Bits & Pieces?
I just read this great post by Chris Guillebeau (kudos to Neille at Aurum Design for the link) and it really hit home to me — especially when it comes to my work in advertising. Chris’s big point is that there are going to be people who are close to you — very close to you — who aren’t going to have this huge positive reaction to your creative work. You’re going to show someone you love one of your commercials, an ad, a web site, whatever and say “What do you think?” And you’re likely not going to be met with the enthusiasm you want, or are expecting.
That’s because, at least in my experience, your parents and others aren’t totally sure what you’re role was in the work. It is a little confusing. “You designed that?” “You wrote it?” “What’d you write?” “It’s nice.” “What’s a coder?” It’s probably one of those things you’re going to have to live with. It could be the other way around and your Dad could have been the Don Draper of his day. You could show him your work and he could say, “Well that’s nice but I would have ….”
The key is to not let it bother you. Because as Chris writes, new people are going to come out of the woodwork. Colleagues, professionals, clients and friends who get it. If you’re successful you will begin to build your own fan base and followers who can appreciate your work. It’s nice to get your Mom to like your stuff, but it’s even more important to get an awards show judge to like it. Sorry, Mom.
Anyone out there get any strange reactions to your work from a loved one or family member? I’d love to hear about it.
Google Think Insights, an incredible resource for random and not so random information, not to be confused with Google’s Think Quarterly, recently published a study on understanding the online patterns of prospective students researching higher education options, also called edusearchers. Conducted in Q3 of 2010 by Google and Compete, the report has some very interesting insights on how prospective students behave when they consider their college options. Here’s a brief overview. You can find the presentation deck here.
Unique visitors to education sites grew 40% year over year and that number is 33% for total education queries. Sixty percent of prospective students have little to no certainty as to which schools they will apply.
As prospective students conduct more research (both number of search queries and frequency of visits), conversion rate also increases. Edusearchers initiate the research process early on. Over 75% of conversions occur at least a month after the time of search referral. Education decision paths are scattered and non-linear. (As some adults would say “What else do you expect from kids with ADD?“)
The most popular resources used during the research process are school website (75%), search engines (58%), brochures (43%), family/friends (38%) and aggregators (34%). Among the websites that prospective students use for research, social networks (29%), YouTube (20%), entertainment sites (15%) and news sites (14%) are the most popular. Interestingly enough, among the top 15 influencers on a student’s opinion, social media is the only one with an overall negative influence. Among adults 18-34, one in six prospective students uses his/her cell phone more than 30% of the research time.
The frequency of repeat visits to a school site before conversion is high. Eighty-seven percent of converters visit the site at least twice before converting. Among these prospective students, 32% visit the site 10 or more times.
Finally, a school’s name and reputation are highly influential in making a higher education decision, at least for 71% of respondents. Also, 26% of education queries are branded, an 11% increase since last year.
What does this information mean for colleges?
Build brand equity and reputation. Empower advocacy among current students, alumni, faculty and staff. Develop a smart content strategy and build relevant and coherent (not necessarily consistent) experiences across media, platforms and devices: web, social, mobile, print.
In today’s fast-paced world we struggle with information overload on a daily basis. It’s hard to keep up with the constant bombardment of tweets, texts, instant messages, Facebook news feeds and Foursquare check-ins, let alone perform the duties of our every day careers. We go home for the evening and struggle to keep up with the laundry, the kids, our favorite television dramas. When was the last time you just sat? Sat on the couch without a Smartphone in your hand, without the TV blaring in the background? Relaxed on the front porch with an ice cold cherry coke? Sat around with the family because Grand Old Opry was coming on? The late 1920’s? Gathered by the fireplace to listen to the president talk about the state of our beautiful country? Probably the 1930’s. Probably never, because you weren’t born yet during the time of FDR’s infamous fireside chats. Then again, neither was I. Ah…simpler times. The happier times???
Most of us probably don’t have time to stop during the insane multitasking we’ve mastered, to make the connection between our “extreme connectivity,” and our happiness, between our overwhelming need to know who’s booted off American Idol this week or our undeniable urge to know that the BAU caught the latest serial killer on Criminal Minds before it was too late and our true contentment. It’s just what we do. It’s who we are. It’s who we’ve become.
A study in the U.K. by the Radio Advertising Bureau found that listening to the radio makes people happier than watching TV or surfing the Internet. One thousand people participated in the study, ironically, using their Smartphones, to answer questions about their media usage and their emotional responses throughout the day. On average, when consuming radio, happiness and energy scores increased by 100%.
Surprising? Think about it this way. The study looks at radio as kind of a “lifestyle support system.” How many of us listen to music when we exercise? Most of us have our favorite morning show we listen to on our way to work. We couldn’t have so much fun dancing without music. Well, you could, but you’d kind of look weird and people would probably stare. What is that one song that just pumps you up, gets you ready to just…go? Most of us have one. Music stirs emotions, brings back memories and helps to generate new ones. We listen to music to make us feel good, unless we were just broken up with, or our pet turtle just died, so it is no surprise happiness increases. I mean sure, one could find enjoyment out of watching You Tube videos. Like that ugly little cat barking like a dog, or the latest ten-year-old pop star, but then we come across the one with the big giant pimple being popped on that guy’s back. And then we check our online banking. I myself get lost in the drama of those Desperate Housewives, but then my dryer buzzes and its back to my own “desperate” reality.
Maybe it’s that we don’t even realize the huge part radio or music plays in our lives. According to Arbitron, radio consumption is increasing at a rapid pace. There are 242 million Americans who listen to the radio each week. Do you listen to the radio during your morning and afternoon commutes? Do you prefer to listen to Bob Uecker on the radio over watching the Brew Crew on TV? Online radio usage has doubled every year since 2001. Consumers are increasingly streaming online radio stations at work. Radio is embracing our constant connectivity. Stations are using social media and smart phone technology to interact with their listener bases. They’re using Facebook and Twitter as a way to interact with their fans, and those fans are following. Radio stations are continuing to launch mobile versions as well.
A recent article published on MediaLifeMagazine.com, notes that in the past six months, a handful of radio stations around the country, including popular online radio Pandora, have been launching comedy only formats. The results look promising. Not surprising after seeing the results of the Radio Advertising Bureau study. Comedy on the radio dates back to early radio’s roots. It was about as prevalent as sitcoms on TV. Many of the early comedic sitcom stars got their starts on radio. And if listening to the radio increases happiness, why not add in a little laughter. Perhaps we’ll see more comedic formats in the future.
Sure, radio doesn’t get the buzz other mediums get. But then again, it’s not shiny and it surely isn’t new. Lucas Favner, reporter for the Huffington Post, suggests in his article regarding the study, that perhaps the future of media lies in a retreat to the past. I think what he is pretty much saying, is that radio rules. Don’t get me wrong. I think TV and Internet are great. I love them both. I NEED them both. I’m guess what I’m saying, is radio is proven to make us happy, and I know that some days, for instance days like today, I could use a 100% happiness increase more than others. Maybe I’ll try this retreat to the past, literally. Maybe I’ll go sit on my patio and just listen to the radio…after I update my Facebook status to let all my friends know, and figure out what to name my patio on Foursquare so I can check in. I’m so going to be mayor.
Yesterday, as I sat here with both the office air conditioning and the little space heater at my feet trying to cancel each other out, I wondered if there was a more environmentally-friendly way to be comfortable. And then Good.is came up with the answer—install a cloud computing server in my office space! Not only will it provide heat for the office, but also storage space and extra income!
It made me think about becoming a greener person. Bike to work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Then I started thinking of the logistics. Biking to work means heading down some streets that, at 8 am, are frighteningly busy. Call me a sissy, but me, even with helmet, is no match for the front bumper of a minivan. Let’s not forget about the 85-degree-plus-humidity days we’ve been having, either. Starting the morning out with an offensive scent is, well, offensive.
Taking the stairs would require the building management to open the stairwells for other-than-emergency. Because people hang out in the bathrooms and hallways even with the excellent security this building has right now, having wide-open stairwells is probably not going to be high on their list.
I will, however, keep putting my scrap paper, soda cans and yogurt containers in the recycle bin. I’ll bring my lunch in reuseable containers. I’ll turn my computer off when I leave at night. Little things do still count, don’t they?
Our favorite bi-weekly Photo Contest is here, a day late, but here. This week’s theme is Shadows. The photographers are Ben Halpin, Michael Prince, myself, and new to the contest Matt O’Donnell. Choose who you think captured shadows best:
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