The Social Robot http://thesocialrobot.com Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:00:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Apps Advertise During the Super Bowl Now http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/apps-advertise-during-the-super-bowl/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/apps-advertise-during-the-super-bowl/#comments Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:00:23 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5169 During my last year of college, my roommates and I hosted a number of parties. A staple at each one of our shindigs was something we called “hot cheese.” Also known as cheese dip or queso, hot cheese was the flavorful, savory appetizer that made our parties memorable. Its combination of browned ground beef, fresh […]

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superbowl-SundayDuring my last year of college, my roommates and I hosted a number of parties. A staple at each one of our shindigs was something we called “hot cheese.” Also known as cheese dip or queso, hot cheese was the flavorful, savory appetizer that made our parties memorable. Its combination of browned ground beef, fresh pico de gallo, and Velveeta delighted the taste buds with every bite. Often times it took over conversations throughout the party. If it was missing from even a small gathering, our guests commented on the absence.

Hot cheese eventually found itself center stage for our Super Bowl party. We made a double batch. Having a spread of food was vital because, of course, few people ventured to our house that evening to watch a football game between the Patriots and Seahawks. Most people were there to eat warm dairy, talk to friends, and watch some ads.

Commercials are the all-inclusive sideshow offered by the NFL’s championship game. They make it okay for everyone to attend the party and contribute to the record viewership numbers posted year after year. Avid football fans know the typical pool of advertisers that take aim during the regular season: carmakers, beermakers, sexmakers. Those products take a prominent piece of the pie during the big game too. However, the sheer scale of the event prompts even more players to get involved.

I loved video games as a child. I still play NBA Hangtime on the Nintendo-64 every other day or so. Games are a great way to blow off a little steam (or waste a week depending on the title). In my mind, video games are elaborate, use controllers, and run on their own console. For those reasons, I’ve never been attracted to mobile games. I know plenty of people who relish the day’s spare moments because it means they get to repair their Clan wall or upgrade their farm points or whatever. It has never clicked for me. In fact, I didn’t realize how fast that arena was growing — until last year’s Super Bowl.

As a byproduct of writing this article, I recently learned that Kate Upton is younger than me. The renowned Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and all-around hot person spearheaded an advertising campaign for the mobile game, “Game of War” last year. Youtube, television, apps — the commercials seemed to run everywhere last winter, including during the Super Bowl. That’s right, rinky-dink phone games were advertising in between Ford and Anheuser-Busch. It struck me as strange then, but advertising numbers show a predictable trend.

Looking at this graphic generated by the Wall Street Journal. You can navigate ad expenditures by industry. Note the jump for “technology” from 2013 to 2014. I realize that Super Bowl ads aren’t the definitive advertising metric, but the presence of apps in this arena is symbolic. Appearing during The Big Game shows relevance. The mobile experience is a huge part of our lives now and advertising is likely to reflect that.

MarketingCharts collects data on how social media relate to Super Bowl advertising. Check out some of these numbers from 2014: “Click-through rates for Facebook ads were up 9% over prior Sundays in January, while conversion rates increased by 415%.” The website also notes that ad shares on Facebook weren’t contained to the 24 hours during and after the Super Bowl, as 1.9 million of Budweiser’s 2.2 million shares for a particular ad came prior to the main event.

This means that the Super Bowl has somehow found a way to increase its value. It was already regarded as the biggest advertising event of the year. Now companies can release their commercials ahead of time with the brand “Super Bowl ad” to attract viewers. This doesn’t diminish the raw value of a 30-second spot during the game, the way Cyber Monday and related deal days have diluted the actual Black Friday. People will still go to Super Bowl parties even if they’ve already seen this year’s Tostitos ad.

Social media have given us a new way to communicate with one another. They’ve also given advertisers a new way to communicate with us.

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Buy an Apple, Just Hope it Doesn’t Break http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/5163/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/5163/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:00:11 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5163 I had an iMac with the blue shell on the outside. After serving as the family computer for a number of years, I was allowed to house this machine on my personal desk. It ran slowly, taking eight minutes on average to boot up. It could browse the Internet, sort of. It didn’t feature a […]

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blue imacI had an iMac with the blue shell on the outside.

After serving as the family computer for a number of years, I was allowed to house this machine on my personal desk. It ran slowly, taking eight minutes on average to boot up. It could browse the Internet, sort of. It didn’t feature a true word processor, but TextEdit allowed me to get by. Ultimately, at age 11, it was awesome to have my own computer.

My parents had moved on to the iMac model with a circular base and flexible arm attached to the screen. After that it would be a G5 tower, and then a new iMac. My dad runs a monitor hooked to an old macbook in the upstairs office. I’m typing this post on an iMac. Our entire family (my mom, dad, and two sisters) has iPhones, and a few iPads of ambiguous ownership float around the house every time I visit.

I’m not sure at what age I became an Apple apostle (If you combine the two to make App-postle it just sounds like someone who champions applications), but I retain a distinct brand loyalty in this department. Throughout my childhood, Dad trumpeted the evils executed by Microsoft — it would bully its way into a sector and operate at a loss for a number of years just to take a piece of the pie, a la the XBox. In retrospect this seems like a pretty standard business practice. Maybe Dad was just really into 1984.

Apple makes great products, or perhaps more accurately, it makes well-packaged products. That was Jobs’ whole thing: presentation. The phones, computers, and tablets all come in sleek, elegant casings. The brand is aesthetically pleasing while offering a combination of simplicity and functionality. It’s expensive, but it works. Usually.

My girlfriend bought an iMac from Best Buy in the fall of 2014. She didn’t buy AppleCare. A little over a year later, one month after the warranty had expired, her computer stopped working. The screen went black with thin green bars running across it. Best Buy took a look at it and concluded it wasn’t a display issue. Replacing the video card — the proposed solution — would cost two-thirds of machine’s original price. My girlfriend was in college and didn’t have $900 extra dollars. She sat on it for about a year.

I decided recently that I would deal with the computer. It had been taking up space in our apartment and I figured at least we could sell a refurbished version to someone who would appreciate it. I made an appointment and took it into an Apple Store. After forty minutes, the diagnosis was “new video card” (whaaaaaat?). After a week, a voice mail informed me that the new video card didn’t work and the new diagnosis was “new display” (the very procedure Dr. Best Buy had decided against). To figure out what the new price would be for the new plan, I called the number that had called me. It was an unassigned number. I then called the number Google associated with the store. I talked to two machines and was directed to an operator who then directed me to the store I thought I had called. I then talked to someone who directed me to someone else who told me the new plan would cost about $20 more than the old plan. I bailed.

The average Google star rating for Apple Stores in my area is 2.9. My thought process at this point is that if you cannot successfully diagnose the flaw in your product, then perhaps this is a sign of poor craftsmanship. And perhaps you should remedy the situation rather than pass the cost (monetary, time, effort) on to the consumer.

To make this more than just a whiny Facebook post, the disconnect between Apple’s customer service and the (usual) product quality is startling. Contrast it with Amazon’s customer service. Shopping with the online retail giant is awesome. You send a brief message saying you didn’t get your package or it was broken. Five minutes later you get a phone call back telling you your purchase has been fully refunded. Done.

Will I take a principled stance and quit all Apple products? I dunno, have you used a Dell laptop? They come pre-broken. When you’re offering the industry’s best product you don’t have to bend to the will of the people. I’m going to continue using my iMac and iPhone on a daily basis. However, I’m no longer the Appleyte (nailed it) that I was at age 11. Sorry Dad.

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The Retail Shopping Experience is Changing http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/the-retail-shopping-experience-is-changing/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/the-retail-shopping-experience-is-changing/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:00:13 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5150 For Christmas this year I got my girlfriend (and myself) a DVD player. Amongst the boxes of dishes, clothing, and appliances we lugged to Dallas when moving, we failed to bring with us this integral piece of technology. Between the two of us, we subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go, so a DVD […]

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Amazon-LogoFor Christmas this year I got my girlfriend (and myself) a DVD player. Amongst the boxes of dishes, clothing, and appliances we lugged to Dallas when moving, we failed to bring with us this integral piece of technology.

Between the two of us, we subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go, so a DVD player may seem both dated and extraneous. However, we possess a collection of physical movies and television shows not readily found on the big streaming services.

Included in this group are all of the James Bond movies. I love 007. I have since pre-pubescence. The mystery (the plots are unwittingly confusing), the stunts, the settings: they’re understandably enticing to a 13-year-old. On a recent day off from work I decided to pop in a few Bond films for background noise.

I’ll admit, like the DVD player itself, 007 movies have become antiquated. The idea of a debonaire, white male hero who shoots and bangs his way to world salvation isn’t exactly modern. However, there are some eternal tropes exemplified by the Bond franchise of which I will never tire. Among them is the elaborate, methodical threat of death posed by a super villain. Whether it’s a pool of piranhas or an elevator with a trap door leading to a shark tank, Bond’s nemeses know how to intimidate peons.

Amazon.com is the retail sector’s pit of alligators — the looming threat of death for brick and mortar stores who don’t live up to consumer wants. If Target or Best Buy can’t satisfy demands, chomp. Agent Blockbuster already met its fate in this cutthroat arena.

Competition is one of the major benefits of Capitalism. Companies are incentivized to innovate (or undercut) and fulfill the whims of the customer. In an increasingly digital space though, what does the customer want (other than lower prices)? Two-day shipping is game changing, but if you need batteries for the remote, you need them now. Physical retail spaces still have the advantage in immediacy at the moment. When online shopping surpasses in-store retail shopping on this final frontier, what will the giants have left?

Let’s be clear: this is Amazon’s goal. World (Internet) domination is its mission statement. And that’s totally cool, but how will it affect the employees in the retail sector? The bureau of labor statistics website shows average growth in the retail worker field, and projects growth over the next ten years. If the jobs aren’t disappearing, maybe the nature of the job will change.

Yelp is helpfulish to culinary travelers. It can be terrifying for restaurant owners. Unwarranted or skewed reviews (few vegan options, 1 star) can damage your potential business. I’m imagining that sort of consumer power seeping into the realm of retail shopping, and I don’t like the results.

If patrons wield a disproportionate ability to damage the reputation of a business, and the quality of the products being offered is the same across the board, the shopping experience will be the only avenue left for differentiation. This will likely place additional burden on employees in the already-trying world of in-person customer service. Surely my current employment in the service industry makes me biased, but it’s an unsettling proposition. I typically champion the rights of the consumer, but there are two sides to every coin.

Just as the secret volcano base of “You Only Live Twice” fell, so too shall the traditional retail shopping experience. Unlike in the Bond films, we’ll have to acknowledge the collateral damage.

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The Best Book-Based Apps http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/the-best-book-based-apps/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2016/01/the-best-book-based-apps/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2016 17:30:50 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5146 Reading can be rough … as can tech. With both subjects, there is simply too much to navigate. Too many books that have been written, too many aps to explore – so many choices that it’s overwhelming to even know where to begin. Which is why we rely on the advice and reviews of others […]

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Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.27.43 AMReading can be rough … as can tech. With both subjects, there is simply too much to navigate. Too many books that have been written, too many aps to explore – so many choices that it’s overwhelming to even know where to begin. Which is why we rely on the advice and reviews of others who have tried them out first. Expert advice from fellow book nerds, and opinions from others who were there already … hence, the best and most useful book apps around.

Out of all our reading days and tested tech experience, here are our favorite models.

Goodreads

Not only is this app great for looking up reviews and determining whether or not you’ll like a book, it’s ideal for keeping track of what you’ve already read. If you’re into that type of thing. It’s valuable information to be able to look back at what titles you completed and when, and Goodreads allows you to do just that (for free). You can also follow friends to see what they’re reading, how they liked each book, and so on. Nerds unite!

iBookshelf

If you’re like me, you have more books than you can even begin to keep track of. Sometimes you lend them out, others get lost behind the bookshelf and collect dust in what has become your library’s abyss. With iBookshelf, however, you can catalog each of your stories and make note of lending histories. Consider it your own virtual little library.

To Read

How often do you hear about a book you want to read and then forget what it’s called or who wrote it? Even if you make yourself a note – on paper or via email – it’s likely to get lost in the depths of your briefcase (or inbox). But with To Read, you can make a reading list that goes wherever you go. You can search titles to include book images or create individual lists, even rearrange to create the order in which you’d like to read. No more lost ideas, just a comprehensive digital list.

Shelfari

Though this has yet to be developed into app form, Shelfari is one of the best ways to discover new reads that are tailored to your tastes. Powered by Amazon, it’s a free website that allows you to find books that are similar to ones you’ve already read (and loved). Or, take to current lists and choose a particular subject with all of its top-reviewed titles.

Kindle/iBooks

Nothing new here. But, these top names are simply hard to beat. When you can take your favorite titles with you no matter where you go, and on every device, well it’s a book worm’s dream come true.

For a better reading experience wherever you go, and to help take on the titles you’ll enjoy most, remember the help of these top-rated and TSR-loved apps.

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Cord Cutting Crosses Over to Sports http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/cord-cutting-crosses-over-to-sports/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/cord-cutting-crosses-over-to-sports/#comments Thu, 31 Dec 2015 16:37:34 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5140 Basketball ranks as one of the more divisive professional sports. Some find the 84-game season too long, others prefer the college version. Personally I love the NBA, and I can produce more than a few posts-worth of arguments as to why the professional product is superior. (Would you watch the freshman B-team over varsity?) Alas, […]

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NBA-League-PassBasketball ranks as one of the more divisive professional sports. Some find the 84-game season too long, others prefer the college version. Personally I love the NBA, and I can produce more than a few posts-worth of arguments as to why the professional product is superior. (Would you watch the freshman B-team over varsity?) Alas, this is not a sports blog, so consider yourself spared. But in the era of binge watching, even the non-fan can appreciate a quality viewing experience.

NBA League Pass is Netflix for basketball aficionados. And much the way streaming services are changing the television-watching experience, on-demand sports packages change our relationship with the teams we love. The League Pass app functions like Netflix in that the user has access to archived games from the entire season. Additionally, you can watch live games if they aren’t blacked out or on national TV.

This type of sports package service started popping up on cable in the mid-90’s, and it came as a huge boon to fans. Prior, if you rooted for a team outside the market in which you lived, you would only get to see them play on national television a couple times a year — if at all. Imagine if HBO released one episode of Game of Thrones every four months. It’s unthinkable in an era that allows you can take down the entire new season of House of Cards in three days.

The availability is especially important this year.

Again, not to bore the basketball-averse, but the Golden State Warriors have had a record-breaking start to the NBA season. Their star point guard, Stephan Curry, is putting up efficiency statistics that surpass even the likes of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. In the on-demand era we can watch every single second of every single game this team plays. In the 80’s we’d be lucky to catch a couple snapshots throughout the season. Imagine watching an entire GoT season set in Dorne, and every third episode you get a 30-second glimpse of Jon Snow doing his thing at The Wall. Painstaking. We want to watch the cool stuff.

Further, like HBO’s recent remodeling, NBA League Pass exists as a standalone streaming service. This extends cord-cutting to the sports arena. At a cost of roughly $33 a month (which I split with a friend) League Pass offers a tailored, on-demand specialty service, rather the umbrella-like presentation of cable channels such as ESPN or Fox Sports. I should say, this is not meant to serve solely as an advertisement for NBA League Pass.

When I was younger, the phrase “on-demand” was synonymous with “pay-per-view.” Now those words have become the standard. You have agency. You can choose when and how to watch exactly what you want. This is the sort of concept I started craving ever since paying for cable became my responsibility. I don’t watch the Hallmark channel. I don’t watch QVC. I don’t watch “whatever’s on.” I watch with purpose. You have to in the age of “too much TV.”

As consumers, we’ve always been willing to pay for what we want. Now more than ever, we can customize our own experience. I don’t watch any TV that’s not on purpose. Word of mouth and social media have taken the burden out of “discovering” a new show. Even in the monopolized world of cable, It feels like the balance of power is inching back towards the consumer.

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Content Marketing Changes to Implement in 2016 http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/content-marketing-changes-to-implement-in-2016/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/content-marketing-changes-to-implement-in-2016/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2015 17:06:44 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5136 With the New Year comes new goals to put into place. Simple to elaborate changes that can streamline everyday responsibilities – as well as those that simply make you feel better about how things are done. That goes for your personal life, your business, and of course, your marketing tactics. While there was plenty that […]

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Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 11.05.27 AMWith the New Year comes new goals to put into place. Simple to elaborate changes that can streamline everyday responsibilities – as well as those that simply make you feel better about how things are done. That goes for your personal life, your business, and of course, your marketing tactics. While there was plenty that was to be adjusted in 2015, and which helped business of all sizes to grow their reach, it’s once again time to look at how content helps you advertise.

Check out the latest predictions on how 2016 will change how we see online text, as well as what steps will help provide the biggest impact.

Focus on Quality

Still coming from changes where Google (and other search engines) are cracking down on spam, it’s time to focus on the quality of website writing. Not necessarily on quantity. Though it’s still important to post new content, it’s not as important to do so on a large scale. That means sharing blogs and website pages that add real value – such as stats, expert opinions, unique titles, etc. – not those that are long and packed with keywords.

Not only can readers tell the difference, so can search engines. And they’re slated to crack down harder than ever before.

Content Companies

Businesses like yours truly, and those that are on a far larger scale, are set to be at an all time high. With companies understanding the value of personalized content, they are also in need of someone to do the writing. Sister brands are being opened by many moguls, such as Adobe, Xerox, etc. in order to farm out interesting blogs, and to be on the forefront of these online marketing changes.

Cut Down on the Buzzwords

Much like keyword stuffing, buzzwords have become overused and can act as a red flag to search engines and readers. Terms like “conversion marketing,” “sharable content,” and “storytelling” have essentially lost their value. While these and more can refer to actual tactics, it’s important that writers use them properly, and use them for the sake of explaining, not gaining clicks.

Failing to Capitalize

Failure to launch content plans has existed in online marketing since the invention of blogs. Though online content is considered important and an affordable way to advertise, most companies won’t take advantage of said opportunity. And most of the time, it’s because they either don’t understand the value, or just don’t know where/how to start. Those who are able to embrace content marketing head on will see the biggest amount of growth, and see those results for years to come, experts say.

To take advantage of the above changes, look at your current marketing plan. Now is a great time to start gearing up for your website updates and gain access to long-term benefits.

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Coffee Shop Behavior: Do You Trust Others With Your Belongings? http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/coffee-shop-behavior-do-you-trust-others-with-your-belongings/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/coffee-shop-behavior-do-you-trust-others-with-your-belongings/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:07:59 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5132 As a lover of free wifi, I’m often on the lookout for the next greatest work spot. (I love my home office and all, but sometimes you just need some people watching; it’s a proven fact.) That means working at favorite coffee shops, libraries – I hold memberships to four right now, with addresses that […]

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As a lover of free wifi, I’m often on the lookout for the next greatest work spot. (I love my home office and all, but sometimes you just need some people watching; it’s a proven fact.) That means working at favorite coffee shops, libraries – I hold memberships to four right now, with addresses that may or may not be current – restaurants, friends’ houses, and sometimes, elementary schools. So long as the server’s accessible, I can work from pretty much anywhere. It’s also a welcome change.

However, mobile working also brings along some interesting challenges. For one, I can’t give the “I’m not at my desk” excuse. Sure I don’t carry my computer 24/7; that thing gets heavy. But it’s also quite easy for my “office” to move with me. But there’s a far more awkward challenge … finding a usable restroom. Considering the amount of tea and coffee I consume, it’s best to have a commode nearby; I have to go constantly. Even leaving myself parched will still requires the occasional restroom break. Which leaves a dilemma: whether or not to trust people with my stuff. For the most part, I take zero risks. My entire job consists of my computer (and a second copy of everything on my external hard drive, with which I would still need a computer.) Unless it’s somewhere I frequent and recognize the baristas by face, if not by name, I trust my things to not disappear. I mean, if I’m there often enough to recognize their haircuts – no matter how crazy; baristas take beauty school-level risks with their locks – they should look out for my stuff, right?

So far, so good. Other patrons have followed the same motto. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in (or around) my current town of working choice for nine-ish years. Maybe they just give off a trustworthy vibe. All I know is there are places it’s safe to leave a work bag, and there are places where the workers hound you every 10 minutes if you want more coffee like they are trying to get you to pee. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure McDonald’s doesn’t offer table service.

Is there a universal rule for this type of thing? I’m not sure there is, because there’s always a risk, and not necessarily a reward other than convenience. It’s up to us to evaluate our surroundings and determine whether or not the place is laptop-leaving worthy or not. Of course, you can always ask a stranger to look after your things, like others often do. And judging by the mother who two days ago told me I “looked safe” and willingly let me into a school with small children, I have a trusting aura. But I’m still a stranger. Sure I know I’m not going to kidnap a laptop or child, but they don’t know that. Just like you don’t know what anyone else will do when place in charge of your things.

When faced with this very real dilemma – sometimes the words are just flowing, and before you know it, it’s bladder emergency level 10 – proceed with caution. Make a new decision with each location, and if you can’t seem to decide, sip slowly.

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Tips for Keeping a 2016 Journal http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/tips-for-keeping-a-2016-journal/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/tips-for-keeping-a-2016-journal/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 15:52:06 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5124 As the current year shrinks smaller and smaller, we start looking to the months ahead of us, and how we can use 2016 as a springboard for improvement. That might be a personal goal, with our job(s), relationships, or ourselves as a whole. And while some certainly look to broad goals in order to create […]

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As the current year shrinks smaller and smaller, we start looking to the months ahead of us, and how we can use 2016 as a springboard for improvement. That might be a personal goal, with our job(s), relationships, or ourselves as a whole. And while some certainly look to broad goals in order to create their resolution, others prefer to focus on something in particular. Like running a marathon, reading X number of books (which is my goal, BTW), and so on.

One of our favorites, however, comes in the form of keeping track of live events … in a medium other than social media. By writing a journal instead. It’s a hobby we readily encourage, and are asked about on a regular basis. And with the start of the year coming our way, what better time to commit to writing?

Reasons to Start a Journal

  • It helps clear your head – get your thoughts out and help settle yourself down by getting rid of all that brain clutter.
  • Practice your handwriting. Cursive is a dying art, work on yours as much as possible in order to keep your skills up to date.
  • Writing helps you process events and emotions. Sometimes it’s easier to know what’s already happening once hashing it all out – we just don’t realize until after the fact.
  • Improves writing skills. Not everyone (thinks they) can write well, but all who practice will get better over time. Just like any other life skill, the more you do it, the easier it will become, and the better your abilities will get.
  • Leaves a legacy. Even if you’re not ready to share your ideas with family and friends as you write them, a journal can be something tangible to leave behind. And, if you’re worried about what they might do with your words, include a clause in your will (or the journal itself) with your wishes.
  • Personal meditation. Sometimes you just need time to think, or sit and be quiet. Writing a journal is a great way to do so without bending the ears of others, or sharing something personal.
  • You get to buy fun office supplies … if you’re into that type of thing.

Tips for Writing

colorful pensOnce making the decision to write a journal, there is no set list of events that must take place. Most often folks ask what is the “right way” to keep a journal, or are worried theirs won’ be good enough. But the truth is that a journal can be anything you want it to be. Write once a day, or once a month. Start writing now, before the new year (gasp) to give yourself a head start. Who cares? There’s no “wrong” way to go about it – that is, other than saying you’ve started and never moving forward.

Instead, it’s a matter of keeping yourself motivated. If you love buying journals or notebooks, go buy one that inspires you. Just one. If you fill it up, then you can purchase a second. Getting too many up front will only overwhelm you. The same goes for pens, buy one or a couple that you like writing with. Having a color and ink flow you’re happy about will encourage you to write more often.

Now, it’s time to get over feeling bad about your writing. Which just might be the hardest step. This journal isn’t meant for anyone else’s enjoyment (and if it is, there are steps for editing later). It’s about getting the words out and down on paper. Where you can read them, or store them away and never look at them again. What you do with them is your call, just get the writing part down.

Then, all that’s left to do is keep going. At whatever interval you feel most comfortable. And if you think setting a goal will be too difficult to keep, don’t set one. Instead write when you want. That way you’ll feel proud about your writing bouts, not doing so out of obligation.

If you’re considering starting a journal for 2016, remember this is something for you. Do it your way, and take tips with a grain of salt to create an outcome you’re most proud of.

The post Tips for Keeping a 2016 Journal by Bethaney Wallace appeared first on The Social Robot.

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We’re Over Pop-Up Ads, What’s Next, Marketing Teams? http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/were-over-pop-up-ads-whats-next-marketing-teams/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/12/were-over-pop-up-ads-whats-next-marketing-teams/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 14:54:03 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5120 With more and more users logging online to do their research, entertainment, etc., it’s no surprise that the Internet is also where marketing efforts are focused. Entire teams are devoted to getting more folks to a company’s webpage. With users already online, it’s a lateral move. But one that’s encouraged through any number of efforts. […]

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NoPopUpsWith more and more users logging online to do their research, entertainment, etc., it’s no surprise that the Internet is also where marketing efforts are focused. Entire teams are devoted to getting more folks to a company’s webpage. With users already online, it’s a lateral move. But one that’s encouraged through any number of efforts. Including banner ads, pay-per-click ads, social media profiles, and more. But lately, it also means pop-up ads. Where sounds and photos – sometimes even entire videos – jump onto our screen without our permission. It’s a move that obstructs whatever we were trying to do, and essentially forces us to pay attention to a brand. That is, until the pre-determined time is over and the ad once again falls to the background.

But here’s the thing, marketing teams, we’re kind of over this ploy. Not only are you hijacking our devices, your ads take forever to load. Even when they aren’t supposed to. When we’re not at home, it jacks our data usage, and even when we are (and are readily on wifi), pages never seem to load that quickly.

As a consumer, it makes me think twice before using said brand or website who hosts pop-up ads. Call me spiteful, but if you’re going to force me to look at an ad, it makes me not want to buy it that much more. I’ve paid extra for products simply to avoid another brand’s marketing techniques. I’ve also not returned to websites because they hosted ads. It’s that frustrating.

As a fellow website owner, it’s frustrating to know the site owner did it on purpose. They gave permission to that ad to be there, not to simply cause annoyance, but so they can make money. Website owners get cash for every ad you click. (Albeit not much, but it adds up.) Even so, it gets worse. They don’t say, “Whoever’s interested will click,” and leave it at that. They actually try to trick us into clicking on the ads. So they can make money off of our wasted time. First by disguising ads that pop up, so if you try to exit them too soon, you clicked on the ad. Secondly, by causing lag time, so even if you click on what’s accurately on your screen, the website has already adjusted itself, leaving you to have picked an ad instead.

Maybe they’re not all so devious as to think that way. But skeptical viewers are turned off, no matter the intention.

We get it, it works. Pop-ads get more views and more clicks. But only because they’re forced. Why not opt for a more legit marketing campaign instead? One that gets results, and doesn’t alienate customers.

 

 

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What Does TSR Do? Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/11/what-does-tsr-do-answers-to-some-frequently-asked-questions/ http://thesocialrobot.com/2015/11/what-does-tsr-do-answers-to-some-frequently-asked-questions/#comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:50:17 +0000 http://thesocialrobot.com/?p=5107 We get it, the mention of robots in The Social Robot can be confusing. And maybe we aren’t that great about marketing our favorite niches sometimes. Two scenarios that, combined, might make it hard to understand what TSR does, or why we’re doing it. To remedy the above, however, we’re making an entire blog dedicated […]

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question party with confettiWe get it, the mention of robots in The Social Robot can be confusing. And maybe we aren’t that great about marketing our favorite niches sometimes. Two scenarios that, combined, might make it hard to understand what TSR does, or why we’re doing it. To remedy the above, however, we’re making an entire blog dedicated to FAQs – one that explains what we do, where we do it, and why they might need our services. Along with any other questions that might arise along the way.

If you have a question that isn’t answered on the list, feel free to get in touch. You might even see your queue in round two!

What Does TSR Do?

We offer writing and editing services. Often this means taking on a new type of task, but most generally it means writing blogs, social media posts (hence the social), website content (and the robot), resumes, editing current content or school papers, and so on. Content strategies and advice plans are also available.

Where are You Located?

We work remotely (from a home office or wherever there is Wifi), but are based out of Manhattan, Kansas. This means offering up our writing abilities to local customers, as well as those beyond. We’ve worked as far away as Canada and London, and continue to work with companies across the country.

Who Do You Work With?

Most often we work with small business owners who are too small to hire a full-time writer. Or companies who know they need to ramp up their content plan, but aren’t sure how to get started. We are also contracted out by larger content companies to help fulfill their overflow.

Other times we will get requests from individuals to help with resumes, editing thesis papers, etc.

Why is Professional Writing Important?

Presenting a polished product is one of the quickest ways to make a good first impression. It outlines what you do, engages readers, and shows you care enough about professional appearances to have everything edited professionally. (In contrast, failing to do so can actually cause you to lose business.)

Adding regular content (blogging) also increases your visibility from web traffic and makes it easier for search engines to find you.

How do We Find Clients?

All types of ways. They come to us, we reach out to others, etc. If there’s a need, folks will find a way, and those are exactly the people we are looking for!

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