As the dog days of summer roll on I find myself wondering, "Where does all the time go?" It feels as though there's never enough time in the day and never enough days in the week to get everything done that needs to be done. Even now, as I sit and type out this column at 12:30pm, I find myself thinking ahead to tomorrow and all the to-do's that lie ahead of me when the sun rises again.
Of course, all work and no play makes Cory a dull boy. We all have to find time to balance the sweet with the salty, the fun with the work. So this week's column is dedicated to the balance between competing ideals, and the spirit of summer that lies in all of us; the soul of the child yearning for a lazy day listening to music, watching a ball game and preparing to head back to school.
If your childhood was anything like mine, it was spent riding your bike, playing baseball, listening to music and hanging with friends. I'd read Rolling Stone to see what was up with my favorite bands while sitting under a tree, but now we have the Web and sites like NEXT BIG SOUND (www.nextbigsound.com) to see what's going on. Next Big Sound is a tool for researching and tracking fan interaction with artists and it delivers the information in a Quantcast/Compete style interface. Just type in your favorite artists and see what the buzz around them is on sites like Facebook, MySpace, iMeem and others (all of which are great ways to spend your time on a Saturday afternoon). For those of you in the music industry, this could become an invaluable tool for tracking online buzz!
Summer was always a time to find ways to express yourself, and as you grow older you find ways to do the same at work. If you're a brand, and you're involved in social media, check out SPROUTBUILDER (www.sproutbuilder.com). Sprout Builder provides a set of tools and services to author and launch social media applications, or widgets as some people still refer to them. These applications create buzz and they distribute your message through rich media engagement where your audience is located. They drive inbound links, create remote awareness and are an invaluable way of expressing yourself wherever your potential audience might be.
Some people go shopping in their downtime, but nowadays everyone's looking for the right deals. Well, search no more because Shannon Light found us GROUPON (www.groupon.com). Group On provides "collective buying power" by offering deals that are triggered by a specific volume of customers, driven by social interaction. You visit the site and sign up for a deal being offered and if the minimum requirements for the deal are met, you can take advantage of it! A restaurant may offer a $30 discount if 10 people accept the deal, so share the deal on your Facebook page and get 9 of your friends involved. It's a killer idea and a great way to save money while supporting local businesses.
As summertime rolls to an end, some people go back to school and some people go to conferences! Conferences show the value of networking and are a working man's "back to school" because they get you back in the swing of things quickly. If you're looking to attend a conference and increase your network, regardless of the industry you work in, check out CONFERENCE HOUND (www.conferencehound.com). Conference Hound helps you identify and keep track of the various events you should be attending, whether it's marketing or muscle cars, there's a conference for you!
Of course some people look at summer time as an opportunity to broaden their minds and learn something new. I am not a politician, so I'm not condoning anything on this site, but check out DIRT (www.dirt.com) and maybe you can learn about a different point of view. Dirt's motto is "dig deeper" and it provides a forum for conservatives and liberals to air their opinions and engage with others. Any forum for free speech and discussion should be supported, hence its inclusion in this week's column. After all, what's more influential than free speech, right?
On the iPhone front this week, in the spirit of competition that drives Major League Baseball all summer long, we take a look at the boys of summer as they head into the home stretch. BASEBALL SUPERSTAR allows you to play a full game all your own and is one of the top rated games for the iPhone. YANKS BASEBALL LIVE is a great app for keeping track of the Yankees, and BOSTON SOX BASEBALL is a tool for Red Sox Nation (whoever they may be). And don't forget CAMERA ZOOM, top paid app in the iTunes Store right now, which allows you to get those summer snap shots to remember when the snow is falling and the summer is just a memory.
Cory Treffiletti is President and Managing Partner for Catalyst SF. Cory has been a thought leader in interactive marketing and advertising since 1995. Cory can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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