Two weeks ago I had posted about SPENT, a game (I prefer to call it an “online experience”) put together by ad agency McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham, N.C.  It was created to show users how difficult it is for a homeless person to make important financial decisions that come with some hefty consequences. Listen to an interview with Patrice Nelson, the executive director of Urban Ministries, here.

Well, now we have something called Underheard in New York, which is bringing real stories of loneliness and hardship straight to your Twitter feed.

Underheard in New York (@underheardinNY) is an initiative that gives a voice to homeless New Yorkers. They are Danny (@putodanny), Derrick (@awitness2011), Albert (@albert814) and Carlos (@jessie550). These four individuals received a prepaid cell phone, a month of unlimited texting and a Twitter account.

Assuming this campaign goes viral and really takes off, there’s an opportunity for this to make a big impact on the homeless men’s followers. There’s real people behind these tweets who are struggling and still managing to share basic kindness (Daniel recently wished all his followers a Happy Valentines Day, for example).

So what do you think? Can this program be successful? Will you follow the homeless New Yorkers on Twitter?

Oh, and while you’re adding the above-mentioned homeless men, I highly recommend also following the copywriter behind SPENT, Jenny Nicholson (@missjenny).

February 22, 2011 · Posted by in misc, social media  

Brands try a lot of different things to get “Likes” on Facebook. Heineken managed to get one million likes and then decided to send out a crew of women to give something back, thanks in the form of hugs.

It’s brilliant. Instead of just getting one million fans and leaving it at that, they leveraged it into a YouTube video showing the hugs happen.

There’s a lot of well done videos in Heineken’s YouTube channel, and I’m not even a beer drinker. Of course I typically use that as my gauge of whether advertising is interesting or not… if it’s something I’ve never bought in the past, and probably won’t buy in the future, but still grabs my attention, it’s good advertising.

February 17, 2011 · Posted by in branding, marketing, social media, video  

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

The combination of going through my wardrobe during a recent move and the refreshingly warm weather has left me daydreaming about open-toed heels and floral-patterned tops. Spring, are you here yet?

Plus, with Fashion Week in full-swing, I’m hearing a lot about hot new clothing trends. For example, on February 10, I was reading tweets from Christian Siriano about his show (and the poor model who took a tumble, pictured above). And he isn’t the only designer using social media; in fact, our digital ways of life and social media obsessions are fueling a change for many premium fashion brands.

This means better e-commerce sites, more attention on social media and iPhone, iPod touch or iPad apps, such as Style.com. This app, for example, is a quick and easy way to get the latest photos and videos from Fashion Week. The Cut, New York Magazine’s fashion blog, also launched a new iPad app to keep anyone up-to-date on Fashion Week happenings.

Are you feeling inspired by Fashion Week and want to create your own gorgeous outfits? Well, perhaps your creative dreams could be reality with the help of handy online design tools. Mashable recently shared ways to design your own clothes online, from sketching your own free-form designs to setting your own trends by choosing various pieces for an individualized outfit.

While I probably don’t have the creative genius to be the next big fashion icon, you will catch me checking up on runway videos from my iPod Touch. How do you keep up with the fashion industry? Share your strategies in the comments.

February 15, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

Schools App

From our friends at NPR comes this interesting story about how universities are using social media to engage new students, even before classes start, in the hopes that it will prevent them from dropping out: Can Social Networking Keep Students In School?

If you remember how Facebook got started, it was a tool available only to college students (or those with a university email address) to connect and network, until it opened up to the whole world, so it’s fascinating to see this platform emerge that sort of takes Facebook back to it’s roots, but does so in the name of keeping kids in college to get an education.

Inigral’s Schools App is an application that goes beyond Facebook’s Pages and Groups, and is available only to students within a university, with the idea that as students make friends with other students, they’ll build a network that they won’t want to leave, and this will help keep them in school.

You can see what the students have to say about the Schools App in this perspective video.

February 10, 2011 · Posted by in social media, video  
Image courtesy of sportsdesktopwallpaper.net

Image courtesy of sportsdesktopwallpaper.net

The Packers’ roster and coaching staff are not the only things that have changed between their last Super Bowl win in 1997 and their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last night in Super Bowl XLV. Along with Aaron Rodgers, Coach McCarthy and Clay Matthews, social media played a huge part in this year’s Super Bowl.

Before the Super Bowl even started, YouTube was erupting with Packers’ themed songs and videos including Feelin’ So Fly Like a Cheesehead, Green and Yellow and Teach Me How To Raji. In the 1997 Super Bowl, Packer fans really only had one song to sing and dance to – The Packerena.

Twitter, soon to celebrate its fifth birthday, exploded after Christina Aguilera messed up the lyrics to the national anthem as well as after the mediocre halftime show which left many tweeters outraged. What did we do in 1997 when the news broke that Laura Patterson, a bungee-jumper for the halftime show, died during a practice jump at the Superdome? E-mail? Call our friends?

Facebook also erupted pre-Super Bowl with fan pages for the Super Bowl, the Packers, the Steelers, the halftime show and even the Super Bowl commercials.

So why is social media so important for events like the Super Bowl? It provides instant feedback for all of those involved, allows people to communicate with each other and most important, it gives football fans different outlets to rally around and support their favorite team. Go Pack Go!

February 7, 2011 · Posted by in misc  

Next Page »