Police Departments Take Note – Start Tweeting

Note: This post was originally written for Emerson Social Media

Today in the UK, West Midlands Police started tweeting results from court cases in the Birmingham Magistrate Court. This is in an effort to educate the public on the type of court cases that go through the system on a regular basis.

According to The Next Web, local press recently had to reduce the amount of coverage it gave to local court hearings due to constraints on their budgets and not having the number of people available. Through tweeting the rulings, the West Midlands Police hopes to increase the amount of coverage given to the cases and garner interest.

In some ways, this is an example of what social media has done. It has almost eliminated the need for traditional news reporting, and it gives the public a much needed source of information.

On the other hand, does this violate any privacy of the people involved in these crimes? To me, not really. The public has a right to know what cases go through their local system and if they’re reported on traditionally, they can be reported on via social media.

In my local community, Boston, we have our own version of the @WMPolice Twitter handle, aka @Boston_Police.

The Boston Police Department tweets about local crime and happenings around the Boston area. If there was a robbery, shooting, death etc, you will know about it. Although they don’t tweet about court rulings, they make sure that you know anything and everything going on in Boston.

Personally, I believe that police departments tweeting can only be a good thing. It lets us know important information quickly.

What do you think about police departments tweeting?


Stop Sex Trafficking With Social Media

Note: This post was originally written for Emerson Social Media

The Demi & Ashton Foundation (or DNA Foundation) recently launched an online video campaign called “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls”. It features celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, and Justin Timberlake.

My personal favorite features the Old Spice guy Isiah Mustafa and Mashable’s Pete Cashmore.

The videos focus on “real men” who know how to run their lives, be independent and are overall awesome. As a result, they don’t buy girls who are trafficked for sex.

The campaign is mainly focused on YouTube, but also has an outlet on Facebook. Through Facebook, you can “Prove You’re a Real Man” or that you “Prefer Real Men”. Personally, I prefer real men.

1.2 million children are trafficked for sex every year, with 150,000 of them in the United States. And, every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked to the US for forced labor. The sex trafficking industry is the third largest criminal industry with over $27 billion a year in profits.

Moore was quoted saying, “The goal of our Real Men campaign is to inform men about the reality of child sex slavery. People need to know that this isn’t a problem that is happening ‘somewhere else.’ Hundreds of thousands of children are currently enslaved in the United States. These girls could be your neighbors, your sisters, or your daughters. We are committed to raising awareness about child sex slavery and ending this horrible crime.”

The DNA Foundation is also selling t-shirts on Threadless to support their cause.

It’s unseen whether or not the celebrity overshadows the message of the ad, but I personally think it’s a great tool and idea to gain awareness for the cause.

Why I Broke Up With BlackBerry

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

This is the start of a wonderful relationship

The other day, I broke up with my BlackBerry. To be honest, we just weren’t getting along lately. I could barely get through a day without needing the charge it several times, it would always freeze on me, I couldn’t get BlackBerry 6, and for some reasons companies now or days don’t even bother to develop BlackBerry applications (case and point, SCVNGR). I’d always get the shaft.

So, I decided it was time for a change. Since my father barely can use a computer, let alone his own BlackBerry, he decided to let me use his upgrade as an early birthday present (yes, you can start with the Happy Birthdays. I love it).

When it came time for me to chose a phone I was confused. The Thunderbolt had just come out on Verizon, the Incredible was a good option too, but there’s something about the iPhone. After upgrading my computer to a MacBook back in August, I had already become pretty familiar with the Apple OS. The thought of learning a whole new system on an Android phone wasn’t that appealing, even though the Android marketing is growing fast. In fact, the Android just beat out the BlackBerry in terms of smartphone market share.

But it’s hard to deny the iPhone. It’s a powerhouse and it seems like everyone has one (not literally). It’s fast, sleek, and with the huge number of apps available for downloading, you can make it your own. There is something for every possible need.

Not to mention the fact that people always develop the iPhone applications first. If there is a new app on the market, you know they’re going to have it on the iPhone before anything else (ex: Color).

A friend of mine today actually said, “I never thought I’d see you as an iPhone person, but I’m glad you are”. So am I.

Here are some of my initial thoughts on my iPhone:

  • Typing on a touchscreen isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. It’s taking some getting used to, but I’m learning quickly
  • I’m going app crazy. There are so many different things to chose from. WHICH ONES SHOULD I CHOSE?
  • I’m really glad someone told me about the iPhone multitasking and how to stop running apps to conserve battery power.
  • Apparently there is a glitch with Gmail and the iPhone 4. My email doesn’t update automatically on my phone, I need to tell it to update. Being a freak about checking my email, this poses a problem. Or, if I’m doing something wrong, please let me know.
  • I’m terrible at Angry Birds. After waiting forever to actually play it, this makes me very angry.

Since I’m still in the honeymoon phase with my phone, things could change. But for right now I’m happy I broke up with BlackBerry.

Don’t Piss Off Your Intern

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

A few days ago, one Marc Jacobs intern got fed up. The CEO of the company, Robert Duffy, let an intern oversee the official Twitter account while let looked for someone to manage their social media full time. Those who sent in clever tweets to the @MarcJacobsIntl handle could get an interview with the CEO.

Eventually the intern had enough. After helping present over 50 people to Duffy to manage the Twitter, he still wasn’t happy. So, the intern let loose on their Twitter feed.

Clearly the intern understood through their actions that they would no longer be able to work in the fashion biz again.

Eventually, the intern was thrown out and someone else took over for the account deleting all of the unfavorable content the intern has posted. All of the tweets took place from an iPhone, making it obvious they trusted their intern with a too much (including important passwords).

This will all make a funny story later and will become another example of why it’s so important to monitor who controls your Twitter, Facebook, blog, YouTube and more. However, I’d like to think of this more from the intern’s perspective.

As many of you may or may not know, interning is a double-edged sword. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to have internships where I’ve been given the opportunity to grow, learn and hone my expertise. But, there are those internships where you’re treated more like a slave and less like a human being. You’re their bitch that brings them coffee, makes copies, sits at a desk and feels ignored.

This is a perfect example of an intern who probably wasn’t being treated fairly. They had to take on the massive responsibility of monitoring a huge brand’s Twitter page alone and trying to organize interviews with every Joe Schmo who wanted an opportunity to get paid doing what this intern was already doing.

If you overwork, ignore or mistreat an intern, don’t expect them to sit around and not do anything about it. We come from a generation who doesn’t take anything lying down. So please, don’t piss off your intern.

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, savethemoney.org 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