Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Projects for The 2nd Half of 2013

Pardon the delay in posting.  It's been so incredibly busy for me the beginning of January 2014, this blog from last year fell by the wayside.  At any rate, this is a brief synopsis of what I did the last half of 2013...

Bo Boudart Productions

Content curation for Bo Boudart Productions and films: Paying The Price for Peace, Accidental Activists, Walking In Two Worlds,  Islands of Life, and Power Paths.

Increasing fan bases on platforms for Facebook,  Google +, Twitter

Beginning phase of Web production for Bo Boudart Productions rebranding project.

Gauger + Associates

Assisted with four accounts with G+A:  Truwhip, Calorease, Gauger + Associates, and Baker Ranch. Services included
SEO, Analytics, Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +

22 Fillmore The Movie

Digital Strategy and Social Media Direction, recommended Intern Sushi, for team building. Overseeing implementation of social media buildouts in Facebook, Google +, Twitter, recommendations for sponsorship & press releases, produce Mailchimp campaigns, and inbound marketing management. Assessing metrics in Webmaster Tools, Analytics, and Facebook Insights. Assist with Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

Outpost Studios, Inc.

Light Website and Facebook assistance. Assembla account for troubleticket management.

The Law Offices of Seth P Chazin

Digital Stategist, Webmaster, SEO, Analytics, Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Linkedin.

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

Board Member, Idealist listings, Mailchimp campaigns, Wordpress CMS newsletter updates, Facebook.

Projects for the 2nd Half of 2013

The years have gone by and I just didn't have the time to devote to my own blog, so here's a breif overview of what I did for the second half of 2013... When time permits, I intend to update these blog entries with images, and links to show more of what I did.

Bo Boudart Productions
  • Content curation for Bo Boudart Productions and films: Paying The Price for Peace, Accidental Activists, Walking In Two Worlds,  Islands of Life, and Power Paths.
  • Increasing fan bases on platforms for Facebook,  Google +, Twitter
  • Paying the Price for Peace Facebook growth to over 3,000 fans at end of 2013
  • Oversee content curation build out on the following film pages...
  • Accidental Activists
  • Walking In Two Worlds
  • Web production for Bo Boudart Productions rebranding started. New site launch slated for Spring 2014. (update: budget limits pretty much put this project on hold).

Gauger + Associates
  • Golbon.com - web development for a new site rebranding for Golbon.com through a CMS called, Sitefinity.  Golbon IT set the site up on the back-end and I handled content for all the pages and a colleague handled more of the complex CSS and Javascripting.
  • Golbon Before & After

  • Assisted with four accounts with G+A:  Truwhip, Calorease, Gauger + Associates, and Baker Ranch. Services included:
  • SEO, Analytics, Adwords, Facebook, Facebook offers and ads,  Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +
  • Truwhip:
  • Grew Facebook fan base from less than 100, to over 3,000 within 6 months.
  • 98÷ content creation on Pinterest, grew network to
  • Twitter network growth
  • Google Plus build out with
  • Calorease:
  • Grew Facebook fan base from 1k to 3k since July.
  • Baker Ranch:
  • Build out social media networks on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
  • Gained 100 fans organically in first few months,  recommending ad campaign to grow followers and boost posts
  • Produced 10 boards in Pinterest account for Baker Ranch

22 Fillmore The Movie
Digital Strategy and Social Media Direction, recommended Intern Sushi, for team building. Work with four interns to discuss strategy, and assign tasks. Overseeing implementation of social media buildouts in Facebook, Google +, Twitter, recommendations for sponsorship & press releases, produce Mailchimp campaigns, and inbound marketing management. Assessing metrics in Webmaster Tools, Analytics, and Facebook Insights. Assist with Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

Outpost Studios, Inc.
Light Website and Facebook assistance. Assembla account for troubleticket management.

The Law Offices of Seth P. Chazin
Digital Stategist, Webmaster, SEO, Analytics, Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Linkedin.
Team training for blogging, social media blasts of blog, interaction strategies for Facebook and Google Plus.

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute
Board Member, Idealist listings, Mailchimp campaigns, Wordpress CMS newsletter updates, Facebook.
Published Religious Freedom Tax article in Human Rights Now, Winter 2013 issue.
Editor of new MCLI 150 Human Rights project to be published in 2014

That's all folks!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Creative Commons and Open Source

With the advent of our technology boom, our creations can take on a life all their own in the digital realm. This is illustrated through the advent of memes- the works produced through Creative Commons and open source attribution, as well as open-source micro computing.  These two elements are the new power duo that is destined to bring us to an entirely new level of awesomeness!


With meme fads, we're accustomed to variations on a similar theme. For instance, images with variations on the keep calm motto have been re-purposed, so this meme has become rather ubiquitous. At this point, I'm sure people are soooooo very tired of the whole Keep Calm meme altogether, but it is a great example of the whole meme genre by and large...

 turned into...

Another example of a meme would be the pepper spraying cop....

this original image ->

Turned into these variants...


Creative Commons

Creative Commons, gives users the right to re-purpose works. So, if you take a photo, others can build from that photo in any number of creative ways. The share and share alike spirit has produced a great number of wonderful works from humorous art pieces that poke fun at personas and predicaments, as well as incorporating themes of pop culture in fun and interesting amalgamations.  

Take for instance, a basic image taken in real life, such as this unassuming squirrel on a branch...

Who would have ever considered, when looking at a standard squirrel photo, that it could be transformed it into comic book superheroes?  Perhaps the creative types would see this, but how about the less creatively inclined?

Well, that's the beauty of Creative Commons! We see new entertaining creations spring up from as innocuous picture as simple as a squirrel walking on a tree.

Now, with video and music editing tools,  we tread the path of uncharted territories - where mash ups, composites, sampling, and more allow new art forms to exist. Video artistry of all kinds have sprung up on channels in Vimeo, and Youtube. Sometimes with unexpected and definitely amazingly cool results. Take for instance, the artistry of Kutiman, who sources the Creative Commons by taking excerpts from individual musical performances on Youtube, and then, re-compiles them through video editing, to produce cohesive and catchy songs.

This illustrates the wonderful creativity with which we are supporting through sharing.  Simply by each person sharing art, music, and videos in new ways, some really cool new creations can happen. To me, that's an incredibly wonderful way to interact in the digital medium. We should definitely be all for it! Anyone who raises a stink about this way of sharing is a real stick-in-the-mud curmudgeon that doesn't deserve our attention.

Open Source In A Free Market

It's in this same creative spirit, that we find new ways to put variations in themes into computing as well.  Only, instead of applying an ownership mentality to the software tools, we do away with corporate constructs that dictate closed market monopolies on everything and customize computers and software for uses as varied as our interests dictate.

Brand loyalty in consumerism is its own meme, so it will be hard for some of the populace to even be open to the idea of changing their hardware and software as readily. Brand loyalty is it's own beast and those firmly in this beast's grasp don't always know what is best, they only know what they are used to. Those however, whom are open to open source, have seen the beauty of it's architecture and have circumvented capitalistic closed systems which contribute to a far more restricted user experience on so many levels, compared with what is possible.  All sorts of arbitration ensues with these megalithic companies like Apple and Samsung, arguing who has what copyrights and trademarks, continually producing new versions, and charging exorbitant prices.  Who wants to support all the wasted time and resources on all that counterproductive activity? Why not let all that go?

The developments in open source attribution in a free market allows others to be able to bring great new technologies to the populace in far more useful ways and at a fraction of the cost. We should support this trend as it can only help to improve the user experience for everyone.  Also, at the same time, we as consumers awakened to the trappings of traditional capitalism can circumvent the status quo when profit motives decrease the quality of products and/or limit our choices/freedom, and/or stand in the way of progress, or fail to listen to us when the umpteenth update destroys what we liked in their product, or when they simply don't care, nor really listen to what we want. (remember when Windows 7 went to 8 and people couldn't even customize their system sounds?, or when Final Cut Pro went from 7 to X and there was zero cross compatibility?).  So much for software developments making our lives easier!

It's in the Hardware!

Along with the aforementioned examples of images, art, music, and video having a digital renaissance from open source attribution, other equally new and exciting things are happening in the world of cross pollination with open source programs and the advent of micro computing ARM technologies like Hardkernel's Odroid. Their new little Big creation, is smaller than a credit card and fits in the palm of your hand.

If you are just into browsing the internet, checking emails, and watching TV shows, and movies, you really don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money to have a fully functional computer.  They certainly don't have to take up all of your desks anymore, either.  Now, systems can fit in the palm of your hand and you can swap out your operating systems with interchangeable hard drives on 32 gigabyte micro SD chips that only cost  $20-$30 dollars, each.

You can literally run a machine for a few hundred dollars and be able to use various Ubuntu interfaces, or the Android interface (like all Samsung phones) and browse the Internet, watch TV shows and movies, run a business using Google's suite of free programs, and produce all the art and music you want, to your hearts content! Simply spending a few hundred on the board and heat sink, and a few peripherals, such as a Belkin mini usb hub, wifi dongle, bluetooth dongle, wireless keyboard, and HDMI cable, as well as a few microSD cards, will get you all you need. The amazing thing is, we can run apps from these microSD cards without having to pay for anything other than the the microSD cards themselves! Now that your data can now be stored on chips the size of a fingernail,  gone are the days of CD & DVD disks! They'll join tape and floppy disks as an obsolete medium.

What's important to note is the fact that these Odroid systems run on a mere 5 watts, compared to running on 150-300 watts, such as the standard run-of-the mill desktop systems on the market today. 
The decrease in wattage use with computing every day by 90% is huge! Not only would this lower your electric utility bills, if more people began converting to micro computing, we would considerably decrease our demand in electricity consumption across the board. Especially, if the conversion were in the hundreds of millions of people!  It's certainly more affordable for schools, so all schools can have these kinds of units to teach the next generations computer technology, programming, and app development.  Why spend 2K a unit, when you can spend $200?  That's a no-brainer for the education system to get behind,  if you ask me.

Perhaps people have bought into the idea, that expensive products mean superior products.  However, this notion should be as obsolete as disks. Just because something is cheaper, doesn't necessarily mean these products are less valuable to people and the planet. If you spend a lot of money and power on a system, but you're not using all its features, it's really a huge waste of energy and money! Even if you need a more robust system to produce videos and animation, you don't need Apple computers to do that.  In this modern era, we can mix and match hardware from Amazon.com and build our own faster, better computers for a percentage of the cost of pre-made units at stores like Apple or Best Buy! I don't know about you, but to me, an 80-90% reduction in cost is super awesome in my book!  But this isn't just applicable to your average consumer, but also organizations that have to throw down big sums to outfit a slew of cubicles.  Considering the economics of that kind of reduction in cost, I'm sure those spending the big bucks when they don't have to for people to simply check emails and work on the cloud, that this sort of hardware is the holy grail of cutting direct costs, but I digress... 

ARM micro computing aside, I have a 64-bit, 12 core system that's a blend of items from the gaming system configurations in the preceding "mix and match hardware" link.  The system is far faster turning on and operating software than my iMac ever was and it cost half as much as the Apple computer. Not to mention, with the demands of the MAC OS, the processing speed lagged and my own work productivity was minimized. Waiting for things to process became the norm, so I lovingly referred to the wait symbol, the color spinning wheel of doom.

Now, I can run Linux with a number of different Ubuntu operating systems, and through Ubuntu Studio, I have a production environment that is equitable to the commercialized cousins we are all familiar with from the likes of Adobe, Apple, or Microsoft.  I have the system partitioned, so I can run on Microsoft and use Adobe products if I want to, but I also have Ubuntu Studio, which has a whole suite of programs to explore, become familiarized with, and make use of. 

I also have the Odroid XU  and XU3 units, so I have them on a network and they are accessible on my large screen HD TV. I can use a computer from the comfort of the couch or my bed with only a keyboard on my lap instead of a hot laptop, or ipad device.  They are really awesome little micro computers with all sorts of uses, depending on what we want.  I've got one running Android and the other running Linux and I can swap between either using ES File Explorer and BVNC Free.

With all these great new software programs to work with, this got me to thinking... Instead of continually paying for a bunch of fancy expensive software upgrades every year, along with monthly fees for cloud based support, why not use other applications that can do the same things without having to pay anything at all?  Then we can go about our business, utilizing the gifts of computers and the digital arts. Unlike with big conventional industry products,  the free market in open source software computing brings with it, its own brand of innovation's that are far more relevant to our modern computer culture. Open source means we don't have to pay for software and upgrades all the time. There are a plethora of programs that can perform the same general function of the software we're used to. It's just a matter of familiarizing yourself with the user interface.  Instead of Microsoft Office or Photoshop for instance, there's Libre Office and Gimp. This is just a basic example, but there are many equivalent apps that can perform all sorts of tasks that we would need or want.  I'd be curious to find out what your favorites are, so by all means, tell me in the comment section below..

Where does all this lead?

What this evokes, is a world of open and endless possibilities.  Now that we have low wattage systems with software that we don't have to pay for all the time and that we can use anywhere there is a monitor with a working HDMI port.  Now, we can get to the matter of actually producing wonderful things in the spirit of sharing and ultimate creativity!  I am sooo very looking forward to seeing where all this goes!

Ideally, even the poorest nations should be able to afford computers now with the development of micro-computing technologies with free open source applications, and they can even run these units without the need for nuclear or coal, because they can operate on portable solar chargers.

The fact that all of humanity can have access to this technology now opens up a whole new frontier in cultural exchange.  The digital age allows all the worlds people's access to an endless field of information and ideas. The innovation that comes with it will be far accelerated in an open and free computing environment as well.  We have yet to see where that path takes us and what people will create from these new platforms in robotics, micro-super computing, and who know what else!  With open source, we can always improve upon the architecture that's out there, we can evolve applications and software to further meet our specific needs, change games to suit our fancy, reinvent apps, improve upon pre-existing apps, and oh so much more.  That's a step ahead in the right direction if you ask me...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Projects for the 1st half of 2013

My has it been a busy year!  Already halfway through 2013 and I haven't had time to blog at all!  *Gasp* For someone who specializes in Social Media, it is rather ironic to see my own scores in Kred and Klout, but honestly, those metrics aren't including all I do for everyone else including myself.  In which case, I'm sure that my contributions would put my metrics through the roof!  But I digress...

So far this year, I've worked with a number of clients for a range of services from graphic and web design, to inbound marketing with social media management, advertising and email campaigns, and SEO.  Clients include: Bo Boudart Productions, Outpost Studios, Outbid.com, the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, The Law Offices of Seth P. Chazin, Univfy Fertily Prognostics, Gennaro's Wax Trio, Starship, a Miva Merchant store account, and three accounts with Gauger + Associates.

Here's a breakdown of what I've been busy doing for the first half of 2013...

Bo Boudart Productions -

Bo's producing 4 films and is in pre-production on a 5th film.  I've been assisting with content curation for the films "Paying the Price for Peace" and "Accidental Activists" on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.  I also looked into consolidating his other released films under one hosting umbrella, and creating a Google Analytics account for Bo to keep track of all of his websites including Oil on Ice, Islands of Life, Paying the Price for Peace, and Bo Boudart Productions.  My most active work is primarily with Paying The Price For Peace and Accidental Activists, and I plan to implement more including adding blogs to the Paying The Price For Peace website, producing a website for Accidental Activists, producing a benefit concert, and a second Indiegogo Campaign to help fund post-production and distribution.

Outpost Studios, Inc.

Since I've got so much going on with all my other clients, I have recommended that Outpost do a website rebranding so that the site can be managed in-house using a Wordpress CMS.  I have been assisting with building out a new template and migrating the content from the old site to the new one. I have been making recommendations for site work improvements, and have been improving the overal functionality of the new site which will be finished and ready by the fall.  In the meantime, I am periodically updating the main news page with recent projects.

New Doc Films

Karen Everett changed the title of her work-in-progress documentary from Bold Mother Hubbard to American Visionary.  This timely film is about Barbara Marx Hubbard and her vision of our future.  The most recent crowd sourced fundraiser on Indiegogo was successful, so she's raised a total of over $47K altogether.   The project is well underway and I'm very excited to see Karen's film when it's "in the can"!  I of course believe in her project and her goal to produce and promote socially conscious media, so I am a positive patron.  In addition to supporting her documentary, I also assisted with site migration to Karen's new domain name and did a quick site re-branding, including updating the slideshow, changing color aesthetic to match her new logo, and re-configure the social media widgets.  Here is the newest trailer for the film...

Outbid.com -

I assist with the backend of the Wordpress Content Management System (CMS) for the overall style and functionality of the CMS portion of the site along with standalone page promotions. They send me a Photoshop comp file, and I convert it into a live page for use in their system using Netbeans. I code the HTML page and then style the pages in CSS. I have my own sandbox on my server to test the pages I build, then I upload them to the Github repository for inclusion in their QA site.  Once the project is given a "go," I make the necessary additions to the live CMS production Wordpress site and the pages go live. So far this year, I've produced 6 of those and I tend to deliver them within a week of receiving the comps.

Gauger + Associates

 I began working with Gauger and Associates in May and began primarily with Calorease, and have incorporated two additional accounts along with that. Along with building out networks on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest, I have also made additional recommendations for SEO, and website improvements.  

Here is the breakdown of what I have accomplished specifically with each...
  • Calorease - Within two months: Increased Facebook followers 25,815% with high organic engagement metrics, grew Twitter network 4,800%, grew G+ network 566%, and the Pinterest network following increased 4100%. 
  • Truwhip - Within two months: developed new product inquiries from Pinterest activity, increased mentions with Twitter interactions, and grew the networks organically.  
  • Gauger + Associates - assess website for improvements, utilize social media strategies to improve standing on social media.  Within one month: 45% increase in Twitter followers and gained over 100 new fans on Facebook organically.

Gennaro's Wax Trio

I designed the packaging for Gennaro's 6th release, "Covered in Wax".  Gennaro is an excellent guitarist and did an excellent job of covering some of my favorite songs.  I even like some of his versions better than the originals!  He had the concept already of what he wanted (white cover, guitar covered in maker's mark wax, etc. He provided miniature guitars that are similar to his own make/models and asked that I add dripping wax, and have the color theme be white, black and red.  Based upon his requests, I produced comps for him to review and made changes as per his request until he was ready for print.  I supplied the final assets to the printing company and the package came out great!  Along the way, I also set up his Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as assisted with producing show flyers for his gigs.

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute (MCLI) -

I have been involved with the MCLI for a few years now.  Ann Fagan Ginger was an instructor at SFSU when I was studying for my film degree and her no nonsense approach to Constitutional and International Law was more than inspiring.  I believe in what MCLI is doing, so I want to help them with their online presence.  I've been assisting with their Wordpress website, implementing a more modernized newsletter approach to include email campaigns, help with their Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as plan to produce a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign to bring the non-profit some much needed income to continue doing the important work they are known for including shadow reports and educating others on the laws the United States is under an obligation to honor.

Seth P. Chazin -

I began to assist with building Seth Chazin's online presence for his Law Offices.  I took up the Lawlytics CMS interface of his website and have implemented SEO strategies to improve his website ranking, as well as have built out additional profiles for him on Google Plus, and have begun to build out his networks in FacebookLinkedin, and Twitter.  I have produced his blogs since January and have included more images and visuals as well as links to make the content more attractive.  Along the way, I have also enlisted both Seth and his assistant to incorporate social media duties into their repertoires and am training them both on the strategies that will increase visibility for their law practice. The strategies implemented have increased his visibility within the legal community, as well as have improved his overall authorship ranking.


Loveless Fascination is the latest CD to be released by Mickey Thomas.  I have worked with him on the design based upon his vision of a Mandrill looking at his reflection in a jungle at night.  The concept art was in development and I worked with Mickey to bring about his vision.

Unfortunately, the record label has decided to only do in-house work for their CD's, so my version won't be printed.  Regardless, I can share with you what the concept art looked like to get an idea of what I had created while working on all the other projects listed in this blog.  The CD was a work-in-progress, which has since been shelved.  It was fun to work with Mickey on the concept, however, so I should still be including this work here as it was something I was spending time on during the first half of 2013.

Univfy -

Univfy had just begun to get started with social media, when their videographer Paige Bierma recommended they consult  with me to get their social media up to speed and train one of their in-house employees on how to use each platform to their advantage.  They had only really done work on Twitter. I assessed where they were at and what was needed.  I began making recommendations on strategies to implement.  When starting, their Facebook page had less than 100 fans.  Today, they have over 8,000 fans!   I went about setting up all of the back-end aspects to their online presence, like incorporating their Twitter account into their Facebook Page, as well as creating a Univfy Pinterest account, upgrading that account to a business account, as well as creating a Google Plus account and Univfy Google + business page. I improved their Youtube channel (which is unfortunately no longer available to see now that Youtube 1 has gotten rid of the previous channel appearance that I liked better).  I also added new tabs to their Facebook page and integrated their accounts with other accounts.  I helped work with the Univfy team remotely using a Facebook admin group to make recommendations to the team regarding insights, posting strategies, and more. They've since taken up the media content projects themselves and so I can focus upon many of my other pursuits!

Personal - 

Along with these clients and accounts, I also feel passionately to inspire, to contribute to social change, to be of service to humanity.  So, I contribute to my own social media pages such as LVX1313, Incredible Living Edibles, Solveation, Pantheist Spirituality, Shadow Worker (here's the old Myspace account before Myspace destroyed my design. Thanks Myspace, for destroying my multiple pages there that I spent years building.  NOT!), There's one more page I manage on Facebook which will remain anonymous, as it is a tithing for humanity, so to speak.  Needless to say, that particular page has the highest number of followers for all my personal pages which I have grown entirely organically with zero ad campaigns. There are now over 1200 followers and counting there with people from all over the world, so I find that particularly amazing, since I haven't devoted much time to it - posting infrequently.  Considering all that I accomplish in a short amount of time, I wonder how formidable I would be if I were to focus all of my energies into just one place and/or thing!.

Currently this summer, while my children are enjoying summer vacation, I have been teaching my children how to use Garage Band, so that they can begin producing their own music, which is a good idea, given they have grown up at Soundwave Studios with a bunch of musicians. I'd love to produce music of my own, but until I find an affluent benefactor that believes in my talent and allows me to focus full time on being a producer of art, music, and videos, I will spend countless hours working for others to pay for my living expenses.  At any rate, although I enjoy playing drums/percussion, I still like to sing, so when I have some free time, I like to sing karaoke on this cool app called Sing!  It's always great to hear the duets when I offer open calls to join me on a song.  You can check out my profile on Sing! here.

Just recently, I had the greatest epiphany of a great new product that is a one of a kind first that I think a bunch of tech savvy individuals will appreciate.  I'm in the development process of a new business idea that I'm very excited about from an Entrepreneurial perspective.  It is an über awesome techie fashion idea that is very hip and futuristic. Can't wait to share my prototypes with you soon!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Google + on the Rise

I'll admit, although I signed up for G+ quite some time ago, I wasn't actively using the social networking interface as much as sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. So I was basically adding to their metric of inactive users (sorry about that, Google).

I had been an early adopter of previous interfaces like Google Wave and was reticent to invest my time in something that could get scrapped like the Google Wave was. (Especially because I had worked so hard to find someone just to invite me)!

At any rate, despite getting a group I'm involved with from MySpace/Facebook to use the Wave and have it fall flat, I am at it again, asking some of the members in a particular group to migrate to Google Plus. Currently, they are far more active on Facebook groups, and this is understandable, given that Facebook is still reigning supreme. Not to mention the fact that we are creatures of habit, and we've been at it for years in Facebook groups.  Although Facebook is currently at the #1 spot and Google + is at the #2 spot as far as overall useage,  I believe the trend will change.

The difference is, I see the beauty in Google Plus now, and have begun to build a number of pages and profiles on the G+ interface. I'm excited and hopeful that more people will migrate to using G+ more and more until the majority of us are spending our time on Google +. Why have I changed my tune? Well, I have been using Google Hangouts privately for virtual meetings to train teams and individual clients on social networking interfaces and strategies.

After using the Hangouts feature, I've come to find that it is better than Skype. It is my preferred method to guide anyone through how to do most anything on their computers because of the nifty screen share feature which allows users to chose either their entire desktop, or simply one active window to share, so I can guide them through what to click and where far easier than by trying to do the same by phone or audio only.

Image Above: Google Hangout's meeting for Karen Everett's fundraising campaign for the documentary about Barbara Marx Hubbard.

The meeting was on Halloween and I was the only one in costume (hence the colored hair)... ;-) 

I've used Hangouts well over twenty times, so when I found out that pages can now use Hangouts instead of simply profiles, and that On Air Hangouts are integrated to broadcast live and be archived directly into YouTube accounts, I was absolutely thrilled with the prospect and potential. This is really a phenomenal product Google + has in its arsenal which all the early adopters I'm sure can attest to. I've been recommending some of my clients that they should utilize this awesome feature for panelist discussions specifically geared toward their respective business topics and products. Whether they decide to take up the task is up to them, but I'm going full steam ahead, and will plan my own based upon my interests, such as living foods, esoteric subjects, the environment, and social change topics. My mind is swirling with a ton of ideas!

If this feature in and of itself wasn't enough, Google + has now unveiled Communities which is similar to Facebooks Groups. You can even post in Communities as your Pages, so Google Plus is far better in this regard because you cannot do the same on Facebook. Nice, nice! But then, it doesn't stop there. Now that Google supplies email, cloud based drive storage, Youtube, library, blogger, Picassa photohosting, apps for business, analytics, places, and more, we literally have all that we could ever have asked for with a one-stop-shop login. With a slew of kicka$$ features all in one convenient place, isn't it a no brainier? I mean, really!

Now for the extra added bonus! You don't have to pay just to feature your own posts to those who follow you! Since I have basically built over 20 Facebook Pages and have had to run ads on any number of them just so that fans actually see what I post, that's a hook, line and sinker for me. I'm sold. So even though G+ has surpassed Twitter in the number of its active users, I doubt Facebook will reign supreme forever. I remember why so many migrated from MySpace to Facebook. (I've written another blog devoted to Myspace here). The reasons Facebook had more appeal were less obvious then. When enough people figure out how soooo much better Google is, we'll quite naturally start using it more and (hopefully) begin abandoning Facebook in droves. So Facebook will experience a similar fate as MySpace and be relegated to a bygone era of glory days when we will all remember nostalgically what we liked about them before they took (enter your favorite aspect/feature here) away.  One of the sticking points for me, has always been Facebook's lame support for editing posts and not supporting animated gifs, so thank you Google +, for having the wherewithal to let me have both these features!

Friends of mine who prefer Google + have told me they don't like Facebook because of the ads that began showing up in their home feeds. Also, visibility settings aren't as easy to navigate, so having their mom's become friends on Facebook made them feel they couldn't post there anymore.  Even though I know how to do the settings to keep posts separate from friends and family, most don't want to have to bother going through the convoluted Facebook settings to specify things like that.  So circles, circumvents that issue entirely and makes sharing with specific groups far more user-friendly.

The future is free and open source, with a network provider running on sustainable energy. Now, that's the network I want to belong with and build! So, the reasons are just piling up, more and more.  So I'm advising all my clients to take G+ seriously and become more involved there.  I am helping to build pages and profiles for a number of my clients.

 It's funny, because those I've asked to use G+, for whatever reason, don't jump on board so quickly. I end up having to bring up all the reasons why they should try it, to sort of "convince" them of the reasons why Google is better than Facebook. I'll tell them all the things I've listed here in this blog. They often ask me if I work for Google. I actually don't work for them, but I certainly work a lot "with" their products, and considering all the aforementioned perks of Google in general and the awesome features in G+ all by itself, it just makes more sense to migrate to G+. In my mind, it's not a matter of if people will figure it out, it's a matter of when.

by Nicole C. Scott. Find me on Google +

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Projects Completed In 2012

Passionate about many subjects, I am skilled at being both creative and analytical. Sure, I can be a great Bookkeeper, or Administrative Assistant to Executives and CEO's, (I've done that for over a dozen years). However, my real passion and love, is in all things creative and online.

Check out my DandyID, to see a little glimpse into some of my personal online personas (I say some, because DandyID doesn't let you enter more than one account per social networking interface and I have more than a few profiles and pages on sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Google +). As it stands now, I have well over 20 Pages under my belt in Facebook Page Management alone, where I actively run a dozen or more weekly, as well as multiple blogs (this being my newest).

This blog for the most part, will be a forum for presenting the work I have done and am doing. I welcome your feedback and interaction, so please do write me a note, or comment in my blog here.

From personal artistic expressions in paint, digital, music, and video, to work as a consultant and designer, I will present to you, all the work I have done, or am in the process of doing.

Naturally, my appreciation for computers and software, paired with my creativity in design and video production, as well as social networking prowess, produced the unique capability to assist others with a variety of services as a Creative Consultant... I have been so busy with consulting, that I've not had as much time to focus upon my own websites, YouTube & Vimeo channels, blog accounts, or other various sundry pages. But that's OK, a girl's gotta earn a living, right?

As a freelance artist, here are just a few examples of the works I have completed in 2012...

Bo Boudart, Producer/Director and founder of the Beau Monde Image Foundation, hired me to assist him with his online presence.  I immediately began working on setting up all the necessary elements.  I recommended that he purchase a domain name and hosting and began to build his Business interface through Google Apps for Business.  I produced his Facebook Page, Twitter feed, Youtube & Vimeo channels, Linkedin Profile, IMDB listings, and more...The website for +Bo Boudart Productions: BoBoudartProductions.org was based on another site that he liked, so I took the code from it and cleaned it up.

Paying the Price for Peace- The Story of S. Brian Willson & The Peace Movement has been an collaborative effort between myself and Producer, Bo Boudart of The Beau Monde Image Foundation.  He has been shooting footage with Brian Willson and other noteable peace activists and wanted to create a fundraiser for the film.   I helped setup the Indiegogo campaign, the Facebook Page and Twitter Feed, edited the end credits to one of his previous trailers before uploading to his Youtube and Vimeo Channels.  I ended up assembling a team to assist with the PR campaign for Twitter and Facebook interaction, as well as for disseminating Press Releases.  The first fundraiser successfully raised $31,000.00.

 Brian Zust, Co-Producer of the short documentary film, Pliny hired me to produce a poster for his documentary to promote the screening for the Santa Rosa Film Festival.  He forwarded the photo on a Wednesday, and I sent a final large format poster back to him by Friday.  I tied the theme of the beers' label onto the poster and submitted to him a very professional looking film poster on time, and on budget.

Here's the short documentary film, Pliny...

Karen Everett, Director of the film, "Bold Mother Hubbard" had already started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for her project when I met with her.  To make sure her campaign was successful, I immediately created a website boldmotherhubbardthefilm.com the first week and began to assist with building her fanbase on Facebook which had less than 100 fans .  During that time, I set up her company on a Google Apps for Business account, and invited her team to productions meetings on Google Hangouts. I applied the free vouchers from her hosting site, Bluehost to a Facebook ad campaign, and i set up a Facebook Admin Group to provided training on social networking strategies.  I designed the logo, as well as set up the newsletter sign up form and response letter and integrated that on the website.  I also did all the integration of all the social networking links on the site, created a Twitter account and sync with Facebook, etc.  All of this was accomplished in 6 weeks.  The first fundraising goal of $20,000.00 was successful and raised $21,700.00!

Here's a little backstory to explain how I ended up doing all the above projects.  I was managing Outpost Studios full-time (since January of 2009).  For four years, I was the go-to gal for all things Outpost. If you were to visit the archives at the Outpost Studios site, you can see almost all the projects I managed from 2009 to 2012 (I say almost all, because there's a backlog of projects from October-December that I have yet to upload to the site). However, when the economic downturn forced me to begin working part-time as of the summer of 2012, I suddenly found myself needing to find additional work to supplement my income. It was unforeseen and couldn't have come at a worse time as the full-time to part-time transition occurred just before my surgery.

Fortunately right as I was recovering from surgery, Bo Boudart signed me on to help on a new film he was producing, and I found out he was actually producing four films, so I began to create a site for his company while I assisted with fundraising efforts, social networking, and PR. I also secured a part-time gig with Westernized Productions as a Bookkeeper for 8 hours a week. 

In the summer months while at WESTERNIZED, I lightened the load off Jackie Yea, so she could focus more on management. I handled all the AR/AP, fixed their payroll accounting, and made new recommendations to the company on ways to improve their methods with Quickbooks. By the fall, Westernized merged with Elastic Creative, so I handed the baton to the Elastic Creative Bookkeeper, Dawn. I had made the transition easier for her by resolving the need to use the previous LA accountants broken journal entry system and replacing it with an ADP solution. With follow up visits to go over the accounts and procedures, I was done with Westernized by October and began focusing more with my film clients and corporate clients. Bo's fundraising campaign also brought in Karen Everett and Haydn Reiss who were fundraising for their films as well, so I helped all three, while fixing the Wordpress CMS system for Outbid.com from the backend using a Github Repository and FTP.

So you might wonder, why am I telling you all this? Well this is a blog about what I did in 2012, after all! So picture this... While I was working part-time with Outpost managing the office and bookkeeping part-time at Westernized, I was also helping Bo Boudart and Karen Everett.  I was also able to provide some consulting hours for Elad Marish of Swell Music, Jon Weiss of PanArts, and  Haydn Reiss for his film, "Robert Bly- News of the Universe."  I also assisted Outbid.com with their site rebranding and conforming their CMS platform to match. (This can at least give you an idea of the prowess one was referring to earlier).

This past year, I also took classes at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) to brush up my skills in HTML5, CSS3, Advanced Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, and After Effects. While also being involved in a number of online groups and forums, as well as building my own pages. If this wasn't enough, I also provided specialty vegan desserts at a few events as a part of my startup business, Incredible Living Edibles. This just goes to show why I'm confident to say that I'm a real "go-getter"!

I've been fortunate to find myself so busy as a freelance consultant!  With this extra work,  I have been able to remain self sufficient and raise my two children as a single mother. This goes to show that I can work from home, do a good job, and help raise a family.  I sincerely thank every one of my clients for helping me to stay financially solvent, as well as to further my own career goals.  Becoming so busy with my consulting work, I have officially handed the Outpost Studios office over to previous Polarity Post Intern, Allie Talboy, who has gracefully stepped in, while I continue to assist Outpost with the website and social networking portion as their Social Media Director..  (Feel free to follow Outpost's page on Facebook btw, to see the latest goings on at Outpost).

So now, I am coordinating many projects with many clients and assisting them with a great variety of services. This year in 2013, I have begun working with Univfy to implement their social networking strategies, as well as with Attorney Seth Chazin for his law practice, musician Gennaro, of Gennaro's Wax Trio, and others  But I digress, that is all for a later time. I will share more about these projects in other posts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Memories of Myspace

I remember when I first signed up for Myspace back in 2004. (I was previously using Yahoo! primarily for group forums).  The profile started as a generic white page, but the background settings could include html code to customize the profile. When profiles are initially assigned, a profile ID number was issued and users had the option to rename the address. The first profile I created was assigned a "unique identifier" string of numbers that I never had the inclination to change. What were the odds to get five, 5's? So, MySpace.com/5555050 seemed like an auspicious number to keep. (Fortunately for me, deciding to not change my address, allowed me to retain my original HTML code without having it overridden by the system wide changes that went into effect when they unveiled the site entirely rebranded).

I remember when I first began befriending others from their profiles, that I wanted to have my top friends appear as novelty characters like planets, Animal from the Muppets, bands I liked, my best friend, etc. I could pick only one song on another MySpace band profile and have it auto play on my profile page. I began blogging there and started out with simple blurbs, and copy and pasting code for results of tests like "What Hogwarts House Do You Belong To," or "What Star Wars/South Park/Fantasy Character Are You", etc... 

Then, I began sharing poetry and then started learning how you could alter font faces for word placement, size, color, and hyper-linking. (This was all before the coding features were integrated into the top bar). Back then, you could just write HTML directly into the empty form fields. I then went about customizing the blog page interface. I blogged a few times a week, and then I began following and commenting on others' blogs. There was a thriving community which grew from the blogs, we friended each other and began sharing each others bulletins. I figured out that the HTML customization applied to bulletins as well and I could affect the look of the entire MySpace page when users clicked my bulletins. I would broadcast my blogs with hyperlinked imagery with the title and a song player on autoplay.

The advent of Myspace brought up photo hosting sites like Photobucket and Imageshack. We all needed extra images to put in our profiles, bulletins, and blogs. At the height of Myspace popularity and useage, bulletins were the way to go. If my bulletins went viral, Photobucket would replace my images with an exceeded bandwidth warning. We circumvented the one song only feature of MySpace, and began using players with different skins and free music hosting sites like Mixpod and Project Playlist.

I recall learning for the first time, how to get a YouTube video set to autoplay. It wasn't long before, I had to change my blog roll's default page to only load one blog at a time (you could choose 1,3,7,10). Because each entry had a song, or a video accompanying the blog post in autoplay, it was integral to the design to only feature one blog at a time. Blogs were just like your own private bulletins, only they didn't disappear after ten days.

I remember in Myspace's heyday (between 2004 and 2008, when they were the most popular social networking site and I was actively using it the most), back when users had more freedom to post what they wanted. Sites like mygenUK, and PimpMyProfile, let people produce a variety of MySpace profiles using their custom code generators. Fully delving into customization, MySpace provided a great reason for social networking users to learn HTML. Obviously the generators didn't contain aesthetically pleasing pallet colors, so some users took their profiles to the extreme and had raining symbols, tiger and plaid tables with neon font colors. There were no obnoxious profiles overloaded with a ton of widgets and code that made it difficult to load.

Before Facebook took over the limelight, personalities became famous through MySpace, able to gather tens of thousands of friends. Some bloggers developed large followings. The highest readership I received through MySpace blogs, was a unique viewership of over 500 people on average, per day. A few of my bulletins spread far and wide though. I could tell which ones by the bandwidth taken up on the images and I could use plagiarism search bots to find my poetry bulletins on a number of MySpace Users' profiles. You could visibly see how your online presence, posts and interactions had an effect on the communities. I remember posting a few classic songs on autoplay and spreading the lyrics out with images accompanying so you coukd scroll and see the images. Friends would end up mimicking the method, and so memes became a trend.

On MySpace, we were open to friending those we never knew or had met before, it was ok to share full movies, songs, and ideas. We got to explore more music and friend and follow our favorite artists and their events. It was far better than AOL or Yahoo!  (sites which sort of fell by the wayside, much like Myspace fell when everyone migrated to Facebook).

Then the spammers and phishers pretty much forced MySpace to implement system changes that blocked customization of bulletins, as well as masked the addresses of all the hyper-linking. Msplinks were a throttle to sharing, as links that weren't phishing we're disabled too. Such draconian measures altough good at blocking phishers, also destroyed a lot of the links we wanted to share. They were converted in the original code to msplinks, so we could no longer even find the original link code to share!  Then, MySpace went about blocking the ability for users to reference other bulletin posters. Unless coders knew the work around on how to retain the previous posters names, that was it. So, people were less happy overall with the erosion of what made MySpace bulletins so cool. If we liked a certain bulletin, we couldn't as easily ascertain its originator.  We weren't getting credit anymore for our original bulletins anymore and that didn't sit well with a lot of the users.

In addition, the email messaging system was no longer a personal and private thing, people could blast their emails to everyone at once.  Soon, we were getting spammed by all the people and bands we had befriended. Messages were overwhelming our inboxes and our once intimate relationships were falling by the wayside.

In addition to all these changes, there were aspects that were never that great.  Our blog archival systems left much to be desired.  You could only search blog archives of any given Myspacer by a rudimentary date selection apparatus.  Fortunately, a genius hacker produced a great html code generator to allow our blogs to be culled and accessed by all of our titles in a long list.  It was a nifty feature and a lot of the major bloggers out there used it at the top of their blog headers.  Myspace changed their code, and disabled that feature.  Major upset.

A lot of the abandonment had more to do with the change in features that we had come to appreciate about Myspace. These reasons compiled until everyone was pretty fed up with the limitations. That's why Myspace saw the rise and fall like it did.  To make matters worse, they did the most bonehead move EVER.  When they unveiled their new site branding to compete with Facebook, most everyone's customization of "their" spaces, were overwritten.  My music page at myspace.com/lvx1313 was no exception.  My custom code to that site disappeared, so I had to replace it with some generic skin to at least salvage its aesthetic.  For some unknown reason, three of my pages there remain intact as I had originally intended them to look  (The other two aside from 5555050 ie:Æterna ☥ are Solveation and Shadow Worker). So, even if we weren't spending as much time there, we thought our works of online art would remain in perpetuity.  Pages we had spent years into perfecting were destroyed with one fail swoop.  The customization of our blogs - destroyed. To make things even worse, there was zero customer service- Zero response to our requests and plea's to fix "blog safe mode" or our ability to access our own archives. It was like creating a sand mandala and having it disappear in the wind.

The things that I've mentioned above were compounding the reasons a lot of the population migrated to Facebook.  There wasn't any one thing that did it, but as one of it's primary users in it's height of popularity, I couldn't help but notice all of my peers complaints about the way Myspace was destroying the good parts we had come to love about it.

There are a few things about it that I like.  Such as the ability to feature animated gifs which Facebook does not support.  (Thank GOD Google + supports gifs!). I had made a number of these gifs which had grown popular within 
Myspace, such as Believe in Love, which was inspired by a profile within Myspace with the same name. Their blogs at least let you add videos and music and animated gifs, which is better than Facebook's rudimentary "notes".  

Having music play on your profile is nice too, something Facebook lacks.  It is sad to see Myspace erode like it has.  It's evolution proved more harmful than helpful to its users.  It would seem that sometimes, large conglomerates would do better to actually listen to their users, and for the love of god, DON'T take away the parts of it that users actually LIKED!

It seems that Facebook is treading dangerous waters as well, now that it is unveiling more ways to make users pay just to use it.  Charging to have your own fans read your posts, or to simply write someone you aren't friends with yet, is a bad idea.  That is the customary way to make introductions when making friend requests which was the norm on Myspace. Not to mention, posts are censored, users are being abused by having their accounts suspended for bogus reasons without any warning, or procedures to allow users to prove that their use was legitimate and not a TOS violation. Facebook is seeming like another lame duck, IMHO, given their continual stranglehold on our ability to share information.

As soon as Facebook gets too greedy, and pisses off more of its users by caring more about advertising instead of it's users, 
Adiós Facebook!  It's happening already.  (At least I hope it is).  They don't deserve to rule the social networking roost if they don't understand the patterns of why Myspace failed.  Facebook chatter is starting to remind me of the bulletin and blog chatter on Myspace.  That's a fair warning that Facebook can't afford to ignore.

by Nicole C. Scott. Find me on Google +