Archive for March, 2011

Top 7 Webcomics

Note: This post was originally written for The Next Great Generation.

In my humble opinion, without webcomics, life on the Internet wouldn’t be as fun. They’re a hilarious ray of sunshine that can brighten up anyone’s day.

Thus, I decided to create a list of the best webcomics, for everyone to enjoy. If you don’t already have some of these comics in your Google Reader, then you might as well be your parents’ age (just kidding).

7. Joy of Tech

It’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that the most avid readers of webcomics (and comics in general) are nerds. Joy of Tech is a webcomic that makes hilarious technology-related jokes (not much of a stretch there).

6. Left Handed Toons

Illustrated by two right-handed dudes named Drew and Justin, every weekday they post something new drawn with their left hands. The comics are a bit more universal and touch on things that everyone has thought before, but never told anyone. A personal favorite, 5 Uses for a Trembling Chihuahua addresses what many have thought before: Chihuahuas are annoying and they need to have some sort of purpose, right? Why not turn them into an egg beater?

5. Penny Arcade

Another nerd-focused webcomic, what can I say? The two guys who do the comic, Mike and Jerry, are also responsible for a major geek convention called Pax East. Needless to say, the comic focuses on the Internet, gaming, and more than one Pokemon joke.


Penny Arcade

4. Ctrl+Alt+Del

While I’ve found that most webcomics are created bunch a bunch of guys, this one is create by just one guy, Tim Buckley. He started Ctrl+Alt+Del in 2002 and has managed to become one of the most successful online webcomics. Once again, this is another geek-focused comic strip, but it’s something everyone can laugh at. It started off as just two guys sitting around playing video games, but it’s evolved to guys and their robot friends.

3. xkcd

xkcd is one of the most popular online comics, from the mind of Randall Munroe. This comic is less tech-focused with more of an emphasis on adult humor, bad language and math. The stick figures are reminiscent of characters that anyone could draw, but the jokes and humor aren’t exactly what most people would think of.



2. Cyanide & Happiness

One of my personal favorites when it comes to webcomics. It’s illustrated by four guys, Chase, Matt, Dave and Kris. Each artist has his own distinctive style, characters, and humor. Since each day’s comic is by a different artist, it never gets dull or boring. There’s always something to laugh at. Sometimes, the guys even publish animated shorts to go along with their comic strips. They’ve even published two books, one of which I personally own.

1. The Oatmeal

If you don’t know The Oatmeal, you might as well go crawl back into the hole you live in and stay there. The brainchild of Matthew Inman, there is no doubt that The Oatmeal is the most successful webcomic on the webz. After quitting his job as a web designer, 20-something Inman decided to create his own website and dedicate his time to drawing comics online. His comics are so popular, Digg even created an entire section dedicated to The Oatmeal for every time a new one is posted. Inman has spoken at SxSW about the 7 Principles of Viral Content, and has published a book (which I also own). The best thing about The Oatmeal is that the comics are all about what we’ve all thought, but never said. One of his most popular comics, 10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling, takes something very simple, spelling, and turns it into something hilarious we can all enjoy. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone can find something enjoyable about The Oatmeal.


The Oatmeal

Side note: Matthew Inman, if you’re reading this, we should go on a date sometime. Kthnx.

Click the pictures to link to the comic. All embedded comics are property of their creators.

LivingSocial Does Social Good

Note: This post was originally written for Emerson Social Media.

Days after the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster LivingSocial launched a deal on their website. For every $5 donation made to the Red Cross, LivingSocial would match it, turning it into a $10 donation. Overall, $2,301,130 was contributed to Red Cross Japan disaster relief. The offer ran last Thursday all through the weekend in all of their US markets.

Originally, LivingSocial only agreed to match $1,000,000. However, after the overwhelming response to the deal, they decided to increase the donation amount.

This isn’t the first time LivingSocial has used its platform for donations, either. In December they ran their Twelve Days of Giving campaign where 1% of every purchase was donated to charity. With that being said, no one has seen such a large-scale use of a group-buying platform for good.

Groupon tried with their Save The Money campaign, but that backfired with their Superbowl ad. Now, no longer exists.

Overall, the entire Japan earthquake has shown how strong social networking can be. It’s difficult to ignore the sheer number of tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates and articles about the disaster. Every way we can help counts and companies that recognize that, like LivingSocial, can garner customer support through their actions.

What We’ve Learned From Zombie Movies

what we've learned from zombie movies

Image via geekologie

RIP Zune

Note: This was originally written for the Emerson Social Media Blog.

Believe it or not, I used to be a Zune owner. Most people made fun of them for being the poor man’s iPod, despite the fact that they were comparably priced. Ultimately, the Zune was Microsoft’s version of an mp3 player, and it didn’t work out so well. Everyone always thought of it as a crappy version of an iPod.

However, I loved mine when I had it. In an attempt to be “cooler than everyone else” I decided to rebel against the norm and get myself a Zune. I started off with a clunky white version, but it held 30GB of music. Needless to say, I was good to go. Eventually I upgraded to a Zune 80GB with custom etching on the back. It was easy to personalize my Zune and it did exactly what I needed it to do – play music.

Then, this summer I decided I hated my crappy Dell laptop and needed to upgrade. Naturally going to a school with a bunch of film majors, I figured that Macs were the best, and this die hard PC user was going to join the dark side. While at the Apple store, I learned that not only could I get a free printer with my computer, but also a free iPod. What harm could that do?

Even though my new iPod only holds 8GB for music, pictures, applications and video, it still gets the job done, and I don’t seem like an outcast. However, saying goodbye to my Zune was difficult, but we had to part ways. I’m a Mac now.

Today I heard through the grapevine that Microsoft is getting rid of the Zune hardware all together now. As in, you would no longer be able to buy a Zune player. The Zune software would still be used on Xboxs and Windows 7 phones the world over for content, music and gaming.

Despite all this hoopla about the death of the Zune, Microsoft commented:

“We have nothing to announce about another Zune device – but most recently have introduced Zune HD to Canada via Zune Originals store and remain committed to supporting our devices in North America. We are thrilled by the consumer excitement for Zune across many new platforms, including Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.”

It’s unclear as of right now whether or not the Zune players are still available for sale. On the Zune website right now, the focus is on the Zune software, and the actual hardware isn’t really advertised. At the end of the day, you’d need to be dumb not to recognize the fact that the Zune doesn’t have much of a future anymore. Apple has a stronghold on the mp3 player market and it would be practically impossible for the Zune to ever hold a serious place in a consumer’s mind.

Zune owners, be careful not to sell the ones you have. They could become collectibles some day.

Why Everyone Loves Beast

Beast's Facebook Page

Recently Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, created a Facebook Page for his new puppy, Beast.  It’s just page packed with adorableness and the new pup already has over 45,000 fans. That seems like a lot for just a dog, right? Actually, Mashable recently posted an infograhic with a focus on man’s best friend and social media. Most Facebook pages for dogs have 50 or less friends. Why does everyone care so much about this particular one? I have a few thoughts:

  • It offers insight into the elusive Facebook founder’s life. Even though he created this online social networking empire, his personal life isn’t really that well known. But aren’t we all a little bit curious what goes on behind the computer screen? By looking at Beast’s life, we get a glimpse into Mark’s life.
  • Dogs seriously are man’s best friend. Okay, maybe not everyone is a dog person, but I definitely am. Most people like having an animal companion, and its a common interest. Pets can bring people together
  • Social media is becoming more and more integrated into our everyday lives. Why wouldn’t we include our pets and other non-human entities?
  • The bottom line, is that the dog is frickin’ adorable. Between the pictures and status updates, you just can’t help but want to cuddle that fluffy ball of fur.

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