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If you’re into photography (like me), then you’ll appreciate The Golden Hour Calculator which calculates the ideal time to take photos. The Golden Hour (or magic hour) is the first and last hour of sun light during the day, usually enabling the photographer to achieve great lighting quality due to the light’s warmer hues and the sunlight’s diffused properties. Ever try to take someone’s photo in the afternoon? Get harsh shadows and squinty eyes? Try shooting in the golden hours. When you get to the site, it automatically displays information about your location based on your IP address. Recently, they’ve even added an iPhone app, check it out.

The Golden Hour Calculator

via The Golden Hour Calculator Finds the Best Times to Get Your Shutterbug On – Photography – Lifehacker.

The old adage “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” is tossed around when discussing economics, but in the light of the Google Buzz FTC complaint filed a few weeks ago by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), there are a lot of parallels in the web landscape as well.

Now that we’ve used most of the web’s services for FREE for the past few decades, we’ve become quite accustomed to accessing content and services just by creating a “free” account and moving on without any regard to the trade-offs. If you stop and think about it, what does it cost you (non-monetarily) to use Facebook? I mean, besides the incredible timesink. I’m not talking about the physical activity of using the web versus working out, or checking your Facebook page instead of taking your dog to the park. I’m talking about the trade-off that occurs when your personal information starts mingling with technology that you’re not paying for directly. People, businesses, groups and causes you’re connected with, your activities, comments and “check-ins” all weave an intricate, yet telling digital footprint. Your footprint equals dollar signs for these businesses, since they can sell your attention at a premium to advertisers.

You don’t think web entrepreneurs without a “pay for use” business model are providing you with a service out of the goodness of their hearts, right?

While I’m not accepting Facebook’s shady privacy games or Google pushing your “most emailed” contact list into the social media sphere, there has to be a point where we, as web consumers, understand the opportunity cost of using the web.

Google Buzz

Let’s be perfectly honest. Social media is noisy. Too many apps like Farmville and Mafia Wars are cluttering Facebook at break neck speed. I digest too many tweets I really don’t care about by people I want to follow, and aside from locally relevant “check-ins”, I don’t care where my friends in San Francisco and Chicago are having lunch, or what time they check into work via Foursquare.

Enter Google Buzz. Buzz is an add-on to Gmail. Google is good at a lot of things, but what is their core service? Search. And to be king of search, you have to be king of relevancy. Advertisers and marketers flock to Google services because Google knows how to deliver their messages most effectively. Take a look at the flip side and you’ll find a Google user that is presented with relevant information in the form of a search or advertisement. I like to look at Google as being the best at organizing the collective digital sphere. Google dominates as a search provider, as a commanding 67% of users turn to it. The next closest competitor? Yahoo search at 14%. As a parent company, Google has an active reach of 84%.

So here’s where Google Buzz comes into play. If Google Buzz can help me navigate the social media waters and deliver the most relevant content, it will change social media. No more wading through tons of Farmville updates, unless of course you’re into Farmville. And yes I know I can block certain applications, but that is not the point. Since Google already knows that I’m into DSLR photography and digital editing based on my searches and usage habits, Buzz will hopefully help sort through the noise and deliver updates that are relevant.

There are a few drawbacks though, and hopefully Google will address these. First, I can’t update the other platforms from Buzz, it’s only an aggregator of sorts. So you can’t update your Facebook or Foursquare status from Buzz. Currently, Buzz only supports from Picasa, Twitter, Google Reader, Google Chat and Flickr. Hopefully it will evolve to support activity from Facebook, LinkedIn and such eventually. For now, I’m buzzing, care to connect?

Physician Resource Consulting LogoRecently I had the pleasure of working with Physician Resource Consulting, an Indiana start-up focused on helping physicians manage their practices more efficiently. PRC wanted a clean, conservative yet earthy logo that embodied their initials and included an organic element. I managed a team of creative professionals through all phases of design and execution, and PRC is gaining momentum in its consulting venture. I’m thoroughly looking forward to continuing to develop their brand.

 

 

Virtual Zippo Lighter

A Case For Branded Apps | Ubercool.

 

Thanks to Kyle Lacy of Brandswag and Lorraine Ball of Roundpeg for compiling a list of Indy bloggers to follow. Additionally, thanks for naming me! A comprehensive look through these blogs proves there is more than corn in Indiana.

Twitterers, you can follow Kyle on Twitter here or Lorraine here.

Top 50 + Bloggers in Indianapolis | Kyle Lacy, Social Media – Indianapolis.

You’ve probably heard about Google’s Website Optimizer, but if you’reanything like me, strapped for time and concerned with the learning curve associated with any new tool, admittedly I haven’t used this multivariate testing powerhouse to its extent. This article, from Conversion Rate Experts, is just what I needed to jump in and get testing…What Does Google Website Optimizer Do?

Google Website Optimizer – 108 Free Tips | Conversion Rate Experts.

 

At some point, every public relations professional will most likely encounter the need for “damage control” on both internal and extral fronts. Enough cannot be said for preparedness on a situation like this, where confidentiality, legal issues and the “court of public opinion” must be balanced with precision.  Prep your organization with a few tips from Marketing Scoop’s Crisis Management resources.

It’s true. We’re different.

StaplerGen Y workers get quite the stigma around most workplaces. Whether we’re flexing our time to accomodate our philanthropic committments or trying to convince our managers to allow telecommuniting to save on commuting expenses, we’re all – along with our employers and coworkers, trying to figure out this newfangled intergenerational office dynamic. 

5 points to this dynamic:

  1. Our career choices are based on opportunity and the value of meaningful work.
  2. We’re serious about personal development and we’re not afraid to ask for help or feedback. Or a mentor. If we don’t find what we’re looking for, we ask Google.
  3. We don’t value the 80 hour workweek, unless it has a direct relationship with #1.
  4. We don’t subscribe to the idea of corporate hierachy and “the appropriate channels”. Again, we’re not afraid to ask.
  5. Work-life infusion: iPhones and Blackberries in tow, work-life balance is vital. It’s no longer a “balance, it’s an infusion”.This balance is a classic give and take relationship: natural for us to multitask at work, compiling TPS reports alongisde our Google Readers or Facebook.

Now for some Gen Y reading material (in small, digestable bits – true Gen Y style):

Ten Ways Gen Y Will Change the Workplace – Ryan Healy, Employee Evolution

Make the Workplace Fun to Retain Your Gen X, Y Workers – Tim Shaver, Nashville Business Journal

Generation Y in the Workplace Explained – Teresa Wu (by teresa wu), Guest Post on Chris Brogan

Y Would I Want to Work with Gen-Y –  Dr. Jim Anderson (Business of IT), Guest Post on Business Pundit

Generation Y at Work – Tom Ashbrook, On Point Radio with Tom Ashbrook

I’m relatively new to Twitter, Who you follow depends on how you use Twitter and what you expect to gain by using it. There are, however several that are worth following regardless of your industry. These tweeple just get it. They know how to harness the power of Twitter and social media and guide conversations.

@chirsbrogan

@guykawasaki

@jowyang

@briansolis

Otherwise, who you follow is dependent on your interests. Once you start tweeting, you will inevitably gain followers, some that are interested in topics you write about, some spammers. My ‘filter’ is a quick look through the ratio of followers versus following, if someone is following 2,000 people, but only has 53 followers, that person doesn’t have time for me. Also, if the page of updates are a little too spammy for me, I won’t follow. A few good resources:

Twellow

2008 Unofficial Top 50 Tweeples to Follow

Twitter Search

One of my personal favorites, @fakesarahpalin. Of course, you can always start by following me, @susanconyers. What are your favorite resources? Who is on your “must follow” list?