Life. Then…

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    Blogging has taken a hiatus at the moment. Busy patch.

    Life happens. Catch me regularly on Twitter, however :)

    The Year That Was

    Tags: ,

    picture-11As the year draws to a close, the online landscape continues to inspire and enrage, change and evolve, and challenge us daily. 2010 was undoubtedly a year full of technological breakthroughs, social challenges and amazing discovery.

    Here’s a list of some of my favourite summaries of the year that was:

    Have a wonderful holiday season and see you in 2011!


    Digital Story of the Nativity

    Tags: ,

    Sacrilegious? Awesome? In any case, this digital story of the Nativity is certified viral material:

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  • Wave Report 2010: The Socialisation of Brands

    Some pretty good takeouts from this report from Universal McCann, easy to absorb:

    The Social Network

    Mrs. Melrose's face fell, and she looked at Susy with the plaintive bewilderment of the wielder of millions to whom everything that cannot be bought is imperceptible.

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    What say we commit some dereliction of duty? he said.

    Well, on that subject, I was speaking to General Campbell when you arrived. It was a case of twenty-four bottles of Elizabeth Arden bubble-bath crystals.

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    “The Internet is not written in pencil, it’s written in ink” says the outraged character of Erica Albright, Mark Zuckerberg’s ex and supposed catalyst for the the site which would eventually turn into Facebook. Many people would do well to observe this quote. It would seem similarly true for film as well. Whether the portrayal of the founding of Facebook in the movie “The Social Network” is accurate or not, this engaging film is pleasantly debatable. Was Zuckerberg just some asshole trying to get back at his social superiors and the girl who dumped him? Was he a brilliant genius savant who has no time for societal niceties? Was he a ruthless, and therefore successful entrepreneur?

    The continual underpinning driver seems to be Zuckerberg’s desire to become a member of exclusive, elite University clubs. It emerges several times in key scenes and we question whether his cold dismissal of co-founder and then “best friend” Eduardo Saverin is indeed jealousy for having been invited to these clubs or nothing but vicious determination.

    The context is beautifully set up. What Facebook has successfully done today is challenge existing social structures. How many friends can you have? Are they real friends? What commonalities do you need to consider someone a friend, What’s socially appropriate online — a whole new set of questions and rules of etiquette brought about by his creation. In the movie, his world was wholly concerned with established social institutions - a world where “social structure was everything”. If his motivation was indeed to get back at this structure, he has found the perfect revenge.

    Other noteables include co-founder Saverin who was depicted as the supportive friend who would eventually become the ultimate victim, and the Machiavellan Sean Parker (founder of Napster and still shareholder of Facebook) who was shown to be a self-centred, sociopathic but savvy businessman who pushed Zuckerberg to move to Palo Alto.

    The movie provides an interesting perspective on something that touches many of us daily, both personally and professionally. It’s compelling viewing finding out how something so prevalent started out. Was Facebook really just a kneejerk fuck you of a bruised nerdy ego? If only the rest of us were so similarly proficient in turning hurt feelings into a billion-dollar global empire. Whatever the case, I found the movie fundamentally…sad. Sad that something that facilitates so many new relationships was grounded in destructive ones. The movie tagline “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies” rings true. All of a sudden I feel pretty good about my 400-odd list.

    R U OK? Day October 7th

    picture-1Once in a while, projects come up that are really fulfilling. Not only in a professional sense, but also because it’s work that really matters. This year, I’ve been lucky enough to be the Online and Social Media Manager for R U OK? Day.

    The premise is simple. It’s about getting in touch and connecting with people around you simply by asking them “Are you ok?”. Three simple, easy words that could change someone’s life. Research has found that people at risk (of depression, self-harm) are less likely to engage in dangerous behaviour if someone asks them how they are. Feels like a no-brainer, right? But it’s surprising how many of us don’t put this into practice. More importantly, it’s alarming that you never know who in your network is depressed or at risk, as it’s rarely obvious. The movement was started by Gavin Larkin, adman and someone who’s touched by suicide personally. He has dedicated the cause to his father who took his own life.

    Now in its second year, R U OK? aims to be a mainstream movement, and has a vision where people aren’t afraid to discuss their problems with each other openly, and prevent small problems from potentially becoming bigger ones. It culminates around a day of action on the 7th of October, but really, we should be checking in with our friends, family, colleagues and associates on a regular basis.

    I urge everyone to get behind the cause and start their own R U OK? conversations. In case you’re the celebrity-loving type, we did also manage to get Hugh Jackman and Simon Baker endorsing the program. But regardless, on the 7th October, please ask someone you care about “R U OK?”

    R U OK? Day is on October 7th, 2010. For more information please check the site.

    R U OK? Day is also on Facebook and Twitter.

    New Twitter

    The new Twitter upgrade promises to give an easier, faster and richer experience on Twitter. I can’t wait until they roll it out. Check out the video below:

    Updates include:

    • New design. The site has a cleaner timeline and a rich details pane that instantly adds more impact to individual Tweets while still maintaining the simplicity of the timeline. And, experience infinite scroll — you no longer have to click “more” to view additional Tweets.
    • Media. Now, it’s easy to see embedded photos and videos directly on Twitter, thanks to partnerships with DailyBooth, deviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube.
    • Related content. When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: replies, other Tweets by that user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
    • Mini profiles. Click a username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets.

    The Subtlemob

    Last year, I wrote about wanting to do a flashmob campaign. Since then, there have been many more flashmob happenings, and they’ve continued to entertain and engage us.

    Artist Duncan Speakman has turned the flashmob concept and flipped it on head with the subtlemob. Part participatory theatre, part public art, it’s been likened to passing through a movie in real time. Speakman himself is yet to put a clear definition on what a subtlemob is. His latest thoughts are below:

    Imagine walking through a film, but it’s happening on the streets you live in

    Subtlemobs usually happen in public spaces

    This is music composed for those spaces

    This is about trying to make films without cameras

    It’s about integrating with a social or physical space, not taking it over

    The audience listen on headphones, a mix of music, story and instructions

    Sometimes they just watch, sometimes they perform scenes for each other

    A subtlemob is not a flashmob

    try to remain invisible . . .

    Check out the last subtlemob in London:

    The Australian Federal Election and Social Media


    In 2007, I wrote a paper on how the then two party leaders engaged with social media. Three years ago, “social media” as a concept was not the media darling that it is today. Brands, and certainly politicians, were only beginning to take a dip into engagement with the social media landscape.

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  • The paper looked at John Howard and Kevin Rudd’s properties on social media and how they used each channel - including MySpace, Facebook, Youtube and their main websites. It looked at approach for each channel, messaging, design and layout, content and a cursory look on volume of followers/fans. Within these parameters alone, Rudd was a resounding standout, utilising social media in a thoughtful and effective manner.

    If we take a similar look at 2010’s candidates, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot, it seems that Labor once again has the lead. Gillard actively engages on Twitter and updates often, while Abbot doesn’t. She posts Youtube content often, while the majority of Abbot’s Youtube videos are negative parodies. Gillard has over 66,000 Facebook fans while Abbot has about 11,000.

    It was of course Obama that made a landmark campaign out of online and social media properties, engaging positively across a wide breadth of channels, reaching millions of people and developing substantial fundraising support to name but a few achievements. On the strength of this case study alone, social media engagement should be considered as part of any election campaign strategy.

    NB: If you’re interested in my 2007 Election essay, download it here.

    Social Media Influence by Starbucks

    This presentation may seem obvious or just another Slideshare presentation from the oversaturation of social media how-tos, however this is one brand that has the results to match.

    Starbucks has some impressive stats behind it: #1 most engaged brand online, over 10 million Facebook fans, most tweeted brand and millions of engaged loyalty members to name a few.

    This presentation was held as part of the 2010 Social Media Influence conference by Starbucks Digital Director Alexandra Wheeler.

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