Tipping Pitches: Links: September 25, 2009


Friday, September 25, 2009

Links: September 25, 2009

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What ever happened to people taking Fridays off or loafing through the day in anticipation of the big weekend?  The Internet used to be seen as an impediment to productivity.  Now the web is what drives it.

I actually saw a study recently that indicated the best time to post something on Twitter (I hate saying "tweet," sorry) is at 4 pm on Friday.  Interesting, right?  So many good links out there today. 

STUDY: Time Spent on Social Networks Has Tripled
So Nielsen has a report out that Americans are spending 17% of their Internet time on social networking sites, tripling last year's numbers.  Is this really all that shocking?  Maybe not.  In fact, I'd expect the growth to be more significant as Facebook and Twitter have taken full hold during the past year.

Some in the corporate (non-digital) world may presume this means that work productivity is down.  I'd counter that this is evidence that, if you are encouraging the use of social networking sites, work productivity is likely up.  The Internet is no longer used only to manage fantasy teams and look at porn (the two things that freak the hell out of businesses).  It's this overreaction that has driven many companies to ban the use of the web during business hours.

It's a mistake.  Encourage the use of social networking sites.  Your employees are your greatest ambassadors.  Allow them to cultivate their networks, and they will eventually promote your brand to their friends -- who may then share with their friends, who share with their friends...

The beauty of social networking is that it's incredibly fun, yet also an incredibly valuable marketing tool.  Empower your employees to use it, and they will passionately promote your brand.

Mobile Coupons and Transactions Taking Hold

Starbucks has long been ahead of the digital curve, and continued that trend recently by announcing the ability for customers to pay for coffee with their iPhones.  Two apps have been released:  1) MyStarbucks helps customers find the nearest stores, and 2) Starbucks Card Mobile allows customers to pay for their latte from their Starbucks account by scanning the app's bar code.  Only 16 stores are currently offering the ability to pay with your phone.

Meanwhile, JCPenney is testing scannable mobile coupons in Texas (really?) stores.  As with the Starbucks debit system, the iPhone user brings up a 2D bar code on their phone and it's scanned for the promotion price.

Will the tests be successful?  Ultimately, the answer will boil down to convenience.  If it's easier for the consumer to use coupons in this way (and assuming the cost of the process is not significant to the brand), mobile transactions and coupons will ultimately catch on.

But, I can see why there may be a barrier.  How do you "clip" or find the coupons (in the case of JC Penny) to begin with?  How much time does it take for you to fumble through your phone to get the proper code while in the check-out line?  Does the scan work, or will the check-out person need to spend a minute trying to scan the thing?

Let me say that it would be doubly difficult with the current Blackberry.  I say this as a Blackberry owner.  Navigating through applications is absolutely brutal.  Load, load, load...  Load...  COME ON!  I'd go nuts, whether I was the jerk with the Blackberry coupons or the lady in front of me.  So, no real surprise that most companies are starting out with iPhones.  Good move.

Or maybe the whole process is actually quite easy, but these are questions that need to be answered before it truly catches on.  An app like Yowza!! is on the right track, in my opinion. Yowza!! uses your location to find savings at various stores within your area.  It's not a singular application for one brand.  It aggregates savings with whichever companies are participating.

Ultimately, that's how this practice will become successful.  Sure, maybe you go to JC Penny a lot.  But what you care about more than anything else is getting the best deal -- no matter the store.  Maybe you can get the same product for less at another store in your area.  That's what these apps need to do.  Understand where you are, easily display the best deals around you, and make the coupons easy to set aside and organize.

Got it?  Now do it (if it hasn't already been done, of course).
What are the most essential Twitter apps ever created?
Now, I'm not going to claim to be a Twitter expert and say that I use all of these apps.  To the contrary, I'm glad that a list like this was created.  ControlTheWeb puts together a nice list of Twitter apps broken down into categories of Desktop, Mobile, Business, Networking, Entertainment, Monitoring, Media Sharing, Link Tools, Analytics, and the oh-so-popular Random.  Great list.

Or, you could just check out Mashable's new article and get access to the OneForty beta, Twitter's unofficial app store.  I applied and am still waiting, so I can't provide any feedback for you at this point.

Lee injured after slap from teammate
Full disclosure here.  I am a lifetime Milwaukee Brewers fan and unabashed Chicago Cubs hater.  Hate them.  Hate 'em.  It's even rubbed off on my two oldest sons (so proud), and they hate the Cubs, too.  How can you discourage such behavior?

Anyway, I love stories about the Cubs curse or any other shenanigans about how they can't get out of their own way.  Loved the Milton Bradley and the not-so-surprising result.  Loved it.  And now Derek Lee, possibly their finest player, is injured by teammate Angel Guzman as a result of a celebratory slap to the head following a win over the Giants last night.  That's how bad it is for the Cubs and their fans.  Even when they win, they lose.  Suckers.

Face Paint
Let's keep the subject on sports, shall we?

There's no better visual than of a grown man, sulking after a loss.  Wearing face paint.  And if that grown man places for your team's biggest rival?  All the better.

Now, the fan below may not be from Chicago (or Minnesota for that matter), but I have no sympathy for the Patriots or their fans, so it's all the same.

What a turd.  Let's rewind and go through this guy's day.

8:00 am:  Woo hoo!  Pats play today!  Gonna whoop up on the Jets!  Throw me a beer!
9:00 am:  Yeah, baby!  I'm drunk!  Pats all the way!  Undefeated season!  Pass me another beer!
10:00 am:  Buddy, I got an idea.  Let's wear makeup to the game!  Silver!  Blue and red, too!  Pass me another beer!
11:00 am: Tailgate!  Look at me!  I'm wearing makeup!  Pats rule!  Beer, please!
Noon:  Out of beer?  Huh.  Go Pats!  Yeah, baby, I'm wearing makeup!  Suck it!
2:00 pm:  I'm wearing makeup.  I'm an idiot.

Or do they never come to that realization?  Do they mope away from their seat, to their car, and drive home still wearing makeup?  When does it come off?  Just curious.

And since we're in the business of kicking dudes when they're down, take a look at this video of a Clemson fan after his team's loss to Georgia Tech.  It's just painful.


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