Archive for April, 2012


Where My Knitters At?!

The yarn movement has crept back in to the hands of creative fiber artists all over the world. This fiber that comes from our furry friends the sheep is the center of creativity as knitters knit socks, shirts, and penis cozzies.

I too am a knitter. I’ve sat in knitting circles for hours on Sundays focusing on making socks and then coming home to stalk the pages of the Knitty website.

When I first learned to knit I had notebooks all over the house. Like many knitters we may get bored with our current patterns and what’s on the needles (otn), so there will be several projects started and picked up at our desire. I had over 15 notebooks filled with patterns and pattern ideas. They started to collect dust and I didn’t want to become a hoarder, so I got rid of the notebooks and only kept patterns that I REALLY thought I would use in the near future. Needless to say, the notebooks collected dust and I really didn’t want to go through them in order to find patterns.

Ravelry to the rescue! It’s a great place to organize your personal knitting information, including what projects you’re working on, what yarn is in your stash, what needles and hooks you have (which you can print out and take with you to the store so you don’t overbuy pairs of size 0 DPNs [double pointed needles] like I have done; if there is such a thing as overbuying size 0 DPNs), which books you own and what projects you want to work on next. It’s the digital world of knitting organization!

I remember Ravelry in its infancy in 2007 in beta mode. My knitting buddy, Beth, told me to join the site. I was skeptical because of its lack of “prettiness”, but joined anyway. After all, I was a knitter and wanted to feel inspired when I visited the site. Like a newborn calf, the site wobbled forward and gained its mark in the hearts of fiber artists. Since then I’ve been able to find patterns on demand – even a rare Native American  pattern that I was intent on finding. A fellow knitter had the pattern and tips.

I speak about knitters because I am one, but the site is for all “fiber artists.” Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content on the website is driven by fiber artists. Ravelry is a great place for you to keep notes about projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world.

Lastly, Ravelry facilitates micro-business, allowing crafters to sell their patterns or yarns. Both large and small scale businesses are able to advertise on the site. The site has been also used by some for market research. So many benefit from the social network on both sides that it continues to thrive and has become a common thread for many. Pun intended.

What are you creating right now? How has Ravelry helped you?

When I see the word sustainability I think about being self sufficient complete with growing my own food, being off the grid, and at one with Mother Nature. There is that part of me that would feel at home with the simple life. Imagine my inner green nerd excitement when I came across Wiser Earth, or W.E.

Wiser Earth is a community of 68,368 people around the world who are connecting, collaborating, and sharing knowledge. The mission states that it is a “community devoted to the people and organizations around the world working toward environmental sustainability, indigenous rights, and social justice.”

The website is action packed with a job board to include a list of employment and volunteer opportunities that are related to being green. Also, event listings for plant swaps (love those!), workshops, and other activities. There are also groups that you can create and join for your cause.

Here’s a video on more about the website:

Wiser Earth

Make good use of your Earth Day and get outside! (Then post to your favorite social network.)

Yelp!

I first met Yelp at a tweet up at the Dali Museum. They were enthusiastically handing out arm sweatbands and fans. I happily gave my email address in return for the tchotchkes. What is it about us humans and freebies?

Yelp is a social networking, user review, and local search website. The website is a bit busy with lots of information in one place, but effective with over 25 million local reviews.

Shop Local

I’m a fan of supporting local businesses, so I like this part of the website. Here you can find information on the place down the street, if the coffee is good, or if they don’t keep frequent hours. You can perform a search and read the reviews if you are looking for somewhere specifically.

You may find that you connect with many others whom have a tastebud love affair with downtown eatery’s bagels or a place to find the best salsa dancing lessons.

The categories range from restaurants to religious organizations and real estate.

Content

Businesses, and anyone, can create a free account. Businesses can message their customers too, which opens the communication and makes it a 2-way street.

This leaves a business wide open for direct criticism, but I always say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. If the business is truly on the “up and up,” then responding to customer complaints shouldn’t be the challenge and provideds another way to win those who do peruse the comments and reviews.

Let’s face it, you also can’t please all the people all the time and you may have to fire some customers and agree to disagree as they find another place to visit…or torture.

Be Social

Offline events also occur, much like the one I attended. We live in a digitally social world, but occasionally some of us enjoy face to face contact. Yelp fuels this with an events section of which establishments or event planners can post events. (Hint.)

The face to face events are another grand opportunity for a business to take advantage of and host an event.

Firstly, you have to create an account and fill out your profile so that you can start connecting and Yelping.

Turntable.fm made its way in to the social media scene in a very Ocean’s Eleven, stealth-like manner. Once articles appeared on websites such as Mashable many people flocked to the invitation only website. This intrigued music heads of all kinds and those of us who want to know what makes them think they are so special as to not open the site without an invitation.

Groups of people can enjoy music played by DJ’s. Sounds familiar and very much like real life, right? Yes, but Turntable brought it to the digital world – a social music platform. Here you can peruse different rooms which play all types of music from dubstep to hip-hop, indie artists, blues, and more and share with your friends.

When I joined I stayed in the Soul Bounce room and grooved in to the late night. Actually, the SoulBounce room is where I met @UncleShecky, a.k.a. DJ Apple Jac, based in Decatur, Georgia. We virtual danced a few times and moved the relationship from the Turntable room to other social medium and have met a few times in person in Atlanta, Georgia. {Check out the link – Little 5 Points is a cool area to hang out.}

This real life example is a good one to relate to the Turntable experience: we bonded by music. Additionally, Turntable boasts that the music is played by humans and not determined by algorithms. I personally like that. Just because I’m in the mood to listen to Whitney Houston’s first songs from the early 90s doesn’t mean that I want to hear what music she made in the 2000s. Having a live DJ helps the musical mood.

The attendees of the room can rate the DJ with a meter where you can click “Awesome” or “Lame.” If enough people in the room click on Lame the song is skipped. I’ve seen DJ’s snagged from their position as per the room moderator’s discretion.

The DJ can upload his/her own music or use the music that is already available. You may also add that DJ’s music to your own personal queue. And if you are becoming a fan of that DJ you can click on the button to Become A Fan and you’ll receive emails when that DJ is being featured in a room.

What an awesome tool for DJ’s and DJ wannabe’s to practice. As a DJ one could test her skills in order to see if she can keep a room flowing or try out some new music to see the reaction to new music. DJ’s can. These points and fans represent social status and serve as a leader board. Even as a new user, these points of recognition help existing users stay invested in their accomplishments.

DJs can measure the reaction of the crowd according to the visitors/Avatars. If the crowd likes the music the Avatars are swaying to the music if the listener rates the song as Awesome on the meter. Again, the Become A Fan button will reveal if you are liked and have a following.

I never intend on becoming a DJ. I only intend on basking in the talents of the musical conductors of the site. Because I don’t want to become a DJ I will not gather points. These would allow me to unlock other cool looking Avatars from a little girl (or is that a boy?) to a gold chained gorilla.

I also must add that the SoulBounce room I entered was lead by an online magazine, Soul Bounce, of which they promote soul music b.k.a. good marketing opportunity.

As I mentioned, myself and @UncleShecky virtual danced. We were able to communicate via the chat feature that is in each room. Via the chat feature we all chatted about the music playing, reminisced about past concerts, and shared information on upcoming concerts. As long as its not spamming room attendees could share information on their own sites or music. (Hint, hint.)

Social media allows us to open our worlds to so many and so much. How are you becoming creative in your social media marketing?

It’s All About Me

Finally someone knows! Well, kinda… About.me is your digital business card.

About.me is a service that allows you to create a one-page website that’s all about you and your interests. Upload a photo, write a short bio, and add your favorite social networks to show the world the big picture of you.

You can create the page to reflect your style or brand and then let visitors know where they can find you in the social media-sphere. You can then keep up with your stats on how many people are visiting your page, where the traffic is flowing from, and what they do on your page.

I’ve already reached out to quite a few people on the site and am glad to have met them. I’ve met a non profit maven who is trailblazing with getting youth involved in where they stay to gamification gurus.

Very Pinterest-Like

The word reminds me of a 70’s sitcom, but Trippy.com is where dreamers of travel go to pin and post about where they want to visit and go see. Trippy allows your friends to join in and help you plan where you’re going.

Instead of relying on reviews of places from strangers you then rely upon your friends’ experiences or insight on you to suggest and help formulate your traveling itinerary. If your friends are well traveled then this gives your trip even more meaning as they are the ones who know if you are a vegan, not in to camping, or are a lover of vintage and craft beer.

The fact that this is visual will go a long way in the travel community. Just as we’re finding Pinterest lighting the social media path, Trippy is a niche market that can go far. Pun intended.

Once you create your profile you’re able to begin planning the trip of your dreams. When sites offer to sign you up via a social network its a benefit because then you are not bogged down with having to enter the same information over and over.

What I am finding is that the site is not as oppulent as Pinterest. Additionally, the initial locations seem to be suggested. I didn’t see a place to add countries to the browsing topics. I did, however, see that I can plan my trip to wherever I wanted and there was a place to state that I was dreaming of going to the Serengeti. Once I added the trip my social network was scoured to find those in or from the area and I sent them a message on Facebook to let them know of my plans and asked them to chime in their 2 cents to my experience. Quite nifty.

What a great tool for travel agents, planners, and those in tourism to use. These professionals could suggest and plan travel trips and weigh in on which ones gain more interest from their close networks in order to build trips that cater to ideas and not just brochures and marketing materials that push you on to the roads more traveled.

Additionally, I could see the places that are highlighted being used as marketing tools in order to promote their locations. Perhaps those locations are listed based on the popularity of the site’s members or as per the research of Trippy finding that most want to or have visited these places. But again, what a great way to get lesser known places in front of the Trippy audience.

This is a site that I will keep up with as it just gives the feeling that the site has more to come. Join me as I’m planning a trip to Phuket for the religious holiday of water – super soakers and dousing people with water, my kind of religion. Have you gone before? Let me know your thoughts and let’s connect.

Lastly, some big names are having a Trippy time as they are quoted on the site: from Rachel Zoe, Jason Mraz, Tim Ferris, to Gary Vaynerchuk. The site has also received notable coverage from Mashable, the Fast Company, Bloomberg, and now SocialMediumSphere. Smile.