Facebook & Vitamin Water’s Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

How To Use Facebook & The NBA Finals To Get People To Drink Vitamin Water (A tutorial, in 3 easy steps):

Step 1: Create a catchy ad campaign featuring two of the NBA’s most prominent stars, who just happen to be headed down the path of potentially facing each other in the finals.

Step 2: Take over ESPN with full-page banner ads telling everyone to go to facebook, and vote on which of the aforementioned stars is better.

Step 3: Hope that your target audience has both Facebook accounts and the time to use them to vote in your contest. Pray that the joy of broadcasting their opinions is enough of a reward to entice them to do so. Beg the NBA gods to make sure that Kobe and LeBron both make it all the way. Sacrifice Dan O’Brien in an active volcano if necessary.

Apparently, the folks at Mashable have some doubts about the efficacy of this master media plan. As for me, I have some doubts about the newsworthiness of an article about a brand using Facebook to promote itself.

But hey, what do I know? I’m voting Kobe after all.

Twares Take Flight & Finally Give Me A Good Reason To Be Addicted To Twitter

Twares: United Airlines Offers Special Fares to Twitter Users.

I have spent months trying to explain Twitter to my parents. This is not hyperbole — literally, every time we talk, the conversation comes back to this crazy new technology and why anyone would ever want to participate in it.

Now, I finally have a foolproof, parent-proof answer. One that my Jewish mother is certain to appreciate. An answer so good, it could only have come from @Mashable: Coupons. That’s right mom, Twitter saves me money. Well, actually United Airlines saves me money by promising special Twares (yet another Frankenword created by Dr. Twitterstein) if I follow them on Twitter. Finally, a reason to use Twitter that even my parents can get on board for.

Now, I just need United to install wifi on all their planes. Clearly, I can’t be expected to spend an entire flight’s worth of time away from my Twitter feed. I don’t care how many free nuts you offer me.

Could The Media’s Relationship With Twitter Get Any More Ridiculous?

LIVE: Ashton Kutcher Ding Dong Ditches Ted Turner & Mashable Reports On It.

Frankly, I think the real question is who jumped the shark first? Twitter, CNN or @aplusk? Not that it matters, since you know us tweeps (and the world at large) will keep biting on these twitterific tales as long as there’s fresh blood in the water, or on the blogs as the case may be.

All I ask is that @biz stay off  The View for a little while. I mean, come on man.  Every time you dish the dirt with Babs and the gang, you make all of us hip, young early adopter tech folks look as lame as the million people who signed up to follow 42-time-tweeter Oprah “I got a million followers in 28 days” Winfrey.

Cancer Sucks!

Help my team (The Good News Bears) raise money for Relay For Life. We’ll be walking this weekend, and all the money we raise goes directly to the American Cancer Society. There is not a single person I know who has not been touched by cancer. It’s time to touch cancer back. And I’m not talking a light touch either. As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to kick cancer’s ass. Please help me do it.

Star Wars: The Ethernet Strikes Back

This photo ought to brighten your little geeky heart like the suns of Tatooine on a cloudy day. Or, at least make lunchtime a little more fun.

“By order of the Emperor, I cut off your internet”

My Blog

Whoever is trying to hack into my blog, back off. It’s not happening.

Bait & Switch

It’s hard not to admire the scam baiters profiled in this article.

After all, who hasn’t been driven crazy by an email box full of messages from foreign dignitaries just dying to pay you to pick up money? Or responses from the poster of that amazing apartment listing you saw on Craigslist, who it turns out is actually a missionary looking to lease his perfect pad for far less than market value, in exchange for the small fee of your social security, credit card number, account information and firstborn child? Or how about the one where you’re the lucky winner of a million bucks, and all you have to do is give them access to your bank account so they can dump the dough right in?

Still, as obnoxious as all those dignitaries and dough-dumpers are, I don’t know if they deserve all the things these scam baiters put them through. After all, it’s one thing (and a noble thing at that) to try to impede a potential scammer’s influence by feeding him information that will hopefully make him less believable to others. But sending scammers on a wild goose chase through combat zones is karmic retribution of the worst kind. After all, how can we look down our noses at those who intentionally try to use the internet to manipulate others when we’re using those same noses to sniff out targets we can torture ourselves?

Frankly, as much as I admire the dedication and diligence of a lot of the scam baiters, manipulating your fellow man through malicious misuse of mass communication systems always smells kind of fishy to me.

Flip This Mouse: Why Social Networking Is Tearing Down All Those Pretty White Picket Fences

Robert and Cortney Novogratz are many things — house flippers, art lovers, bohochicalites (boho chic + socialite), parents of seven, soon-to-be-Bravo-stars. And, according to social psychologist Irwin Altman, they are also “a symbol of our new polyfunctional world.”

That’s right, somehow in the course of flipping houses, getting pregnant, writing a book, designing a hotel and signing on to a soon-to-be-aired Bravo show about the whole mess, Mr. & Mrs. Novogratz ended up becoming a symbol of the modern ‘branded family.’ At least according to today’s article about them in the New York Times.

Somewhere between decorating houses and delivering babies, Robert and Cortney joined the ranks of Jon and Kate, Tori and Dean, Jessica and Nick and all those other couples who put their lives in front of the camera in exchange for a check in the bank and a few cases of ziploc baggies in the pantry. I don’t mean to sound derisive. In fact, more power to any person who can manage to make merely living their lives into a cash-producing career.

Besides, if you check my DVR, you’ll see that I do harbor a fondness for a certain former 90210-er and her Hallmark Channel hunk of a hubby.

What I do take issue with though is the fact that, yet again, mass media is taking the opportunity to turn what would otherwise be a fairly fluffy piece with little to no news value (if a pair of semi-celebrity-spouses signing up to be on a reality show were really news, CNN would have to stop covering  Bo the Presidential Pooch for lack of time), into an opportunity to comment on “the Facebook/Twitter age, [where] fewer and fewer can claim an old-fashioned private life, even at home.”

Let’s be honest here, New York Times. You decided to run the story, for whatever reason. You threw in the obligatory mentions of all the semi-celebs who showed up to the Novogratz’s kid’s christening, you added a few references to the upcoming show and you even managed to squeeze in a shoutout to Ziploc, who apparently made sure that the soon-to-be-stars were supplied with a lifetime’s worth of plastic baggies. And then you started grasping at straws.

Turns out the easiest straw to grasp at is the brave new polyfunctional world one. In my head, it’s a twisty straw — maybe one of the ones with a cute cartoon character on top — but that’s another story.

Anyway, thanks to the straw you did decide to grasp at, you ended up turning the Novogratzs into a symbol of all things social networking. So you told us, your loyal lunch break readers to take a long, hard, two page look at this hip, modern family. You told us about how everything they do is captured on film. You showed us how they branded themselves as the face of fun, family-values flippers with just their boho-chic bravado and that lifetime supply of ziploc baggies to draw from. And then you casually referenced Twitter and Facebook, as if to say that the Novogratz’s meteoric rise to reality-show fame must be symptomatic of social networking’s stronghold on modern society.

My theory: maybe it’s just symptomatic of the fact that people like to watch stories about other people. Maybe a family signing up to do a reality show is just that — a family signing up to make money because  they’re willing  (and able) to do what the rest of us won’t. They’re willing to allow every detail of their daily lives to be mined for comedic and dramatic effect, carefully filtered through a producer’s lens and an editor’s laptop and delivered direct to the DVRs of an audience looking to laugh, cry and live for a moment in someone else’s shoes — especially if those shoes happen to cost more than said audience’s rent for the month.

Sure, social networking has made us all more open to the idea that more of our lives are lived in the public sphere than the private. And sure, the massive popularity of microblogging did coincide nicely with the surging popularity of  the whole reality show phenomenon. But let’s not be so quick to conclude that social networking has destroyed the sacred space inside the four walls of the family home.

After all, the original reality show family sprung up long before facebook, twitter and even — gasp — google. And Lucy and Desi seemed to do just fine cashing in on their coupledom without a single twitter account between them.

Update: As of March 29, 2010 we’re officially a little over a week away from the premiere of 9 By Design – the Novogratz reality show on Bravo. Looking forward to tweeting all about it…

Hooked On Phonics

Pronunciation Trips Up Amazon’s Kindle – NYTimes.com.

Sure, traditional newspapers are on their way out, radio has pretty much jumped the Sirius shark and TV newscasters have been reduced to this.

But, thanks to the New York Times, the one area where traditional journlists still have a leg-up (or a larynx-up as the case may be) on new media newscasts isn’t going unnoticed. Apparently, the newest iteration of the Amazon Kindle, which speaks the news amongst other things, can’t pronounce Barack Obama’s name.

Well, actually, it couldn’t pronounce Obama’s name. Until a few days ago, when the company that makes the Kindle’s pronunciation dictionary updated their software to include the correct pronunciation of the President’s moniker. As soon as Amazon syncs with the new software, the problem will be no more.

Apparently, the Kindle has the reading level of a kindergartdener — when it doesn’t know how to say a word, it sounds it out. Which means certain words, like Barack Obama and Celtics get sounded out wrong.  Why this is news worthy of going on the front page of nytimes.com, I don’t know.

But at least Obama can rest assured that the Kindle will soon know how to say his name. Celtics fans on the other hand, are apparently still shit out of luck.