I’m Being Marketed To

August 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ok, I’ve gotten accustomed to hearing music I like over the loudspeakers in the mall and the supermarket. (Roll your eyes, teenagers! Hah!) I just wish they played it louder and with more bass.

But today I’m talking about internet marketing. Within an hour of posting my last blog post on craft beer (which was automatically posted to my twitter and FB), I got a new follower on Twitter, Taphunter. They’re a San Diego based company that follows bars serving craft beer in several cities in North America. They get craft beer enthusiasts to log in to their site and update their information as to who has what available on tap. So if you’re in, say, Austin, and you really want Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen on tap, you can log in and it’ll tell you where to go.

Furthermore, you can get their mobile app and update their info on the bar where you are, and you’ll get points. And wouldn’t everyone just love some more points? I’d do just about anything for points. Yay points! Oh, and they have occasional giveaways and discounts and stuff.

Anyway, I was curious how, and impressed that, they found me so quickly. By my blog stats, that blog entry only was viewed once, and that viewer was referred by en.wordpress.com/tag/beer/. I assume this is due to the efforts of the Chief Beer Strategist (also CEO and Co-founder) at Taphunter, Mel Gordon. What I wonder is this: was it a person (herself or perhaps a lackey), or was it automated? Does she have software that scours the blogosphere for beer enthusiasts, then automatically starts following them on Twitter or otherwise? If so, what kind of software is it? Is it expensive? Free? Highly specific, or versatile? Is this cutting edge, or has it been around for years?

*digs a bit deeper*

Ok, I’d bet she’s got the software. She’s also president and founder of gWave Consulting, complete with programmers! Also, she’s “Widely considered as an Internet marketing expert …” It’s true, just read her description on the gWave website, which she probably wrote herself. After all, she’d know, right? Really, I’m just poking fun. I have no reason to believe she isn’t what she claims to be. Besides, she backs up her claims by citing publications, and I looooove it when people cite sources. Also, she obviously likes good beer, so I’ll gladly give her the benefit of the doubt.

So, all in all, I say nice job marketing to me, Mel Gordon. Maybe someday we’ll talk about adding the North Country (or at least Burlington, VT) to Taphunter’s markets. Preferably over a craft beer or, even better, a homebrew. After all, we’ve got Lake Placid Brewery, Saranac, and Magic Hat just to name a few, not to mention the possibility of a brewpub opening in Potsdam within the next year or two. I’d gladly regularly enter all data on my local, Maxfields. Besides, it’ll get me points, right?

Web 2.0 experiences in the classroom

January 16, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Posted in conference, education, internet, internet culture, local, math, technology | 3 Comments
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I just got back from TLT Day, Teaching and Learning with Technology Day 2009. I attended a great presentation by Marianne Hebert on Web 2.0 in the classroom. It was a great presentation that I was rather disappointed with.

The presentation slides are here on slideshare. (I learned about slideshare from Marianne’s talk … thanks!) See, that’s why I say it was a great presentation. I learned some new stuff that I want to look into and, via the discussion, found ways other folks are using Web 2.0 stuff. I even learned what the heck Web 2.0 means.

The reason I was rather disappointed with it is that I didn’t leave with ways to improve the classroom/course experience for my students. Sure, I know about various web stuff that’s really cool, and I could incorporate these things if I wanted to, but it’s not clear at all if using these things (like delicious, facebook, twitter, google maps, google docs, etc.) will improve my classroom/course experience. This left me conflicted, since I thought it was a good talk.

And that’s when it hit me. The talk basically said that people are on the web, our students are on the web more than we are, and here are lots of ways that we can interact with them to facilitate learning in ways with which they are comfortable. It gave lots of examples and demonstrated how many different websites are used. And it did a good job at that.

But that’s not what I need in order to improve my classroom/course experience. I’m not just going to use a piece of technology because it’s cool. (Ok, I might. But only if it’s REALLY cool.) And I’m not going to just throw more technology into my classes with the hope that the experience will be better. There’s no guarantee that it’s going to work.

What I need to do is spend some time alone and brainstorm. I need to just strip away all perceived boundaries, imagine that no impediments exist, and that I can make any classroom experience I can imagine a reality just by willing it to be. If that were the reality in which I lived, what classroom/course experience would I create? What sorts of things can I imagine?

That’s hard! I don’t know about you, but if I start doing that, part of my mind (call it the practical part) immediately starts thinking about all the problems with implementing what I just imagined. Now don’t get me wrong; I like the practical part of my mind. And I know it’s just looking at things that way with the intention of solving those problems. But it gets in the way of the creative part of my mind that imagines in the first place. And my creative part can get bummed out by a preponderance of practical concerns that I don’t know how to solve. So I need to take some time to give the creative part free reign, and imagine what I want to make happen.

Once I get an idea of what that looks like … well, then I will sit back and have a beer. A good beer, like Guinness. But after that, I will let the practical part out of its cage and say, “Make that happen!” In reality, it will probably only make a facsimile, or a lower dimensional projection, of my imagination happen, because it has to live in the real world. If it really can make my imagination happen, that’s a sign to me that I need to dream bigger.

So, my conclusion is that coming to a talk like this the way I did today is almost like putting the cart before the horse. I need to have that dream first. I need to imagine the ultimate classroom/course experience in a limitless world. Then I can come to a talk like this and when I see something useful I can say, “Hey, that can help make this little part of my ultimate experience a reality!” Then I won’t be just adding technology for its own sake. I will be filling a need, a function that I have already identified. Then whatever I add is practically assured to make a tangible improvement.

You’re indirectly responsible for this realization, Marianne, so thank you. You just may have helped me make every conference I go to more enriching. I also had good conversations with Linda, Karen, and Jenica. It was a few hours well spent IMO.

I also attended a workshop about iClicker, a classroom voting system that I will be using extensively this semester. I’ll devote a separate entry to just that.

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