March 2015 Favorites: Tech Edition

Photo Credit: http://startupstockphotos.com/
Photo Credit: http://startupstockphotos.com/

Happy April! I’m excited to share some of my tech / digital marketing favorites with you. Check out this post for my February Tech Favorites!

Social Media Favorites


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My favorite social media network last month was Instagram. I love photography and it’s a great platform for sharing photos. It’s fun to look through various hashtags and see what people from around the world are posting.

But what I really love about attempting to update my Instagram more regularly is that it forces me to stop and notice the beauty in things. Without Instagram, I might walk by that pretty flower by the side of the road and not give it a second thought. But with Instagram, I notice it and try to find the right angle and filter so that other people might see its beauty too.

If you want to follow me on Instagram, click here or go to the app and search for @heyamyerickson.

Cell Phone: Apps, Accessories, & More

IFTTT

IFTTT is great simply because it saves time. I like to use it to share my Instagram photos on other platforms. Basically, you set up “recipes” like “If I do this, then do this.”

My current recipes are:

  • If I post a photo on Instagram, upload the photo to Twitter and tweet it.
  • If I post a photo on Instagram, upload the photo to Tumblr and save it in my drafts.
  • If I post a photo on Instagram, upload the photo to WordPress and save it in my drafts.

Blogs & Vlogs

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.58.32 PM

Taking photos on your iPhone comes with some challenges (especially if you’re used to a more robust camera). I recently discovered the iPhone Photography School blog and have been reading through their tips and app recommendations.

If you want to get serious about your iPhone photography, check it out!

What were your tech favorites last month? Are there any categories that I should include next time? Let me know in the comments below!

February Favorites: Tech Edition

Coffee & Computer

Happy March! I thought I’d try a new series out on this blog where I list my favorite things from the previous month. So here we go… my tech / digital marketing favorites from February 2015!

Social Media Favorites

Follow on Instagram and Twitter

I recently changed my Twitter and Instagram handles from @amye_ to @heyamyerickson. What can I say? The underscore was getting old.

Twitter wins as my overall favorite social media site for February. Although I’ve been on the site for years, it stood out to me last month because I feel like I connected with more people than usual. And that’s the point, right?

Cell Phone: Apps, Accessories, & More

Person Holding Cell Phone
Credit: DeathToTheStockPhoto.com

I did something last month that has been slowly changing my relationship with my cell phone: I turned off almost all of my notifications. I still have a couple of necessary ones on (text messages, phone, and WeChat), but everything else is off.

I still check my apps often, but I’m doing it on my own terms, not because the notifications are driving me crazy. And that’s a start.

Blogs & Vlogs

Saving Money In Your Twenties
Screenshot: SavingMoneyInYourTwenties.com

When I read blogs, I usually get frustrated because the lifestyle portrayed isn’t realistic for where I currently am in life. That isn’t the case with SavingMoneyInYourTwenties.com

The theme of the blog is that you can have anything you want, but not everything. If you splurge in one area of your life, you might need to cut back elsewhere. Ashley still enjoys eating out at Chipotle, but she saves money by cutting her own hair (which she shows you how to do!). Check out her blog for practical tips on how to save money!

What were your tech favorites? Are there any categories that I should include next time? Let me know in the comments below!

Using Memes in Digital Marketing

What is a meme?

An internet meme is usually a humorous image or piece of text that has been copied (with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.

Example / Case Study: Hyperbole and a Half

Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half
Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half

You may or may not be familiar with Allie Brosh and her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, but if you’re an active internet user and/or pop culture junkie, you’ve probably stumbled across the “All The Things!” meme (among others). Without this meme, I might not have discovered her blog. But I’m glad I did, because she is hilarious and has great storytelling skills.

Brosh even has a published book (which I own) and merchandise based off of her blog. Due to the success of her meme? I think so…

Can I use memes in business marketing?

An important aspect of digital marketing (social media in particular) is staying up to date on pop culture and trends… including memes. Piggybacking off of popular memes and sharing the images on your social media pages is a great way to connect with your audience and make them laugh.

Creating a meme-worthy viral campaign is entirely possible, but there’s a good chance you’ll fail. And if something goes wrong, it can be a PR nightmare. But it might not fail. In fact, it might do very well. A meme that goes viral inceases brand awareness and drives traffic to your website – both great things that will ultimately increase sales.

Case Study: Nationwide “Dead Kid” Meme

Here’s an example of a recent meme that was inspired by Nationwide’s depressing Super Bowl commercial. I even made a few:

nationwide-kid-meme-get-well-soon nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-1
nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-2 nationwide-kid-meme-valentines-day

The commercial is said to be a marketing fail, but I disagree. It got everyone’s attention and we’re still talking about it days later. How many commercials can we say that about? How many commercials inspired memes?

What’s your favorite meme?

Google+: My Thoughts

Wow, what’s that? I’m actually writing a brand-new social media post and not a meaningless ramble?

Anyway, this new thing called Google+ came out and if you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of it. And if you do live under a rock, I envy you sometimes. But I digress. . .

What is Google+?

Google+ is the new social networking site that’s going to take over the world. It’s like Facebook, but it has LiveJournal-esque filters. (Remember LiveJournal? Those were the days . . .)

What Google+ Does Right

Google has done several things very right. The Circles make it easy to keep the various parts of your life separate. You can have a circle for Internet Friends, a circle for Good Friends, a circle for Family Members You Are Obligated to Friend, and a circle for Coworkers. You can sort of do this on Facebook, but it’s not as effective.

There are also Hangouts, which is like a group video chat. I haven’t actually tried this, but it’s an interesting idea. I’d like to see how it works.

Google+ has another thing going for it: exclusivity. Social media geeks had to join the site because it’s cool, it’s exclusive, it has to be amazing because it’s Google. It will be open to the public at the end of the month and it will be hard to feel special when anyone can join.

Google+: The Current Problem

The current problem with Google+ is that it’s dead! I guess exclusivity has its downsides . . . There aren’t many people to talk to because most people haven’t joined yet. And a social network needs people in order to fulfill the social aspect of things.

Hey Look- I’m On Google+

I scored a super-exclusive invitation from my sister and got to join the site last week. If you want an invite, send me your email. (Whichever one you want to link the account to.)

I’m right here if you want to add me!

Spam Update

Due to the large amount of spam I have received in the past couple of weeks, I have temporarily changed the comment settings on this blog. For the time being, I will allow comments only from people who are registered and signed into WordPress (or Open ID if that works with this setting). I will revisit this after the holidays and see what happens . . .  I just can’t deal with all of the spam right now. I mean, seriously, this is my Askimet chart:

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I originally wanted to allow comments from everyone,  but I don’t have time to sort through hundreds of spam comments at the moment. Since no spammers have been signed in, I’m hope this helps matters.

I also wanted to say that there will be no Twitter Tuesday and Facebook Friday for the next two weeks due to the holidays and my new job. I will still post though!

~Amy

What You Should Know About Spam

Today I want to talk to you about spam. I’ve been getting a lot more of it than usual lately, so I did some research on it.

AKISMET

Free WordPress blogs—like mine—use a service called Akismet. Askimet uses a filter that automatically detects trackbacks and spam comments. It can mark legitimate comments as spam, so check your folder at least every 15 days (as this is when the spam is deleted).



WHAT DOES A SPAM COMMENT LOOK LIKE?

Spam comments will often have multiple links in the text. However, my most popular type of spam comment appears to be innocent at first—like this:
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At first glance, this seems great. But when I dive in deeper, I notice the red flags—namely the website and the IP address. Spammers will post comments like this to get people to click on their link and to



HOW DO I CHECK FOR SPAM?

I make an effort to read through and look at every comment on my blog. When I get spam messages, I look at the name, website, comment, and IP address. Spammers will often leave multiple comments under different names from the same IP address. If I see that, I skim the messages and delete them.

If I am not sure about a comment, I will check the website to see if it looks legitimate. If the comment looks okay, but I don’t like the website, I will delete the site but leave the comment. Other than that (and possibly editing out bad words), I do not change the content of the comment.



HOW TO NOT GET MARKED AS SPAM

  • Leave a comment related to the post. General comments about the blog are better emailed to me at amy@amyerickson.net or placed on one of my pages.
  • Link to a real website, blog, or Twitter account. This way I can see if you’re a real person. Most spammers link to a pharmaceutical site or something similar.
  • Email or tweet me if you are concerned. This extra step will go a long way in proving that your comment is legitimate.

Of course, I will keep looking over my spam, so don’t worry too much.


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How many spam messages do you get on your blog? Let me know in the comments below.