Archive for the ‘social media’ Tag

Lucidending   2 comments

“On Tuesday I’ll finally end my battle with cancer thanks to Oregon’s Death with dignity act. As part of my preparations I’ve ended my pain medication and am trying to regain what little dignity and clarity I can. Who I was doesn’t matter. I’m in pain, I’m tired and I’m finally being granted a small shred of respect. Feel free to AMA if you’re so inclined.” – Lucidending

These words were written on Saturday, March 5th, about 13 hours ago (and counting) on one of Reddit’s subreddit streams. This man has been battling cancer for eight years. Thanks to a law in Oregon that allows medically assisted deaths to terminally ill patients, the man is finally being allowed to end his pain. Normally, I must imagine that these occurrences are quite personal, but with 51 hours to live (as of today, this man is still alive), he decided to create a Reddit account – “Lucidending” – and broadcast the words quoted above to this social community”.

The incredible response to his statement can be seen here: “51 Hours Left To Live“. The post has skyrocketed to the top of Reddit’s list of highest voted threads of all time (up and down votes combined), at almost 38,000 unique votes. His comment count has crested 8,000 and it keeps growing. If you log into Reddit, you can comment too. People from all over the world are posting thoughts, feelings and questions to Lucidending, who is responding to as many as he can from where he sits in his Oregon hospital bed. He’s unable to go anywhere, but (in his own words) the past 13 hours have allowed him to live and “see” the world in ways he never imagined were possible. His only regrets? Not proposing to his high school sweetheart, and never traveling to see the Northern Lights.

The power and reach of social media has delivered the world to this man’s hospital bed the only way it can: Through the online sharing of words, pictures, videos, and community support. People from different cultures and religious background around the world are coming together with words of hope, thanks, and amazement. Cancer charities are receiving donations because of his post. Art projects have been uploaded to the thread depicting Lucidending’s last words. Lucidending’s advice is giving other Redditors the inspiration to simply go outside and enjoy the quiet falling snow, or the rising sun.

For this man, social media is making his last hours on earth a time of interacting with others, a time to share his wisdom and feel loved. I really urge you to check it out. It will move you.

UPDATE: I just found a YouTube video dedicated to Lucidending. It’s short, fun and happy and totally beautiful:


Posted March 6, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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What Do You Meme, Meme?   3 comments

Have you ever heard someone mention the word “meme”, but weren’t sure what they were talking about? But you laughed and nodded with enthusiasm anyway? And then went home, grabbed your laptop, and isolated yourself from all other humans until you were fully versed in all things MEME? Yeah, me too.

Memes (rhymes with beams) have been around for a very long time – before the Internet, for sure. Before your were born. Before your parents were bor…well, you get the picture. According to Wikipedia, meme is short for mimeme, meaning “something imitated”. They are essentially the spreading of ideas throughout cultures. Some memes are stronger than others, representing the value system of an entire country. Other memes are more localized. But the point is, they’re everywhere, and they’re fantastic! Check out this little video for a well detailed history of memes. For a different take on memes, check out this other, funnier video on the ever popular #FAIL meme:

But what I love more than ANYTHING about memes, is how they’ve taken on new meming (sorry) through the Internet and social networks that are capable of making ideas, pictures, phrases or videos go viral. Any online community that has user-submitted content is doubtlessly inundated with meme-worthy (and unworthy) contributions on an hourly basis. YouTube, Reddit, 4chan (nsfw), Facebook, Twitter – just five examples of massive online meme-havens.

Remember when Kanye West stole Taylor Swift’s microphone when she was accepting the MTV VMA for Best Female Video in 2009?

Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you. I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!...”

And then every person you know wouldn’t stop saying it for weeks after, but with their own subtext? That was the birth of the “Interrupting Kanye” meme! In the hour after Kanye’s interruption, over 300,000 people tweeted about it. This particular meme went viral instantly because the VMAs was televised live, and was viewed by millions of people. Other memes are a little slower on the uptake, but their staying power is legendary. Remember that 1999 movie Office Space?

Umm, yeah, I’m gonna need you to come in tomorrow.”

Twelve years on, and I bet right now you’re thinking of Lumberg holding a coffee while leaning against a cubicle. Like I said, memes are fantastic. Fantastic!

For the very best, the latest, the most wide-reaching global Internet memes you’ll ever hope to find, one website has it all: Know Your Meme. This is your one-stop shop to stay current with memes. Not only does this site show you the meme (typically in picture or video format), but they also list each meme’s name, origin, “birthday”, additional resources, and relevant tags. They even show a chart graph of each meme’s analytical journey from referential obscurity to revered memeness!

From another point of view, memes can help (or hurt) commercial businesses in the online social foray. Have you ever experienced “The Blue Screen of Death”? It’s the fail screen that some Microsoft users see when their computer crashes or has boot up issues. It’s also the color of IBM’s logo. Having a negative nickname become a household phrase for your company’s failing product does not make for happy marketing meetings. On the other hand, some companies have skyrocketed into meme royalty. Think of that Verizon commercial with the dude on the phone.

Can you hear me now? Good!

– I, for one, would always say that phrase when on the phone in a dodgy wireless reception area. And because I’m an AT&T subscriber, every time I say that line, I think of how much better my coverage would be if I was with Verizon.

For the most part, memes are to be shared and enjoyed. Here’s one of my favorite memes from the Demotivational Poster series for you to enjoy. And share. 🙂

Finally, if you want to create your own picture meme, you can visit Meme Generator, of course!


Cyclone Yasi Hits Social Media   Leave a comment

This morning I made myself a coffee, grabbed my laptop and settled down on the couch to check my favorite news and social websites. If this was 1990 I would have reached for the local newspaper, or maybe turned on the television. Oh, how times have changed. At least good coffee is a generational constant.

As I was browsing, a satellite picture of a cyclone off the coast of Australia caught my eye. It took me about 37 seconds to read the comments and discover that a) this was not a historic archive, because b) Cyclone Yasi hit the northeast coast of Australia about four hours ago, and is currently wreaking havoc. It’s also nighttime in Queensland right now, which make events like a category five cyclone all more the frightening for local residents.

Satellite image of Cyclone Yasi hitting the coast of Queensland ~ The Australian

I then checked out The Australian online to confirm the news. NEWS CONFIRMED. In the image above, you can see the cyclone’s eye about to touch down on Aussie soil. Towns up and down the Queensland coast are in a state of emergency.

Wanting to share this news with my American friends here in Tennessee, I logged into Twitter and checked the latest world trends for a useful hashtag reference. #tcyasi was listed in the top 5. Perfect. Less than four hours, and the entire world is already privy to a currently-in-action natural disaster on a fairly isolated continent. By localizing the Twitter trend region from “world” to “Australia”, Cyclone Yasi took over seven of the top ten listings.

Reflecting on the three minutes it took me to find and process this news, some noteworthy points arose:

One: Younger generations do not rely on traditional news sources as their primary source for information. These days, news quickly spreads from one medium to the next, exponentially expanding reach and readership. Social networks are rapidly becoming the bedrock for news dissemination.

Two: With the ability to “upvote,” “downvote,” “retweet,” or “hashtag,” users of these social networks are absolutely setting the agenda of what issues are important, and what issues rise up to the front page of search engine lists.

Three: Trained journalists are skilled writers who (hopefully) abide by a code of ethics and morals, but in 140 characters or less,  anyone can share any experience or thought. If, in the case of a natural disaster, enough people do the same, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of everyday people become pseudo-reporters.

The impact social networks are having on all levels of the news media is irreversible. Social networks are here to stay, and will continue to grow and develop as more global citizens begin to harness the power of instant, digital communication.

Finally, please keep Australia and its northeast residents in your thoughts, and donate to the cause if you can.


Posted February 2, 2011 by Elfawin in Environment, Social Media

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Diffuse This   3 comments

When an organization has a new product or service available, the goal is to obtain widespread adoption of that product or service, right? So how does a company go about doing that? Ask any public relations or advertising practitioner: Research and strategy.

As a customer of various organizations, think about how and why you decide to use a service, donate to a charity, or purchase a product. Do you blindly adopt or support anything and everything you see? Or do you put thought into it?

Although we all make impulse buys from time to time, chances are, most of your decisions are calculated (even if the calculation is very brief, it still happens). Therefore, the strategy behind an organization’s product or service must also be calculated to obtain the most effective results possible.

There is a process involved with almost every successful product or service adoption campaign in existence. A good public relations strategy is to always use a good theory. One basic but highly effective theory in this case is Diffusion Theory, which is neatly packaged below in five succinct steps.

1) Awareness: Before initiating any research, the organization needs to know who its target demographic is. Armed with the organization’s demographic data, the PR strategist can create awareness of the new product or service. Potential adopters need to know there is something new available before they can adopt it.

2) Interest: Once people are aware of the product or service, they’ll want to know more about it. An organization should be ready to disseminate easily understood information about the product/service: What it is, how it functions, why it’s useful or necessary, and so on. As always, this step should be kept simple. An organization doesn’t want to loose potential customers due to poor explanations!

3) Trial: People need the option to try a product or service on a trial-basis to determine whether it’s something they want to use long-term. The trial stage is crucial, because first impressions matter. For example, Ive heard of the Kindle from various sources (conversations with friends, TV commercials). I become more interested because I realize it’s a new, green technology. I’d like to try a Kindle out, but I’m still not sure if I need or even want one. Luckily, is offering a 30-day, money-back guarantee trial for just this reason. Excellent!

4) Evaluation: The fourth step is where most people will either accept or reject the product or service. Possible questions the person may ask him or herself when deciding: Is it useful? Will it make my life easier? Is it even affordable? Is it offered from a reputable, trustworthy company? An organization should try to ensure the answer is always YES to all of these questions, in order to attract (and retain) as many new customers or clients as possible. If a person decides to adopt the new product or service, the organization has successfully changed that persons’ behavioral pattern. Either the person is adopting a product or service for the first time, or they’re choosing to drop what the competition is offering, in favor of another organization. If the person chooses not to adopt the product or service, the organization will have failed to change that person’s behavior (for various reasons).

5) Adoption: If the first four steps are successfully implemented, a person will hopefully choose to adopt the new product or service. Widespread adoption may take a little while, but if people like what the organization is offering, they will spread the news. People typically share positive feedback with 9-12 friends, but be warned: People who have a bad experience with an organization’s product or service may tell as many as 20 people* about it – and not in a good way. With the explosion of social media use, word of mouth about products and services travels super fast these days. It’s essential to keep new and existing customers as happy as possible, so those fast-traveling words stay positive!

One last thought: Not every public relations or advertising campaign should use ONLY social media. Remember, for some demographics, using social media platforms to attract new customers can be about as useful as a submarine with windshield wipers. Keep some traditional options in mind when strategizing. If in doubt, remember that it always comes down to that initial research: Use the public relations or advertising strategies that best fit your organization’s goals. Chances are, the results will be a success.


* Figures taken from The Social Media Bible by Lon Safko, 2010.

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