Top Instagram Posts of 2016

At the end of every year, I like to rewind and reflect on the year that is coming to an end. Since we are all accustomed to year-end lists, I figured I would populate a list of my most popular Instagram posts of 2016 (based on likes and comments). One of my goals for the year was to take more photos. I’m not sure I shot more, but I was more selective with the photos I did post. So, here we go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year.

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There you go, my top ten Instagram posts of the year. Feel free to follow me on Instagram.

HBO Now Starts a War Between Cable Providers and Cable Networks

Apple and HBO announced the release of a new on-demand service called HBO Now, exclusive to Apple customers. HBO Now is an on-demand service less like HBO Go, but more akin to Netflix. This represents a shift in the cable television content distribution paradigm.

Let’s look at HBO Go for an example. Previously, in order to get on-demand television content, users would have to supply the application or online service with a cable provider login to access the content, both archived content and live content. Now, using this new service, anyone can sign up for the HBO service without having to subscribe to a cable provider.

Unlike the music industry, the television and cable TV industry has been reluctant to achieve consensus on how to provide consumers with on-demand content beyond a cable subscription. Many have speculated the difficulty in achieving a consensus on providing on-demand cable TV content to consumers who are not cable TV subscribers, is not because the content creators (HBO, Showtime, etc.) are reluctant to sell the content, but the cable providers (Comcast, TWC, etc.) are unwilling to shift their business model to an on-demand model.

“Cable providers such as Time Warner Cable, til this point, has been resistant to putting content online because their current setup, in which people pay for a cable package and then an additional $10-20 a month for HBO has been very lucrative”, says Fast Company.

HBONow

The announcement from Apple CEO Tim Cook and HBO CEO Richard Plepler signifies a massive shift and blow to the cable providers. Apple and HBO will be offering HBO content to all Apple device users (Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, etc.) for a nominal monthly fee of $14.99. It’s clear that HBO recognizes Netflix as a competitor and cable providers as a roadblock to success.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQEhY_MJk9M&w=560&h=315]

Implications:

  • Online viewing habits of consumers are shifting the way content creators and providers are distributing content.
  • Even though the on-demand online subscription base for services like Netflix and HBO don’t feature advertisements, there is now a case for product placement within shows.
  • If more services like HBO or Netflix continue make a move into the online space for subscription based, on-demand services, there will be an impact on media within the cable provider ecosystem.

In the end, it will be interesting to see how HBO’s move impacts the cable TV/provider landscape. For too long, there has been a stalemate in the battle for online subscription based networks (HBO) independent of cable subscription (TWC). Both services want to make money, we’ll see who makes it first – at the expense of the other.

The “Value” of Super Bowl Advertisements

Even though Super Bowls can be a bit of a let down, advertisers and brands swarm to get spots for the Super Bowl. Case in point, all of the Super Bowl ad spots were sold out before Thanksgiving this year. This is mainly due to brands wanting to get in front of one of the largest audiences to view television programs. It is predicted this year there will be 100 million people watching the Super Bowl; and at a price tag of $3.5 million dollars for a 30 second spot, it may seem like a deal. However, I’m not sure that the brands truly recognize the value of the spots or the return they may, or may not get from them.

>> Read more at Experience Matters…

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Bitmap

A digital mosaic of beats.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Bitmap Here

Or, you can listen to Bitmap here:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/33485130″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff00b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

#SXSW 2012: Move Beyond the Check-In: Making Events Truly Social

A while back, I first viewed Amon Tobin’s new stage for his ISAM tour. It was an illuminating and innovative experience to view online. Yes, I am going to see him when he comes to Chicago in October to experience the projection mapping for myself. Yet, when I viewed it, I knew that it was so powerful and could not go unnoticed. I tweeted the video and got some amazing responses. One of the responses was from @mrrylln from our London office. This guy, is an amazing creative and witnessed the show himself out in the UK. He brought an amazing idea to the table. It was simple, how can you integrate social into something like that? Well, that got me thinking.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/26057973 w=400&h=225]

I wasn’t just thinking about projection mapping and social media, but events and social media with innovative technologies. We are reaching a period where users are starting to engage themselves with brands and locations rather than the other way around. How do we tap into that advocate power being marketers? These users who are checking into venues and are leaving comments about the experiences and by extension, building brand awareness for us.

Now, my question is, how do we take that check-in and make it worth something to the consumer? Well, it has to be valuable to the consumer, it has to be innovative to leave a mark, and it has to be engaging. I think that we have become pigeonholed into the simple check-in in social media. Check in here, then you get this. Incentive based check-ins have their place in the social ecosystem, but not to the point of consumer retention.

Another question is, can you buy friends, can you buy loyalty? The answer is no, you cannot buy loyalty. Loyalty, like trust, has to be earned and brands are not exempt from that. So, let’s push this forward a bit. Let’s move beyond the check-in and beyond a simple incentive.

Real-time engagement is the key; real-time engagement through innovative technologies. Let’s think of a concert. There is a band on stage and you have checked into the venue and that’s about it. You told your friends, both online and offline that you are there. Where is the engagement by the band? Perhaps they have a tweet to screen or a photo-to-screen technology set up? What if the band allowed you to vote during the show, via LBS, what the set-line up should be? And, what if, after the show, those who participated got the concert for free as a download? What if then, the band asked you to rate the show and share your experience or if the set line up worked? Or, what if the same type of line up occurred in Europe, from others voting and the band let you know after the fact? This is the type of real-time engagement I’m talking about here; taking the check-in by a consumer and doing something with it.

Recently, Foursquare announced they are offering event check-ins along with their location check-ins. Instead of checking into a concert venue, you are checking into the concert itself. This change was created by Foursquare after they observed all the check-ins by their users and noticed they were commenting on the event and not the location. This idea is brilliant and the next level of where event based social needs to go.

I submitted a SxSW panel topic called, Move Beyond the Check-in: Making Events Truly Social. This is line of thinking is what I will, hopefully, be presenting at SxSW 2012. I will be exploring new trends, technologies, consumer behaviors and ideas in event based marketing.

This is the new frontier. We, as marketers, need to take this relationship that the consumers form with the brands, onsite to online. We, as marketers, need to engage these consumers on behalf of the brand in innovative ways through technologies that offer value and excitement to the consumer. We, as marketers, need to retain the consumer long after the event is over. These consumers who are checking into events are the advocates that all brands are looking for, and we need to welcome them with open arms into the social community.

I have some wonderfully smart and creative people joining me on this panel from all over the industry. Vice President of Social Media, Heidi Skinner from Critical Mass will offer her unique insights into consumer loyalties and new technologies. Chief Creative Officer, Joe Sutter from GMR Marketing will bring his unparalleled experience in event-based marketing to the panel. And, Siobhan Quinn who is one of the original Product Managers at Forusquare. Her experience in location-based service is unquestionable.

Here comes the shameless plug. Please read my panel entry and vote for me to speak at SxSW. I firmly believe event-based social is the new frontier for marketers and the new way to interact with consumers. (Also, if you do vote for me, thank you!)

PS: A few others from Critical Mass have also submitted entries to SxSW and I invite you to check them out.

For the Chatty Community Managers:
Confessions of a Community Moderator
Workshop and interactive “confessional booth” including moderators for Converse, Peanuts, Humana and Aveda.

For the Statistically-Relevant and Uber-Accountable:
F**k Privacy: Neuromarketing is the Web’s Future
Panel, led by CM’s VP of Marketing Science, Shaina Boone, with contributions from the Chief Privacy Officer of Adobe and CEO of Next Stage Revolution.

For a Brand’s Strategic Moneymakers:
Social Commerce: The New Standard of Loyalty
Dual presentation from CM’s VP of Social Media, Heidi Skinner, and Social Commerce Today editor, Paul Mardsen.

For the Gadget Gods and Goddesses:
Consumer Goods: The Next Social Channels
Panel, prototyping contest and demo led by CM’s SVP Executive Technology Director, Scott Ross.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Stars

Don’t look to the skies for your path, look inward. The heavens may be full of stars, but remember, we’re all stars.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Stars Here

Or, you can listen to Stars here:
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/18403558″ params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff00b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

Son of Erik Mixtape Release: Synthesized Society

Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the web, but at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history. Is this a synthesized society? Listen and tell me.

I have provided a link for you (at the bottom of this post) to download the mixtape. (If you would like it split into tracks, let me know, and I’ll provide.)

Download Synthesized Society Here

These mixes are not intended for sale or reproduction. Son of Erik does not and will not receive any proceeds from the production of these mixes. Please respect the copyright of the original artists that have been listed.

I Will Be Attending @SXSW Interactive

Big news! I’m heading to SXSWi next Friday and yes, I can barely contain my excitement. I will be there from the 11th-15th learning some new practices, introduced to new start-ups, engaging with technology, and hopefully meeting some amazing people. This will be my first time going to SXSW and my first time visiting Austin, TX.

I will be traveling with some coworkers from Critical Mass and we’re going to paint the town, intellectually speaking of course. Some of the sessions that I’m going to be focusing on are “Branding/Marketing” and “Social Graph.” It fits, right? I mean, I work in social media with a secondary passion in branding. (It’s going to be awesome!)

This event requires a lot of prep work. For starters, the schedule of sessions and events is large and full of, what sounds like, amazing content and lecturers. As I complied my schedule for the 5 days that will be down there, I came to realize that there is no possible way I can attend all the sessions. I had to be selective with the sessions I wanted, weigh the pros and cons, realize I can’t be in two places at once, so I had to choose the best session of the time. And it’s because of that, I believe this will be an extraordinary experience.

Another aspect of prep work that is requiring a lot of diligence is the travel. Yes, my flight and hotel are all taken care of, but when it comes to traveling in the Austin area, that may prove to be a bit more difficult. I found a shuttle service that runs from my hotel to the convention center. I think that might be the winner there. If that falls through, there are always cabs, right?

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about how I love working with and being around smart people. Here we go again and I can’t be more psyched! Not only am I heading down with some of the most talented and intelligent coworkers I’ve had the pleasure to work with, but we’re all going down to meet and learn from some of the most engaging and intelligent people from the nation and around the world.

So, what do I hope to take away from SXSWi? Well, I hope to learn more about social media and branding so I can bring that back that knowledge back to the team here in Chicago. I also hope to make industry connections, share my experiences, learn from others’ experiences, and overload my brain with knowledge and insights. The way I look at it, the more I learn and the more people I meet at SXSWi, the more I can offer my clients and Critical Mass. Professional development is something I don’t take lightly and it’s an ongoing process.

And then, there is the “fun” part of SXSW; the parties. I think I have triple booked myself for all of the evening parties. I don’t think that’s going to be a big deal. After all, my first priority is to learn down there and my last one is to rage it up all night. I’m thinking that I’m going to take the parties as they come and call an “audible” on the ground as they are not high priority in my book. However, I really want to attend the Mashable House — I heard that’s a killer party.

I depart for Austin on Friday and as I said before, I’ll be there until the following Wednesday. You can follow my travels and learnings by reading my tweets: @ebreakdown, following this hashtag: #cmsxsw, or by reading the blog: ebreakdown. Honestly, I probably will be tweeting more than blogging down there just because of time constraints. If you have any suggestions for enhancing my SXSW experience, I’m welcome to them! Also, if you are going to be down there and want to meet up, shoot me a tweet — we’ll make it happen.

A Shift in Culture

I remember writing something on Twitter a few weeks ago regarding the idea that people no longer to go coffee shops for coffee, as we did in the last decade or even the one before, but to go now for WIFI. This statement has made me wonder, what is different now from years before? How has our culture evolved? How has our day-to-day lives changed?

One example would be how we search for things. Remember back in the day when we would have to use the Yellow Pages to find business or people? Or even more recently when we would use search engines through the computer? No longer do we have to open a book or even turn our computer on, we can search in the palm of our hands with portable devices. Various applications allow us on our phones, to find what we are looking for almost immediately. I mean, even the mere idea of having applications on a phone is a relatively new concept. Ten years ago, I had a phone that could only send/receive calls and, what was at the time something new, text messages. We use our phones not to call anymore, but as a mobile computer.

Speaking of mobile computers, we are now in a time when you no longer have to wait to get to the office or go home, we simply pull our computer out of our bag, hop on to some WIFI and go. I’m not saying that laptops were not around 10 years ago, but they definitely weren’t as prevalent and certainly were not the primary computer that people used. We even use them to give presentations and pitches to clients. Our very nature is now becoming mobile.

Facebook.com

Twitter and Facebook were not the first, by a long shot, social networking platforms around. However, their ability to adapt to the ever-changing online environment, has kept them around. It used to be that we would ask someone for their number, call them or even text them. Now, we “Facebook” them or follow them on Twitter. Even businesses are adopting the social media trend. Promoting themselves through social media sites, advertising their services or products by “tweeting,” and interacting with their demographic in the first person. Social media is changing the way we buy things, learn about things and even meet people. I’ll even go as far as to say that psychologically, we believe that the online presence of a person and/or business is actually who they are. We don’t think of their page as a page, but as the person themselves.

And while we’re on the topic of online environments, who goes to a record store anymore? Do you know of any around still? Who uses CD players? It’s all iPods, mobile phones, laptops and streaming. The advent of the digital medium and the unlimited access to any song anywhere on the web has changed the way we buy and listen to music. I’m even thinking of ripping all my old CD’s to MP3 and selling them off.

So, what’s next? What are we as a culture going to shift to? We already see it happening. Augmented Reality is creeping into our culture slowly, but surely. Google has released a statement saying they’re going to customize billboard advertisements in their Street Map application and change the way we advertise. Ford is unveiling a car with applications on the dash. We have a vague idea of what is around the corner, however, all that we can really plan for is that we don’t know how society is going to change, but it is an exciting time to be alive.

Where do you see us heading next?

Music: Cities in Dust – Junkie XL

At the moment, this is my favorite track. A cover of the original 1986 version by Siouxsie & The Banshees, this track has established a level of energy that is perfect for the 21st Century. Perfectly produced with highs and lows, heavy synth and kickin bass, Junkie XL’s version gets your heart racing for any upcoming event. (It’s also perfect for a Monday morning!)

(If the player doesn’t open, try this link: Junkie XL – Cities in Dust)

[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/ceesa/cities-in-dust-junkie-xl” params=”show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ff04b5″ width=”100%” height=”81″ ]