Caine’s Arcade: Another Story About the Power Social Media

I first heard about Caine’s Arcade on Tuesday morning when I saw a friend post on Facebook and another on Twitter.  I watched the 10-minute film during lunch and enjoyed the well-made short documentary about a 9-year-old boy in East LA who made an entire arcade out of used auto parts boxes and other materials from his dad’s shop.  Turns out, this has become another great example of the power of social media.

Caine's Arcade

Filmmaker Nirvan Mullic and his crew at Interconnected made the film, apparently last fall.  The movie describes how Nirvan stumbled across Caine’s Arcade one day and asked if he could make a film about it.  Nirvan, one of Caine’s only customers, enjoyed playing the homemade games so much that he organized a flash mob using a Facebook event invitation.  Word spread quickly as the event invitation was picked up by Reddit and eventually the local news affiliates.

Caine’s Arcade from Nirvan Mullick on Vimeo.

It wasn’t clear exactly how many people showed up at the flash mob meeting at Caine’s Arcade, but it was certainly enough to make his day (as evidenced by his huge smile and comments during the film’s “outtakes”).

When I first saw the story on Tuesday around lunch time, Caine’s Arcade had about 5,000 likes on Facebook and he was just shy of his scholarship goal of $25,000.  By the time I went to bed, there was still plenty of buzz around the story, so I checked in and noticed that he had more than 15,000 likes.

As of this writing, his college scholarship fund has raised nearly $75,000, his story on Vimeo is quickly approaching a million views, and his Facebook count is near 25,000.

What’s more telling are the overwhelmingly positive comments surrounding Caine’s story:

Hundreds more can be found on the Vimeo page, including people wanting a Caine’s Arcade t-shirt, well wishers, and overall positive vibes.  It’s definitely contagious:  I kinda want my own fun pass.

Happy Wednesday – do something nice for someone today!

Photo and video credit:


An Instagram Tour of Austin

I was recently in Austin, Texas for a conference on marketing and web development for higher education. I snapped lots of photos with my iPhone. Here are a few of my favorites.

Austin Bergstrom Airport

Austin Bergstrom Airport

Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue

Chicken Truck

Austin Shoe Store - Allen Boots

South Congress - Quirky stores, candy shops, and great food

Austin Architecture

Austin Motel

Great food at the Trailer Park & Eatery

Austin Grafitti

Jo's Coffee Shop - South Congress

SRV standing guard over Town Lake

Treasures from South Congress

Live Music on 6th Street

Downtown Austin View

Trails Around Town Lake

Trailer Food Festival


Leaving Austin

7 Facts About Content Sharing on the Web

It’s no secret that the American Marketing Association hosts great events to educate, support, and connect marketing professionals.  I’m continually blown away by the quality of the content I get at each of the events, and this past week was no exception.  [Disclaimer: I’ve been an AMA member since 2008 and currently serve as VP of Membership for 2011-2012]

Thursday’s event featured Kristin Kovner, Senior Director of Marketing, AOL Advertising.  Kristin’s presentation, “Is Content the Fuel of the Web?” included recent findings from a case study done by AOL and Nielsen on internet users’ habits and attitudes on the major social networks.  In a nutshell, she broke down what types of content people share, with whom they share it, and on which social networks this is all taking place.

Here are my top 7 takeaways from Kristin’s data-filled presentation:

  1. Email is not dead.  Despite what some people will tell you, email is still the most popular place that internet users share content.  66% of internet users share content by email, as compared with only 28% on our beloved social networks.
  2. Industry-specific conversations get the most love.  Research showed that 60% of social media posts (mainly Facebook and Twitter) that are industry specific include an explicit brand mention.  Tweets from industry-specific conversations contain a link to some type of content (usually product information) a remarkable 73% of the time (as compared with only 42% of the time for conversations not related to a specific industry).
  3. 99% of people sharing via social networks are sharing via multiple platforms.
  4. Social network sharers are 17% more likely to be femaleexcept on Google+ (which wasn’t included since this study was done in Q1 of 2011).
  5. People tend to share with their close networks of trusted friends – not publicly (despite Facebook’s continued efforts to make privacy settings so confusing you don’t know who you’re sharing with).  This one may be a little harder for power users on Twitter to understand, since they sometimes tend to broadcast everything to everyone.
  6. Only 4% of shared content links back to a company website.  This one is important.  Businesses have to realize that conversations about their brands are happening in places other than their site and most of it never sends consumers to a company URL.
  7. Marketers can capitalize on people’s sharing habits in two ways.  1). Produce branded, sharable content (think videos with your products in them that are easy for people to share – like the Coca-Cola happiness machine campaign); and 2).  Be present with display advertising when the conversations are taking place away from your website (think display ads on YouTube for viral videos not produced by your company/affiliates, but related to your product or industry).

All in all, it was a great presentation – a flurry of numbers, but great information for those of us looking to “engage” consumers where they interact most.  The full report (along with other great research presentations) can be found on the AOL Advertising site.

Does anything above surprise you about how content is shared on the web?

My Blog: A Year in Review

Last week marked my 1-year anniversary of starting my own personal blog.  Since I’ve actually stuck with it and kept somewhat of a regular schedule, I now have a lot to look back on.  Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, and linked to my blog this year.

My Family at Grand Canyon - Sometime in the 80s

When I started my new blog, I set out with only a couple of specific goals:

  1. Write about subjects that interest me, such as marketing, technology, social media, travel, music
  2. Write at least one post per month.

As for the first goal, this one was easy.  I find a lot of interesting things on the web and I like to stay current on the newest social media trends.  I didn’t write much about music (besides recapping the concerts I’ve attended), but maybe I’ll do more with that in the next 12 months.

With 34 posts under my belt, goal number two was easily met.

So what were my favorite posts?

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

My personal favorite (mainly because it includes a strong reference to the movie Caddyshack) was my short blog on Klout, the new service that measures online “influence.”

My most visited post was written about what we can learn from the Chilean miner rescue from a leadership standpoint.

I also enjoyed writing (and re-reading this week) all my posts about my family and travel.  Honorable mention goes to my posts on marketing and related events I’ve attended.

So where will the next year take me?  Who knows.  I just hope you’re able to come along for the ride.

Lunch with 3 San Diego Agency Creative Directors

You may already know that I’m currently serving as VP of Membership for the San Diego Chapter of the American Marketing Association.  You may also know that I regularly attend the local AMA events: lunches, happy hours, board meetings.  What you may not realize is how much value I’ve gotten from these events and the relationships I continue to build.

Today was certainly no exception.  I attended a panel discussion with roughly 50 other San Diego marketers and we heard some great insight from three creative directors at local marketing/advertising/branding agencies.

First, the panel:

Screen shot from BASIC Agency's Website

I took a few notes on what I found most interesting from the discussion, so here goes.

Global Approach
The moderator asked a question along the lines of, “how do you manage branding and marketing campaigns in today’s global market?”  The panel’s response highlighted the importance of having solid market research for different segments, cultures, and regions.  What works in one culture may not resonate with another.  Matt pointed out that they work on finding a common story to tell for a particular brand and then localize that message when needed.

Marketing Trends
The panel was asked to provide their perspective on recent trends in marketing, related to their life in an agency.  Daiga explained that she’s currently seeing clients ask for a 3-5 year road map for campaigns, showing that businesses are increasingly tying digital marketing results to their overall business strategy.  Michael pointed out that clients these days are enamored with buzzwords and what’s hot.  He continues to remind them that the newest tools (namely, social media platforms) aren’t the cure to all problems, but instead can be integrated into an existing marketing mix for better results.

Quotable moments
“Strategy will never be a commodity.”  — Daiga, when asked about her thoughts on the future of digital marketing

“We don’t always base decisions on research only.  Testing is important, but it doesn’t always reveal true sentiment – especially with new technology.” — Matt Faulk, when asked about the importance of market research

Once again, a completely insightful and enjoyable afternoon with the San Diego Chapter of the American Marketing Association.  Thanks to our esteemed panel and moderator for keeping the discussion lively and interesting.  If you’re interested in becoming a member, talk to me.  Or you can just show up at a future event and see what we’re all about.

What are your thoughts on the Creative Directors responses?

The New Rules for Content

My content is crap… sometimes.  That’s what I learned this morning at the Social Media Breakfast San Diego (#SMBSD).

Local radio and creative professional Chris Cantore teamed up with Ryan Berman, founder and chief creative officer of Fishtank Brand Advertising to give us a no-fluff primer on creating content for the web.  Here’s more of what I learned.

1.  “Find your brand.  And whatever you do, defend it.”  — Ryan Berman.  This is a good one for me to remember.  If it doesn’t support your personal or company brand, why add to the digital clutter by re-posting, re-tweeting, or otherwise giving it time?


3.  Cantore related the new ‘rules’ of social media to his early days in the San Diego radio scene:  “It’s not about you, it’s about connecting with the fans.  Stay authentic and true to your own personal brand.”

4.  Berman highlighted an incredibly successful campaign that his company created for Puma Golf, where players and fans can actually ‘talk’ to the game of golf on the Puma website.  This out-of-the box thinking recently helped Berman and Fishtank win “American Marketer of the Year” (AMY) Award from the local chapter of the American Marketing Association.  Another great example of creating interactive content and a visual identity that speaks to the target consumer and bucks the traditional golf branding and advertising model.

Screen shot from

5.  A Flip cam with great content can be extremely effective for small businesses with little or no video budget.  Create content that resonates with your audience and gives your brand life.  [See my own epic Flip cam production]

6.  Look at other industries who are doing great work with content creation.  For great video integration, check out “digital storytellers” Emota Inc, today’s sponsor and brains behind some incredible visual content.  Other shouts went out to the Foo Fighters, Conan O’brien — and locally to Smashburger, NBC San Diego, and the Fox 5 morning show as good examples.

I enjoyed meeting a few new folks and having the chance to chat with Berman and Cantore, both of whom are completely down-to-earth guys with whom you’d certainly enjoy having a beer and fish taco.  I also enjoyed the fact that the focus was on the content – not the platforms/delivery.

Those were my take-aways – if you were there, what did I miss?

Never Eat Alone: Who Wants to Join Me?

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, or if you’ve been lucky enough to meet me in person <grin>, you know that I definitely value my personal and professional network.  Twitter, for example, has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have imagined.  I continue to meet and converse with so many incredible people that I wouldn’t have otherwise known.  Call me a fan.

So I started thinking this past week about how life always seems to get in the way of keeping up with some people.  Even some of my best friends I don’t see very often and I regret falling out of touch with those who live outside of San Diego.  Facebook has made it too easy to feel connected to others without much (if any) real-life social interaction.

For these reasons, I’m making a concerted effort to reach out and reconnect with my network these days.  I’m also interested in meeting some of the folks I’ve conversed with on Twitter, but haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person yet.  In connection with that, I’d like to have a standing lunch appointment with anyone who would like to join me every Wednesday.  Topics of conversation may include marketing, technology, career moves, music, travel, kids, family, or all the above.

Author's note: actual lunch venue may vary... do they even have these places anymore?

Author Keith Ferrazzi has a book out from a few years back called Never Eat Alone.  The title pretty much sums up the idea for me.

So here’s a link (I’m experimenting with Google calendar appointments) for you to let me know you’d like to join me:

Or you can just reach out on Twitter or leave a comment below to say hello.  I’m hoping this will eventually become a group thing – not with any specific agenda or purpose other than networking.

For now, who’s with me?

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

While watching the 1980 cult classic Caddyshack this past weekend, I noticed an interesting parallel to social media.  Ty Webb was on to something when he told Judge Smails he didn’t keep score.  I think the conversation went something like this:

Smails: Ty, what did you shoot today?
Webb:  Oh, Judge, I don’t keep score.
Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Webb:  By height.

I feel like a lot of people on Twitter are concerned too much with “measuring themselves with others,” rather than creating quality content, genuinely connecting with others, and providing value to their followers.  Metrics, ROI, Klout scores, and the like all have their place, but probably shouldn’t be the focus for most people on Twitter.  Find ways to create real conversations and lasting engagement, and the metrics will follow.

I wrote in March about my own personal experience with Twitter, responding to the question “Is Twitter a True Social Network?”.  Thanks again to those who follow my randomness and to those who continue to positively influence me.

Let’s all try to be a bit more like Ty Webb… I’ll go first.