In an effort to make the blog more relevant as well as easier to update while maintaining two blogs, I have migrated my personal blog over to Wordpress.
Please visit http://by7am.com for the new blog.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Inside Facebook had a great post yesterday about marketing on Facebook that I recommend taking a few minutes to read. While some of the recommendations may make sense for your business, others may not. As with any marketing strategy, the right solution depends on your audience, their needs, and your business objectives.
Of the ten things that are listed in the article, the 5 that stood out the most to me, particularly for any business new to Facebook, are:
- Create a Facebook page - Somewhat related to my post the other day, create a page with the understanding that it will require a commitment and investment of your time to maintain. If you are willing to make the effort, then this step is a no-brainer and a must have.
- Create Facebook events - If you are a business that has frequent events (i.e. open houses, tours, happy hours, public meetings, etc.) then creating Facebook events is a low effort action you can take to get the word out. When someone agrees to "attend" your event, that action will show up in the news feed of their friends virally extending your event to others.
- Add Facebook share links to your website - Again, a low effort action that should be a part of any good design process (it is certainly a part of ours). Assuming the content of your site is appropriate for "sharing" then a share link makes complete sense.
- Publish fresh photos, videos, and updates - I want to emphasize that it's not just posting fresh photos and videos, it's consistently posting content that your intended audience perceives as valuable. But this also circles back to #1... if you cannot commit to posting content consistently, hold off on jumping into the social media waters.
- Talk to your customers - This is a no brainer. It would not be called social media if it did not require you to be social. Facebook and other platforms allow you the opportunity to hear what your customers are saying, and a chance to respond. While you must be prepared to take the bad commentary with the good, I view that negative feedback as an opportunity to turn a bad brand experience into a good one and through social media, that opportunity has become even easier than it was before.
So, start with these five, and then based on how successful you are in taking these steps and how committed you are to marketing your brand on social media platforms decide whether or not social ads and applications make sense for you. As I said before, when we (or you) develop a social media strategy, the platform and mechanisms should be determined by the audience, the message, and your business objective.
Check out the whole article here.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
It's been almost a month and I have not posted a blog entry - seems to be the theme these days. I actually had to block out two hours this morning just to make my first entry on the Grafik.com blog.
If you want to read today's thoughts on social media, you can read it here.
But honestly, there's been a lot going on in the Clark household as of late. We're in our third trimester, we've been working on the baby's room, spaying the dog, shopping for a bedroom set, cutting needless trees down, etc. When I have had time to jump on the computer, it's mostly been spent doing work or balancing the family checkbook. It's been a real test of establishing priorities and also an opportunity to learn about what's truly important in our every day lives - a subject that occupied about 30 minutes of our dinner conversation this evening.
It's really no different than how the economy has forced families and companies alike to do the same evaluation as they review their budgets. Most companies have been forced to make some difficult decisions, Grafik and WeatherBug included. I suppose the main difference between the two is that the economy is an external factor outside of our control, while our impending arrival is a beautiful and blessed choice. Either way you slice it, times are tight and smart decisions need to be made which has led to less time to spend blogging about the going-ons of the family.
That said, I'll try to do a better job keeping this up to date, particularly over the next few months as we look to welcome our new family member and we experience the joys, the challenges, and all the fun things we've heard come with being parents.
Posted by B-Rad at 1/24/2009 09:50:00 AM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
While it took me awhile to come around, I am now officially on the Twitter bandwagon as @psubuzz (profile ID shocker, I know). No, Twitter is not the next Facebook... yet, but I wholeheartedly believe that in time, Twitter will play just as large of a role in our every day lives as Facebook does today.
Granted, I am way late in making this proclamation. I admit that I wanted to see whether or not a business model was going to be needed for Twitter to survive its first year. As it has proven, Twitter has not needed to make money to win the hearts and minds of tech pundits, celebrities, and every day people like myself. That said, am I alone in pitying the product manager charged with devising the revenue plan for Twitter in 2009? Do you not think that person's every move will be scrutinize, second-guessed, and then questioned once implemented? Will he or she get a second chance if they fail the first time around?
Anyway, that is someone else's problem to worry about at the moment... for now, I will enjoy following people like @lancearmstrong or @mashable, or people I actually know like @tonyvia or @phayes8. Twitter has become a useful means for me to follow the latest and greatest, as well begin to participate in various conversations. And on this Christmas Eve, I'll have my iPhone in one hand (Twitteriffic running), and some eggnog in the other.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Well, about 85% of the way through prepping the utility room for painting the floor my shop vac quit on me. I had to resort to mopping the concrete and tile, and am hoping that the shop vac will be rejuvenated tomorrow so that I can begin painting the floor on Thursday.
I never knew how much "fun" it was going to be getting a house ready to move into... Now I know.
I have to admit that it's kind of creepy being in an empty house all by yourself with every sound you make echoing off the walls. It doesn't help that our house is adjoined to some creepy person that we have yet to see. We just missed this person last night when we pulled up, but until we actually see him/her, they will remain a mystery.
Posted by B-Rad at 11/11/2008 10:03:00 PM
The fun part of being a homeowner now is that we'll learn so much about our new house. Some things may take us a few years to learn, and some you learn the first time you decide to move the mirror in your bathroom.
I guess the previous owner did not like her medicine cabinet... so it's just one more thing to add to the now long list of home improvement projects.
Posted by B-Rad at 11/11/2008 09:40:00 AM
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Watching the various videos that were taken Saturday night following Penn State's win over Ohio State give me shivers, and not the same kind of shivers I get when I watch JoePa tribute videos, or moving Penn State victory montages, but shivers of fear, disgust, and anger.
Great, so we won a big game... let's celebrate by ripping down lampposts, uprooting shrubbery, and closing down a main street. We are... Penn State. We are... a storied football program. We have... been there before. Why on earth do we need to act like we're some Division I AA school that just knocked off Michigan (last year, not this year of course)? I'm not sure if it's the fact that the town is currently populated by a large percentage of students who don't know the history, have not experienced the winning, or what.... though one could argue that the past three seasons have not been too shabby.
Anyway, it's embarrassing as a Penn State Alum and even more embarrassing as a football fan who argues that his team is one of the best teams in the country week in and week out. Fans acting like naive, never been there before idiots, after a big win just undercut this claim.
Instead of property destruction, let's all start saving our money now and party on the streets of Miami in January.
Posted by B-Rad at 10/27/2008 10:57:00 AM
Friday, October 10, 2008
Before the weekend hits, I wanted to let everyone know that our wedding photos can be found on Facebook and Flickr. Facebook features the photos shot by the photographer, while Lauren took some time aggregating all of the photos shot by you and posted them to her Flickr account.
Check out the Flickr pictures here.
If you have a Facebook account, you should be able to access the various albums that Lauren posted to see the great shots from the photographer.
Posted by B-Rad at 10/10/2008 05:17:00 PM
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Perfect day for a run in the neighborhood. I'm not sure if it is the fall air, a stressful week, or just biting off more than I expected, but it was certainly my longest run in awhile - just under 7 miles. Time to cool off with a nice shake (thanks Rolando for the blender) and a walk with the dog. I hope all of you are experiencing this same wonderful fall weather.
[I had supposedly posted an entry from my iPhone as I was watching the Penn State game that talked about the annual Arts on the Avenue held in Del Ray each year, as well as the football game, but apparently it did not post. To that end, the festival was great, we bought some art that will be used very near in the future to decorate a room, and Penn State beat Purdue to go to 6-0. All in all, it was a good day, and a great weekend. I apologize though for the blank entry until now.]
Posted by B-Rad at 10/04/2008 02:29:00 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Took the pup for her first run tonight and she did pretty well. I took her on a one mile loop that you can see here.
Thought for sure it would wear her out, but it took a good 3 hours for her to finally settle down and curl up. Maybe next time we should try two miles...
Posted by B-Rad at 10/02/2008 09:13:00 PM
Monday, September 22, 2008
As suspected, the Skins-Cards game was back and forth and required a defensive stance in the final minutes to ensure victory after a botched 52 yard field goal. The victory puts the Skins at 2-1, and squarely in the hunt in the NFC East. Next up, Dallas... IN the Big D, which should serve as a pretty good test to see how for real the Skins really are. As everyone has seen these first three weeks, Dallas is good, very good. But, after losing to the Giants in the first week (which I attribute to the team still not being familiar with the offense and a rookie head coach), beating a 'decent' Saints team, and an overrated Cardinals team, we do not have a real measure of how good this Redskins team is.
Next week, we will know.
As far as my fantasy football teams go this season, the teams have taken two completely divergent paths. In the big money league, I will sit atop the standings at the end of this week at 3-0. In my 2nd league, I will sit in the basement at 0-3. Not sure how I ended up with such good/bad teams, but as long as I can finish in the money in one of them, I'll be happy. Stay tuned.
Full game day pics can be seen here.
Posted by B-Rad at 9/22/2008 08:20:00 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Three weeks into the season and I am at my first Skins game as a
season ticket holder. We couldn't have asked for a better football day
than today. The day dawned in the low 50s with a high of 80 expected.
Perfect fall football weather.
The tailgate fare was breakfast food provided by phillip and myself
that would have competed well against our traditional Penn state
tailgates. Egg and sausage casserole, bacon, eggs, sausage, and little
smokies. Doesn't get any better.
All we need now is a Skins win...
Posted by B-Rad at 9/21/2008 11:43:00 AM
Friday, September 19, 2008
To follow up on my post last Friday about the change to Facebook, it's nice to see Mark Zuckerberg finally weigh in.
Zuckerberg: 'Change can be difficult,' but the redesign stays
Basically, your options are to accept the change, or switch. Only time will tell if enough users choose the later. My thought is that like any drug, once hooked, it will be hard to stop, no matter how painful the experience is...
Posted by B-Rad at 9/19/2008 07:49:00 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wish we could have had a few more sunny days while we were here - I
know a direct contradiction from yesterday but as we pile into the car
to head home I will miss the sun.
I'll also miss the chaos that was four dogs and an eleven month old
and I'll miss laying in bed watching football while listening to the
waves outside. I'll miss David's constant smile as he crawled/walked
to everyone and I'll miss the relaxing moments with Lauren.
It was a true vacation and now it's time to head back home and hit it
So... A dog, a wife, and a new job since the last time down here a
year ago. What will it be a year from now...
Posted by B-Rad at 9/17/2008 09:26:00 AM
Sunday, September 14, 2008
So, it's that time of year when we head down to Kitty Hawk to spend a few days with the family and get some beach and sun time. This year it's a tad more exciting with the addition of our little pup Match, and an eleven month old who is starting to take a few steps. Needless to say, it's been rather loud and crazy.
Follow along here.
Posted by B-Rad at 9/14/2008 09:43:00 AM
Friday, September 12, 2008
A million people have blogged about this already this week, but I'm still happy to weigh in myself. What am I talking about? The new Facebook. With your friend's Facebook status updates ever-present in your life, whether it be through your IM client, browser, iPhone, WAP, etc., you instantly know when there is either a major newsworthy event, or Facebook has done something to upset their users. In this case, the final roll out of the new Facebook has been one of those events that everyone has to voice their opinion on. And you know what? I don't really care what anyone thinks about the new Facebook, so please quit your bitchin' and stop spamming me with your whining. It's just something new to get used to, and this, like most things will pass, and in the long run you will find yourself better served.
Someone yesterday wrote a fairly objective post about how a significant site redesign always incites a reaction (the source escapes me for the moment), and Facebook is actually lucky that so many users are paying such close attention. The same thing happened when USA Today integrated their social elements throughout their website as a part of a significant redesign. As I cruised through the feedback, the large majority of it was NOT good. But did USA Today crumble, give in, and revert back? No, as any good publisher would do, they reviewed the comments, separated the emotional and passionate comments from the invaluable, objective feedback. As a former product guy, I'm sure they weighed this feedback with their business objectives and have slotted some items as future product changes, and others as "good ideas, but will require more justification to implement.
What I find interesting throughout this whole process is where Facebook stands on these changes and what their users are saying. I am a big proponent of interacting with your users and not only listening to what they are saying, but talking back. Having a conversation with your users. For large publishers, this is no small task and it may require additional resources to sort through the feedback, or it may require the business owners to spend a little more time with their product, but in the end it not only gets to the root of the problem, it reinforces the brand-user relationship. So where IS Facebook on this whole change? From what I have observed thus far, invisible, not that this won't change.
I write this because I find how strongly people have reacted to this change, and how public the dissent has been to the change funny. But as anyone knows, the people who like the change will more than likely keep quiet because they are happy and can go about their business. It's only the relative "handful" of users that have been upset. "Relative" meaning that only a few hundred thousand out of the multi-millions of users have joined the various groups to protest (this figure I also read somewhere but can't remember where).
I ask all of you to accept the change, know that Facebook IS taking note in some way, and understand that progress cannot come without some short term cost. The minor inconvenience that you are suffering from at this time IS that cost... deal with it and find somewhere more product to direct your energy - perhaps by offering actual constructive feedback. Now THAT'S a new idea.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Despite the humidity, it's a beautiful morning to start the day at the coffee shop. There is a nice breeze, and the low clouds are keeping it in the mid 70s.
Can't help but be productive and get a head start before the craziness and distractions of the office.
Posted by B-Rad at 9/09/2008 08:41:00 AM
Monday, September 8, 2008
I'm not sure if it's the GPS watch or what, but I've had more urges to go for runs in the past few weeks than I've had in the past few years. It certainly helps that my knees are doing OK as I mentioned in my last running post, but I look forward to running up some stats with the watch.
Today's run can be found here.
Of course, I would have gone to the gym this morning if our puppy had not kept us up all night long. Lauren and I decided to move Match to our bedroom last night (in her crate of course) and see if she would sleep better. What did we learn? We actually sleep WORSE when she's in the room and it has NO impact on how she sleeps. I don't think I ever knew how restless she was until last night
Hopefully tonight will be better...
Lauren and I took advantage of the beautiful weather that followed Hanna by getting out and walking parts of the Billy Goat trail that we had not walked before yesterday morning - Section C. While on our walk along the tow path of the C&O canal we caught this lazy blue heron eating a dead fish that must have gotten caught up in the heavy rains on Saturday.
You can kind of make out the dead fish directly below the heron. The fish was actually pretty big... couldn't tell what it was though I assume it was a bass.
Posted by B-Rad at 9/08/2008 09:41:00 AM
We went to the Jim Henson exhibit on Saturday at the Smithsonian to do something fun while it rained. While a relatively short exhibit, it was still very cool to see Henson's sketches, original characters, commercials, shorts, etc. Seeing the different characters brought to life brought back a lot of memories of Kermit, the Fraggles, the Muppet Show, the Muppet Movie, and of course Sesame Street. Did you know Oscar the Grouch was originally orange??
I think the coolest part of the exhibit was reading this quote, which reminds me so much of how my approach to things...
"I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me."
I've been accused many times of being too optimistic, too forgiving, and too willing to move on, but you know, when I look at my life and how things have worked out for me, I really can't complain. I've never been happier.
Thanks for affirming that for me Jim.
Check out the exhibit while it's in town (through October 5, 2008 - my birthday, incidentally).
Friday, September 5, 2008
After the beating that the Skins took last night, I needed something to clear my mind and refocus for the day. This morning's run did the trick. I used to hate getting up early and exercising, and had even more trouble doing it outside so early, but I'm slowly getting into running before work.
My run this morning was the first time I'd surpassed 5 miles since my knees started acting up a year or so ago. Surprisingly, they didn't bother me at all, though as you can see from the chart, I was a bit slower this morning than I had been on my previous run.
Oh well, the point was to get some exercise, energize for the day, and spend some time outside before Hannah moves into the area this weekend.
Posted by B-Rad at 9/05/2008 11:05:00 AM
Monday, September 1, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Last night Lauren and I watched the Spiderwick Chronicles. When I say "watch" I mean, I watched the whole movie and Lauren caught bits and pieces of the movie in between snippets of a nap. On the whole, I have to say I liked the movie. I thought it would be too much of a kid's movie given its association with Nickelodeon and the children's books. I was definitely entertained, and hope that they continue to make movies out of the books, though my quick scan at the Spiderwick site makes me think they combined the first two books into the first movie, so maybe there's one more movie left?
If you haven't seen it yet, give it a shot. It's a movie you could watch with your kids or watch with a friend and not feel too childish.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
With the temperatures in the 60s and 70s this week, and college football set to kick off this Thursday, you can't help but feel that Fall is in the air. It was nice to take advantage of our office location in N. Old Town and get out for a run last night. While attending the DC United games this summer has been great, I cannot wait to watch the Penn State game this Saturday (against Coastal Carolina). Speaking of which...
My rant of the week has to be about how ridiculous Comcast is (not surprising). After enough fans complained last season that Comcast should pick up the Big Ten Network (as DirecTV did), Comcast conceded and added the BTN to their sports pack lineup. As it turns out, the PSU game is only being televised on the BTN this Saturday, and as a Comcrap subscriber, I was very excited to be able to watch the game in the comfort of my own home rather than needing to go to a bar. But no... Comcrap comes through again with runny brown colors... They must have purchased the rights to show ONE channel and ONE game at a time. So, instead of getting the Penn State game at 12 on Saturday, we will only get the Ohio State v. Youngstown State game. If I really want to watch the PSU game, my only choices are to head to Carpool or catch the game on Comcast's BTN channel, Sunday at 11am. Thanks Comcast... as always, you continue to meet my expectation of being an absolutely worthless service provider. If my neighbor did not have the largest tree on the block which happens to stand on the SW side of our house, I'd drop you like the worthless POS you continue to be.
In other news, Fantasy Football is around the corner with both of my league drafts set to take place next week. With FF drafts taking place, it obviously means that the regular NFL season is set to start, with the Skins taking on the Gints next Thursday. I actually got my Sean Taylor #21 jersey on Monday and am ready to wear it proudly at the first game I'll get to (Cardinals game on 9/21).
BTW - the Match update is that she's doing well. She seems to have finally taken to her crate and understands that it is her home when we're not home. She will go quietly into her crate and not put up much of a fight at night when we go to sleep, which has been great... that and the fact that she can pretty much make it all night now without having to go out. Nice to finally get 6 consecutive hours of sleep for a change.
Monday, August 25, 2008
So, I set up the car for the ride home exactly as I set it up on the ride out to Salisbury. Full sized dog crate with papers, the bottom half of the smaller crate with a rug, all for Match to sleep in on the ride home. Where does she end up? On top of my pillow on my duffel bag right NEXT to the crate with her rug.
I'm so happy we decided to devote half of the 4Runner's cargo space for our pooch, none of which was used on the long ride home yesterday...
Posted by B-Rad at 8/25/2008 05:12:00 PM
Friday, August 22, 2008
This was Match's first road trip as we went to visit Lauren's parents out on the Eastern Shore. Other than a little vomit incident in the first 5 minutes (before I had even picked up Lauren from work), she did really well. I think the one lesson we learned on this trip is that Match doesn't necessarily need to have both her big cage and the small cargo carrier. She'll be just fine in the cargo carrier next time... WAY too much space taken up by her stuff.
Posted by B-Rad at 8/22/2008 07:38:00 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
This is my Saturday night when one of my girls is sick and the other is totally pooped from a long day.
Fortunately I have a glass of wine in one hand and my iPhone and the remote in the other.
Cheers to the American olympians and the undefeated Skins (in the preseason anyway). Oh and I love Colt Brennan.
Posted by B-Rad at 8/16/2008 10:45:00 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Too funny... A part of me hopes this is true... and that the rest of the bigfoot clan hunt down these guys and capture a specimen of their own.
Two Georgians Say They Have Bigfoot’s Body - NYTimes.com
Posted by B-Rad at 8/15/2008 12:04:00 PM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Rounded up a good group of friends last night to catch DC United take on the New England Revolution at RFK in the US Open Cup Semis. After opening the game in the first 3 mins with a goal, the pace of play slowed down a bit... before heating up for a 3-1 finish.
DC plays for the US Open Cup championship and automatic berth to the Champions tournament in September against USSL team, Charleston.
It should be an entertaining final - and it will be nice to see United get back to that place they were a few years back... on top. Now if we can only find a way to get some points in the league play...
Posted by B-Rad at 8/13/2008 01:27:00 PM