Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Manhattan's Dark Night

The Empire State Building glows bright orange tonight for Halloween, but it's the only thing glowing in the lower half of Manhattan. Lower East Side and East Village is completely dark from the power outage. Black. Not a single light shines through. The magnitude of the power outage became real when I saw how much of Manhattan was in darkness right now. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by it. Here are some photos of east Manhattan from the Williamsburg Waterfront; everything you see in black is true to life, as I did not darken or mess with the colors. 

Are You Bothered By How Insensitive Brands Are In Social Media? I Am.

Something has been bothering me all day. The constant Facebook posts and tweets in my news feeds from brands and media outlets unrelated to Hurricane Sandy just doesn't sit right with me. Yes, I know there's a world outside of New York and the east coast area and life goes on, but selling me coffee or telling me how to use a shampoo in 3 different ways just doesn't feel right.

We live in a hyper-connected world, so brands need to be extra sensitive to what's going on in the world and how it affects their audience. This is what geo-targeting capabilities in Facebook are for, so brands can segment their messaging and post only what's most relevant to their audiences.

Don't ask your audience who might have lost their home what they are doing for Halloween. Don't tell your audience that just stayed up all night without power or water that they should be partying it up with your brand of beer. It's a fast way to lose brand credibility. Brands should think about whether what they are posting makes sense to someone like me who is living in a bizarre bubble of constant tragic news and unusual circumstances. If what they are saying doesn't make sense, then don't tweet it. Your business won't suffer from one less tweet, but you could lose a handful a followers with tweets like the above from @adage. Gap and American Apparel are guilty of the same.

I am not just talking about social sensitivity during natural disasters but also shootings, riots and large-scale accidents. Social media can be a very powerful tool to connect with your audience but it can also hurt your brand and business tremendously if you don't use common sense. Rule of thumb: if a friend dear to you would punch you in the face about what you are going to post, then don't post it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Going to #Sensation Saturday? Here's a Few Things to Know Before Heading to Barclays Tonight

For Saturday Sensation goers, here's a few things to know:
  • There's a capacity on the floor, so if you want to be on the floor for the opening, which you do, arrive early or on time and head straight down to the bottom.
  • There ARE bathrooms on the floor. The line may look insane but moves quicker than you'd expect. You want to wait in the left side because that is the "in" entrance while the other is for people to come out.
  • There are NO bars on the floor but occasionally a man with a chest of beer will be walking around 
  • Bring cash because the beer boys and bars in the deluxe/VIP sections near the floor don't take credit cards   
  • Drinks are expensive (duh.):
    • Bud Light Platinums is $10
    • Red Bull Vodka is $18
  • Food stands are open the entire time. You know you'll get hungry from all that dancing.
  • The show and sound from the seats is actually pretty awesome. If you need to take a break from the floor its worth sitting up on the seats because the show looks entirely different from up there. 
Dressing up is also half the fun so make sure you look nice in white!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My First Time in Austin: Queso, Kim Chi Fries & a Surprise Art Gallery Proposal

When asked to partake in an elaborate surprise art gallery proposal for one of your closest friends in Austin, Texas, you go. And that is what I did this past weekend. It's hard to believe my good friend Ruchy who I experienced my first summer in NYC as interns together was getting engaged, as I'm still processing my own engagement. The reality is we're no longer interns, far from it, and these years ahead are going to be the most exciting years of our lives. I felt honored to be a part of the proposal (thanks Shawn!) and couldn't be happier for the couple. I cried at the proposal, twice.

But not so secretly, I was also super excited to VISIT AUSTIN! Many people have told me repeatedly that I would love Austin, since I love Brooklyn and Boston and Austin is a small, very 'hip' city. Well I can say after two days of heavy queso consumption and warm weather, I wasn't disappointed. Non-stop Tex-Mex, outdoor drinking spots, SIXTH STREET and late night food trucks was everything I could have imagined--Austin was like a real-life Disneyland. I didn't get to explore everything but saw enough that I look forward to going back, perhaps for SXSW.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Would Read Lena Dunham's Book Because Her Self-Awareness is Incredible

My fiancé who works at Random House told me about Lena Dunham's book right before the press pounced upon the $3.5 million dollar book deal. Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether she deserves the high price tag and whether she's worth the hype (acclaimed movie, HBO show, Emmy nomination, now, book deal!)--my simple opinion: I think she deserves her success. Because she, I'm sure, worked very hard for it.

I re-watched a couple episodes of GIRLS, the one where Marnie breaks up with her boyfriend and the finale, and it occurs to me as I'm watching that no other show about 20-somethings is able to feel as raw, authentic and complex and at the same time look easy than Dunham's portrayal of four girls surviving the city. Lena sees the humor and subtle meaning in the everyday. She understands the universal feeling of having to (and being scared to) grow-up, prioritizing relationships and finding fulfillment in a job. She's not afraid to admit that girls can be a "tease", "users" and stereotypically insecure. She's not afraid to be naked. She literally gives it her all in her work.

Some people may not understand her humor or look past her background or look past her use of an all-white cast (has anyone seen a Tyler Perry movie?), but what I see is a talented, brave girl that is working hard and deserves to have her cake and eat it too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gucci is Putting An End to Luxury Brands Being Too Good For Social

By placing a "Pin it" button in their banner ad featured on the NY Mag homepage, Gucci made a statement to other high-end luxury brands that maybe social media is really important after-all and running only passive advertising isn't going to sell expensive handbags.
This is the first time I've seen a standard banner with a "Pin it" call-to-action, so I clicked on the button to see what would happen. A pop-up opened up with three items for me to pin--all of which the model is wearing in the banner. I find it so interesting that additional imagery was hidden behind this banner, when there was no mention of it through copy in the banner.
While I think the "Pin it" button does cheapen the aesthetics of the banner, it does what it needs to do--get people's attention. I don't think this was the best use of the new "Pin it" ad format, but I'll be interested to see how other brands use it and whether people are willing to pin from banners.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Type Pop & GIF CTRL, Two More GIF Sites to Kill Time
Instantly make pretty GIFs of all the things you think are "supercute"or "so wrong"
You just have to try this site to see why it is so awesome
 Thanks to my coworkers Kaity and Richard for sharing these links!