Archive | September, 2011

Ben & Jerry’s Roll Out Their “Schweddy Balls”

23 Sep


“No one can resist my Schweddy balls.”

Ben & Jerry’s is hoping that Alec Baldwin was right when they unveiled their newest flavor this past month.  The Ben & Jerry web site describes “Schweddy Balls” as “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum & loaded with fudge covered rum and malt balls.”  That sure does sound tasty.  You can find “Schweddy Balls” on page three of the flavors menu.

Besides the unappealing visual of sliding Ben & Jerry’s “Schweddy Balls” into my mouth I love the name of this flavor.  Unfortunately, not everyone does.  The American Family Association (cue sighs and eye rolling) says, “The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive.  Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket.”  I wonder if the AMA felt the same way about “Half Baked”? My guess is not.

What I like about the name is exactly what the AMA doesn’t like.  It’s cheeky, fun, and actually has a story behind it.  Ben & Jerry’s is about a consistent a brand as there is out there.  Their message is “If it’s not fun, then why do it” and they’ve stuck to that message throughout their existence.  In an age where everybody suspects corporate America of hiding something the best way to build brand loyalty is through trust built by consistency.  I personally don’t believe the line between fun and indecent was crossed here.

This isn’t even the first time the ice cream maker has come out with a controversial flavor name.  Brand marketing firm Cone helped launch the “Hubby Hubby” campaign in September of 2009, which celebrated gay marriage.

“Schweddy Balls” might not have nearly the same political affiliations, but it is conceived from the same notion.  Enjoy life and have some fun eating your ice cream.  So I encourage all of you to watch the SNL skit with a bowl full of the freshest “Schweddy Balls” you can find.  Might I also suggest whipped cream?

Do you think the name “Schweddy Balls” is offensive?

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Twitter Is Not The New England Patriot Way

22 Sep

“Just waking up after a late arrival, I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person, to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW”

For some reason this tweet lit a fire under the butt of ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi.  After Tom Brady and the Patriots left Dolphins fans wondering if they would ever stop scoring, Pats wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (@ochocinco) sent this message over the Twitter airwaves.

At first I jumped to the conclusion that Bruschi is just a pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst trying to make waves in the kiddy pool of “former players turned ESPN analysts that aren’t any good” (By the way, notice how they call him “Ex-Patriot” and not ESPN analyst on the mothership’s website).  While I still lean towards that theory I might have another one.  Maybe he wouldn’t have taken so much flak if Chad had made this comment any other medium than Twitter?

In part of Tedy’s rant he said, “Stop tweeting and get in your playbook.”  First of all, as an “analyst” Bruschi should know it takes all of 30 seconds to send a tweet.  I’m would hope Chad has 30 seconds in his day to socialize with his fans.

People that don’t understand the use and value of Twitter see it as another narcissistic platform where people can tell others what they had for lunch.  While Tedy may have been upset by Ochocinco’s misunderstanding of the “Patriot way”, it was Chad’s choice of media platform which caused the ruckus.

Clearly though, Bruschi didn’t care where Chad said it.   He’s a Patriot through and through.   Anyone who isn’t in lock step will probably bother the guy.   He was more upset by what Chad said than where he said it.  So maybe instead of being a pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst, he’s now an old crotchety pumped up ra-ra ESPN analyst that also doesn’t understand new media.

Do you think the medium effected how the message was received in this case?  Do you think Twitter is seen as an unsophisticated platform?

Note: Bruschi has a Twitter account @Brufasa (unofficial?) with 0 tweets.

-Josh P Greenberg
Follow: @JoshPGreenberg
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Related Story: “Chad Ochocinco Tweet Draws Ire From Ex-New England Patriot Player Tedy Bruschi”

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Strangers Can Follow You On Facebook Now

15 Sep

picture via "Inside Facebook"

I remember the first time I heard about Facebook.  My first thought was, “that sounds like a god awful idea.  I can talk to people with AIM.”  There’s a reason I haven’t become an angel investor.  It didn’t take long before I was checking out the site.  The only problem was that I was in high school and didn’t have a college account, which meant I couldn’t sign up.

Today, Facebook introduced a new feature called “subscribing.”  Essentially subscribing takes the idea of following people on twitter and gives you even more control over what messages you view.  That whistling your hearing right now is the proverbial bomb that I’m about to drop.  You can also follow…excuse me…”subscribe” to people that you’re not friends with.  This means, you guessed it, people can subscribe to you too.  Facebook does emphasize that you need to opt in to allow people you’re not “friends” with to follow you.The idea of exclusivity which Facebook was born out of is withering to nothing.  It started with them dropping the need for a college email account.  Then Facebook advertising, business pages, a marketplace, Facebook chat, and the list goes on.

All that being said subscribing sounds like a great concept.  I love the idea of choosing what messages I see.  The way everyone used to describe Facebook was it’s a way to keep up with old friends.  I would argue that they’ve gotten far away from that concept subscribing helps bring it back.  Now you can filter the messages of people on your peripheral so that you only get the important info.  You might not care about the fantasy football team run by a guy you went to high school with, but you might care if he moved to the UK or got a new job.

Google plus might have been the best thing that happened to Facebook.  Since then they’ve made some great changes that make their UI even better. In the process the mega social media platform may have sold what little was left of its soul.  With social media becoming exponentially more popular each day will we ever see a “private” network again?  Or was the cult like atmosphere of Facebook’s early days just a fad?  What do you think?

Josh P Greenberg
Follow: @JoshPGreenberg
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Google Plus Will Punish You For Not Using Your Real Name

9 Sep

Google Plus might have an issue with Ron Artest's new name

What’s in a name?  Have you thought about all the different monikers you’ve ever gone by?  How many different usernames, screen names, nicknames, and pseudonyms have you created in your lifetime?  Probably more than you can count or even recollect.

Google+ wants to simplify your life by only allowing you to use your real name.  No longer will the web know you as HelloKittyGirl99 (I love that this is real) for those of you with Plain Jane names.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said in a Q&A session, “Google+ was built primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people  using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.” To which Andy Carvin of NPR commented, “Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, [Schmidt] said G+ is completely optional.  No one is forcing you to use it.  It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+.”

That doesn’t sound like the type of message a social networking service should be sending out, especially one that is trying to take down Facebook.  I might agree that if your life is in danger by using your real name that it isn’t worth the sacrifice so you can +1 your friend’s cat picture.

Many people on Facebook change their names.  A number of them do it to dodge employers, stalkers, or to change a generic name so they can be found if desired.  Sometimes it’s as simple as using your middle name instead of your last, while others go for the full blown name change.  Even William Shatner had his profile suspended for not following the rules.

Does the Google+ model completely break down if you want to change your name from Yoshihariana to Yoshi?  I would think not.  It feels more likely with each passing day that Google will sell out its followers to advertisers or the like.  Maybe not anytime soon, but if this project really does make a social mark we may not be able to hide in social networking witness protection.

 G+ has an agenda here for sure

-Josh P Greenberg
Follow: @JoshPGreenberg
Follow: @Rated_JPG

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Need Help Managing Your Twitter Account? Un-j.am it!

8 Sep

Image via Geekmom.com

If you are a heavy Twitter user (like what I aspire to be) then you’ll find that your Twitter pipeline can get clogged very fast.  There are ways to divert the constant flow of information like using lists, groups, or searches all of which some with pros and cons.   Lists need regular updating as your network grows and unless you’re already using a third party provider you can’t save searches in Twitter.

As I was reading an article on tools to simplify your online life I came across a gem, Strawberryj.am.   It’s a web based program that organizes your tweets in order of what posts are mentioned the most.  For example, if a post is sent out by Mashable and 30 of your twitter followers share the article then it will show up in your Strawberryj.am feed as “popular”.  That way you’ll be able to tell what other people think is important industry news. Oh ya, and it’s free!

After spending a short time using the service I feel that this is more geared towards Twitter accounts with many followers.  I’m currently at about 100 followers which is nothing compared to most. My most mentioned post count is typically only at around five, so it might not be the best gauge for me.  I still think it’s a great way to find out about articles that might not be on my radar.  Strawberryj.am also has other features such as saved searches, tags, and lists.  I haven’t seen an option to add multiple accounts yet though.

What I’m also very excited about is their plans to integrate with Facebook in the future.  Facebook news can be just as hard to keep up with  as Twitter.  This will be a welcome addition when it’s up and running.

At the time that this article was posted Strawberryj.am was in beta.  You need an invite to join, but you can request one from their website.  Be patient.  It took me a few days to receive mine.

-Josh P Greenberg
Follow @JoshPGreenberg
Follow @Rated_JPG

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