Armadillo Studios Inc.

SXSW10: Twitter Launches The @Follow Platform

Much will be said about yesterday’s keynote speaker with “Evan Williams”:http://www.twitter.com/ev. Unfortunately, most of it will revolve around the horrible nature of the interview format and “the mass exodus from the panel”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/sxsw-keynote-ev-williams-umair-haque/. But the big news is that Twitter has “officially launched a new development platform”:http://blog.twitter.com/2010/03/anywhere.html, which will allow more web site integration for web site owners.

In laymen’s terms, Twitter is trying to “compete with Facebook’s Connect (That blue button that you see everywhere) to allow seemless integration of twitter accounts into 10 major web sites”:http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/15/twitters-new-at-anywhere-platform-allows-for-deeper-integration-into-third-party-sites/. Essentially, this will make Twtter as easy to integrate into web sites as Facebook Connect is. Which will be an incredibly interesting revelation to watch and will alter how information is shared on Twitter.

But what does it mean for smaller web sites with smaller budgets?

_Eventually_, this tool will allow a more seamless integration of twitter into your users viewing patterns. Which in turn will mean that it will be even more important to have an established Twitter presence for your company, blog or non-profit organization. With a simple click, users will be able to tweet directly to your company’s twitter account without having to bounce back to there twitter tools. It’ll streamline the ability for users to interact and comment on your web site, giving your blog or news posts better interaction with your potential clients.

Now, this is all based on one talk, but it something to keep an eye out for and shoudl be more of push to integrate your business with Twitter.

SXSW10: The Big Trend is Web Typography

Without question the big stir in the design world at SXSW 2010 is the emergence of *Web Typography*.

For those unfamiliar, the web design world has been stuck in a conundrum for the past 10 years, as the only typography options universally available for web sites has been incredibly limited. In truth, Web Designers have only been able to use five very basic fonts to build web sites. Which is akin to forcing a painter to paint a portrait with three colors. So without question it has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the design community.

*But 2010 has changed all of that*

At least “four of the sessions at SXSW have dealt with this topic and the emergence of new technologies”:http://my.sxsw.com/search/event_results?q=Web+typography, ranging from dealing with the legalities of embedding web fonts to the the variety of tools which are emerging.

Two of the panels, that I’ve attended at SXSW have been incredibly informative. The first panel from “Samantha Warren, entitled Getting Stoked on Web Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/712 was an incredibly inspiring session. It dealt with various new techniques and sources of inspiration that designers can leverage to kick their design into the next level. The second was from “Jason Cranford Teague of Fluid Typography”:http://my.sxsw.com/events/event/502, which was a brilliant crash course in the logistics and theory of Web Typography.

This is definitely a trend that is going to improve the beauty of the web. So keep an eye out for Team Armadillo and our upcoming projects, as we’ll be working to incorporate Web Typography in the next few projects releases.

SXSW10: The State of The Internet 2010

As SXSW kicks off, the ideas are flowing and the conversations are blooming.

One of company’s that caught my eye in the barrage of posters and advertising material is “JESS3”:http://www.jess3.com a design agency out of Washington DC. In their impressive portfolio is their gorgeous state of the Internet vimeo clip, which anyone interested in the metrics of the web should check out.

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

I’ll have some more posts up over the next few days, but first sit back and get int he mood of SXSW with this beautiful clip.

Calgary Social Media: A Tale Of Two Bars

Here’s a tale of two local bars.

A tale in which two bars set out to engage in the local Social Media community of Calgary. Both bars are of similar statue and manner. Both are located at cross-sections of popular nighttime destinations. Both are new ventures, which have taken over from _Classic_ and well known establishments. And this year both bars reached out on Twitter (and to an extend Foursquare) to attract new customers.

Bar Number 1

Let’s briefly talk about the first one. Last March it established a “Twitter presence”:http://www.twitter.com/classicjacks and proceeded to follow the Calgary community. The account page was bland, generic and didn’t provide any insight into the culture of it’s clientèle or even an hint at it’s overall image. Instead the bar made two comments along the lines of _we’re open_ and _we’re hiring_. It didn’t try very hard to engage the community and didn’t create a two-way form of communication; rather it just broadcasted a simple one-way message to an uninterested audience.

Since those two posts … well the account has sat dormant.

In all likelihood the account will never resurface in any form. Which is unfortunate, as it was one of the first restaurants to venture into the Twitter community. It had a leg-up on the community and could have been poised to potentially leverage this new clientèle. *But it failed*.

There was no commitment to the campaign and _more importantly_, it didn’t give back to the community it was interacting with. Instead, their tactics probably left most members of the Calgary online community with a sour taste in their mouth.

For their image, their soft attempt at leveraging Social Media *probably did more harm than good*.

Bar Number 2

Now, let’s look at the second bar. It’s a fairly new concept bar, which took over the reigns of the old Fox and Firkin. Their goal is to sell locally produced food and _Brewskies_. This bar of course is “The District”:http://www.enjoydistrict.com. Opened a few months ago, it is a place that is slowly becoming an after-work destination and an enjoyable niche hangout.

Similar to my previous example, The District also embarked on a “Twitter campaign”:http://www.twitter.com/enjoydistrict. Unlike the aforementioned establishment, The District began engaging in the growing Calgary Twitter community through a simple organic campaign – offering specials, promoting it’s bucket of bacon and (recently) it began encouraging organization to use it’s location for a variety of meet-ups. Over time it has grown it’s audience to well over a 1,000 followers and now appears to be a destination within the online community.

In addition to all this wonderful Twitter exposure, it also took the plunge on the newest Social Networking craze “Foursquare”:http://foursquare.com. In the past few weeks it became one of the first venue partners in the city and now offers “discounts to mayors and some secret discounts for frequent visitors”:http://foursquare.com/venue/253410. As a foursquare user, it’s become a place to visit to ‘achieve’ the next status of discount.

Subsequently, The District has created an identity and presence within these two networks *that is unique to its competitors*.

It’s positioned it’s self as a destination place for the people engaged in the community and a quick look at either network shows it’s success. This level of interaction has change the community’s opinion, from a bar on the outskirts to a place to meet and be seen.

In The End

I’m not going to speculate on the success of either establishment, I’m not by any means a restaurateur. The point of this post is to look at the difference in Social Media strategy and the change to the online perception of both establishments. The one thing that I do know about the _Food and Drink_ industry is that *optics are a key element to success*.

Buzz and word of mouth are invaluable.

When we look at the rewards of these two Twitter campaigns, it’s pretty obvious which of these bars came out on top.

Calgary Social Media: Foursquare Starts To Make Waves In Calgary & Edmonton

Much has been made of the Geo-locational social application “Foursquare”:http://foursquare.com/ since it’s launch into the “Calgary and Edmonton markets in November of last year”:http://foursquare.tumblr.com/post/249951087/yet-another-round-of-new-cities-sprinkled-all-over. The application has been garnishing a bit of buzz in the local tech communities and it is now poised for it’s big breakout role within our cities. Because of which local businesses should really start taking note.

The application, which allows users to notify friends about their whereabouts through instant notifications and an addictive reward system, has been heralded as the next big thing by the Tech community since the 2009 SXSW interactive conference. But now Foursquare is making great inroads to become more than just a nifty competitive game.

News from “Techvibes has revealed a groundbreaking partnership between Metro Newspapers and Foursquare to deliver local content to nearby users”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces.

As part of the partnership, Metro will add their location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service. People who choose to follow Metro on Foursquare will then receive alerts when they’re close to one of those locations. For example, someone close to a restaurant that Metro has reviewed would receive a “tip” about that restaurant and the have ability to link through to the full Metro review on metronews.ca. – “Courtesy of Techvibes”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces

This partnership with one of Canada’s largest media outlets will connect Foursquare with a daily audience and will inject it’s brand into the mainstream consciousness. In the short-term, this will add more users to the growing audience in Calgary and Edmonton

Now on the flip side of this, Foursquare is also allowing 3rd party developers to create apps to make the service that much better. One of the first Third party Applications for Foursquare is called “PlaceWidget.com”:http://www.placewidget.com. Placewidget allows businesses (or organizations) with an already established Foursquare presence to promote user activity on their own web sites with a simple HTML widget … So for example if a _small_ business like Calgary’s own little Apple Store wanted to promote their Foursquare activity it would look like this:

Or maybe a more local competitor like Westworld Computers wanted to get in on the action, it would look like this:

While PlaceWidget might seem like a simple and remedial integration of Foursquare’s information, it really is the tip of the iceberg. As the service grows the need for businesses to leverage this information will evolve with it. Similar to how Twitter and Facebook streams now appear on the web sites of many organizations and businesses, Foursquare will be next in line.

These are just two small examples of how Foursquare is slowly fulfilling it’s _tech prophesy_ as the next major social network. The next question is when will local Calgary and Edmonton businesses start to incorporate this extremely business friendly social network into their own marketing practices?

The clientèle is growing, so who is going to be first?

SXSW10: SXSW Approved

Here’s a quick note in between finishing up our last projects and mailing out our beloved Christmas Cards. Earlier this week we were notified of some great news. Remeber the SXSW Panel we promoting in early September? the one called “Leave Your Job, Start An Agency”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/leave-your-job-start-an-agency? Well it was officially selected to be apart of SXSW Interactive 2010.

We are super excited that the panel was selected and better yet that we get to see our good friends at “Bitfyre”:http://www.bitfyre.net/ and “Stalelife”http://www.stalelife.com again. If you are heading to Austin this year make sure that you check us out.

The GetDown.ca Campaign

In early July, Armadillo Studios was approached by the Calgary Downtown Association, in conjunction with Tag Advertising, to help jump-start the online campaign for the new “Getdown.ca web site”:http://www.getdown.ca.

The goal of the Getdown.ca project is to help create a new web site that would inform Calgarians of the great events going on Downtown. Our roll in the project was to help develop and guide a social media strategy for the newly launched site. Through a combination of on-site training and hands on work, Armadillo Studios worked tirelessly to help kick start Getdown.ca into a viable element of the Calgary online community.

We enlisted the help of some of Calgary’s up and coming writers as well as active and influential members of the “yycTwitter Community”:http://twitter.com/#search?q=yyc to populate the new site with great content. We also provided customized social media training sessions for the Downtown Calgary team and applied an organic growth strategy for the Twitter campaign. In addition, we tailored Downtown Calgary’s “Twitter”:http://twitter.com/downtowncalgary and “Facebook Fan”:http://www.facebook.com/downtowncalgary pages based on Xpan’s & Tag’s elegant web site design.

During our tenure, the Getdown.ca project has grown by leaps and bounds. Since handing the project to Downtown Calgary earlier this month, GetDown.ca continues to grow. We’re pretty proud of the work we did with Downtown Calgary and here are some of the simple stats for the project.

* The Downtown Calgary Facebook Fan page has broken the ever-so popular 100 fan check point. The page continues to evolve as Downtown Calgary begins to utilize different elements of Facebook’s Fan pages to improve communication with the Calgary community.
* The Getdown.ca blog has published over 60+ posts about the Downtown area. Covering everything from Downtown’s own “Stylocity week”:http://getdown.ca/2009/09/11/stylocity-hit-the-streets-guerrilla-style/ to the flagship “*atomic Bubble Tea shop”:http://getdown.ca/2009/09/03/atomic-tea-feels-like-home/ to the “latest plays from Calgary’s Theatre scene”:http://getdown.ca/category/stage-and-screen/.
* “The Downtown Calgary Twitter”:http://twitter.com/downtowncalgary account grows at a positive and organic pace, with new users joining regularly.

Not bad for a 4 month period.

Anyways, we’d like to thank Downtown Calgary & Tag Advertising for the opportunity to work with them on the GetDown.ca project. We know Downtown Calgary’s Social media influence will continue to grow as it is in great hands. And last but not least, a big thank you goes out to all the local writers who helped launch the GetDown.ca project. Without their content none of this would have been possible.