Oh the many feet, er, tweeps you meet

NOTICE: This entry contains much Tweetspeak

The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is a literary rock star to children. There’s so many to remember, however this last week got me thinking of “The Foot Book”. Okay, for those of you with podophobia (fear of feet), you probably wouldn’t like it. But the feet fetish folks are now salivating…take it easy! But seriously, we can determine whether we meet many or few feet, small feet, big feet, or even pig feet (oink, oink). It’s a matter of putting ourselves out there and embracing the unexpected. Right feet, left feet, meet feet, TWEET feet!

This book came to mind after all of the many, many feet, er, tweeps I met this past week. I’ve been in Chicago for just three months now and this is the first week I’ve felt the floodgates really open wide. It started with my friend @catherineellen, whom I met at a @SMCChicago event back in January. She invited me to this Tweetup for those who were #notatsxsw. And at this event, I met more fantastic people than I could have imagined.

And they are all local to Chicago. So instead of simply conversing via Twitter, I’ll actually get to meet and hang out with these people IRL (in real life..took me awhile to get that at first). However, getting to meet those who don’t live in or near Chicago is also rewarding – my meeting @elliebpr is proof of this (check out her blog post).

After spending one evening with @catherinellen, @SamiAri, @chanthana, @manamica, @FeliciaCago, @Spiewak, @stephdem, @stacyjill,@mattchevy and SO many more, it reminds me that we can never predict the “many, many feet we’ll meet”.

The Foursquare Adventures of Jeff & Josh!

Badges! Gives me the BADGES! :: shakes, tremors ::

Chicago Blues

Okay, so I’m not really a Foursquare addict…well maybe a little. I’ll blame the shakes on the coffee.

This weekend me and @McGeffers are planning a one-day trip through Chicago to obtain all THREE Chicago Foursquare badges. For a rundown of the three badges and what they all entail, visit Explore Chicago.

I’ve only been on Foursquare for about a month now, but I’m completely fascinated with the concept, per my previous post. My friend @McGeffers gave me a call and said, “Hey, I have an idea…do you want to take a day to get all three Chicago Foursquare badges?” I was ecstatic, yelling YES!!! We both agreed it would be indefensible and a completely new level of nerd if we went on this adventure solo. Isn’t that obvious?

Celery Salt

So we’re plotting out a map, prepping our muscles by doing stretches and conditioning workouts, and packing a hearty lunch (j/k on that one…we have to eat a Chicago hot dog to earn the Celery Salt badge!). This Saturday, rain or shine, we’ll be tweeting our adventure, bringing along a FlipCam, and welcoming anyone who wants to join us on our journey to Mordor, er, the John Hancock!

While it may sound easy to simply bounce from location to location, checking-in, and earning the badges, it’s much more than that. We don’t take this journey lightly. There are many who have come before us, blazed the trail, and probably several who stubbed a toe or shattered their iPhone. Mental and physical preparation is a must.

So feel free to follow both @joshuakhersh and @McGeffers this Saturday or join us in person to earn these three fabulous Chicago badges.

On Location

If you can’t join us, feel free to suggest a theme song we should use for our journey or simply follow us on Twitter on Saturday!

- God’s speed

UPDATE 2:41pm : Thanks for the mention @explorechicago — we won’t let ya down!

UPDATE 4:35pm: thanks to @ChicagoEmbassy for the RT!

Foursquare As Economic Stimulus?

Most of us are now well-versed with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These seems to be the “Big Three” when it comes to social media. But my latest love is by far Foursquare.

Foursquare “is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.” By checking-in to different places, you are able to share experiences with your friends and earn badges in the process. When you have checked-in more than anyone else at a particular location, you are dubbed “The Mayor”. If someone surpasses your number of check-ins, you get ousted. That’s where the competition comes in.

As our nation finds itself in the midst of a recession it got me to thinking…If enough people start using Foursquare, and our inherent competitive nature takes hold, could Foursquare become a virtually free economic stimulus? The other night I went with a good friend to eat sushi. I was definitely excited to try a new place (Matsu Yama) since it came highly recommended. However, the fact I was going to check-in and have the potential to unlock a new badge or to oust someone as Mayor got me excited.

I mean, not Christmas-morning excited…but needless to say, I was looking forward to checking in. I was going to eat with my friend regardless whether I had Foursquare or not…but in my mind it gave me that extra incentive to go.

Now I don’t have any numbers to back up this theory and there’s probably too few people to make a significant impact, but it doesn’t keep me from wondering how mobile social media games (competitions) might eventually drive the economy. So, download Foursquare now! It’s your duty! Let’s get this economy going!

Words As Weapons

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a few weeks now, but wanted to clear my head before I dove in.

A CBS poll a few weeks ago revealed something interesting in how Americans perceive the LGBT community. With the Obama Administration, along with the military top brass teeing up the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, new organizations are polling to get the pulse of Americans on the issue.

In 1993, it was pretty clear most Americans didn’t no support gays, er, homosexuals to serve openly in the military. This word-play is precisely what CBS tested. When Americans were asked if “homosexuals” should be allowed to serve in the military, the numbers were much lower compared to when they were asked if gay men and lesbians should be allowed. The former is cold, clinical, and intellectual. The latter, “gay men and lesbians”, is relational, real-world, and person-oriented. See the poll results below.

What struck me most after seeing this poll is thinking about how different groups within America talk about the LGBT community. Browsing conservative Christian websites you read “homosexual, homosexual, homosexual”. They focus on behavior and consequences, and don’t even acknowledge gay people as people, but rather as someone with identity issues. Their narrative of the homosexual is one in which this person is alone, in the dark, simply waiting to fulfill a physical desire. No community, no meaningful relationships, or desire for intimacy. There is no inherent person hood in the way they talk about gay people.

What this poll shows is that the way in which people talk about others really determines how they view that person or community. It makes me wonder what those who will only say “homosexual” are trying to get at. Do they view it against their beliefs or “giving in” to larger culture to acknowledge gays and lesbians as people? The term, “homosexual”, in the ears of  younger generations seems a lot like older generations of Americans referring to African Americans as “colored people”.

I studied words and communication in college because I believe in the power of words. How we use them, the meanings that they carry shape our world and how we think about it. Words have the power to affirm, to grant person-hood, and they have the power to demean and destroy. Words can be building blocks and they can be weapons. It’s all in how we use them.

The Church & The Gay Community

Andrew Marin is doing great things. Visit the Marin Foundation or his blog to learn more.

My Social Media Monitoring Cocktail

So I’ve done some exploring and continue to look for the best free social media monitoring tools. Here are the ones I am currently using. Anyone have  suggestions of other free tools? What works for you?

HowSociable: I use this to initially see how present a client is online. It gives you a score and shows the different networks they are mentioned on. – http://www.howsociable.com/

As far as daily monitoring, I use:

Addict-o-Matic – http://addictomatic.com/
IceRocket – http://www.icerocket.com/
SocialMention – http://socialmention.com/
Board Tracker – http://www.boardtracker.com/
WhosTalking – http://www.whostalkin.com/
Boardreader – http://boardreader.com/
Omigili – http://omgili.com/
Twazzup – http://www.twazzup.com/ – great search tool for Twitter!
Twingly – http://www.twingly.com/microblogsearch
Twitter Search – http://search.twitter.com/
TweetGrid – http://www.tweetgrid.com
Backtype – http://www.backtype.com/
Technorati Search – http://technorati.com/search/
Google Alerts – http://www.google.com/alerts

Let me know if there are other tools you use that are particularly helpful!

Dunkin’ Runs on Social Media

We are all aware that Americans runs on Dunkin’. But this American institution is doing great things with social media. It’s Dunkin’s 60th Birthday and they are in the midst of their second “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut” Contest. The contest basically allows anyone and everyone (13 and up) to create the next donut that will be distributed — with their own flavor combination, look, and name.

I’ve posted the “teaser” ad that has tried to get people intrigued and excited about the contest.

This 60 second ad was greated by Stuidocom in Boston, which has a rockstar list of clients such as CVS, Dunkin’ Donuts, Microsoft, Philips, Sony, tbs, and Coca Cola…among others. They also helped DD launch the MyIcedCoffee.com campaign, in partnership with MapQuest, to “effectively engage with youth” and allow travelers to plan their road trips and map out where DDs are located.

Jennifer Van Grove has some interesting stats via @mashable about last year’s contest:

Speaking of last year, let’s take a look at more stats from last year:

- 130,000 “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut” donut submissions

- 218,000 total donuts created

- 25,000 donuts posted to Facebook (Facebook)

- 174,000 votes

- 269,000 more donuts created after the promotion was over

I’m excited to see more of what Dunkin will have in store as far as interacting with consumers. And of course, I have to share with you the Donut I created: I call it the Coco Peanut Butter Crunch. It is a donut with a round shell, filled with peanut butter kreme, topped with chocolate icing, chopped peanuts, and coconut. And a donut is not a donut without a description: Peanut butter and chocolate are a classic combination and a taste unique to America. The coconut on top inspired by an Almond Joy, except this donut is topped with crunch peanuts instead of almonds. This is as genuine and bold as Dunkin Donuts is to the American experience.

Happy creating!