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Infographics: An Infographic

Infographic from The Huffington Post

The first infographic I read was on the subject of crowdsourcing. I was entertained and informed. I also felt that this was a clever and creative way to present statistics and other information.

In my search to discover the origins of the modern infographic I learned from Wikipedia that the first infographic was a cave painting… right… helpful.

From my own observations then, these [modern] infographics are enjoying a surge in popularity. They seem to have started more poster-like and I’ve seen interactive (flash) infographics but my personal favorites are the long graphics that tell a story as the user scrolls (and scrolling is the only input required of the user). I find them a great showcase of the graphic designer’s talent and the most digestible presentation of the information.

Business and charities are now putting out infographics to sell or promote their product or cause with facts as an alternative to conventional advertising:

Here are a couple of sites that feature collections of entertaining and informative infographics, but be warned, you could spend a lot of time on these sites:

Have a favorite infographic or collection? Please comment.

I was driving home the other day when I saw a sign by the side of the road. A number of them actually, similar to lawn signs you see around election-time. Spaced about 20 metres apart, they looked identical but they didn’t have a single word on them. They were simply large QR codes.

According to Wikipedia, QR (Quick Response) codes have been around since 1994 when they were invented by a subsidiary of Toyota to track vehicles during the manufacturing process.

More recently, with the rise in popularity of Smartphones equipped with QR code readers, they have been popping up in all sorts of print communications from newspapers and magazine ads to movie posters and Government of Ontario public awareness campaign materials.

This QR code redirects to EDC's 2010 Annual Report website

This QR code redirects to EDC's 2010 Annual Report website

Although QR codes can store a variety of information, they are most commonly used to redirect a user’s Smartphone to a (hopefully) mobile-optimized website or micro-site specific to the topic or campaign. Last year, Best Buy added QRs to their in-store product tags. Earlier this year, Pondstone used QR codes on Export Development Canada’s 2010 Annual Report to direct users to the Annual Report website we created.

Not only do QR codes provide a means of presenting targeted content to an audience already expressing interest in your message, but analytics can provide you with feedback on the level of engagement you are achieving with your campaign.

In Ontario, there is a law that prohibits the use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle, so I have no idea what content the creators of the roadside posters wanted to share with me. QR codes, used properly, can be a highly effective way of sharing information but since my query is on a high-speed road with no stopping I’ll have to enlist the help of a passenger if I am to solve the mystery of this message.

Thanks for reading and drive safe.

[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

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.

Wednesdays, as we all know, can be a bit of a drag: halfway through the week, yet not quite time to celebrate weekend bliss. So here are five site I’ve complied using Stumble Upon (which in itself is a great way to get through the week) to entertain, distract, amuse, divert, engross and other like synonyms.

1.) OK GO: Having posted on the genius that is OK GO before, I’ll keep this run-down brief: the band who arguably made YouTube with their 2005 video for “A Million Ways,” is back with a an outrageously complicated Rube Goldberg machine-inspired video.  According to Wired, the man behind the machine Rube Goldberg, or  Health Robinson contraptions if you’re English, became famous for designing and building “fanciful, bizarrely complex, jury-rigged contraptions to accomplish simple tasks.” OK GO released the Rube Goldberg video for “This To Shall Pass” a few weeks ago and the video features a massive machine whose parts drop, twist, crash and break in a perfect, unbroken harmony to the nearly four-minute video. The video, created by a Los Angeles arts and technology collective Syyn Labs, took months to build with the help of sixty volunteers and two days to film, is explained: here. (Parts two, three and four.)

Follow them on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook; OK GO is a band that knows social media and how to use it well by not only  generating the content, but also engaging their fans so they will keep coming back, again and again and again.

2.) Billboard Ads: From Best Design Options, the 35 best billboard and related advertisements. My personal favourite:

Cool Billboard Ads - Bic From Best Design Options: “Bic developed this creative outdoor advertisement for their razors.   The billboard is blank except for a small logo, but without it the advertisement might be missed and it acts as a good backdrop for the giant razor and cut grass.  The only draw back is the constant trimming of the lawn.” The other 34 ads can be found: here.

3.) Create your own Jackson Pollock: Love the art but can’t afford the price tag? Then this online DIY project is perfect. Go: here and click enter to create your own abstract impressionism.

Enter Jackson Pollock.org

4.) Wisdom Bits: Music, as they say, is the great communicator. Check out Wisdom Bits here for “nubbins of wisdom from everlasting songmavens”.  Here you can find the best snippets of wisdom from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”

5.) This last one was intended to be a link to the cheesy, yet endearing Love Letters project, but then I clicked ‘Stumble! and this sink turned up instead. (Don’t let that exclamation mark deceive you; Stumble! is one of the few instances I think an exclamation mark is justified.)

The concrete sink shaped as a fossil is from HighTech. The fossil is an ammonite, an “extinct species of cephalopods which lived in the sea about 400 million years ago. Their shells are found all over the world and they are very much sought-after by fossil-hunters, their value depending on size and the state of preservation. The fascinating shape of ammonite fossils, which resembles a rolled up helix, is the basic design element in the new HighTech wash basin.”

Amazing. Awesome, and another reason Stumble Upon is so addictive.

So, do you Stumble!? If so, what are the best links you’ve Stumbled upon lately?

If you don’t use Stumble Upon, do you use a different/similar tool?

– Jessie W.

From Mashable.com (original story here).

facebook farmville block hate how to

The Facebook-platform game FarmVille has 80 million players. It’s been named social networking game of the year. It’s played by people young and old. It’s bigger than Twitter. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
The game optionally advertises itself by sending out news feed updates to your friends whenever you accomplish a milestone with your farm or character. When you have lots of friends playing FarmVille, those updates can be ubiquitous enough to drive you a little crazy.
Here we’ll save your sanity by showing you how to hide all those FarmVille news feed updates and notifications without burning any bridges with your passionate social gamer friends.

Hiding Friends’ FarmVille News Feed Updates

facebook farmville hate how to updates news feed status

This task is simple. Any time you see a FarmVille update in your news feed, move the mouse cursor to the right of the update and a “Hide” button will appear as seen above. Click on it.

facebook hide farmville block updates from news feed how to

As illustrated above, you’ll then be given the choice to either hide that friend or just the FarmVille app. Since you probably want to keep seeing your friend’s updates (we hope), click “Hide FarmVille.”  This will hide FarmVille news feed posts from all your friends, not just the one who published that particular update.

block blocking farmville notifications updates news feed facebook updates

Sometimes friends will send you notifications inviting you to join them in FarmVille or other games. These can be annoying if you’re not interested in playing. The easiest way to take care of this is to click the “x” next to the notification when you receive to block the FarmVille application.

But if you want to do this preemptively without waiting for another notification, just search for the FarmVille application using the Facebook search bar, go to the application page, and look for the “Block Application” link directly below the application image. We’ve included a pic above so you’ll know what you’re looking for.

Clicking that and confirming will prevent FarmVille from accessing your information or sending you notifications, but it won’t hide news feed updates from friends.

Facebook is an effective means of communicating with your current and potential members and supporters both for company or a campaign.

For an excellent example of effective use of Facebook, check out Jim Watson’s Facebook page here, Ottawa’s mayoral candidate Jim Watson. As clients of ours, Pondstone coaches campaigns on what to say, when to say it, and how to properly say it.  As Facebook expands, keep your company in the news without overexposure or bothering your base.

– Jessie W.

toilet blog Yes, the day has come that large US companies are now paying people to blog about going ‘number 2’. In fact, its a pretty good gig if you can get over the fact that you have to write about your bowel movements for the whole world to read.

$10,000.00 for 5 weeks, in NYC. Yup, $10,000.00.

Read the ad for yourself:

charmin toilet blogging text

Still don’t believe me? Click here.

Enjoy

-Adam M.

Studios clamp down on Twitter

Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz forbidden to tweet about details of fourth Shrek film?

Published on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 12:28PM EDTLast updated on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 2:20PM EDT

Hollywood studios, fearing loss of revenue or premature leaking of confidential details, are inserting language in contracts that prohibits staff – even big-name stars – from using social-networking services such as Twitter to disclose details of projects.

Film stars Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz are lined up for a fourth Shrekmovie, set to appear next year. While it would be natural to expect that their contracts would forbid them from revealing plot details via Twitter or Facebook, some Internet sources, including imdb.com and mashable.com, have suggested that the stars have been forbidden to use Twitter at all.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/studios-clamp-down-on-twitter/article1329379/

Best (and strangest) YouTube commercials I could find in 30 minutes

Best YouTube commercials I could find in 30 minutes

I’m not sure if I’ve posted this particular commercial before on our blog but it is one of my all time favourites. Enjoy.

A 2007 campaign ad by Wilkinson Sword razors makes guys’ skin as soft as babies, The battle between man and their baby. Now, man can finally win back their wife! To get their wife back, there is no choice but to fight. Fight for Kisses.

Get a new ringtone.

Probably best that I don’t comment on this one…

Why go on a date when you can stay at home and eat chocolate?

Dentiste’ –  for killer bad breath. Can anyone guess which country this commercial was made for?

Purity orange juice. Hmmm…

Maybe it’s because I have a sore throat, but I really want a Halls every time I watch this.

The UK’s Royal Mail turn to a dancing cat to push their customisable stamps.

Sony Twilight Football is a global event which takes place on 22nd September 2009. 7 twilight matches will be taking place at stunning, specially chosen locations in: Italy, France, the UK, Spain, Argentina and Australia, with the Twilight Football grand final happening in South Africa, the host for the 2010 World Cup. See more at:http://www.twilightfootball.net/

IBM’s viral attempt to push their Thinkpads.

Social media is gaining popularity among advertisers during the recession.  Businesses are looking for a more cost effective way to reach out to consumers during the recession.

social-media

As advertising dollars grow ever more scarce, companies have been forced to rethink how they reach consumers and have moved away from the traditional 30-second spot to the kinds of targeted, Internet-driven marketing campaigns that have been talked about for years.

The thinking among these media executives is that advances in technology is enabling them to build more detailed profiles of consumers — which can then either be sold as a commodity or employed in their own marketing campaigns.

Next-generation advertising will be driven by the tastes and habits of 14 to 24 year-old “millennials” whose lives center on social networks and Internet-enabled handsets.

A more effective way of reaching these young folks … is to use their social networks as influencers, rather than bombarding them with ads.

full article

Pondstone Communications

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