Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 25, 2009 1
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bit.ly Gets Into the Holiday Spirit

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Visiting bit.ly today, I noticed that th bit.ly fish icon is now accompanied by a dreidel. That's cool of them to celebrate Chanukah with an icon change! Cheers!




Update: bit.ly also broke out the stockings for Christmas! Holiday spirits all around!



Update #2: It's no surprise that bit.ly kept up the festivities with another icon change, this time celebrating the new year! Happy 2010!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Votre Vu Tragic Magic for Keratosis Pilaris

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Above: Votre Vu products on display at Shecky's Beauty Night Out

Keratosis Pilaris (KP) affects about 40% of the adult population (including myself) and about 50-80% of all adolescents. KP is characterized by rough bumps that resemble "goose bumps" or "chicken skin", usually on the upper arms, though it can also be found elsewhere on the body. Caused by the excess production of keratin, KP causes only cosmetic consequences, but there is currently no cure.

Looking on the bright side, there are palliative treatments available, all of which involve a commitment to consistency of use. Creams that contain Tretinoin (the acid form of Vitamin A), Adapalene, alpha hydroxy acids or urea may be used to temporarily improve the appearance and texture of affected skin. However, once these creams are discontinued, the condition reverts back to its orginal state.

At the most recent Shecky's Beauty Night Out, I learned about Votre Vu, a French luxury skin care company that offers national skin care products. Jean Louise Lilly, Director of Product Development and Marketing, recommended that I try Tragic Magic Rescue Creme for my Keratosis Pilaris. The cream's power ingredients include jojoba oil, lime extract, rose hips oil, calophyllum oil and soja insaponifiables (a soybean derivative), vitamin E and avocado insaponfiables. So, how did it work out?

After a few weeks of use, I saw a drastic change in my skin's condition. The bumps were visibly reduced and the redness is gone. Usually, KP is most visible during the winter months, when moisture levels in the air are lower, so this is a big feat for both Votre Vu and me!

Thank you, Jean Louise, for the samples and for helping me find a solution to KP!


Shecky's Beauty Night Out in NYC


Above: Maria Kucinski, Erica Swallow, Jamall Oluokun and Kriti Bhandari

I recently attended my first Shecky's Beauty Night Out with three lovely friends (pictured above). Shecky's is most known for their Girls Night Out, an event that pulls together the best of fashion, cocktails, food and fun! They also have Holiday Night Out and Getaways! Beauty Night Out is all about beauty... makeup, face, hygiene and dietary products. Even more exciting, all of the events include a HUGE Goodie Bag! The giftbag is so well-known that they call it "Shecky's Famous Goodie Bag". haha. The goodie bag was simply wonderful, to say the least. It's definitely the biggest goodie bag I've ever received at an event. Of course, there is a price to enter, but still!

If you're curious about Shecky's, I say go! It was definitely worth it! (Tip: Sign up for the Shecky's Insiders program for discounts before purchasing tickets.)

For more information, check out the Shecky's photo gallery!


Twitter and Facebook Go (RED) for World AIDS Day


Above: Twitter's (RED) look for Dec. 1st, World AIDS Day



Above: Twitter's usual homepage, as of July 29, 2009

In support of World AIDS Day, Twitter and Facebook have gone (RED) for the day.

Facebook is running a campaign at facebook.com/joinred, where you can share the (RED) video, change your profile pic to a (RED) photo to support AIDS awareness, or shop (RED) products.

Twitter's support is much more pervasive across the site, which is respectable. They replaced their usual homepage design with (RED) galore, including a red ribbon of text that implores users to "turn Twitter (RED)". But how do we do that? Well, it says we can "follow @JoinRED to find out"! After visiting @JoinRED, I realized that there are three main ways to "turn Twitter red":

1.) Use the hashtag #red
2.) Use the hashtag #laceupsavelives
3.) Turn tweets the color red


Above: If you use the hastags #red or #laceupsavelives, or tweet the word "red" your tweets turn red

Well, well, well! Get on it tweeters!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Even My Favorite Pizza Parlor is on Twitter

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While visiting Artichoke Pizza this week, I noticed that they have really poured on the Twitter advertising since the last time I've been there. There was a beat-up white board outside the pizza shop, advertising their 32 ounce Bud beers (to stay or go - not quite sure if that's actually legal...) along with their Twitter account, @ArtichokePizza. Inside, they had multiple pizza boxes imploring pizza-hungry customers to follow them on Twitter.

Well, I must say that it worked on me! I pulled out my phone, looked them up on Twitter and followed them on the spot! I wonder if they're now taking orders by tweet!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Photo Inclusion in Schmap NY Guide

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A photo that I took at the Bloomberg SP09 summer party was recently published in the Schmap New York Guide. The photo was featured in the Randall's Island section (because the Bloomberg party took place there) and showcased my friend, John Wood, playing a frog-throwing game. Don't worry, the frogs were made of rubber! Here's a close-up for all you Randall's Island / John Wood fans!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spin the Pen Revisited: Spin It to Win It

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Last summer, my friend, Daniel McCoy, and I entered the Pentel Recycology Student Campaign of the Year contest, hosted by Alloy Media + Marketing. Our entry to the contest was called "Spin the Pen. Save the Planet." Among our many campaign strategies, we utilized a Facebook group, YouTube page, Twitter page and website. We featured pen spinners JC and Xero spinning the Recycology products.

As winners of the contest, Daniel and I attended the John Caples Awards, were offered internships at Alloy Media + Marketing to further the Spin the Pen campaign, and received a lump-sum of $5,000 to split among ourselves and those who helped out, JC, Xero, and our cameraman, Josh. Great prizes, right?!

Unfortunately, I was unable to take the internship, but Daniel did a great job there. He continued the Spin the Pen campaign, but focused on the Pentel RSVP, a pen that many pen spinners consider to be the best pen to get started spinning with. I think that was a great move, as many spinners kept telling us that the Recycology products were too light and had too many protruding functions to spin.

His new campaign is called "Spin It to Win It". The main video is shown above. Check out the website for a tutorial, an introduction to Xero (the featured spinner), and more. You can even upload your video for a chance to win $500! Here's Xero's entry:



My congratulations go out to Daniel and Xero! Great site, videos and campaign!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yoostar Test with Marilyn Monroe

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On Fashion's Night Out at Bloomingdale's, I had a chance to try out the YooStar home green screen kit with Marilyn Monroe. Check out the video above!

Free ColdStone Ice Cream for Make A Wish Event

This just in! Go to Cold Stone Creamery on September 24th from 5-8pm for free ice cream when you make a donation to Make A Wish Foundation! About 85% of Cold Stone proceeds in September will go to the foundation. To learn more about the social, click here. For store locations near you, click here!

Yoga Toes!


My friend Maria has been wearing YogaToes for quite a while now. She's an enthusiastic fan of these jelly-like feet helpers. As a New Yorker, my feet are one of my top concerns. Cobble stones, pavement, sidewalks and curbs can really take a toll on your feet! Not to mention, I'm always challenging my feet to stiletto duels in the streets.

I finally decided to get YogaToes, as I way to relax and treat my poor feetsies! They came earlier this week and I've been using them since. They are supposed to help shape, stretch, condition, align, strengthen and stimulate toes while treating and preventing bunions, hammertoes, fatique, poor circulation and varicose veins.

They have annual Labor sales in which they take $25 off the usual price of $49.95. Having missed the sale, I just searched for deals. I happened to find a deal in New York Magazine for $15 off!

After a week of use, I haven't seen much of a difference, however, as I'm mostly trying to prevent feet problems. Seeing those gross bunion ads in NYC subways has really scarred my mind! I hope I never have those problems!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fashion 2.0 Fashion Week Meetup Sponsored by Style Coalition and Ideeli

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(Above: Maria Kucinski and Erica Swallow (me) at the Fashion 2.0 Fashion Week Kickoff Reception Meetup)

(Above: Yuli Ziv, founder of Fashion 2.0 Meetup, and Deirdre Sullivan, Social Media Director at ideeli.com, hosted the fashion trivia giveaway!)

Last night, I went to my first official Meetup! It was the Fashion 2.0 Fashion Week Kickoff Reception that took place at W New York - The Tuscany. Organized by Yuli Ziv, the party included an open bar, a hot gift bag full of goodies, and a ton of fun guests. Some highlights for me included hanging out with my BFF Maria, meeting a few great people, sipping tasty wine, getting compliments on my Moo.com minicards and seeing Phillip Block.

For more photos, check out my Flickr photostream!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My First Time as a Mayor!

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Hooray! I just became a Mayor on Foursquare for the first time ever! It just so happens that I'm the mayor of Dean & Deluca - Times Building. I owe The New York Times for this great honor. If I didn't work in this building, I wouldn't be compelled to eat so many Two Little Red Hens chocolate cupcakes, supplied by Dean & Deluca, just downstairs! And thank you, Dean & Deluca for your existence. And Soraya Darabi for introducing me to Foursquare! Cheers to all!

Friend.ly Facebook Friend Stats


Cool! I just discovered Friend.ly, a Facebook application that analyzes yours friends' demographic information and outputs basic statistics.

Thought I'd post my friend stats here so that you could all psychoanalyze me!

Most common name: Kevin (11 friends)
Most common zodiac sign: Libra (83 friends)
Longest name: Maximillian-Conroy Hencke
Shortest name: Yi Li
Female/Male: 50% / 50%
Single/Taken: 39% / 61%
Youngest friend: 17 years old
Oldest friend: 105 years old
Average age: 23 years old

If you're interested, go try it yourself at http://friend.ly!

Note: You can click "Don't Allow" for both prompt boxes and it will still calculate the statistics. Plus, you don't even have to publish the output to your Facebook news feed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Invitation Codes - Haute Look, Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, ideeli, Editor's Closet, The Top Secret, Glam List, Beyond the Rack,...

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I just landed a social media dream job at Bloomingdales.com. As a result, I've made it my personal mission to learn about and join all of the sample sale websites out there! These websites are a great way to enjoy designer fashion at extremely low prices!

There are quite a few, so I'm racking up memberships left and right! I'd like to share the wealth, as many of these sites are invitation-only websites. If you'd like an invitation code to any of the following, just comment with your e-mail address and which one(s) you'd like an invite from and I'll send you an invite to join in the fun!

Beyond the Rack

www.beyondtherack.com
Click here to sign up for Beyond the Rack now!

Billion Dollar Babes
www.billiondollarbabes.com
Click here to sign up for Billion Dollar Babes now!

DD Push
www.ddpush.com
This is an email invite only. Put your email address in the comments and I will invite you!

Editor's Closet
www.editorscloset.com
Click here to join Editor's Closet now!

Gilt Groupe
www.gilt.com
Click here to sign up for Gilt Groupe now!

Glam List
www.glamlist.com

Gomatta Girls
www.gomattagirls.com

Hautelook
www.hautelook.com
Click here to sign up for Hautelook now!

ideeli
www.ideeli.com
Click here to sign up for ideeli now!

Juxzy
juxzy.com

One Kings Lane
www.onekingslane.com
Click here to sign up for One Kings Lane now!

Rue La La
www.ruelala.com
Click here to sign up for Rue La La now!

Secret Style
www.secretstyle.com
Click here to sign up for Secret Style now!

Snappy Tuna
www.snappytuna.com
Click here to sign up for Snappy Tuna now!

The Top Secret
www.thetopsecret.com
Click here to sign up for The Top Secret now!

If you'd like to join any of the above-mentioned invite-only sample sale sites, write in the comments below! Don't forget to mention which sites you'd like invites to and your email address!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make a Dent in the World Water Crisis!

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Dear Friends,

I'm trying to help put a dent in the world water crisis and I need your help. I've created three projects via charity:water, each with a goal of raising $5,000, enough funds to build a water well in a community in need of clean water. I'm asking that all of my friends and family find it in their hearts to donate, as there are millions of people without the basic need of water.

I've made three funds to match my friends' interests:

1.) NYU Fund: For all of my NYU friends that want to make a difference. This fund goes towards helping bring water to schools in need of it. Have some school pride and donate today at http://new.charitywater.org/nyufund.

2.) NYC Fund: For the city known for its water towers, atop every building. This fund is for all the New Yorkers who care about delivering clean water to people in need. Donate now at http://new.charitywater.org/nyc.

3.) Erica & Weikai's 2nd Anniversary: Today is the 2nd anniversary of dating for Weikai and me! In celebration, we're asking all of our friends and family to find it in their hearts to donate to the millions without water. We're lucky enough to have been born in societies with an overabundance of water. Let's give back. Donate now at http://new.charitywater.org/EricaandWeikai.

With all of my love and best wishes for you and yours!
Erica

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are You Sharing Too Much Online?

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Being that I'm pretty active online, I'm always wondering if my social networks are conveying the best image to potential employers (and friends!). Today, I ran across a great blog post on the Doostang blog about "the professional downside of your online social life" that gave me a few tips about best practices.

If you're worried about whether you're sharing too much information about your personal life on your social networks, it's worth a look!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tarot Cards over Dinner

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(Above: Nicolas Crummey reads Maria Kucinski's cards)

Every Tuesday night, my 2-out-of-3 best friends (Nicolas and Maria) and I have dinner. We alternate houses, visiting each person's place a week. (Note: The third best friend is Alice, but she's in China.)

This week, Nicolas (aka Nick) hosted dinner. The theme was summer. He made the most excellent tomato/basil/mozzarella appetizers and an incredibly tasty pasta salad for the entree. Maria brought the wine -- a rose and a white. And I supplied the desserts -- gelato and fruits. MMMM.

Nick's roommate, Hailey, happened to have a deck of tarot cards lying around and let us play with them. Luckily, they were beginner's cards with notes and meanings written on them. The deck even came with a piece of paper to place under the cards that told us what the placement of each card meant.

All in all, Maria's cards were excellent. She got the star... the empress... the awesome stuff... and all was well. Meanwhile, Nick read mine and I got all the crap! The hanged man... the devil... the moon. Ugh. It was horrible. Basically, my life sucks. But it turns out that everything is supposed to end well at the very end... so, only a lifetime of suffering left, and then comes the good stuff!

I learned a few things about tarot cards, though:
  • The cards should face the reader (so they can read them, obviously)
  • There are 21 cards in all, numbered with Roman numerals
  • The cards should be placed in order (I - XX) and handed to the questioner (the person with the question)
  • The questioner should then shuffle the cards, concentrating on their question. Lastly, they cut the deck three times. They should concentrate on their question, in order to feed their energy into the cards, apparently.
  • It doesn't appear that questions like "What color is my shirt?" can be answered... it truly didn't work.
  • "The cards don't lie." Nick, Maria and I broke out in song to these words, singing as Nick played his banjo. They must be true, as the only explanation I can muster up is that we were possessed by their power to react in such a way.
Overall, I'm not a suspicious person. However, it is kind of strange that I received all bad cards and Maria received all great cards. Maria and Nick attribute this to me cursing at the cards and ridiculing them while Maria was getting her cards read... they heard and were out to get me.

hehehe. This makes me want to get a Ouji board now!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My 1,000th Post on Twitter

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Let's celebrate! I just posted by 1,000 post on Twitter! Just wanted to get that on record. Ok. Go back to your normal lives now. Cheers!

The Best Social Media Presentation EVER!!!

I found the greated Social Media presentation today, by Marta Kagan. Kudos, girl!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Interning at The New York Times

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Today I created a Facebook group for the Summer '09 NYTimes Interns and it reminded me that my internship is really awesome! I also love the work environment at The New York Times, so I wanted to share it with you! Below are some photos of the beautiful space that I work in! What a blessed life!

(Above: The New York Times Building)

(Above: The lobby of The New York Times Building is simple yet beautiful. Walking through it is a great way to start the work day!)

(Above: My subway station exit is about 10 steps from the building. So, each morning, I enter here!)

(Above: My desk on the 9th floor of The New York Times Building)

(Above: The view from my desk. This is a view of Port Authority at 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan)

Not only is working at NYTimes.com amazing, it's aesthetically-inspiring!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Which Color M&M are You?

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I took the M&M test today to see which color M&M I would be. Turns out I'd be red! Here's the description:

You are the fiery M&M! You are a revolutionary and want to change the world! You can only be tamed by the sexy green M&M who you are madly in love with. You stand out in a crowd, however that sometimes means you are the first to get eaten....
Isn't that lovely? Take the quiz here, to see what color M&M you are!

Twitter Launches New Homepage

(Above: The NEW and IMPROVED Twitter homepage!)

(Above: The OLD and OKAY Twitter homepage!)

Twitter launched their new homepage today, which focuses on searching and Trending Topics. The search bar implores of visitors to "See what people are saying about…". Below the search bar, a cloud of the most popular topics being talked about on Twitter is featured. Oddly, there is a phrase that says "Most popular topics by the minute, day and week"... however, I'm not sure how to narrow them down by those time frames.

Yesterday, Chloe Sladden, director of media partnerships at Twitter, gave a lecture on the future of Twitter. One of the upcoming changes she mentioned was a new homepage that focuses on searching the content of the site. Well, I didn't see it coming so soon! Congrats, Twitter!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Resume was Featured on Scribd.com

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(Above: Click the screenshot above to enlarge and see my resume featured on Scribd.com)

Wow! What a day! I finished a super cool NYTimes project, which is yet to be launched, and my resume was featured on Scribd.com. I'm floating!

P.S. Just found Scribd on Twitter!

Update (03/19/2010): This feature resulted in 3,636 reads, 178 downloads and 6 five-star ratings in a little less than 8 months. (It was published on 07/24/2009).

Twitter for Businesses

Twitter just launched their Twitter 101 Guide for Business. To accompany the new subdomain http://business.twitter.com, the guide is a quick way to get your business up and running on the fastest-growing social network out there. So, give it a shot!

Twitter 101 for Business

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is 41,667% of Daily Recommended Vitamin B12 Dangerous?

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On a monthly basis, my marketing mentor, Kriti, hosts Idea-phile parties. During these parties, she takes us through a free-flowing process that facilitates idea-creation. Must admit, it's pretty amazing.

Along with idea-facilitating activities, she also brings quality snack foods from Kraft (her previous employer) and PepsiCo (her current employer). Most exciting, these snacks are from all around the world!

From Nicaraguan Tang to Chinese Cheetos, I'm always amazed with the variety of snacks. This time, however, I was moved to blog about two particular snacks: Cheetos Horneados and Zipfizz energy drink mix.

First up: Cheetos Horneados... what's going on with this packaging design? These chips are from Chile. Upon seeing the packaging, the Idea-phile party attendees assumed that the food inside must either be "nuts" or "spicy". It certainly must be that eating these Cheetos is dangerous and/or harmful, at least for the male population.

(Turns out Cheetohs Horneados are just regular, cheesy Cheetos shaped like tennis balls and rackets. Interesting right?)

And for the second curiously odd snack food: Zipfizz energy drink mix...

(At first, Zipfizz seems harmless. But take a look at the nutrition facts...)

(41,667% the daily recommended dose of Vitamin B12??? Is that lethal??? Note: Zipfizz is neither a Kraft nor PepsiCo product. It was used for competitive analysis!)

I love you, Kriti, but some of your snack foods are a bit freaky! :-P

McCafe Mocha Mondays at McDonald's: Free Coffee!!!


(Above: NYTimes interns, Naishi and Biff, and I took a quick coffee break with free mochas from McDonald's)

Who doesn't love free stuff? Free things keep me going every day. Today, the freeness just kept coming with McCafe Mocha Mondays at McDonald's. That's Right! Free mochas from McDonald's new McCafe coffee line. Get them while they're hot (or cold)!

The bottom line: Every Monday from July 13 through August 3 2009, participating McDonald’s restaurants will hand out a free sample size of Iced Mocha (7 oz.) or Hot Mocha (8 oz.) between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. Limit one free sample per person, per visit, while supplies last.

Louis Vuitton Advertises in Space Style

(Above: Louis Vuitton takes a new direction with luxury advertising)


(Above: On July 20, 2009, Louis Vuitton advertised with a drop-down ad that read "MEN WALK ON MOON on July 20, 1969. 40 years later, Louis Vuitton is taking you on a Journey Beyond." The ad links to louisvuittonjourneys.com.)

Louis Vuitton is taking a new direction on advertising. With the recent 40th anniversary of putting a man on the moon, Louis Vuitton is taking the opportunity to honor the journeys of three space heroes: Jim Lovell (commander of Apollo XIII), Sally Ride (America's first woman in space) and Buzz Aldrin (the second man to step on the moon).

The website louisvuittonjourneys.com takes viewers on an adventure through the lives and careers of the three space legends, as described by them in a private interview with Louis Vuitton.

It's an interesting take on luxury advertising. Best of all, I love how Louis Vuitton is not directly advertising their products. Instead, they are engaging viewers in conversations with great American legends. What a treat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twitter's Internal Strategy is Compromised

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twitter-confidential

I stepped out of the office for a little bit today and when I returned I found a 40-paged article on my desk, freshly printed and bound with a binder clip. The article, from TechCrunch, was entitled Twitter's Internal Strategy Laid Bare: To Be "The Pulse of the Planet".

Apparently, on Tuesday evening, more than 300 confidential Twitter documents and screenshots were sent to TechCrunch. Skimming through the article, I can't help but think the following:

1.) How can Twitter be so rude to P. Diddy? (@iamdiddy)

2.) Is this really a strategy? And was it written by 10-year-olds? But, then, on the other hand, I'm thinking that Twitter must have a really youthful culture to use such juvenile language in official strategy meetings. Some examples include:

-- Google would kick our ass at finding the good tweet.

-- Twitter should tell me stuff without me searching for that.

-- Getting into bed with Microsoft / Why did we start talking to Microsoft in the first place?

-- We can give people stuff for free but not forever.

3.) Wow. I wonder how the folks at Twitter conned TechCrunch to not publish all 300 confidential documents that were sent to them.

If you haven't skimmed through (or completely devoured) the article yet, please do so now! It's hilarious and a bit enlightening at the same time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Should I Do with Simpson Stamps?

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Just read about the new Simpson family stamps issued by The United States Postal Service this month. Beautiful! Thanks to the NYTimes ArtsBeat blog, I'm timely in learning about them. Although, now that I think about it... I never really send mail anyways.... so I'm not sure what to do... buy a few for my sticker collection? Or send a few postcards to the family back in Arkansas and Ohio? hmmm. It may take me a while to figure out which action I'll be taking, but regardless, I wanted to share the news with the universe.

How many of you out there still use stamps and snailmail?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Becomes the Most Popular Person on Facebook

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According to AllFacebook, the unofficial Facebook resource, yesterday marked the day that Michael Jackson became the most popular person on Facebook, the well-known social networking site that we've all come to depend on. Well, that's in debate, as well.

His Facebook page now has over 7 million fans. As his memorial is in session at this moment, his page has gained thousands of fans within the last few minutes. The page is acting as a virtual memorial for the deceased King of Pop. His MySpace page is not receiving as much responses with just over 614,000 fans, and there doesn't seem to be a reliable Twitter page with regular updates.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

360i Social Marketing Playbook Quiz

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Check out the 360i Social Marketing Playbook. It's a 56-paged full-color guide to social media marketing. This week, 360i, an award-winning digital agency specializing in search, social media, behavioral marketing and digital design and development, is giving away 10 shiny new playbooks. Take their quiz for a chance to win one of the ten guides! I did, and I scored 100%! I even received a certificate of achievement, as pictured below!