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Taking SMW Berlin by the horns

posted August 28th, 2013 & filed under entrepreneurship, Serious Stuff, social networking, technology

SMW is currently looking for reporters in Berlin, and coincidentally I happen to be here, so it must be meant to be! As I am writing this, I am getting a refresher on Twerking, thank you Miley Cyrus. Social media has turned us into over-productive ADD geniuses, myself included.
My name is Luna Vega, I am a digital marketing consultant based in NY. Living and working in diverse capitals such as: New York, Singapore, Sydney, Paris and Berlin has given me a unique understanding of the global tech industry. What I have found working in each of these markets is that tech hubs deal with similar challenges yet are so focused in their own silos that they are missing out on a huge opportunity to communicate with one another and share learning. In our hyper-connected business world, how can collaboration be facilitated so we can shorten our learning curve? This is my passion point and my goal at SMW is to gather from the Berlin tech community their thoughts on the subject. So let’s all learn from one another and catapult everyone’s success.

Social Media Campaign Results Don’t Happen Overnight

posted June 18th, 2012 & filed under marketing/advertising, Serious Stuff, social networking, technology

I had an interesting conversation with a client today which made me think about a false notion within Social Media marketing. There’s a misconception out there that Social Media results happen instantaneously. The press is constantly focusing on overnight success stories, from viral campaigns to multi-million dollar advertising onslaughts.

Yes, overnight low budget viral videos do happen but they’re usually flukes, and so far no one’s developed a perfect recipe for them. It takes solid creative ideas, discipline, and trial and error to get proper results. The quantity of content distributed is also extremely important these days. If you can’t commit to making at least 100 videos for your brand, than don’t even get started; it really takes that type of dedication to build an engaged audience.

Any successful brand out there goes through years of trials and experimentation before succeeding – the creators behind Angry Birds are the perfect example. It took them 10 years to achieve their “overnight success” and very often that part of the story doesn’t get mentioned. Who wants to read about that aspect of their development; it’s usually depressing and makes the end goal feel unattainable.

So how can we be more reasonable with our expectations and still stick to a Social Media diet?

First – Social Media works – it’s been proven again and again – it just takes persistence and consistency. The rapper Lil B posted new videos every week for a year before making it big, and you’ll see the most successful campaigns put in a similar effort. Here are a few rules I stick by when consulting on a Social Media campaign.

1) Set Your Goals – With all my clients I set specific goals so we can have benchmarks – levels of interaction, traffic spikes, acquisition goals etc… Having clear goals helps monitor progress; it’s one of the most important steps that’s often overlooked. If you don’t know what to expect by the finish line, of course you’ll run out of juice.

2) Don’t get disappointed until you’ve hit the 3 month mark – Like any diet, set a Social Media routine and stick to it for 3 consecutive months. You’ll see the results, but if you don’t, you probably need to re-think your strategy.  Remember, original content is always key – what is it about you that separates yourself from the online clutter?  Is it a streamed debate show? Riveting controversial content?  Get your audience excited about what only you can offer.

3) Focus on Acquisitions – If you’re just starting out in the Social Media game – focus on getting your community involved. Think of where your audience might be, start conversations with them, and get them to really understand what your brand is all about.

4) Focus on Content – Create original content – if you wrote a book, is there a way you can piece it out and reveal one quote from the book each day? Get your original content out there in an interesting and innovative format.

5) Amplify – Once you’ve created your content amplify it – go to as many mediums and platforms as possible to get your audience to talk about it.

Moral of the story: Don’t get disappointed if you haven’t achieved 4,000 fans after three months – that’s normal. Focus on having a loyal audience who cares what your brand is about and the rest will happen organically. Be patient and don’t lose faith. Happy Tweeting.

Should We Move Back to the Burbs to Save Our Economy?

posted June 12th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, entrepreneurship, insightful, Miscellaneous, technology

Ever since my trip to Asia, my perspective of New York has changed.  In the last few years, NYC has become a tech mecca that’s able to rival Silicon Valley.  It’s bubbling with young entrepreneurs who are hungry to save the world and it’s certainly a refreshing change of pace.  But lately I’ve been wondering if there’s too much saturation in metropolitan cities and maybe the solution is that some of the tech talent could venture to other locations to help save our economy.  Would it make more sense for someone with my skill set to help individuals in other up and coming communities? Shouldn’t professionals like us help these cities by creating new economies and sources of income?

Do we really need more Fashion and geo-location apps?  A bulk of the industry is competing in very similar areas and they might be better off in completely different surroundings faced with real problems and their practical solutions.  A perfect example – I grew up in Miami and every time I go back I’m astonished at the lack of infrastructure down there.  Can Miami continue to survive only on tourism and service based industries?  Florida was severely affected by the recession, so it seems like diversifying their income stream would definitely benefit them in the long run.  So as Tech Entrepreneurs how can we help these other communities?  As an innovative DIY tech generation couldn’t we learn the challenges and understand their dynamics to create new ways for individuals to generate revenue? I think so.

I’ve stumbled upon various articles lately about Social Media strategists who ditch their day job to move to a rural area to help farmers and other small businesses, and it’s truly been an inspiration.  These days being connected simply means having Internet access.  Farmers are increasingly using Social Media to communicate with each other, and various digital tribes are forming – I found this interesting blog that coaches people on how to become a digital nomad.

The main idea behind it is if you have an online business or technology skills you can offer your services from anywhere around the US or the world, and with our current economy crumbling doesn’t it make sense to utilize our skills to create our own alternative economy? These are the types of questions I’ve really been pondering lately.  Let’s face it – with technology, collaborating around the world is as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and there are endless opportunities to expand our global reach from any home base we set our sights on.  What are your thoughts? Would we be more productive if we went to our original cities or suburbs to help these communities?

Best of the Week – May 18, 2012

posted May 18th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, Fun Stuff, social networking, technology

1.  Facebook IPO Goes Public

This week Facebook went public with a record $104 billion dollar IPO offering that’s sure to solidify their future success.  A lot of industry experts worry that this might be the second coming of the late 90s tech bubble, but so far Social Media is garnering a substantial payday on Wall Street.  Another interesting article on Facebook this week is from The New York Times about the trend of not flaunting wealth in Silicon Valley, which seems like a perspective that’s shared by the entire tech industry.

via Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times




2.  Pinterest Gets Valued at 1.5 Billion

After another recent round of additional $100 million dollar financing, the Visual Social Media platform Pinterest is now valued at over $1.5 billion dollars.  It recently crossed the 20 million user mark and that’s a massive increase from only one million users as of July 2011.  It’s nowhere near the recent record breaking Facebook offering, but it looks likely it could be purchased by one of the tech giants the same way Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook.

via Huffington Post

3.  The Next Big Tech Start-Ups

This is a really interesting piece in The New York Times about the next tech start-ups with the most potential.  Everything from file sharing sites like DropBox, mobile payment apps like Square, and even Uber, an instantaneous private car reservation app are all featured in the article.  These are definitely some of the best tech upstarts and new companies to look out for in the coming year.

via The New York Times

4.  Internet Week Kicks Off in NYC

Internet Week kicked off this week in New York City and immediately became a must-go destination for anyone who wants to see the future of technology and what tech trends that’ll become popular in the coming year.  Everything from conferences and guest speakers to parties, social events, and even the 2012 Webby awards which are presented for the best web has to offer are all part of Internet Week, which ends this weekend on Sunday May 21st.  Check out Ad Week’s coverage for the best highlights and must see events from Internet Week.



5.  New Animal Collective Album Announced

This week Animal Collective announced their new album Centipede Hz will be released in September on Domino as the follow-up to their critically acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavaillion, which was at the top of everyone’s best of the year list in 2009.  Centipede Hz seems like a return to AnCo’s more expansive jam band sound as evidenced in two new tracks “Honeycomb” and Gotham” that were also released this week.  Check out this interview on Pitchfork with AnCo member Dave Portner (Avey Tare) on the making of the  new album.

via Fader and Pitchfork






6New Squarepusher Album Ufabulum

IDM and Drum & Bass forefather Squarepusher makes a return this week with his new album Ufabulum which mixes a lot of modern production touches with his signature jagged drum patterns and carnival gone mad buzzsaw synths.  He’s always been known  for his erratic but oddly controlled sound and his new album definitely doe not disappoint; even fans of EDM and Corey Feldman lookalike Skrillex might enjoy his new tracks, with their glitchy warbles and stadium sized rave-era synth lines.  Check out the interview in FACT Mag with Squarepusher on the making of his new record and his feature in XLR8R about his five favorite classic jungle and drum & bass tunes.






7.  Loiter Squad Gets Renewed for a Second Season

Odd Future has almost become the de facto Internet rap group over the last year or so and they recently translated their mischief and merriment mentality to their amazing Adult Swim late night show Loiter Squad.  Their show just got picked up for a second season which solidifies another round of their signature style of Jackass style pranks, Tim & Eric esque parodies, and all around musically-tinged debauchery.  Even if you’re not quite a fan of their music, this show is really a must see.

via Pitchfork


8.  New Azealia Banks track “Jumanji”

Tons of new cutting edge female MCs have been releasing music recently, and Azealia Banks might just have the most talent of all of them.  She’s gone from Harlem to performing in Karl Lagerfeld’s Parisian living room and then back to NYC playing the Met Gala draped in Alexander Wang.  On top of that her musical output is brimming with new releases: her full length album is dropping in the Fall, her 1991 EP drops May 29th, and her mixtape Fantastic comes out on July 4th.  Listen to this new Fantastic cut “Jumanji” with steller cross-genre production from Hudson Mohawke; it sounds the best Nicki Minaj mixtape track Nicki never made, and the HudMo beat really takes it to another level.

via Fader and Pitchfork

9.   New El-P Album and Performance on Late Show with David Letterman

El-P is probably one of the most legendary experimental rappers and producers and on May 22nd he’s gearing up to release his new record Cancer4Cure on Fat Possum, but you can already stream it in it’s entirety over at Rolling Stone.  El-P is known for his stream of consciousness rhymes and Mad Max post-apocalyptic soundscapes and his new album is a perfect example of the evolution of his hard-edged sci-fi sound.  Check out the video of the album cut “Stay Down” he performed on Late Show with David Letterman this week and a great piece from Fader on El-P’s production style in making his new album.

via Fader, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone





10.   Wylie Dufresne Premieres New Menu at WD-50

Wylie Dufresne is known in the foodie world as one of the original molecular gastronomy innovators in the States and this month he look his bold and daring recipes one step further and created an entirely new tasting menu overflowing with his out of this world signature dishes.  Molecular gastronomy is known as one of the true avant garde facets of modern cuisine and Dufresne never disappoints with his original takes on classic dishes and wtf combinations that make so much sense on your palette, but sound outlandish in their conception.  The New York Times did a great piece and interview with Dufresne on the new menu and the unorthodox methods behind his madness.



11.   Community premieres 8-bit Finale Episode “Digital Estate Planning”

Last night’s amazing finale episode of Community, “Digital Estate Planning”, was probably the first time that an entire primetime show took place inside of a fully rendered video game.  Almost the entire episode was in a classic Nintendo style 8-bit universe where the show’s signature characters controlled avatars of themselves on a quest to win an inheritance from Pierce’s father.  As always on Community, there were so many inside jokes, throwaway gags, and hyper-astute satirical jabs, and this episode was a special gift for video game fans with a non-stop barrage of inside gamer humor.  A.V. Club has a great in-depth review of all the episodes from last night’s three part Community finale.




posted April 27th, 2012 & filed under social networking, technology, Videos

Here’s the latest Pluggedin episode, Is the Instagram culture ruining the art of Photography?

Take the Poll yourself at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pluggedin/242823005763525

Our Panel

Gabriel  http://www.batowlstudios.com/
Steven & Jared  http://snapstagr.am/
TONE  http://liveattheloftshow.com


Best of the Week – April 27, 2012

posted April 27th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, Miscellaneous, technology

1. New App lets you Communicate through Animated Images

A new app for iPhones called MotionPhone was recently released that allows people to communicate through animated images instead of voice or text.  The app allows you to create and design your own abstract animated images which can then be shared with your friend’s images to create new and endless animated combinations.  It’s definitely an innovative way of using mobile techonology to communicate in a very unorthodox fashion.

via Huffington Post


2. Apple releases Specs on the iPhone 5

The Apple rumor mill never stops churning out new stories.  According to the Huffington Post, when the new iPhone 5 is launched it’ll be made of a liquid metal alloy casing instead of glass, it’ll be 4G LTE compatible, and 0.44 millimeters thinner then the iPhone 4S, which definitely makes it seem like an entirely new design, versus the interim changes on previous models.

via Huffington Post

3. YouTube Now Offers Over 100 Channels of Original Programming

In a move to compete with the online offerings of Hulu and Netflix, YouTube recently launched over 100 channels of original programming.  The content ranges in every category you can think of; home improvement, science queries, music / TV / entertainment news, and even something called “American Hipster” which is probably amazing and leaves you befuddled at the same time.  There are probably tons of unusual gems among the content; a good bulk of the programming was culled from the more successful channels that were on YouTube before the original programming launch.

via The New York Times


4. Mobile Lorm Glove Allows the Deaf and Blind to Communicate Through Mobile Technology

The Mobile Lorm is an amazing form of technology that allows deaf and blind people to communicate through mobile devices.  The Glove itself relies on Lorm, which is a tactile signing language that’s then transferred to sensors on the glove which is then translated to a mobile device and converted into speech or a text message.  It even allows the user to send and receive text messages through the glove.  It’s definitely a huge advancement in bringing the world of mobile tech and communication to the disabled.

via UberGizmo

5. Are Pheromone Parties the new Dating Trend?

Science and Singles became an unlikely combination recently with the launch of Pheromone Parties.  It’s a social event where you bring a T-Shirt you’ve worn for three days prior without washing it in a plastic bag and then everyone smells the shirts to determine who they should be matched with.  It sounds kind of odd at first, but maybe it makes more sense then meeting potential suitors based on eHarmony algorithms.

via LA Weekly

Pheromone Parties

6. New Mykki Blanco Single “Wavvy”

“Wavvy” is the first track from Mykki Blanco’s upcoming mixtape Cosmic Angel and if the rest of it sounds anything like this, it’ll be one of the most raw and next level releases out this year.  Blanco is a cross dressing performer that’s part of a new quasi-movement of gay rappers that are making some of the most innovative rap music out right now.  Also check out the interview Pitchfork did with Blanco and other artists about their new perspective on hip hop and how they’re changing the genre.

via Fader



7. New iamamiwhoami video “Idle Talk”

iamamiwhoami created a huge mystique around her identity through her beautiful but cryptic viral videos and atmospheric sounds.  Eventually her identity was revealed as musician Jonna Lee, but it didn’t detract at all from the amazing project and tracks.  She released a new video this week for the song “Idle Talk” and it’s just as mesmerizing as the other vids in her iamamiwhoami catalogue.

via Fader


8. New Cassie “King of Hearts” Richard X Remix

Cassie is one of those artists that has such a huge cult-following that every time she releases a track, even if its years between them, the entire blogosphere turns to shambles.  Her most recent club ready junt “King of Hearts” got the amazing Kanye West remix treatment a few weeks ago, and now Richard X, who’s worked with Annie and M.I.A., has also remixed it into a 4 on the floor club thumper with tons of murky synths stuttering under Cassie’s saccharine vocals.  If Diddy ever gets around to releasing her second album, bloggers will positively implode with excitement.

via Fader

9. Pitchfork Article: Social Media and the Influx of Music Writing

This is an interesting article from Pitchfork’s extremely well written and always astute Resonant Frequency column that discusses how the influx of music writing, mostly due to Social Media and web culture, has changed our opinions and how we think about music.  The author Mark Richardson brings up some really interesting points about the collective music critique culture online and how it changes and informs our own perspectives on music.

Resonant Frequency: Follow People If You Like Their Music | Features | Pitchfork

10. New Interactive Animal Collective Website Recreates Guggenheim Installation

Animal Collective has just launched a new website that seeks to recreate their 2010 Guggenheim Installation accompanied by music from their recent Record Store Day Limted release Transverse Temporal Gyrus.  By combining video and images by artist Danny Perez, and the signature atmospherics and otherworldly sounds Animal Collective is known for, the website is probably the closest thing to seeing one of the world’s most experimental bands take over an entire Frank Lloyd Wright architectural landmark.

via Pitchfork


11. New Death Grips album The Money Store

Death Grips new album The Money Store was released this week and it’s an unreal almost indefinable sound; its nonstop abrasive noise and industrial elements with earworm synths and guttural rap vocals. The most interesting aspect is it was released by the major label Epic and they were signed by L.A. Reid, who famously also signed Outkast to their first record deal.  They don’t have a lot in common as far as their sound, but they’re both similar in being completely experimental within the rap genre.  Also check out the interview Pitchfork did with Death Grips member Zach Hill, who’s also a member of Hella and Boredoms.  He gives some insight on the philosophy and sound behind the group.


Death Grips: The Money Store | Album Reviews | Pitchfork

Interviews: Death Grips | Features | Pitchfork

stream: Death Grips – The Money Store | GORILLA VS. BEAR

12. New Purity Ring 4AD single “Obedear”

Purity Ring, along with Sleep ∞ Over, have perfected the art of hazy atmospherics and dream-gaze synths over half-cooed vocals.  Their new single “Obedear” is the perfect evolution of their sound with an electro-backbeat and woozy infectious synth lines.  “Obedear” is the first single off their forthcoming debut album which comes out via 4AD on July 24.

via Pitchfork


13. New Planet Mu album and Mix by Traxman

Planet Mu has almost become the de facto record label for popularizing juke and footwork music in England and all over Europe.  Traxman is their latest artist that really represents the culture and roots of juke and ghetto house for the seminal label started by idm godfather Mike Paradinas.  Also check out Traxman’s recent FACT mix for a essential primer on juke and footwork, and their earlier incarnations ghetto house and ghetto tech in a masterfully put together set.


Traxman: Da Mind of Traxman | Album Reviews | Pitchfork

FACT mix 326: Traxman – FACT magazine: music and art

14. Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule “Life and Death” A.V. Club Review

John C. Reilly has inhabited a diverse array of characters over the years but Dr Steve Brule is probably the most engrossing and absolutely bewildering of them all.  Just watching a single episode of Check It Out! could leave you befuddled for days.  A.V. Club writer Brandon Nowalk does a really great review of the second season episode “Life and Death” that really hones in on some of the influences and stylistic elements of the show.

“Life And Death” | Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule | TV Club | TV | The A.V. Club


15. Grimes plays “Genesis” on Later with Jools Holland

Indie darling Grimes recently played her track “Genesis” on the British late night show Later with Jools Holland and gave an amazing performance that keeps reminding listeners why her 4AD album Visions is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year.  It’s an enchanted and intimate performance that really brings the track to life.

via Stereogum


16. Left Eye to Join TLC in Reunion Tour

Weeks after the massive fanfare for Tupac’s digital return to Coachella, TLC announced that Left Eye will join them on their upcoming reunion tour.  The details are still up in the air whether it’ll be similar technology to the Tupac performance, or if they’ll use archival footage, but it’s definitely an interesting concept that’ll defeintely be a big draw for their upcoming tour.

via Huffington Post

17. P’Trique Tells Everyone About Charlotte Free’s New Gig

P’Trique and a gaggle of fashion’s who’s who star in this campy viral vid  as they play telephone spreading the word about model Charlotte Free’s new gig with Maybelline.  Everyone from Betsey Johnson to RHONY’s favorite yenta Jill Zarin makes hilarious cameos.

via Fashionista

The New Era of the Internet Music Genre

posted April 26th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, Serious Stuff, social networking, technology

The Internet and Social Media have both completely revolutionized not only how culture is shared but also how it’s defined.  There are subcultures and micro-movements online that never would have existed if it wasn’t for instantaneous file sharing and the ease of use of media production software.  All of the creative realms have been affected by web culture, but it seems like this transformation has had the most impact on music; entirely new sub-genres have come into existence that may never have happened if it wasn’t for Internet culture.

One of the main reasons the Internet has spawned so many sub-genres in the last few years is due to the ease of diverse cultural exploration that was so much harder to accomplish before the advent of Social Media.  Previously one of the of the only ways to learn about obscure sub-genres was through magazines or actually having an in and traveling to these places to get a glimpse of the local underground bubbling artists.  The Internet made it possible for anyone to become an expert on any micro-genre; their geographic proximity, affiliations, and demographics became secondary to having a thirst for new and innovative music.  Someone in a small town in the Midwest could realistically know more about what’s happening in Brooklyn music then people actually living in Brooklyn.  This removal of cultural barriers is one of the main catalysts in the expansion of Internet born genres.

The most famous or possibly infamous example is probably chillwave, a genre coined by the Hipster Runoff satire impresario Carles around late 2009 while reviewing some new tracks by Washed Out.  He listed around twenty absurd genre names in trying to frame this new sound and chillwave was definitely the one that stuck.  From there the meta-genre of chillwave spread like wildfire all over the web; Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and even The Wall Street Journal all did chillwave pieces that sought to identify it while at the same time questioning the validity of a genre half-jokingly invented by a blogger.  Chillwave echoed a central quality of most Internet genres by being focused around a distinct sound, style, and aesthetic instead of geography, which is the main way most genres originate.  By not having a central location or scene affiliated with the genre, artists were able to experiment and cultivate the sound at their leisure while collaborating with an eclectic blend of influences from around the globe.

That’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of its conception and of Internet music genres in general; it’s a cultural construct that has concrete origins but is more indebted to experimentation because it doesn’t rely on real world interaction to expand.  As Pitchfork talked about in their chillwave dissection piece, chillwave’s actual origins really go back to the dreamy idyllic sounds of Boards of Canada, an early Warp Records ambient-idm forefather of sorts, and more recently to the 2007 solo album Person Pitch by Panda Bear.  That’s what separates chillwave and a lot of other Internet conceived genres from conventional music evolution; the basis and style of their sound already existed in some form or another, but Carles was able to frame it and meta-brand it for an Internet audience that quickly latched onto the idea, and were able to expand on it’s model in any direction based on their individual culture and surroundings.

Electronic music is probably one of the best examples of a genre that’s extremely fertile for experimentation and Internet mutations.  The majority of electronic genres are usually defined by their drum pattern, tempo, and the synthesizers and drum machines that are utilized, so any unique combination of these original elements can easily give way to a new sound.  There are tons of new electronic artists from the last few years that are taking established electronic sub-genres and combining them into a new mass of indefinable genres.

An artist like Nguzunguzu takes the best aspects of bass music, juke, footwork, bmore, ghetto tech, r&b, and southern rap and completely Cuisinarts them until they sound entirely different then the original genres while still retaining the core elements that make those sounds so intriguing in the first place.  The Internet has completely expanded the palettes of electronic musicians who can easily find everything they need to know about brand new sub-genres through a simple YouTube or Soundcloud search.  Labels like Night Slugs and Planet Mu are taking the last twenty years of electronic music and completely transforming them into amazing new permutations.  Mike Paradinas, aka the legendary idm artist U-ziq, and label-head of Planet Mu, has been one of the largest supporters of footwork and juke music, which are sub-genres born in Chicago that evolved from ghetto house and ghetto tech.
















That’s one of the most amazing aspects of Internet genres and how music has evolved through Social Media and web culture; an English musician like Paradinas is almost single-handedly responsible for the promotion of an obscure American sub-genre that might have never become as popular in England and Europe if it wasn’t for his label.  The Internet creates an atmosphere of cross pollination that consistently encourages new forms of cultural experimentation; if this is what music sounds like in the early 2010’s you can only imagine what amazing new genres will exist by the end of the decade.












Augmented Reality Apps and the Future of Mobile Tech

posted April 24th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, Serious Stuff, technology

Mobile computing and smart phones have seen some of the largest innovations in the last few years in the different ways they’re utilizing augmented reality technology.  There are so many interactive ways a smart phone or tablet can be used and the app market expands into different areas on almost a daily basis.  We’re going to list a few of the most innovative augmented reality apps on the market and how they’re changing the world of interactive mobile technology.

Blippar is a mobile augmented reality app that really takes the idea of QR codes to another level.  Whenever you see a Blippar logo, whether it’s on a TV ad, product, magazine, or billboard, you just simply open the app up and the augmented reality interaction seamlessly emerges.  Depending on the product, there are tons of different varieties and ways for a company to utilize the app, from 3D interactive advertisements, to games, movie trailers, and contests; almost anything you could imagine.  One of the most interesting uses was for a Heinz ketchup bottle that unfurls a 3D recipe book when the Blippar app is initiated.  A lot of the uses for Blippar are similar to the QR codes that have become commonplace, but there’s a new level of interaction available that really sets it apart, and in the future there will be even a wider range of scenarios where Blippar will convert any stale 2D advertisement into a fully interactive experience.  Another use for it could even be demographic specific ads that differ based on who’s using the application, which could create an entirely new range of micro-focused ads.  Blippar is available for both the iOS and Android platforms.

Word Lens is an augmented reality app that translates any printed text from French or Spanish to English and vice versa.  In real time you can point your camera at any text and it’ll give you the translation, while also matching the font, color, and perspective of the text, and then remapping it onto the image.  For anyone traveling or doing business in foreign countries.  Word Lens is a must-have app that would bring an ease of use to even the most difficult tasks, and it even works without being connected to the Internet, which really increases the variety of locations you can use it in.  Imagine going to Spain or France and every street sign or map you encounter is instantly translated into English; it would almost make a tour guide and or even a translator obsolete.  Asking for directions or trying to understand a menu would be a thing of the past.  Right now there are only dictionaries for French and Spanish to English (and vice versa),  but in the future as the company expands their translation and dictionaries into other countries you could literally travel the world or do business anywhere and still feel right at home.  Word Lens is available for the iOS platform.

Google Goggles is an image recognition app that allows you to do searches based on real world photographs you take with your handheld device.  By taking pictures of objects, places, product barcodes, or almost anything you can take a picture of, Google Goggles takes this info and gives you a detailed search about the item.  It takes the best aspects of the Google search engine and translates it into a real world object based experience; it’s basically an entirely way different way of searching without using text or speech recognition.  Google has even collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art so you can use the app on anything in the museum to immediately learn more about it.  Google Goggles is available for both the iOS and Android platforms.

Google eventually wants to turn Google Goggles into its own platform, similar to Google Maps, with an API in the works to allow outside developers to create their own apps based on it.  Amazon has a similar app called Amazon Flow that allows you to take a picture of any item that can be found on Amazon to immediately check its availability or to order it.  Google Goggles definitely has a much wider range of uses then Amazon Flow, but they’re both great examples of the future of real world image recognition apps.  Amazon Flow is available on the iOS platform.

Google Goggles will eventually become another layer to the Google Glasses that are currently in development, which is an augmented reality headset that projects information about people, objects, and locations on a 3D plane as you interact with them in real time.  Google Goggles and Google Glasses, along with Find My Face (which is facial recognition software that you can use in Google + to scan photos, find friends and suggest tags based on their faces), will eventually all be working in tandem to create a seamless fully immersive experience; it’ll be like a 3D Social Network within reality as you actually network.  They’ll completely redefine how we interact with technology as they transform our real world.

Download Links & Resources:




APP OF THE DAY: Blippar review (Android & iOS) – Pocket-lint

Mobile Augmented Reality Advertising | blippar

Blippar: a QR code killer? | Econsultancy

Word Lens





Google Goggles




Google Glasses




Find My Face


Amazon Flow





Best of the Week – April 20, 2012

posted April 20th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, Serious Stuff, social networking, technology, Trends


  1. Venus X Interview in NY Times

As one of the founders of GHE20 GOTH1K, Venus X has merged diverse underground cultures in a seamless blend that’s become one of the most forward thinking and next level parties in NYC nightlife.  Check out this interview with her in The New York Times for some background about her style and unique take on current music culture.



  1. Le1f’s Dark York Mixtape

Le1f’s new mixtape Dark York is an amazing blend of crazy call and response rhymes over some of the best production in electronic music right now including tons of bass heavy beats by Nguzunguzu.  Check out his mixtape streaming on Soundcloud, and download it next week on Das Racist’s record label Greedhead.



  1. Tupac Hologram Performs at Coachella

Out of the tons of noteworthy performances last weekend from Coachella, all anyone is talking about was the Tupac hologram performing with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.  No matter how you feel about it, it really brings up interesting questions about the future of music performance and touring.




  1. Rustie’s BBC Essential Mix

Rustie is one of the most amazing young producers in electronic music right now and his new BBC Essential Mix is the perfect introduction to his manic a hundred synths and genres a minute style.  You’ll hear tons of exclusive unreleased tracks mixed in with the illest southern rap junts and everything in between.  Also, check out the Pitchfork article “Maximal Nation” for an interesting breakdown of Rustie’s style and how it fits into current electronic music trends.





  1. New Mel Gibson Rant & the Joe Eszterhas Letter

Another week another unbelievable Mel Gibson rant has leaked to the web.  You almost have to hear it just to believe it, and especially when you read the Joe Eszterhas letter that explains in intricate detail the exact scenarios behind the rants, it’s a beyond wtf scenario you almost couldn’t even make up if you wanted too.




  1. Facebook Purchases Instagram for $1 Billion Dollars

One of the biggest stories in the tech world this week was Facebook’s purchasing of Instagram for $1 billion dollars.  Even though that number was double the amount of Instagram’s recent financial evaluation, Facebook still thought it was worth the price with over 5 million photos being uploaded to Instagram on a daily basis.  People are already crying foul about their favorite app getting the corporate treatment, and only time will tell exactly how Facebook is going to utilize Instagram in the future.



  1. Kraftwerk’s Eight Night Residency at MOMA

Kraftwerk, who are considered one of the most legendary and influential electronic groups of all time, finished up their 8 night residency at MOMA this week and original member Ralf Hütter gave a rare interview with The New York Times discussing the group’s legacy and what you can expect from them in the future.




  1. New Chromatics Album Kill for Love

Since the mid-2000s Chromatics have been perfecting their amazing blend of neo-italo disco sounds coupled with icy John Carpenter synths and subtly emotive vocals.  Their new album Kill for Love was released at the end of last month and it’s quickly become one of the most sought after and critcally acclaimed  albums of the year.  Check out the interview with Chromatics mastermind Johnny Jewel on how he developed his group’s retro but still surprisingly modern sound.




9.  Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

It’s been building for a while and it culminated this week with the purchasing of Instagram; the inevitable Facebook backlash is upon us.  Recent studies also show that Social Media and Facebook could actually be making us lonely instead of bringing us together as the initial intention behind Social Media.  This article from The Atlantic looks into the interesting phenomenon of how Social Media and Facebook affects loneliness.



10.  New Online Dating Site Tawkify uses Klout Scores to make matches

Online dating has been given a Social Media twist with the new dating site Tawkify that incorporates your Klout scores into fixing you up with other singles.  Its part matchmaking, part Social Media, and an entirely new techie way to link up potential romantic matches.



Social Media in Asia 101

posted February 27th, 2012 & filed under digital trends, marketing/advertising, Miscellaneous, Serious Stuff, social networking, technology

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a project in Asia and during my travels I’ve learned a few interesting things about the Social Media landscape in Asia.  For starters, the Social Media consumption in Asia is greater in some markets than it is in the US.  Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines widely use Facebook, and the mobile internet market share is also much larger in these countries than the global average.

Countries like China, Japan and Vietnam use different but similar platforms such as Weibo and Renren (in China), Mixi (in Japan) and Zing (in Vietnam), and Google+ is also slowly gaining popularity.  It doesn’t have as much penetration as the larger more established platforms, but brands like Cathay Pacific and Uniqlo are among the first to create their own Google+ pages.

Overall, the Social Media behaviors vary in these countries because of their inherent cultural differences.  One of the main reasons is because Asian culture is more shy and reserved, and it’s usually considered rude to promote yourself directly.  Some of the main ways Social Media in Asia is utilized is through pop culture re-mashing, sharing photos of yourself out socializing with friends, learning about products online, and sharing tips instead of self-promotion and touting how great you are, which is definitely more common with Social Media in the US.

Even though there are some similarities, each country has its own specific behavior and Internet content usage patterns; here are some of the highlights of the Asian Social Media market:

  1. Photo sharing – Photo sharing is HUGE in Asia; literally any occasion deserves photo sharing. The general audience doesn’t use tools like Instagram as much we do in the US, but instead they directly upload them into their Facebook pages.  Although Instagram is slowly making strides in the Asian market.  A great example is Candy Mafia, a Thai pop group, who avidly use Instagram, and pop groups in general have a huge Social Media presence. Beauty and Fashion sharing is also extremely popular online; I’ve seen users taking pictures of their new possessions from Louis Vuitton to their North Face collection. There are also entire Tumblr sites dedicated to sharing picture collages of pop stars and TV shows, along with a variety of different gifs.
  2. Social Media Games – Social media games are used as stimuli to drive new users and gain reach within existing users, while actual content sharing is more popular among the more experienced users.
  3. Bulletin board systems underpin popular Social Media behavior in China; more than 80% of their Social Media content is based on bulletin board systems.
  4. Product Reviews – Online product reviews are increasing their influence on purchases in India, particularly for consumer electronics.  55% of Indians that read online product reviews have purchased products based on feedback. Consumer durables / electronics are the most common products that are purchased based on reviews (64% of purchases).
  5. Tweeting: Among the Asian market, Japanese Internet users are the most avid bloggers globally, posting more than one million blogs per month, which is significantly more than any other country in the region. Japan’s adoption of Twitter also continues to grow, with unique visitor numbers increasing in the last year from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million. 16% of Japanese Internet users now use Twitter, compared to only 10% in the U.S.