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Original articles from Brett Moneta.
Selling Memorial Day with Social Media
Branding is always tricky. Online branding even more so. So when it comes to messaging certain subjects, smart online marketers usually stay far away from the delicate ones.

Selling Memorial Day with Social Media
Branding is always tricky. Online branding even more so. So when it comes to messaging certain subjects, smart online marketers usually stay far away from the delicate ones.

It’s Impossible to Build the Perfect Website
Okay. Maybe it’s not IMPOSSIBLE, but it’s very, very, very difficult. First, let me preface this by saying I am not a programmer. I do, however, have some experience working with HTML and several CMS systems, so I understand the general mindset of a programmer — not to mention the fact that I’ve worked with several very smart ones. I also understand that the general expectations of us creative folks — information architecture, usability, content...

Is Your Facebook Info Public? Ask a Marine.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what you say can and will be held against you. Especially if you say it in a public forum: Twitter, message boards, a blog, and yes, even Facebook. In recent news, a marine faces a reduction in rank and administrative discharge for posting anti-Obama comments on his Facebook page.

Will Geolocation Be As Big As Facebook?
Regardless of the privacy, paranoia, and stalker issues, geolocation apps aren’t going anywhere. As a matter of fact, they’re getting more invasive — or better, depending on how you look at it. And to drive the point home, it was also one of the bigger noises coming out of SXSW (The South By Southwest Interactive Conference for those of you not in the know — that should be no one reading this.) Here are some of the latest and most popular geolocation apps coming out of SXSW.

The Transition to Digital: It's Not Over
After working in the digital world for 16 years, I realize every now and then that I take some things for granted. One of those things is that everyone has finally embraced digital as the new standard medium. They haven’t. Of course, I also thought this in 2007, when I went to a big agency.

The Privacy Backlash is Coming
Here’s a list of information that’s readily available to anyone about you on the Internet. Scared yet? They say privacy is gone — and maybe they’re right. But let’s be clear. We gave it up. Literally. We posted our thoughts, feelings, photos, birthdays, and more. Sure, we complained and whined along the way. Sometimes we even fought to keep our right to privacy. But let’s face it: we didn’t fight very hard. What if I walked up to you as a complete stranger and gave you all of the intimate details of my life? If I then said, "Don't share this with anyone else."

Why Cyber Monday 2011 was the Biggest Online Shopping Day in History
I could go on and on about how online spending is going up. And how important days like Cyber Monday actually is to the online community and its future. I could talk about how retailers are piling on the bandwagon and how there’s a cyber deal for every brick-and-mortar deal, but I think the following statement says it all: Cyber Monday 2011 was the biggest online spending day in history.

Twitter is the New Sound Bite
This morning, as I always do, I turned on the TV in the background as I got ready. A report came on that caught my ear. “Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are splitting up,” it announced. While I’m a big fan of Demi Moore from years ago, I’m not exactly a celebrity news junkie. It's comparable to a car wreck on the highway. Everyone stops to watch, even though they know what they’ll see. Anyhow, the interesting part about it was that there were no “real” statements from either person.

Are Hackers Good or Bad?
I’ve always been intrigued by hackers. Maybe I’ve seen one too many movies — from Hackers and The Net to Gamer and Tron: Legacy. But what can I say? They’re fun escapism. And in virtually every one of them, a hacker plays a good guy. So naturally, I‘ve assumed most hackers have noble motives. Let’s take a look. First, hackers can generally fit into three basic categories.

Don't Blame Netflix
I'm going out on a limb here, but this whole Netflix mess? It's not Reed Hastings' or his company's fault. It's bigger than that. But let's take a look at how we got here. A few years ago, I saw an interview of Reed Hastings and I thought he was a visionary. He grew his business organically, providing a service for a reasonable price.

Will Republicans Finally Embrace Social Media in 2012?
The most potentially far-reaching, open, and possibly the most powerful mass medium of all time took the longest for politicians to adopt; over 16 years. Why is that? I suppose you could say it was the most complicated and slowest to reach critical mass. But why doesn’t someone like Bill Clinton jump on AOL for a chat with 10 million of his closest friends?

What the Hashtag?
They’ve crept up everywhere. Sometimes they’re not even where they’re supposed to be. Some say they’re overused and others love them. Regardless of whether you like them or not, they baffle a lot of people. And as a result, I think they’re starting to get out of control. They’re hashtags. Here’s Twitter’s definition of the term "hashtag": The “#” symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.

Why Facebook Is Like Your Crazy Ex
A few days ago, Talent Zoo’s Miranda Miller posted a great article about why we should call BS on Facebook’s response to a recent post by a hacker called Nik Cubrilovic. Our buddy Nik offered some interesting information: Facebook is sucking in data from us users. Miranda warned us, but we probably won’t listen. It's a complex relationship. She wouldn't understand. Facebook loves us.

Is Google a Monopoly?
At first glance, it seems really obvious: Google is a monopoly. The company OWNS search. I mean, it literally owns search. When you look for something online, most people call it “Googling.” It’s in the dictionary for Pete’s sake (whoever he is). Now, if you don’t call that ownership, I’m not sure what is. For every 100 searchers, 65 people go to Google.

5 Things To Do When Your Website Experiences a Mad Online Shopping Rush
It’s not really new, but it’s still an interesting phenomenon. A site advertises a popular product or amazing prices, and suddenly, everyone goes crazy. News outlets get wind of it, bloggers report on it, Twitter trends up and message boards light up like pinball machines. And who’s caught the most unprepared? Ironically, that part is played by the original seller. Last month, HP had a fire sale on its TouchPad tablet. The sale announcement happened out of the blue. HP thought it was getting rid of unwanted products.

Online Fantasy Football: A Billion Dollar Business?
So there I was, planning my fantasy football lineup for the coming week. I turned to my friend, a programmer, and told him, I need a blog topic. Any ideas? His response was simple, but brilliant: “How about fantasy football?” Amazing. I love the obvious, especially when you’re so close to something that has fundamentally changed the way you do things and you don’t even see it.

WebOS: Lessons of an Orphan Fanboy
I have mentioned more than once that I am/was a Palm homer. While I’m not quite a fanboy, I certainly love the multitasking ability of WebOS. Okay. I might be a fanboy. But I don’t troll! Though its hardware and marketing have created their own issues, it simply can’t be beat when it comes to multitasking. To their credit, Android and iOS are trying.

Guns Don't Kill People, Social Media Does
Is social media dangerous? According to many government bodies that have been threatened by it, the answer is a resounding yes. Let’s take a look at the recent unrest that social media has been attributed to. Egypt: Sources like Wired say that Facebook and Twitter were not only the spark, but the fuel that helped the revolution there spread like wildfire.

Faking Your Followers on Twitter? Just Say No.
Lying about your Twitter followers? You’re only lying to yourself. About a week ago, Republican political candidate Newt Gingrich was heard bragging that he had more Twitter followers than all other candidates combined. His followers numbered over a million. Candidates like Michele Bachmann had around 60 to 70 thousand.

Your Favorite Websites: Where Are They Now?
A few days ago, I stumbled upon a site called foopets.com. It was a site where you adopted a “virtual pet” — a dog or cat that you could feed, play with and generally take care of. The problem: I hadn’t visited the site in about a year and a half.

Social Media Causes Good Things to Happen
I’ve heard more than one person say that social media is, at best, a diversion. At worst, they say it’s flat out a waste of time. They point to viral videos on YouTube, where people spend hours glued to the screen watching bad comedy and home videos. On much of this, the cynical marketing guy in me completely agrees. I mean, sure, social media can make people famous, but it can’t really do any good, can it?

Your Virtual Keyboard Sucks!
Last year, before the the iPad existed, I had a pretty heated argument about something we all take for granted: keyboards. Let’s ignore the idiocy of having an argument over a subject as mundane as keyboards, for a moment, and get some useful exposition: I’m an avid WebOS user, born of Palm devices dating back to the Palm m505 and Treo. Today, I have my Palm Pre or HP Pre, and won’t give it up (regardless of hardware).

Pandora Takes Its Media Social
Most Internet startups begin like a 30,000-dollar millionaire. If you’ve never heard the term, we used to use it in Dallas to describe someone who owns a BMW and nice apartment but can barely get by. You try to look impressive in the hopes that people (like Microsoft) buy into it. Pandora came out more like a small mom-and-pop business.

A Message to Web Censors: Give it Up
The Web is a beautiful thing. The only thing I can think to compare it to is the universe itself. It’s always growing; expanding. And just when we think we’ve begun to understand it, a new paradigm turns our understanding of it upside down. But most importantly (or at least for this comparison), no matter how much we try to wrangle, corral, or otherwise control it, we always fail.

An Online Entertainment Renaissance is Coming
What would you say the top five American exports to the rest of the world are? Grain and food, sure. But then what? How about entertainment? Yes, believe it or not, entertainment has been one of the biggest American exports since sometime after the Cold War ended. American movies, music, and video games have covered the world with our ideals, ideas, and culture.

Have Electronic Signatures Replaced Your John Hancock?
There’s a basic question that we all gloss over about written electronic communications. It’s a question that’s so profound, Plato might ponder it for years if he were alive today. And if we really did question it, who knows? We might be shocked at what we found. How do we know who we’re really talking to? I remember sending my first few emails. I remember calling that person later and actually asking: “Did you get my email? Tell me what it said.”

Texting Slowing, Email Growing?
Technology, right now, is a lot like world affairs. There are always wars happening somewhere. At the moment, it seems everyone is focusing on the mobile communications wars: AT&T vs Verizon, iOS vs Android vs WebOS vs RIM, Tablets. Vs. PCs, and more. Who will win, if anyone? Who knows. But it's certain that a lot of eyes are focused there. While all of this is going on, there’s another war happening that is likely to shape all of the battles mentioned above.

Is Social Media Ruining or Improving the News?
By now, even my grandmother realizes that the news is changing, even though she’s never owned a computer. If it’s not the format or content of the news, it’s the sheer abundance. But just like most of the great things this new age is ushering in, there are also some downfalls, without which the “truth” may suffer. I remember a time when news came from a single source: TV.

Why Can’t You Find a Place to Store Your MP3s?
Portable device storage is going the way of the dinosaurs, and it has absolutely nothing to do with how fast your device is. We’ve got so many videos and mp3s (or m4ps, if you’re on iTunes) that our 4mb and 8mb media players, smartphones, and fancy new tablets simply can’t keep up, even though they still work.

Bin Laden is Dead and So Is TV
Something really interesting happened to me last Monday night at around 10:30pm. I was watching a program I’d DVRed a few days earlier and my wife came into the room. “The president is about to make an announcement. I think they got bin Laden,” she said. But that wasn’t the interesting thing.

Mobile and Angry Birds: If You Build It, They Will Come
Ever since the iPhone helped the mobile world hit critical mass, online advertisers have been hitting the testing trail trying to see how they can get the most money. Many have tried to use the native apps, but the most successful model can be explained with just two words: Angry Birds. That’s right, my friends. All you budding programmers can now make a living, and not by the paltry .99 cents Apple has tricked you into charging. You can make money just by having a fun mobile app, and you can give it away!

Online, You Don’t Own Your Brand
The advent of the web and all of its complexities has enabled us to learn many things about branding. Much of what we know has come from the ability to monitor the consumer conversation in real time. Now, we can see what our consumers are saying about us as soon as we start a campaign. It’s a pretty cool thing. But there’s something else that has fundamentally changed; something we refuse to admit. Something that has always been a reality but is now such a basic truth that we have to acknowledge it as a reality.

Social Media Is Forever
Okay. I’m only going to say this one time. SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOREVER. Now let that sink in. FOREVER. You might be thinking, “No, it isn’t. Human beings won’t even be around forever." Okay, so I’m trying to prove a point here. My point, dear reader, is that human beings have an extremely short-term memory. And unless we force an idea, however willingly, into our thick skulls, we tend to forget the consequences of our actions.

5 Excuses to Tweet at Work
There are so many people who don’t understand Twitter. I know a few myself. In fact, they’re even in the advertising PR industry. They see it, but they just don’t get it. If your boss or a nosy but uneducated coworker comes by and calls you a slacker, here are a few responses you can use…and they’ll even be true.

Web 3.0: The Search for Better Jargon
It’s been around for a few years, but I had thus far had the fortuity to ignore it. Then one day it finally appeared with smug self-satisfaction, screaming its name into my psyche with mind-numbing, boastful pride. And there it was, sitting in front of me. Had I known it was coming, I would have made like a see-no-evil monkey and covered my eyes tightly. Web 3.0. Seriously? Honestly, how long did it take professionals to overuse the term 2.0? About five minutes? They couldn’t describe it, nor could they explain it. As one blogger recently put it, “It’s like pornography. You know it when you see it.“

The Worst Kind of Discrimination in America
In this world of over-politically-correct hype, how could there be discrimination against anyone or anything? I mean, we’ve got laws everywhere and watchdog groups to make sure they’re being followed. So what’s left? Internet users. Awfully big group, you say. Isn’t that most of America? I’d have to agree with you there, but it’s happening, nonetheless. It’s a little issue most people call Net Neutrality.

Take Your Top Down...Navigation-Wise.
How do you build your website's navigation? A few days ago, while working on an Intranet project, I came across an interesting philosophy. There are two different ways, and neither is right. Choose one anyway. I’m sure there’s some sort of Keirsey Personality Test that explains what kind of person you are now.

Less Is More, But It's Also Harder: A Guide to Web and Mobile Content
Regardless of how cool your site looks or how fast it loads, content is still king. The funny thing is that, with every waking moment, the room for content is decreasing. Readable or not, mobile browsing is the future, so you and your reading glasses better get used to it.

There's An App For That, and It's On TV
While the rest of us have been over–fixating on the mobile web, iPhone, tablets, and the applications they all have, a huge boon has gone unnoticed. In fact, it’s a web-based product that I would call the best-kept secret in the industry. What’s the impact of this new product? Over a BILLION devices are expected to be in commission by 2015.

The Internet in 3D
Remember CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, that happened way back in January? Okay, so it wasn’t that long ago. Anyhow, they came out with all of those cool new gadgets. You can jump onto your favorite fanboy bandwagon and say that your favorite brand had the coolest product, but there was one feature that was included in several products and brands: Three-Dee.


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