Social Media and the #2012Election

Technology

Over the past few years, the number of people engaging with social media has gone through the roof, and the different ways people utilize social networking platforms continues to evolve. So when election season rolled around it was no surprise that candidates, as well as the public, started taking to Twitter and Facebook to campaign and voice their opinions. Just this week, Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention reportedly “broke twitter” by driving a record 28,003 tweets-per-minute, and that’s just a small portion of the 3 million tweets that were sent out that night surrounding the convention.

The Wall Street Journal caught up with Adam Sharp, Twitter’s director of government, news and social innovation, at the Republican National Convention (RNC) to talk more about this trend, what some are calling the “first social campaign.”

Adam reveals what we all probably already knew: Twitter’s user engagement has grown exponentially over the past few years; however I still couldn’t help but find the statistics he shares surrounding this year’s RNC in relation to the 2008 election fascinating:

  • More people sent out tweets about the Republican Convention in a single day this year than there were tweets about the entire 2008 election
  • Today, more tweets are sent out every 2 days than had ever been sent out prior to 2008
  • There were 1.8 million tweets sent out on election day in 2008 – today, 1.8 million tweets are sent out every 6 minutes

According to Adam, this is the first year that Twitter has a strong campaign presence: the site gives candidates, campaign members, and members of the media a platform to give a more complete picture of audience reaction and the overall experience during election events. Now, anyone has the capability to get their political views and opinions out to a large and widespread audience.

While President Obama’s Twitter account is mostly run by his campaign staff, the President has shown a pretty good understanding of social media and how the public relies on the Internet to communicate with one another  - just last week he took to the Reddit forums to answer questions from the public in real-time. This kind of direct interaction with users via a social media platform is new, and really shows a shift in the way candidates are choosing to speak with the American public since the last election happened four years ago. Social media isn’t just a way for the younger generations to keep in touch anymore – it’s an important way for people to interact with each other, even the President.

 

Pitch-It, Pitch-It Real Good: PR Startup Bootcamp Shares Secrets for PR Success

Events

On Monday, August 27, I attended the 3rd Annual PR Summit “PR Startup Bootcamp”. It was an energetic day filled with media professionals, entrepreneurs, influencers and public relations practitioners – all eager to learn from each other. A series of panels throughout the day covered topics like “PR for Startups & Early Stage Companies” and “Social Media versus PR – who owns the message”. Reporters including Harry McCracken from Time, Jolie Odell from VentureBeat and Alastair Goldfisher from Reuters were among the speakers and moderators. I learned a lot straight from prominent media who I talk to on behalf of my clients all the time.

Below are some helpful tips and reminders for all of us PR pros to keep in mind:

  • Be thoughtful and take the time to build relationships with the media. When pitching, make it a point to do your research on the editor before reaching out. Understand exactly what they cover and what types of articles they write. Social media is an amazing tool for PR professionals to really get to know the media on a personal level and get a sense for what interests them and what they are talking about.
  • Social media should be an extension of your PR campaign ONLY if you know how to use it. When using Twitter, Facebook, Google + as another medium to get your news across, make sure your activity is focused on quality and not quantity. Less is more, volume can become the enemy of communication. According to Harry McCracken of Time, the top reasons to Tweet are “to convey information, engage in conversation and express an opinion.”
  • Build interest well in advance of a product launch. Engage with the editor without the intention of getting them to write immediately. This gives them access to the thought process and plans of the impending news/launch. It gives them the chance to learn and create a meaningful story. Editors/reporters want to produce thoughtful news that educates their audience. As we all know, it is hard to control timing and most of the stories we tell are “hot off the presses”. If you are able to plan ahead and be strategic and thoughtful with your outreach, it will benefit you, the media and the consumer.

It was a really valuable experience and I was impressed and grateful that the speakers took the time to share their preferences and insights to help us PR people be more successful. I look forward to incorporating these best practices into the next big launch I work on (and some day-to-day PR in between). Thanks to PR Summit for organizing a fabulous conference – happy pitching!

Back to School

Technology

This week I embark on my last semester of college, and If you’re anything like me, then it becomes increasingly more difficult to stay organized–and awake–as the semester goes on. In order to help combat this stress and disorganization, I’ve compiled a list of apps and sites that will help you have a successful and stress-free fall semester.

Textbooks:

  • Kindle: Having to lug 5+ books to school can be pretty strenuous, so I rely on my Kindle Fire for most of my required reading. It’s extremely convenient having all the texts I need on a single device, and I’m able to highlight and make notes just as I would on printed texts.
  • Amazon: For textbooks that aren’t available in eReader format, I turn to Amazon. The site always has what I need, and their wide selection of used books allows me to choose the cheapest options. Orders normally ship next day, and you’re able to avoid those painfully long first-week-of-school bookstore lines.
  • Stanza: Don’t have an eReader? Stanza is a free app which allows you to download texts directly to your iPhone and iPad for easy access.

Studying:

  • Google Apps: Google Docs is a great way to get through those pesky group projects. You’re able to collaborate in the same document as your classmates, leave comments for one another, and respond and make edits – all in real time. With so many conflicting schedules, Docs is a hassle-free and streamlined way to work together as a team without actually having to meet up in person.
  • gFlash+: gFlash+ is an app that uses digital flashcards to test and track your progress to ensure you’re ready for any test that comes your way. The app is simple to use, and allows you to organize your notecards by subject, with an at-a-glance view of your overall test score.

Staying On Top of Grades:

  • Grades 2: If you don’t want your final grade to be a surprise at the end of the semester, then use Grades 2 to input and track your scores as the semester goes on. The app is straightforward and simple to use, and shows you exactly what you need to score to get an A in the class.

5 Creative Things to do With Your Instagram Photos

Technology

There’s something about Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app, that’s got me hooked. Maybe it’s the app’s ease of use, or its ability to turn my otherwise mediocre photos into works of art; whatever the case, it’s a large part of a little problem I have called: “I can’t put my iPhone down.”

 

Just last week, Instagram was in the news for reaching 80 million users. And with the app’s rising popularity have come a number of creative companies that take your Instagram photos and transform them into anything from fridge magnets to postcards. I’ve scoured the internets and compiled a list of the top 5 things to do with your Instagram photos. Enjoy!

  1. Choco-grams: Cocoagraph prints edible polaroid-style photographs on artisan chocolate bars. You can customize your chocolate by adding a message and/or a customizable border. Instagram photos work perfectly on the square chocolate!

              

 

  1. Insta-pillow: Stitchtagram is a company that creates customizable, handmade pillows out of your Instagram photos. This is a great way to creatively display your memorable photos around the house.


  1. Case-tagram: Casetagram creates phone and tablet cases out of your photos in just a few easy steps. Just sign in with your Instagram account, pick your design and photos, and they print and ship to you.

 

  1. Postagram: Postagram is probably my favorite so far. It’s an iPhone and Android app that turns your Instagram photos into postcards, which are then printed and shipped to anywhere in the world for only 99 cents. The cards come with an optional 140 character message, and the pictures on the postcard can be popped out.

 

 

  1. Magnet-gram: StickyGram is a company that takes your Instagram photos and turns them into magnets. They come in a pack of 9 and ship anywhere in the world for free.

DIY, a Start-Up for Kids

Technology

If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that the second my nieces and nephew walk through the door they will be on a mad dash for the iPad. They seem to know of a new app to download almost every week, and it’s really interesting to see how quickly and easily children are adapting to technology these days. When I stumbled across this New York Times article titled “Disruptions: A Beacon to Silicon Valley, From a Start-Up for Children”, I was very curious what this startup for children would entail.

DIY is a mobile and web app which encourages children to utilize their creativity by providing a platform for them to post and share their crafts and inventions with friends and family. After posting a picture of their project, the children are rewarded with both virtual badges on the site as well as physical embroidered badges in the mail. According to the article, not only can kids post their original creations, but DIY will eventually post projects with instructions for kids to follow that will “teach children modern-day skills.”

The company is based here in San Francisco, and Isaiah Saxon, DIY founder and chief creative officer, explains the company’s intentions: “Social networks today are about what you like, not what you do. We want to create an experience for children that’s about what you make, and in turn makes these skills heroic.”

As with all sites for children, privacy is a main concern for parents. The article explains that when signing up, children are told to use a pseudonym instead of their real name, and are given several illustrated animal avatars to choose from for their profile pictures. Parents are also asked to give their permission for their children to use the app through an e-mail, making the DIY experience both a fun and secure one.

You can check out DIY’s explore page here to see some examples of the adorable projects kids from around the world are creating today.

I think this is an awesome platform to let children’s creativity shine and to keep them connected with friends and family who might live far away. What do you think of this startup for kids?

SceneTap

Technology

Thinking about heading out for a night on the town in San Francisco this weekend? Not sure where to go? Starting today, several bars in the city will implement SceneTap, a service which uses facial recognition technology to determine how many people are at the bar, the female to male ratio, and the average age of people at the venue — all to give you a better feel for where you want to spend your night. The way you access all this information is through the company’s iPhone or Android App, which updates the stats in real time.


Wondering how the service works? Below is a breakdown of  how the program collects data, as well as the company’s privacy policy according to their site:

When a customer enters a venue, we anonymously track their movement through the use of two cameras. One device counts humans as they move back and forth across a trip line (visible only to a software program). The other device sends an image to a software program which detects faces through facial features such as the nose, eyes, mouth, chin, and jaw line. The software then analyzes the facial detection image to attempt to determine the person’s gender and approximate age.

  • No facial photos or video are recorded or stored.
  • No streaming video may be viewed by venue operators or patrons.
  • No personal information is collected or even attempted to be collected.


Some of us here at Cutline are a little weary about being tracked by facial recognition technology while out with friends, and it looks like other San Franciscans share our uneasiness with the service. You can check out SFWeekly’s interview with the CEO of SceneTap on “Why Facial Detection Technology in S.F. Bars Isn’t That Creepy.” What do you think? Will you be steering clear of the following participating bars this weekend?:

  • Bamboo Hut
  • Bar None
  • Comet Club
  • Eastside West
  • Eve Lounge
  • Fluid Ultra Lounge
  • HiFi
  • John Colins
  • Kozy Kar Bar
  • Manor West
  • Mayes Oyster House
  • McTeague’s Saloon
  • Milk Bar
  • Monaghan’s
  • Mr. Smith’s
  • Noble
  • Pedro’s Cantina
  • Pete’s Tavern
  • Polo Grounds
  • R Bar
  • Southpaw
  • Taverna Aventine
  • The Ambassador
  • The Wreck Room
  • Tope


If you end up using this app let us know what you think!

Sensu Paint Brush

Technology

 

The Sensu paint brush is one of the coolest gadgets I’ve seen in a long time, so naturally I had to share it. Functioning as both a paint brush and a stylus, the Sensu brush works on the iPad and iPhone as a tool for painting, sketching, and general device navigation. Although I’m no artist, I couldn’t help but be blown away at how realistic and detailed the brush strokes look when painting on an iPad, and I can see anyone from an artist to my 5-year-old niece using and embracing this fun little tool. Keep checking back to Sensu’s site for their official launch date, which is said to be happening sometime next month. In the meantime check out these videos to get a closer look at this unique product.

 

     

Savior in the Form of an iPhone Case

Technology

If you have a smartphone, you know there is nothing more annoying than running out of battery life in the middle of the day. My daily commute to work and school results in hours of travel time, and — while I should take advantage of the down time to catch up on studying — I tend to use my iPhone to check email, play games, listen to music, and more. Much to my annoyance, I found that my phone would oftentimes run out of juice before 5 pm. What I really needed was a way to wirelessly charge my phone while I was on the go, and I found the perfect solution with the Mophie Juice Pack.

                       

Retailing at $79.95, this amazing iPhone case doubles as a phone charger. Just charge the case, insert your iPhone, flip a switch, and voilá, your phone is charging. So far I have no complaints about the charger’s functionality; it adds hours of battery life and is super convenient. Although it adds on some extra weight to your phone, the perks of being able to wirelessly charge your phone from anywhere makes up for it. I would definitely recommend checking out this awesome gadget if you use your phone as much as I do.

Thank a Veteran Today

Uncategorized

Here at Cutline, we like to celebrate holidays. And today is no exception. In fact, today is an especially awesome holiday because it’s a chance to thank the tens of millions of soldiers who have fought, and continue to fight, for our freedom. And in Silicon Valley, many tech companies have also been celebrating Veterans Day by honoring all of the heroes who have served in the military.

Here are just a few of the ways that tech companies are honoring veterans:

  • Today’s Google Doodle features a watercolor by Mike Dutton, a Google staff member, who is the son of a Vietnam vet. And Google is also sponsoring a new project, Google for Veterans and Families, to help returning veterans get help, connect with their fellow service members, and explain their experiences to their loved ones.
  • LinkedIn, naturally, focuses its Veterans Day efforts squarely on helping veterans find new opportunities, including a free one-year Job Seeker subscription for all current and former US veterans.
  • Grockit, a social learning company, that’s actually run by a Navy man, is also discounting its service for veterans, active military personnel and their families.
  • BranchOut, a company that expands your career network to include your Facebook friends, worked with The White House to form the Veterans Job Bank, a new search tool to help connect veterans with employers nationally by delivering jobs listings directly to former members of the military.
  • Facebook and CNN are partnering to let Facebook users upload pictures of veterans they want to recognize for their service. Users can and tag “CNN iReport” in the photo for it to appear on iReport’s Facebook page.

Lastly, while it has nothing to do with technology and is a few years old, this video of dogs welcoming soldiers home is the best thing you’ll see all day. Feel free to post a few other ways companies are honoring veterans, in the comments below.

Happy Veterans Day, from Cutline.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Technology, Tributes

Steve Jobs was an incredible person who left an indelible mark on technology, on business, and on society. His passing yesterday has no doubt turned Silicon Valley (and beyond) on its head. And today you don’t need to look any further than Apple’s tribute (and homepage), Google’s tribute, or Wired’s homepageto understand the impact of his passing.

Since the news broke, we’ve all been glued to our phones and laptops (yes, iPhones and MacBooks) reading the tributes to Steve Jobs and we wanted to take a minute to share a few of our favorites. Below are just a few of the more moving pieces that we’re currently reading (and watching) about the legend that was Mr. Jobs.

YouTube: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
Walt Mossberg: The Steve Jobs I KnewSteven Levy: Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011
Brian Lam: Steve Jobs Was Always Kind To Me (Or, Regrets of An Asshole)
USA Today: Obama on Steve Jobs: The world has lost a visionary
Mashable: Memories of Steve Jobs: Interviews & Inspiration
Fast Company: Steve Jobs: A Mega, Meta Mashup in Tweets
paidContent: Why The Tech Industry Knows We’ll Never See Another Steve Jobs

This quote from President Obama says it all: “The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

If you’d like to share your favorite stories, we’d love to read them. Please add a link in the comments below.