorsing stories.Marketers need to recognize the participation of citizens in the process of newsgathering and always provide credible sources and references when sharing public information. Don’t underestimate the investigative spirit of today’s consumers and people’s ability to get to the truth through in-depth online research. Businesses need to be more alert than ever to theway they present information and facts because inaccuracies can easily be exposed.4) CopyrightCopyright is a legal concept that protects the work of an individual from being used withouttheir consent. It gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights, including the right to receive credit for their work and the right to choose who can use and remix their work.With the rapid development of technological advances, it has become easier for people to create digital mashups of existing works, which has led to copywright wars and lawsuits.American academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig argues that we now live in a Remix Culture which encourages people to engage in collaborative creation and stimulate their creativity in new ways. “It is time we stop wasting the resources of our federal courts, our police, and our universities to punish behavior that we need not punish,” he wrote in Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.Now that the role of a marketer is so intertwined with the role of a publisher, it’s not difficult to imagine the different ways in which copyright affects the marketing professional. Not only is pirating content just poor internet etiquette, but it also results in duplicate content that hurts both websites on which the content is featured in the search engine results pages. In fact, one of Google’s 2012 algorithm updates will be using the number of valid copyright removal notices as a signal for which websites should be displayed in the SERPs. To stay away from such punishments as a marketer, you need to ensure you are not stealing people’s content. Make sure you aregiving your sources credit in all of your content, including blog posts, webinars, ebooks, and even social media.5) GamificationGamification describes the adoption of game design elements and game thinking by nongamecontexts. It’s applied to make less interactive situations more engaging to users. Some forms of gamification in marketing include awarding badges or providing incentives for participation in specific activities.For instance, at HubSpot we often give away prizes to random attendees of our marketing webinars or people who share our content with their networks. “Games and research into human psychology have taught us that people are happier when they earn something, rather than when it is given to them,” wrote Darren Steele, the strategic director of Mindspace, and co-author of the gamification book, I’ll Eat this Cricket for a Cricket Badge.6) Inbound MarketingInbound marketing is marketing that’s useful. It means acquiring customers by attracting and nurturing prospects with exceptional content, data and customer service — not interrupting them with annoying, useless messages. It means pulling prospects in with a magnet, not beating them over the head with a sledgehammer.“Consumers have learned how to ignore TV commercials with Tivo, radio commercials with Satellite radio, email marketing with filters, etc.” wrote in our LinkedIn discussion web presence strategist Linda Lovero-Waterhouse. “Now our goal is to give consumers the information they want *when* they want it. What a concept!”Inbound marketing tactics tend to be cheaper than traditional marketing tactics, too. Companies that focus on inbound tactics have a 62% lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on outbound tactics.There are three key stages to inbound marketing: get found, convert, and analyze. Eventually, inbound marketing boils down to, as web marketing professional Jonathan Mallia noted, “knowing your customers’ needs and feeding them with the right content that ultimately links to the product you wish to market and finally sell. If this is cleverly executed in a strategic manner, you will realize that you have only spent a small fraction of your advertising budget to convert a good number of good quality, sales-ready leads. Why? Because Marketing = Educating.”7) Social NetworksWith the invention of the World Wide Web in 1990, the internet opened up multi-directional communication channels and embraced collaboration. Its digital format removed the physical limitations and expensive cost of producing and distributing information. Forums and chat rooms started to populate the digital landscape, often used to share news. Internet Relay Chat (IRC), for instance, was introduced to the general public in 1991, when the platform offered real-time coverage of the First Gulf War.In the early 2000s, people joined the new participatory media culture by creating and disseminating content through their personal computers, smart phones and digital cameras. Online users started blogging, video broadcasting, and using social media. Social networking site Facebook, which was founded in 2002, now has more than 900 million active users. Then of course there are the other popular social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube.“Social marketing changed marketing forever,” wrote Jose Antonio Sanchez, Communications Specialist at Uberflip, in our LinkedIn discussion. “Marketers have realized that they need to have valuable two-way conversations with their audience before getting it to ‘buy’ their product. Consumers can be convinced but not persuaded anymore.”8) Social ProofSocial proof, also referred to as “informational social influence,” is the concept that people willconform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of thecorrect behavior. In other words, it’s the mentality that, if other people are doing it, and I trustthose people, that’s validation that I should also be doing it. This third-party validation can be avery powerful motivator for your site visitors’ and prospects’ actions.One traditional example of social proof is when TV shows play canned laughter or recorded applause to elevate the perception of funny or applaudable situations. So while the concept of social proof may be nothing new, the rise of the internet and social media adoption have certainly made social proof a lot easier to leverage and exploit, especially in a marketing context. Building and providing better visibility for your business’ social proof can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy.The forms of social proof in marketing can vary from social media praises and social advertising to case studies, testimonials and user reviews.9) ViralityViral marketing is word-of-mouth marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company’s advocates. “Viral marketing,” wrote Seth Godin in 2008, “is an idea that spreads — and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause.”Godin goes on to describe two types of viral marketing: one in which the message that spreads is the product itself, and another in which the message isn’t related to the product. YouTube as a platform would be an example of the first one, and a video on YouTube would be an example of the second.Email has facilitated the spread of the second type of viral marketing. Tools such as “send this page, article or website to a friend” encourage people to refer or recommend your newsletter, company, product, service or specific offers to other people. In order to leverage viral marketing, you need to have a strong community that will start the process of spreading your message. You can build your community even before you have a product. Letting users into the process early helps provide a sense of ownership while it gives a company valuable feedback needed to make the product better.“Being viral isn’t the hard part,” observes Godin. “The hard part is making that viral elementactually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss.”10) Web 2.0When the Web first became available to users, it was primarily about retrieving information. As it evolved in the 2000s, it became known as Web 2.0 — a platform associated not only with consumption of information, but also with collaboration and participation. It is characterized by applications like blogging, search engine optimization, and social media. The term is associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004.O’Reilly explained that Web 2.0 is based on the principle that online databases improve as people use them. “It’s about how businesses work differently in the age of the network,” he said. Businesses have to figure out how to create more value for their customers than for themselves. Ultimately, customers and businesses are capable of building value together. Think about how you can build a platform online that enables the community to bring value to your business for you.What other brilliant ideas do you think changed the marketing landscape forever?Image credit: d4u.hu Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 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30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #19: Break Through Late-Onset Writer’s Block

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack From January 2-31, we are challenging everyone to blog more to see firsthand the results that blogging can generate. Participating companies should submit their blog URLs on this page to enter the challenge. Winner(s) will receive a complimentary ticket to INBOUND 2014 and be featured on the HubSpot Inbound Marketing blog.Today’s blogging tip is brought to you by Ginny Soskey, Staff Writer at HubSpot. “You’ve been rocking this blogging challenge for a whole month, so don’t get bogged down in end-of-the-month writer’s block! If you feel like you’ve already blogged about everything you possibly can, think again. There are always going to be new ideas you can blog about — you just have to get inspired. To help, you can use the HubSpot Blog Topic Generator to come up with a week’s worth of brand new topics for your blog in a matter of seconds. Try it out for yourself!”Did you blog today? If yes, submit to the challenge! Originally published Jan 20, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Blogging Advicelast_img read more

Facebook Cracks Down on News Feed Spam From Brand Pages

first_img Originally published Apr 11, 2014 10:27:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: We all hate spam. (The web version — not the canned good. I’ll let you speak for yourself on the latter.) Well, Facebook couldn’t agree more. Yesterday, Facebook announced it would be cracking down on spammy stories in the News Feed — particularly those from brand pages that purposely try to game the News Feed to generate more exposure.Here’s what you should know about what Facebook is doing — and how your own Facebook Business Page could be affected. What Spammy Content Is Facebook Cracking Down On?Good question. Facebook reports it will be targeting three primary categories of spammy content …1) Like-BaitIf you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “like-baiting,” it’s when a user posts something with the sole purpose of getting others to Like, comment on, or share it. It’s a way of gaming Facebook’s News Feed algorithm to generate more distribution and, thus, exposure for their brand.Because users are more apt to respond to posts that directly request action — in marketing, we call these “calls-to-action” 😉 — and Facebook’s algorithm rewards posts that generate more engagement, like-baiting is a tricky way for brands to get featured in the News Feed more often and seen by more users. Sneaky, right? Here’s an example of a post Facebook would consider to be purely like-bait:Because Facebook indicates that users consider like-bait stories to be 15% less relevant than other stories with similar levels of engagement — and lead to much less desirable Facebook experience because they prevent other higher quality stories from getting featured — Facebook reports it will be making improvements to better detect and prevent these types of stories from getting surfaced in the News Feed.2) “Frequently Circulated Content” “Frequently circulated content” is not content that gets shared organically by users (which is exactly what you want!). Rather, what Facebook is referring to here is content uploaded by brands over and over … and over … again. Sounds annoying right? Yeah — Facebook users find the practice annoying, too, which is why they usually end up reporting the brand pages that are guilty of this practice to Facebook. As a result, Facebook indicates it will improve the News Feed by de-emphasizing these particular pages. In fact, some initial testing has shown that the change has caused Facebook users to hide 10% fewer stories from pages overall. Good stuff!3) Spammy LinksLast but not least, the oldest trick in the book: misleading links. You know — the type that fool users into thinking they’ll be clicking through to one thing, but actually direct them to something else. For instance, if I were to post a story that read, “Check out my new photo album of cute and cuddly kittens!” but actually sent you to a web page littered (hehe — get it?) with ads, you’d be pretty ticked off at me, right? Facebook is better detecting these types of spammy links by tracking how often Facebook users who click a link end up Liking or sharing the original post with their friends. As a result, they’re reducing cases of spammy links in the News Feed, which has already led to a 5% increase in users clicking on links that take them away from Facebook — indicating that users are finding content in their News Feeds to be much more trustworthy. Win!How Will This Affect Your Facebook Business Page?If you haven’t been employing these sneaky snake Facebook tactics, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, this is all great news for all you honorable Facebook Page admins out there. You’ll likely enjoy better exposure in the News Feed as pages that do partake in these spammy practices get buried deeper and deeper.In response to like-bait in particular, Facebook reassures brands that “this update will not impact pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, comments and shares.” In other words, keep wearing your white hats, and you’ll be fine, folks. Facebook News Feed Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Are You Emotionally Intelligent? 5 of the Tell-Tale Signs

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Emotional Intelligence I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of emotional intelligence — the ability to absorb emotional cues and use it to guide behavior. And the more time I spend in business (marketing and editorial, in particular) the more it’s clear what a valuable asset this is in your employees and teammates.Think about how valuable it is when creating content, for example: Those who are able to empathize with their readers are able to think of hot topics, write in a way that draws on common experiences, and anticipate questions and hangups so they can address them in the writing.Even if you’re not in marketing or creating content on a regular basis, knowing the signs of emotional intelligence are critical for one more reason: hiring. If you want to build a team of people that are able to recognize and make choices based on their own emotions and those of their peers, you’ll need to be able to screen for emotional intelligence alongside subject matter expertise and specific skill sets during the interview process. If you’re wondering how you can identify an emotionally intelligent person (or whether you or your coworkers pass the emotional intelligence test), consider these common qualities.A Quick Note on Emotional IntelligenceThis is a cursory look into emotional intelligence and its role in the workplace, based largely (though not exclusively) on research from Salovey and Mayer, and Goleman, a few of the recognized leaders in this field of research. For a more in-depth look into emotional intelligence in the work environment, I recommend reading:Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQWorking With Emotional IntelligenceEmotional Intelligence: Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model1) An emotionally intelligent person is curious …About people he doesn’t know, specifically. There’s no “rational” reason to care about a complete stranger … but you probably don’t want to work alongside people that don’t. That’s because those who are curious about other people are typically more empathetic than their ambivalent peers — another sign of high emotional intelligence.One way to screen for it in an interview:When you mention a project you’re working on, does he ask specific and engaging follow-up questions, or does he just nod his head or say something generic? 2) An emotionally intelligent person is self aware …One of the hallmarks of high emotional intelligence is not just the ability to recognize signals and emotions in others — it’s the ability to read ourselves with similar (or hopefully, greater) levels of depth and accuracy. Growing a self aware team can help teammates recognize where they can work together, make feedback easier to give and receive, and help everyone have a more trusting working relationship.One way to screen for it in an interview:When asking the typical “what’s your weakness” question, ask him to explain ways he compensates for it. This indicates that he’s thought at length about where he needs help, so much so that he’s found ways to ask for it, work on improving, or find other support systems. That’s a sign of someone that constantly self-evaluates, and can deal with what they uncover in the process.3) An emotionally intelligent person is self motivated …Self-motivated individuals are a treat to work with and manage. Because they’re typically rewarded less by outside stimuli — recognition, bonuses, promotions — and more by their own goals and interests, they can handle disappointment and negative outcomes well due to their bigger-picture, long-term outlook. One way to screen for it in an interview:Ask her the last thing she taught herself. If she’s self-motivated, she likely enjoys learning and education because she knows the fulfillment of self-improvement — and is happy to lead the charge in that endeavor.4) An emotionally intelligent person is well-liked …Let me be clear: Not everybody needs to like you. In fact, that can be considered a red flag to some. However, emotionally intelligent people are often well-liked. Not popular, necessarily, but well-liked. That’s because they have people skills, have garnered the respect of their peers/managers/employees in various ways both personal and professional, and as a result, people enjoy working with them.One way to screen for it in an interview:Anyone can scrounge up three references. Ask them: “If I asked you for five more references other than the ones you gave me, who would you refer?” If they can list those people quickly, that’s a good sign that they’re easy to work with, well respected by many, and people just plain like ’em.5) An emotionally intelligent person is empathetic …We’ve talked a lot about empathy, so it’s high time we called it out directly on this list: Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic, and it’s a skill you should look for when hiring. Personally, I think of this as the basis for high emotional intelligence — you have to be able to understand other people’s points of view, even if you don’t have a lot of firsthand experience (or any firsthand experience) to draw from. Those who are able to feel empathy for the people with whom they work are better able to respond in constructive ways — particularly in tough situations — and even anticipate their teammates’, subordinates’, or manager’s needs.One way to screen for it in an interview:Ask for her to explain an instance in which she had to deal with someone difficult, angry, or just plain wrong. If she was able to find common ground with that person, she might be a highly empathetic person.Sources: ASAECenter.org, Inc., HelpGuide.org, My personal opinion (just kidding)last_img read more