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The (new) Final Frontier

For the space lovers, history buffs and event junkies who do not have tickets to Cape Canaveral for the  final shuttle launch, rest assured.  NASA will stream live footage on its website while the popular media site Spacevidcast will up the ante with an interactive component that allows users to ask the astronauts and engineers questions via Skype and Facebook.  Viewers without access to the live footage can utilize Twitter by following the Atlantis crew or one of the 150 Twitterers chosen by NASA to watch from the VIP box.

Although U.S. officials maintain that space-faring expeditions will continue, for many the retirement of the four remaining shuttles marks the end of the Space Age.  Thirty years ago when the first shuttle launched, the communications channels were a vastly different landscape.  Telephones were restricted to businesses and residences; people sent messages through snail mail; and encyclopedias were the best vehicles on the information superhighway.  Now the products of the one revolution will shepherd out its predecessor— a simple reminder of the dynamic (and often unexpected) nature of progress.

As you watch this historic event from a live stream on your 3G smartphone, consider how much has changed since 1981, and think of the possibilities that have yet to come.

Nicole Duncan

4th Annual OMMA Social: Daily deals soar, Facebook Studio fizzles


ay omma social

Internet Week New York would not be complete without an assembly of social media mavens.  On Thursday, MediaPost hosted its fourth annual Online Media Marketing & Advertising Social Program at the Marriott Marquis.  With more than 30 speakers, panelists and presenters, the event brought together the socially savvy from gaming developers to digital entrepreneurs to branding specialists. 

Experts emphasized that simply attracting followers and heavy users is no longer sufficient; companies must now seek out the heavy influencers to help spread their message.  CEO of Optimedia Antony Young argued that seven of the 10 most influential touch points are still word-of-mouth.  The “socially connected” will drive the discourse.  As Kailei Richardson of PointRoll noted, “Consumers will talk about you— you have to be part of that conversation.”

The social media landscape is still full of uncharted terrain.  Groupon increased by 250 percent in the past year with Living Social close behind at a 182 percent.  Whether such growth can be sustained by participating businesses remains a point of conjecture.  In addition to daily deals, marketers continue to face surprises with interactive platforms.  A senior vice-president with NBA Digital quipped that company executives first learned of Shaquille O’Neal’s plans to retire from his Twitter page. 

While some of the presentations offered little insight (the Facebook Studio demonstration was unceremoniously bashed via Twitter), OMMA Social gave professionals the opportunity to learn, share and reflect.  Panel moderator and AGILITI CEO Jason Heller grounded the sometimes-abstract nature of the new marketing vehicle:

“Social media is just a lens that magnifies what happens in the real world.”

To read more about OMMA, see #OMMAsocial on Twitter.


Nicole Duncan

Foursquare Without a Ball? Interview(s) with a well-spiced user/competitor…



Going A.D.D. at a Renegade status meeting last week, my mind wandered to foursquare, and how I could use it to enhance my busy social media/party-and-bar-hopping regime.

In case you don’t know what foursquare is (most of my friends don’t), here’s a quick breakdown:

Foursquare is a mobile location-reporting sms service with apps designed for iPhones and smart phones.   Users check in from places they hang out in via text, and if they have the web on their phones, can view their friends’ locations plotted on a map.   Further, foursquare gives users points when they check in to places, as well as badges for late night frequency or for when they do something kooky. This service is local and is offered in 12 US cities so far.

Since I don’t have an iPhone, I hadn’t signed up, figuring that without the GPS mapping enjoyed by foursquare’s iPhone users, playing on a regular mobile would be like trying out a new hairdo on a rainy day.  (It turns out that I'm right about that, but I think I'll stick with it because I'm bound to get a smart phone soon).

But still…I consider foursquare’s iPhone app such a  curious concept that I wanted to write about it.  So, I called up Martina Fugazzotto, my go-to girl for html questions, updates on all things cute and trendy, spontaneous dance/karaoke parties, social media pep-talks, and, more recently, iPhone app demos.  Martina has been involved in the social web since long before most of us merged onto the Information Super Highway, beginning with her early infatuation with and subsequent creation of her own website at the age of 15 (around 10 years ago).  She was happy to discuss my new hot topic.

First, I asked Martina (MF) about Google’s similar, but now defunct sms app, Dodgeball.  Indeed, she had played it in college to find her friends at parties.  However, she quickly grew tired of typing code and threw it out in favor of mass texting.

Second, I brought up Twitter.

 “The whole point of foursquare is that it’s only about being social.  Twitter is more about sharing info and links. Foursquare is straight up letting everyone know what you're doing and who you're with. No one is being coy or pretending that they are responsible or well versed.  It’s just about competing in going out.”

I thought I’d brought up a good topic since my first impression of Twitter was that it was a meet-up tool.  I guess that aspect of its functionality is long gone.  Needless to say, this past weekend I stopped using Twitter to publish my whereabouts.

A few weeks ago, Martina was number one on the foursquare leader board, but got nothing special for it.  There was no badge, nor any mention on the foursquare homepage. 

“Even just a little badge that says, I won for the week of—– would be really cool, but it was still satisfying to know that I really won.  It made me feel cool.”

On foursquare ethics, MF quips, “I don’t cheat.  I never cheat.  I have integrity when it comes to my foursquare, but I think sometimes my ex might pad it a little bit–yeah, he adds a little padding to his check-ins.” 

Clearly her ex is her biggest competitor.

“It’s really a very petty competition.  The reason I first used Dodgeball in college was because I wanted to find out where everyone was at any given time.  What is really cool, though, is that sometimes when you get somewhere and check in, you get recommendations from other people who have checked in there before and left tips on what special to order, or…anything!”

I think this is a great idea.  Imagine the possibilities!  Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai already have.  In fact, they are comparing Foursquare to The Legend of Zelda video game, but are also trying to overcome the zealotry of the highly competitive users (see second interview below) in favor of a more collaborative and experiential application.  The tips should help that, I think.  But foursquare needs more users first! 

So sign up, my friends!  Let’s share even more about where we’ve been and what we’ve done, and leave  tips, so it’s even more exciting to go out!  

>>>MF’s second interview, where her competitive side (and her self-publicized breakup) show. <<<

This morning I noticed Logan, Martina’s ex, had taken over her mayor-hood at Le Gamin in Brooklyn.

Here’s the chat I just had with her about that:

MF: Being a "mayor" of a place is awesome. it means you are IN with that place.  And when someone takes away your mayor-hood, you're like "who is that dude? We should be friends since we both spend a lot of time here.”

KG: except when it’s your ex.

MF: yes. Logan stole a mayor-hood from me this morning, from Le Gamin, a coffee shop in our hood where we used to spend a lot of time. I was pissed. I was like "who is he going there with??"

KG: awwww.  himself, of course!  better be.

MF: Yeah, well. When I saw he took my mayor-hood, I showed up there this morning so I could check in, and he was there.  So we had coffee together basically just because we both wanted to be mayors.  I endured coffee with my ex so that I could be the mayor of Le Gamin.

KG: NO WAY!!  Can I publish that?

MF: You can publish the entire story.
And when I got there, he said "SHIT. Now you're going to check in after me and possibly steal back the mayor-hood."
We are very competitive.

Because this competitiveness is common amongst foursquare users, Dennis Crowley said in the Post that, "If you keep doing the same things over and over again, if you go to the same place several times a week, your points get taken away."

I’d better warn Martina!  But first I think I should get some more friends to play with — preferably some who haven’t dated each other.

Open Source, She Says


I’ve never been lured by a woman-only group before, but, since my friend (and former Renegade) Sonali Sridhar was speaking about her work as an Interactive Architect at an open source software company, I was happily reeled in to a new experience: an event hosted bySheSays, a group that "was founded in March 2007 in the UK with the aim to help women
further their careers in digital advertising through informative
debates and a bespoke mentoring scheme."   


Briefly on the subject of interacting with only women involved in the Ad/Interactive/Marketing Biz: WOW!  I loved every minute of it.  I felt fully embraced by this group of intelligent, driven, and opinionated ideaters.  The experience was liberating and confidence-boosting.  Sorry boys, but the girls rock at talking  ideas – which brings me to the subject of open source.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term "open source," it refers to anything collaborative and open to those who wish to attribute and contribute.  In addition to Sonali’s presentation about the history of and current trends in open source software, which introduced the groundwork and methodology for open source culture, we had two other presentations from two brilliant companies founded on this philosophy.

The first was from the founders of BurdaSyle, an open source sewing site where members create and share copyright-free sewing patterns, advise each other on sewing techiniques, develop project ideas, and show off their creations.  In the same spirit of wikipedia, Burdastyle’s philosophy is the antithesis of  the fashion industry’s elitism.  It is an open forum for social design.

The second presentation was about Design 21: Social Design Network, a company created in partnership with Fellissimo (a global design and merchandise company) and UNESCO, which seeks to unite designers in a globally-influential and collaborative way to positively impact the world. 

They state their mission much more clearly on their site, so I’ll let them speak forthemselves

All in all it was an inspiring evening that was well-peppered with discussion and debate.  There was one really great question brought up in our discussion last night that I want to ask before I sign off. 

How can competitive design be considered social design?

This question was raised because Design 21 encourages participation by hosting regular design competitions to solve global problems.  The disconnect between competition and social improvement is something to consider.  I want to know what you think.

Follow the Eclipse

This Friday, August 1st, the path of the moon shall pass through between the Earth and the sun, resulting in a Solar Eclipse. Awesome, I know. Follow it all with Google Earth (just like NASA does).

Get Turned On



  In high school, I made a mix, consisting mostly of songs by Enya, which I used as the background music for the various make-out sessions my girlfriend and I used to get into.  If you haven’t made out in the back of a 1986 Peugeot while listening to "Orinoco Flow", then I seriously suggest you try it. 

Obviously, I needed some help in the music department back then. has it figured out.  They play a non-stop mix of songs that’ll help set the mood for a night of passion, or in my case as of late, working on the Sunday Times’ crossword puzzle while consuming a half pint of Chubby Hubby and falling asleep in a puddle of my own drool. 

Renegade stepped in to get down and dirty with a guerrilla marketing campaign designed to promote LuxuriaMusic.  The campaign not only encourages the public to “Tune In. Turn On. Make Out” but also promotes safe shagging by distributing free condoms. Utilizing user generated content and wild postings, LuxuriaMusic hopes to bring the essence of its vintage-styled programming to life. 

Users are also encouraged to submit suggestions for "titillating tunes" that’ll be played during the "Let’s Get it On" show. 

Being Good is Easy, Comedy is Hard

Somethings in life are impossible, such as licking your own elbow or folding a piece of standard paper in half more than eight times.  For a long time, I would have added "having fun and doing good at the same time" to that list.  Giving blood was painful and uncomfortable, Habitat for Humanity gave me splinters, and they wouldn’t let me back in the school after I readTropic of Cancer to blind kids.  Aside from a lack of fun, doing good took way too much effort. 

That all changed last week.  Our Renegade "Saw-mer" Day was titled EZ2BGOOD and it revolved around giving back to our community in fun and imaginative ways.  Split into five teams of ten, Renegades hit the streets to bring one of the five Marketing for Goodcategories to life.  Giving out hugs, directions, encouragement, entertainment, and more to the citizens of New York proved to be a fun experience for everyone. (The after-party was not too shabby either.)

I encourage you to check out EZ2BGOOD (or watch our tongue-in-cheek video) to get some inspiration and see the small things you can do to make life a little better for someone else. 


Beer: The New Currency


B4bThey finally got the barter system
right.  (More info at the New York Times)
Tags: ,

Jobs, Gates. Gates, Jobs.


A lot has been made of the feud between Apple and Microsoft.  Who stole what from whom has degenerated over the years into such a confusing argument that the source of it all has escaped mostly everyone.  One thing was sure, however, the two opposing founders (Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates) were at odds with each other.  There’s been name calling on both sides of the fence, and no one expected either of them to be in the same room, let alone speak to each other. 

But like a well designed product launch – they surprised us all.  Not only did they speak to one another, in front of a packed audience no less, but they were civil too!  They went as far as to compliment both companies and agreed that neither would be where they were if it weren’t for the other. 

From a marketing standpoint, this was a smart move.  Both companies were able to talk about their newest products (Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Surface) while captivating a worldwide audience.  Far be it for me to draw parallels between what Jobs and Gates did to the bigger issues facing our planet, but it just might be a start.


If I Can Make It There, I’ll Be Rich


Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or not living in a state that sells Powerball or Mega Millions Tickets) you know just how lucrative the lottery industry is. So when a jackpot gets up to 355 million dollars,(which either is or will be very close to the record, depending on who you ask), you just can’t draw the winning numbers anywhere. You have to do it in style, in glamour, in…Times Square? Yep, tonight, in front of millions of people, Yolanda Vega will get the ball machines rolling in the big apple, where someone could win big bucks.

This is an amazing promotional tool. Not only will the news of the event spark people to go buy the tickets (or at least have the non-players aware that a big bounty could be awaiting them), but if for some reason the jackpot is not claimed tonight, the mandatory coverage of what happened could very spur the jackpot to close to (if not exceeding) a half a billion dollars.

But that won’t happen, because I have the winning numbers right here. 10, 17, 25, 26, 42 . Mega Ball Number is 6. Take it to the bank.

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