Squag, Social Media Sized for the Autism Community

We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.   ~ Pierre Omidyar

Autism Building CommunityAs I am developing a social media marketing plan for this year’s Autism conference in Philly, it got me wondering, would social media benefit the autism community?  Also, I often watch Parenthood on NBC, but had not made the connection that Asperger’s Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Did you know for example, according to the CDC* on average 1 out of 110 children in the U.S. has an ASD?

ThenI came across Squag TM, a social networking platform, designed to foster social interaction and communication for tweens and teens on the autism spectrum.   Created by Sara Winter in collaboration with her autistic nephew, the platform offers the opportunity of connecting in a digital space optimized for self reflection.  Even the name “squag” (her nephew’s pronunciation of square) suggests the platform offers a unique social opportunity.

So what are your thoughts on technology offering greater connectivity?  Does the digital world hold the promise of benefiting the lives of special needs children and their families?  Share your thoughts on how social media can make the world a better place for all of us.

Vanaja R.

Financialpost.com – Social network Squag aims to be a safe place for autistic kids


*March 29, 2012 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a higher prevalence of autism, with one in 88 children being diagnosed with an ASD.

PBS Newshour – Autism’s Prevalence Grows


Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.


Movie Night at the Oscars, Spotlight Shines on Social Storytelling

The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props

The audience that lifts you when you’re down…

There’s no business like show business

Like no business I know…

Let’s go on with the show!

“There’s No Business Like Show Business” Lyrics By Irving Berlin

84th Annual Academy Awards

This year’s “Let’s go to the movies” Oscars’ telecast was interactive and social.  The set of a New York movie theater invited both the in house audience and viewers at large to become part of the show.  Throughout the night, there was an ongoing push for each one of us to become more connected to the motion picture community.

From Billy Crystal’s opening number, to split screens of the award nominees and their admirers, to the camera angles focused on the night’s musicians and presenters, I could go on and on…  Even Cirque du Soleil got into the act of making us feel a part of the movies.  Who didn’t laugh at the focus group spoofing the Wizard of Oz?  Didn’t the “films” of the stars’ reflections draw us in?

Oscar night lived up to Irving Berlin’s direction:  There’s no business like show business.  Who were your favorites on the red carpet?  What did you think of the 84th Academy Awards broadcast?  Share your favorite Oscar moment and who you thought stole the show.  Now that Hollywood has gone social, there’s no telling where the collaboration with we the audience will lead.

Vanaja R.

The Artist

The Artist, Best Picture Winner

The Oscars 2012, The 84th Academy Awards


Copyright © 2012 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

And the Winner in the Category of Social Media Is … Oscar’s Digital 360

Toto, I’ve got a feeling, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

OscarImagine Dorothy embarking on a new yellow brick road, one that leads to a digital Oscar world.  This year the Academy has paved the way for our engagement.  As Karin Gilford, Senior VP of ABC’s Digital Media points out, “We’ll take visitors on an unparalleled journey all the way through Oscar Sunday.”

Oscar’s digital  journey begins with the reminiscing of returning favorite, comedian Billy Crystal , followed by an interactive timeline of memorable moments, an official blog, and of course its dedicated social media page, Oscar Buzz.  Nothing has been left out…from the red carpet, to the backstage, to the Governor’s Ball and to everything in between – the dailies and the Oscar picks.

Follow The Yellow Brick RoadAs Dorothy would say, “We’re off to see the Oscars, the films, the gowns, the wins.” Share your thoughts about this year’s nominees and who should take home an Academy Award.  And for all you Oscar hopefuls, click your heels three times and wish for your very own motion picture dream to come true.

Vanaja R.


Congratulations to The Artist for Best Picture and to All the Winners

Oscar Blog Introducing the Oscar Digital Experience


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Fashion Forward with Social Media – You too can be a Fashionista

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.  ~ Coco Chanel

Diane Von Furstenberg's Rendezvous CollectionAs dresses are all the rage this season, so too Social Media is in fashion.   Designer Diane Von Furstenberg and fashion editor Suzy Menkes commented on Charlie Rose yesterday, social media is opening up fashion to everyone in a way never before possible.  Anyone can be a fashionista, a designer or critic of fashion.  Social Media is especially well suited to appeal to the up and coming Millenials, a generation that wants to have a hand in creating its own style.

This year’s New York Fashion Week experienced another social media fashion first, an online-only fashion show, providing select editors and buyers in effect, an exclusive digital backstage pass.  I’m wondering what’s in store for us next?  Social media has already given the fashion world the ability to connect globally, to spot trends in style, and to merchandise digitally.

So, are you a closet fashionista?  How does fashion figure in your daily digital life?  Share your thoughts about your favorite fashion trends.  And now, along with my fellow fashionistas a special shoutout, “Oscar we’ll be watching for the latest fashion find.”

Vanaja R.

Charlie Rose – New York Fashion Week

Time.com – The Digital Runway: How Social Media Is Changing Fashion


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Super Bowl Ads Take Two: Touchdown! Social Media Teams Up with the Gameday Broadcast

First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII – and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure. ~ Douglas Adams

Do you like watching Super Bowl ads?  If you said yes, you’re not alone.  As noted by Nightly Business Report’s Susie Gharib , one quarter of Super Bowl viewers watch the game just to see the commercials.  This year as usual did not disappoint, both the game and the commercials were a big hit!  I’ll let you know my favorite ad a little later on… There was however a new “drive” this year, the preview of commercials on social media.

My question to you, do you like the option of a sneak peek prior to the big game?  Speaking for myself and fans in general, yes!  Also, from the advertiser’s point of view, there’s the potential to maximize your presence and thereby get more bang for your buck.  After all, ROI can’t just be measured in dollar terms but also in brand value.  Last year’s Star Wars themed Volkswagen Passat ad, according to VW Group of America CEO, Jonathan Browning, resulted in an overall benefit to the brand culminating in the growth of all business and specifically Jetta’s over 50% sales growth.  What will be the return on this year’s prerelease of Super Bowl ads?

So, do you agree in today’s digital age, it really does take two, online and broadcasting, to generate fan excitement and have a successful Super Bowl ad?  Or do you prefer to be surprised on gameday?  Share your thoughts and your favorite Super Bowl commercial.  As promised, here’s mine, Honda’s CR-V spot showcasing an updated version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Full disclosure, not only am I a fan of the original 80’s movie, but my family also owns last year’s model.

Vanaja R.

2012 Honda CR-V Game Day Ad2012 Volkswagen Game Day Ad2012 M&M'S Super Bowl Ad2012 Doritos Super Bowl Ad

Nightly Business Report:  The Risk and Rewards of Super Bowl Ads

Ferris Bueller Super Bowl Ad:  Matthew Broderick Stars In Full-Length Spot For Honda


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The Little Engine that Could – Green Bay Packers, 2011 NFL Social Media Champs

Green Bay Packers NFL 2011 Social Media ChampsAs we get closer to this year’s Super Bowl, I’m wondering which team will win and who will score a social media “touchdown” this year.  Last year’s Super Bowl champs, the Green Bay Packers, won bragging rights to being the NFL’s social media most valuable team – second hottest Facebook topic:  “The Green Bay Packers Win The Super Bowl” and Twitter’s number two ranked topic in the football category:  “Green and Yellow”.

It makes perfect “game-day strategy” for Green Bay to strengthen fan ties and social media is a great way for the team operating in the NFL’s smallest market to do it.  Mark Murphy, the team’s CEO recently noted on PBS’ Nightly Business Report that key to his team’s long-term success is promoting a greater connection with the fans, which includes wherever the cheeseheads are on the Internet, i.e. Facebook or the team’s website.  By the way, Mashable’s Sam Laird reports a first, this year’s Super Bowl host city, Indianapolis, is also getting on the social media bandwagon; by setting up a social media command center to keep tabs on the fans’ digital conversation.

So as we approach game-day in another 2 weeks or so, I don’t have to ask, are you ready for some football!  I will however, ask you to do some armchair quarterbacking and predict who will win this year’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.


Congratulations, New York Giants

Giants 21, Patriots 17 

Mashable article:  Super Bowl XLVI Gets a Social Media Command Center

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Who’s the Fairest Social Media of Them All?

A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living.  ~ Rudolf Steiner

We all remember Snow White’s stepmother, the Queen, had a fascination with being the fairest in the land.  As I look across the social media landscape, I am reminded of a modern version of this fairytale, the rivalry between Facebook and Twitter.  In our story’s most recent chapter, Twitter has added brand pages in a bid to broaden its appeal to corporate users.  I’m wondering how this social media story will play out.

If we suppose, as Steiner does, that ideally each individual is represented in the community, then a diverse social media would be a direct reflection of each one of us.  We will have to see if Twitter’s latest changes don’t compromise its unique niche appeal.  The variety of social media platforms perhaps reflect the uniqueness of their many users.

The New York Times’ research and development team’s personal data mirror, “Reveal”, gives us a glimpse into our future.  Equipped with a natural user interface, the mirror’s facial recognition capabilities, would enable us to interact with the information that we hold most dear, in essence, a truer reflection of ourselves.  So, does there really have to be just one social media platform that is the “fairest of them all?” As technology continues to innovate, we are brought closer to our truer “mirror image”, there’s room enough for each platform.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, social media’s future looks bright.  Share your thoughts on how you use social media and how it uniquely reflects you.

Vanaja R.

Augmented Mirror of the Future Reflects You and Your World

Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

Social TV – Storytelling Around a Campfire in the 21st Century?

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.   

~ T. S. Eliot

I think [Technology]’s brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I’ve ever seen is called television – but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.  ~ Steve Jobs

Lately, I’ve noticed Twitter addresses popping up everywhere on TV.  Twitter offers television a capability for a community of viewers and broadcasters to form.  Of course, this was almost certain to happen, ever since, social networks came to life on the Internet.

My question to you: Is this our version of storytelling around a campfire; where we not only have a connection with the “narrator” and the story being told, but also perhaps with each other as well?  Does Social TV simply satisfy the primal need man has always had to be social?

Twinkle, Twinkle Twitter Star, my latest publication, proposesYou [Twitter] have the power to make television social, to build a loyal community, to promote special events, and connect emotionally with your followers.”  So, is television (with the help of Twitter) evolving to a social medium as well, so we will no longer be lonely as T.S. Eliot posits?  Are there “unintended consequences” to television and social media converging as Steve Jobs predicts?  Perhaps even the downfall of television itself?  Share your thoughts.

Vanaja R.

Special Feature:  Twinkle, Twinkle Twitter Star

Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.


Special Feature – Twinkle, Twinkle Twitter Star

Target’s Christmas Champ

Shines Bright with Social Media Sparkle

Target’s innovative use of Twitter heralds Twitter’s rising star.  An up-close and humorous look at the Christmas Champ’s personal branding showcasing Target’s Twitter holiday strategy.

Twitter Address Chistmas Champ AdChristmas Champ Youtube Video

Who doesn’t chuckle when viewing Target’s Christmas Champ, comedian Maria Bamford, putting her own particularly zany spin of getting ready for the holidays!  There’s also an interesting twist this year:  the @ChristmasChamp Twitter address has been added to her TV spots.  Twitter has indeed arrived; it’s going mainstream!  Twitter is popping up everywhere and Target is leading Twitter’s next wave, integration with traditional media.  Hooray!  I must be channeling my inner Christmas Champ.

Before we pay Christmas Champ a visit, let’s get acquainted with rising star Twitter’s backstory.  Gone are the days of ‘twitter’ signifying inconsequential bursts; here to stay… direct engagement with the fans and the opportunity to sell, sell, sell.  Sure regifting last year’s TV ads is still the rage, but tweeting digital content and conversing with fans is what’s red hot.

At this time of year, we’re on a first-name basis with Christmas.  So, we’ve got exclusive access to her 2011 virtual holiday album – Digital Portrait of a Christmas Champ.  On the cover, we’re introduced to a glimpse of her Twitter home page; over 19,000 followers, wow!

My 2011 Holiday Album

Digital Portrait of a Christmas Champ

Christmas Champ Twitter Page

Christmas Champ Twitter Page

As of 11/30/11:  494 Tweets, 2,177 Following, 19,394 Followers, and 92 Listed.

Her first page showcases Target Tweets of a spirited holiday shopper with a take no prisoners’ attitude. — Don’t we aspire to be just like her?

These are a few of my favorite Tweets …                                                                    Page 1

Christmas Champ Tweets

Christmas Champ – via Target Tweets

Next page, she’s created an homage to TV anchor Hoda Kotb’s shout-out from the November 30th Today Show.  Do you think Christmas Champ is on her way to becoming an American retail icon?

I’ve made it big-time, my personal brand has arrived!                                        Page 2

Hoda's Shout-out to Christmas Champ

November 30 Today Show Video

Page 3, selected fan favorites, a further testament to her personal branding success; never underestimate the power of humor.

I love my fan tweets – personal and emotional connections!                            Page 3

Fan Tweets

Sampled tweets from Trendistic.com

The last page of her virtual album shows twitter surges coincide with her TV ad broadcasts and the Target 2-Day sale – Twitter has the potential to influence promotions.

Look my TV spots & Target’s Two Day Sale are a Twitter hit!                           Page 4

Tweet Stats

November 2011 Tweet Stats

Twinkle, Twinkle Twitter Star, now we do know what you are.  You’re a bright and shiny rising social media star.  You have the power to make television social, to build a loyal community, to promote special events, and connect emotionally with your followers.

I must confess, as you might have guessed, I’m a twitter follower of the Christmas Champ.  As a fan, I’m hoping next year Target will introduce us to her family.  And now, a special shout-out, “Hang in there, Christmas Champ.  It’s only a matter of time before you get your shoe deal.”

You may follow Vanaja on Twitter at @MyNirvanaTweets.

Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.

Advertising as Art?

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
~ Paul Cezanne

Just the other day, I was watching a holiday ad that made me chuckle.  It got me thinking … is advertising a form of art?  Does the commercial aspect of advertising negate its artistic value?  I suppose the emotional benefit gained from viewing an advertisement (despite following through with a purchase) may still allow us to categorize advertising as art.  Artistic pursuits have often been sustained by patrons throughout the ages.

Advertising is an art, made up of ideas that can move and persuade people” – noted Hank Wasiak, a communications industry leader and author of a Mashable.com article relating social media’s effect on advertising.  So the next time you see an ad that moves you, ask yourself this question, is this art?

Share your thoughts.  Share your favorite holiday ad.

Vanaja R.

Mashable article:  How Social Media Has Radically Altered Advertising

Copyright © 2011 My Marketing Nirvana.  All rights reserved in all media.