Pondstone Communications is pleased to announce that Gary Pomerant has joined the team as our newest Web Developer.

Gary is an experienced programmer involved in the WordPress community. He has written a number of WordPress plugins including the popular [GWA] AutoResponder which, as of this writing, counts over 30,000 downloads!

In addition to enhancing Pondstone’s programming and technical expertise, Gary is immediately engaging with the Tiki (Wiki CMS Groupware) community to establish expertise in Pondstone’s platform of choice for large-scale web sites and online communities.

Pondstone would like to extend their congratulations to Sally Clelford, Tara Shaw and Jenna Norman on 5 years of success and over 500 events planned!

We wish you all the best and continued success!

www.f2fe.com

Face 2 Face Event Management - www.f2ge.com

Pondstone Communications is pleased to announce that Nick Humphrys has joined our team as Operations Manager.

Nick worked as Director of New Media at Creative Digital Media / Creative Post Inc. in Ottawa’s west end for 9 years and was recently Office Manager for Distant Shores Trading Company based in Prescott, ON.  He is also a part-time Projectionist at The Mayfair Theatre.

Nick and Duane (President, Creative Director) have had the opportunity to work together on a few projects over the last decade and are happy to be bringing Nick’s complimentary design style and media expertise to Pondstone’s clients.

In addition to overseeing the daily operations at Pondstone, Nick will be assisting with planning & strategy as well as in the design & implementation of projects.

Chicago-based Ragan Communications launched their totally redesigned web site this morning.  The new version is a huge step up from the previous site, packing a host of Ragan news, videos, conferences, webinars, blogs, and much more into a clean and friendly user experience.

With integrated e-commerce, Like and Retweet links, streaming video, and plenty of Web 2.0 goodness, there’s a lot here for the folks and Ragan to be very, very proud of.

A tip of the hat to the whole team down in the Windy City for a job well done, especially the web programming team who took the new site from concept to concrete in record time!

And while I can’t say that Pondstone had anything to do with that herculean programming effort, I can very proudly say that the site design is 100% Pondstone!

I urge you to check out the new site at http://www.ragan.com.  There’s no better source on the Web for valuable and relevant information for professional communicators, and now there’s no better looking one, either.

Cheers,
Duane

[Reposted from http://www.mike-g.ca/mgxc/growing-your-business-online/]

How do I make use of the Internet to take my business to the next level and start generating revenue?

Just the fact that you may be asking the question, tells me that you’re on the right track. More often than not, folks jump right into building a website, starting a blog, and sending out Tweets without ever thinking about what specifically they are trying to accomplish in doing so.

“That’s simple, I’m trying to grow my business. I need to be on all the social media because my competitors are, and that generates them business.”

Yeah, but how? Did it really help them, or is that just your assumption? And if it did indeed build them up, what were they doing right? What’s your game plan?

Too many business out there are trying to jump in on the latest trends, and think that just simply having a Facebook fan page, LinkedIn profile, and Twitter feed are going to generate them a whole lot more business. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work like that. If you don’t have clear goals (and the right benchmarks to measure those goals against) in place, you’re wasting time and resources.

There is a lot to know, and it’s important to avoid the pitfalls along the way. From website design, to properly implementing and executing a social media strategy, I will be creating posts that are designed to help answer your questions and guide you down the right path so that your business can grow effectively online from the perspective of someone who has been in the game for over 15 years.

Every week, I will be posting a new article on properly planning your strategy, designing your site, and marketing your business through the Internet. I always welcome your comments and questions, and hope that you all find this helpful.

Peace.

Mike G

From the BBC, full post here.

The Pac-Man game Google put on its home page gobbled up almost five million hours of work time, suggests a study.

The playable version of the classic video game was put on Google’s front page on 21 May to celebrate 30 years since the launch of Pac-Man in Japan.

The search giant reworked the game so the layout was arranged around letters forming its name.

The Pac-Man game proved so popular that Google has now made it permanently available on its own page.

Time delay

The statistics on how many people played and for how long were gathered by software firm Rescue Time. It makes time-tracking software that keeps an eye on what workers do and where they go online.

On a typical day, it suggests, most people conduct about 22 searches on the Google page, each one lasting about 11 seconds.

Putting Pac-Man on the page boosted that time by an average of about 36 seconds, the firm said based on the browsing habits of 11,000 Rescue Time users.

The firm believes this is a relatively low figure because only a minority realised that the logo was playable. To play, people had to click on the “insert coin” button which replaced the more familiar “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on 21 and 22 May.

Extrapolating this up across the 504 million unique users who visit the main Google page day-to-day, this represents an increase of 4.8 million hours – equal to about 549 years.

In dollar terms, assuming people are paid $25 (£17.50) an hour, this equates to about $120m in lost productivity, the firm said.

For that money, suggested Rescue Time, it would be possible to hire all Google’s employees and put them to work for about six weeks.

During an interview on Ottawa CBC Radio One with Kathleen Petty and Alistair Steele, the JimWatson.ca, the site for Ottawa mayoral candidate and Pondstone client, Jim Watson, was dubbed the best among all contenders.

Full text of the interview below:

Ottawa CBC Radio One, Kathleen Petty’s show

KP: Alistair Steele’s been looking at the brave new world of online electioneering… So get me back on track here, Alaistair – what did you find out?

AS: Well, Kathleen, I found out that compared to the last election in 2006, there’s been a remarkable upswing in the adoption of new technology, particularly social media sites like the ones that you just mentioned. It’s really quite amazing just how many ways there are now for candidates to reach voters and some of them are making full use of those new tools.

KP: OK, so who gets the most marks for the most impressive site?

AS: Well, I’d say that Jim Watson sets the gold standard here. No surprise, really, given his status, given that he is running for the mayor’s job. His web site is very slick, it’s easy to navigate, it’s uncluttered, it’s topped with a photo that makes him look friendly and approachable, it’s got the simple yet striking grey and red colour scheme. There’s a link to his Flickr page, there’s a slide show where you can see photos of Jim out in the community, there’s a section for campaign news complete with an RSS feed so you can get updates as they come in. You can donate, you can order a sign. And then there are these invitations to follow Jim on Twitter, or you can choose to ‘like’ him on Facebook , and of course there’s a link to YouTube where you can view videos like this one … [clip] … the sound quality’s not great here, which would be about my only complaint about this web site.

For audio of the full interview, go here.

From TIME NewsFeed online, written by Dan Fletcher:

If only there were a social network that allowed me to connect with my friends and post videos online…

A new video posted the Derrick Comedy troupe (a group that includes Community star Donald Glover) pokes fun at the spat of social networking sites that promise “a revolution in the way Web users interact with other users” but really are just knockoffs of Facebook. Their site, dubbed Gink, is no exception: “We took the appeal of Facebook, and added the ability to connect with friends.” Uhhhh.

Maybe my brain’s short-circuited from an inbox clogged with websites all promising the exact same thing, but Gink doesn’t sound that far out there to me. Gink has a currency on the site, dubbed goints. “Users can exchange goints with other users, and in return, they recieve quimbles.” Sure they can! Hey, it makes about as much sense as Foursquare.

And full disclosure: video has some strong language at the end.

The full video can be found here.

Blu Dot Design and Manufacturing, Inc is a Minneapolis-based furniture company founded and operated by three former college friends who shared a passion for art, architecture, and design. The rest of the Blu Dot Story is as follows:

Our goal is to bring good design to as many people as possible.  Which means creating products that are useful, affordable, and desirable.  To make that happen, our design process is founded on collaboration.  Not just among ourselves as we play show-and-tell with concepts, but a total collaboration between pencil and paper, materials and machines, even packaging and assembly.  We like to think that the form is almost inevitable, a by-product of the process.  Our job is simply to help it emerge as beautifully and as efficiently as possible.

The BlueDot Real Good Experiment is a response to the “resourceful culture of ‘curb-mining‘: the act of finding furniture on the street” which the company became aware of after opening a SoHo location. From the experiment’s site:

Now that a year has passed [since the store's opening], our friends at mono approached us with a way to conduct a curb-mining experiment of our own: What would happen if we left a bunch of Real Good Chairs all over New York, free for the take? Who will grab them? Where will they go? How will they get there? What will their new homes look like?

Thus, the  REAL GOOD experiment was born.

The Real Good experiment and accompanying video (Blu Dot Real Good Experiment from Real Good Chair on Vimeo) is a great example of social marketing. All the chairs that were placed around  the city have found good homes, according to the site (and image below).

To continue to follow the chairs, check out the Flickr and Twitter feeds.

-Jessie W.

Here’s a quick compilation of some of the best ads that are sure to make you look twice.

Narrowed down from a list of the seventy best, the below ads show how great design can be used to covey content for a variety of businesses and organizations.

Send a letter.

Eliminate bad breath.

Glassex cleaner.

Highlite.

M&M: Communication Just Got Sweeter.

Mr Hot Pepper

Nothing can replace a tree.

Pepsi Twist.

Porsche.

Pull more.

WMF Knives: Sharper than you think.

WWF: Don’t cut the rainforest.

These are just some of the best ads around. If you know of a list of similar cailibar, please share it in the comments.


- Jessie W.

Pondstone Communications

Pondstone on Twitter

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