Monday Must-Reads – 3.11.13

Spring is almost here – a fact you are no doubt aware of as you groggily make your way through today, deprived of a precious hour of sleep thanks to the arrival of Daylight Savings Time.

Unless, of course, you’re from a non-observant state, such as those laid-back Hawaiians or cantankerous Arizonans, who, as we all know, don’t really care what the other 49 states think of them.

But shake off the cobwebs, because here are this week’s must-reads.

  1. Scientific American gets to the bottom of the Daylight Savings shenanigans. Cows give less milk, workplace accidents go up and all kinds of other observable grumpiness ensues, all because we set our clocks forward.
  2. ClickZ blog names Taco Bell the champion of social buzz this week with its new Cool Ranch Taco. But really, did you expect anything less?
  3. I just spent a slushy weekend in Boston posting dozens of pictures of buildings and food to Instagram, but Entrepreneur has some more lucrative uses for the photo-sharing app. Check out their marketer’s guide to Instagram.
  4. Speaking of the social Web, odds are, if you’re a social media marketer, you’re using it to keep your finger on the chatter surrounding your business. But your social spying has not gone unnoticed. eMarketer reports that new research shows that users are aware that businesses are monitoring their online conversations.
  5. On the more traditional, inbound side of things, Duct Tape Marketing blog gives some good pointers for how to increase sales leads through your website.


FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Let the Strangeness That is the Presidential Inauguration Commence

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

Regardless of your politics, mega-events like next week’s Presidential Inauguration tend to bring out the weird. At its noblest, the inauguration is an inspiring symbol of the grandeur of the Republic and the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next.

But lest we forget, it’s also a giant party. Drunken revelers famously trashed the White House at Andrew Jackson’s, although history has long forgotten who committed the first presidential party foul. For real history geeks, the Senate website has a good rundown of inaugural highlights. My favorite so far: President John Quincy Adams’ precedent-setting decision to wear long trousers rather than knee breeches to his 1825 inauguration.

This year, of course, features its own quirks. Salon has a good slideshow of the most random inaugural souvenirs, including your very own inaugural dog sweater. In more urgent news, there is a looming shortage of Port-A-Potties for this year’s festivities.

And here we were thinking the Fiscal Cliff was a crisis.

But the winner for inaugural weirdness goes hands down to Victoria Devine, who is pioneering the job of social media butler as part of a lavish hotel inauguration package. The job is what you might expect. Devine tweets, sends Facebook updates and Instagrams the entire weekend – although hopefully no anguished statuses about searching the National Mall for a Port-A-Potty.

Although, come to think of it, that’s not a bad opportunity for crowdsourcing. Or maybe some kind of geo-tagging app.

Startup wizards, you know what to do.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: joewcampbell


Monday Must-Reads…

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

Welcome to a new week, iCopyInsider readers. That means it’s time for our second edition of Monday Must-Reads, in which we round up some of the best links related to search, copywriting, social media and more.

Did you find last week’s reads interesting or helpful? Let us know.

We’re seeing lots of retrospectives as we approach the New Year, but check out this week’s No. 1 especially. You won’t regret it.

1. This is more of a must-watch. But anybody who uses the Web needs to check out Google Zeitgeist 2012 for the ultimate recap of the year online.

2. In industry news, slowly, but surely, Google continues to creep up on 70 percent market share for search via Search Engine Watch.

3. Emails are content, too – not just what goes on your website. Sales and email app Tout is out with a good guide on how to write kickass sales emails. 

4. Is your business overdoing it on social media? Update overload remains brands’ biggest social danger via

5. It’s not just for hipsters anymore. The New York Times has a cool story on how businesses are using Instagram.



FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Instagram Knows Where You Live, Eat Dinner, Get Drinks and Take Pictures of Kittens

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Big Brother knows exactly where you take oversaturated, filtered pictures of your dinner and your dog. And he wants to tell all your friends (not to mention basically the whole smartphone-using world) about it.

This week, Instagram, the photo editing and sharing app recently acquired by Facebook, rolled out a major new feature in its latest update. It’s called Photo Maps, and it’s a sort of map-based album that displays all of users’ geo-tagged photos pinned to the location where they were taken. Exactly where they were taken. To the point that an interested party (cough STALKER cough cough HOME INVADER cough) could pretty easily discern exactly where you live and spend time on a day-to-day basis, and where you go to take those epic, #nofilter sunset pics.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told The Huffington Post that he wants to “make geo-date more prevalent.”

“We want 90 percent of photos to be geo-tagged because we can do more powerful things with that data,” he added.

All we can say to that quote is, um, creepy! What “powerful things” does Systrom see himself doing with data about where people take pictures, other than selling that data to advertisers or using it for market research? No, thank you.

Here’s what you need to know about the new update:

  • You CAN opt out. And to Instagram’s credit, you can do so pretty easily. When you update the app, there are multiple prompts asking you whether you want to add some or all of your photos to your Photo Map. You can also go back and remove photos from the map if you don’t want, for example, pictures from inside your house appearing.
  • If you do opt out, geo-tagging information will be lost for the photos you don’t choose to display on your Photo Map (at least, that’s what the prompts within the apps say). In other words, you can’t keep the geo-tagged data without displaying your photos on a Photo Map.
  • The geo-information gathered about your photos is pretty specific, so if you don’t want Instagram users to know at least the neighborhoods, if not the specific addresses, where your photos are taken, better to opt out.
  • You can also make your Instagram profile private, if you like the Photo Map feature (even we’ll admit it’s visually pretty cool) but don’t want users other than your friends to see it. Users will have to ask to follow your feed, and you can either approve or deny them access.

Have you checked out lately?

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – You’re Probably Addicted to Your Smartphone, Study (and Common Sense) Finds

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Actually, the news that smartphone addiction is a very real and very fast-spreading phenomenon is probably not “freaky” so much as, well, obvious. But a new study released by the mobile security firm Lookout revealed some troubling facts about the way we interact with our Crackberries and i-Can’t-Put-it-Down Phones.

  • Most of us – more than 60% of those surveyed – can’t survive a single waking hour without checking our phones.
  • The younger we are, the worse the addiction is. A whopping 73% of women and 63% of men ages 18-34 couldn’t go an hour without looking at their smartphones.
  • It’s not just waking hours, either – 54% of respondents admitted to checking their phones from bed, some even in the middle of the night.
  • With the advent of the smartphone, manners and basic decency seem to have gone out the window, judging by the fact that almost 33% of those surveyed use their phones while eating with others.
  • “Eyes on the road” doesn’t seem to be a rule we live by anymore, either, as 24% of surveyed people said they check their cell phones while driving, as well as engaging in other high-risk smartphone habits.
  • And finally, how sad is this? Almost 75% said they felt “panicked” when they misplaced their cell phones. Only 6%

So, how can you tell if you, too, are suffering from the menace that is smartphone addiction? We’ve come up with a list of behaviors we think might constitute an unhealthy attachment to a little piece of metal and plastic. We admit that some of these apply to us – do you see yourself here, too?

  1. The last thing you do before bed isn’t brush your teeth, say your prayers or even kiss your loved ones goodnight – instead, you check your email and play a word in Words With Friends.
  2. You have panic dreams about life without your Android.
  3. You miss big events because you’re too busy trying to take pictures of them with Instagram and post them to Facebook.
  4. You feel irrational fear on airplanes, not because you’re in a metal tube hurtling through the sky, but because you had to put your phone on airplane mode.
  5. You take your phone with you to the bathroom. Yuck. Seriously, stop doing that.

Have you checked out lately?

Photocredit: GinaEllen,