Archive for the ‘multimedia’ Category

“Though she be but little, she is fierce,” Life in the #Moocspeare

In multimedia, Social media on May 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm

"Though she be but little, she is fierce."

Yesterday I wrapped up my work for the “Shakespeare in Community” MOOC on Coursera. The massive open online course lasted four weeks, focusing on one Shakespeare play per week. The course was taught through videos, forums, an interactive Facebook group and a Twitter discussion hashtag (#moocspeare). Shakespeare in community caught my eye because I love both Shakespeare (brit lit really) and social media and was excited to see how the two could meld together. Headed by Jesse Stommel of the University of Wisconson-Madison, the community aspect did not disappoint. The faculty of the course encouraged wordles, tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos and all sorts of user-generated social media content to keep the course in action.

I studied Shakespeare in college and high school, but never quite like this. It’s no secret that I’m some one who lives for digital/social media and online community building. As a brand or organization, attempts to get your consumers or fans to create user generated content can sometimes fail or require a lot of explanation and effort. This course was able to reach more than 37,583 accounts on Twitter with 89,108 impressions (via TweetReach). The @HackShakespeare handle on Twitter,which served as an instructor and content source tweeted 108 times about the four-week course and gained 858 followers. The active Facebook group had new discussions posted everyday and currently sits at 1,181 active members. And that’s all just the social media part of the course, all external from the videos on YouTube and the forums on Coursera.

All of this makes a pretty good argument for this type of learning. This type of social media interaction for coursework and online distance learning is a great base and the reach of this four week course is impressive. Check out more on the course and it’s intention and reach from Jesse Stommel in “The Course Hath No Bottom: the 20,000 person seminar.” 

My personal experience in the course was awesome. I was able to re-read two plays that I read years ago and read two new ones for the first time. My life can be pretty busy when work is in-season and this course came at the perfect time for me to take a little brain break and focus on the literature and the University of Wisconsin- Madison was able to build an active online community in such a short period of time.

When I first moved to Florida, my best friend back home knew that I liked Shakespeare. She sent me a picture that read: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” I knew that it was from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but having never read the play, I didn’t know the context. In this course, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was my favorite play that the community read and explored. I learned a lot about a picture that had been hanging in my house but also about the fantastical elements of that play.

Two of the questions that the course asks students to explore in the final reflection are ‘Why do we need Shakespeare ?’ and ‘Why do we need the humanities?’ I think my answer to that is, we need the humanities to learn about ourselves. They help us to live an examined life and see the world around us. I’m not sure that we NEED Shakespeare, but his works seem to be the absolute best fit for the study of humanities. All of his plays hold relatable for the past, present and future and help paint a portrait of human nature. Interestingly enough, I think this course was particularly special because it helped the study of human nature, as Shakespeare is intended to do, but also showed the behavior of modern humanity. Social Media, digital media and online communities are a staple of 2015 living in the USA. Shakespeare yet again shows that his content is translatable for every generation into tweets, YouTube clips and more.

” If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.” (V, i. 440-455)


Brands celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

In case studies, multimedia, On the look out, Social media on March 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Some people may argue that St. Patrick’s Day is a made up American holiday, and others will argue that everyone is just a little bit Irish today. No matter which way you look at it, it’s a conversation and a holiday that your brand can’t ignore. showed that some variation of the holiday was trending across North America on Monday:

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 5.50.06 PM

Here’s some awesome “Green” activations I noticed today:

Food Brands


Fashion Brands


A ‘Green’ Excuse for a sale:

Some brands took organic approaches and others (like Arby’s) boosted their efforts a bit. Marketers and SoMe mavens—Which would you go with? How into this holiday does your brand need to be in order to make ad spend worth it?

Four ways Moe’s is seizing the MOEment in Food & SoMe

In case studies, multimedia, Social media on September 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

*Confession: Moe’s has been my comfort food of choice since freshman year of college. A home-wrecker or an overachiever were always my study fuel of choice and their queso remains one of my favorite snacks. Fandom removed, I still think Moe’s has mastered the art of fast food social engagement.*

Four Ways the food chain is seizing the MOEment of digital communication: 

  1. #WelcomeToMoe’s: It’s basic customer service right? To greet your customers as they come in the door and make them feel welcome is surely part of any restaurant’s guidelines. But Moe’s became known for it. After customers began associating their trip to the grill with the shouted out “WELCOME TO MOE’s” greeting, they took it and did something even better. They branded it as their hashtag. Aside from being on the materials, easy to remember and easily monitored, #WelcomeToMoes seemingly embodies their brand strategy conveying welcome and simplicity. They could have gone for just #Moes or any number of options but choosing to be all inclusive with their greeting gives them simplicity and more 8,000 user submitted photos and videos on Instagram.
  2. Direct Response to Customers: Moe’s has full on conversations with their fans on Twitter. I often see them respond or reshare something a fan said. I’ve had a few conversations with them myself:
    It's not just Moe's that does this. But whenever you brand has a chance to be responsive and engaging, take it!

    It’s not just Moe’s that does this. But whenever you brand has a chance to be responsive and engaging, take it!

3. Fan Featured Contests: The #MoesFamousQueso campaign ties to a tangible event (Free Queso Day) and offers fans incentive to submit user generated content that could be featured in-store on items. One mistake a lot of restaurants and stores make is holding campaigns and contests that are purely digital, when bringing you into the store has to be one of their goals. Moe’s pairs a real event with a digital submission, with a call for you to come back AGAIN and see the winners. MoesQueso

4. Moe’s Instagram: Also in the restaurant business, although at a different price point, the Cheesecake Factory has an Instagram account with more than 16,000 followers. But their grams are pretty standard. Just the usual shot of a cheesecake or a cocktail. It almost looks like menu photography. Moe’s account currently only boasts about 3,000 followers, however in contrast their content is 100% original and crazy. Every now and then you will find a shot of the food (because after all that is what it is about) but they have found new and exciting ways to create photos as well.  

Loyalty has to be a goal, along with sales, in a company’s decision to support and occupy social channels. In my opinion content like the below two screen shots make me excited about a brand that basically sells burritos and salsa. This is what winning in digital media for a food brand looks like in Sept. 2013 in my opinion. 

Take a look at these (From Moe’s Instagram) :

Has Social replaced the obligatory movie website?

In case studies, multimedia, Social media on August 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm

68 Days till Halloween. And you know what that means? –A plethora of Scary Movie trailers and advertisements vying to be THIS year’s main horror thrill. Being a horror junkie, its something I’ve been tuned into since I can remember.  I can remember visiting the website for the first Saw Film, clicking around the latest flash innovation with blood &  guts, an attempt to lure me to that midnight movie premiere and get me hooked on the beginnings of a scary movie icon. It worked.

Back in those days, (The early 2000s), every new movie released an obligatory website featuring their new flick. A splash page with the trailer and a few navigations including cast and crew, and the ever-popular downloadable wallpaper were the norm. Digital media time is akin to dog years, though, in that it’s time isn’t the same as ours. The early 2000s might as well have been a century ago and the requirements for a movie to get interwebs attention are ever changing.

That being said “You’re Next” the misnamed, yet aptly advertised horror film about a team of home invaders wearing an array of terrifying Animal Masks has created an amazing Tumblr, further calling my need to go and see the movie. Instead of creating a website, this movie has put together a Facebook, & the aforementioned Tumblr. This is the first that I have noticed a movie putting together a on the mark social campaign and totally forgoing the website. Which begs the question: Are these repetive and short-lived web presences even worth it anymore? Or do the existing social platforms give an upcoming movie all that they need to reach their audiences and engage on a large scale?

Taken from the You're Next Facebook Page.

Taken from the You’re Next Facebook Page.

5 Terrifyingly creative things in this movie’s social presence:

1. No Throw Away Twitter:  On Twitter, The Lions Gate Horror account has been dubbed You’re Next.  There are so many reasons why I see this as such a huge strategic win. In a landscape where the average Twitter user can only follow 2,000 people (and trust me it can be a struggle to not get the error message about this frequently) who you follow is valuable. Creating a short-lived Twitter account which will plateau after the movie is on DVD is a waste of a follow and frankly just a dead social channel. Lionsgate has a history of terrific films and has already acquired a Twitter following. By interchanging their latest feature, they have an already built in and enthusiastic group to pitch their new movie to.

2. Sharp Hashtags:  Beyond just being brilliantly designed and visually pleasing, the You’re Next Tumblr has put together a list of modern, measurable hashtags to gain traffic and user-generated posts.

Appropriately tagged posts and prompts allow for traffic and specification at

Appropriately tagged posts and prompts allow for traffic and specification at

3. Animated, Rebloggable, Scary, Perfect Gifs on Tumblr. Really there is nothing more to say. If your end goal is ticket sales and your target audience is horror fans, this just works. Click for proof.

4. Bold URL Name. It’s a bit of a risk going with a name like they did (see Tumblr URL) but again on point for audience and goals. It’s catchy and memorable.

5. And the debate itself:  With such a social Tumblr, full of shareable and engaging content, will movies return to the old format placing their social media links at the bottom of the page hoping that the conversation will flow onto their peripheral, perishable channels? I think it also speaks a lot to the success of Tumblr itself, becoming a stand in for a web publishing platform. It practically hosts its own major websites now.

Anyone have any thoughts on this debate? (Or also this scary movie?:)


Update: THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD. Love the plot, love the ending, love the characters. I need to buy these masks as soon as they hit Halloween stores.

Oakland Bookstore stocks unique options for students, readers

In multimedia on December 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm

As graduation loomed closer for John Schulman, the job offers started to come in. It was also around that time that he discovered that what he had studied wasn’t really what he wanted to do.

“I was putting myself through grad school selling used books out of my house.

So I thought, why not just move all of these books out of these dusty shelves in this apartment into a bookstore and see if I can make a go of it,” Schulman said.

Co-founded with his wife Emily Hetzel, the Caliban Book Shop continues to grow. Located on South Craig Street in Oakland, Pa, the store boasts rows that together hold close to 40,000 books reminiscent of a time before mainstream book shops.

“Our books come from anywhere and everywhere you can imagine,” said Mark Mangini, employee of Caliban Book Shop, and graduate student at Point Park University.

With an upstairs of first edition copies, rarities, leather bound editions, and other such fine arts books and a downstairs caring primarily paperback fiction, the un-cataloged book store offers a variety of keepsakes.

“We have a real range, anything from 50-cent paperbacks outside to, multi-thousand dollar books in the case,” said Schulman.

The store takes it’s name from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, engraining the culture of literature even more into the shop.

“Caliban is a really interesting figure, it’s an anagram for Cannibal and he is an earthy creature, said Schulman, “Prospero is exiled to the island and he brings his book collection with him.”

Located on the edge of the University of Pittsburgh’s campus near Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum of Art, the shop provides a resource of rare and scholarly books for the public, but also the college audience.

“I went to undergrad at Pitt [University of Pittsburgh] and became a frequenter of the shop,” said Mangini, “I just started working on The New Yinzer, which is an online literary magazine, and some of the guys that were working for that are still employed here.”

Consciously, the store does not carry text books, but a number of literary titles can be found and purchased by students for enjoyment or required reading for classes.

Although space in the store is limited, there are a number of shelves dedicated to books on travel and books in foreign languages including Spanish, French, German, and Italian.

“You are probably not going to find the exact book that you are looking for,” said Magini, “but you are probably going to find three or four other things that are similar and possibly cooler or more unique.”

T-shirts and an online stock of books can be found at Mail-order business is also done out of a warehouse in Wilkinsburg and Caliban Book Shop  is listed as a seller on the major book sites such as Amazon.

The store is open 11am-5:30p.m. Monday-Saturday as well as 1p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

What book shopping habits do you have? How do you feel about book shopping in 2011? Take the poll below.

Find Caliban Books on the map.